The A-10 Thunderbolt II (left) and the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet squared off in a series of unpublicized close-air support tests this week.

A10 vs F35 close-air support fly off shrouded in secrecy

by Victoria Leoni and Kyle Rempfer, Air Force Times

The much-anticipated A-10 vs. F-35 close-air support fly-off has wrapped up before many people even realized the tests were happening, but a government watchdog group claims the tests were rigged in favor the Lightning II, a fifth-generation multirole fighter.

The Project On Government Oversight revealed Tuesday that the tests were underway at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California. According to a testing schedule POGO reviewed, the one-week fly-off began July 5 and concluded Thursday.

Citing sources “closely associated with the fly-off,” POGO reported that large-scale Army and Marine ground units did not participate in the fly-off. Given those services’ significant stake in receiving effective close-air support, their absence was conspicuous.

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