A-10 vs. F-35: Air Force warplanes to face off

Updated 8:50 AM EDT, Thu April 28, 2016
Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during the opening day of the first session of operational testing. As the future of Marine Corps aviation, the F-35B will eventually replace all aircraft from three legacy Marine Corps platforms; the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler. The aircraft are stationed with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Beaufort, South Carolina and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)
Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/USMC
Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during the opening day of the first session of operational testing. As the future of Marine Corps aviation, the F-35B will eventually replace all aircraft from three legacy Marine Corps platforms; the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler. The aircraft are stationed with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Beaufort, South Carolina and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)
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Story highlights

Pentagon wants to show F-35's improved capability

"If you asked an A-10 to do air-to-air, it's hopeless," Pentagon official says

(CNN) —  

Can an old war horse that dates back more than 40 years hold its own against the newest warbird loaded with the latest in technology and weaponry?

The Pentagon said it aims to find out and will pit the venerable A-10 Warthog against the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter in a series of rigorous tests replicating what the planes would face in battle.

“We are going to do a comparative test of the ability of the F-35 to perform close air support, combat search-and-rescue missions and related missions with the A-10,” Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, told a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing on Tuesday.

The F-35 has been designated to replace the A-10 in the Air Force’s main ground-attack role by 2022, but the plan has been met with skepticism by critics who say the $163 million F-35 can’t do the job as well as the $18 million A-10.