Hagel Moves to Kill Cold War Fleets

U-2The proposal Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Monday to retire the A-10 attack aircraft and the U-2 spy plane was the latest in a series of thus-far unsuccessful attempts to kill the Cold War-vintage systems.

Both aircraft have ardent supporters in Congress and among veterans groups with a track record of fending off the cost-cutters arguing that the A-10 and U-2 have been on duty long past their shelf lives.

The tank-killer A-10 Thunderbolt, better known as the “Warthog” for its ungainly appearance, is especially beloved of the infantry for its GAU-8 Avenger, a 30mm rotary cannon that is the heaviest such weapon mounted on any aircraft.

Various models of the U-2 Dragon Lady have been operating in enemy airspace since 1955, when the first one came out of Lockheed’s famed “Skunk Works” facility in Burbank, Calif., under the guidance of legendary chief engineer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson.

In presenting the Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal, Hagel acknowledged that he had an uphill battle in going against the A-10 and the U-2.

Hagel rattled off a number of Air Force modernization programs in the budget but said that “to fund these investments, the Air Force will reduce the number of tactical air squadrons, including the entire A-10 fleet.”

Getting rid of the A-10s would save $3.5 billion over five years and speed their replacement by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the early 2020s, Hagel said.

“The “Warthog” is a venerable platform, and this was a tough decision,” Hagel said, “but the A-10 is a 40-year-old single-purpose airplane originally designed to kill enemy tanks on a Cold War battlefield.

As much as old pilots and the infantry love the plane, “it cannot survive or operate effectively where there are more advanced aircraft or air defenses,” Hagel said.

In the case of the U-2, the decision to retire the aircraft was more complicated. “This decision was a close call,” Hagel said.

Only two years ago, the Air Force and then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta were lauding the capabilities of the high-flying U-2 and its high-resolution reconnaissance photos as far surpassing those of the Global Hawk drone that was being touted as a replacement.

At the time, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the Global Hawk “was supposed to replace the U-2 for taking pictures from the air and that was the idea, to do it with a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.”

However, at $176 million apiece, the Global Hawks were a budget buster “so we will continue to use the U-2. That’s a disappointment to us,” Carter said.

Hagel acknowledged that the Defense Department “had previously recommended retaining the U-2 over the Global Hawk because of cost issues. But over the last several years, DoD has been able to reduce the Global Hawk’s operating costs. With its greater range and endurance, the Global Hawk makes a better high-altitude reconnaissance platform for the future.”

In the battle over the A-10, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., whose husband flew A-10 missions in Iraq, has already rounded up more than two dozen co-sponsors to oppose the plan to kill the Warthog.

Even those Air Force officials leading the move to retire the A-10 admit that they’re doing it with extreme reluctance.

At a roundtable with reporters last year, Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of Staff, admitted that “I love the A-10, that was my first fighter, I love everything about the airplane,” Welsh said.“But we’ve got to make some tough decisions here.”

About the Author

Richard Sisk
Richard Sisk is a reporter for Military.com. He can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com.
  • Kole

    Pierre Sprey is going to have a heart attack if they retire the A-10.

    • Jeff

      If they cut the U-2 they might as well close Beale.

      • Atomic Walrus

        I’m sure that’s been accounted for as part of the cost savings in retiring the U-2.

      • Jobrown

        That is so true so Marysville, Linda, and Yuba will almost shutdown without that military presence.

      • Beale buster

        If you live or the twin cities Marysville/Yuba City all have to do is look up. Beale jas been flying and training on the MC12 for over a year. Dont forget Pave Paws. Beale is part of ACC, but USStratCom has a say so in its future because it is owns it mission.

    • Musson

      Is threatening to retire the A-10 like the Park Service threatening to close the Statue of Liberty? Are they expecting Congress to find $$$ to reinstate the aircraft?

  • Riceball

    I agree that the A-10 should, eventually be retired because it is starting to get a bit long in the tooth, however, it shouldn’t be retired until we have some to replace that’s as good or better than the A-10 which the F-35 is not nearly as good much less better.

    • Chuck Mock

      I work at the A-10 depot facility and they are getting brand new Boeing wing sets which would extend their life beyond 2030. There is nothing that can beat that gun on the A-10…its a real shreader!

    • Hunter76

      Believing the budget-busting F-35 can replace the A-10 for CAS is madness.

      Replacing the manned U-2 with a UAV makes sense, but not 176 megabucks per copy. They should seek a new spy UAV from a contractor who does not have a direct pipeline to the Treasury.

      Big savings are available by cutting some big ships, the F-35, and, yes, personnel costs.

    • DBM

      No reason to retire the A-10 except the AF wants to finally rid itself of a Close Air support plane that doesnt fly supersonic and isnt sexy. And Hagel is an idiot. The A-10 more than pays for itself in saved ammo, soldiers lives and equipment. If he wants to save money kill that dog of a plane called the F-35.
      Clinton retired the U-2 and a few months later had to bring them back on line because satellites can’t see everything or anything when clouds are present. Clintons constant repositioning of satellites used up several satellites fuel. The global hawks operations cost is horrendous even for a military program.

  • citanon

    The bit about the U-2 is fascinating. What do they have as a replacement?

  • Globalstrat

    U2 and SR71 served together. SR72 replaces SR71. U2 has many ‘rivals’ in the form of drones and increased satellite capability.

  • Lance

    I agree with any here the JSF is lousy CAS platform much as how the Pentagon tried this in the mid 1990s with the F-16 a standard fighter bombers is not a true CAS platform we did this in Vietnam and the F-100s, F-104s, and F-105s made lousy CAS planes for troops and so both the the navy and air force used WW2 vintage Skyraiders for this role. The USAF needed a jet platform for survivability reason for Europe and hence the A-10 was born. If you need replace the A-10 get a new CAS platform in service. this Pentagon is going back to 1950s thinking. We don’t need tanks we don’t need CAS aircraft we don’t need to teach dogfighting because instead of missiles now its stealth tech making use do this. Every time we see the idiots in the Pentagon to wake up and say ohh we do need those..

    As for the A-10 now I don’t the Senate or House will allow a full A-10 retirement to pass too many congressmen/women and Senators on both parties have states where A-10s are part of either active USAF or USANG units this will be the first part of Heagle’s plan to se shredded.

  • Tim

    Retire the best intelligence plane we have? Is Hagel on crack!!???

  • hibeam

    We are North Mexico now. We need every dollar to pay people to not work.

  • RRGED

    Grrrrreeeeeaaaattt our enemies can get a little rest now that those two very important military hardware are put to pasture. I just hope DOD know what they’re doing.

  • The Air force has never really liked the CAS assignment for the Army, it’s just not sexy enough.

    • mpower6428

      The Air force needs to be taught a lesson. Let the army procure and field its own fixed wing aircraft.

    • Chuck Mock

      Give the A-10 Warthogs to the Army and the Marines. They would gladly accept them!

      • chaos0xomega

        Thats a non-solution. The Air Force isn’t cutting them, the Secretary of Defense is. Its not an issue about who wants the platform, its an issue of who has the money to keep them, the answer is apparrently no-one (though I would guess that the $3.5 billion over 5 years could be found by reducing F-35 orders for the next 5 years instead…)

    • Yes, that was the same attitude at the Battle of Kasserine Pass.

    • Justin Miller

      Not ‘sexy’ enough. Wow. That is an incredibly ignorant statement.

  • Give U2 for R&D alone, IE flying lab & make some museum planes or OK the 2 place model for Fee rides alone for Adventure tourism alone.
    & privitize the A10, IE for firms like Xe to use.
    A10 hasn’t been tested on Chinese armor.

    • Tiger

      I think NASA has some already…

    • Chuck Mock

      The spent uranium will work on Chinese armor, it burns through the armor and when it reaches the air on the inside the tank it explodes, end of story!

  • For those who say that the A-10 is obsolete just ask the Iraqi tank crews who were obliterated by them. The A-10 is an essential element of our national defense. We are not going to send out $100 million F-35’s to hunt tanks. And, $3.5 billion over the next five years is a lot of money, it is chump change for what the A-10 does for fighting wars.

  • MCQknight

    Just for everyone’s education this image is an example of the fecal matter produced by the RQ-4:
    http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2010

    I’ll let you all decide why it’s bad.

    • William_C1

      Hopefully whatever caused *that* is easily fixable. Manned or unmanned the camera part of a high-flying strategic reconnaissance aircraft probably hasn’t changed much. Somebody misaligned something I’d guess.

      • MCQknight

        Mmmmm….nope. It’s first flight was 1998. They’ve had 16 years to fix this.

        Also without getting into details the “camera part” is arguably the most complex piece of equipment on the aircraft. By far.

    • Hunter76

      I give up.

      Why is this an indictment of the RQ-4 (of which I’m no fan)? Is this picture unusable for damage assessment? Or are you criticizing the target selection, which is a back room human judgement, and has nothing to do with the recon plane?

  • Nadnerbus

    so by cutting all A-10 squadrons, they can save 3.5 billion over five years, or $700 million a year. Which comes out to, what three or four F-35s per year? That won’t even have IOC for a year or two longer, and most likely won’t even be truly combat ready for a while longer still?

    Why is everyone in the defense world so fixated on top of the line, peer versus peer equipment? The argument that the A-10 can’t stand up to modern fighters and air defenses is true, except it has not needed to at all for its entire fighting career. What makes people so sure it will have to any time soon? We have a tool, bought and paid for, that accomplishes the mission extremely well at a relative bargain price in cost per flight hour, and we are trying to throw it away to get a new tool, that wont be ready to use for a while, will cost much much more to procure and use, and be less effective in the CAS role. It just seems like such a terrible waste.

    The F-35 is truly the plane that is going to destroy our military capability. So much else is being sacrificed to keep it alive.

  • thomas85225

    In Vietnam the 1937 build DC-3 where use as AC-47 gunship, A-26 and Skyraiders
    the Douglas C-47, A-26 and the North American P-51 saw action in WWII and Koran
    alone with the Battleship

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel should be drop into the mild east where there no Navy Aircraft carries and no A-10 for backup
    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel could take the M-16 from a troop to save money too
    every one at the Pentagon should be transfer to the mild east for a years ! with a AR-15 a 10 round clip as require under California law

    Since 1991 in the mild east the A-10 where rebuild and upgrade, where the work horse
    an a Sr-71 was return to service from flying storage for use in the mild east
    B-1B and Glob Hawk and General Atomics Predator

    All these non Boeing program are bought and paid for and are proven program.
    all these program going thought there version of commercial C and D check

    The C-130 has been around since the 1950’s is still going strong

    Boeing in 1997 won a contact to rebuild all the Kc-135 E, R & T that only has 1400 to 1800 hours on there airframe with new skins, new wiring and BAE cockpit
    the service life of kc-135 is 3900 hours or still the years 2040
    the KC-135 only fly 375 hours a years since the Air Force no longer kept fleet of aircraft airborne 24/7
    the update-rebuild kc-135 are being sent to the bone yard in AZ
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KC-135 http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aihttp://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ai
    The Air Force has retire the Kc-135E that was update since 1997 and E model can be turn into R model for 23 million per the GOA report http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02724r.pdf

    The Kc-46 is 900 million over budget and one year behind schedule on testing
    The P-8 does not perform
    Boeing Surveillance Plane Found Not Effective for Mission … http://www.bloomberg.com/…/boeing-surveillance-plane-f...

    All these non Boeing program will now be replace with Boeing program

    Boeing has 110 volitions of International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
    Boeing MILITARY SCANDALS http://www.endgame.org/boeing.html http://www.contractormisconduct.org/index.cfm/1,7http://www.seattleweekly.com/2001-04-18/news/high

    Illegal Immigration is Costs U.S. $113 Billion a Year, http://www.foxnews.com/us/…/immigration-costs-fair-amn...

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      Where is this “mild east” you keep referring to?

      Or are you suggesting that Hagel et. al be parachuted into Guangzhou airport to have their nails done (that was the only reference I could find: http://www.mild-east.com)?

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen
      Luxembourg

    • Justin Miller

      No C-130 built in the 1950’s is still in theater or still in the service with the USAF. C-130 ops are being taken over more and more by the C-130J which is a completely new airfram built starting in the late 1990’s. Many squadrons are still receiving new C-130Js that literally came off the assembly line this year.

      It’s all about relevancy. The C-130 still has the key role of tactical airlift. Aerial refueling is still key. The A-10, although an excellent tank-killer, has no utility to kill tanks on the modern battlefield and CAS can be done by other aircraft and in fact, over 80% of CAS missions in Afghanistan are flown by aircraft other than the A-10.

  • tom k.

    Hagel has been anti military is whole career, and following Obamas orders to destroy the military. This has to be put to a stop. And they both need to be charged with Treason.

  • PolicyWonk

    The USAF reviewed the surveillance platforms they have, and determined the U-2 to be better and less expensive in many respects to the Global Hawk. For example, it can fly ~10,000ft higher than the Global Hawk, and carry a much heavier load of gear – so more gets done per flight.

    Where I”m tend to be suspicious of the USAF and its motivations in some areas, I think this time they got it right.

    However, the A-10 should remain. The F-35 cannot replace the A-10 as the Chair Force contends in the ground support mission , with smart bombs and a cannon with a magazine that carries a whopping ~120 rounds (contrast that to the A-10’s magazine for the 30mm cannon, that carries almost 10X that).

    Rarely does an aircraft inspire the adoration of the ground-pounders, and outright fear to the bad guys like the A-10.

  • JJ Murray

    “…“it cannot survive or operate effectively where there are more advanced aircraft or air defenses,”
    And so the doublespeak begins. On the one had we don’t need as big a force or as many squadrons because we no longer have a large, sophisticated enemy to fight anymore but on the other hand we need to modernize our equipment so that we can fight a large, sophisticated enemy.

  • TonyC.

    The A-10 is an old air frame and getting harder to keep flying, so the Air Force wants to retire it (like the US Navy did for the F-14D). Doesn’t mean it is an obsolete asset, only a costly one. There is no viable replacement for the A-10, short of using UAV’s and hope the commlinks don’t get hacked. The A-10’s can be sent to the bone yard and reactivated, if needed. The U2 won’t be so lucky. The SR-71’s are all museum pieces and so will be the U2’s.

    • IronV

      The age of the airframe is not an issue. Those are stout birds. And the Air Force does not “want” to retire the A-10. They feel that given the budget, they have no choice. But nobody’s happy about it.

    • PolicyWonk

      The A-10 fleet was just completely rebuilt and upgraded. At the start, they were heavily constructed, if not overbuilt deliberately to withstand a LOT of punishment.

      And the platform has repeatedly proven its toughness, still flying home with an entire engine blown off, half the wing gone, etc. You’ll never see that in an F-35, which simply cannot go low without endangering itself or the pilot.

    • DBM

      Didn’t the first B-52 fly in 1952? Now that is old and its still the workhorse of the AF

  • MaybeAnIdiot

    I’m not an expert by any means but the Pentagon seems to be 100% sold on the idea of multipurpose platforms. They don’t want a dedicated air superiority fighter (So they cut off the F-22), or a dedicated CAS platform(kill the A-10), a dedicated surveillance aircraft (so they arm the drones) or a dedicated anything really. Everything has to be multirole. Part fighter, part precision bomber, part CAS, ect. Another example would be the LCS program for the Navy.

    The reason it doesn’t make any sense to my amateur eyes is thus:

    If you assume we will be facing primarily asymmetrical threats for the foreseeable future, then multirole makes sense. But if that is the case, why do you need all the bells and whistles and top of the line everything just to drop some JDAMs on insurgents or terrorist. Seems pretty stupid to demand a stealth aircraft for an enemy that doesn’t have RADAR.

    On the other hand, if you do expect a future conflict with a major power, which can only mean China these days, then dedicated platforms are exactly what you need. Vietnam, as others have pointed out, showed the weakness of ‘Jack of All Trades, Master of None’ platforms.

    I think that is why retiring the A-10 without a dedicated CAS platform to take its place seems so foolish. More and more the F-35 program looks and feels like a bunch of spoiled boys not wanting to give up their shiny new toys. And the excuse we keep hearing is that there are no other options. It’s F-35 or bust. Which is stupid and a lie.

    The most logical step to me would be to can the VTOL F-35 (Seriously, why do we need VTOL jet fighters? It’s like putting a Porsche’s body on a Honda Civic and then asking that car to perform like a supercar. But I digress.), and take serious hard look at the Air Force and Navy variants.

    At this point, I’d prefer they buy more F-15Es and if they need something to back up the F-22 look into the stealthy F-15 Boeing has been trying to shop around. The Navy, which is desperate to join the Air Force in the ‘stealth club,’ can keep pushing ahead with the F-35 if they want, or maybe try an upgrade to the F/A-18.

    They would save money on proven, successful, platforms and then they can go back to the drawing board for a true replacement for each instead of this one size fits all garbage.

    But they won’t, because the F-35 is the shiny new toy and they’re tired of their old ones.

    Like I said, there a plenty who have more knowledge on this than me. I’m just an arm chair general here. But that’s the way it looks to my amateur eyes.

    As for U-2 vs Global Hawk, I have absolutely no idea what either can or can’t do and what is the best option there.

  • hibeam

    After the apology tour everyone is our friend now. Maybe you didn’t notice. We don’t even need a military anymore. We have an Apologizer in Chief. That’s all we really need.

  • ronnie pond

    hagel out of there.

  • LesG007

    A-10 Stays!
    U-2 Stays in Reserve!
    SR-72 replaces U-2 when flights tests prove ability to…

  • tankjas

    Retire Hagel and Obama; a lot of money would be saved with that move!

    • Charles

      Just think of how much would’ve been saved if George W Bush were never elected!

      • ronaldo

        Please….no trolls for either party, please !

  • BobSacamano

    Who’d trust anything this crowd of “Cub Scouts” would do? Obama and his minions would dismantle America’s military to fund [his] social justice hoax! Folks, Obama is [the] problem, he’s delaying an economic recovery, while continuing the deficit spending on his “food stamp” economy!

  • Leo Gerald Johnson

    I don’t know why the DOD want’s to get rid of an aircraft that has proven itself in combat.Why don’t they just improve on it’s “Technology’ anddesign? If they want to cut a program why don’t they cut the LCS program?Cause of all of the reports that I’ve read tell’s me that this program was desighec to fail in the first place.The Navy has really had problems with the ships they’ve gbuilt in this program.Why dio’t they scrap It.

  • wtpworrier

    The U2 is obsolete anyway, losing it will hurt nothing. I mean, we got satellites that do a much better job. Losing the A10 is a different ball game. I’ve heard some Air Force General say the F35 can replace the A10….I don’t think so.

    • ronaldo

      The fact is, the U-2 is anything but obsolete. It carries more than twice the payload of the G Hawk.

      It also flies at least two miles higher which allows much further penetration into denied territory which allows….do I need to explain that ?

      Lastly, the ECM suite on the U2 is much, much better than that on the G Hawk.

  • tomUK

    The Sopwith ‘Camel’ was an outstanding aircraft. Can’t understand why the RAF doesn’t still have a few operational Squadrons.

  • gaylord_gaylordson

    Probably yes….they will.

  • dingo7

    I love the Warthog… my first base was DM. However as many of you are aware, there are many different weapon systems from many different platforms that can bomb tanks from miles away with pinpoint precision. Can we still use the A10, sure. Can we use other platforms for the exact same thing, yes. The A10 is obsolete.

    • ronaldo

      Dingo, you just can’t say things like that here. For the most part you are talking to the Nostagia military forces of the US.

      ( What is that ? NMFUS ? )

      True in any case.

  • Muttling

    I’ve been contracting and following military news for over 20 years. This is the 3rd time (I think) that I’ve seen them try to kill the A-10 program. It’s cheap and brutally effective at it’s mission, but the Pentagon can’t love a Warthog.

    As a previous poster mentioned, killing the entire program buys 3 or 4 more F-35s which are barely capable of the carrying out the mission which the A-10 absolutely dominates.

    This bird is hard to kill on the battlefield as well as the political field. Gotta love her. I say we fly them until the wings fall off.

  • Peter

    The F-35 is going to destroy your military. OK, that’s a contentious thing to say but from here (the UK) it looks like everything you’ve built up in the way of military hardware is just being sacrificed on the altar of that one, single project. Which has yet to demonstrate any capabilities in any field, let alone the multiple ones it’s touted as being able to cover.

    And, yes, I know we’re buying it as well. Please don’t remind me.

  • Praetorian

    I’m not happy about the A-10 being cut, but good luck getting that through congress, no matter what party line your from. On the other hand I did like what Hagel had to say about the LCS. He is cutting the LCS fleet to 32 ships, to focus on ships with more firepower.

  • Caesarjd

    As a combat veteren who’s applied the awesome firepower of the A10, AC-130, and F-16’s, nothing beats the first two. The A-10’s absolutely take care of buisness, because they’re low enough, and slow enough, to really get in the fight. Same for the AC-130’s, but they only operated at night, but wow, that 105mm was real on point fire power. Never had any success with F16’s in the CAS role. Too fast, too high, no loiter, no value. Can’t imagine the JSF or the F35 would do any better. Leave us ground pounders the firepower we need, save your 500,000 lines of code (F35) for what it’s designed for, air superiority.

    • Tiger

      You miss the overall point. The ground pounders are not pounding any place for a long time. Nobody in DC wants large scale ground operations to solve problems. Thus, the Army force cuts. So if you need fewer troops not pounding, they do not need all that air power.

    • Steve B.

      How is it that the Marines are seemingly quite adept at using their F/A18’s in the ground support role and nobody doubts that usability, yet the F16 and the AF get poo pooed at the suggestion that the F16 can’t do CAS.

      I call BS.

  • Jay levine

    I think it would be a good idea to Sell the A-10s to South Korea or another Allay of the USA as well as the U-2 we might as well make money off of this and any other piece of equipment we are getting rid of

  • Keep them Flying

    Keep the A-10!!! While I’m at it, CANCEL the F-35!!! What I want protecting my country is the F-22 Raptor! No country has a fighter like it. We never should have stopped building them. It gives us an advantage, an edge over the competition. We don’t want the F-35 “econo-box” that is being sold to every other country. The F-35 does not give us an advantage! What does it matter how old the A-10 is? Look at the B-52! If it works and works well, why get rid of it!!!!

  • WPNS462

    CANX the F-35, keep the A-10 SLEP going. Anybody that thinks the AF is going to risk a F-35 in the CSAR role is an idiot. Not to mention the fact that all 140 round of 25mm aint gonna do crap compared to the GAU-8 People saying the A-10 is obsolete are crazy, all new weapons system and un matched effective loiter time and arsenal is what the US needs protecting its boundaries.

    • Tiger

      You seriously wake up expecting air raids by enemy nations on the USA?

  • pj

    Keep cutting Mr. Secretary. B1’s, F 111’s, and much much more can be let go.

  • SPARTAN-035

    The damm F-35 IS A PIECE OF S*** so far, these dammed mother******* officials haven’t been on the f****** battlefield where assets like the FREAKING A-10 save these soldiers lives! THE F-35 ain’t even ready in numbers and they found NUMEROUS faults in its Structural Integrity!

  • Just let an A-10 and a F-35 mix it up down low in the weeds and then ask the DOD which oneis better while they are picking up pieces of the F-35!

  • The Highlander

    The current person serving in the White House indicated when he was running for President the first time, that he wanted the United States to be a Third World Country and have a 3rd World Military. He is a socialist and/or Communist from the get go.
    The people that work under him, Hagel being one of them, must do what he says, regardless of how they actually feel. There are some who actually agree with him and they are not really “Americans”.

    Secretary Robert Gates was a much better Secretary of Defense. However Robert McNamara and Donald Rumsfeld were two of the best; with Caspar Weinberger coming in third.

    • Steve B.

      Rumsfeld was a terrible SoD. He was an egotistical fool. He essentially over-rode the army’s advice to go into Iraq in ’03 with more troops, which ultimately led to few troops on the ground, which in turn allowed the insurgency to get going and which then took too many years to get under control. That cost lives.

  • I think that is the right decision. The utility of the A-10 is clearly limited, perhaps, in a very limited insurgency role now.

  • Shakes

    Guys, we know the A10 and U2 are more or less perfect at the jobs they’re designed for, but they’re not NEW enough. The DoD wants shiny things.

    Seriously, the civilians in control are like the teenage girl that NEEDS the new iPhone.

  • Steve Vaughn

    Keep the U-2 flying – it has saved America’s bacon many times and continues to be a national asset. Unfortunately because so many of its missions are sensitive or classified – it seldom receives any recognition. But it is flying critical missions every single day. Overheads and UAV’s cannot do the job the U-2 performs. Ask the folks at the NRO & the CIA = this is a no-brainer.

  • Jim

    So this idea that we don’t need the A-10 because we won’t be fighting tanks anymore, is a belief in the DOD and/or SecDef Hagel ? I am wondering if anyone in the DOD or Hagel himself, has bothered to check on the current size of the tank corps within the Chinese military, the North Korean military, the Iranian military or their Republican Guard? Does anyone honestly believe we won’t be engaged in a war with one or all of these countries in our future?
    people who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it.

  • Hagel can’t move his bowels without having obama tell him how and when. He is the absolutely worst and poorest excuse for a Cabinet member I have heard or seen in a long time. He doesn’t have the guts or balls to say what he really wants to. He just opens his mouth and obama pours out. Maybe one day he will stand up for himself and say what he really feels and wants. Maybe?

  • T One

    Problem is the defense industry exist because of government funding but then again, what’s left? All the textile industry was sold up the river! What’s left that is out there that brings in major revenue in this country.

  • Capt Pat

    Has anyone listened to the news today??? The “Russians” are holding an exercise on the border with a country we are supporting to become demoncratic!!!! And all the file footage was of “ex-Soviet” tanks moving into action….. Now who’s gonna need A-10’s???? The “mouse that roared”, the hero of Vietnam and ex-presidential wanna-be turned Sec. of State is making noises that could prove fatal to members of our military. So much for not needing an “old”, reliable and effective weapons system

    • Atomic Walrus

      So, where are you going to base the A-10s so that they’re close enough to be able to act against the Russians in Ukraine? How are you going to get all of the support equipment to those airfields and support them? Or perhaps it’d be easier to task B-1s and B-2s loaded with JSOWs and CBU-97s with BLU-108 sensor-fused weapons and let them have a field day with the massed tank formations.

    • DBM

      Don’t worry,
      The russians will get more of a fight from the ukrainians than they did the Geogians who had no real army. The russians don’t really want to fight their brothers in Ukraine anyway.

      • blight_

        They know Ukraine is pretty darn big compared to Georgia; and has considerable industry to produce its own weapons. A putsch in the eastern, pro-Russia part of Ukraine is possible…might have enough Abhkazia there.

    • Steve B.

      Reality check time.

      Do you really think we, or NATO is going to provide military intervention should Russia invade the Ukraine ?. With what forces ?. It is as BTW, 1200 miles as the bird flies, from western Germany to the eastern Ukraine border. Even if we still had 4 heavy divisions in Germany, it would take us weeks to move them. Germany and Poland are not going to go along with that idea, so at that point reality sets in and we find ourselves no longer in need of anything other then a symbolic force in Europe and in no need of CAS assets to support it.

      Ditto others who say “Iran ?”. Really ?. Not a chance. China ?, where we staging out of ?. Are you saying we need the A10 to take on the tanks of the Chinese army ?. What a ludicrous concept and based on no concepts of logistics, geography and the world strategic situation.

      Bottom line is there isn’t much of a mission for a single purpose aircraft such as the A10. For the same reason the navy has done away with ASW dedicated frigates – no mission.

  • Biafra

    Its a shame to see that the old demons of the Pentagone are BACK!
    They now prefer a fancy good looking and highly complex gadget that tries to do everything but finaly ends up doing nothing great!
    Just tell me, what is the point on having a stealh plane perfoming CAS, while we all know that USAAF doctrine is to First gain Air superiority and weaken the Enemy air defences with SEAD operations? The GI joes are only to enter in action when there is a permanent air cover, rendering enemy defence’s work pretty hard and suicidal.
    The only big winner with the F-35 program is the Marine Corps, who will end up with a multirole VSTOL fighter, Enabling them to project with their Amphibious fleet small airpowers with the same capabilies as the big brothers USAAF and NAVY (Air superiority, SEAD, Deep Strike). But again, the Marines will lack firepower when they will call out for CAS!!! (the Primary purpose and role of the Marine Air Wing)

  • dex

    Didnt red china blow up a satellite?????? No Sat’s no problem….and at least the U2 and the A10 have a live person aboard! my 2 cents.

    • DBM

      Good point. I had forgotten about that. Also most people arent aware that we have lost a ton of Drones of all kinds over Afghanistan. EMP type emitters can take a drone down very easily.

  • Theadore

    I remember an A-10 and pilot that shot down an enemy aircraft. An aircraft from the worlds fourth largest air force,an air force which so outclassed the A-10 that it should have been a flag draped coffin and a black spot on a patch of earth. But some one forgot to tell the pilot or his aircraft they were inferior quality.

  • DBM

    Anyone who thinks regularly replacing $1,000,000,000 satellites because its cheaper than flying U-2s and SR-71s is a fool. Launch costs alone exceed the cost of flying the spy planes.

  • Vern Williams

    Not having the A10 will result in more battlefield deaths. Saying the F35 will replace this rugged and effective ground support aircraft is crazy. You do not put a hugely expensive and fragile to small arms fire aircraft into ground support. As effective as the army helos are, they can not replace the A10 and its 30mm cannon.

  • MovieMan

    Let me see if i get Hagel intentions straight he and the “Dear Leader” want to retire the A-10 and replace it with the F35 . Does the F35 do a better job at close air support? Well he doesn’t know because the plane is years behind schedule. It has to fly better and carry more weapons for close air support? Well we don’t know that either. We do know that its missiles miss everything they fire at in the testing, Every-time it goes on a test flight they discover more cracks where the wings join the fuselage the floor of the plane itself and doesn’t fly as fast as first reported. Well it must be able to loiter over the battlefield than the A-10? No it doesn’t it flies faster than the A-10 therefore it spends less time in close air support if it ever flies.

    Well if we ask the troops on the ground that depend on CAS for assistance they must certainly have negative opinion of the A-10.No they love it it does a great job and can take anything out on the battlefield. So by all means retire the plane that’s bought and paid for does an outstanding job in everything its ask to do for a plane that might be ready in another 4 to 5 years that is was over budget can’t come close to the plane its suppose to replace.

  • Vern Williams

    In light of the actions to invade Ukraine by Russia and the support of the Chinese, it would be irresponsible to downsize in light of the threats. We do not need to use taxpayer money to give 100% of kids at schools tax payer funded meals. We do not need to waste money on handouts to folks who will not work. We need to focus on the primary function of the federal government, defend the country against all enemies foreign and domestic. The president took that oath and he is reneging on his duty by his treacherous actions. Call your congressmen and insist we stop stealing from our kids while putting their freedom and futures at risk!