Bill Blocks Air Force from Retiring A-10 Warthog

A-10takeoffThe bipartisan defense budget that passed through the House Thursday includes strict language mandating the Air Force not execute any plans to retire the A-10 Warthog. The legislation specifically blocks the Air Force from spending any money to divest A-10s through calendar year 2014.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh has said the service needs to retired older, single mission aircraft like the A-10 in order to reserve funding for newer aircraft like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is slotted to take over the A-10’s close air support role.

In service since the 70’s, the twin-engine jet aircraft is designed to provide ground troops with close air support by using its armored fuselage for protection, flying low to the ground to track and hit enemies and firing deadly 30mm rotary cannons.

Lawmakers have pushed back against any talk of the A-10’s retirement. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., blocked the nomination of the Air Force secretary, citing her concerns about Air Force’s A-10 plans and Defense Department struggles to bring the Joint Strike Fighter online.

Air Force has not formally made a decision about whether to retire the aircraft. However, Lt. Gen. Charles Davis,  Military Deputy for Air Force Acquisition, made clear that budget restrictions have forced the service to consider cutting entire programs to save money.

“Everything that we have is being effected by sequestration right now – satellites, missiles, air frames have already been cut 13 percent. Do you try to retire something so that you get rid of the entire logistics trail and the depot? You can save a lot of money. That is the discussion that is going on right now,” he said.

The potential budget deal that still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by President Obama would reduce sequestration cuts and add $3 to $7 billion to the Air Force’s budget. However, Davis said the service would not prioritize saving the A-10 and instead listed funding more flying hours and the Joint Strike Fighter program has higher priorities.

Davis did say that technological advances such as sensors and laser-guided weaponry have made it possible for a number of aircraft, such as F-16 fighter jets, to successfully perform close air support. F-16s have regularly provided close air support in Afghanistan, service officials specified.

“F-16 does a wonderful close air support mission. You don’t need to fly slow with a lot of titanium armor with a 30-mm gun just to be able to do close air support. We’ve got B-52s and B-1s doing close air support. The weapons have changed the game,” Davis said.

Furthermore, Davis emphasized that close air support in potential future conflicts will likely require different technologies than are currently needed in Afghanistan today.

“Close air support is not hovering close with a gun anymore. That works great in a situation like Afghanistan — but if you assume that we are not going to fight that way all over the world you are going to do close air support much differently. Your ultimate close air support weapon would be something above the earth with a pinpoint accuracy laser that can pick off a person individually when they get too near our troops and do it repeatedly,” Davis added.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior and a former associate editor at Military.com.

114 Comments on "Bill Blocks Air Force from Retiring A-10 Warthog"

  1. I know this is going to be an unpopular decision… but I think it may be time to retire the A-10.

    Hellfires and 70mm guided rockets are probably better for picking off targets, and drones can stay in the air much longer. A-10s are cool, I love the design… but they're 40-year old tech, and it's time to come up with something better.

    That guy talking about zapping people with laser satellites though? I think someone needs to get him back on his meds.

  2. Talk to any soldier who has fought in the last 15 years and they will tell you that when they call for close air support they are praying for either an apache or an A-10. The a-10 is old, but it does the job. We should retire things when they no longer can do the job they set out to do, not when they hit a magic age. The AR15 was designed in 1957 and we're still handing out that family of weapons to our soldiers.

  3. The one thing that is being overlooked is the growing threat from MANPADS. Proliferation of weapons like the SA-16/24 make hovering to set up a 70mm shot or descending for an accurate strafing run a much more dangerous proposition. These tactics are safe enough in backwater countries like Afghanistan for the time being but their days are numbered. USAF is smart to use the saving of retiring old warhorses like the A-10 in favor of accurate, low yield standoff weapons the increase the survivability of our aircrews and airframes.

  4. Retiring the Warthog would be logistically wrong.

  5. I hire the best doctor. Then I dictate to him what is wrong with me and how to treat it.

  6. Y’all miss the point. It’s about money, and the AF can’t buy new planes and keep the A -10, period.

  7. Y’all miss the point. The AF wouldn’t mind keeping the A-10, but they can’t buy new planes and keep upgrading and flying the old ones. It’s just math.

  8. What is the cost of an "F-35"?

    What is the cost of an "A-10" ?

  9. What's the AF supposed to do? It doesn't want to retire the A-10–hell, it wouldn't have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the last few years updating it to the C-model if they didn't want to keep it. But the fact of the matter is that inflexible specialized single-mission aircraft are no longer affordable. The budget is killing the A-10, not the AF.

    In contrast, the F-16, F-15E, F-35 and F-18 can all do interdiction superbly, air superiority well, and CAS adequately. Additionally, the Army has 721 Apache attack choppers and the Marines have 147 Super Cobras and 175 Harriers, not to mention many hundreds of artillery pieces. No way they'll hurt for close fire support even if the A-10 goes away.

  10. The AF should tell the Army that if the Army doesn't take the A-10 it will be retired. If the Army refuses then retire the plane.

  11. How about GIVING the remaining A-10's to the Army where they belonged in the FIRST place with the C-27J….

    REALLY People….

    The Air Force doesn't want the ugly slow movers that get the job done for the grunts….

    GIVE THE WARTHOG to the ARMY before they retire them then cancel half the F-35's…
    The one's that where suppose to help the grunts…

  12. CAS is a mission, not a piece of hardware.

    Hard times make for hard choices, but there's still lots of ways to get it done, with or without the A-10.

  13. Ask any seasoned grunt on the ground what a/c they want in the overhead. They will say A-10's, AH-1's/UH-1's, and Apaches. And personally, I don't trust any blue falcon zoomies in any other platform than A-10s. Let the Marines use the A-10, or even bring back Burt Rutan's Ares.

    We need to stop focusing so much on the super expensive a/c resulting in fewer numbers, and start finding some inexpensive yet capable platforms to have larger numbers of.

  14. This is the same military that retires ships early (sprucans) and scraps or sinks them in exercises, while fifty year old ships still sit in the reserve fleets, so they can ensure they keep getting shiny new ships out of congress. Now we are spending billions of dollars on an F35 that will eat up massive amounts of each services budgets, and getting rid of useful and proven assets to free up money for those.

    That kind of financial thinking goes a long way to explaining why the country is as broke as it is.

  15. Also, considering they AF probably knew Congress would never allow the A10 to get cut, how likely is it that this was more a ploy to squeeze more money out of them?

  16. I'm quite tired of the false and hypocritical arguments Big Blue proponents of other fighters use to justify canning the A10.

    A10's are susceptible to AA. Yes, so are the F16's and everything else while being much more fragile.

    F16's and co can deliver precision munitions from beyond the range of some AA. So can the A10 and the A10's payload is almost three times the F16's load (16k vs. 6k lbs).

    Finally precision munitions are not the be all end all because of the 500m – 1000m danger close offset required of friendly troops and the truth is the troops often have the enemy much closer and if in NEED of CAS often can't back away which leads to the clear superiority o guns that can be fired as close as 50m to friendly troops. The A10's almost 2k 30mm rounds clearly outclasses the F16's 511 20mm rounds.

    "Other" fighter proponents often apply one standard to the A10 and not the same to their plane of choice and obfuscate the cas their plane provides with the "CAS" the A10 provides.

  17. B-1s and b-52s? hardly, when i deployed with an A10 squadron, we dropped so many bombs and covered the area so well, the B-1's that were stationed in another part of the country didnt drop a bomb in 4 MONTHS! because we did so well. Suck it Trebek!

  18. Seriously? Close air support with bombers? CAS means to strike again within 30 seconds, try that with a Buff, or even a 15 or 16, u can't shoot a 20 mm at armour or buildings, plus how much payload can a 16 carry vs the A10? A lot less! They just want fancy "state of the art" planes. I want to see a 35 do a CAS mission, they have been talking about it, but haven't shown it! Just like a 16, u can take out a 35 with one bullet to anywhere on the engine…..

  19. Hey here’s an idea, stop getting into land wars in Asia.

  20. The A-10 was a great plane and will continue to have a distinguished career. However, the point-your-plane-to-shoot paradigm may well be anachronistic. Point the gun, not the plane. Replacing the A-10 with the super-expensive F-35 is ludicrous. Efficient cas depends on flying slow enough to see the enemy in a confusing environment, not squeezing the trigger and hoping you're not killing your own. Rotary craft would seem to be the future of cas..

  21. Put most of them into storage. There's a good chance we'll only need most of them when war kicks off. Keep around enough A-10s for training, find new vendors to supply parts so we aren't forced to cannibalize A-10's.

    Big picture: Restructure disastrous fighter procurement.

  22. Sharks with fricken laser beams.

  23. By all means, let’s cut more food stamps and jobless benefits so we can have more airplanes. If those lazy bums want to eat, let them join the Army.

  24. Isn't it reasonable to assume that in a modern conflict with a major power that our precision weapons (and theirs too hopefully) would be rendered useless by the blinding or destruction of our GPS satellites?

    Heck electronic jamming and warfare tech is going to reduce fighter jests to old fashioned dog fighting as well. No missiles tracking their targets when both sides can counter them.

    So if our precision guidance weapons are rendered useless, what platform will we have for CAS? The A10 doesn't rely on anything other than the pilot to reliably hit the target. We shouldn't forsake the old just because we have the new. Especially when the new stuff can be taken away very easily.

  25. apparently "General?" Davis has never been in combat, perhaps general? Davis needs to get out of his plush office a bit more, perhaps geneeeerall Davis needs to get his head out of his a s s

  26. Every gun-camera vid I've seen, be it from the ground, helicopter, aircraft or…. A-10, has in common that, they chew-up real estate and make a lot of smoke and dust and continue to do so until they hit the target.
    Thousands of rounds a minute is exciting but a miss is still a miss.
    An auto-target-shoot for aircraft would be the ultimate upgrade.

  27. Of course they should retire the A-10. And all other aircraft except the F-22. After all, the AF has promised us that the F-35 can do every mission better than the existing aircraft, except, of course, for the other Lockheed-Martin wonder the plane!

  28. Having seen A-10's in action I believe it would be a great loss in a major war should we not have the A-10 in our arsenal. I also know how Air Force officers are enamored with their fighter jets and disapprove of any type of CAS fixed wing aircraft. By all means turn the A-10's over to the Army where they are appreciated.

    The A-10 also brings a different type of weapons platform to the battlefield. One that the enemy will have to expend resources to defend against. And what's more the A-10 can take it as well as dish it out. A valuable characteristic on the battlefield.

  29. The A-10 is a great plane, but it's just a platform to put weapons on target. If it becomes more effective to do this with a different platform (drones, orbiting space-based platforms) who cares? As long as the soldier on the ground is getting direct, effective, support when he needs it, then it makes no difference if it has wings. Technology changes warfare, but it takes time to change minds.

  30. To start a new thread without the insults, …..

    I am wondering what can be done with both the A-10's armor, and with the Advanced Tactical Laser they put into the Hercules a while back. They *have* lit up targets nicely with those Hercules-borne lasers. The 10 KW solid state lasers they have now will be soon superceded by lasers tested at 50 and 100 KW. That will do nicely in a number of CAS roles. So, I'm not at all unhappy with the General's mention of lasers giving support from 20 kilometers away.

    I, too, like the A-10, but I *am* worried about the armor's abilities against new Flak cannon and missiles, though not so much as some. Yes, the Hog has been invulnerable, basically, and will lose that in its next significant conflict. A naval note is appropriate "A ship is safe in its harbor, but that harbor is not what ships are built for." Neither are A-10s and their pilots.

    That said, I am interested in a development that could affect the A-10s' viability. Oak Ridge Lab has a new metallurgy lab equipment set. One year ago it was announced that they would be cooperating with a new company to develop Titanium/graphite nano-platelet composites. The little flakes of graphene that make up graphite, when "exfoliated" from bulk graphite have excellent strengthening and stiffening effects on a number of matrix materials. I have read, but not seen, that these nano-platelets can even make Aluminum into something that actually deserves the name armor, unlike the M-118's, …welll, …less than secure alloys.

    My question for the Hog mechanics out there is simple. Can the Titanium bathtub in an A-10 be replaced with another at decent cost, …i.e. not a significant fraction of a new airplane? If so, and if the composite that Oak ridge is working on can be made into better armor than the current solid Titanium armor, will it ameliorate the penetration well enough to make the Hog something that at least the Marines or the Army would pick up *before* they get to the scrap yard?

    Lastly, no on seems to have though of what is obvious to me. If the Hog totes 16,000 lbs. of weapons, could the 30mm be replaced with the same 100KW laser they are putting in the Hercules ASAP? In a turret placed behind the LANTIRN sensors, but projecting lower at need, these would provide excellent off-bore capacity. The same size rounds as the 30mm ones could provide power to an MHD generator for the laser's power. It would change the tactical application of the Hog completely. This combination of better armor and more flexible targeting, from farther away, while still being able to get down in the mud when useful, would make it into a completely different proposition for both the defending FLAK and the opposing ground forces. Among other things, that laser can be an offensive/defensive weapon against SA-16s and their successors. It sucks to shoot a missile, see it explode, and know the beam that exploded it will have its launcher as the immediate next target.

    Are these changes possible? And if possible, are they cheap enough and good enough to warrant keeping the Hog till they get here?

  31. Politicians making military decisions again. Politicians who don't do what's best for the country need to be replaced, asap.

  32. I'm just tired of congress micro-managing the air-force and army. They force them to buy equipment they don't want in place of equipment they do.

  33. You would FOD out the engines on any other fighter if they had to take off and land on some of the runways/dirt strips that the A-10 is capable of operating off of!
    If you knock out a hydraulic line, you have back-up system to keep the warthog flying. Self-sealing fuel cells; and most important – ask most pilots how they love flying it!

  34. I say hand the Warthogs over to the Aussies, they will put them to good use especially with the consideration of the Asian pivot.

  35. I can't help but wonder if you would want a Buff to takeout the Bad Guys that are across the street pumping fire into your position. Seems to me the A-10 is still the answer. If nothing else take 25% of the F-35 budget and buy an updated A-10 system. The design is sound, the needs are still very real.
    Cheers

  36. This has nothing yo do with what Service Chiefs think is the best way to spend defense funds, but everything to do with congressmen wanting defense spending in their district.

  37. With serious budget constraints, and the Air Force's need to update its fleet inventories, why NOT transfer the A-10 flett to the Marine Corps to be used for ground support. This would allow the Ar Force the ability to update the air fleets, and also allow the Marine Corps another tool in its tool box, The Marine Corps could then decide if to maintain the A-10 fleet, or retire some or all of the aircraft.

  38. Has anyone here actually had experience with close air support? As a scout in the 82nd Airborne Division,I can say the hogs were a much better platform for that role. Whenever we had B-1's or F-15's for CAS, we pretty much considered them useless. A 1000 lb. bomb has a danger close range of over 1000 meters. That is not close air support. Most of the engagements I was in were from 500 meters inward to about 15 meters. The hogs carry 250 lb JDAMs and their main 30mm gun is a point target system. I've seen them shoot from about 100 meters away with no issues t my soldiers. no JDAM can drop that close without incpacitating friendlies that close.

  39. Transition the A10 to National Guards to serve in the increasing wild Fire problems in the USA…Current aerial firefighting needs new technology (surgical) that isolates and destroys the the Heat Signature of Wild Fire, opposed current strategy dispersal drop…Our Thesis is the A-10 is a good Domestic Humanitarian Platform to aid in Wild Fire…Any body with A-10 experience, we pray, drop a line to share your thoughts on this important matter….Can such a thing work or not?

  40. There is nothing that can replace the A-10. It's got the job done for 40 years and it'll get the job done for another 40 if they'll let it. I really hope I get to fly one one day…

  41. It's insane to put so much faith in one weapon system based solely on technology. It's much smarter to have variety in case something comes up that affects a whole feet. Anybody remember what happened when they had to ground the whole f-15 fleet because one disintegrated, leaving all of the u.s. Without air defense? With its history of problems, the f-35 is more of a liability then anything. Reliability should be the priority, particularly when lives on the ground are at stake.

  42. The F-35 is clearly superior to the A-10 when performing the Close Air Support role.

    The F-35’s superior electro optical system allows the F-35 to perform CAS at more than twice the altitude of the A-10C. The F-35 can have a small diameter bomb onto any target inside a 20 mile by 20mile grid within one minute. Or a 100mile by 100 mile grid within 5 minutes. Such a footprint would requre 2-3 A-10C’s. The F-35 being outside of visual range and hidden from enemy radar means that the F-35 will not receive enemy fire so it does not need armour.

    The F-35 has much greater endurance than the A-10. With nearly twice as much internal fuel yet weighing only 10% more gives it a much larger fuel fraction. The F-35 will fly at a much more efficient crusing altitude travelling in circuts around the battle field. The weapons mounted internally produce significantly less drag than having them under the wings. Being faster also allows the F-35 to get too and from the tanker quicker so it can sit above friendly troops for longer.

    A single F-35 could perform the job of multiple A-10’s on a typical mission. You would have to cherry pick a sceanario where an A-10 would be better off. With a pair of Amraams onboard the F-35 will not require a fighter escort.

    With the F-35 performing flawlessly in flight testing the choice is clear.

  43. Auyong Ah Meng | December 16, 2013 at 1:55 am | Reply

    If i remember correctly….that deadly stuka pilot rudel was involved in the A-10 design….he help with making sure the A-10 can kill anything and the pilot will come back alive…

    hmm.

  44. Auyong Ah Meng | December 16, 2013 at 1:58 am | Reply

    imagine….because of a F-35 ridiculous cost…

    Will the decision to deploy a F-35 to a dangerous combat zone be affected because of that cost…and how many F-35 can be at 2 or 3 different places…

    How many A-10s equal to 1 F-35 in terms of cost…turn-around, can be in more places than one and up-time availiablity for operations.

    hmm.

  45. Auyong Ah Meng | December 16, 2013 at 2:01 am | Reply

    Wat's the point of have the more expensive and most complex equipment…sure…it is quality at all cost…

    Will the decision to deploy it affect my decision or i look at other "cheaper" assets i can afford to lose rather than lose a very expensive platform first.

    zzz

  46. Yes other aircraft can DO the CAS mission but how many of them can fly with over 50% of their body full of holes? The A-10 can. Plus why waste multi thousand dollar missiles when you've got a 30mm cannon ;)

  47. Now the air force wants to put its NEW multimillion dollar F-35s and the older F-16s in close ground support. How many F-35s can the air force stand to lose before they pull back from that position. I think that the air force wants to get away from close air support all together. Give the A-10s to the army and let them support their on troops and let the zoomies do what they do best stay and fast and away from any harm coming to their few precious fighters.

  48. My Dad flew A-20s in WWII. Down and dirty is the only way to support Ground Forces. The USAF would like us to believe that very expensive F-16s and F-35s could provide Ground Support – LOL.

    Keep the A-10s; F-16s and F-35s are not designed nor have armor protection for a Down and Dirty mission!!!

  49. Speaking totally from ignorance if the A-10 is outdated with guns and missiles why does the Army have attack helicopters with guns and missiles talk about low and slow? I think there is a very good reason the Army has them. Give the A-10 mission to the Army they would appreciate it and would do it for less money especially on the air crew side they could man it with enlisted pilots and warrant officers, not Lt. Col. and Majors.

  50. Regardless of the debate between armchair generals, every single time that the Army has asked to take over the A-10, the Air Force has decided to fly it a bit longer. A cynical person would understand this to mean two things: A) The Air Force doesn't think CAS is sexy enough for their hot shot pilots, and B) The Air Force will do whatever they have to in order to keep the Army from taking on additional air responsibilities.

    Solution: Continue the A-10 mission until the Army is no longer willing to take it on. Make everyone happy (except the AF prima donna pilots.)

  51. Sure wish I had as many lives as the A10.

  52. The A-10 is a flying tank (armored for survival in a contested environment).
    CAS is what the US Army infantry describe as visible and effective.
    Drones can do the job if they aren't jammed. The A-10 won't be jammed and
    it's so low tech, even countermeasures don't phase it. Sometimes simple
    and effective are the best mix. The US Air Force loves a complex solution to a
    simple proble.

  53. With respect to Lt Gen Davis' comment on close air support, General what is the cost per hour of a B-52 or plural B-52's, fuel, crew weapons and all. Do you really think that you will scramble a B-52 assuming one or more is area to relieve a infantry or spec ops detachment to help them from a pin down situation. Last time I checked Barksdale, Mississippi is a very long way away from Afghanistan. Secondly what's the cost of a burst of 30mm gun ammo versus take your pick,…. a load out of cluster bombs, or 1000lb what ever for a one pass "Good Luck fire team we are bingo fuel and see you later hope we were in the neighborhood of the enemy, so what-if the guy with 12,7 mm or rpg is near a village. Your faith in the F35 at how much an hour and what cost also can it even do this is pretty rosy at best. The B52 or 52's, F 16 or the F35 not yet deployed can't do 3 minute turn around pass even if they wanted it.

  54. http://www.rense.com/general17/twoUSsoldierskille….

    Perhaps this will be more professional than my post concerning the possible use of a B-52 to do CAS. Lt Gen. Davis , any comments to this?

  55. If the AF has to protect Army this A-10 is very impressive in the way a helicopter is to the Navy for Marines and Coast Guard. A troop with radio location abilities knows the importance of flamethrowers and burning smoke. I think a Warthog has the ability for such tech. I remember reading the Navy wasted billions of dollars on really fast jets that had a wing recall unable to be repaired. How fast did you want to land on an aircraft carrier for now big spender?

  56. A-10's are far superior close air support platforms than the F-16 and the F-35 ever will be. They are more vulnerable to ground and SAM fire and their 20mm shells won't cut it against armor and fortified buildings. The Air Force generals are completely idiotic to think that B-52's and B-1's are close air support weapons. They still have the fighter jock mentality.

  57. I'm 100% pro A-10, anti-F-35, think everything that needs to have been said about keeping the A-10 has been, etc. Just wanted to throw out these two points:

    1. The current Chief of Staff of the Air Force is a former A-10 pilot, the AF has invested billions in making air-to-ground more effective and safer for everyone involved (except the enemy), and is even increasing the number of TACP's/ALO's so that it can provide more JTAC's to the Army and Spec Ops (and sometimes Marines), so the argument that the AF doesn't want to support the boots on the ground is a cynical position not very well rooted in reality.

    2. Retire the BUFF. No, I'm not being serious, but if the A-10 is on the chopping block, why not the B-52? All the arguments used by those who would see the A-10 retired are also applicable to the B-52, a bit of a double standard if you ask me.

  58. Hope they stop it the JSF is a waste of time and money and it wont out preform the A-10 in Close Air Support mission. Congress makes the right call.

  59. Lets build some new P-51 mustangs with mini guns less money and it gets the job done.

  60. It's a matter of the Big Egos at the top keeping their pet projects and keeping their funding. The article cited how much would be saved by axing the A-10 and it's logistics chain. It did not mention how much it would cost to get the F-35 and it's logistics chain in place and truth be told, a lot of faults are now coming to light about the F-35 and whether it can perform as promised. Once again, it's about money, not what's best for the grunts.

    Personally, I loved knowing slow and ugly was in the AO and hate to see it go, that decision has already been made and without consultation from the biggest benefactor of the A-10's mission, the ground pounder.

    Keep in mind, if you aren't infantry, Army or Marine, you're support.

  61. Whatever happened to generals like Curtis Lemay? They are gone forever!

  62. If older single mission aircraft are no longer viable then we have problem with the B52, B1, C5, C130, C21 and others. There are many other older aircraft and some new single mission aircraft. The bottom line is the USAF did not want the A10 in the first place and this not the first attempt to get rid of it. Multi mission aircraft may be more cost effective but they are not more efficient. Ask any ground pounder that was supported by fast movers in Vietnam, High stall speeds, short loiter time and poor ground viability is not the recipe for success when providing close support to ground troops in contact. As for new and more modern air defense threats I would suggest that the nearly 60 year old C130 is as vulnerable as anything in the inventory but is is still going strong.

    Multi mission is fine in some situations and mixes, such as AC130 and EC130 and others such as these, but it is not always the right answer. The army cannot operate armed fixed wing aircraft by law so they must rely on the USAF. The Air Force considers air superiority and strategic strike it's bread and butter, thus close support as been a bone of contention between the Army and Air Force since 1947.

  63. It's hard to make rank in an A 10.
    Give them to the USMC who know their value. It's better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.

    Semper Fi

  64. Sorry, but the newer assests can't hang over the battle field as long as the A-10, nor take the damage and guarantee the pilots safety as well as it can either. Nor can the newer fighters carry as much ordinance. You also have the morale factor at the sight of an A-10 over a battlefield. Fear for the enemy, and jubilation for the friendlies. Shooting a missle from 10 to 20 miles away doesn't frighten the enemy as much as an A-10 letting rip with its gun 200 feet off the deck. There's more things to war than just numbers and advanced technology.

  65. A big part of the reason the DoD is having a hard time balancing its books is that Congress hamstrings them by mandating priorities that don't match operational needs. They make the military buy M1 tanks when there are already thousands in mothballs, make it buy two engines for the JSF, make it buy extra C-130s, the list goes on. The military is already dysfunctional enough without another layer of politics added on. It's not just the planes, it's the logistics, parts, and infrastructure behind them, and that's worse the more different models there are.

  66. I can not tell you the number of times the A-10 Has saved my ass in combat ,it would be a disgrace to the Nation to let it go, when you and your men about to get over run by the enemy, you want that A-10 breathing down the enemys neck,

  67. I say if it works then don't try and fix it. Replace the A-10 when and only when it can't do the job anymore. A faster and higher flying plane does not work well for CAS.

  68. One thing I have learned over the years is that when you try to make a platform that does a wide variety of missions, be it aircraft, land vehicle, ship or whatever, it will preform all of the missions poorly. I hope the JSF proves me wrong but I doubt it.

    When you are in a hole in the ground, calling in close air support, the last thing you want is some guy several miles away providing that support. It is too easy to miss from that distance.

  69. Last I heard a Hellfire cost 80,000$ While a 30mm round cost about 150$ So is the AF saying that they are going to kill every jeep and 2 1/2 ton truck on the battle field with a 80,000 missile ? What flies slower a Apache or Super Cobra or a A10 ? How many Harriers have killed tanks ? I never seen any gun camera footage of a single one.

  70. It's apparent the obvious disconnect between leadership that is looking to improve on technology and capability and the ground truth reality for those of us knee deep in excrement at the tip of the spear and on the receiving end of our opponents sword. When our life's blood joins with the soil we battle on. I want a sword I can rely upon to deliver the lethal and lasting impacts to those who's purpose is to spill our blood. Fiscal issues, improved-upgraded technology, lasers, ray guns, satellite's, robots gadgets & gizmo's …none of this stuff matters to us when face to face with our enemy, none of this stuff feels pain, none of it bleeds, surely it doesn't cry…..When an A10 loiters low and slow above me for hours…I cannot even articulate how reassured that is to me and my brothers. When that A10 driver draws and delivers his sword…believe me everyone in the dammed valley knows-it. I could care less how old the A10 is. It performs as designed, it terrorizes our enemies, it destroys them.

  71. All the Air Force types tell me that a F16 can't do close ground support as it needs to elevate the nose of the air craft. They also say the F15 could do a better job at close air support but neither of them are any where close to providing the close air support of a A10. Saying the strategic bombers support the close air support role may work with Congress since few of them have ever served a day in the military and are clueless. The first time the Air Force tried to retire the A10 in the 1990s the Army said they would take them and provide the required manpower out of existing authorized manpower. That should tell you how much the Army appreciates what the A10 does in close ground support. All the F16 can do is fire a couple high priced missiles or smart bombs at the ground but there has to be a human holding a laser sight on the desired target or so much for close air support.

  72. I don't understand how things can be so stuffed-up with so many super-qualified experts willing to share their observations with everyone. :-)

  73. I think the JSF is to the DoD the same as ObamaCare is to health care. Lots of promises as to saved costs, efficiencies, integration… and the complexities are going to eat your lunch in the projected cost savings. Meanwhile, the people pushing it are in a dream world thinking it is some form of salvation.

    We're 700 billion in debt from this budget cycle alone. I think we can use Super Hornets instead of JSFs, muddle along with merely upgraded F-15s/F-16s and the F-22s, keep funding the A-10s but give them to the Marines. Cancel the requirement for V/STOL and use Ospreys and start funding armed drones for CAS, SEAD, and other high attrition activities.

  74. Mark, E8, retired | December 19, 2013 at 8:54 am | Reply

    I'm not arguing if it should stay or if it should go (it is a much cheaper CAS loss if shot down than a F35…), my concern is how congress has hog-tied the military. They say cut spending, but they don't let us cut it in any way that affects a politicians state. We have skinned every possibility – now, let us make the BIG money saving cuts. Airframes and unnecessary bases. No, it won't be popular and civilians will lose their jobs, but hey, if I have to give 1% of my retirement to the military, someone else has to ante up.

    I feel like I have been raped by my own government. The one I defended for 27 yrs active duty. Are we really that desperate for money? (uh, no, but they wold rather listen to retiree's bicker about it than the jobs a base closure would bring).

  75. alter the a10 to an a/c that the marines can use off of a ship, or have it available to deploy with the troops. this type of a/c is what we need for future and present conflicts. they get more air time, require less maintenance, carry a more important load, in general better for infantry support. you have to see one of these critters when they want to deliver the mail, rain or shine the delivery will take place, and it will be a devastating message to the enemy.

  76. why dont they retire the A-10 and just use it to design a smaller drone version of it!

  77. The National Guard could probably find funding for the A10.

  78. All I can say is, A-10 is purpose built attack plane and designed to do the deed. While F-16 and F-35s maybe able to do attack role, they are not truely meant to do it all and frankly vulnerable to gun fire. F-35 alone is going cost bundle to support, the plane development has had alot problems. F-35 as a Jump Jet, a do it all but i'm a secondary role plane. thats fine, but when you need a dedicated attack plane that survive encounter with ground fire. Sure missiles are always going be a problem. thats why you have escorts help you out.

    Air Force's fascination with having multi-purpose aircraft is going caused them lose more capacities. If they have a true A-10 Replacement which is LIKE the A-10 but improved. A armored, tough, lots firepower and hang out over that battlefield without running fuel quickly dedicated doing its job well would be better for everyone.

  79. The general knows more about the needs of the Air Force!!!!!! People that never served in the Air Force should not be making decisions for the Air Force!!!?

  80. "I take back all the bad things I've ever said about A-10's, they're saving our asses."

    General Chuck Horner
    AFCENT Commander
    Operation Desert Storm

  81. "The legislation specifically blocks the Air Force from spending any money to divest A-10s through calendar year 2014."

    Since they originally planned to divest A-10 funding beginning in fiscal year 2015 (1 October 2014), this bill simply delays the inevitable by a mere two months.

  82. I flew A-10s in the Gulf War – the F-35 will not be superior. The A-10 now has all the weapons, sensors, and target location/designation capability of any other combat aircraft. It is a solid weapon delivering truck. We will always need a weapon like this. If we retire them, we will have to buy them again. The F-35 is not a replacement for the A-10, it is just a poor substitute.

  83. Let the military leadership decide what it needs, not politicians.

  84. The long debate, while technically beneficial, is misguided in current fiscal reality.

  85. The same argument from the 1947 Key West "agreement"- the AF said we'll provide CAS- and the Army started arming choppers when they couldn't. The MC always had CAS in its own AF. A-10's are already here and paid for- if the AF doesn't want them- Army Aviation should take them. "Knock knock" beats "Oops" any day.

  86. Is Lt Gen Davis SERIOUSLY suggesting the F-16 or any other airframe for that matter, can offer a comparable alternative to the A-10? Has another AF general been drinking?

  87. What a joke! Retiring an airplane that works (the A-10) to finance a plane (F-35)that costs $200 million each and does not even work!

    The F-35 cannot fly in bad weather or at night.

    It cannot fire weapons and the pilot helmet does not have software to function at all.

    And the defense contractor who went over budget will be rewarded, not punished.

    No wonder this country is losing superpower status.

  88. If a Cobra chopper is still in use , it seems to me A A-10 should be, I think the Marines would like these cast off weapon's —F22 U know if you're first shouldn't u get the best –even thou they like to do more with less, that is what needs changing–do more with more.

  89. For interesting reading & dead-on views of Military prepardness I would suggest people read the Memoirs of General Douglas MacArthur and then read General Ridgeway's memoirs of the Korean conflict. let history be the teacher

  90. scraping the a-10 is crazy. and for the junk strike fighter? even crazier. i dont want to see the a-10 replaced until i am confident that it's replacement can protect our troops more efectively. and as far as air supperiority with hostile jets goes we have raptors to deal with those. and i highly dout the jsf could replace the harrier jump-jet. the jsf could do cas and all these other missions as well as a baby could fight mouhamid ali

  91. The taxpayer just paid millions of dollars upgrading the A10 to the C model and putting new wings on them. These investments extended the Hogs lifespan till the mid 2020's and now the AF wants to retire it. Who gets convicted for fraud, waste and abuse then?

  92. Interesting how leadeship points to the ever changing future battlefield scenario's where these older systems will likely not be of any effective use against modern technology. And yet we found ourselves fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Exaclty what other future battlefield environement where the platform would not be of any use for the infantry, please let me know being I'm a former infantry type that relied on A10 and other platforms for CAS often. Drones and multi mission fast movers traveling and delivering ordinance from higher altitudes cannot replace the down in the dirt, canon and misc ordanance support the A10 is known to deliver. The troops want this…

  93. Dont worry bout the f-35 doing better the wings on it are small making in poor maneuverability flying low wont have it easy getting out of tricky situations and even get in trouble against rpgs and light infantry fire haha if the a-10 goes so does American air supremacy

  94. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Until there are tanks and infantry that are immune to 30mm DU shells, there is no reason to believe that the A-10 will be any less effective in 20 years than it is now. Look at what the Navy had done with the USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin prior to Desert Storm. They kept the Big Boats with the BIG GUNS, but just added electronic bells and whistles and drones and made them deadlier than ever! They had Iraqi infantry surrendering to the drones because they knew there would be 9 rounds of HOLY SH%T on the way very soon, even though those 9 rounds were being shot out of guns made in the 40's. Enough said.

  95. JohnBigbutay | March 2, 2014 at 12:00 am | Reply

    Secretary Hagel wants to cut the Military budget and scrap the entire A-10 fleet!!!!
    Don't let this happen!

    Like Save the A-10 of facebook!
    https://www.facebook.com/savethea10

    Sign the Whitehouse.gov petition:
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/disrega

    Write Congress!!!! https://www.facebook.com/notes/save-the-a-10/samp

  96. Retire aging systems? Does that include the Ma Deuce or the B52? tread lightly.

  97. You know what a wing of A-10s could do about the situation in the Crimea? Why retire the best answer to a problem.

  98. On this weeks episode of the "Following" we will see Joe Carroll recruit A-10 cultist to his legion of minions……

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  105. The A10, along with the SU25, are the best CAS vehicles. (A helicopter is too fragile.) The JSF can't do all three roles well. This is about boondoggles, like the B1 bomber in the 80s, which was restarted after cancellation when it was already obsolete and the B2 was about to come online.
    It's all about these corrupt farmer-generals' post-military 'careers' as no-show members of defense company board of directors…U.S. military policy, couldn't care less. We need a smaller military to meet our domestic responsibilities and not increase debt loads.

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