A-10Cs practiced forward operations from an austere airfield in Bulgaria last week as part of the most recent European theater security package rotation. “This training will prepare our pilots to land in a variety of surface conditions allowing us to bring the fight even further,” 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Bryan France said in a release. The A-10s were preceded by combat controllers and an MC-130J Commando II from RAF Mildenhall, UK. The controllers marked the strip and provided air traffic control, while a small team aboard the MC-130J set up a forward area refueling point to rapidly relaunch the A-10s. “FARP operations, in combination with austere field operations, provide commanders the ability to project combat capability to areas otherwise denied by traditional airpower methods,” France added. The 74th EFS deployed to Europe from Moody AFB, Ga., for a roughly six-month rotation starting last September.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.