US Air Forces in Europe is increasing the number of joint terminal attack controllers from partner nations that it trains to make more of these highly skilled assets available in Afghanistan. Adm. James Stavridis, US European Command boss, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that USAFE trained 25 coalition JTACs in 2009 and anticipates training 30 this year. He said USAFE is also working with Poland to establish a regional air ground operations training capability in that country. Speaking to reporters last month in Orlando, Fla., Gen. Roger Brady, USAFE boss, said the demand for JTACs is “perhaps second only” to that for MQ-1 Predator unmanned surveillance aircraft. “We’ve got to the point where everyone wants a JTAC, even [provincial reconstruction teams],” he said. Brady said USAFE is doubling its annual overall JTAC training capacity from 72 to 144.
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.