WASHINGTON: The Air Force is considering buying V-22s for search and rescue work, but Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, made it pretty clear this morning that an Osprey buy has to come after the service buys the first 112 of the Sikorsky-built Combat Rescue Helicopters.
Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff, has asked Carlisle to look at the issue of buying the V-22. Carlisle told an Air Force Assocation breakfast this morning that, while there are missions especially in Africa, where the V-22 would be very useful, the Air Force needs to buy the first tranche of the dedicated rescue helicopters.
Carlisle also made clear the Air Force’s enduring commitment to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB) as warfare platforms in rejecting the idea that the Pentagon should buy more Boeing’s EA-18G electronic warfare planes, as Congress appears likely to approve 12 more of the aircraft.
The Pentagon is in the midst of reviewing all electronic warfare platforms at the highest levels.
Boeing has argued that the Growler is the superior electronic warfare aircraft. However, Breaking D readers will remember that Carlisle’s predecessor at ACC, Gen. Mike Hostage, told us that he didn’t want Growlers anywhere near the battlefield in the first days of a war. The Growlers are not stealthy, And their high-power jamming can cripple the sophisticated and more targeted electronic war capabilities of the F-35 when it attacks an enemy’s electronics or spoofs them,
“With the limited (budget), you’ve got to think harder about buying brand new legacy airplanes versus the next generation as we go forward,” Carlisle told reporters after the breakfast.