The Air Force recently reshuffled close air support assets in Afghanistan to meet anticipated demand. “This movement postures close air support to best support the campaign plans in the long and short term,” said Col. Kevin Blanchard, vice commander of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing at Kandahar Airfield. A-10s that had been operating in southern Afghanistan out of Kandahar traded bases with F-16s that had been flying in the north from Bagram Airfield. “The reset should provide the regional commanders’ the best air assets for the environment and operations each will encounter,” added Blanchard. In addition to aircraft, the two units moved a combined 900 personnel and 438 units of cargo without missing a single combat sortie request. (Kandahar report by SSgt. Heather Skinkle and second Kandahar report by Skinkle)
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.