Next Defense Secretary Open to Keeping A-10 in Air Force

Ashton Carter agreed to hear arguments from JTACS for keeping the A-10 despite renewed efforts by the Air Force to retire it.

Defense Secretary nominee Ashton Carter agreed Wednesday to hear arguments from Joint Tactical Air Controllers (JTACS) for keeping the A-10 despite renewed efforts by the Air Force to retire the Thunderbolt.

At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carter told A-10 advocate Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., that he had read letters in support of the A-10 from the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Association.

The TACP Association represents about 3,300 active and retired JTACs who had the mission of moving forward with ground troops to select targets and call in airstrikes.

Carter made no commitments on the A-10, but when asked by Ayotte if he would speak with representatives of the TACP, he said: “Absolutely, I will.”

Active-duty members of the TACP have been told not to offer opinions on the A-10, but the retired members have unanimously supported keeping the Thunderbolt, affectionately known as the Warthog in the fleet, Ayotte said.

She said that the TACP members agree that the F-16, the F-15 and the B-1 bomber “cannot replicate the capabilities of the A-10” in performing the close-air support mission for ground troops.

The Air Force last year sought to begin retiring the A-10s to clear the way for replacing them with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter but Congress voted for additional funding to keep the A-10s in the fleet through fiscal year 2015.

In its budget proposal for fiscal year 2016, the Air Force stated its intention to begin retiring the A-10 in FY 2016 “to focus available funding on more urgent combatant commander requirements.”

Under the Air Force plan, about 164 A-10s would be retired in 2016 but “the A-10 will remain operational and available for deployment until 2019.” The Air Force said the plan would save an estimated $3.5 billion over five years.

At an Air Force briefing last month, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, a former A-10 pilot, said “It’s not about not liking or not wanting the A-10. It’s about some very tough decisions that we have to make to recapitalize an Air Force for the threat 10 years from now.”

About the Author

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

    Ashton Carter is possibly one of the best qualified to become Secretary of Defense; but unfortunately for the Obama Administration is that this is a straight shooter as he knows what the country needs and will not fall in like with what Obama thinks is best for the US; Carter knows that for close ground support, there's no aircraft that can do the job of the A-10 as it was designed to fly at low speeds which lets the A-10 to loiter over an area and with the new avionics suite that was developed for the A-10 and new wings, the A-10 is deadlier than ever and can fly for another 20 years.

    • VTGunner

      Isn't he a big proponent of the F-35? Makes him lose some respect in my eyes

    • Charles

      What Obama thinks is best for the US? The worst enemy the A-10 has is the USAF, who was trying to retire it from the day it was imposed on them. The A-10 was on its way to the boneyard when Saddam invaded Kuwait – and with the resulting conflict (Gulf War I) the USAF was deeply disturbed by the A-10's stunning performance and raw firepower.

      After the entire nation (let alone the planet) saw the results of what the A-10 could do – there was no way they could get away with retiring it.

      Now its back in the dirt, dishing out death and destruction to the criminal scum known as ISIS, where despite being late to the party – the A-10 is assuming a larger percentage of of the missions because everyone knows its the most effective platform.

      If the "Chair Force" is going to retire 164 of anything: it should be the generals/fighter-mafia who are willing to sell out our ground forces for their less-than-functional/suboptimal F-35.

      • sw614

        That "retire it since it was imposed on them" is utter nonsense. The USAF chose to retain the A-10 every time it was evaluated. The A-16 and A-7F programs were terminated and the A-10 retained (this was before Desert Storm). Many other attack acft were retired (A-4, A-6, A-7, A-1, etc) By DoD over time and the A-10 retained. When acft were retired wholesale in the early/mid 90s the A-10 was retained.

        Did some pilots resist/resent being transferred to the A-10? Yep. Did it matter? Nope. Did those instance diminish once the A-10 was in service and operational? Yes.

        The A-10 WAS NOT on its way to the bone yard before ODS. Some were assigned to OA-10A FAC standard to replace the retiring OV-10s and already retired O-1s.

      • "The A-10 WAS NOT on its way to the bone yard before ODS."

        Not entirely true. The F16 was being promoted to take the A10's role before ODS. Simultaneously the Senate was looking at moving the A10 to the Army and Marines to replace retiring decrept fixed wing aircraft they had. After ODS the A10 had a couple of years of quiet support from the USAF as the USAF was making the case it defeated Saddam's Army. (It didn't, the BDA was HIGHLY inflated. Not to say air pwoer wasn't important. It just wasn't the decisive player the Air Force tried to propagandize itself as.). That adulation didn't last long until the A16 effort to kill the A10 was promulgated.

        Most importantly, it wasn't the Air Force that repeatedly saved the A10. It was Congress. Just like today, Congress is directing the Air Force to keep the A10 for a year. Crediting the Air Force with the decision Congress is directing it to execute is disingenuous.

        It's like crediting drunken drivers for not driving drunk after the police transport them to jail.

      • sw614

        Not entirely false either.

        Believe I mentioned the A-16 and A-7F programs to replace the A-10. Due to technical and survivability issues along with political considerations, both were dropped.

        Not crediting USAF with current decision. My POV is Congress states do not retire A-10 but will not come out and say what they can do. We are past fat and into muscle and bone now.

        Yeah, BDA always finds a way to be inflated.

      • "Not crediting USAF with current decision."

        Uh did you forget you said this a post before?

        "The USAF chose to retain the A-10 EVERY TIME it was evaluated." (emphasis added)

        You Are Force apologists have incredibly short and selective memories.

        BTW, the A4 & A6 have nothing to do with the A10. The Navy and Marines never flew the A10.

      • sw614

        No, did not forget what I said previously. I said the acft was retained.

        You USAF slammers will take any instance to spread the word the USAF hates CAS and will do anything to divest itself of the mission. All of which is not true.

        Do you feel the same way about USN and USMC using F/A-18s and AV-8s for CAS, both of which will be replaced by the F-35?

      • The aircraft was not retained in the role it was originally obtained for. We turn carriers and tanks into reefs. They don't improve the nation's warmaking capabilities.

        Two wrongs don't make a right. Addressing the rape and murder of an innocent isn't less of a right thing to do if one doesn't address similar crimes in the city. (BTW, THAT's hyperbole)

        Not surprising you want to bring the Marines into it but won't raise the fact they own their fixed wing aircraft.

      • Old 391

        Explain to me how a Community Organizer thinks he knows what is best for the US? He still lives in a Communist liberal bubble and is afraid to face the real world

      • oblatt22

        Still better than a dry drunk or a B actor

      • praetorian

        I think making the debt higher then all the other presidents combined does not look good for your case.

  • B.A.Dilger

    Well, at least someone to listen to those who are most qualified in air/ground support warfare.

  • JohnnyRanger

    He's got my vote…oh, wait, I am a nobody, not a Senator…

    I really hope we keep these birds in the fleet until a comparable replacement comes online. CAS from 15,000 ft. is a beautiful thing…when you can stick your head up long enough to spot and/or lase a target. Alas, that is not always the case, and when it's not, low, slow, and tough is what our brave hooah's need.

    • William_C1

      What do you mean by "comparable replacement"? Nobody is building anything similar.

      • JohnnyRanger

        To the best of my knowledge, you are correct….hence the "until".

      • William_C1

        There are some things you could improve upon if designing another aircraft like the A-10, but what's going to pay for it? The Air Force can't even get all of the other aircraft they want, would Congress provide special funding for this new attack aircraft?

      • retired462

        OR BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • MikeCook

      You are so right. Keep the A-10. My brother sent me a link that showed two A-10 pilots receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor from a mission in the Afgan mountains. Saved a bunch of marines who were pinned down. But they had to fly low and slow to get to them.

  • jpl

    We should be building thousands of A-10's and use them on those cockroaches aka ISIS.

    • Big Dean

      but but but but, what about the F-35's feelings, it might feel ignored and left out, it's really sensitive you know, every time someone says something "mean" it gets sick and throws up another Billion dollars ;-P

    • Christopher

      There isn't tools to make A-10s anymore. However it is possible to take existing airframes currently in storage and upgrade them. Even if it means takes parts from older ones.
      We could however go the route of the F-18E/F and build a "Super Warthog."
      It's also funnier to call these terrorists the name other Arab countries gave them, Daesh.

      • sw614

        Tooling would be a major issue as tooling did not exist in the 70s either. The plans for tooling probably exist somewhere and if not start from scratch.

      • sw614

        Meant to say tooling would NOT be an issue…..

    • Pete

      I agree 100%

  • Don Thomason

    A proven aircraft that should be kept if for nothing else but to support our ground forces, PERIOD!

  • Marv Mills

    Revoke the three old agreements giving the Air Force control of the Warthog and assign the aircraft, pilots, maintainers, and operational/sustainment funding to Army Aviation. The Army will take care of the Warthog community because they know what close sir support can do to protect the ground forces.

    • David Powell

      Or the USMC. I agree that the A-10 deserves some better treatment.

      • The USMC already owns armed fixed wing aircraft. The Army owns none.

      • Retired Army

        Are you sure about that?

        I know that the Corps of Engineers had at least two fixed wing. There used to be more spread out.

      • "ARMED fixed wing" (emphasis added)

        Yes, I'm sure.

      • sw614

        USMC will not take them as they do not meet the requirement of ship borne operations. The USMC has never shown interest in owning the A-10 and does not have the funds to do so.

      • "…assign the aircraft, pilots, maintainers, and operational/sustainment FUNDING to Army Aviation." (emphasis added)

      • sw614

        The question remains, what funding? The entire current debate is budget driven. If we have the authorized funding (and hopefully a long term commitment and nit just a yearly argument) leave the A-10s where they sit.

        Also, I do not believe you can wave a magic wand and suddenly assign a significant number of USAF personnel to the Army. It would not be just maintainers and flyers.

        When I read some comments here, it seems some believe someone will sign a paper and overnight the Army would own all A-10s, personnel, and facilities and all would run smoothly.

      • "What funding?" Well we could start with the $4 billion the Air Force says it willsave by mothballing the A10.

        "Also, I do not believe you can wave a magic wand and suddenly assign a significant number of USAF personnel to the Army. It would not be just maintainers and flyers."

        True. Providing a branch a new capability takes time, planning, resources etc. We did that with UAVs. Should we have said no to the new capability because it would take time to field it? Of course not. Who else would the Army need besides pilots and maintainers? (Here comes the old "the Army isn't smart enough to employ fixed wing" canard…)

        Only a fool; thinks something like this will happen overnight and only the disingenuous create obstacles that can't be overcome.

      • sw614

        The idea of retiring the A-10 is to save the money, not transfer to another service, hence the word saving. If the money is not included in any USAF budget, then there is no funds to transfer. That will leave the Army scrambling to cover the costs at a time when it is cutting brigades and helicopters. If Congress is going to add funds to keep the A-10, then leave things as they are since it would the least expensive and not involve and down time.

        Other personnel the Army would need is increased administrative support, additional supply personnel, and funds to run USAF facilities they take over (or to expand some of their facilities to bed down the A-10s) and the personnel to run those as well. Been on more than one Army airfield. Very few I saw could readily accept squadrons of A-10s.

        Judging by comments, many here to believe the transfer would be seamless and cost nothing.

        I have never said Army is not smart enough and never will.

      • Tomcat

        The Marines can give their F-18s to the Navy to top off their squadrons. The Navy has a severe shortage of F-18s. Squadrons that were to have 12-14 Hornets per squadron have some squadrons that are down to 10 aircraft. The Marines don't have to have all carrier based aircraft. During the Viet Nam War, all Marine squadrons were land based. The Marines would be the perfect fit for the "Warthogs".
        Besides, the Army has no armed fixed wing aircraft. The only armed aircraft they have are helicopters.

    • William_C1

      If Congress isn't going to give extra funding for the Air Force to continue operating the A-10 why would they give extra funding to the Army?

      • BW3

        Because the Army is amazing at operating it's own aviation assets! Oh wait…that whole fiasco with the last few procurements of Camanche and three attempts at ARH were just flukes. And the OH-58 retirement, closing of 3 combat aviation brigades and restructuring of Apaches would have no effect on the Army gaining new equipment and personnel.

      • BW3 – do you REALLY want to compare aircraft procurement between the Army and the Air Force? You guys have a really short memory. (as it suits you of course)…

        The Army flies exponentially more attack helicopters than the Marines because it cannot rely on armed fixed wing. Give the Army armed fixed wing you'll see the number attack helicopters drop.

        BTW why should the Air Force continue to be funded for a plane/pilots & mission it will not be primarily responsible for?

      • BW3

        Because even if the Army were to get all of the requests you desire ( and not lose most of the people in the process ), the amount of A-10s the Army would be able to put in the air would not even cover all of the requirements of ground commanders. As a ground pounder, I'm not expecting you to understand Army aviation problems.

      • The over $4 bil the Air Force said it would cost to operate the A10 for the foreseeable future would pay for some significant air time…

        What are the requirements of the ground commanders for A10's? If you knew the system we don't get a vote on what aircraft the Air Force dedicates to the ground commander.

        You might be surprised. I actually did liaison work with Ft. Rucker's aviation lab when the Comanche was still breathing.

        BTW, what are your credentials? Feel free to bring your expertise to bear…

      • BW3

        Just because you liaisoned, does not mean you know what the crews are dealing with. If you knew the Army/Air Force system, then you would know the Army dictates what the Army gets in the request for CAS. And please, regale us with more of your superiority complex

      • "Just because you liaisoned, does not mean you know what the crews are dealing with."

        Maybe, maybe not but you are not in any better position as you try to raise obstacles you can't document.

        I do know the system. The Army does not decide what it gets. The joint commander decide how much air is dedicated to the ground commander for CAS.

        "The responsibilities of the Joint Force Air Component Commander are assigned by the Joint Force Commander FC. These include, but are not limited to:
        – Develop a joint air operations plan (JAOP);
        – Recommend to the JFC air apportionment priorities;
        – ALLOCATE & TASK the joint air capabilities and forces made available by the Service components based on the JFC’s air apportionment decision; " (emphasis added)
        and four more… see page x Joint Pub 3-30 C2 of Joint Air Ops http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/new_pubs/jp3_30.pdf

        It's pretty obvious who doesn't know what they are talking about.

        I'm hardly superior nor am I anonymous but I do know what I'm talking about when I chime in. Feel free to document your case instead of throwing your own virtual poop from inside your virtual cage.

      • BW3

        So you have actually read the JP. Great. Fantastic. Then you also know the the JFACC only recommends to the JFC. The JFC is the ultimate authority on the air apportionment priorities and thus the allocation is really the JFC's choice, a ground guy. The requests by ground forces for a future op goes through Army chains, not AF. For TICs, it's goes directly through AF channels. You can find the TACS/AAGS diagram in FM 6-20-10 I believe.

      • Again yopu demonstrate you don't know as much as you think you do. The J in JFC is for ".joint". Where is it directed he's a ground guy? Europe has an Air Force JFC. The Pacific has a Navy officer… The JFC in Afghanistan were back to back Marines before the current JFC. Not an Army one in the bunch nor does the Army or even the "groundf" commander direct what it needs in the diagram you mentioned.

        It's like saying since Gen Dempsey is the Chairman of the JOINT Chiefs of Staff the Army is calling the shots.

      • BW3

        Sorry, missed the word "typically" BTW, the JFC, whichever service they originated from, owns the effort to synchronize air, land, sea, cyber and SF. So yes, a JFC does call the shots

        I take it you really haven't studied the TACS/AAGS system very much.

      • "I take it you really haven't studied the TACS/AAGS system very much. "

        Actually we covered and practiced it during the Command and General Staff Courses both as a student and as an instructor (been on both sides of the desk). It was a refresher working both in BN and BDE HQ's operations sections as we had to know the system to submit /control air. Doing it when assigned to various level unit headquarters really teaches you the ins and outs. How is it relevant to the discussion?

        You keep implying I don't know what I'm talking about but only "typically" succeed in showing you don't know as much as you think you do…

      • BW3

        Then if you lived it, why did you fail getting the system work for you?

      • I never said the system didn't work. Again, creating a strawman to knock down because your tired of losing the debate…

        There are also many things that work in this world that don't work anywhere as well as they should. I continue to stand by the Marine approach to CAS as the best working model.

      • "If Congress isn't going to give extra funding for the Air Force to continue operating the A-10 why would they give extra funding to the Army?"

        LOL, you're precious!

        The A10 doesn't need the extra funding. The F35 NEEDS the extra funding!

        "Honey I'll need more money for the minivan to take the kids to school, can we get seat warmers for my maserati?"

      • BW3

        The A-10 does require continuous updating and rebuilding. Thus, a bunch of money I'm not convinced the Army would like to spend. And I'm not at all defending the whale known as the F-35

      • You can do a lot of updating and rebuilding with the $4+ bil the USAF says it will cost to maintain the A10 for the near future…

      • BW3

        $4B is not a lot of extra money to upgrade, rebuild, replace, train and equip a fleet of fighters.

      • The A10 isn't a fighter.

        The "fleet" consists of about 300 planes.

        Planes are bought.. The pilots are trained and aren't flying F35's.

        Over $4 bil goes a long way. Years…

      • BW3

        That is where you are very wrong. You'll be very surprised at how quickly $4B dries up. Especially while upgrading avionics to 367 or so jets, plus all of the other maintenance items and keeping the training pipeline going.. BTW, you cant treat the Hog like its some Hmmwv or tank. And your mentality that the pilots can be quickly trained up is just ridiculous. I would like to see the show that would happen when you try to transfer Air Guard and Reserves to the Army. Let the games begin!

      • Feel free to show us the numbers. The Air Force itself says it takes $700 to keep the A10 fleet flying for a year. That's five YEARS of flying right there. Rewinging the whole fleet is about $1.2 billion spent as the planes reach the end of their life. Worst case that's four YEARS of flying with planes that are good for another decade. Sure upgrades cost and that can be projected out over time the same way the Air Force would do it. So go ahead smart guy. Find another excuse why the A10's can't be given to the Army. The Air Force makes them up as they are needed.

        Where did I say the A10 is a HMMWV or that pilots can be quickly trained? You must have learned your debate skills from Williams, making up strawmen to knock them down because you can't address the points I've made.

        Brilliant!. (and still waiting for your credentials that you've been predictably silent about after three requests and trying to ding mine…)

      • BW3

        Your numbers are off and does not consider expendables. If we assume 1 flying hour cost $18k (rounded up for the sake of easy math), multiply that by 200 hrs / pilot / yr (lowball estimate as that is about 100 training sorties per year), then by 400 pilots, that comes out to $1,44B per yer in training costs. Not to mention expendables, continual upgrades for the avionics, and if you want to equip the fleet with more targeting/ECM pods,and getting guys trained up to operate the system, that's gonna cost you some cash.

        I won't even get into the issues of personnel and the costs associated with that, unless you want too. It might even be fun!

        You mentioned the pilot training in a different post. The HMMWV thing is something complained about by many Army aviators. But you already know that as you were a liaison.

      • They aren't my numbers. They are the Air Force's numbers, none other than Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Welsh http://www.defenseone.com/management/2014/04/air-

        I think his math and the WHOLE Air Force staff that advises him is aware of the flight hours necessary to put the A10 in the air and is pretty credible reference over your SWAG..

        Doubt the Air Force would be incompetent enough to low ball it since they are trying to maximize the case for savings to field the A10.

      • BW3

        Those numbers were from Air Force Times and the GAO. As a staffer, you should know PowerPoint rules the day with less than optimal assumptions. You still fail to grasp the manning and money issues.

      • No, they are the numbers Gen Walsh and DoD briefed. You think they rely on the GAO and Air Force Times? If so you know a lot less about how Generals brief congress than anyone with more than a couple of days on a staff would know.

        Gosh, don't think the magazine producing the article is creating the numbers. R E A D the article. Here's the first line, "When Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and his staff crunched the numbers to find the best way to cut their budget under congressionally mandated sequestration, they looked at the Air Force’s five main missions and worked their way from there."

        Cross check with google. Your SWAG is yours NOT the official Air Force position.

      • BW3

        You must be Army staff to believe all of that.

        Please educate us mere minions on all of the assumptions that went into the numbers. Then tell me how sustainable they are against reality of the budget you propose under the big assumption that you would not have to spend more money training people in the loss from the transition.

      • Only you are asking to be educated.

        I never said people would not have to be trained (another strawman on your part). No doubt they will as time passes.

        You'll have to forward your questions on how they got the $4.2 bil to the Air Force Chief of Staff's office. Let them know you know better.

      • BW3

        I don't trust those numbers. It is like the same math that said it was cheaper to operate the 4 engined C-130 than the 2 engined C-27. Does not make sense when you look at actual operating costs and aircrew training cost. And those are not always the same.

      • I think there may be cases when a C130 is cheaper to fly for instance when it's fully loaded compared to delivering one pallet.

        As to the numbers I quoted they are the numbers the USAF is flying with.

      • BW3

        And there are a lot of instances where the C-130 is way more expensive. Like aircraft reposition, training missions, when you have to move just one pallet! Or just the fact that you have to maintain 4 engines and props versus just 2, or the fuel burned by 4 engines versus 2.

        Not all of the AF is "Flying" with those numbers, just a bunch of Cols trying to make General or Generals trying to make contractor.

        Seems like the AF has magic PowerPoint just like the Army does.

      • Taxpayer

        There's a process called a "functional transfer." The USAF simply gives the aircraft, people, money to the Army. Since Congress isn't going to kill it, the money is still in the USAF account, even though they've moved it around to other programs. They just reconstitute the kitty and transfer it.

  • Roger Iman

    The Hawg is the finest cas/anti armor air frame ever made.
    only a damn fool or a stay at home
    do nothing/nothing would consider
    scraping her.

    • Dfens

      Let's not get carried away here. The AC-130 is clearly the best close air support airplane. A 30 mm gattling gun in the nose is cool, but the AC has gattling guns and a howitzer cannon. Plus the AC can keep laying down a pounding for as long as it takes to keep the enemy from coming through the wire. I'm not saying anything against the A-10, but it's no AC-130.

      • Christopher

        AC-130 is more vulnerable to Manpads then just about any plane. Also the AC-130J Ghostrider just hit another speed bump.

      • Dfens

        The AC-130J is being developed by a total bunch of morons and has nothing to do with the AC-130's that were developed by Rockwell.

      • William_C1

        They should just use the same basic weapon setup as the AC-130U. Maybe replace the 40mm with something a bit more modern but keep the rest. We can focus on adding precision guided weapons capability later.

      • Dfens

        That's true, but Lockheed is doing the AC modification to the C-130J and they are a bunch of idiots.

      • The AC130 can only fly in the most permissive of environments.

      • Dfens

        Yeah, but the A-10 is a real dogfighter.

      • Absolutely not.

      • sw614

        AC-130s usually operate at night and in very controlled circumstances. Yes, it is a very accurate platform and carriers good weapons, but as good as it is, AC_130s are extremely vulnerable. We lost one during Desert Storm as it lingered after sunup to support ground forces and was shot down.

      • Dfens

        But we've never lost an A-10? Right. AC-130's orbit at high altitudes where small arms are ineffective and that's pretty much all a terrorist organization is going to have. The AC can linger because it has plenty of fuel and ammo to linger. The A-10 is done after half a dozen passes.

      • Actually the terrorists do have MANPADS which can range the AC130 when it employs its guns. It's for this reason we still don't employ AC130's in that gunship role during the day.

      • Dfens

        Because MANPADS suddenly don't work at night? Amazing.

      • (Facepalm) Have you ever tried to track a buzzing sound, at night with a man portable ground to air missile that has limited acquisition time because it takes quickly drained batteries or gas to super cool the seeker head?

        You really don't have to for common sense to kick in and tell you you can't lock on.

        Oh wait, common sense, never mind…

        (Amazing double facepalm)

      • Dfens

        Yeah, it's real hard to see this by night:

      • It really is when it's you being shot at…

      • sw614

        A VERY big difference in attacking a position with an A-10 which can jink and turn quickly versus an big and much slower AC-130 which flies on a very predictable orbital pattern to employ its cannon.

      • Dfens

        Yeah, I'm sure if the A-10 took on Superman the A-10 would win…

      • sw614

        Do you understand how attack acft operate? Do you understand that the A-10 was designed to withstand a certain level of ground fire whereas the AC-130 is a modified cargo platform?
        Do you understand that the AC-130 is considerable slower than an A-10? And the AC-130 is about as maneuverable as a brick?

        Low, slow operations with AC-130s during daylight hours equals lots of shot up/shot down AC-130s.

  • Retired Army

    Retired TACP members get to testify.

    Why not let a few retired ground commanders testify?

  • ChuckB

    It should be up to those who need the A-10 the most to make the decisions on keeping it. Its up to the congress critters to make it happen. NOT the other way around.

    • d. kellogg

      While the idea sounds good, remember:
      the Army wanted the JCA to replace aging Sherpa and KingAir/Huron fixed wing transports. Along comes USAF, takes control of the JCA program under the deceptive guise of "but but BUT, commonalities with C-130s, and stuff!", and sinks the program faster than ALIS can ground an F-35.

      We do NOT need USAF brass deciding Army policy, doctrine, and equipment requirements.
      Nor do we need USAF brass deciding what's the best option(s) for ground warfare doctrine, to include the most ideal tools available to the surface forces doing the brunt of the work.
      It seems that the USAF (leadership) has grown into an ungrateful b@st@rd child (forgetting who its father was) that despises having to perform so many support roles to the other services.

      • sw614

        Yes, the USAF should have stayed out of the C-27J program, but at least the acft found good homes.

        The USAF is not trying to drive Army policy, doctrine, or equipment requirements. It is trying to replace a large fleet of aging airframes. Even if the A-10 is retained, the F-35 will perform some CAS just as the F-15E, F-16, and F/A-18s have.

        The USAF does not despise supporting other services. That is simply hyperbole.

      • "Yes, the USAF should have stayed out of the C-27J program, but at least the acft found good homes."

        Yeah, the Army still doesn't have aircraft to replace the Sherpas and still has to do the intratheatre lift mission with CH47's at four times the cost (and therefore can do less air assaults). From an Air Force perspective that's a good thing, less funding to pursue anything else that flies. Thank goodness for silver linings…

        It's not hyperbole if it's true.

      • sw614

        Spent many years supporting other service during my USAF career. There is not a thing true about your statement. From the inside looking out it is hyperbole.

        Also, how well will the Army support other services if it owned the A-10s? The USAF provides CAS to whoever needs it, not just the Army. This includes allied nations.

      • Ref hyperbole; Sen Rob Portman (R – Ohio) seized on Odierno’s statements to criticize the Air Force for failing to consider the money C-27s save when compared to older aircraft.
        “The C-27 does it for $2,100 per hour, the CH-47 does it for about $11,000 per hour, the C-130 does for between $5,100 to $7,100 an hour — so from a taxpayer perspective, the C-27 not only allows you to land on smaller air strips, it’s saving the taxpayer money,” Portman said. He wants to make sure the Pentagon isn’t pulling a capability out of theater that meets a requirement. “I have never seen the military do this before.” http://www.dodbuzz.com/2012/03/09/csa-praises-doo

        And then there's this: "He did not add that it can also save wear and tear on Army CH-47 Chinooks, which the Army brass once hoped would get some relief from the C-27Js." http://www.dodbuzz.com/2012/03/20/the-c-27-truth-… I guess Mr Ewing was also engaging in "hyperbole"?

        Maybe you should look up the word. In short it means exaggeration. Using it to describe "spoyt on" comments is a "novel" understanding of the term.

        "Also, how well will the Army support other services if it owned the A-10s?"

        About as well as the Army has been providing medevac and attack helicopter support. Who do you think is providing the majority of Medevac in Iraq and Afghanistan to allies and indigenous forces for the last decade? It's not the handful of USAF Pavehawks. The same for attack helicopter support.

    • Chuck – those who need the A10 don't get a vote. Congress is the only mechanism available to make sure the Air Force maintains the premier CAS platform.

  • Sgt.John

    How about just giving to the Army to use for their own ground support? Maybe the Marines would like a couple. Then the Air Force can go out and buy tactical fighters to shoot down ISIL FoxBats

  • STemplar

    Good luck to Carter. I agree with McCain, the White House doesn't give two squirts of p*ss what its SECDEFs think about anything, that's why they've gone through 3 in six years. He's the only guy that would say yes to the job offer that they can credibly give the job to.

  • Muttling

    We really need to put into design and production an upgraded A-10. It doesn't need to be a totally new aircraft, just update the old airframe and put about 150 new ones into production. It could probably be done for less than the cost of 30 F-35s and give us ground strike/ CAS capabilities beyond anyone else in the world for decades to come.

    • JimmyD

      Agreed. Why do you need a $100M stealth aircraft to chase pickup trucks?

  • Superraptor

    What we really should do is ask LMT and the USAF to give us one combat ready F 35 just one and have it fly in Red Flag against Other participants including the SU 30
    Sadly LMT would falter
    Lets save money truncate F 35 production keep the A10 and build meteor missiles here in the US so that the USAF has an AAM which can hit something
    The AIM120 is a joke
    And GOP no more excuses with sequestration

    • "And GOP no more excuses with sequestration."

      It is not the GOP that keeps linking social program spending to defense spending in the sequester…

    • William_C1

      Never heard the AIM-120 called a "joke" before. It's time to start replacing it but it has served us well.

      • Superraptor

        Allow the social spending andvthe sequester will be gone
        Right now the GOP is damaging the military more than the President which is very obvious

  • d. kellogg

    Curious if Gen. Welsh really has his service's best interests in mind:
    "…It’s about some very tough decisions that we have to make to recapitalize an Air Force for the threat 10 years from now…"

    Probably 90% of us here would agree that, ten years from now, we are still more likely to, more quickly, get involved in anti-insurgency type operation as opposed to willfully getting involved in the brutality of a full-scale exchange with our two near peer adversaries, china and/or Russia.
    Seeing the behaviors of these terrorist groups, we are more likely to strike against them. The amount of confrontation needed to escalate into a near-WW3 level conflict between superpowers are far less likely to escalate to that level.
    It still remains to be seen how effective an A-10 would prove in maritime operations (that gun vs modern unarmored ships?).
    Funny to say it, but I bet an LCS under threat in proximity to hostile shore forces would be much more relieved to see A-10s coming into the vicinity as opposed to promises that F-35s might show up once the local ALIS node stops being so picky…

    • sw614

      Of course if the USN actually armed the LCS to be able to defend itself maybe it would fare better.

      Any tacair that shows up to support the distraught LCS would likely come from USN ships flying, GASP, the F-35. (or the current F/A-18s and AV-8B). Operating A-10s off an enemy coast will likely make them targets.

      WWIII does not have to happen for our forces to become entangled with near peer adversaries. A more likely scenario is going up against the weapons those adversaries produce.

  • Dfens

    Everyone knew the "Pacific Pivot" wasn't happening. Hell, there's an entrenched bureaucracy built around the current force structure. No one messes with an entrenched bureaucracy, not in our federal government.

  • Wordell

    He's "open" to keeping A-10's in the Air Force? I believe we can change his mind by having his desk…with him sitting at it… put out in the middle of a firefight and an A-10 is needed to suppress the terrorists (oh..my bad…if Obamao can't use this truthful word…neither can I…I apologize to all of you politically correct @ssholes out there) coming towards us en masse. We are lost, again, (think Vietnam) when politicians decide what is…and is not…needed in operating in combat and combat situations. To have to explain that the A-10 is a battle/firefight life saving game changer and winner is a sign that filled body bags really don't matter to the politicians…as if we deep down truthfully didn't harbor that thought anyway.

  • sw614

    I hope he can pull it off. I hope Congress pulls its head out of its azz and revokes sequestration and funds the services properly.

    A contributing issue to all this debate is our ever changing national strategy. We need the NCA to set the goal of what we want the military to do, along with identifying threats, and we need Congress to approve and fund accordingly. As it is the national strategy changes every few years and everyone seems content to go along with it. A Commander in Chief referring to a growing threat as the JV team, it does not help the situation any.

  • Doc

    I agree with retiring the A 10 from the Air Force. As soon as the Air Force agrees to allow the Army to take them over and fly them for close air support. I am retired army and got to attend a class on close air support. Nothing beats the A 10. I know the Army is going through budget cuts along with the Air Force. I am sure however that they would find the money to keep the "Hog" available. You could transfer them all to Guard units and then they are available when needed and cost no where near as much as an active duty unit. PA used to have an A 10 unit. A good friend of mine was in it. He used to say his maintainers worked on air planes because they wanted to and he had a great availability rate. Lets move them to the Army and allow the people who need close Air Support to control it.

    • sw614

      The Army could find billions to operate the A-10 at a time when it is retiring OH-58s and deactivating brigades and cutting 23k troops due to funding shortfalls? Good luck with that.

      The example of Guard working on acft applies to every ANG unit I ever dealt with. Those guys usually love their units, the acft assigned, and being in the ANG. A significant number of A-10s are already assigned to ANG units and they performed extremely well when deployed. They do offer a great value for the money. But part time maintainers/operators are only part of the expense. The supply system, operations costs, supporting infrastructure, etc. all add to the bill.

      I hope the new SecDef can see a way to keep the A-10 and Congress lives up to its level of dismay over a potential retirement and fund the darn thing. The F-15 and F-16 fleets have already been cut by significant numbers with those remaining aging rapidly with the F-35 as the only next generation option currently. The only things left are tankers, trash haulers, and recce assets. And all of those currently have very high operational tempos.

      By default, the F-35 will perform some CAS missions just as legacy acft do. But I think the A-10 brings too much to the table to be let go without a proper replacement.

      • The Army flies exponentially more attack helicopters than the Marines because it cannot rely on armed fixed wing. Give the Army armed fixed wing you'll see the number attack helicopters drop.

        BTW why should the Air Force continue to be funded for a plane/pilots & mission it will not be primarily responsible for? (THIS is of course one of the two reasons the Air Force retains the CAS mission. It's a cash cow. The second reason is it keeps the Army from flying armed fixed wing.)

      • William_C1

        Why should the Army cut their attack helicopter strength? The AH-64 has proven itself just as much as the A-10 and they've already got the entire support and training network for it set up. The reason the Army flies exponentially more attack helicopters than the Marines is because the Army is exponentially larger than the Marine Corps.

        Army aviation took enough of a hit when the RAH-66 was cancelled although they've done a good job recapitalizing the AH-64, UH-60, and CH-47 fleets.

        If you want the Army to take over the CAS mission maybe they should abandon the whole "deep battle" helicopter doctrine which they've attempted with the AH-64. Of course the obvious solution would be to not restart some debate that ended decades ago. It's all about money, get some people with brains to figure out how the Air Force can get the new aircraft they need without retiring the A-10 and get some people in Congress willing to approve that.

      • "Why should the Army cut their attack helicopter strength?" Well fixed wing is much more efficient at lifting ordnance and can get to the fight quicker. I wouldn't recommend getting rid of all attack helos but the numbers could be cut.

        "The reason the Army flies exponentially more attack helicopters than the Marines is because the Army is exponentially larger than the Marine Corps."

        No again. (don't you get tired nof being wrong?) As I said before the Army flies more attack helos per capita than the Marines. 181 Cobras for 235k Marines vs the Army's 726 Apaches, 368 Kiowa Warriors, 51 AH6's and about a dozen (very conservative estimate, iot could be double) MH60L/K DAP helos (1157 helos) for a million soldiers. So the per capita ratio is one Marine helo for every 1300 Marines while the Army fields one helo for every 865 soldiers. The ratio becomes much more stark if you look at actual combat arms formations e.g. Marine Divisions are 25% larger than Army ones and have 20 combat arms BN's where Army Divisions average around 15. (You can cut both organizations by 25-30% if you subtract artillery formations which do not typically engage the enemy directly and would need CAS.) The Marines have a pittance of the support personnel the Army does. Support troops have very little to no need for CAS.

        It's no surprise you don't want to start a debate that raged years ago. The Air Force is making the same mistakes it did before Vietnam…

        We've already discussed the "deep battle" canard. Did you conveniently forget? It was a remnant of the need to attack follow on echelons of Soviet troops. It has largely fallen out of favor and hardly ever trained on. I don't even think it's in any unit's Mission Essential Task List for the last decade. The last time it was tried (2003) it didn't work so well.

      • William_C1

        Fixed wing gets to the fight quicker and carries more but you know very well that helicopters have their own qualities. The military (and Congress) came to the conclusion that there isn't unnecessary duplication between fixed wing attack aircraft and attack helicopters decades ago, there is a reason for both. You'd put the Army a similar situation to that of the Air Force. Choosing between plans they have for the AH-64E (their premier AFV hunter) and the A-10C. There are also future plans (JMR) that will need funding.

        You act as if these numbers prove something. The Army has probably always operated more attack helos per capita than the Marine Corps. You also seem to forget that the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior is being retired and was more for reconnaissance than attack. The MH-60 DAP isn't really a thoroughbred attack helo either.

        The Army also has a higher per capita ratio of main battle tanks and other armored fighting vehicles to soldiers. Again, what does this prove?

        The Marine Corps very nature is an expeditionary force meaning they have to fit a high percentage of their force into their LHAs/LHDs and other amphibious warships. Their AH-1s have to share deck space with the transports, the fixed wing aircraft, and anything else they might bring. The same applies to Marine Corps armored fighting vehicles. The Army doesn't abide by the same sort of restrictions.

        What mistakes the Air Force made before Vietnam? Not having a crystal ball that can see into the future? When did the Army get one and not tell the other services?

        Yes the need to attack follow-on Soviet forces, yet when the Air Force prioritizes this you just use it to spin your "Air Force hates CAS" narrative.

      • I don't disagree there is a reason for both fixed wing and rotary wing CAS specific aircraft. I embrace that basic fact.

        "You'd put the Army a similar situation to that of the Air Force. Choosing between plans they have for the AH-64E (their premier AFV hunter) and the A-10C."

        No it would not. If your theory were true we wouldn't be flying C5's and C17's, B1's and B2's or have Strykers and Bradleys in the Army to transport and support Infantry into the fight. They both have their pros and cons. The Army can decide to apply each one as the situation demands (just like the Air Force does with the aircraft I identified).. We can't do that now and for sure won't be able to do it in the future if the Air Force gets its way. with the A10.

        "You act as if these numbers prove something. The Army has probably always operated more attack helos per capita than the Marine Corps."

        Er… they do. Like I said before, "The Army flies exponentially more attack helicopters than the Marines because it cannot rely on armed fixed wing. Give the Army armed fixed wing you'll see the number attack helicopters drop."

        "The Army also has a higher per capita ratio of main battle tanks and other armored fighting vehicles to soldiers. Again, what does this prove?"

        Are you not aware that the Army is our premier heavy ground force? It's like saying the Air Force has more fixed wing aircraft than the Navy and Marines. What does that prove? DUH!!!

        Yes the Kiowa is going away (as they Army numbers continue to drop more than any other branch of service). The Kiowa is more scout than attack? How so? That's like saying the F16 is more a strike aircraft than a fighter. The MH-60 DAP isn't a thoroughbred? Sure, hang your hat on that one. What difference does that make? I mean really, are you even vaguely aware of its capabilities and employment?

        "The Army doesn't abide by the same sort of restrictions." Really? We don't have to worry about space & time? That's news to me. We don't task organize forces and carefully manage flow into a combat zone to maintain an appropriate balance of firepower and the ability to support it? Again, DUH!!!

        "What mistakes the Air Force made before Vietnam?" Again, reread the Rand Study “Army-Air Force Relations: The Close Air Support Issue” by Alfred Goldberg, Donald Smith. As I said before, the USAF requested study identified the USAF's almost myopic focus on multirole high performance aircraft before Nam as the key factor creating the CAS vacum that existed. The USAF's response was a scramble to borrow A1 Skyraiders from the Navy, O1's from the Army and procure the A7 as groundpounders turned Vietnam mud red. The physical cost of the multiyear process to establish an adequate CAS capability by the Air Force and its advocates seems to escape you. I guess not having the responsibility to write the letters home blinds one to the obvious or we'd hope. There are of course other possible reasons to ignore the obvious and worse repeat the error… I digress.

        It doesn't take a crystal ball to know history, identify mistakes and see them being applied again. Even us "knuckle draggers" can do it…

        "Yes the need to attack follow-on Soviet forces, yet when the Air Force prioritizes this you just use it to spin your "Air Force hates CAS" narrative." Attacking follow on forces isn't CAS. It's very hard to intelligently debate someone about CAS when they don't know what it is…

      • William_C1

        The Army would have to take a hit somewhere in order to pay for the costs of operating the A-10. Unless you presume Congress would grant them extra funding they'd have to cut something, so what would it be? Considering that AH-64s (and UAVs) are going to offset the retirement of the OH-58 cutting AH-64E production/rebuilds doesn't seem like a very wise choice.

        The Army can't rely on armed fix wing if they insist on doing it alone and not working alongside the Air Force. Yes they don't have organic fixed-wing support like the Marine Corps but that isn't the problem. Nor is that the reason they have more attack helicopters. That "premier heavy forces" line of yours applies to more than just tanks. The Army has comparatively large numbers of everything. The MH-60 DAP has numerous roles but it's normally not going to be used like the AH-64.

        You clearly understand the Army and Marine Corps aren't duplicates of each other so why the failure to understand that here? Is it because you can't blame the Air Force for something if you were to do that?

        Look at the history of the OH-58 which started as a scout helicopter in the purest sense of the term. With the OH-58D it worked as part of a hunter-killer team with the AH-64 and would locate and designate targets for the Apaches. The Kiowa Warrior upgrade added Hellfire capability but that was more-or-less a bonus feature. Its role remained the same and it has less than 1/4 the firepower of the AH-64.

        Of course the Army worries about space and time but their force structure is different from that of the Marine Corp. Of course they organize and balance their forces but it isn't based around a limited number of amphibious assault ships.

        I've already gone over what happened in Vietnam with you. It seems you fail to realize that the Air Force wasn't the only service guilty of planning to fight the Soviets versus interventions in third world jungles.

      • "The Army would have to take a hit somewhere in order to pay for the costs of operating the A-10."

        No, the Air Force has the funding now to fly the plane. They are trying to eliminate it and save $4 plus Bil but Congress won't let them. That $4 bil would then go top the F35. If the Army gets the A10 it should get the $4 bil the Air Force has (and wants to redirect) to operate the A10.

        I never said to cut AH64E production (that is already budgeted for) but there would be less need for so many attack helos.

        "The Army can't rely on armed fix wing if they insist on doing it alone and not working alongside the Air Force." Why? Because you say so? It's like saying the Army can't provide helicopter support without the Air Force. It does it every day… Giving up the A10's to the Army cuts the USAF operational ties/control of the A10.

        "Nor is that the reason they have more attack helicopters." Again, why? Because you say so? How about some evidence?

        The Army and Marines aren't duplicates of each other but we do many things the same. Heck we use virtually the same manuals and where do you think the Marines send their troops to get trained on the M1? The only thing we don't do the same is provide CAS and that's because the Army has to go to the Air Force to get it. The same Air Force that has repeatedly obstructed the Army from acquiring appropriate aircraft to accomplish its mission. Your failure to understand this is astonishing. Who should the Army blame for raising Air Force objections to its development of airborne firepower? Who has his hand up the Air Force's butt making it talk?

        You are ill informed about the Kiowa Warrior. The Kiowa Warrior is far expanded in its capability as an attack helicopter. It does recon and illuminate targets for Apaches. Just like Apaches do it for each other. The D model is far more than primarily a scout helicopter as its record of convoy escort, and airborne QRF have demonstrated over the last decade. You are confusing the early Kiowa models with the Warrior. I did not include the earlier model numbers in my computations for that exact reason. Equating the A model Kiowa to the D model Kiowa Warrior is like equating the C-12 with the MC-12W or the unarmed first version Predator with the latest armed, sensor heavy Predator.

        The Air Force may not have been the only service to focus on fighting the Soviets but it was the only one that forgot its responsibility to support the ground forces with CAS. Considering that's the issue here it really is irrelevant debating what the other services did unless you want to discuss how the Air Force's objection to the Army procuring armed fixed wing like the Fiat G-91, A4 and F4 in the early 60's was because "the USAF was worried about the Soviets".. http://xbradtc.com/2011/06/21/army-fixed-wing-cas

      • TruthHurths

        Your bias is clouding your judgment and betraying your ignorance of budgeting, and therefore, reality. The A-10 budget is O&M. The F-35 budget is pretty much RDTE & Proc, and IS ALREADY PROGRAMMED. The USAF does not need "That $4 bil would then go top the F35" in order to execute the F-35 program. As others have tried to explain to you, the decision to cut the A-10 is not driven by a neglect of the CAS mission (how many USAF platforms perform CAS?) but by the macro budget situation created by the politicians. Elsewhere you say "Give the Army armed fixed wing you'll see the number attack helicopters drop." Thanks for the laugh. I needed that today. When you wake up and realize you aren't God, maybe you can really learn something useful.

      • I understand budgeting. You're right the money comes from different pots but you are wrong to think they aren't connected. Maybe that's YOUR bias at work or maybe you don't understand how money is moved around in the budget?

        Air Combat Command itself makes a connection between the A10 and the F35 when asked, “In the past, the Air Force has made proposals to reduce force structure to a point that will allow us to sustain a smaller but still highly capable combat-ready force while modernizing the fleet to meet future challenges. We continue to work within the Department of Defense and with Congress to determine the right number and types of aircraft required to meet current and future defense needs.” http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/20

        The Air Force itself has largely linked the two aircraft by saying the F35 is going to replace the A10. said it needs the A10 maintainers for the F35 (though it's never been briefed before).

        BTW, it's not only me making this connection active duty LTC Dan Ward makes the same one. http://breakingdefense.com/2014/08/doing-the-math

        The only laugh is that Congress is smarter than the Air Force and that truth really hurts.

      • TruthHurths

        You don't understand budgeting and think you do. Dangerous combination. You are confusing long term vision with budgeting. You said "That $4 bil would then go top the F35" and this is fundamentally wrong. The A-10 $s are O&M and mixed wth overall ACC O&M $. The F-35 $ is primarily RDTE & Procurement, and managed jointly. The Air Force can't make "$4 bil then go top the F35". The $4B savings is required to meet the budgetary constraints created by Congress. Dan Ward is just as confused as you are if he thinks USAF has the authority to trim the F-35 program to resource A-10 O&M. First off, it is a JOINT program vetted through DoD, OMB, the President, and Congress. The only laughs are you suggesting Congress is smarter than the the Air Force, and your claim that "Give the Army armed fixed wing you'll see the number attack helicopters drop." While you make some interesting points, we should take into account your hubris and self proclaimed omniscience and omnipotence when evaluating your statements.

      • TruthHurths

        Furthermore, phase out of a capable weapon system without an optimal replacement is a phenemona hardly unique to the Air Force. The Army started phasing out the Sheridan in 78 without a real replacement, a capability gap that has not been addressed to this day. So if you're going to get vitriolic about the stupidity of a Service's decision making, look no further than the Army. There's plenty there to keep you occupied (M16 jamming, M2 Bradley (Pentagon Wars), Comanche, Crusader, FCS, slow response to body armor & MRAP requests, Walter Reed, recruiting scandals, Abu Ghraib, Kent State, My Lai, Kandahar massacre, Pat Tillman, Bagram Collection Point, contingency contracting failutre (Gansler commission), etc)

  • Lance

    Hope he keeps the A-10 we cannot replace it for a inferior plane like the JSF. Good for him to say at least he open to the idea.

  • Craigpv2d

    I don't think anyone, (even the AF brass), is saying that the A-10 is not the best CAS aircraft out there today. This sort of argument comes up every time a new aircraft or ship, etc., comes up. Like it or not, there is always a political aspect in the weapons procurement process. Like it or not, the F-35 is being designed to replace several types of aircraft. To allow those aircraft that it is supposed to replace to remain in service will make it harder to justify the F-35. Also, there are other airframes that can do the CAS role even though the A-10 is the best of all of them. That said, instead of using the expensive and yet unproven, F-35 in the CAS role, we should arm our trainer aircraft. The T-6 Texan II and the T-45 Goshawk are already in service in great numbers and most of our pilots have already flown in them. Granted, they are not as good as the A-10, but it would be cheap to accomplish, and shouldn't jeopardize the F-35 program.

    • displacedjim

      O.M.G! A voice of reason!

      No one–NO ONE–who has any authority in the matter has ever said (that I have ever seen quoted), "The F-35 is better at the CAS mission than the A-10 in every conceivable way/circumstance." That's NEVER been the issue. Also, no one–NO ONE–who has any authority in the matter has ever said (that I have ever seen quoted), "Retiring all the A-10s will not degrade the effectiveness of the CAS provided in any conceivable way/circumstance." That also has NEVER been the issue.

  • Steven W

    But if they keep the A10 they'll have to keep CSAR which they also hate and want gone. Bet the Jordanian Pilot wishes there was a ARS HH60 there to get him…..

    • sw614

      What leads you to believe the USAF hates CSAR? When has the USAF ever said they want to get out of that mission? The only time I can recall this subject is when SecDef wanted the USAF out of CSAR when funding for a new helo was/is on the table. The USAF won that discussion (so far) although the new CRH is under budget attacks as well. Without a replacement helo, the mission would eventually fall due to lack of assets to perform it. There is some internal wrangling over who is to perform the mission as AFSOC wants it and ACC is fighting the suggestion (I agree with ACC, not really a spec ops mission). The replacement helo program was #2 priority behind a new tanker.

      All of that does not appear as if the USAF hates CSAR and wants out of it.

  • JimmyD

    Thank you. Logic says you don't use $100M F35's to chase four guys in a pickup truck.

  • Old 391

    Amazing that an aircraft called a Warthog or Hog will instill fear in the enemy like the A-10 does, wonder if it has to do with the way they hate pigs. Maybe we should do like the Israeli's did and put pig blood or bacon around each bullet

    • d. kellogg

      Why stop there?
      We could go all-out and develop field-deployable "bio diesel" manufacturing plants, taking the morning's ham and bacon grease drippings right from the DFAC/chow halls, converting it into usable fuel additives that could be added to the aircraft's tankage by suppertime's sorties.

      The Air Force already tested B-52s and others with various bio-fuel mixes with standard jet engine grade fuels.

      • oblatt22

        Really all it would achieve is to prove to the larger Muslim population is that Americans are morally degenerate. Though its hardly necessary with gitmo and abu grabe.

      • Yes, ISIS and AQ's treatment of prisoners and hostages have really been a shining example of morality.

      • FirstDave

        So you're saying that if our opponents are really evil, we can be evil too and it's OK? Really?

      • No not at all but since we're comparing you don't see the vast difference between the examples?.

    • retired462

      Or, just fill tanks on planes, and deliver it like we do with fire retardant on forest fires.

  • ken

    Why are the AF generals so stupid? The A-10 gives superior armament for the mission, time on target, and is more rugged than other aircrafts. It looks like a slam dunk to me to keep it.

  • Flechette2006

    A-10 is a great tool but not necessarily for close air support of ground troops in the open. Canadian ground forces in Afghanistan refused A-10 support after being shot up by A-10 canons at close range. Apache helicopters were requested by Canucks after those friendly fire incidents. I know, I flew Apaches in Afghanistan in 06. A-10 is still a great aircraft for CAS in the correct application.

  • John Kelly

    AF generals love fast toys with a new airplane smell. It's obvious that the two aircraft are as different as their designs and the design of the A-10 is made for close ground support.

  • F.Scott McKown

    Turn the atrcraft over to the CAV so all those recently fired SCOUT pilots can HAVE A NEW job?

  • Ron

    Wow! What timing! The AF just deployed A-10s to Europe to counter the threat from current Russian threats. How about that, not F-16s or any other weapons system. They sent the A-10. Does that tell you guys something?????

  • Chasbrow

    If the AF wants to get rid of the A-10 (dumb move, IMHO), the Army might strike a deal to see if the D-M boneyard has any ole A-1Es or Js still lying around. Low, slow, long time on station, with lots of things that go "bang" or cause lots of fire (napalm) to discourage the bad guys. If my old friends in the AF want to have toys that call back the days of silk scarves flying in the wind in aerial combat, give them a few more F-22s to play with, but remember the guys with mud or sand on their boots who'd like a friendly noise in the sky.

  • Chris King

    USAF been trying to get rid of the A10 since 1990. The Army wanted to take the A10 and do their own CAS like the USMC, but Operation Desert Storm saved the A10. If it's not sleek and sexy, super sonic or stealthy they don't want it, and the A10's not any of those.

  • Old Charlie

    We actually need a true replacement for the A-10.
    Until we have one, the A-10 needs to be kept in service. The AF does not do a superb job of providing ground support, and an F-35 is not anywhere near what is actually needed. Give the Army and Marines fixed wing ground support, and let the AF do it’s thing.