The Army is not interested in assuming operation of the A-10 fleet if the Air Force succeeds in its divestiture efforts, Army Secretary John McHugh told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Though he said there is essentially “no chance” such a scenario would play out, McHugh also acknowledged that “a?nything can happen … but that’s not a topic of casual conversation.” He said the Army is taking “dramatic steps” to reconfigure its own aviation assets in order to generate long-term savings and the A-10 is not “something to consider” in these reorganizations. The fixed-wing CAS mission is “an Air Force mission and it should be. And I’m sure the Air Force feels the same way,” added McHugh. In addition, the Army doesn’t really care what platform the Air Force uses to conduct the mission “as long as [ordnances dropped] are timely and effective, we are comfortable with that. And every assurance that we have received says that they will be.”
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.