General: ‘We Don’t Have a Replacement’ for A-10, U-2

Airpower summary for Sept. 18, 2007The Air Force does not have a suitable replacement for the planned divestiture of the A-10 Warthog aircraft and U-2 spy plane, senior service leaders said Sept. 16 at the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference, National Harbor, Md.

“I don’t want to cut the A-10 and the U-2 – we don’t have a replacement,” said Gen. Michael Hostage III, Commander, Air Force Air Combat Command.

As part of its budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the service proposed retiring its entire fleets of A-10 attack planes and U-2 spy planes, and partial inventories of other aircraft. The proposed budget cuts to the A-10 and U-2 fleets are described by service officials as budget-driven necessities given current fiscal pressures.

The recommendations were driven in a large part by automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Sending the close-air-support aircraft to the bone yard would save an estimated $4.2 billion over five years alone, Air Force officials have said.

“The Air Force leadership is seeking to reshape the force despite decreasing budgets. To mitigate risk we must have the ability to project power. My job is to produce as much combat power as possible. We find ourselves in the difficult position where we are forced to make cuts to legitimate priorities,” Hostage added.

Air Force senior leaders have consistently said that the service needs to retire these platforms in order to save money. The overall costs of the program including life cycle management, sustainment and upkeep have made the A-10 and U-2 budget targets for the service, however many lawmakers have pushed back on the plans.

In fact, in June of this year the House of Representatives approved legislation including a provision that would prohibit the Pentagon from spending any money to retire the fleet of Cold War era-aircraft.

Both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees voted to restore funding to keep the planes flying for at least another year.

Air Force acquisition executive William LaPlante told reporters the service’s budget decision to retire the aircraft was due to an examination of the “part of ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) we could divest with the least amount of risk.”

Regarding the U-2, LaPlante added there is an ever-growing, insatiable appetite for ISR and that the service would look to other assets, such as the Global Hawk, and emerging platforms to help.

When it comes to the A-10, LaPlante said that the emerging F-35A will be capable of picking up a large number of close air support missions currently performed by the A-10.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • William_C1

    Nobody can find $4.2 billion in the entire government’s budget to spare?

  • Gm1

    The air force believe that they can win the war without the army now so they have no need for close air support.

    • KnownKnowns

      They’ve believed that since Vietnam and they are just as wrong now as they were then.

    • Yep, watch how Iraq and Syria turn out…

    • PolicyWonk

      The “leadership” of the Chair Force will probably hold back the A-10’s from flying against ISIS until they have no other option. It would horrify everyone, of course, to see the most effective grand support/attack aircraft (perhaps in history) continue to exceed everyone’s expectations.

    • oblatt22

      They don’t claim to be able to win – just lose with fewer casualties and higher contractor profits.

    • tiger

      There are other planes to do the mission.

      • 0369retired

        If your have ever been the recipient of A10 support you would understand why virtually every one is saying no other plane can do what the A10 is capable of accomplishing.

        Additionally, I agree that the A10 will not be used in Syria simply so they don’t actually justify it’s existence and tremendous capabilities.

        An air asset not used for purely political reasons. It’s why politicians should notbe in the decision making process of what the services gets or are allowed to keep.

    • Justin

      Not all Air Force think that way. I drove convoys and know the importance of CAS. The F-35 and other airframes just won’t do.

  • Talosian

    Hmmm… Who to believe? An Air Force general or a civilian acquisition executive?

    I think I’ll pick the general.

  • royrdsjr

    Imagine that. Let the “but we have drones” begin. In other news,we don’t have a replacement for our Army,Air Force,Navy,& Marines,but we do have plenty of police with MRAPs.

    • Bernard

      Actually think a new CAS drone may be the solution. Then the army can own it and they won’t have to depend on the air force for their CAS needs. It should have simple interface that’s ground operators designate targets while the air craft engages with missiles and machine guns. The AI to do this is mostly in place already. The unfortunate downside is that it would only work in places with good satellite communications. I’m not sure how that works out in the mountains of Afghanistan.
      I hope we have something like that in development already.

  • OreLaker

    What is the F35’s loiter time on a CAS mission?

  • Rod

    General of the Air Combat Command who has been in the service since ’78 says there is no suitable replacement for the A-10.

    Acquisitions Executive from academia since ’85 says the F-35 can do the A-10’s job.

    As the saying goes: BS, MS, PhD = Bull S***, More S***, Piled higher and Deeper.

    • gunnygil

      NO the statement was that the F-35 can do SOME of the jobs done by the A-10.there is NO replacement for the A-10 for ordinance delivery, time on station or even durability. Air Force is a bomber and escort group who wants to fly at 40k+ feet and have maybe an occasional dog fight with a enemy fighter at 15 miles

      • Riceball

        Nothing can replace the A-10 for ordinance delivery, that’s because the A-10 can’t deliver ordinance, what it can deliver is ordnance and lots of it.

  • BlackOwl18E

    The USAF is dying right before our eyes. They killed the F-117 to have an excuse for making the F-22 and F-35A. The F-35A is now killing the A-10, many proposed aircraft buys, many proposed aircraft upgrades, and it’s starting to kill F-16s. Not to mention that the F-15C and KC-10 are still being considered as possible cuts to feed the JSF. The only plans the USAF has for tactical aircraft apart from the F-35A out to the late 2020s are: extending the life of 300 F-16s, 219 F-15Es, and 187 F-22As. This is a skeleton force compared to what it used to be.

    The US Navy, on the other hand, has decided to make a gambit on trying to buy the Advanced Super Hornet. FINALLY:
    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/us-navy

    There is now an argument going on in the halls of congress that will determine if the Navy gets them. Bottom line: they need congressional approval. The Navy has left the F-35C long behind in their vision of the future. The F-35C hasn’t proven it can even land on a carrier. It’s got trials scheduled for this October but odds are that they’re going to be pushed back. The real way to fix the carrier JSF is to lengthen its fuselage, which will kill its commonality with the other variants and cause a major price hike. Even if the F-35C passes trials in October, it’s too late. Its name has long been tarnished and its host of other problems are too expensive to fix.

    The USN has ordered a total of about 558 Super Hornets and 135 Growlers, all young and ready for the long haul. What’s even better is that every Block II Super Hornet is capable of receiving Advanced Super Hornet upgrades to have capability that can defeat any projected future threat. The Navy’s Air Warfare Director also confirmed that the Super Hornet already has fully funded classified upgrades that will keep it formidable out to 2030. It looks like NAVAIR is going to have the only TACAIR arm capable of sustained force projection abroad in our future, assuming the JSF never materializes into a combat ready affordable aircraft.

  • To hell with the U-2! RQ-180 comes!

  • Citizen of the World

    The generals also want to keep the F-35 and everything else. If not the A-10, what do we cut? Until you (and all of us) start voting representatives who refuse to govern, we’ll continue to lose vital resources.

  • Taylor

    Maybe we can send the Education Department to defeat ISIS.

    • Barney Rubble

      Better not….they would show them common core and we would be blamed for war crimes because ISIS became dumber…..

      • ghostwhowalksnz

        Give them scholarships to Harvard. Their future could be living in a cave or part of the american dream.
        The other way is find out who is paying them and offer more, after all $3 bill only buys you the rights to a video game

    • ronaldo

      How about cancelling the Department of Agriculture price supports ? Talk about a win win !!

    • oldfedvet1941

      They have a great SWAT Team!

    • El Kabog

      Oh no, we’d be charged with providing weapons of math destruction!

    • allen

      yeah, education is dumb

  • 009

    Alleluia! Thank you General for not getting rid of these great planes.

  • Rat

    It’s probably a stretch to say there is no replacement for the U-2, after all, secret programs have been in existence for a long time. And how long does anyone think the warthog can keep flying? There were issues with metal fatigue years ago.

    • ohwilleke

      Certainly, the A-10 is an old plane, and the Air Force has not exactly lavished it with new purchases of upgraded versions of the model. There are no A-10E/Fs out there. But, the Air Force has not been interested in investing the R&D for a replacement.

      A partial replacement based on the AT-6 was considered in 2011, and Navy Seals have toyed with a pimped up version of the EMB-314 Super Tucano. Outsiders have suggested the off the shelf SM-27 Machete. But, the official plan has been for some time (for example in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review) that the F-35A is the replacement for the A-10 even though the planes are not very good substitutes for each other.

    • Nadnerbus

      If memory serves, the A-10 went through a SLEP that included a replacement beefed up wing spar to keep the airframe viable through the mid 2020s or maybe further.

      All of this just comes down to money. If the Air Force can’t pay for all their toys, they would rather scrap the stuff they use the hell out of to save money for the shiny new stuff.

    • retiredcgchief

      so you build new 10’s… problem solved.

      • tiger

        Wrong…. The nation has other priorities beyond your fan boy love for a one mission plane that is pushing 50 years old & is stealthy as a barn door.

      • Riceball

        The problem with that is the production lines for the A-10 have long since closed, heck, the company that originally made them isn’t even around any longer. At this point money would be better spent designing and building an A-10 replacement from the ground up.

  • Lance

    Strange how the Obama appointed General is the only supporter of retirement for these planes. Most DOD brass opposes this. Thats a DUH!!!! The F-35 lacks carrying heavy weapons and has no 30mm cannon for CAS missions. There is no plane period to replace the A-10 we need to keep them. The new war in Iraq would make A-10s king for the cut to attack ISIS technicals and artillery positions. This whole retirement plan was Obama’s way to hurt congress that stopped his spending thew cuts.

    As for the U-2 I think we should have retied them in 89 and kept the SR-71. Im for the proposed SR-72s if they kill the drone portion of it and keep it a manned plane. Drones like there Global Hawk are too unreliable and can crash in enemy territory like Iran. Keep men in the recon fight.

  • henry

    What does it say for defense companies that can’t even develop a system with the same capabilities today as something that was produced over 50 years ago. Very sad….

    • Riceball

      It’s not that they can’t, they’ve never been asked to. It’s not like Republic Fairchild came up with the A-10 out of the blue and went to the Air Force asking them if they wanted to buy it, the Air Force had a requirement for the A-10 and had Republic Fairchild build it for them. The reason why current, and newer, planes can’t do what the A-10 does is because the AF has never asked for those specific capabilities from any other plane, the instead focus on the fast moving jets that just happen to be able to drop bombs. If the AF was ever really serious about replacing the A-10 with a true successor then I’m sure that Boeing or Lockheed would be able to make one, just so long as the AF is realistic about what they want that is.

  • flires

    The F-35A doesn’t have the durability, low-speed maneuverability, and time over target capability. even model B wouldn’t be appropriate for this role.This is why the A-10 was designed.
    Seeing tanks roll through the Ukrainian fields these days, you’d think we would invest in a new A-10 design before it’s too late.

    • Dirty Ernie

      If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

  • ohwilleke

    “The proposed budget cuts to the A-10 and U-2 fleets are described by service officials as budget-driven necessities given current fiscal pressures.”

    BS. The Air Force has been trying to kill the A-10 for at least a decade, if not longer, and wasn’t even very enthusiastic about the idea in the first place. The Air Force sees its primary mission as air to air combat and long range bombing, not CAS or logistics for the Army. And, FWIW, the Army doesn’t trust the Air Force to meet their needs, anyway, so they design helicopters that they control rather than use fixed wing aircraft that would be better suited to some of the missions the Army vests in helicopters.

    The Key West Agreement has not served our nation’s military well.

    • PolicyWonk

      Actually, the “Chair Force” had slated the A-10’s for the boneyard before Gulf War I, let alone 2, or 3.

      Its stunning performance, utility, lethality, and survivability during Gulf War I horrified the bad guys AND the brass in the “Chair Force”, who have had to suffer with its presence ever since.

      There are few sights a ground-pounder loves more than a warthog overhead, and nothing terrifies the enemy more than being on the receiving end of a ‘hog: cause they know they’ll soon be meeting their virgins!

  • Buckrogers2

    Why not just get the Marine Corp to buy out all the A-10’s from the Air Force and scape the F-35s and call it a day. The Air Force can then have it’s new unproven toys.

    • Val

      Congress would have to approve it. However military contractors and lobbyists pretty much decide what happens. So don’t hold your breath.

      • d. kellogg

        It’s been said that SOCOM has its own unique budget parameters and generally seems to have more blank checks in its checkbook than the other services. Let them buy the A-10s and run them in conjunction with AC-130 fleet.

    • Batou

      Marine Corp would buy the Warthog in a minute. But both the USAF and the US Army have way too many friends on Capital Hill to let a Marine Expeditionary Air-force ( a 3rd air-force) to develop. Hell, it’s even a miracle that US Army are still allowed to keep air-craft. Let alone the Corp having a effective stand-alone AF. I suppose on the flip-side, if the USAF keep the air to themselves, it reduces blue on blue events…

      • Riceball

        I’m not sure that the Corps (note the S at the end) would buy A-10s even if they could. The problem with the A-10s is that they’re not navalized and the Corps would have a hard time getting them into a theater of operations. Legacy Hornets are flown off of carriers and can then, if needed, be parked on an expeditionary air field, Harriers and (eventually) F-35s are flown off of amphibs and can also then be relocated to the ground. The A-10 would have to be ferried in and wouldn’t be able to loiter for very long before having to RTB to refuel and would have to continue to do that until such time that an airfield can be built. But it is a nice thought and if there were a way to make an A-10 more expeditionary capable then I’m sure that the Corps’ Air Wing would love to have them.

    • retired462

      I believe that they were offered them BEFORE Desert Storm, and turned it down.

  • thomas

    Time to start building a new version of the A-10. if you can’t fix them for cheap start over.

    • d. kellogg

      No small fortune was spent upgrading the fleet to A-10C standard, and even new wings were designed for high-mileage airframes.
      I wouldn’t call it “fix them for cheap”, but still offered far more ground support capability per dollar spent than what the F-35 is bringing,
      and what will STILL need to be spent to make the F-35 a more suitable F-16 replacement; an aircraft initially designed as a cheap day-weather fighter but became one of the world’s most desireable (even second hand) combat aircraft for its quart of capability in a pint-sized contained.
      Per-airframe operational and future upgrade costs to keep the F-35 viable will bankrupt most of the partner nations out of the program.

    • LEROY

      What’s wrong with a drone version of te A-10?

  • Nick987654

    For CAS, the F-35 needs an inexpensive GPS/laser guided bomb that can be carried on the BRU-61, something simple without a wing kit and not more expensive than an LJDAM. The SDB1/SDB2 costs too much, and should be reserved against tanks/radars only.

    • blight_qwerty

      A smart bomb relies on either GPS or laser guidance to fix a position on the ground, and some kind of modification to allow the bomb to correct its course to hit its target. Unsure how you can bring the cost down on any guided bomb…without the wing kit it will be far less likely to go where you want it.

      • Nick987654

        The SDB has its control surfaces. The wing kit is used to extend the range. The SDB1 and 2 are too expensive for most targets ( over 70000k ). The F-35 needs a cheaper bomb, around 35k, which is close to the cost of an LJDAM for most CAS targets.

        Keep the tail section of the SDB1 with the control surfaces, the datalink and GPS receiver, and replace the warhead with a cheaper one ( the SDB1 has a tri mode warhead including penetration capability, you don’t care about that), and add a small laser receiver at the front, and no wing kit.

        • Kostas

          You should know that the warhead and the wing kit are NOT the expensive components of a bomb. What costs is: sensors, electronics, testing.

          So basically what you are proposing would cost almost as much as sdb’s

        • blight_qwerty

          SDB2 has thermal seeker, radar, ATR. Trimode seeker and datalink from the PAM program.

          Maybe 3 feet of penetration is overkill, but re-designing SDB will impose another set of design costs.

          Like with aircraft, most fixed costs are in electronics.

  • Tony

    The US Air Force is a fighter community with some bombers and extraneous communities thrown in for good measure. The A-10 should have been reassigned to the US Army to complement the AH-64 in close air support. The A-10 is faster and can cover more territory than the AH-64, plus has a killer cannon in the nose. Now the priority for the US Air Force is (of course) more fighters. Fighters can drop bombs, but seeing the target from 10,000 feet will be a challenge. Hope the US Army has a backup plan.

  • Val

    This makes me want to hit my head against my desk several times.

    The USAF has compromised our national security all for the all stealth white elephant. It’s like they never learned their lessons after the failure of the F-111 Aardvark. A one size fits all aircraft has never worked. The Air Force had to buy up the remaining planes.

    • tiger

      It was not a failure and frankly has range & payload unmatched by anything flying now.

      • Val

        No. It was a Failure. As it was meant to be an all service branch plane that would do it all. It’s payload is inferior to both the Super Hornet, F-16 and even the retired F-14.
        Go back to the F-16 or what ever teabagger website you belong too.

        • BajaWarrior

          You need to use the google machine more. Where to even begin on how wrong you are. The JSF was thrown at the AF as much as it was the Navy. The V/STOVL thing really did not make for an easy program.

          The F-111 was actually the most successful strike platform in the first Gulf War and can carry a hell of a lot more than and current fighter fielded by the services.

          So please go tea bag yourself and leave the adults to discuss

          • Val

            The success of the Ardvark was an USAF myt to keeping an overpriced plane in service.
            It’s weapons where obsolete barely did the SEAD mission as well as the B-1 and the F-16.

            The Navy doesn’t want the thing anymore. Too over costed and they’ll be getting the F-35 last if at all.

            If your offended by the word tea bagger like all the far right tea baggers are. Then your no adult.

          • BajaWarrior

            Lol, as someone who has actually flown SEAD, let me be the first to tell you that you are an idiot. We still use GBU-10/12/24s that they dropped in Iraq. When did SEAD every enter the conversation? And the B-1 is only a missile launcher in the SEAD environment. The Navy can do whatever they want with the JSF. Doesn’t matter, USAF is stuck with it in the future.

            Offended? No, since I’m not a right winger or tea bagged. Nor am I some hippy lib d bag either. Just realize you were the one throwing insults first because you have a poor argument. Maybe it’s because you are mad at the world cause you still live in your mom’s basement, or maybe you just don’t know how to conduct yourself. I really don’t care. I just enjoy pointing out d bags to themselves.

  • cloudclown

    I’m confused! NAVY, forties and fifties———-

  • Pat

    LaPlante must be a total fool thinking the F-35 could ever take over for the A-10 for CAS.

  • Dave Hassett

    I agree with the above comment of giving the A-10’s to the Marines. They know and appreciate what close air support is all about and would truly appreciate what this platform could provide to their boots on the ground…………

  • 18ZULU

    Maybe it’s time for the Air Force to recognize that the A-10 may be one of the BEST aircraft ever built. It does a job of close air support for troops that count on the A-10 to protect their a**es when the s**t hits the fan. There is NO OTHER aircraft that does that as well.

    Maybe, just maybe, the Air Force should go with what works like the Navy did with the F-18 and scrap all the rest of the planes that are over project cost and way behind in delivery. Heck, just build a couple hundred A-10’s and put them over the hot spots in the world and see what they can do! They are the #1 friend of the ground forces.

  • kenbadoian

    The Air Farce went with the Navy F4’s and I think A7’s. Correct give the A10’s to USMC and USA. F35 is a nice over priced aircraft with all the bells and BS, even a helmet that dose not work and better still stelfe (spelling) is going away with the new radars. How amny retired O’s are working for or on the board of directors of LM. Yea one thing more what happened to the alternative F35 engine? MMCS(SW)SS) USN Retired

  • wmcritter

    Am I the only one that feels like we are on a high-speed train on tracks that lead off a cliff?
    It’s not just that Washington is destroying the military, it’s how they destroy everything they touch: our economy, our health care, our retirement, etc.

    I honestly believe the only to save our country is to wipe Washington D.C. off the face of the Earth. I know people say “just vote”, but that doesn’t work. How can you even suggest that voting will change anything when we re-elect the most corrupt, incompenent, narcissistic scum we’ve ever had in the White House?

  • John Smith

    I say put the general in a forward position controlling air strikes and see if he changes -his mind. I for one would give the job of close fixed wing air support to the army and the marines and take it out of the air force’s hands all together since it is not their men under fire.

  • The A-10s are Close Air Support specific and a proven Combat Search/Rescue escort. I don’t think the F-35 could do those missions as efficiently as the A-10, a proven asset and a terror to our enemies overseas. Go to YouTube and search A-10 and you’ll find plenty of film clips of soldiers on the ground under fire that suddenly goes quiet when the A-10 and the GAU-8/A Avenger appear. Every aspect of the A-10 was designed for survivability – if the F-35 can sustain combat damage and survive better than an A-10, then so be it retire the ‘Warthog!’ If not – forget the F-35

    • tiger

      There is nothing magic about a Maverick or hellfire missile that other planes can not fire. Nor is there any thing great about a 30mm taking out targets a .50bmg would. Sustain damage? The idea is not get shot in the first place. This obsession over the A-10 being the “ONlY” plane in the air is bs. Keeping it another 40 to 50 years is not in the cards.

  • Kent

    How much does a brand new F35A cost? Do you really think the F35 will be used for close air support? Hummm…. A-10 or F35, that’s a no brainer.

  • MacPaul

    So, tight budget is the problem, is it?
    No, it’s the F-35, this piece of crap! For the money this duck costs you can develop three different planes/choppers for all different purposes and buy 1000 of them each. And how the F-35 performs A-10 missions is something I’d like to see!

  • Tom.S

    It is sad that the A-10, a proven weapon plate form was not continued in production or given a design update like the F/A-18E, instead just given a electronic face lift. The F-35 is an industry money pit wantabe with no history to back up the capability to the A-10 legacy. I am sure the fighting history of the A-10 has for pound for pound inflicted more harm to enemy forces in both cost and manpower than any other aircraft to date expect the Apache which is still being produced.

    F-35 can’t chase, race, or pound a target like the A-10 can, and if you factor in aircraft loss, I am sure the F-35 is going to pass the A-10 before all the testing is done.

  • jffourquet

    If the USAF does not have suitable replacement for the A-10, then keep it and reduce the # of F-35’s the USAF is planning to buy!

  • Claude H. Church

    T his Air Force General wanting to do away with the A-10 is living in a fantacy
    world. He has never been on the ground and needed the fire power and
    time on target that the A-10 provides. I can’t believe he said we could us the
    F-15, F-16 and B1 bomber (Is he that out of touch) This would be like the F-4
    and F-100 in close support Like Vietnam. (Thank God for the old A1E)

  • John

    Maybe these “bean counters” should be on the front lines when an A-10 is needed, but not available due to budget cuts. I think they would change their minds pretty damn quick.

  • ken

    The Russians and Chinese are giggling like school girls as ISIS runs rampant in the Middle East.

  • Coop

    We should consider building a drone to replace the A-10 because we do not have to risk pilots in CAS. The F-35 will be a very good fighter for things other than CAS. The main issue with the A-10 is it would not survive long in a complex AA system. The F-35 can perform in this environment and the F-35 could clear the way for A-10 or an A-10 replacement to do its job.

  • David

    I am still confused why the CAS dependent USMC needs the stealthy F-35B.

    I understand the RN’s need for an air superiority / anti-shipping platform.

    Won’t the 35B sandblast its own stealth coating off or catch its airstrip on fire?

    And yeah the 35B lacks the almighty internal gun for CAS work

  • Phil

    F35A, $125 million for a ground support aircraft……. A10, $11 million.

    • Kostas

      yes, but F35 comes with an 100x improved survivability. A10 seems to be a single use aircraft in a high threat environment. The Air Force had already recognized that since the 80’s when they were thinking of A-16, do you remember that?

  • Fireball Chief

    In todays Air Force, these comments will lead to the General being fired. Thanks for being honest. This is an officer this old Chief would gladly work for.

  • murf

    Why would want to keep a plane that is economical to operate when you can have a plane the uses a 250k missile to blow up 5k truck.

  • Kostas

    1) A10s are good against an enemy that doesn’t have access to MANPADS. If the enemy has MANPADS the slow flying aircraft that needs to approach at least 2 kms from the target (due to the low accuracy of its gun) will just get hit by a volley of MAnPADS missiles. F35 can detect and identify targets from much longer distances with the SAR mode of its radar and the superior electrooptic sensors, F35 will approach up to 3 km from the target and destroy it with much fewer rounds (higher gun accuracy) and will rapidly turn. Even if the enemy launches hundreds of MANPAD missiles, the F35 will simply outrun them.
    2) F35 can provide surveilance to mugh greater areas due to its highly sophisticated sensor suite
    3) F35 can provide RAPID CAS to troops over a much larger area due to its speed.
    4) F35 can survive the longer range SAM missiles due to its stealth, EW suite etc
    5) F35 can survive an enemy air attack. A10 needs protection from fighters

    I can continue writting more reasons about the superiority of F35, but I believe that those already mentioned would suffice for a logical reader; a biased one will never be convinced, he will remain entraped in his ignorance/wrong fixed beliefs.

  • John Morris

    Someone who wants to retire the A-10 lives in a fools paradise.

    • tiger

      I need pot holes filled & kids able to walk the streets with out getting shot. A-10’s & U2’s do nothing for that. The obsession with the toys needs a reality check.

  • Pete

    Scaled composites designed, built a prototype, and flight tested a replacement for the A10. Its called the ARES 151 “Mudfighter”. The US Army had requested the concept tested, and as usual, Burt Rutan delivered in spades.

    If it is really about money, the USAF could stop messing around with JSF, maybe B2, maybe get some new F15’s produced in the short term and a whole lot of 151’s to replace the A10’s.

    I worked on A10’s for about 16 years, ending in 2009, poor things are beat, and there was never real money backing them up as compared to the pointy nose fleets.

    Not a lot of common sense to be seen i the big picture at the USAF anymore, I’m to limited in vision to see it at any rate.

    • d. kellogg

      They may indeed be high mileage and used up, but their sheer structural integrity is their testament to survivability (or maybe I’ve worded that wrong…?)
      When is the last time we saw instance of an A-10 disintegrating in flight due to structural fatigue, or the entire fleet or large portions of it grounded due to structural deficiencies?
      Any?

      Again tho, can’t thank you enough for your service in support of such a great aircraft. Great maintenance (affordability, ease of use, and testament to the ground crews) is the real importance of keeping fighting aircraft flying.

  • Jim

    IF the DOD and Congress would remove the rules that only the Air Force can have fixed wing aircraft and not the Army; then the Army could easily take over the A-10. If anyone on this thread remembers, the Army had a small-medium sized transport in Vietnam. Iit was a high wing two engined aircraft, whose name I do not recall. I do remember that the ‘powers to be’ in the AF were totally unhappy that the Army had a fixed wing anything and pushed hard to get it removed from the Army. Don’t if they were successful in doing this, as I left there in 67 and I do remember seeing the aircraft on the TSN flight line back then. And no, it was not the C-123. From what I was told by a couple of Army friends I had, this plane filled a niche that could not be filled by the C-130s or the C-141s at the time. It was able to land at many of the smaller ‘fire bases’ for resupplying, rather than just dropping stuff from the back ends of the C-130s.

    • Riceball

      But the Army can and does have fixed winged aircraft. It’s just ARMED fixed winged aircraft that the Army can’t have and that was part of the Key West Agreements which saw the formation of the US Air Force as a separate entity from the Army.

  • Devil505

    I find all of these posts as being a bit one sided. Everyone here seems to be completely emerged in the fact that the F-35 is over budget and hasn’t proven itself. The A-10 is a wonderful plane and I will hate to see it go. The fact of the matter stands is weather it is more cost effective to maintain a fleet of A-10 Warthogs and U-2 Spy Planes that have been out of date and out of life span for at least a decade.

    Look at the USMC wanting to replace their AV-8B Harriers and you will get your answer. Why go out and buy a bunch of Super Hornets that do not and will not carry the stealth or other capabilities, like the EA-6B, AV-8B as in STOVL, range like an F-18 or even CAS like an A-10. The Marines just like the Army have CAS covered with the AC-130 Gun Ship that can loiter for hours over targets.

    What we need is something that can get in fast, protect itself, drop munitions, and get out to pave the way for other aircraft including bombers that do not have the technology to protect themselves like the F-35 can.

    On internal ordnance the F-35 with stealth and a heavy electronics suit can get in fast, drop its ordnance, get out and still survive in situations the highly regarded F-18 can’t. The reason being the electronics and the Stealth. You do not have to have a 30mm gun to provide CAS. What you need is an aircraft that can get there quickly and be effective when it is on target.

    Don’t forget the F-35 can have jettisonable pylons installed to carry more ordnance than it absolutely needs for its mission. Up to and including air to air munitions to get into enemy airspace. After the pylons are jettisoned the F-35 relies on its stealth to get on target. Once done these aircraft can communicate with themselves, if there are multiple F-35’s that can talk to each other and there are multiple targets all of those targets can be engaged at the same time much like the F-14 used to be able to do in air to air combat from 80 miles away.

    As far as the Army not having any fixed wing support, give me one Army air base in the USA or over seas, that is actually able to support a fixed wing aircraft, with knowledgeable people to take care of these aircraft, hangars to run maintenance in, and the equipment to do so. When you can’t think of an answer you will understand why the Army doesn’t have fixed wing aircraft. It’s not that they were denied fixed wing aircraft it is because they do not wan’t them.

    The last thing any service branch want’s to do is retire their tried and true aircraft. Like the A-10 in the Air Force, the EA-6B, Harrier, and the F-18 are being replaced in the Marine Corp. because they are old and have served their country well. No one want’s to see them go but it’s time. They are 30 plus years old and need to be replaced. It’s time for something new and I’m not talking about Super Hornets. They are not as capable of doing three jobs at once like the F-35.

    One last thing is, I understand there is a huge problem with cost, over run , and the performance. But where is the complaints about the F-18, F-16, F-15, and even the F-22 when it came to cost, over run, and performance. Everyone had a complaint until that jet had the chance to prove to everyone it could do it’s job. The F-35 is in infancy give it a chance to prove you wrong before you cast judgment.

  • Mr. ED

    they have trouble with the F35 now,how can it replace a proven A10 in combat support.

  • JJ Murray

    When he feds cut the space shuttle with now replacement I think this gave the DoD ideas and now we’re seeing things like cutting the A-10, U-2, EA-6B, AV-8B with no replacement in the immediate future. Oh yeah – they got smart enough to extend the AV-8B not long ago – indefinitely since the F-35 is so far behind schedule and so much over anticipated cost. Our government has never been good at long range thinking, but now they can’t even seem to think 2 or 3 years out.

  • ArtilleryMan

    I do believe that the F-22 is a very capable aircraft, but the F-35 looks like McNamara’s F-111 back in the 60’s. Oh yeah, it’ll do everything! The ONLY thing that can replace an A-10 would be an A-10B,C,D… That is one aircraft we should not be getting rid of. Until we can prove the F-22, we should be building F-15SE, F-16N, put the F-15SE Tech into the F-18 SuperHornet. Give them all engines with super cruise and vectored thrust. Build a couple hundred B-1Rs. Oh yeah, and build the next gen A-10. It’s safe to say that we’ve wasted to much time and money on the F-35. Lockhead can build us some aircraft for free since they took all our money.

  • veechunk

    “When it comes to the A-10, LaPlante said that the emerging F-35A will be capable of picking up a large number of close air support missions currently performed by the A-10.”
    And let’s see how the pretty one fares with a missing tail fin…

    God Bless the Warthog.

  • Joe Biden

    Army should have its own close air support aircraft.

  • Bob Hillen brand

    Seems that it would be prudent to see if the replacements REALLY work first and then phase out the A-10 & U-2. Why do I feel that a number of other agencies/friendly
    governments would love to have them ! What is with this Washington concept of doing
    stuff like this and leaving serious gaps. Is it stupidity ? Lack of foresight ? Leadership ?
    NASA does this, the military wants to do it, and it always leaves the US at the mercy of
    others. Is there any thought process going on in DC. ? Now that’s a dumb question !
    Sorry about that !

  • Big Daddy

    The DOD must end the no armed fixed wing aircraft in the US Army policy. Let the Army control the CAS mission with their own aircraft and helicopters. The A10 is a little long in the tooth. Upgrades against manpads and small lightweight vehicle mounted air defense systems have to be made to the aircraft. It is a great frame to work with. The A10 is a flying tank, no other aircraft can do it’s job. It can decimate any large advancing force in minutes with it’s firepower and time on target. Yes you might loose a few but a few can completely destroy a mechanized division’s ability to be a viable fighting force. I think the trade off is worth it. The aircraft are not expensive and extremely versatile. Give them to the Army and build upgraded version with more self-defense ability against any air defense by using anti-radiation missiles for radar suppression. Along with the Helicopter force, the A10 and the AC130 the Army will be able to handle most of their needs, throw in some F35 jump jets for air defense and attack. The Airforce can now concentrate on air-to-air and long range bombing missions, it’s a win-win.

  • JTH

    Retire the truck that works and replace with the race car that can’t leave the pits

    And if the F-22 can’t be exposed to risk (too expensive) who will ever commit the F-35 ?

  • edree

    Nothing that the crap-for-brains the top politicians, both in and out, of the military will change the fact that NOTHING performs the ground support mission like an A-10. The Air force is condemning groundpounders to unnecessary deaths pretending any other aircraft can do the job any where near as well. Never the less, AF brass will renege on their commitment to provide air ground support to the Army. Facts are facts and politics will not change them.

  • Kostas

    Nobody doubts that CAS is extremely important and A10 has saved many lives in that role.
    If I was an active duty soldier I would like to have available a CAS platform that:
    1) would be available and survivable in a high threat environment where the enemy has AA weapons and possible air presence. A10 simply cannot do that and our future enemies will not always been bare foot soldiers
    2) a CAS platform that would be able to localize the location of the enmy’s indirect fire positions. The F35 can see the flash of enemy mortars and artillery with the panoramic DAS suite and can protect me from enemy indirect fire
    3) a CAS platform that would provide me with exceptional surveilance capabilities that only a powerfull radar in the SAR or ground moving target modes can offer. The F35 carries a radar that fullfils that role.
    4) A CAS platform that would be able to come fast at my area and protect me. The differences between F35 and A10 are chaotic.
    5) A CAS platform with a long range. Therefore fewer airbases will be needed and more personnel/resources would be used in combat roles rather than just protecting airbases
    6) A CAS with a high ceiling. A high ceiling would give the gliding weapons a longer range, therefore this airplane would be able to engage multiple distant targets in different locations almost simultaneously

    In short I would ask for a F35 in CAS role

  • Zspoier

    You know all that money our “little friends” with a 7% approval rating are making. We should cut their pay .that would solve a lot of our problems

  • Dorman

    give them to the Army

  • Bill Roberts

    F35 is too to big to fail, or for them to ever admit it.

  • Bob Dempsey

    Want to save money? Cut the Air Force to airlift command, Transport cargo and personnel. Have them for refueling also and maintain enough jet to fly protection for their tanker and cargo planes. Also they maintain responsibility for the missile sites.

  • Dave

    Well if the SF is so fighter happy over the F35. Why not just had over the A10 to the Marines? the folks who need her? they know what they need, give them the frickin’ A10’s..

  • Ideas2

    When can we upgrade the A10 Warthog?… maybe tilt-down from where the gun and ammo are stored? It could breath new life into the A10. And a computer can identify each target and apply the right aiming and correct energy to blow up an explosive or IED (or suicide vest), melt or deform a gun barrel rendering tanks, ect. inoperable, silently target enemies without throwing up the dust from a gun… fly some A10’s with guns and some with a LaWS or elsewise… A generator grabbing some rotation from the twin out-mounted jet engines should be able to get a lot of electricity needed, too.

    Read more: http://live-defensetech.sites.thewpvalet.com/2015/01/29/afsoc-wants-to-
    Defense.org