The Air Force wants to replace the aging but beloved A-10 “Warthog” with a robotic “flying coke machine” that loiters over the battlefield, dispensing firepower at the touch of a button, the outgoing Chief of Staff said this morning. (More on that concept below). Gen. Mark Welsh also wants a “sixth-generation fighter” that can defeat the most advanced air defenses. But he can’t afford either.
As the service downsizes, both dollars and skilled people are in too short supply, Welsh said. The force has its hands full fielding the new “fifth generation” F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and keeping all its aging fourth-generation (and older) planes in the air.