via John Q. Public Blog (READ IT ALL HERE!!!)...
If the F-35’s inability to perform CAS nearly as well as promised becomes publicly undeniable, the program stands to have its currently exorbitant scale trimmed back appreciably. This will become necessary in order to find budgetary tradespace to keep the A-10 operational for the foreseeable future. This manifests a threat to the F-35 program, which, given the foregoing, Mark Welsh likely perceives as a larger threat to the entire Air Force institution, not to mention his legacy as Chief.And this...
It’s my guess that this is why Welsh is rhetorically turning, pulling, and throttling radically enough that he’s occasionally spilling out of the design envelope. His rapid gallop from “silly exercise” to full support of said exercise to professed confusion, all in a single news cycle, can be seen as well-founded anxiety about the viability of the F-35 program beginning to bubble out into public view.
In other words, the F-35 will never be anywhere near as effective as the A-10 at traditional CAS, something proponents of the mission have long known and contended.I'm loving this.
Second, this shows how frightened Welsh is of a CAS face-off between the A-10 and F-35 – especially one over which the Air Staff has no control and limited influence. His initial attempt to marginalize the idea before realizing it was non-negotiable was an attempt to avoid a direct comparison between the two platforms on terms unfavorable to the F-35.
Welsh knows — or should know — that such a comparison will show the F-35 has been oversold as a CAS weapon, and that it is years from being even modestly capable in the mission set. His loss of rhetorical coherence reflects a sort of wobbliness, which in turn reflects fear about the potential impact to the service’s modernization priorities if the F-35 is exposed as toothless in one of its hyped mission areas. It’s one thing for a weapon to come up short. It’s another for the service’s credibility to be publicly impeached.
More and more bloggers are keying into the real issue with the F-35. Its no longer just about whether the airplane is as capable as its proponents are saying...its becoming about INTEGRITY, TRUTHFULNESS, and FULL DISCLOSURE TO THE PUBLIC!
We can excuse F-35 fanboys for their enthusiasm. We can't forgive generals for lying to the public about issues with airplane. We expect...correction...the REPUBLIC demands MORE from them!
What started out as a debate over whether an airplane fulfills the objectives laid out for it has morphed into a debate over whether or not the public should trust military leadership.
The test that the