Air Force Special Operations Command’s CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft will soon deploy for the first time abroad, Army Gen. William Ward, commander of US Africa Command, said Wednesday. Speaking to defense reporters in Washington, D.C., Ward said CV-22s will participate in Exercise Flintlock, a cooperative counter-terror and capacity-building effort focused on the Trans-Sahel region of North Africa. “We’ve been doing it over the course of five years,” Ward said of the upcoming exercise, which formerly took place under the auspices of US European Command. The CV-22 will likely play a key role in transporting special operations forces working with African host nation forces across the vast, rugged terrain of the region, he said. This year’s Flintlock will include the nine partner nations involved in Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara—an effort focused on counter terror efforts and interdiction of arms and narcotics networks—as well as several European allies, such as France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Flintlock’s planned activities include interoperability training, small unit tactics, patrolling, and command and control actions, Ward said.
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.