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.
  • Matt

    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.

    • Robert Lominick Jr.

      You are what I call, Wrong. We need to keep the warthog for the ground troops. Low and slow is an asset.. If you really want to know, ask a Marine.. I am a Marine veteran.. If you have not been there you have no room to talk. Hi tech is not always the answer to everything.. The A-10 provides a specific mission.. A plane built around a huge gun is impressive and very useful. With depleted uranium rounds that can penetrate the thickest armor is an asset we cannot afford to lose..

    • BlackOwl18E

      The A-10 is a beast and is still relevant. No other aircraft can get as low and take as much punishment while providing as much firepower. No other aircraft has the shock effect to the enemy, which does in fact matter. No other aircraft can do what the A-10 does. The Warthog saves lives and will continue to do so.

      The age of the tech does not matter so long as it works on the modern battlefield and against opponents with lower tech than your own, which is a vast majority of the areas we could possibly get involved in. The A-10 more than qualifies.

    • Dude11

      As long as we don’t expect to go to war with an enemy that has mass numbers of armored vehicles and tanks, and we don’t expect our troops to be within 300 meters of the enemy, then sure, cut the A-10… However, if a war of that scope and magnitude is to be expected, we need to consider our ability as a nation to take out enemy armor from the air. The limited payload and horrible maneuverability of drones make them useful for about 10 mins in a conventional war, with the exception of the ISR mission they provide. Bombs can only allow employment when the enemy is at longer ranges from the friendlies. The A-10 provides the ability to eliminate over a dozen tanks in a single mission when employed effectively. You will struggle to find any other air asset with THAT capability. Afghanistan CAS, for the most part, can be done by any airframe. Close air support in a conventional conflict will require a significant capability to kill armor, and to do it in close proximity to friendly forces.

      • S O

        Explain how a A-10 survives against the fighters and battlefield air defences of an actually troublesome hostile nation which fields tank armies against a Western nation.

        I smell target practice, and it’s with but not for the A-10.

      • citanon

        In a war of that scope in future the A-10 would not even make it to the front line.

        Since the A-10 was introduced in the 1977 we now have far more effective air launched and artillery based anti-armor weapons, among which is the Hellfire family of missiles, and the SFW carried on MLRS rockets and WCMDs.

        These weapons are carried by platforms that can fight even in non-permissive environments and are highly effective in their own right.

        The A-10 was designed in a completely different era. Today the capabilities of the military and potential adversaries that can mount a massed armor attack against US forces, are far different.

    • Marc Winger

      Boots on the ground is 10,000 year old tech. Give it some thought. One doesn’t retire a workable when it’s still useful & important.

    • Karl

      For close combat support, as I have experience it, A-10 is a beast. Yes it is old and perhaps we can find something better. But the F-35 is just a improved version of the F-16, so what is the point, if the F-16 is not a good as the A-10 in close combat support. Both F-35 and F-16 can be shoot down easily by a Somalia or Serb AA gunner or a guy with a Ak-47. A-10 can take the punishment these plane can’t.
      We need to look a OV-22 Osprey with titanium armor that can take 2 30mm and all the weapon system to support the present and the future

      • S O

        AKMs are no air defences. A-10s CAN be downed by 23 mm (it just takes a few more hits or hits at the right places).

        Real air defences are like the Tunguska missile/gun system.
        30 mm guns (A-10 is hardened against 23 mm) and a missile of up to 20 km range. A-10 is target practice for them if there’s no SEAD effort at the very moment.

        • The Tunguska and 30mm can take down any existing fighter. The A10 is not particularly vulnerable.

          • S O

            Normal fighter bombers’ proponents don’t tell others all the time about great low altitude strafing skills of their favourite plane, though.

          • You do know the A10 isn’t a fighter right?

            You brought up the air defence systems. I just pointed out the rest of the air fleet isn’t immune.

          • S O

            It is immune to VShorAD at higher altitudes than the A-10 fanbois talk about all the time, and the A-10 is not survivable against modern air defences at the altitudes its fanbois talk about all the time.

            So there’s not really a special A-10 advantage in its armour and strafing if it’s facing modern battlefield air defences.
            It’s thus not necessary to retain it.

          • F16’s are no more immune to short range air defense than A10’s which can and do fly at the same altitudes as these aircraft that carry a third of the bomb load and half the gun ammo of a much smaller/capable round.

            When the A10 is hit because it has to come into range of short range air defense it is much more capable of taking damage, completing the mission, bringing the pilot home and flying again than ANY other aircraft. A10 haters (and there are many) try and obfuscate these advantages by not applying the same standards to their aircraft of choice.

            “there’s not really a special A-10 advantage in its armour and strafing if it’s facing modern battlefield air defences.” The evidence would differ with your opinion:

          • I would like to know WTF you actually know about the ‘modern battlefield’ S O.

            The A-10 has repeatedly proven its battlefield utility in both conventional and unconventional conflicts.

            You don’t even know why they want to cancel it. It has nothing to do with what they say it does. It is about communities and egos. It is all politics internal to the AF. The F-15/16/22 guys get promoted because those are the ‘chosen’ platforms. They then see the A-10 as a threat to their flavor of kool-aid and they try to squeeze it out. It is really that simple.

        • tmb2

          “it just takes a few more hits or hits at the right places”

          Not a few, try HUNDREDS. That’s how many 20mm hits some A-10s took in Desert Storm while wiping out entire tank companies per sortie. That plane flew home and lived to fight another day.

          • orly?

            Please cite references please.

            All I’m seeing are A10 losses due to Iraqi grade AAA missiles.

            Yes, missiles.

          • tmb2


            And all I’m seeing are thousands of enemy vehicles destroyed in the most efficient way by pilots willing to risk their lives to win the war. We lost 7 A-10s in ODS out of 144 deployed. It was the least expensive aircraft deployed in the smallest numbers but destroyed 75% of all ground targets and had the highest sortie rate. The ratio of aircraft losses to sorties flown to targets destroyed actually makes those loss numbers low. No other aircraft in our inventory could have produced those results without either taking several times longer, putting more ground troops at risk, or taking more losses of their own.

          • S O

            Multiple A-10 airframes came back so badly damaged from missions they were written off. There were also losses.
            And Iraq did not use 20 mm in any noticeable quantity, but 14.5 and 23 mm.

            A well-placed salvo of 23 mm HEI with a dozen hits may only scratch the armoured bathtub, but it damages all the other components so badly the aircraft is either bound for long repairs or written off.
            23 mm API may even penetrate the armoured bathtub at times.

            Besides, you overstate the destructiveness. here are anecdotes for huge destructiveness for almost every air/ground platform, so anecdotes don’t matter. The average destructiveness of the A-10 was rather ordinary if targets weren’t bunched up.

      • PRT

        ROFL, a guy with an AK shooting down an F-16. So many morons posting here.

      • Recon Phantom

        Karl: You are 100% correct. For some reason, people think the F-16 is a great CAS platform. It is not. Reason: it was designed for air-to-air combat. Air-to-ground is a secondary mission which it does not do well. It can put a JDAM in the window of building from 25,000 feet, but it cannot do much to take out maneuver troops who are dispersed or even tactical pill boxes that are heavily camouflaged. The A-10 gets down in the mud to fight the grunts fight. Can they be shot down, sure, so can the F-16 at 25,000 feet by some pretty good SAMs owned by our Nation State enemies. Difference is, the A-10 drivers have more firepower on board to take out a variety of targets that the limited payload F-16/15 is not capable of carrying. That is the key difference.

    • Roger Harris

      I would rather have a man behind the controls of a machine who understands the urgency because he is nearby than an ass hole in Washington that has to be dragged off the golf course to make a decision.

      Man can adapt to a mechanical threat and machines will do the same stupid thing they are programmed and built to do. Keep the A10. That lesson was learned the hard way in Nam when they pulled the guns off fighters and only put missles on them.

    • Relyn

      Funny B-52’s have been in service longer then the A-10 and are still doing just fine. I would be more concerned doing close air support with a B-52 since its bigger and basically a flying Tin Can in the sky that can be shot done with one RPG to its compartments since there all pressurized. Just saying A-10 can move alot faster then the B-52 could and cost less to send it int he air then a B-52 could. Food for thought, dont send in a bigger stick for pinpointed strikes, unless you want a shock and awe mess.

    • F.J.

      Disagree. The A-10 is probably the most economical air frame we have in the military. Plus, one hit has a higher potential of taking down other fighter based aircraft, where the A-10 has demonstrated the ability to take several hits and still make it home with the piolit intacted. Furthermore we can not say a fighter will not be taken down by land based gunnery. The F-117 met that fate during operations in the Balkans.

    • The Warthog, is a tool that combines all of the best features, many of which cannot be gained by Hi Tech. The A-10 has survivability, firepower, dwell time, range, and most of all, it can be recalled right up to the point that the trigger on the weapon is pulled. Once a Hellfire or MRGM is fired, it cannot be recalled, even if it is found to be headed to a friendly, while the A-10 pilot, being “eyes on” can do all of this. They A-10 has been a target for elimination, almost from the time it was adopted, and each time it was set for removal from the force, events proved the experts to be wrong.

    • I’m sorry but if your on the ground and surrounded by the enemy an A-10 comes in very handy. Yes it’s old and out dated technologically speaking but as long as they can fly and we have brave men to do so i say keep them in the air.
      look at all the newer aircraft, Nothing but problems.
      When the AF 22 came out I was nothing more then elated then the F35 but again an unproven aircraft in battle for the most part. During the Vietnam conflict up till now the WARTHOG has shown how it eats tanks for breakfast and the mini cannon can take down 1,000 troops without even breathing hard. Love the plane love the design and love the fact that even as we write this one just might be over the heads of our boys taking out some rag heads.

      • Recon Phantom

        Following up on your comment: The rifle could be considered outdated when comparing weapons such as laser guided bombs, JDAM, and other systems. Will the rifle go away – NOPE. The rifle has more personal kills of humans than any other weapon system on the planet except the nuclear bomb. It is carried by every enemy for close up killing. Systems like the A-10 with their multi-mission weapon system loads is very effective against those who weld the rifle (includes RPG which is also a man carried weapon) against our forces especially when overwhelming numbers is a factor. A lot of grunts would call the A-10 the equalizer of ground combat against a dug-in enemy force or an armor force (China in the future? North Korea?).

    • FAAQ2

      This the same Air Force that thunks the B-2 Stealth is a great idea – when in fact it was a big mistake. The A-10 is fast and cheap all of the bugs have been worked out. Old technology ” they don’t seem o mind that the B-52 is a senior citizen. No with the Air Force it’s like kids in the candy store – nothing is too good when it’s not your money. The A-10 is a proven aircraft that can do the job.. Sorry Matt – you’re way off on this one.

      • FAAQ2

        THINKS !

    • djsee4

      Are you the CEO of the FCC with a psychiatric degree? Somebody should tell you if you are that a psychiatrist is not a doctor. Neither is a dentist or a chiropractor or an engineer apparently. Just because a nurse can write a prescription will never change that. 98% of pharmacists don’t even make their own pills. Yet still if I was to put a small honda generator in a wagon and plug in a microwave after I tore the door off and jammed the latch closed where I proceeded to direct it against others it wouldn’t be a far cry from installing satellite television Tx/Rx dish under 10 feet knowing what radiation hazard means. Is that why I need medication Dr Matt? By the way a neurologist for extreme brain damage is a real doctor. Fibre Optiks are not installed by aliens from outer space dude. The local cable company cannot afford to save us with premium communication systems when NASA can’t fly through the atmosphere without crashing into a Dave Mathews concert. I heard the premium package blasts 500 channels at once but can’t fit them on full 1080p makes you think I need meds. If you understood bandwidth you’d know the internet allows users to stream one channel like a microwave or cell phone. Everybody and their mom has wifi in range protected with passwords. Get it? What’s your favorite television show? Is it Dr Who?

    • steve

      Air to ground support fire is not lost in war today, anymore than 20 years ago. What is there in the arsenal today to replace the A-10 aircraft…..Sure as hell isn’t the Helicopter, or the Drone. This aircraft may be old, but as long as it is updated with the latest Technology and Electronics age, has nothing to do with it’s effectiveness…. Even the “old” AC47 has proven its worth in today’s Battles… One should not think of retirement, for the sake of retirement, but a proven change and purpose, that can be applied immediately not 20 years down the road?

    • George N Roll

      The A 10 is the best CAS platform ever fielded If the USAF can’t “afford” to maintain the A 10 or to move it to the Guard or the Reserve, it should be offered to the Marines who truly know the importance of having a human pilot with a heart and a brain making the critical decision when the ground forces are in close contact. I’ll take CAS from an A 10 over a fast mover or drone any time! No matter how complex the battle starts out it eventually ends up troops in contact needing danger close CAS! A tough armored airframe can stop a dumb bullet that would bring down a 35 million dollar F 35. All you have to do is look at the road from kawatt to Iraq to see how effective the A10 is. George N Roll, Ltc. (ret) USAF former CCT and TACP

    • James Proctor

      Having worked on the A-10 it has so many things it can do than all the things you mentioned they can’t possible do. The on site pilot in the cockpit has the ability to change in a flash

  • TheBigPG

    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.

  • Jerseyfl

    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.


    Retiring the Warthog would be logistically wrong.

    • Mastro

      Actually using nothing but F16’s or F35’s would be better logistically.

      The Air Force wants to retire an entire plane- the A-10 and B1 are the most likely.

      When an entire plane is retired you can get rid of all that overhead, training, etc.

      That’s why the AF retired the F111 even though it was still effective- it had teh best savings.

      Hey- I like the A10- but it was a ’70’s idea that might be obsolete now. The 30 mm gun is cool- but its not needed for Taliban- and attacking armored columns with AA missiles is not a good idea at 1,000 ft like it’s 1979.

  • hibeam

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

  • Maj Blaisdell

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

    • Wygram

      BS. The all the Warthogs in service cost less than the price of one of those POS F-35s.

      They don’t want them fine let the Army have them. God I loved them.

      Retired SFC.

      • ANG_Ram

        You realize they are hitting an age where the wings are going to friggin fall off right? You can’t let planes that are getting structurally unsafe to fly stay in service.

        Other old planes still flying aren’t supposed to really go over 1.5G’s. A-10’s pull quite a bit more than that.

      • Lee Robbins

        Good Solution.

        • Lee Robbins

          Frankly all close support platforms should belong to the supported element.

    • Big-Dean

      all they have to do is to stop putting E-1’s up in 5 star BEQs, that along will save millions and millions

      • ANG_Ram

        Thank you for your worthless contribution to the debate

    • Sal

      USAF brass have been engaged in a multi decade war against the A-10. Its performance in Desert Storm c0ckblocked the brass from killing it then so now they’re using money as an excuse.

    • David Page

      It costs 10x the amount to do the job with either the F16 or the F35 verses doing it with the A 10 & it isn’t done as well. That detail is from a refill crew that served in Afghanistan.

  • Maj Blaisdell

    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.

    • Mike H.

      The USAF has always been reluctant to get into CAS…something Navy & Marine aviators practice at regularly. The USAF has always reached for the shiny new toys, even if it meant lessened air cover/CAS for the grunts on the ground. They seem to have forgotten (if they ever knew) that their primary mission in every war since WWII has been CAS, a mission that they have been avoiding since the formation of the USAF in 1948. No glory in napalming the enemy, when you can be called an “Ace” for shooting down 5 enemy aircraft…

      • Andy Huy

        The USAF primary mission is bombing not CAS.

      • I feel that the utmost mission of the air force is to ensure that our forces don’t get bombed and that the enemy is effectively denied close air support. Once thats done they can bomb, then CAS and have done so. We have army aviation and 1000 Apache helicopters to cover that CAS to ensure that our larger air assets aren’t required to act in a purely reactionary way.

    • John Dierking

      Majir,this is not the first time the USAF has talked about retiring the A-10. Institutionally,the AF has disliked anythingt that was not FAST MOVER air superiority aircraft. USAF hated and got rid of the beautiful SR-71 which has never been equaled in service.

  • Eds

    What is the cost of an “F-35”?

    What is the cost of an “A-10” ?

  • Jerry

    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.

    • Bernard

      The Fox is not affordable, it can’t do any of those missions. The A 10 is cheap and proven technology.

    • asdfghjkl;

      During desert storm/desert shield, soldiers were praying to have the A-10 as close air support.

      • Randomflyguy

        That’s awesome, however, it’s not desert storm anymore. That was over 20 years ago.

        Modern multipurpose aircraft with those god damn sniper pods can put rounds through windshields in moving cars. It’s awesome

    • Guest

      You act as if interdiction, air superiority, and CAS make up the entire AF mission. The A-10 is NOT single role. It performs superbly in the CSAR and FAC-A role as well, both roles where it’s extra endurance over the fast-movers is very helpful.

    • Tony

      “In contrast, the F-16, F-15E, F-35 and F-18 can all do interdiction superbly, air superiority well, and CAS adequately.”
      I wonder it you want to be on the ground for an ADEQUATE gun/bomb run. We have a saying” when you have something that does everything it does NOTHING well.”

    • 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.

      • Anti-Rod

        So to save money, can the Army!

    • Fordownr

      The AF doesn’t want to retir ethe A-10??? Dropping the BS flag on that one. This is at least the 5th time that I’ve seen/heard of and I’m sure there are many more. It’s low, slow and doesn’t go supersonic. The zoomies just HATE getting their birds dirty. Cut the F-35s (no real improvement opver what we currently have) and buy a few more squadrons of A-10s.

    • bljphx

      699 Apaches

    • HardwareFreak

      “But the fact of the matter is that inflexible specialized single-mission aircraft are no longer affordable.”

      The facts of the matter are that USAF

      1. newest zipper isn’t remotely affordable at $200M+ each
      2. brass never wanted the A-X, which started life as an ARMY program
      3. acquired the A-10 simply to keep the ARMY from flying fixed wing jets
      4. tried to retire the A-10 in the late 1980s using the same current arguments
      5. was forced to keep the A-10 after Desert Storm proved its unique capability

      You’re buying directly into the same BS argument the Air Force brass has been making since shortly after the first A-10 wings were formed. The USAF brass never wanted the A-10, and they’ve been trying to get rid of it since before they got it. Recall Gen. Chuck Horner, the air war architect of Desert Storm, chastizing his own kid for selecting the A-10 as his mount, calling him “brain dead” for wanting to fly an old slow plane they kept trying to get rid of? Recall him then eating crow and heaping praise on the A-10 in interview after interview, when reporters asked about the A-10’s performance during the war, asking about it single handedly creating the “highway to hell”? The road littered with tanks, APCs, trucks, and bodies leading North out of Kuwait into Iraq? Taken out with 30mm rounds and Mavericks fired by the A-10s?

      The Air Force brass live in a “future war” bubble where the enemy is always a major power. They believe only expensive zippers are applicable in such a war. They’ve been thinking this way since just after Vietnam. In reality, every hot war we’ve been engaged in since Vietnam has required the low, slow, pinpoint gun attacks of the A-10 for interdiction and CAS. Bulf War I and II, and Afghanistan. In the latter of these two wars the zippers have been entirely inneffective in the CAS role, as they have always been.

      Does anyone recall SECDEF Dick Chaney single handedly cancelling the A-12 in 1991, after $5Bn had been spent on R&D before even one prototype had flown? We need another Dick Chaney style SECDEF with balls to simply cancel the F-35 and start over. Then we could buy another 50 or so F-22s, and 500 all new cheap but effective CAS aircraft to augment/replace the A-10 fleet, at about $50M each.

    • Lee croissant

      I spent three years in Vietnam and many times, over the radio, I heard ground troops in enemy contact reject F-4s because they were not accurate enough to bomb enemy troops close to the Americans. They always asked for A-1s, the oldest weapons delivery system in our inventory because they could fly slower and accurately strafe with their wings full of machine guns.. Dropping a handful of bombs, even accurately is not effective on enemy troops spread out over an entire hillside. Strafing with multiple 30 or 50 caliber guns is the only way to kill large numbers of spread out enemy troops. The F-4s didn’t even have machine guns, Do the F-35s have them? Not on the F-4 was a huge political mistake. Our current Apache helicopters are great for this need but they don’t have the loitering time of aircraft. The A-10 with additional axillary guns attached to it’s hard points is the perfect weapon. Our Department of Defense is full of ex fighter pilots and all they can think of is supersonic fighters. Reduce our order of F-35s to 1500 and use the money saved to keep the A-10. It is ridiculous to buy F-35 supersonic fighters for the marines when their mission is down and dirty contact with the enemy.

  • Jack

    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.

    • RWB123

      And the Army will jump for joy and take the planes in a minute.

    • Nadnerbus

      Airforce will never willingly let the Army operate fixed wing combat assets. That infringes on their territory and budget. They just don’t want to actually provide the CAS the Army needs either.

      • Guest

        Which is really the dirty little secret. If the Air Force was a willing participant in the CAS mission it wouldn’t be upset about all the Army drone assets flying armed recon.
        The Air Force mission is becoming space-focused. They want airframes/weapons that can interact with their space assets. The A-10 will never fit that mold. They need to just offload them to the Army or the Corps.

        • Big-Dean

          your right Guest, the air force are a bunch of space cadets ;-P

      • Randomflyguy

        The air force has invested a shit ton of money into improving air to ground based munitions.

        I like how the debate is over the damned gun in the plane. Those precision munitions can nail a fly between the wings, and people are debating the gun.

        I love the A-10, it’s my favorite aircraft, but it’s big and slow, and anything air to air would drop them out of the sky.

    • John Dierking

      offer it to the USMC,too.

  • jamesb

    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…

    • Jerry

      The Army can’t afford it either. You think the budget disaster is only hitting the AF? The Army is making similarly tough choices of its own right now…..

    • CrewDog

      If we start giving our fixed wing combat aircraft to the army, then what is the point of having an air force? I love the A-10, ive crewed it for 5 years now and deployed twice but if we “gave” them to the army then they would be in worse trouble than us. paying for training, setting up the logistics (Contracts, warehouses, contacts with AMARC-the boneyard) seeing as all the parts on the A-10 are not manufactured anymore they are refurbished, the cheapest way to keep hem around is have a good strong group of supporters and keep them right where they are!

      • Big-Dean

        we all wonder why we need the air force too, since they don’t want to support the grunts on the ground, they do a lousy job with nucs, they have crappy leadership, and they’re spending the entire defense budget on the F-35, Need I say more?

      • Im kind of agreeing with you on it being cheaper to keep them in the air force, but they’ve been voting them off the island for a decade so they can replace it with something 10 times the price which is silly. I support the F-35/22 but there is something to be said for sheer numbers at some point.

        About that being cheaper though, its only cheaper because they are already there.
        I still haven’t figured out how having pilots as commissioned officers makes them better pilots. The army’s warrant officers fly whatever they are taught to fly quite well.
        People that really want to get in a plane bad enough will sign the contract put in front of them to go to flight school so screw the competition from the airlines like delta. I cannot believe in 220,000 reenlistment bonuses for raptor pilots when 4 and 5 combat tour veterans are getting separated due to budget cuts.

    • thethederg

      Finally someone knows how to think.

    • James

      Wow… just a quick update for all the grunts out there. The AF controls and supplies most of the JTAC’s in theater. Boots on the ground out with the grunts calling in fixed wing CAS from those slow movers that we truly love to hear check in during a TIC. Army and Air Force are on the same team, having the Army take the reigns of the A-10 would be a financial and logistical nightmare!

    • shipfixr

      Because the AF doesn’t want the Army to have fast movers…..

    • Don Gillaspie

      Who really needs and USES real cas? Marines! They should make them available to the Corps, which invented close support, bayonets on wingtips in WWII. Recall the Corsairs and Hellcats that Marines used so effectively. They still can. A Harrier may be unique, but it is not a CAS machine and never will be. Upgrade the A-10 with better sensors and weapons and turn them over to the Marines! They will use them right.

  • Jerry

    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.

    • Air to air is a mission not a piece of hardware but you won’t apply that standard to a bomber doing the air to air mission…

    • d. kellogg

      I agree about CAS being a mission, not a piece of hardware.

      But interestingly enough in this argument: the proponents of both helicopters and cargo-aircraft-based gunships must’ve missed the part of this article where what’s-his-name says, ““Close air support is not hovering close with a gun anymore…”

      Interesting how we could interpret that to mean, “why then do we need attack helicopters and AC-type gunships, armed with guns?”

  • disGRUNTled

    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.

  • Nadnerbus

    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.

    • William_C1

      Were the “Sprucans” really retired early? I thought they had put in a good 25-30 years of service.

      • Nadnerbus

        When I try to paste text from the wiki page, it auto deletes the post. But the Spruance class Wiki has a blurb about the Navy accelerating the retirement of the younger ships in the class and retiring them entirely by 2005.

      • blight_

        There’s also the early Ticos; which allegedly were designed with future replacement of twin-arm with VLS in mind, but were skipped and then sent to early retirement.

        Even Spruances eventually deployed with a VLS (though no AEGIS), which makes you wonder who chooses which ships to retire. It also makes you wonder why they prioritize combat ships when it’s support ships on the back end that keep the fleet replenished and underway: they even kicked the Yellowstones to the curb early.

    • dude that arleigh burke class is badass spruance didn’t have jack on it. If you really want to know where the money is its in all the war and training and maintenance budgets.
      You never want to short the military on equipment

      • guest

        You don’t know what you are talking about.

        The bulk of military spending went to the coffers of the defense industrial complex.

        A fraction of it went to selected Congressmen as election campaign funds. The remaining went to pay lobbyists (mostly well-connected high-power law firms), cost of materials, and finally factory administrative staff, assembly line workers, engineers and scientists.

      • Nadnerbus

        They retired the Spruances early (they could have served to 2019 with proper overhaul) to free up money for the then upcoming DDG 1000 and LCS classes. 20 some odd Spruances with VLS would be very useful right now, as we have zero Zumwalts in operation right now and only three on order, as well as a handful of LCSs with zero mission modules.

        The Burkes are great ships, no doubt. But a ship in the hand is worth two on the building ways and ten on the drawing board.

        • blight_

          Yep, the only Spruances that live on are the Kidds that went to Taiwan.

        • seniorchief08

          Hurrah to Nadnerbus! I’m a plankowner of DD988, USS Thorn. I was astounded to hear they used her for target practice at the young age of 25. She was capable, VLS, Harpoon, torpedoes, 5″54 deck guns, ASROCs, and CWIS. She had a “spook” suite on the 04 level that made her electronically just as capable as the Aegis guys. The gas turbine propulsion and generation plants were easily (and cheaply!) maintained and configured for future upgrades. Such a sad waste. I like the comment one ship in hand worth two on the drawing boards. She could been there firstest with the mostest, in my humble opinion!

  • Nadnerbus

    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?

  • 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.

    • Red Dawg

      FYI the A-10 has a capacity of 1174 rounds in it’s ammo drum not 2K.

    • You are absolutely right! Moreover, they never factor in loiter time over target. The high fuel consumption, low payload and vulnerability of the F35 make it an impractical choice for CAS, especially since many experts say it can’t even maneuver effectively at low altitudes in order to obtain positive visual identification of ground targets, something that is essential when conducting CAS.

    • Scott

      The A-10 holds 1135 plus or minus 5 rounds, not near 2K

      • Like I said to Red Dawg above…

        You’re absolutely right. The A10 only carries double not triple the number of rounds the F16 carries. FWIW, A10’s THIRTY mm rounds are also much larger vs the F16’s 20mm.

        Pictorial comparison:

  • crew dog

    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!

  • kent

    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…..

  • joey

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

    • Hialpha

      “never get involved in a land war in Asia”

    • Phillip Faulkner

      Hey now, great idea, get out of Afghanistan, the war hasn’t got anything to do with the U.S. anyway, and then we could use all those billions to build the schools that will keep out the crazy shooters.

    • tmb2

      Good luck with that Joey. When you figure out how, let the rest of us know. In the meantime, we still have to have the means to fight the wars politicians get us into.

    • A battle tested military is priceless, and bests our most likely opponents by leagues of experience.

      When is the last time a Chinese or Russian officer has been shot at. Other than buy his own men!

  • Hunter76

    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..

    • Rotary will never carry as much ordnance or as fast as fixed wing. It’s simple physics. Helos are awesome and have advantages but they aren’t as efficient.

    • I disagree. Rotary-wing aircraft are not the future of CAS. If anything, experience has shown that rotary wing aircraft dollar per dollar are exceptionally more expensive than fixed wing CAS platforms and less effective. The hourly operating cost of an Apache is at least four times that of an A-10 and it cannot hold a fraction of the ordinance an A-10 can. Iraq war part 1 proved that point as the A-10 shockingly outperformed the Apache in a tank-killing and CAS role.

  • blight_

    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.

    • Randomflyguy

      We’re stuck on parts. It’s not always easy to find an American vendor for some latch that isn’t made, nor is it cost effective for the private sector to make them.

      We can’t find certain parts or contracts for several aircraft frames already.

      They are replacing the entire wing on some planes already do the damn thing doesn’t break. This isn’t a cheap air frame to fly.

      I’m not saying the F-35 is the answer either, that’s for sure.

      • blight_

        Uck, not good. Having the best war machines in the world won’t mean much when we can’t support them properly with spare parts (as the Germans learned in WW2).

        It might be the impetus to replace the A-10 with something like it (an A-11), sourced with available parts. The other alternative is sourcing next-best-thing parts to keep the A-10 fleet supplied from the commercial parts system, as an alternative to not having anything at all

  • Hialpha

    Sharks with fricken laser beams.

  • Steve

    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.

  • Sev

    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.

  • Big-Dean

    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

    • retired462

      I think that you could say that about most JCS flag officers!

  • 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.

  • Tad

    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!

  • Capt B.

    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.

  • Ranger Rick

    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.

  • Tom Billings

    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?

    • Tom Billings

      Pardon the typing error,…I meant to mention the M-113 APC, not anything called a M-118.

    • Big-B

      I like your laser-a10 with sci-fi armour but im sure it will be cheaper to build a new plane for this, lets call it a11 :-) and yes it will still be cheaper than a f35

    • I think all the fancy types of armor will always be too expensive. They could provide supplemental armor. Lasers require large amount of power and beams are susceptible to degradation under many atmospheric conditions, including the most powerful lasers we have now. Plus there’s the time factor to hold the beam on target to get the desired damage. I think the range of laser target are too limited for close air support planes. You’re not going to take out tanks or structures with lasers.

  • Mike M
  • Donald H

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

  • Hefe

    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.

    • Sal

      You really think the military is always right? Guess what, it was Congress that forced the A-10 down the USAF’s throat in the first place back in the 1970s. I’m sure most people would call that a good thing.

  • retired462

    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!


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

  • Mike

    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.

  • JR2015
  • JR2015
  • Les

    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.

  • Jimmie
  • daMaestro

    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.

  • Nick H

    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.

  • Haven Works

    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?

    • Randomflyguy

      How does a plane with a big gun help out in the wild fires? The rounds would start another.

      • Riceball

        The gun wouldn’t be of much use except for maybe creating a fire break but you could, in theory, outfit it with specially designed water or fire retardent filled bombs. Of course the problem with that is that no such exists so if you were to use any sort of ground attack craft in the fire fighting role you’d have to design and manufacture the ordnance for them first.

    • blight_

      National Guard better served with C-130s dumping fire retardant.

      • orly?

        May common sense prevail.

    • Ken

      This idea was actually thought of, back in 1992 (2o plus years ago). The A-10 would have been modified to include a belly tank full of fire retardant. I believe that political reason killed it then. Not a bad idea, actually.

  • John A

    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…

  • Be2012

    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.

  • Aussie Digger

    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.

    • Matt Derr

      The F-35’s superior electro optical system is fantastic, but the A-10 doesn’t need at when you can see the guys on the ground.
      Also, the A-10C is GBU-53(250lbs diameter bombs) capable. Note the GBU-53 has a blast radius of about 10 meters. The difference is that the F-35 can only manage eight GBU-53s on a good day, the A-10 can carry around 14.

      Fuel economy. Yes, the F-35 has a longer range, 1,379mi over 800mi. The A-10 has about a 60% the fuel of the JSF. But the F-35 carries 18,250 lbs(2,733gals) of fuel versus the A-10’s 11,000 lbs(1,647gals). In short, the JSF gets 1.99 mi/gal versus the A-10s 2.06 mi/gal.
      If you’re really worried about range, the F-15E(also GBU-53 capable) 5,324 gals and 2,400 mi(includes three external tanks) range brings it in at about 2.21 mi/gal.

      During testing the following defects were found:
      In January 2011, Lockheed Martin reported that a solution had been found for the cracking of an aluminum bulkhead during ground testing of the F-35B. However, in 2013, the F-35B had suffered another incident involving bulkhead cracking.
      Nearly 30 percent of test flights required more than routine maintenance to make the aircraft flightworthy again.
      From 3–18 August 2011, the F-35 fleet was grounded while the Joint Program Office investigated an electrical system failure. On 2 August 2011, the Honeywell-built integrated power package (IPP) of an F-35 had failed during a standard engine test at Edwards Air Force Base. On 10 August 2011, ground operations for the F-35 Program were re-instituted while the investigation continued. Preliminary inquiries indicated that a control valve did not function properly, leading to the IPP failure. On 18 August 2011, the flight ban was lifted for 18 of the 20 fighters; two aircraft remained grounded due to a lack of monitoring systems. The IPP suffered another software-related incident in 2013, this caused no additional disruption as the fleet was already grounded due to separate issues experienced with the engine.

      In November 2011, a Pentagon study team identified the following 13 areas of concern that remained to be addressed in the F-35:

      The helmet-mounted display system does not work properly.
      The fuel dump subsystem poses a fire hazard.
      The Integrated Power Package is unreliable and difficult to service.
      The F-35C’s arresting hook does not work.
      Classified “survivability issues”, which have been speculated to be about stealth.
      The wing buffet is worse than previously reported.
      The airframe is unlikely to last through the required lifespan.
      The flight test program has yet to explore the most challenging areas.
      The software development is behind schedule.
      The aircraft is in danger of going overweight or, for the F-35B, not properly balanced for VTOL operations.
      There are multiple thermal management problems. The air conditioner fails to keep the pilot and controls cool enough, the roll posts on the F-35B overheat, and using the afterburner damages the aircraft.
      The automated logistics information system is partially developed.
      The lightning protection on the F-35 is uncertified, with areas of concern.
      In March 2013 USAF test pilots noted a lack of visibility from the F-35 cockpit during evaluation flights and said that this will get them consistently shot down in combat. Defense spending analyst Winslow Wheeler concluded from the flight evaluation reports that the F-35A “is flawed beyond redemption”; in response, program manager Bogdan suggested that pilots worried about being shot down should fly cargo aircraft instead. The same report found (in addition to the usual problems with the aircraft listed above):

      Current aircraft software is inadequate for even basic pilot training.
      Ejection seat may fail causing pilot fatality.
      Several pilot-vehicle interface issues, including lack of feedback on touch screen controls.
      The radar performs poorly or not at all.
      Engine replacement takes an average of 52 hours, instead of the two hours specified.
      Maintenance tools do not work.

      Test flight data was found on

      • The flight software is not yet finalized. Lockheed Martin does not build the ejection seat. Lockheed Martin does not build the MFD’s (Multi Function Displays), Lockheed does not build the Radar, and to my knowledge the services are still writing the book on maintenance and inspections.

        All new aircraft go through “Teething” problems. Once finalized the F-35’s maneuverability is said to be about same to better than F-18E/F.

        Any aircraft that can carry weapons can do close air support. The question is how effective is that close air support? What is the survivability of the aircraft to sometimes close to very close range to hit targets. In city fighting in Iraq A-10’s were often called in to do strafing runs cause bombs would be either too close to friendlies or do too much collateral damage.

        The A-10 can get in low and slow to do close air support at a level of precision that no jet fighter in the world can do and it can do it while surviving a level of damage that any other aircraft would not survive.

        When a aircraft rolls in on a strafing run in a built up area he has X number of seconds to find target, get on target, and fire weapons and roll off target and await feedback from boots on ground. A-10’s have more time to get on target and fire on target and even correct fire before rolling off. The A-10’s 30mm gun is also much more effective than the F-16’s 20mm gun.

    • Riceball

      The problem with performing CAS from miles out is that by the time your ordnance arrives on target your target has likely moved or the situation has changed and the good guys have already been overrun. What happens when an F-35 drops a 500 lbs. bomb from miles out and by the time the bomb arrives the bad guys have already closed in to danger close of our guys and they are now in the blast radius of the bomb? An A-10 flying ovehead can drop the same 500 lbs. and have it arrive on target while the target is still at a safe distance from friendlies.

  • Auyong Ah Meng

    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…


    • Hans Ulrich Rudel himself was not involved in the A-10 design. Pierre Sprey who as one of the design team leaders of the A-10 made Rudels book “Stuka Pilot” required reading for all design team members so they could get a sense of the job and environment the A-10 would be operating in.

  • Auyong Ah Meng

    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.


  • Auyong Ah Meng

    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.


  • 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 ;)

  • Jacob
  • Vsshooter

    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.

  • Vitsing

    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!!!

  • bull manure

    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.

  • Toad

    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.)

    • Randomflyguy

      I’ll correct that last sentence, because it’s spoken out of pure ignorance and stupidity.

      I’ve never met an A-10 pilot who didn’t love his job or aircraft. It makes there day when they can support a guy on the ground and make his life easier.

      Don’t drag operational dudes in the shit because of 3-4 stars.

      • bull manure

        Agreed the operational dudes are great people unfortunately now days after a certain rank is obtained achieved a Lobotomy is performed.

  • F. Andrews

    Sure wish I had as many lives as the A10.

  • TonyC.

    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.

  • beenthere

    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.

  • beenthere….

    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?

  • djsee4

    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?

  • 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.

  • chaos0xomega

    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.

  • Lance

    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.

  • guest

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

    • Riceball

      If we’re going to go that route then forget the P-51 and bring back either the P-47 or, better yet, the A-1. Now those were true and very effective ground attack aircraft, esp. the A-1.

  • G Te

    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.

  • retired462

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

  • rmarsett

    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.

  • Phosgood

    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

  • Sean M.

    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.

  • ospreydriver

    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.

  • Jay D Levine

    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,

  • Steve D.

    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.

  • angler22f

    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.

  • 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.

  • GMan

    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.

  • Gary Braden

    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.

  • Steve Dixon

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

  • Mr Justin

    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.

  • Mark, E8, retired

    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).

  • CaptainDoc

    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.

  • inside man

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

  • Old Guy

    The National Guard could probably find funding for the A10.

    • Really?

      The NGs? Are they going to use it for killing protestors? There are going to be a LOT of protestors when the government finally collapses from recklessly wasteful military spending and astronomical interest payments on trillions of government debt.

  • Rob C.

    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.

  • Jerry Mainer

    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!!!?

  • Max

    “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

  • The Bruce

    “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.

  • Glenn

    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.

  • ospreydriver

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

  • Comment 333

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

  • Chuck

    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.

  • IronV

    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?

  • 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.

  • gt350

    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.

  • R.Speer

    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

  • a-10 warthogs

    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

  • Rob

    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?

  • 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…

  • jawhawk

    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

  • Railgunner52

    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.

  • JohnBigbutay

    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!

    Sign the petition:

    Write Congress!!!!

  • steve

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

  • M Ferguson

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

    • Tiger

      Answer? Not a damn thing….

  • Tiger

    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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  • hih

    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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