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A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt approaches a 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker to get more fuel over Afghanistan on Aug. 2, 2012.

A-10 Vs. F-35 Showdown could happen this spring

by Hope Hodge Seck, DoDBuzz

As the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program barrels toward its final major testing process before full-rate production, program leaders say a much-discussed comparison test between the beloved A-10 Thunderbolt II and the new 5th-generation fighter is very much still in planning, and could kick off as soon as next month.

In a roundtable discussion with reporters at the F-35 Joint Program Office headquarters near Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, the director of the program said the final test and evaluation plan is still being constructed. That will determine, he said, when the A-10 vs. F-35 test begins, and whether it happens in the main test effort or in an earlier, more focused evaluation.

“The Congress has directed the [Defense Department] to do comparison testing, we call it,” Vice Adm. Mat Winter said. “I wouldn’t call it a flyoff; it’s a comparison testing of the A-10 and the F-35. And given that the department was given that task … that is in [the] operational test and evaluation plan.”

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