A pilot a Whiteman AFB, Mo., recently logged his 6,000th hour in the A-10 Thunderbolt II—that’s roughly 250 days spent in the venerable Warthog’s cockpit. Over the course of nearly 30 years, Lt. Col. John Marks, an Air Force Reserve pilot with the 303rd Fighter Squadron, has flown about 3,500 sorties and completed 11 combat deployments, racking up more than 950 combat hours, according to a base release. Col. Jim Macaulay, the 442nd Operations Group commander, said to reach such a milestone, Marks had to solve “the tactical problem on the ground hundreds of times and [get] it right every time, keeping the friendlies safe.” He has been “targeted and engaged hundreds of times by enemy fire,” added Macaulay, though thankfully he’s never had to eject, states the release.
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.