Wyatt's F-35 Vision
In his view, the Air Force needs to put more of the new fighters with ANG, sooner.
—Michael C. Sirak
September 14, 2009—Right now the Air Force's roadmap for fighter recapitalization shows only one Air National Guard unit getting the F-35 stealth fighter before 2021, Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt, Air National Guard director, said Monday at AFA’s 2009 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C.
Assuming the F-35 production line is in full swing by 2015 and churning out about 80 USAF F-35As annually, a better approach is to assign 30 percent of them—roughly 24 aircraft—to the Air Guard each year, thus enabling the beddown of a new Guard F-35 squadron each annum, Wyatt said.
That way, by the time, the Air Force has fielded about 400 F-35s, a sizable chunk with be resident within the Air Guard, with the end result "a more robust Air Force" that is better able to support the joint force and sustain high-tempo operations, he said.
After all, he emphasized, the Air Guard has the most experienced pilots and maintainers across the service and its units are able to operate at a fraction of the cost of their active duty counterparts, he said.
Wyatt said this approach applies to the modernization of all Air Guard equipment, reiterating his earlier calls for concurrency and proportionality in how the active duty and ANG receive new capability.
(For more from Wyatt on recapitalization, read Concurrent and Proportionate.)
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