Larry Spencer, a retired U.S. Air Force general and president of the Air Force Association, has said the military branch should have the F-35 fighter aircraft in “sufficient numbers” in an effort to help the U.S. maintain its technological advantage over potential adversaries.
Spencer wrote in a Defense News op-ed piece published Tuesday that F-35 can be combined with the new B-21 bomber and the F-22 aircraft to form a “lethal package” that would serve as the “centerpiece of an ISR/strike/maneuver complex” designed to provide “conventional deterrence” against potential enemies.
He called on the government to produce “sufficient amount of F-35s” in an effort to address the challenge to air dominance and replace the military’s aging fleet of A-10s, F-15s and F-16s.
“We now find the F-35 being the target of budgetary gimmicks from slowing down the production rate or buying fewer aircraft with a promise to increase production later,” Spencer wrote.
“At this rate, we will retire early production F-35s as we accept later production aircraft in the future,” he added.