July 1, 2009  

No legacy fighters

TO AIR FORCE CHIEF OF STAFF GEN. NORTON SCHWARTZ for emphatically ending industry-prompted media speculation that the service wants to buy more F-15s or F-16s to fill the coming “fighter gap.” Schwartz said the Air Force would not consider the purchase of so-called 4.5 generation upgraded legacy F-16 and F-15 fighters. “The answer is no, N-O, can’t make that any clearer,” Schwartz said. “F-35? You bet.” Schwartz said it was imperative to direct budget dollars toward the development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. He said any delay in procurement could increase the cost and further delay fielding the F-35 to the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. And the chief was rightly unapologetic about his support for the F-35 as the next “core” Air Force fighter. “The F-35 is the machine that will allow us to perform our mission for the next 20 to 30 years,” he said.