Home » Air » Bill Blocks Air Force from Retiring A-10 Warthog

Bill Blocks Air Force from Retiring A-10 Warthog

by Kris Osborn on December 13, 2013

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.

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{ 365 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt December 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm

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.

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Robert Lominick Jr. December 13, 2013 at 7:08 pm

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..

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S O December 14, 2013 at 4:16 pm
T Overson December 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm

The F-16, specifically the C variant has less fuel, and munition capacity than the A-10C. The F-16 is quicker true, but that is a problem, not a solution. The A-10C can stay over its AOR, absorb ground fire from small arms, and continue fighting normally. It has a longer range, and more time over the AO to acquire situational awareness and deliver more munitions than the F-16C and has the ability to mark targets for reinforcements when they arrive, not to mention the A-10C has been upgraded continually over the last forty years as far as technology. The only thing the A-10C does not have is Radar.

The A-10C can hold the same targeting pods as the F-16C and is more efficient at communicating with ground forces. The F-16 is more lightly armored in exchange for speed and maneuverability. It is a Fighter, not an Attacker. As far as standoff, the A-10C can hold Maverick missiles which have ranges beyond 7 miles in most cases. They can also drop GPS and laser GBU's, which the F-16's carry, but the A-10C can carry more. These can be dropped at altitude as well.

The F-16C has no real advantage other than speed and a slightly higher operational cieling, which amount to very little unless AAA, or SAM's are present, in which case, SEAD missions are conducted prior to any CAS being flown in the area.

If the argument is then about Air to Air, no flight of A-10's flies without support from interceptors such as the F-15C or the F-16C. The F-16C's loaded out for CAS probably have one or two AA missiles and would have to dump their tanks and AG munitions to fight off enemy planes. So the idea that F-16's can defend against AA while providing CAS is out. They would have no munitions or fuel left to continue their mission. The A-10C's would simply continue the mission until the F-15's removed the threat, or they had to bug out. Why would you waste ordinance by dumping it to return fire on an airborne threat? That's more money than the cost of fuel to fly them out and dump them.

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S O December 14, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Endurance over targets is irrelevant if a capable opposition forces your air force to limit offensive action to missile strikes and strike packages.
It makes no sense to praise an A-10's endurance if its patrol requires three fighter sorties for CAP support.

And it's not really helpful that an A-10 can use PGMs from high altitudes as well, as this is simply not its unique strength – it's easily substituted in this kin of tactic. That's the point. The A-10 is superfluous if it cannot do its low altitude attack runs. and it cannot do those in face of capable hostiles.

steelrain December 14, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Dude, the F-16 has less than 15 seconds of ammo for CAS. Another thing. Look up online how many of our F-16s bit the dust during CAS missions vs. A-10s?
Lvoe the F-16, But the A-10 was designed and built for the CAS mission.

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@M134_Gunner December 16, 2013 at 10:54 am

Obviously you have never heard of a CDE (Collateral Damage Estimate). In case you didn't notice, we cant just drop 500 pound bombs everywhere. That has political implications.

And just for my knowledge, when is the last time an Su-30 chased a US aircraft anywhere? The CAP is going to be aloft so long as there are troops on the ground and capable enemy aircraft, period. The A-10 will have cover overhead. The air-air conflict will be 40 miles in front of him.

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Jim December 19, 2013 at 12:00 am

Gunner I like you and your comments. Your dead on. The F22 also gets call from a A10 pilot being harassed and the issue is eliminated.

Recon Phantom December 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Problem with F-16 drivers is that they do not want to get down in the mud. mI noted your "15k Ft" comment. Afraid to get shot at? The A-10 drivers have no problem doing so. The A-10 has proven itself over and over again the best weapon for the CAS mission. Many CAS targets are defilade or in cave fronts, areas that the F-16 system is worthless. Now, if napalm was still available, a wide area destructive munition, then maybe the F-16 might be more useful, assuming that wouldn't put it on friendless.

The F-15/16 are fighters. They are designed for air-to-air, not CAS. CAS is a tertiary mission for the F-16. The Marine Corps has the F/A-18 (do you note the designator fighter/attack? The F-16 does not have an "A" in the designator for obvious reason – it was not designed as an attack aircraft. Can it get the bad guys off the backs of an infantry unit – maybe. For the A-10, "maybe" is not even in the vocabulary.

Heck, even JTACs recognizes the difference in platform capabilities. That is why the A-10 is considered first over the F-16 for CAS missions.

Marine aviator, worked the joint CAS programs at one time in my 27 year career.

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BajaWarrior December 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm

You do realize that PGMs make your argument invalid right? For someone that has worked joint CAS programs I would have expected better.

Jim December 18, 2013 at 11:51 pm

And you sir are wrong too. The 10 simply calls the F22 raptor dudes from thousand s of feet up case closed. My son in flies the A10 big ugly slow but very effective. He has saved lots of lives on the ground.

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PRT December 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm

You have no clue what you are talking about Mr. Veteran. In 2013 we provide CAS with RPA's that the enemy never even sees or hears, and we have loiter time and lower fuel costs that NO manned airframe can compete with.

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@M134_Gunner December 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

Stand down PRT. in 2013 we provide CAS with A-10s AC-130s, AH-64s (AWT), occasionally a OH-58(SWT) and a variety of 'fast movers.' JTACs aren't calling in UAVs unless it is the only asset in the air. Not likely.

The A-10 has something no UAV could ever have. A human in the cockpit with Situational Awareness.

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Virtual Awareness December 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm

"no UAV could ever have", never say (n)ever. The future is in UAVs and very soon they will certainly have far superior situational awareness than a pilot in the plane. The tech is available already, but not used. For example, you cannot see trough the floor which a stereo 360 degree very high resolution cameras with a virtual reality headset can solve. It's only a matter of money to get the bandwidth and latency down to good levels for the remote pilots to be just as aware as real pilots are.

Jim December 18, 2013 at 11:45 pm

And you sir don't have a clue. My son and law flies the A10 and I know first hand any ground troop would say the A10 saves lives not a drone being remotely flown from thousands of miles away looking through a small eyeball mounted on the drone.
The pilot see's the targets and rids ground troops of danger. The A10 has been updated to modern standards including hi tech helmets and their accuracy is second to none.The go fast jets can not stay in the kill zone for long periods of time and have to go out so far and turn around where as the A10 pops out of the clouds takes care of business goes back in the clouds pops back out over and over. The bad guys hate this aircraft. Also the A10 comes in all shoot up and keeps flying. It's easy to patch up and put back iin service, hi tech jets no way.
The F35 F22 are high maintenance aircraft. Every time they fly them it needs hours and hours of maintenance and this is cost effective.
And since you folks making these comments and aren't the pilots of these aircraft need to be a bit more educated. My family is putting their own personal safety in harms way for the boots on the ground and they take pride in this.
Someone must be getting their palms greased with $$$ pushing the F35, what's it's track record, A10 is proven aircraft. I wish we would have had these in Vietnam.

I can debate this for hours and have the knowledge and resource to back it up. Unless you walk in someone shoes you shouldn't criticize them.
At least have the balls to submit your name.

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Former soilder February 24, 2014 at 5:37 am

Drones can't see and respond the way an a-10 flying in the weeds can. Single hell fires do not suppress a dug in enemy the way a long blast from a 30mm can and does. I have Watched fast movers miss targets by miles and witnessed drones unable to even find positions firing on us. A-10's and apaches are the only air support worth having in most instances. They have saved my life twice, no hyperbole. No replacment for the slow moving tank killer, especially in low level conflicts we are involved in now.

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Justin Mckay December 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Actually robert do your research 30mm cannot defeat modern Mbts also have you seen the size of the s- 300 missile it will destroy the a-10. Now that being said the a-10 is a beast however due to the current budget situation the air force knows that they cannot maintain the entire fleet and that out of all platforms they have the a-10 is the one that will cost the most to use due to the fact it can only do one thing. It is absolutely disgusting that a whole bunch of old fat civilians can decide what the armed forces can have Congress keeps saying you guys have to cut something. but keep enacting bills that wont allow them to cut any programs like the Ticonderogas there absolutely useless in the future.

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displacedjim January 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm

That's right: High tech is not the answer to everything (regarding CAS)… it's only the answer to most things regarding CAS. As proven over and over and over since 2001. Exactly as LtGen Davis said and implied, an A-10 is the optimal weapon system sometimes, but is no better (and in some ways not as good) than many other CAS platforms (e.g., F-15E/16/18, B-1/52) most of the time.

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BlackOwl18E December 13, 2013 at 7:34 pm

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.

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STemplar December 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm

USAF chief of staff agreed but he did make a valid point in that it is go time for the budget. Now, I'm no fan of the F35 but it isn't going anywhere and they have to find the money. In a perfect world we wouldn't have invested so much in the tacair budget, but we did, and we are stuck with it now.

The only thing I see saving the A-10 at this point would be another conflict. Every Time we have looked to retire it a conflict happened and it shined. A shame we have to keep learning that lesson but it's a fact of life.

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BlackOwl18E December 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm

The F-35 can be cut. There are still ways of reducing the cost of the program without killing it, such as replacing all of the C-model orders with A-models and abandoning development of the carrier variant all together. No one wants the carrier variant, not even the US Navy.

Honestly, the F-35 really should be killed. It is time to cut our losses with this program. The only thing holding it up is a corrupt set of marketing gimmicks and bribes/blackmail. It does nothing well except stealthy deep strike, which, if you'll notice, the Air Force killed the F-117 to give the F-35 a reason for existing. If the USAF built a redesigned and modernized F-117 (a dedicated stealth-attack jet) while bringing back production of the F-22 it would fill all of the capability gaps at a much cheaper cost than the F-35. The Navy could buy Advanced Super Hornets while funding UCLASS and F/A-XX while the Marines could team up with the Brits and Italians to make an upgraded Harrier that is purpose built for their needs.

Continuing with the F-35 program is holding us back and wasting resources that would have been much better spent on rebuilding our infrastructure.

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STemplar December 14, 2013 at 5:09 am

I think you're confusing what can technically be done in our system with the reality of what is being done. It is technically possible tomorrow for Congress to balance the budget. In reality it isn't going to happen,

I don't like a lot of what has gone on with the F35 but the simple reality is that a $400 billion defense program with associated jobs in 40 + states, especially with unemployment at 7% is not going to be cut. It's just the simple political reality.

If the repeated reports slamming its technical shortcomings, poor oversight, and massive cost overruns, weren't enough to cancel it, it's not going to happen.

The biggest detractor in DoD has probably been Greenert who raised some interesting questions, but very quickly followed up generally with how he needs the F35. It is just not going anywhere. I don't like it, you don't like it, but that is the planet we live on.

citanon December 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm

It can't take a modern AAM up the engine exhaust. It's not as low or slow as an Apache, and that gun, while great for tanks, is not the most ideal for CAS.

It's great for morale, but let's face it, is not having it going to jeopardize any military operation we are currently engaged in, or will face in the future? Will it significantly impact our casualty numbers due to its absence?

When the budget calls for choosing between it or the door kicker, or choosing between it or more training, sacrifices have to be made.

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Riceball December 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Neither can an F-16 and neither will an F-35 for that matter. So you're point is? Fact is that the A-10's engine placement is such that its horizontal tails partially shield its engines from IR sensors looking up at the A-10 and it can fly home one with one tail or one engine blown off, can an F-16 or F-35 do that?

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BajaWarrior December 19, 2013 at 1:45 am

Yes, its happened before (F-16 as F-35 is still in test). You can verify if you want.

@M134_Gunner December 16, 2013 at 11:03 am

FYI PRT, there is an entire war that happens outside you flying your remote control plane. STFU.

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tmb2 December 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm

http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/A

PRT, tell us all about how a UAV with a couple missiles is going to save lives.

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Dude11 December 14, 2013 at 12:52 am

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.

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S O December 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm

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.

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 6:04 pm

How does a B1, B2 or B52 survive? They fly into areas where SEAD missions have been completed or have fighter escort.

It's hypocritical to apply a different standard to the A10 than what one applies to others…

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S O December 14, 2013 at 6:43 pm

You don't seem to know what SEAD means.
"S" = suppression.
suppression = temporary
"DEAD" is about Destruction of Enemy Air Defences.
The Kosovo air war showed that DEAD is difficult and not promising if you don't fight against Arabs.

You cannot wait till SEAD has completed its job; the whole point of SEAD is to enable you to do your job as long as SEAD is active.

And B-52s, even B-1Bs would not survive against modern opposition. They're effectively reduced to cruise missile launch platforms in a peer/peer conflict.

Recon Phantom December 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Here is how it is "supposed" to work and has worked for the Marine and Navy for the past 40 years. Ever hear of "armed escorts"? It has been around since WWII for the bombers and consisted of fighters assigned the mission of counter attacks by enemy fighters against bomber aircraft. The Marine Corps and Navy have used this tactic for decades. It is very effective. My background is RF-4B (airborne recon). Whenever we took off from an aircraft carrier, we always had fighter escort as did our A-6, A-7, and earlier A-4 brother aircraft. We were on the deck and they were up high looking for bad guys to take out. Same for land airfield launches. The tactic worked in Nam and still used today.

The Air Force flags are afraid of losing aircraft to enemy ground fire so that keep their F models up high were they are virtually useless to ground troops. Every now than, a brave AF F-15/F-16 pilot will violate the high altitude orders and actually get down in the mud hoping that he never gets a bullet hole in his bird – that would be the tale-tale that he got down in the mud for the CAS mission. Makes Colonels very upset.

For fixed targets like buildings, airfields, etc, using JDAM and other smart weapons where high altitude drops are OK, the F-15/F-16 can be effective. During joint testing, it has been proven that the F-16/F-15 is less effective against ground maneuver targets, especially those dug in, than the A-10. Army infantry will swear by the A-10 and Marine/Navy CAS, but will rarely mention F-16/15s – for good reasons – as noted here!

Marine aviator

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citanon December 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm

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.

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Marc Winger December 14, 2013 at 10:49 am

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.

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Karl December 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm

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

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S O December 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm

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.

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm

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

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S O December 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm

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

tmb2 December 15, 2013 at 1:43 am

"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.

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orly? December 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

Please cite references please.

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

Yes, missiles.

S O December 15, 2013 at 9:49 am

Bullocks.
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 December 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm

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

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Recon Phantom December 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm

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.

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BajaWarrior December 18, 2013 at 1:30 am

So what experience do you have to make that statement?

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Former soldier February 24, 2014 at 6:04 am

I have been supported by f-16's, f-18's, b-52's, harrier's, ac-130, apache's and A-10's. If the enemy is dug in or closer than 50 meters the apaches, specter and A-10 are the only ones that are worth a damn. Trying to talk in a fast mover onto a ground target while being shot at is difficult. You don't have to talk A-10s on, they see where you are getting hammered from. I know that doesn't meen much for arm chair warriors armed with stats and fact sheets, but to me and mine it is the difference life and death on occasion.

Roger Harris December 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm

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.

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Relyn December 16, 2013 at 1:21 am

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.

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F.J. December 16, 2013 at 7:40 am

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.

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Jon Weiss December 16, 2013 at 8:19 am

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.

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Diego Blanchard December 16, 2013 at 10:17 am

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.

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Recon Phantom December 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm

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?).

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FAAQ2 December 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm

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.

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FAAQ2 December 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm

THINKS !

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djsee4 December 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm

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?

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steve December 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm

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?

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George N Roll December 18, 2013 at 10:02 pm

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

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James Proctor December 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm

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

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TheBigPG December 13, 2013 at 7:10 pm

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.

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Nadnerbus December 13, 2013 at 11:50 pm

the good general said they don't need them. They are going to pick off one person at a time like shooting fleas off a dog, and do it all day. With what, who the hell knows? They just know they don't want the A10. What a joke.

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Schlieffen December 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I agree entirely. The paper pushers and scientists always want whats new and
"state of the art", like the sheridan tank that is only 20 tons but fires a 105mm round; thats like giving a toddler a 12 gauge shotgun. They wasted millions of dollars on it to try to make it work and when it finally did, soldiers refused to deploy it because it was hopelessly impractical. Paper pushers want what seems newest and coolest, but the soldiers and smart people know that reliability is the only way to go.

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blight_ December 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm

The airborne was supposed to get the M-8, which seemed like a fun little tank but never got anywhere.

Shellaigh was a 152mm, some bizarro missile or shell hybrid that is more common with the Russians. The M-60 that was supposed to have the Shellaigh didn't work out either, I suspect it was more about the missile system being a failure than anything else.

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Michael Arszulowicz December 14, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Well they have not retired the B-52, That is Fifties tech and is still doing the job. The A-10 is still doing the job and they are paid for ! why pay a gazillion dollars on a jet that is cool and cutting edge but yet the a-10 can do it for the fraction of the cost! make a true attempt to upgrade them and see what still can be done.

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Mr Smith December 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm

While I agree for the most part, the AR-15 should have been scrapped before it ever hit production, so every day it's in service is far beyond what it should ever have gotten.

Literally any other platform would be better for American forces to use. I don't care what it does to our arms industry, we'd be better off if we got our service rifles from Russia or China at this point- the Venezuelan Army has better rifles than the USMC, and the US Army doesn't even have rifles and that's very, very bad.

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S> R. Laker December 16, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Same old same old. The A-1D-J Sky raider proved the slow, low long linger time, high capacity role for the ground support mission. The A-10 is the jet age answer..

S. R. Laker

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Keith Turk Jr. December 17, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Agreed, the A-10 does the job. The Air Force is poor and trying to find money they genuinely need for fighter recapitalization. But we don't want a small fancy air force we want a big one with maximum aircraft. Sequestration has been a nightmare for the military and they need more funding for new aircraft , but we cant let them divest all their stuff to show us that

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Chops December 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I bet the Army and Marine Corp would be more than happy to take them.

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Dino Torres December 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm

the point is, the existing fleet is old. it's going to cost more to keep it in the air. the Air Force has the F-35 that will perform the same function. the P-51 was an excellent tank killer, I didn't hear any one arguing to keep it.

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Jerseyfl December 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm

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.

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BlackOwl18E December 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm

The A-10 has done combat against opponents armed with MANPADS. It has proven it can take more than one hit and still survive.

The F/A-18 has even taken a hit from a MANPAD and still brought the pilot back.

Read the book Hornets Over Kuwait by J.A. Stout, who is a combat experienced Marine Hornet pilot.

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Clint Notestine December 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I saw one near sacramento that took quite a few hits, missing half its wing and tail, and still made it back.

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Jerseyfl December 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Nobody is arguing that the A-10 and many other aircraft in our current inventory can take a helluva beating and still get the crew home safe. Most of the aircraft that get hit that badly wind up getting scrapped or put in a museum in Sacramento. In the early 1990s the standard MANPAD threat we were facing were 1st generation SA-7s that can be spoofed nearly 100% of the time. Looking forward we see the majority of the weapons on the field having better seekers that bring the odds of beating it to a coin toss. Add more powerful warheads an the scrapyard could grow at an unsustainable rate. All I am saying is that aircraft that could take a beating 20 years ago may not be fit for duty a decade from now.

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 3:11 am

That's just ridiculous logic. The F16 or F35 are going to be just as vulnerable as the A10 in a more fragile airframe and please don't say they can deliver precision munitions from standoff. So can the A10 and the A10 carries 16,000 lbs of bombs to the F16's 6,000 lbs.

BlackOwl18E December 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm

If every A-10 saves the lives of a bunch of soldiers and marines in the process of going to the scrapyard then I'd say it's worth it and the air frame did the job.

Lloyd December 16, 2013 at 7:03 pm

the problem is the A10 was designed to survive manpads. the JSF isn't designed to survive a kid with a red rider bb gun shooting at it. in addition the JSF is incapable of even carrying the required ordinance for the role the USAF is trying to put it in. it is incompetence like this that proves why the army doesn't trust the air force.

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RRGED December 13, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Retiring the Warthog would be logistically wrong.

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Mastro December 15, 2013 at 9:20 pm

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.

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hibeam December 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm

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

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dr. horrible December 14, 2013 at 12:26 am

huh?

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hibeam December 14, 2013 at 12:36 am

Sarcasm. Our Air Force generals know 10,000 times better how to run an air force than the pin head civilians who tell them how to do it. Its all about keeping jobs in their districts. Pitiful and shameful.

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Sal December 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm

You know that your super smart generals have hated the A-10 since day 1, right? If this was really about money, they'd have no problem with giving them to the Army or Marines. Of course just mentioning that makes USAF scream KEY WEST! while frothing at the mouth.

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whoszat December 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Unfamilar with the USAF leadership's LONG seated disdain for close air support 'eh?

They hate the job, they hate making their pilots fly the job, they hate the planes the pilots fly.

It's a snobbery thing.

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Maj Blaisdell December 13, 2013 at 9:37 pm

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

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Wygram December 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm

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.

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ANG_Ram December 15, 2013 at 8:35 pm

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.

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Randomgroundguy December 17, 2013 at 8:39 am

Like the F-22 is flawless? What about the tail problems it is having? When has it deployed in support of troops? And like the F-35 is going to be any better. What is missing in the discussions in loiter, 15 minutes for an F-16 to 45 minutes for and A-10. Understand the issues with costs of maintenance. The Joint Fires agreement mandates that the AF provide systems to support Army gound troops. The A-10 is the best platform. Or just transfer them to the Army like they were considering in 1999.

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Randomflyguy December 17, 2013 at 10:19 am

Dude, never go full retard. I never one mentioned F-22. You're pulling for strings and making arguements against thin air.

15 minutes loiter time? You're crazy dude. I've seen F16's loiter for an hour. It's all moot, there are always tankers overhead, and they can hit that pretty quick. toss in a F15, and the amount of munitions they can hold (which is alot higher than the 16, those fuckers have a ton of thrust), and far more advanced weapons, and they have more loiter time due to external tanks.

The SECDEF just publicly stated how 22's are already deployed in the AOR. They aren't really an air to ground asset though.

I'm all for booting up the factory and making some new A-10's, I just don't know if thats possible/legal. It needs an overhaul, and 40 years later, maybe there's a more powerful and fuel efficient engine to toss on that thing, so it can hold more gas/weapons.

Riceball December 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm

While that's true it's also ignoring the fact that the A-10 fleet underwent a SLEP not that long ago designed to keep them flying for years to come. Part of that SLEP were new wing boxes to replace the old ones, sort of like how they've been keeping the B-52s flying despite the newest having rolled off of the production line decades ago.

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Sal December 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm

All A-10s just got brand new wing boxes. Structurally speaking they're fine.

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Lee Robbins December 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Good Solution.

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Lee Robbins December 21, 2013 at 9:27 pm

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

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Big-Dean December 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm

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

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ANG_Ram December 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Thank you for your worthless contribution to the debate

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Sal December 17, 2013 at 9:37 pm

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.

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David Page December 18, 2013 at 1:46 am

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.

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Maj Blaisdell December 13, 2013 at 9:43 pm

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.

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Mike H. December 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

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…

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Andy Huy December 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm

The USAF primary mission is bombing not CAS.

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Randomgroundguy December 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

"The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win…in air, space and cyberspace." Where does it say the primary mission of the AF is bombing?

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Sal December 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm

In his defense, the USAF's primary mission back in the early days was strategic bombing. That has obviously changed, but the role is still one of the USAF's core capabilities.

Keith Turk Jr. December 18, 2013 at 12:10 am

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.

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John Dierking December 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm

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.

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Eds December 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm

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

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

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Kevin V. December 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm

F-35… 207m per jet., not sure if this includes the weapons or electronice (as per FY2012 budget) http://comptroller.defense.gov/defbudget/fy2012/F
.
A-10… 11.8m per jet (assuming built new not rebuilt from the boneyard)
.

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MM2(ss) December 15, 2013 at 7:51 pm
bart December 14, 2013 at 8:17 am

not just the capital cost but the cost per flying hour. The A-10 has to be cheaper to fly than the F-35.

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Gary Gudlunus December 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I am interested in the cost of the munitions. How many 30mm rounds does it take to neutralize an individual and how much does each round cost? Several people?
How does a B-52, F-35, F-16 neutralize the same individual or several? How much is one hellfire or mini-rocket? How much does it cost to send a B-52, B-1, F-35,16, to get to a location and hover.., just in case? The Apaches are much the same as the A-10, but with less survivability. Lets not forget that the A-10 and Apaches were designed originally to participate in a ground war in Europe against Tanks and personnel. They did one hell of a job in Desert Storm, the Gulf War and Iraq. They are very versatile and are incredible in the gulleys, crevices and caves of Afghanistan. They are also much less likely to wipe out a wedding party, then something flying at 40,000 ft. or even 5,000.
I would elect to maintain the A-10 because of its proven versatility, probable lower cost of hovering and expenditure of 30mm rounds to defeat small groups, crawling amongst gullies and boulders that can't be visualized by high flying jets. G.

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 6:18 pm

While you're at it consider that CAS is done in close proximity of troops and 500lb bombs can't be delivered closer than 500m from friendly troops. Cannon can be delivered up to 50m from friendlies.

Also consider when troops NEED CAS MOST they usually can't back away from the enemy because of the intensity of the fire or they are surrounded.

You (and the Air Force) are demonstrating a significant lack of knowledge about the realities of CAS.

Be sure to toss in the cost of paying off life insurance policies… The Air Force seems to forget these since they don't write the letters either…

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Michael Arszulowicz December 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm

A-10 paid for! F-35 way more then we can spend right now!

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stetsonman123 December 17, 2013 at 5:04 pm

The F-35 was designed to replace aircraft like the F-16 and Navy's FA-18. This isn't a new concept at all. The F-111 was originally designed to be a Navy jet as well as an AF jet. However, the Navy quickly fell disenchanted with the F-111 and adopted the F-4 instead. Then the AF realized that the F-4 was a much better plane than aircraft like the F-100, F-101, F-102, F-104, F-105 and so forth. Having a single plane for multiple branches makes sense from a cost and logistical stand point. It's a single airframe and parts instead of whole entire logistical networks.

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Mr Justin December 19, 2013 at 6:46 am

So use the Super Hornet for AF work then using your logic.

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Justin Young January 25, 2014 at 2:12 pm

The A-10 is free. The loan has been paid back. Just doing updates on the aircraft. The Air Force is still figureing out the final bill on the F-35.

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Jerry December 13, 2013 at 9:51 pm

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.

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Bernard December 13, 2013 at 10:00 pm

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

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Bernard December 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Stupid autocomplete, F-35 not fox.

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asdfghjkl; December 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm

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

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Randomflyguy December 15, 2013 at 8:38 pm

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

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Guest December 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm

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.

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Tony December 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm

"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."

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm

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.

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Anti-Rod December 16, 2013 at 1:59 am

So to save money, can the Army!

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Fordownr December 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm

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.

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bljphx December 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm

699 Apaches

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HardwareFreak February 24, 2014 at 10:15 am

"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.

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Lee croissant March 2, 2014 at 7:37 pm

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.

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Jack December 13, 2013 at 9:57 pm

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.

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RWB123 December 13, 2013 at 10:41 pm

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

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Nadnerbus December 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm

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.

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Guest December 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm

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.

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Big-Dean December 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm

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

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Randomflyguy December 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm

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.

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majr0d December 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm

It's not just about the gun which is the ONLY weapon you can use up to 50m from friendly troops. Min. distance for a Mk82 500lb is about 500m so there's a very important 450m the Air Force can't touch.

The A10 also carries three times the bomb load of an F16.

Finally, the Army and Marines can rest assured the Air Force will do CAS with the A10 when it needs it. It won't be tasked with other missions. If providing CAS is too dangerous, expensive or bothersome let the Army have the A10's or allow it to build its own CAS aircraft. Problem solved!

(but we know that's not really the problem…)

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shipfixr December 16, 2013 at 11:15 am

Actually, the first viable replacement aircraft for the A-10 just made it's 1st flight……..but, if the AF can't afford the Warthog, how will it afford it's replacement?

BajaWarrior December 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Are you trying to say Min Safe Distance? If so your numbers are way off. I get your point, but its not terribly valid.

Randomflyguy December 17, 2013 at 10:44 am

Dude, they have smaller bombs than the 500lb bomb anymore. And they can all be carried by the B1

Guest December 16, 2013 at 8:44 am

That gun is what kept western Europe from adopting Russian as a first language. This is according to former KGB/Russian military

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blight_ December 16, 2013 at 11:45 am

What kept the west free was NATO, nukes and a fully re-armed West Germany. Attributing it to any one golden BB procured in the '80s after several decades of the Cold War is taking it a little too far.

John Dierking December 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm

offer it to the USMC,too.

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jamesb December 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm

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…

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Jerry December 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm

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…..

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RWB123 December 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Given the chance the Army would most certainly take the A-10. It's been on the Army wish list for decades. If the Army had to pick between finally being given control of one of the deadliest weapons ever operated and project X – X would be out the door in a heart beat.

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CrewDog December 14, 2013 at 7:35 am

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!

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Big-Dean December 14, 2013 at 5:35 pm

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?

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Keith Turk Jr. January 13, 2014 at 9:57 pm

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.

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thethederg December 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Finally someone knows how to think.

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James December 16, 2013 at 3:17 am

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!

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shipfixr December 16, 2013 at 11:16 am

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

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Randomflyguy December 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

The A-10 isn't a fast mover. That thing moves slow as hell.

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tmb2 December 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm

"fast mover" means pretty much any airplane with a jet engine.

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Don Gillaspie December 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

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.

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Keith Turk Jr. January 13, 2014 at 10:07 pm

LOL, A-10 is great but with only 3-6 spots on the wasp class USMC needs the F-35B whether they know it or not.
USMC is a forceful entry force. I would not want to encounter a SU-27 in a A-10. Harrier isn't a lot better but it has a radar and missiles to shoot back, and they are getting replaced with F-35B.

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Jerry December 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm

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.

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 6:22 pm

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…

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d. kellogg December 16, 2013 at 7:39 am

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?"

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Keith Turk Jr. January 13, 2014 at 10:20 pm

whats his name who says "close air support is not hovering with a gun anymore" is a total idiot. He's basing is strategy of statistics listed on platforms like a stack of baseball cards.
Ask any ground pounder if he wants a 30 mm machine gun on his close air support aircraft and see what he says. I say let the ground troops vote win for CAS and let the air force boys pick out their fighter planes….except the one that said that nonsense… hes an idiot. LOL how'd he make it to Lt. general again? What a moron.

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disGRUNTled December 13, 2013 at 10:58 pm

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.

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DcoachJP December 14, 2013 at 7:05 am

Ooh-Rah. Well Stated!

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S O December 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Said grunts don't think about modern air defences which A-10s may face in the next conflict.

Afghan goat herders with 14.5 mm don't count as battlefield air defence.

Besides; who cares about grunts' opinions? What makes them experts on what will work in future conflicts in air warfare?

They want a certain effect in a certain timeliness. OK. That's how far their professionally acquired expertise goes and not a step farther.

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John Panzarella December 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm

We are here and now. Not in the future yet. We still have boots on the ground that
Depend on A-10s.

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm

"Besides; who cares about grunts' opinions?" Funny, the Army didn't obstruct Air Force efforts to obtain armored vehicles…

Classic Air Force attitude. They don't write the letters home either…

Give the Army the fixed wing CAS mission and be done with it.

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STemplar December 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Amen. I'm sure the Army would happily skip some elements of their aircraft development if they got the A10s/

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S O December 15, 2013 at 9:56 am

Wow, you're arrogant guy. And entirely wrong. Everybody has the right to 'speak' here.
But you seem to be one of the simple-minded folks who think they can deny the right of freedom of speech to others.

And yes, I don't care about a grunt's recommendation for how to do the job of CAS. The only professionally qualified opinion of his on CAS is about which effects at which timeliness and precision are desirable.

Then it's air power's decision how to pull that off and whether it's a wise allocation of resources in a world of scarcity.
Grunts don't get to design aircraft or to allocate air force resources. They have no special qualification for that.

Besides, you're delusional if you think whole DoD is serving infantry. Infantry are but a small piece in a large machine. Wars can be prevented or won with few or poor infantry.

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majr0d December 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm

"Grunts don't get to design aircraft or to allocate air force resources. They have no special qualification for that." Uh, the Marines disagree with you and they are the standard when it comes to CAS. There's a lesson the Army could learn there (as well as the Air Force).

Your hubris is stupefying. Keep talking. You are illuminating the problem better than most here.

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Randomflyguy December 15, 2013 at 8:44 pm

When's the last time you called in close air support? Have you seen the munitions that are being dropped from drones and f-16's overseas?

I JUST saw some of the firepower that some of the fast movers had, and it's pretty impressive

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disGRUNTled December 16, 2013 at 9:55 am

I have seen various CAS, from fast movers at 20+ angels down to a mixed section of skids buzzing the deck, and the Reapers from their ominous punch. This is what I have realized:

It takes a hell of a lot more parties involved, information to find, and overall time burned, to have targets greenlit for the zoomies and reapers. Way too damn long to be considered CAS as mission specifies. We call in JDAMs on targets to be destroyed as we sit in a cordon waiting, not for CAS missions.

Reapers hit the wrong target more than once, JDAMs took forever to clear, and rotor wing was always dependable and came down into the fight with us. That is what matters, who is there on time and on target and can loiter for some time.

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Randomflyguy December 17, 2013 at 10:41 am

We doubled the number of ALO/TACP guys in the area just for calling in better support. The B1 can carry all those new small diameter munitions that the A-10 and other small aircraft can carry.

Those combined with preds can pretty much run anyones day.

I'm not saying retiring the A-10 is the answer. I think its a great platform for this current war. But the one after this? It may be a giant turd for awhile.

Also, would you rather have a C130 gunship overhead? Or an A-10?

Nadnerbus December 14, 2013 at 12:00 am

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.

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William_C1 December 14, 2013 at 2:19 am

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

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Nadnerbus December 14, 2013 at 2:34 am

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.

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blight_ December 18, 2013 at 11:59 am

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.

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Keith Turk Jr. December 18, 2013 at 12:16 am

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

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guest December 18, 2013 at 1:04 am

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.

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Nadnerbus December 18, 2013 at 1:40 am

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.

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blight_ December 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm

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

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seniorchief08 December 19, 2013 at 12:18 am

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!

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Nadnerbus December 19, 2013 at 2:16 am

Forward stationing a few Spruances, with all the armament you mentioned, not to mention their ASW capability, would have been far more of a statement towards the Asia Pivot then the perpetually broken and pier-side LCS Freedom.

I can sort of understand retiring good ships early to free up money for the next great thing, if they at least keep them mothballed in a high state of readiness for "just in case." Scrapping and literally sinking them all just seemed criminal though.

Nadnerbus December 14, 2013 at 3:23 am

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?

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 3:29 am

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.

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Red Dawg December 14, 2013 at 7:39 am

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

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm

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: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/242279654927410975/

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Mastro December 15, 2013 at 9:25 pm

If you want gun straffing- call in a gunship or a helo.

Yes- the A10 is better than the F16 at straffing- but its not enough to keep them in service.

We have to cut something- and we know its not the F35

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majr0d December 15, 2013 at 10:33 pm

It also carries almost triple the bomb load. If we have the Army/Marine gunships doing the CAS they should also have the mission/funding. If you'll finally admit you don't want to to do it let the Army have the A10 or develop a replacement..

Cut something? Start with the five star BOQ and BEQs. Make deployments equal to the other services like the Marines (7 mo) or the Army (9 mo, down from 12 & 15). That's a lot less movement of troops. The Air Force has the heaviest officer to enlisted ratio of all the services. It requires officers fly drones where other services allow enlisted men or warrants to do the same duties.

Mark Patterson December 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm

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.

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Scott December 19, 2013 at 8:36 am

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

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majr0d December 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm

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: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/242279654927410975/

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crew dog December 14, 2013 at 7:30 am

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!

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kent December 14, 2013 at 7:46 am

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…..

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joey December 14, 2013 at 8:45 am

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

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Hialpha December 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm

"never get involved in a land war in Asia"
-perfect!

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Phillip Faulkner December 15, 2013 at 1:21 am

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.

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tmb2 December 15, 2013 at 1:51 am

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.

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Chuckiechan Chan December 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm

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!

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Sal December 17, 2013 at 9:50 pm

You must be one of those people who think it's a good idea to start a war every decade or so just for the hell of it.

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Hunter76 December 14, 2013 at 8:54 am

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..

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm

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.

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Mark Patterson December 17, 2013 at 8:06 pm

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.

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blight_ December 14, 2013 at 9:10 am

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.

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Randomflyguy December 15, 2013 at 8:50 pm

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.

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blight_ December 15, 2013 at 9:20 pm

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

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J.Cross December 16, 2013 at 2:57 am

If I'm not mistaken, Boeing has already begun building new wings for the entire fleet, and most of the systems were upgraded under the -10C moniker. The engine and gun are still old designs, but are also both still in production.

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Randomflyguy December 17, 2013 at 10:22 am

The whole plane needs replaced imo. Put it back in production, and upgrade everything.

Hialpha December 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Sharks with fricken laser beams.

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Sam December 16, 2013 at 9:54 am

thats what i'm talking bout!!!

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Steve December 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm

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.

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RobD December 16, 2013 at 1:57 am

It works in North Korea…

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Alaska Dad December 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Well said.

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Sev December 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

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.

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Don't forget 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 and bombers have no cannons.

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STemplar December 14, 2013 at 8:33 pm

No, it actually isn't reasonable because in discussion about tactical precision munitions many don 't even use GPS. There are a host of options for guidance. In addition as maj0d has pointed out the radius of destruction of some of these weapons is considerable. We want within 6 feet when we are whacking jihadis in an urban environment. In a major engagement hitting a target area with large weapons need not be all that accurate. A JSOW dispenser raining anti armor bomblets is going to ruin a mech BNs day.

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djsee4 December 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

This isn't Area 51. If you read the Scientific American article I did on that subject you'd agree that I do. The tech race has wasted more money than the Olympics. Even NASA blasts flames at us when they take off. Save the humanity. Remember that submarines make great satellites? The Russians may not have invented that. However, the hunt for Red Oktobre continues.

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Big-Dean December 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm

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

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retired462 December 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

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

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Michael Shatto December 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm

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.

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Tad December 14, 2013 at 7:28 pm

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!

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Capt B. December 14, 2013 at 8:49 pm

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.

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Ranger Rick December 14, 2013 at 9:03 pm

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.

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Tom Billings December 14, 2013 at 11:04 pm

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?

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Tom Billings December 14, 2013 at 11:21 pm

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

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Big-B December 16, 2013 at 11:41 am

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

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Pat Patterson December 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm

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.

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Tom Billings December 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm

"I think all the fancy types of armor will always be too expensive."

Perhaps not in this case. The exfoliation processes for the getting the graphene flakes are not at all complex. In addition, there are at least 3 separate ways to make the Titanium/Nano-platelet composite, that I can think of.

"Lasers require large amounts of power "…

Which is why I think using high efficiency MHD, powered for each shot by chemical rounds similar in propellant size to the current 30mm round, would be appropriate as a laser power source.

"beams are susceptible to degradation under many atmospheric conditions, including the most powerful lasers we have now."

It is far less a matter of power than a matter of managing the distortions through selecting different wavelengths for different ambient conditions (the lasing media themselves are light, and can be multiple in the same system) and using fast "Starfire" type optical systems, while guiding more than one beam to the same target. Instead of just a nose turret below the LANTIRN, divide laser light between ones on the wingtips and tail as well. Most of them will bear on most targets, most of the time. The division of power into separate path lengths will cut distortion problems from blooming almost as much as q-switched pulses will.

"there's the time factor to hold the beam on target to get the desired damage."

At the pulsed power levels possible for a laser with an average power of 100KW, that time should be microseconds to miliseconds, with damage mechanisms concentrated in the mechanical reaction from the expanding shockwave of the plasma vaporized from the surface, which plasma would never amount to 1 percent of the target mass, …much like the mass of the 30mm rounds of today, that can only go in the direction the plane is pointed.

"I think the range of laser target are too limited for close air support planes."

20Km is too short a range???? If you need to get closer, alongside the new armor, …well, …see that point about harbors, ships, and what they are made for.

"You're not going to take out tanks or structures with lasers."

Not in the first generation weapon that has only 100KW lasers, …but that just means you convert only fraction X of the Hog fleet to lasers, leaving the rest to do the traditional jobs. In the second generation lasers of >1 Megawatt average power, on the particular vehicle, manned or unmanned that finally succeeds the A-10, benefiting from the combat demo done by the A-10s in their last years, that can be dealt with.

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Big-B December 17, 2013 at 9:06 am

Phew phew…

Sorry couldnt resist

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Mike M December 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm
Donald H December 15, 2013 at 7:16 am

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

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Hefe December 15, 2013 at 9:41 am

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.

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Sal December 17, 2013 at 9:55 pm

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.

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retired462 December 15, 2013 at 10:27 am

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!

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RRGED December 15, 2013 at 11:10 am

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

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Mike December 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm

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

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JR2015 December 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm
JR2015 December 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm
Les December 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm

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.

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Jimmie December 15, 2013 at 4:46 pm
daMaestro December 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm

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.

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Nick H December 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm

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.

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Big-B December 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm

it seems too many people "ignore " these well known facts. i wonder why…

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Randomflyguy December 17, 2013 at 10:24 am

Those JDAM's are carried in B1's now. They can accommodate all the bombs that are designed to not explode as much, to protect ground troops.

No gun though :(

I love the A-10, but it's one war away from being completely useless with the proliferation of modern day portable anti air systems. They don't maneuver fast enough to get away. I don't know what the real answer is to the problem, but as long as we're in Afghan, I agree 100% they need to be there.

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John Dierking December 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I was with ANGLICO for ten years and the USMC loved the A-10 when we could get it.

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Haven Works December 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm

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?

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Randomflyguy December 17, 2013 at 10:26 am

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

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Riceball December 17, 2013 at 2:37 pm

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.

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blight_ December 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm

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

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orly? December 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm

May common sense prevail.

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Ken February 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm

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.

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John A December 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm

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…

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Be2012 December 15, 2013 at 8:14 pm

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.

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Aussie Digger December 15, 2013 at 10:52 pm

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.

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Matt Derr December 16, 2013 at 3:21 am

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.

Also:
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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35

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Mark Varry December 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm

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.

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Riceball December 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm

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.

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Auyong Ah Meng December 16, 2013 at 1:55 am

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

hmm.

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Mark Varry December 23, 2013 at 2:03 pm

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.

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Auyong Ah Meng December 16, 2013 at 1:58 am

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

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

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

hmm.

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Auyong Ah Meng December 16, 2013 at 2:01 am

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

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

zzz

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Jerrod Garrett December 16, 2013 at 2:10 am

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 ;)

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scott December 16, 2013 at 7:30 am

i wouldn't want to get hit by it

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Jacob December 16, 2013 at 2:22 am
Vsshooter December 16, 2013 at 8:24 am

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.

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Vitsing December 16, 2013 at 8:47 am

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!!!

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bull manure December 16, 2013 at 9:05 am

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.

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blight_ December 16, 2013 at 11:50 am

A-10 was designed post-Vietnam based on lessons learned against an enemy that didn't really deck out with proper air defense until the Americans left.

If we'd still been on the ground after Easter Offensive and Russian SAMs against CAS (and not just defending targets in the north from zoomies) the A-10 might look totally different today.

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Toad December 16, 2013 at 9:43 am

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.)

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Randomflyguy December 17, 2013 at 10:31 am

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.

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bull manure December 19, 2013 at 9:28 am

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

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displacedjim January 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm

"now days" and "pilots"? Try "since always" and "all services".

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F. Andrews December 16, 2013 at 10:01 am

Sure wish I had as many lives as the A10.

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TonyC. December 16, 2013 at 10:02 am

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.

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beenthere December 16, 2013 at 10:50 am

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.

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Randomflyguy December 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

Are you really stupid enough to believe they would fly the aircraft from Barksdale to Afghanistan for a mission? You know, and ignore every major air base we have in the region, that all easily can accommodate a B-52. Those A-10's have to be flown over from the US, they are rotated in all the time. They also require a ton of tanker support to get there.

Second, cluster bombs are illegal. Those aren't being used.

Third, most bombers can fit every bomb the A-10 has. The B1 for sure can.

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beenthere December 16, 2013 at 11:39 am

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

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

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djsee4 December 16, 2013 at 11:45 am

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?

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Pat Patterson December 16, 2013 at 11:46 am

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.

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chaos0xomega December 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm

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.

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Lance December 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm

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.

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guest December 16, 2013 at 7:55 pm

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

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Riceball December 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

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.

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G Te December 17, 2013 at 12:36 am

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.

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retired462 December 17, 2013 at 8:11 am

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

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rmarsett December 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

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.

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Phosgood December 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

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

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Sean M. December 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

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.

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ospreydriver December 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm

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.

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Jay D Levine December 18, 2013 at 9:56 am

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,

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Steve D. December 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm

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.

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angler22f December 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm

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.

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Brad Ferguson December 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm

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.

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Riceball December 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm

While I understand & agree with the general sentiment of your comment I do have to disagree with you somewhat on the Harrier bit. You really can't compare a Harrier to an A-10 in tank busting dept., the A-10 was designed from the ground up as a tank buster while the Marine Corps version of the Harrier was designed as general CAS aircraft with only minor tank busting capabilities as in it can do it if it can drop a bomb right on top of one.

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Steve Dixon December 19, 2013 at 6:05 am

Well said Brad. I've never understood how using a Hellfire to kill a couple of Taliban (in the open o could be allowed – let alone justified. Maybe the spectacular scattering of human pieces with a bright, loud kaboom justifies it.?….

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GMan December 19, 2013 at 3:15 am

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.

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Gary Braden December 19, 2013 at 5:01 am

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.

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Steve Dixon December 19, 2013 at 5:57 am

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

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Mr Justin December 19, 2013 at 6:53 am

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.

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Mark, E8, retired December 19, 2013 at 8:54 am

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).

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CaptainDoc December 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

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.

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inside man December 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

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

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Old Guy December 19, 2013 at 11:41 am

The National Guard could probably find funding for the A10.

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Really? December 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

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.

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Rob C. December 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm

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.

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Jerry Mainer December 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm

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!!!?

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Max December 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

"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

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The Bruce December 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm

"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.

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Glenn December 19, 2013 at 11:28 pm

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.

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ospreydriver December 20, 2013 at 8:39 am

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

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Comment 333 December 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm

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

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Chuck December 22, 2013 at 9:48 am

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.

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IronV December 22, 2013 at 11:44 pm

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?

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Owe Faver December 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

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.

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gt350 December 28, 2013 at 1:56 am

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.

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R.Speer January 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm

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

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a-10 warthogs January 28, 2014 at 10:10 am

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

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Rob February 11, 2014 at 5:36 am

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?

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Gordon Olayvar February 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm

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…

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tiger March 3, 2014 at 9:54 pm

You assume the infantry is going some place. After 12 years of war, Nobody in DC wants to send them on any extended missions, Thus the cut of 6 combat teams. If they are staying home, they do not need a A-10.

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jawhawk February 27, 2014 at 8:39 am

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

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Railgunner52 February 28, 2014 at 7:44 pm

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.

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JohnBigbutay March 2, 2014 at 12:00 am

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

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

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

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

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steve March 3, 2014 at 8:32 pm

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

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M Ferguson March 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm

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

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Tiger March 23, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Answer? Not a damn thing….

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Tiger March 23, 2014 at 1:57 pm

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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us air heating and cooling March 25, 2014 at 1:26 am

Beneficial postings Thanks a lot!

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Clint Notestine December 14, 2013 at 10:34 am

I cant see a f-16 or f-35 ever getting low and slow like an a-10 let alone surviving any kind of hit other than small arms like the a-10 can. It would be like reverting back to humvees from MRAPs.

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BajaWarrior December 16, 2013 at 9:57 pm

You can verify with some simple physics, but yes, the F-16 can throw a bomb a lot further than an A-10. So yes, other fighters can have a further standoff range,

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BlackOwl18E December 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

And you're thinking too small. No one said the F-22 would get cancelled, but that did happen despite it having jobs spread out to every district and Lockheed bribing congressmen and senators.

There is tension from all of our allies in this program because the price is too high for them as well. A lot of them want out and are trying to figure out a way to leave the program.

However, you brought up the big question. The knot in the JSF program is all those jobs promises and production agreements. Once they figure out how to undo all of those this program will be killed in it tracks.

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STemplar December 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

The F22 was different for one very distinct reason you leave out, the President had his SecDef call for its truncation. That's a pretty big distinct difference. No one in the WH, the DoD, or the Pentagon is actively trying to kill the program. There are people that make noises about how its costs and performance are an issue, but no is lifting a finger to stop it.

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STemplar December 14, 2013 at 11:22 am

Meant to say in Congress along with the WH and DoD.

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BlackOwl18E December 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm

There is talk about killing it. It's just behind closed doors. The very idea of killing it is politically sensitive right now because of all the promised jobs and work on it.

USAF Chief of Staff General Welsh just yesterday said, "I don't believe this is a good time to talk about truncating the buy — capping it at some number… I think that will put the program at risk of financially costing us even more.”

He knows there is talk about killing it or significantly cutting it. It's so expensive that it's come into conflict with other things that are a priority of the administration, things like Obamacare. The plane is just not affordable and everyone knows that there is no way we will ever be able to make over 2,000 of them. We might not even be able to make 500. The only thing right now is that no one wants to put out a new estimated number.

Bottom line, cuts are inevitable and once they find a way to negotiate around all of the empty promises Lockheed made, killing it completely is not far off.

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Think about what you're saying.

You may not see the F16 or F35 get as low because they have less than half the cannon rounds which are exponentially smaller and they are more vulnerable to sir defense. Not being able to do the mission or cutting out major portions of the mission doesn't make the plane better!

HMMWV's and MRAPS go to the fight where ever it is. A Ferrari ir better than either if it never gets close to the fight and the IED that's near it.

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BajaWarrior December 16, 2013 at 9:58 pm

F-16 go low when requested, just ask some of the grunts that have been to Afghanistan.

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm

LOL, I've planned and conducted more Air Assaults with SEAD annexes than I care to remember.

The point is the A10 doesn't fight alone.

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majr0d December 14, 2013 at 7:25 pm

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.

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T Overson December 14, 2013 at 10:17 pm

In your previous comment, you suggested that the reiteration of "Endurance over targets" was the main claim of all posts related to keeping and maintaining the A-10C. I gave you more than that as an argument and you choose to return there. This is okay with me. I just feel it necessary to point out.

The CAP support would still have to be present to allow F-16's to continue a CAS mission if air threats were present, since they have a limited (moreso than the A-10C) armament capability which limits their payload for mixed munitions. If left to defend themselves, they would have to jettison not only all their AG munitions, but their external tanks as well to stand a chance in a stand up fight against air threats. This means that the original mission must be abandoned with possible UXO's in the dirt that can be recovered by the enemy. The A-10C's would just continue the fight until the objective is complete or bug out if the CAP couldn't defeat the air Without leaving any possible unexploded ordinance behind. So your argument that the CAP is unneeded, to me, doesn't make sense.
As for standoff ranges, the point I was making was not that the A-10C is unique in its ability to engage from a standoff position, I was pointing out that it could do that As Well as true CAS up close and personal. That's what is unique about the A-10C. It does all the AG work as other platforms, while also having the ability to provide true Close Air Support. Add to this the much larger munition capacity in one flight, and you have a weapons platform that is tougher and more versatile than any fighter that's been adapted to an attack role. As far as the suggestion of a 20mm gun run from the F-16C vs. a 30mm gun run from the A-10C being equivalent, perhaps you should recheck your facts. Not only does the 30mm do more damage per bullet, but the A-10C boasts three different types of ammunition designed specifically for killing armor and infantry, or decimating fortified structures. Also, the A-10C, being slower and designed for Attack roles, has the advantage of better precision and time on target compared to the boom and zoom F-16C.

"In the face of capable hostiles" – As for this quote, we wouldn't be sending in armor and infantry unless absolutely necessary without air superiority, let alone full blown CAS missions. If anything, we would be sending our troops in to kill the AAA and SAM sites for our air, as well as utilizing precision SEAD and DEAD strikes to allow for our air power to move in and permanently neutralize the threat. So that argument is out as well.

Finally, consider this, the A-10C can land and take off from short dirt airstrips. It can insert with travel pods carrying ammunition for ground troops, it can fly out from FOB's that aren't fully established with asphalt or concrete runways, and deliver faster response to enemy engagements, while cutting on fuel costs and time for KC-135's and the like to float about for hours to refuel more fuel inefficient fighters that can burn through as much fuel as the A-10C in less than half the time. The F-16 would suck up one pebble and the engine would be toast.

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@M134_Gunner December 16, 2013 at 10:58 am

The A-10 can and has done those attack runs in the face of ground. Put an F-35 in the air and no combatant commander will risk it for CAS. It just won't happen. It is too expensive to do the job. They won't allow it to enter an enemy WEZ.

Once again, the air war will be 40 miles ahead of the troops/A10s. The CAP will fly regardless of the A-10s presence.

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orly? December 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

"'In the face of capable hostiles' – As for this quote, we wouldn't be sending in armor and infantry unless absolutely necessary without air superiority, let alone full blown CAS missions. If anything, we would be sending our troops in to kill the AAA and SAM sites for our air, as well as utilizing precision SEAD and DEAD strikes to allow for our air power to move in and permanently neutralize the threat. So that argument is out as well."

The Pacific is vastly a different place than Europe.

Usually you have to either bring in troops either by air facing modern AAA, or by sea facing modern missiles.

At least by sea, they aren't completely defenseless. But if they're doing that, A10s more than likely will not be in the battle.

Again, naval warfare is quite different than land warfare.

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orly? December 15, 2013 at 9:24 am

Any with a peer Opfor with active AWACS and thousands of MiGs to supplement them, while having several hundred miles of ocean to cross?

Whatever you say majr0d, I am very skeptical of the ability for air transports OR A10s penetrating any ADIZ in Asia unless there is already an airbattle actively occuring.

In which case, more than likely, every MiG ever made by China is already in the air.

I can only see Korea as the prime use of the A10 (which it would really excel, but only in ideal scenarios).

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S O December 15, 2013 at 9:45 am

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.

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tmb2 December 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm

http://www.cradleofaviation.org/history/aircraft/http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/gao/nsiad9713http://2951clss-gulfwar.com/statistics.htm http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/gulf/appe

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.

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majr0d December 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm

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: http://warthognews.blogspot.com/2011/06/from-archhttp://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/Stories1/00http://www.2951clss-gulfwar.com/abdr-home.htm

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@M134_Gunner December 16, 2013 at 11:49 am

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.

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T Overson December 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Naval warfare is absolutely different from land warfare. Thus carrier specific aircraft, submarines, battleships, and, you know, an entire Naval branch of the United States military. The A-10C wouldn't be the only disadvantaged bird in a naval fight. If a naval war is ample excuse to ground the A-10, then it's time to ground the F-15C and E, F-16C, and any non carrier aircraft we have. Besides, the A-10C, just like any other aircraft, can refuel in flight. So range is not a huge factor with tankers in the air.

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majr0d December 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Why would A10's be in the ADIZ? Are they helping Marines repel Chinese boarders?

Only Korea? Are the last two decades a figment of our imagination? Are you capable of seeing every potential conflict out there for instance a war or skirmish (Bosnia/Kosovo ring a bell?) with a near peer or even 2nd rate power?

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majr0d December 15, 2013 at 4:08 pm

S.O. Your opinion trumps multiple independent sources?

You're right, Bullocks.

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Guest December 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Hmmm…tell that to the expensively, highly trained pilot who flew that damaged aircraft, as well as the CSAR teams that didn't have to risk their lives to save him if was shot down….

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orly? December 15, 2013 at 8:26 pm

What is the range for these aircraft?

What is the speed of these aircraft?

How agile is an A10 when facing MiGs?

How far is the nearest friendly airbase to refuel/REARM?

How much CAP would you need to guard these airtankers?

In the Pacific, there isn't many choices.

But at least with carriers, you simplify those logistics.

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T Overson December 15, 2013 at 10:45 pm

So these questions I thought you already knew given your apparent knowledge of advantages and disadvantages of particular airframes is something you can pick up by simply doing some of your own research.

Unfortunately, I can't understand how exactly these apply to the discussion as my last comment stated clearly that the Navy is there for just this purpose. The Naval power we currently have is specifically designed for open combat in the oceanic environment. We also have land based airfields present in the Pacific for just the purpose of supporting Naval advances. I don't see how this directly applies to the A-10's being obsolete though. I think we should let the Naval theatre stay with the Navy, and not try to fix something that isn't broken.

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BajaWarrior December 16, 2013 at 1:53 am

T Overson, I'd have disagree with you. Speed does equal one thing the Hog can never really achieve, bomb range. Is the Hog awesome, yes. Can the Hog do everything, no. But please stop dreaming that the Hog is the end all be all because it isn't. Threats to aircraft are increasing, not decreasing, meaning that low and slow are only good for permissive environments. And SEAD/DEAD is an ongoing mission that never truly ends.

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orly? December 16, 2013 at 8:34 pm

"We also have land based airfields present in the Pacific for just the purpose of supporting Naval advances." – T Overson

From what I'm seeing, not many and not in ideal positions.

I also do not see A10s arriving in time from their current position to assist much in any fight except with Korea unless either through prepositioning (just how many friendly airbases do you see in Asia I wonder?), or by a captured/new airbase, without being beaten by SUPERSONIC capable aircraft to the conflict several times.

Another reason why RANGE is important to consider.

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Anti-Rod December 16, 2013 at 2:01 am

To save money just shut down Big Green!

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Randomflyguy December 17, 2013 at 10:39 am

All those "drone" video game controllers are actual pilots.

I wish the AF had a warrant officer program though.

Your 5 star BOQ/BEQ arguement is stupid though. I've been to more bases than you can count I'm guessing, and AF billets aren't the best. Dorms certainly aren't.

My favorite has always been navy bases and their hotels on base. Very nice usually.

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T Overson December 16, 2013 at 4:52 am

On the contrary, I believe the A-10C is perfect for its role and no option presented can replace it. Any other aircraft in the same situation as an A-10C will be limited by the same conditions that limit the A-10C. As far as "bomb range", the A-10C can reach out and touch the enemy just as well as any other aircraft currently being suggested to replace it. All this has been previously addressed and is backed by facts. Check any resources you like, the A-10C is simply the ideal airframe right now for the role it plays and there is no other aircraft that can compete. All the walls of text I've posted above illustrate just how that works.

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Recon Phantom December 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Administrator: Why did you delete my comment to orly? It accurately addressed my experience when the Air Force offered to transfer the A-10 to Army in 1990. The comments I made were factual. I was a senior officer at HQ Marine Corps at the time when the SecDef asked us to operationally test the feasibility of the A-10 to be passed under Army control. Reasons of why it did not happen were also accurate.

1. It would be in violation of 1948 Key West accords that established the Air Force and the Roles and Missions of the military Services
2. The AF would lose hundreds of millions of dollars that would go with the A-10 to make the transfer operational successful. Reason for the offer was the AF wanted to use A-10 money for other reasons. If the money went, it was a mute point.

Please do not delete this response again. It is not classified and is historical by nature.

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orly? December 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Air combat is quite unpredictable.

Soviet style air forces seem to love swarming, and I'm sure they're smart enough to at least send a squadron to specifically hunt slow moving aircraft.

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T Overson December 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Well, I tried to respond, but my post was deleted by the admin, so. I guess we're done here.

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BajaWarrior December 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Dude, please re-check your physics. And yes, I know the real facts. Been there done that.

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Jim December 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Thank you and educated person finally. Family flies the A10.

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tmb2 December 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

AC-130s can't absorb any ground fire.

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majr0d December 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Would love to have the documentation if there's a link.

Understandably doubtful, the USAF doesn't want that out there.

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orly? December 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

May common sense prevail…

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Keith Turk Jr. December 18, 2013 at 12:00 am

I would love to see a brand new A-10. not a scorpion or super tucano wannabe, an actual A-10 – 95+% air frame commonality. what a durable plane. What I dont want to see is them fool around and make an unaffordable F-35 out of it. If you want to spend more than 25 million dollars you can buy a AH-64 or a brand new F-16 block 60. The A-10 isn't about fancy its about doing a simple job well economically.

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majr0d December 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Feel free to correct my numbers with references…

There is a a huge gap between iron bombs' danger close and guns. That makes a HUGE difference to someone on the ground. It's quite valid… if you are on the ground and it's YOUR life on the line.

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majr0d December 18, 2013 at 7:47 pm

If the A10 can drop from 5 miles and the F16 can at 10 while doing Mach1 it doesn't make a difference if the ASA system has a 3 mile range. The higher speed also makes dumb bombs have a higher CEP. These are all key issues to the CAS mission.

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majr0d December 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm

F16s can with half the ammo, a smaller round and much less capable of taking damage.

Afghanistan does not define ALL future operational environments.

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AMUguru December 19, 2013 at 4:47 am

But they are fast and loud and it takes them a lot longer to turn around and re-engage after a pass. As soon as the enemy hears the F-16 they know just how much time they have to pop up and do more damage. Absolutely not the same coverage for the guys on the ground as the A-10 can provide.

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BajaWarrior December 19, 2013 at 1:56 am

Your math is way off on standoff ranges,. and the reality is that MANPADs are a major issue even for the A-10. Operating altitude is a factor when mission planning for certain threats. CEP can be mitigated with PGMs, and the reality is dumb bomb CEP remains the same through various platforms as it is highly determined by pilot proficiency. Can an A-10 squadron maintain a lower CEP average, sure, but then that's the majority of the training Hog pilots do where the F-16 is mandated to perform many other missions. Besides, if there is another force on force, you may not care as much about CEP as area weapons may be the choice du jour.

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JRTJH December 19, 2013 at 8:40 am

The concept in which the A-10 was created included a quick turn, highly reliable, redundant airframe with the ability to sustain multiple sorties without being grounded for failure. Sure, future weapons systems will compete with the A-10 in the air, but the reliability of a double, even triple redundancy isn't built into the new airframes or their weapons delivery systems. It's not about whether you can get an F-35 over the target, it's whether you can keep the sophisticated weapons system operational as well. The simplicity of the A-10 gives it a much better reliability in combat conditions. It's not about being able to put airframes over the target, it's about being able to destroy the target. The A-10 has proved it's capability in that arena. Until a new system is produced that can do the job, retiring a proven winner leaves a gap that we currently can't fill.

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majr0d December 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm

My throwing bombs numbers are probably off. Correct them. The points are still valid. The A10 can stay out of MANPAD range as well as the F16 when it comes to dropping bombs. BTW, not all (or even any) precision munitions can be "thrown". Cite the numbers (Ranges and CEP) and references that say mine are wrong.

Yes A10 pilots can emphasize training for CAS. That's a strength. It doesn't make the F16 a better solution for sure.

The blast radius alone of a 500lb is well over 300m and that's with a pinpoint on the dot delivery above and beyond what precision guided munitions are. PGMs are great. They are NOT The panacea A10 haters try to make them sound like. The danger close of a 500lb bomb is 500m. An A10 can deliver cannon fire up to 50M away from friendly troops. That 450m of dead space are especially important to the soldier on the ground.

You aren't getting it because you don't understand the ground fight or won't admit there IS a big hole in what precision munitions deliver and what's needed because canning the A10 is more important.

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