The commander of Air Combat Command was bullish about the upcoming declaration of initial operational capability for the F-35A, telling reporters on the first day of the Farnborough International Airshow that it could happen as early as August or as late as December.
“IOC, we always use that term,” Air Force Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle said. “It really means those airplanes are ready for combat. They are ready to be in combat and ready to move forward.”
The Air Force remains committed to its target of buying 1,763 of the conventional takeoff and landing variant of the 5th-generation fighter, Carlisle said.
“The F-35 is the best air-to-air airplane in the world, except for the F-22,” he said. “The F-22 is the best air-to-ground aircraft in the world except for the F-35.”
“If you talked about shared technology, modernization, ability to maintain the [low observable technology] qualities of it, the F-35 is newer and it is better in that respect,” Carlisle said.