A report on the controversial close air support-focused flyoff between the A-10C Warthog and F-35A Joint Strike Fighter that took place between 2018 and 2019 has finally emerged. The declassified review, which was only completed last year and has been essentially buried until now, is heavily redacted and raises more questions than it provides answers in many areas. However, it does still offer valuable details that have not previously been made public even as the U.S. Air Force looks to retire the last of the Warthogs no later than the end of the decade.
Project on Government Oversight (POGO), an independent nonprofit, obtained a declassified copy of the report via the Freedom of Information Act and litigation against the U.S. government and published it this week, along with its own analysis. The document, which was produced by the Pentagon's Office of the Director of Test and Evaluation, or DOT&E, is dated February 2022. The comparative testing ran from April 2018 to March 2019. The flyoff was only conducted to meet a demand from Congress that had been included in the annual defense policy bill, or National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), for the 2017 Fiscal Year.
One of the things that is immediately unclear from this report is why it took nearly three years to produce this final product in the first place or why its core findings were never announced publicly or even distributed to stakeholder communities in the military. It is The War Zone's understanding that very few people had previously seen any portion of this document, or details from it, and that it was not provided to members of the A-10 community or F-35 communities. In essence, it has been effectively 'buried...'
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