Cutting the Fat

The Air Force is over-invested in permissive intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft, said Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, who heads the service’s Quadrennial Defense Review office. Speaking Tuesday at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., Kwast said there are certain aircraft that performed “very well” in Iraq and Afghanistan, but won’t work well in the Asia-Pacific region or Africa. “They were really built for that specific environment and in order to afford the way the strategy has shifted, we need to let go of some of those things,” he said. The MC-12W might be one of those platforms that falls victim to budget sequestration. Air Combat Command boss Gen. Michael Hostage said Tuesday at the conference MC-12s are “a marvelous capability” he’d love to retain if funding weren’t an issue. However, “I can do that capability with other systems,” he told reporters at the conference. The Air Force also can do close air support with multiple platforms, making the A-10 fleet vulnerable. “In a perfect world, I’d have 1,000 A-10s to do close air support, but I can’t afford it,” said Hostage. “If I cut the fleet in half, do I save enough to get myself through this problem? The answer is no. While I don’t want to do it, I’d rather lose that entire fleet and . . . be able to afford the things I can’t live without.”