The 25th Fighter Squadron at Osan AB, South Korea, has gotten the first of its upgraded A-10 ground-attack aircraft. Stars and Stripes reported Tuesday that the unit’s first three A-10Cs arrived earlier this month and the rest would be coming at an undisclosed future date. The squadron has been flying the A-10A model. The new C configuration can do things that its predecessor can’t, such as deploy satellite-guidance-aided bombs and carry sophisticated targeting pods. It also features new cockpit displays, new stick and throttle controls, and new electronics gear that enables the pilot to send and receive information digitally. “We never forget about that grunt on the ground, that 18-year-old soldier who might need us to get him out of a pinch,” said Capt. Matthew Kaercher, one of Osan’s A-10 pilots. He added, “We’re excited that … we’ve got increased ability to provide that support.”
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.