Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of the Air Combat Command, has said the U.S. Air Force‘s F-35 could deploy quickly this year if a combat mission calls for the jet’s assistance, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
“The minute I declare initial operational capability, if the combatant commander calls me up and says they needed F-35s, I would send them,” he told Bloomberg.
The Air Force said Thursday he addressed air superiority and combat air force modernization efforts during a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing held Wednesday.
“America cannot effectively wield its military as an instrument of national power without the means to control the skies,” Carlisle said.
“Today’s air superiority mission rests upon a mix of fourth- and fifth-generation fighters, supported by a highly refined command and control network.”
The service branch performs aerial operations with its F-15C Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor and F-35 platforms.
Carlisle noted his command aims to develop strategies to help the Air Force manage acquisition agility, procurement timelines and life cycle costs of air superiority missions.