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"The Taliban hates the A-10. That’s good enough for me." -- Senator Lindsey Graham

In February of 2012, a report surfaced that said the U.S. military was looking to retire single-purpose aircraft in favor of multirole aircraft in large part due to budget cuts. One of the aircraft that was among those to be killed off was the A-10 Warthog. However, it looks as though some lawmakers want the venerable Warthog to fly for many more years.
The A-10 is a dedicated ground attack jet that has been providing close air support for decades. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R) has announced that she will push for amendments to be made to legislation that would retire the A-10 fleet.
The USAF has proposed the removal of the A-10 from its fleet by 2019 in part due to a 2011 deficit-reduction law. There are lawmakers on both sides of the isle that want to keep the A-10 flying, but they will have to find cuts in the budget elsewhere to make that happen.

The USAF maintains that by cutting the A-10 from the fleet it will save $3.5 billion over several years.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R) says that he has "been in theater enough to know what the troops say about the A-10." Graham added, "The Taliban hates the A-10. That’s good enough for me."
According to reports, many senior Army leaders, special operations troops, and soldiers in the field oppose the retirement of the fleet. Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Oiderno recently stated, "Obviously, we prefer the A-10. [Soldiers] can see it, they can hear it, they have confidence in it."

Source: Defense News

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By BRB29 on 4/14/2014 10:11:11 AM , Rating: 1
Isn't the point of the F35 to be multi-role multipurpose jets? There's always people in the military that prefer things the old fashion way. A-10 wouldn't do much good when drones is the way forward. AC-130 is an excellent ground support plane as well.

I can see grunts preferring the A-10 as there is a legacy of confidence in it.

By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 10:36:50 AM , Rating: 3
The specter can not afford to venture into areas with Tactical SAM coverage (Let alone stategic SAMS) the way the A-10 can.

It is just to big and slow and takes a hell of a lot of support from ECM,SEAD, AWACs & HVAA protection systems for it to operate. Usually it can only be move into the area once the enemy IADs have been cleared out.

By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 11:15:41 AM , Rating: 5
Ah, not so much..

The F-35 could never move into the operational envelope that the A-10 has carved out for itself. When your taking on multiple tanks and ground positions, your aircraft has to be able to withstand repeated passes and tight turns while exposed to the enemy. That and you've got to be ready to re-attack should a target survive. It is assigned to venture into areas with still active radar guided guns as well as MANPADS. The only other AC even remotely close to filling the same role as well would be the SU-25.

The F-35 just doesn't have the slow speed maneuvering characteristics to linger over the battlefield to fill the role. Besides, stealth characteristics do you little good when the enemy can visually acquire you.

The USAF sees the F-35s ground attack role as lining up on a target, dropping a few precision guided weapons and/or AGMs and returning to base. Essentially, a near direct replacement for the F-16. Its weapon payload & gun could never do what the GAU-8 and A-10 hard points are designed for.

By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 1:08:05 PM , Rating: 4
If they can visually acquire you then they can visually guide their weapon against you. Most AAA and TAC SAMS, as well as some of the newer MANPADs, have that capability.

In fact the ability to use optical guidance has never really gone away, it has just been eclipsed over the years by automated systems.

By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 1:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
If I remember my training (From way back in the days) many STRAT SAMs like the Sa-2/3 have optical guidance. It prove quite effective in Vietnam when their radars were taken out.

In fact the Vietnamese would optically launch a missile and guide it most of the way to the target and switch on the radars for the final intercept. That way the AC's crew had very little warning time in which to respond. Proved very effective against the slow lumbering B-52s. This gave rise to rapid developments in the weasel programs.

By Jeffk464 on 4/14/2014 1:15:22 PM , Rating: 2
Just remember one of the key reasons that russia lost in Afghanistan is they were unwilling to put their SU 25's at risk when they needed to. Why did we loose again. :) eh oh yeah the enemy refuses to acknowledge that they lost.

By AntDX316 on 4/14/2014 11:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
cause the UAVs... do the same amount of dmg with less upkeep

By JediJeb on 4/23/2014 6:03:10 PM , Rating: 2
I have yet to see a UAV that carries that massive Gatling gun that the A-10 carrier. The amount of damage it does I just don't see UAVs doing.

By Hammer1024 on 4/14/2014 2:32:53 PM , Rating: 4
Folks... Let's get a bit... ok A LOT, more educated on what UAVs can and cannot do!

UAVs are missile magnets: THEY DO NOT DODGE!

They fly programmed way point flight paths: THEY DO NOT DODGE!

They do not take on targets of opportunity!

The only UAVs that DO NOT use way point flight are hand held squad and platoon units.

Of these, the only lethal one is a switchblade with a combat radius of a few miles and in direct line of sight of the operator.

The Predator uses a loiter scheme to hit it's targets.

UAVs are NOT piloted by some guy with a joystick sitting in a room thousands of miles away; the communications delay is a killer (22,000 up from the ground station to a satellite, 22,000 miles to another satellite, then 22,000miles down to the UAV, return path the same). By the time the information is encrypted, sent out and the UAV responded, it's 10's of seconds LATER!

GET OVER THIS UAV obsession please. You have no idea what you're talking about.

By corduroygt on 4/14/2014 3:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
You are grossly misinformed about all of that.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2014 5:44:16 PM , Rating: 2
Fact is anyone saying a UAV can do the job of the A-10 is a certifiable retard.

Get over this UAV obsession please. They are NOT combat aircraft. Yeah they're pretty good at lobbing a missile into some guys undefended cave or shack, but that's about it.

By Strunf on 4/15/2014 7:50:46 AM , Rating: 2
That's an ad... the communications lag is a real barrier for real-time movements, however one could easily see the operator sending instructions, target this, go there etc then the UAV would follow the instructions by itself.

If you play computer games you would know lag is a huge handicap and most people play using wired connections that are much faster and with a lower ping than anything a satellite can provide.

By dgingerich on 4/14/2014 12:09:51 PM , Rating: 1
The A-10 is a great ground support plane, that's for sure. It has been doing an exemplary job for decades, but there are other things that can take its place in ground support.

The F-35 is there for the tank busting side of things. It takes out the large artillery and armored vehicles. The big difference is that it can be in and out of range of tactical (man carried) anti-air missiles before enemy troops could even get one out to fire. It's faster and flies higher. This is the role that the F-16 did so well.

Unmanned Reaper drones are there for ground troop support, and Reapers have a much longer linger time. They're less useful for "shock and awe" tactics which can demoralize the enemy troops, but they can take out small targets upon request with far less time from request to action than an A-10 can. In addition, they're less able to be targeted by hand carried anti-air missiles, and even if they're taken down, there isn't near the cost, in lives or money, of losing an A-10. This would fit that role of going behind enemy lines with still active anti-air and taking out the air defenses to allow the other planes to come in and pound the enemy.

Finally, there's the AC-130. It can be used for that immensely demoralizing "shock and awe" type attack, plus it can do it for longer. An A-10 can dive in and put 20mm shells in a small, single area for 15-20 seconds and scare the hell out of enemy troops, making them need a change of pants. An AC-130 can do that same area for 2-3 minutes with 30mm or 40mm cannon fire as well as 105mm cannons. The Spectre can certainly scare the hell out of enemy troops better than the A-10, and leave a lot more of them dead in the process. Sure, they're easy targets for anti-air missiles, but the A-10 would as well under those circumstances.

Besides, the maker of the A-10 is bankrupt. They can't make any more. Parts for repair are also getting harder to come by and more expensive. It could probably still serve for a while, but it is still close to time to let them go. The 486 chip was still used until 2007, and it did the job well, but it eventually needed to be retired and replaced.

By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 12:53:53 PM , Rating: 4
I'm with you 100% for most of your post.

But there a couple of points where I thing your off the mark.

1.) Armor travels together. So for "tank busting" the F-35 doesn't have the payload capacity to bring against a column of armor. Remember that they aren't going to fly without some air-to-air capability so those small weapons bays are further reduced by toting air-to-air missiles. Also the F-35's gun isn't really enough for the top armor of modern tanks.

2.) For close air support faster and higher is not always better. When you make a high speed pass over the battlefield you alert the enemy to your presence. Your bomb load or missile may have missed requiring a second/third/.... run, and after the first your targets probably have moved to seek cover, but they are also ready for you. And for the F16, it is actually far worse at medium altitude bombing than you'd imagine even with modern upgrades. It's another reason the AF wants the F-35 to include advancements that the 16 can't incorporate. Gen Chuck Horner proved this in Desert Storm when the Iraqis use of radar guide AAA & tac sams pushed the fight into the mid-high altitude bombing. The Brits tended to stick to low level where they were more effective but had far worse attrition. Horner was very wise to do this after he witnessed what the Egyptians were able to do to low flying Israeli aircraft. So for desert Storm we had worse bomb damage rates but far better attrition. Smart weapons changes the game a little in Close-Air-Support for not by much.

3.)Currently the reaper drones are more ISR focused with couple/few small stings (Hellfires) available should the opportunity arise. CS often demands a far more heavy weapons load like cluster munitions. The other issue with the reapers is that they are currently propeller driven, which means they take quite a bit of time to redeploy to the needed area. Newer faster drones with bigger payloads are under development and R&D but are still quit a ways out to being fielded.

4.) A drone lingering over the battlefield means that the enemy can bring far more anti-aircraft weapons to bare. Trying to linger at higher altitudes inside the envelope of something like a mobile SA-10/20 would be near impossible. Even some of the far more mobile TAC sams could get at you.

5.) The A-10 still has life in it as the fleet just got new wings/avionics and engines.But your right it does need to be replaced eventually. Just not with something inferior.

By gamerk2 on 4/14/2014 3:29:13 PM , Rating: 4
You seem to be disregarding the A-10's primary armament:

Who needs payload when you have several thousand rounds of explosives built in? Compared to what, four hardpoints to carry bombs? Hope the enemy never travels in groups larger then four...

Hence the fatal flaw of the JSF: No carrying capacity. You are too limited to deal with large groups of enemies without dispatching multiple jets, which immediately makes the A-10 a cheaper option.

Hence why the Army LOVES the thing. I say screw the old agreements, and give the cost of operating the A-10 to the army. Problem solves.

By MrBlastman on 4/14/2014 3:47:15 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on what angle you shoot at them from. You typically want to shoot the MBTs from top-down (i.e. above them) or from behind. The front and sides are most heavily armored.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2014 5:57:51 PM , Rating: 5
Avenger isn't that effective against MBT's. A-10 would most likely use missiles to take out a T-80 or similar.

I just have to ask...

Are you a retard?

Saying the A-10's main gun isn't "effective" against tanks is like saying a sledgehammer isn't "effective" against an egg!

If was specifically DESIGNED to defeat heavy armor. Wtf? It fires some of the most advanced armor-defeating rounds on the planet, at 4,000 rounds a minute.

A T-80 tank, hell even a T-90, might as well be an aluminum Coke can as far as the A-10 is concerned.

By sorry dog on 4/14/2014 6:37:25 PM , Rating: 1
Saying the A-10 is a flying tank shouldn't be taken to literally. It's still an airplane, and airplanes can be shot down. If an A-10 can go to a particular area because the risk is acceptable then an F16, Beagle, or Stubby (F35) can go there too. Yes, the cannon is awesome, but so are JDAMs, LMAVs, and even from 7,000 feet an F16 CEP with a dumb bomb is around 80 feet or less. The Manpads aren't so effective over that altitude and the 35 can operated even if there are some lingering medium and long range SAM threats.

Now, if Congress wants to give the AF some extra money to keep some A10's around then I'm all for it. But in the sequestration era where some hard choices have to made, I'd rather the guys flying and fighting or at least used to do so make the decisions instead of the desk pilots.

By Fritzr on 4/14/2014 9:48:39 PM , Rating: 4
You do realize that it is the desk pilots saying kill the A10 and it is the troops who will be requesting air support wanting an A10 to stop by when they ask for support.

In short, it is the people who will not need the assistance who are in favor of the F16/F35/AC130 ... the people who will be under fire when they request assistance prefer to see an A10 in their sky.

By JediJeb on 4/23/2014 6:19:03 PM , Rating: 3
Come in close, low and slow as most ground support does( few hundred feet altitude and maybe 200mph) and ask a pilot if they would rather be in an A-10 or an F16/F35. Just having that heavy titanium bathtub to sit in help a lot when you have troops on the ground lobing small arms fire at you, or even some AA. Also in the first Gulf War one A-10 actually flew home with half of a wing blown off, not so easy for something like the F16/F35 to do.

I used to live near where some A10s trained. You really don't know they are coming until they are right on top of you. I have been standing in a field when one came over only a few hundred feet above the ground and by the time you could see it over the trees, it would have been too late to run. An F16 would either need to be much higher up or flying too fast to really react when it saw you in that situation, the A10 though could have taken us out easily.

By corduroygt on 4/15/2014 9:02:01 AM , Rating: 2
You're the bald retard buddy. Ask A-10 pilots if you don't believe me. It was designed to kill 60's tanks and anything lighter. Newer tanks have better armor and the A-10 pilot will be going for the Maverick missiles against something like a T-90 or Leopard or Abrams.

By bug77 on 4/15/2014 9:53:24 AM , Rating: 2
According to this: the Avenger can penetrate 30mm of armor at 1,000m or 69mm at 500m. Couldn't even break open the front of a Tiger.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2014 6:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
Wtf? The A-10 destroyed over 1,000 Iraqi tanks in Desert Storm. A LOT of those were gun kills.

And no A-10 pilot would bother attacking the "front" of a tank where the armor is thickest. Duh! They hit the top of the turret, shredding the occupants and setting off the magazine. Or attack the rear, and obliterate the engine.

the Avenger can penetrate 30mm of armor at 1,000m or 69mm at 500m.

Sure a single round. What you need to think about is the cumulative effect of dozens of hits of a depleted Uranium penetrator within milliseconds of each other does to armor.

Do your own research. There's hundreds of videos from Desert Storm of A-10's strafing tanks to death.

By therealnickdanger on 4/17/2014 10:41:13 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed. I wrote a report on the A10 for school during the first Gulf War with a section dedicated the Avenger. The GAU8 is ridiculous. It's like getting hit by Thor's Mjolnir 60 times per second (if such a thing existed). Insane kinetic energy + insane accuracy = insane damage. The recoil force alone is greater than the thrust output of one of the two engines. In the hands of a skilled pilot, it's like the finger of God.

Yes, I have a slight man-crush on the A10.

By Khato on 4/14/2014 12:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it's the adoption of drones that really starts cutting into the A-10's domain. While drones can't carry as much ordinance, and they of course lack anything comparable to the GAU-8, they're quite capable of carrying out pretty much any mission that the A-10 can. About the only difference would be that they're not a flying tank - if they get hit, they're probably going to go down.

That said the A-10 is still an awesome and unique aircraft and I'd certainly be sad to see it go.

By Jeffk464 on 4/14/2014 3:37:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure the AC130 also has mini guns on it. I use to have to listen to them fire them off from my house.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2014 5:41:41 PM , Rating: 2
A-10 is also not the plane of choice to venture into areas with SAM coverage.

Uhh SAM's aren't very good at shooting down planes flying 50 feet off the ground and hugging every tree, canyon, house, and field mouse.

By ralith on 4/14/2014 11:02:44 AM , Rating: 2
Those multi-role jets cost a good bit more than a A-10 and they don't do as good of a job. Not to mention they can not take anywhere near the pounding a A-10 can and still fly home.

For instance it would be silly to send say a F-35 in as close air support when one of them cost $150 million a pop and a A-10 cost $20 to $30 million. Of course it would be silly to send in a A-10 if a drone could do the job, but I doubt a drone can do close air support. My 2 cents.

By dgingerich on 4/14/2014 2:08:19 PM , Rating: 2
Well, this would depend heavily on which close air support scenario would be needed.

The "Help! We've got twenty tanks approaching our position!" support would be taken care of by a half dozen F-35s, which can each lock onto two tanks and in one dive turn that entire group into steaming hunks of metal in about 60 seconds.

The "Help! We've got a hard target base/ building where we need to root out enemy troops from an otherwise controlled area." goes to the AC-130, where they'll loop around and turn a 30m diameter area into very small rubble in 60 seconds. Very loudly.

The AC-130 is also quite useful for the "Help! We're being overrun by large numbers of enemy troops surrounding us." with the added effect of the remaining enemy troops having to go home to change their pants. (Yes, I am very impressed with the airborne artillery known as the AC-130 Spectre. It is a truly beautiful and intimidating piece of hardware, being able to swing around a target area 30m in diameter and focus 30mm cannons and 105mm artillery into such a tight spot.)

The "Help! We only have 12 guys with guns and no explosives and we need to take out a hardened enemy position." goes to the drones, which can fly in and turn a bunker into a pile of rubble with no warning to the occupants.

On top of all that, we can build ten times as many Reaper drones as A-10s at the same cost, and no pilots have to ever be in danger of being shot down and captured or killed. We lose a drone it's not a big deal. We lose an A-10 and we lose a valuable pilot.

By Hammer1024 on 4/14/2014 2:23:28 PM , Rating: 2
The day an F-35 can survive a hit from a surface to air missile, I'll eat one!

A-10's have survived not-only hits from SA missiles and gotten the pilot home, but small arms fire AND SA hits! An F-35 can be taken down with an AK!

Also, when an F-35 can carry the same amount of ordinance, loiter around the same amount of time and cost the same or less to repair and fly...

If the AF doesn't want them, give them to the Army and Marines for CAS. They'll us them to great effect... and then the USAF can play their bomber & air superiority games.

By Samus on 4/16/2014 3:28:23 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a very 21st century kind of guy, but there is no doubting the A-10 is more bullet-proof, literally, than anything that will replace it. Additionally, the A-10C is thoroughly modern with a sophisticated HUD, flight controls, sensors, countermeasures, and so on. It has been field tested world-wide in all types of environments, sand, jungle, freezing snow, salt flats, and has very low cost of training and maintenance.

I don't see any reason to get rid of a good thing. Multi-purpose is great, but kind of an oxymoron in the world of military vehicles. There's always going to be "the right tool for the job."

By danjw1 on 4/14/2014 10:35:56 AM , Rating: 4
The Air Force wants sexy planes, they don't care about the soldiers on the ground. This is the reason the Army has long fought to get fixed wing aircraft, but congress won't let them. The Air Force has long been trying to dump the A-10s, but they are very effective in their role. So far, the Army has managed to keep the A-10s flying, by lobbying congress. I think a block upgrade to the A-10 would make more sense than that what the Air Force proposes. The AC-130 doesn't have the lower stall speeds of the A-10, which makes it less effective in the close support role.

Our soldiers love them, our enemies hate them. There is a reason for that.

By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 11:55:27 AM , Rating: 2
The reason the AF has never relished the close support role is a bit older and far darker than just wanting sexy aircraft.

In just about every conflict there have been numerous friendly fire incidents attributed with close support. It is almost unavoidable. The AC is moving at incredible speeds and there is never anything surgical about a 2000lb bomb. Confusion and mistakes are going to happen. That and when it does occur it has a tendency to not only mentally effect the pilot but also tends to make other pilots far more weary of providing the level of close support needed in the future.

Getting "too close" and "not close enough" is just as ineffectual on the battlefield. Both of which tend to breed animosity with the ground troops. Also remember that it took Billy Mitchell and pearl Harbor before the US Navy wised up and started truly seeing how to integrate air power into its mission. Before that the USN's air arm had just as much of a rift at the Army did with Air Corp. The US army and US Air Force have never been very friendly toward each other going all the way back to pre-WWI and the Army Air Corp. WWII pretty much put a permanent fracture between the two when it comes to the perceived role of Air power.

The marines probably do close air support far better than the other services combined. It's what they constantly train for. IMO the Marines ultimate CS aircraft would be an A-10ish AC that would be carrier or STOVL capable, remanence of the A-1 Skyraider. However they are always sucking hind tit when it comes to funding for R&D/technology and weapons procurement. They uusally have to take what the other services throw off and then fit it to its new role. Not many people realize it but the USAF put more funding into the V-22 than the Marines as it was a joint project.

The other side of the argument is that the US Army has always flaunted the ability of its helicopter gunships to adequately fill the role. They've always put out their hand for more and continual funding toward that purpose. However, those helicopter gunships are seldom close enough to reach areas that needs close air support in time.

By Jeffk464 on 4/14/2014 4:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
Not many people realize it but the USAF put more funding into the V-22 than the Marines as it was a joint project.

The Air Force doesn't want to be left out of the special ops game. If not for AC 130's and V-22/helicopter for pick up and drop off they would be left out.

By MrBlastman on 4/14/2014 11:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure what more they could do to further upgrade the airframe. You could add air-to-ground radar but that kind of defeats the purpose of the A-10. You need to be pretty high up in the air and far away from your target for it to be of any worth and frankly, since the A-10 operates as CAS rather than pre-planned strike (as the F-16 / F-15D/E are far superior in that capacity), it is accumstomed to receiving 9-lines that the pilot can quickly enter into the navigation system and after that, his targeting pod helps him do the rest.

The A-10 is crude and effective. The C update pretty much gives it all it needs without making it a completely new airframe. About the only thing I can think of it using is some sort of helmet-mounted system with 3-dimensional targeting and telemetry to improve situational awareness... that kind of defeats the purpose of the plane, though--adding expensive gizmos into it. It thrives on redundancy and survivability.

By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 1:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
9-lines !!! In my B-52 days we always welcomed 9 lines just to help breakup the monotony. You just don't see them much anymore as they've become transparent behind the scenes to the user in more modern systems with JTIDS.

By MrBlastman on 4/14/2014 1:14:12 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. The as I see it, with the tie-ins the C variant gives it + the oldschool manual entry capabilities, it pretty much has evolved as far as it can go without completely replacing the airframe with something new like you suggested above.

Your A-10 operator receives a notification, he presses a couple hats/buttons and bam, he has the target on his moving map that he can SPI to with his pod, get a visual on it, relate it to the HUD and move in for the kill.

And for those missions that require more firepower, well he can do just fine as a forward air controller.

A helmet-sighting system would be really nice. I just don't see it happening. Not with all the money that has been spent doing the same thing on the F-35 (and the problems they have had with it).

By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 1:35:49 PM , Rating: 2
The program management office for the A-10 is only 5 doors down from mine here at Wright-Pat. What I can tell you is that some of the stuff on the drawing board for future A-10 Block/mod updates would blow your mind. The same is true for the 15 guys just down the hall.

A lot of us guys here eat sleep and breath aviation. Even lunch can be an aviation geek fest..

By MrBlastman on 4/14/2014 1:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
... you've piqued my interest. :) My imagination is going wild, suddenly.

By GulWestfale on 4/14/2014 10:40:14 AM , Rating: 2
i think the issue here is the changing battlefield just as much as the new generation of multi-purpose planes and drones.
decades ago, a tank killer was a necessity as the warsaw pact countries had (and some still do have) large tank armies; but the taliban do not possess hundreds of soviet tanks. they fight using trucks, cars and other unarmored vehicles, often in small groups. an A10 is far less useful in such scenarios than it was during the invasion of iraq, when it had to go up against saddam's armored corps.
so, although i am an airplane enthusiast i would have to say that if a more effective way of fighting on teh current battlefield can be found, and at the same time costs can be reduced, then there is no need anymore for the A10.

By NellyFromMA on 4/14/2014 11:17:30 AM , Rating: 5
IDK, Russia sounds pretty aggressive as of late. And lets not forget China, who watches the Ukrainian conflict / response carefully to see what types of responses it can anticipate as it mulls over asserting force in its southern seas.

Of course, the USA is trying everything it can to avoid conflict, but Russia looks to almost purposefully be seeing what the US will tolerate in bad behavior.

The EU and US look unwilling and hence unable to issue crippling sanctions against Russia, so it will be interesting as an outside party to see how those events unfold. (With that said, deepest condolences to those affected by the latest events).

I think its too easy after a decade+ of fighting "terrorists" to say the battlefield has changed to a point where we do not need the equipment we once did for traditional foes.

The prospect of "traditional" war hasn't disappeared in my opinion. Yes, asymmetrical traits had dictated a necessity for different approaches to warfare. But, I'd be willing to bet certain enemies states of the "western world" are just fine watching the US shift gears into this "new battlefield" only to then launch more typical attacks at US-allies.

We have gotten very good at engaging in asymmetrical warfare with the enemy; that does not mean we do not need to maintain military preparedness against more tradition foes, however , IMO.

By GulWestfale on 4/14/2014 11:21:06 AM , Rating: 2
Of course, the USA is trying everything it can to avoid conflict

"After three visits to Ukraine in five weeks, Victoria Nuland explains that in the past two decades, the United States has spent five Billion dollars ($5,000,000,000) to subvert Ukraine, and assures her listeners that there are prominent businessmen and government officials who support the US project to tear Ukraine away from its historic relationship with Russia and into the US sphere of interest (via "Europe").

Victoria Nuland is the wife of Robert Kagan, leader of the younger generation of "neo-cons". After serving as Hillary Clinton's spokesperson, she is now undersecretary of state for Europe and Eurasia."

yes, the US is totally trying to avoid a crisis. totally.

RE: Great plane but less useful today than in the past
By TSS on 4/14/2014 2:21:29 PM , Rating: 2
I think he ment open conflict, not proxy wars.

In which he'd be right. It's also the reason why Russia has seemingly little problem anymore with directly opposing the US.

It's because the US is weak right now and on the verge of collapse. If open war with Russia does happen, China's going to take russia's side immediantly. If they both dump their treasuries, considering the weak economic state of the US and their allies such as europe and japan, the US would go bankrupt overnight. You cannot fight a war while bankrupt, it'd be an automatic win for Russia.

Just read the article. The only reason the A-10 is being retired is because of "Budget cuts". Not because they're getting old or there's a newer better fighter on the horizon. Why are they trying to replace it with multirole fighters? Because it's cheaper (in theory, atleast).

That, and i figure Russia's not going to let the US have it's way in it's back yard. First Georgia, then Syria and now Ukraine, it'd be like russia trying to turn canada and mexico communist as well as stationing missiles on cuba again. Think the US would let that slide?

But a proxy war is one thing. Russia knows it'd be open war if it'd do the same to EU members like lithuania, so that's why it's not. Same reason why it'll threaten to cut off the gas but it will ensure europe still gets theirs (it also helps this is all unfolding in spring, it'd be a different story if this happened mid-autumn). What worries me, is the open talk of using nuclear weapons from all sides. Palin on the US side, the russian news cast saying they're the only real nuclear threat to the US on their side, and the new ukrainian prime minister saying russians in ukraine should be killed with nuclear weapons.

That's playing with fire nobody wants to play with.

By NellyFromMA on 4/15/2014 1:38:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, specifically I meant USA wishes to avoid direct engagement with the "enemy", whomever that may be. USA gov is content to allow a crisis and/or incite one.

I don't really want to pick who is less bad, each party involved has a whole litany of abuses on their hands. But, I live in USA so I know where my interests lie. That's the world for ya.

By bug77 on 4/14/2014 3:28:47 PM , Rating: 2
Well, she did not say "subvert" so I'm not sure what are you trying to insinuate here.

By NellyFromMA on 4/15/2014 1:34:47 PM , Rating: 2
I said avoid a CONFLICT, not a CRISIS. Perhaps I should have specified that they will do anything to avoid directly being involved in a war. That is what I really meant.

On that note, USA gov will seemingly allow a crisis off our soil if it suits their "chess match". That's conjucture based on observation, but I think its reasonable.

I think you are under the impression that I think the USA gov is innocent in all of its actions; I certainly don't. I wouldn't even try arguing that because it's just not true. However, I do live on American soil nd believe America is the greatest nation to its citizens because, if its citizens got off their lazy asses in appreciable numbers, we COULD make a NON-VIOLENT difference. We're just too apathetic as a whole. Still, I'd rather be here than anywhere else. That's nationalism for ya.

By Jeffk464 on 4/14/2014 4:12:08 PM , Rating: 2
Russia sounds pretty aggressive as of late

My understanding is Russia is nervous about the eastern movement of NATO. We keep including countries closer and closer to Russia. Having the Ukraine join NATO is supposedly absolutely unacceptable to Russia.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2014 6:02:48 PM , Rating: 1
Of course, the USA is trying everything it can to avoid conflict, but Russia looks to almost purposefully be seeing what the US will tolerate in bad behavior.

Which is what happens EVERY TIME we put a pussy Democrat President in the White House.

Maybe Obama should try literally bowing to Putin, cause you know, that worked so well last time he tried appeasing someone by groveling and being a pussy.

By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 12:11:11 PM , Rating: 5
The same thing was said after WWII; "The nuclear bomb has rendered large ground forces obsolete."

When the F-4 phantom was originally developed, it was designed without a gun because planners thought that; "Missiles and high speed have rendered the dog fight obsolete."

Richard Gatling designed his new auto repeating weapon to be so terrible that it would reduce the size of armies and so reduce the number of deaths by combat and disease, and "to show how futile war is."

So I find your statement a bit ignorant of the realities surrounding the issue(s).

By MrBlastman on 4/14/2014 1:20:55 PM , Rating: 2

You can bomb a country into submission. You can hold the skies with superiority.

... but you still need infantry to occupy and control it.

There will ALWAYS be a place for large armies and infantry, no matter if it is on this world or countless others around the galaxy.

The armies might not stand line abreast with Napoleonic-era regimented tactics. They will, however, continue in the tradition of Francis Marion. Guerilla warfare is here to stay. Or have you not learned anything from Afghanistan?

Even if we turned that country to a puddle of glass the rats would still figure out a way to live through all of it--and we'd need manpower to oppose them.

Aircraft are really useful softening them up and taking out key targets, though. :)

By bug77 on 4/14/2014 11:04:03 AM , Rating: 2
So it takes 3 other aircraft to do the same job. How is that more budget friendly?

RE: Great plane but less useful today than in the past
By tng on 4/14/2014 2:00:23 PM , Rating: 2

So you now have three separate crews to service the planes. Three separate crews to fly the planes. Training and paperwork for each of these people.

Three separate parts inventories... and it goes on.

Not really budget friendly...

By bug77 on 4/14/2014 3:27:39 PM , Rating: 2
Add the ability to coordinate all these three.

By Jeffk464 on 4/14/2014 1:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
U.S. military was looking to retire single-purpose aircraft in favor of multirole aircraft

WTF the A10 is the cheapest thing to operate in the Air Force. Everyone I talked to that worked on them said they are like commercial airliners, just put more fuel in them and send them back up. In Desert Storm they had by far the highest operational ready rate. No way replacing them with F35's will save money and the F35's will no doubt not be as good as getting down in the dirt for close air support.

By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 1:15:25 PM , Rating: 2
WTF the A10 is the cheapest thing to operate in the Air Force.

Ah.. negative. I've seen a young no-stripe airman with a push broom effectively sweep the aircraft parking apron in just a couple of hours!

By ianweck on 4/14/2014 3:23:07 PM , Rating: 2
So, you want to replace one plane with three others?

By inperfectdarkness on 4/15/2014 10:13:21 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. SFW has all but eliminated the need to strafe a column of tanks. PGM's like the GBU-54 (one of my favorite air-delivered ordnance) have replaced the need for slow, slow passes with unguided bombs.

Modern operations (in an air-superiority environment) usually involved some type of platform armed with a Sniper pod & PGM's delivering payload from high altitudes. UAV's can be used to assist in finding targets (they cannot currently carry the capacity of A-10 or similar). This type of hunter-killer warfare is our bread and butter.

The A-10 was a great airplane when it was designed back during Vietnam. Since then, PGM's are the new standard of warfare. We've developed new and better means to stay outside of IADS and MEZ's to better keep our airplanes out of harm's way. No, the F35 isn't replacing the A-10. Improved armaments has. As much as I love the A-10, it's not really relevant anymore.

Congress needs to GTFO of military affairs with respect to stuff like this. It's bad enough that the military gets squeezed with less and less budgeting every year---but then to have some politicians decide HOW that money should be spent--instead of our military leaders--is just asinine. Most of the time, these politicians have ZERO military experience, let alone any concept of strategic military planning, posturing, capabilities and effects.

Long Live the Warthog
By GlobleWarmingisbunk on 4/14/2014 3:02:08 PM , Rating: 5
There are several issues the Air Force will have to consider before replacing the A-10.

First, the F-35 is a great, shiny new stealth plane, while the A-10 is a slow, lumbering beast - that was built around the largest gun ever mounted on an aircraft. A gun that was specifically designed to turn shiny new tanks into flaming hulks of scrap. This weapon, the GAU-8 Avenger cannon, fires a 30mm depleted uranium round that can penetrate virtually any armor on the battlefield. While it has good armor-piercing qualities, the 20mm cannon on the F-35 is not designed specifically to deal with armor.

Secondly, the A-10 low speed makes it perfect as a ground attack aircraft, as it can engage a large number of targets in one pass. The F-35, while designed to fill an close air support (CAS) role, is not designed to make multiple passes. Instead, it is entirely reliant on precision munitions to get the job done.

Furthermore, while stealth is nice, it tends to minimize survivability. The A-10 can take a massive amount of punishment and stay in the air, as Desert Storm proved quite well. Pilots often returned with meter-wide holes blown in their wings, tails shot off, and one engine gone. Some even lost most of one wing. And yet, they were still able to complete the mission and return to base. This is due largely to the primitive nature of the plane's design. It is perhaps the most technologically deficient plane in the U.S. arsenal. Rather than use sophisticated (read: "expensive")computer technology like the F-35, the A-10 uses hydraulics and cables for virtually all of it's flight systems. Modern amenities may include computerized guages and a GPS. Also, the A-10's pilot sits in an armored bathtub, bulletproof up to (and possibly above) 20mm. This makes the aircraft incredibly robust - perfect for its role as a tank-buster. The F-35, on the other hand, relies entirely on speed and stealth to survive an attack. If shot at low altitude by a visually-aimed 20mm AA gun, I doubt the F-35 would survive to finish its mission. Also, any damage compromises its stealth characteristics - and only an idiot thinks that it won't take any damage on a strafing run. I guarantee, at least one F-35 will be lost due to good old-fashioned AA on its first combat deployment.

Another issue is the F-35's primary defense - stealth. While stealth looks great on paper, in practice, it is virtually useless for a CAS aircraft. Yes, you can slip in, attack, and slip out without being detected (in theory). However, if a mission requires more than just an in-and-out approach, then stealth becomes a liability, rather than an advantage. Stealth also limits the payload of an aircraft, as all the weapons have to be carried internally. While rotating racks solve part of the problem, the F-35 will never be able to carry the same amount of weapons as the A-10 And if wing pylons are used, it defeats the purpose of stealth altogether.

And finally, while the multi-role fighter-bomber is a good idea,it has limitations that prevent it from filling the role of either dedicated aircraft particularly well. Consider the expression "jack of all trades, master of none," meaning that it will not excel at any one thing. The U.S. Navy needs aircraft that can perform multiple missions, as each aircraft takes up valuable hanger space. The Air Force, however, can afford to have role-specific aircraft on its tarmacs.

In conclusion, while the F-35 may make a great replacement for the F-16, it has a long way to go before it can, if ever, compare to the mighty A-10 Warthog. This venerable aircraft has continued to prove its worth, from the opening days of Desert Storm, to today' modern conflicts. And it will likely continue to do so well into the 21st century.

RE: Long Live the Warthog
By Captain Orgazmo on 4/18/2014 5:06:28 AM , Rating: 2
Excellent post, I just want to emphasize the importance of low speed, loiter time, and ground fire protection in the close air support role. There is no there aircraft in the available or proposed inventory that can come close to replacing the A-10 in its specific role.

There is truth to the saying, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Love the A-10, but where is the news?
By BillyBatson on 4/14/2014 10:08:38 AM , Rating: 3
The A-10 is my favorite Military flying aircraft. I was in the USAF and there is nothing like being deployed and seeing them fly over. DT has reported this same news on this aircraft before.

By dice1111 on 4/14/2014 10:33:26 AM , Rating: 2
People call it ugly, but all I see is functionality, survivability and awesome fire-power.

That is beauty to me.

I have always loved this plane. The GI-Joe Tiger Rat was one of my favourite toys.

Looks more like a big cat..
By Rumiku on 4/14/2014 1:37:13 PM , Rating: 2
...Like a Puma.

Give it to the Army
By funguseater on 4/14/2014 3:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
The A-10 should be given to the Army if the Air Force cannot afford it. I am sure Army Brass will come up with a budgetary solution as they love this beast. And trained monkeys could fly it, don't know about repair parts though.

umm, what?
By dew111 on 4/14/2014 5:05:34 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone else find the Army's reasoning specious at best? I mean, the soldiers like it because they see and hear it coming. Can't the enemy also see it coming, and shoot at it? Maybe there's some intimidation factor?

Deficits are terrible and debt is the worst thing that could ever happen! Unless it's an expensive plane we don't need.

Ummm Senator Ayotte?
By Jedi2155 on 4/21/2014 11:31:02 AM , Rating: 2
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R) has announced that she will push for amendments to be made to legislation that would prevent retirement the A-10 fleet.

I was upset when I saw a senator was pushing against this plane so when I googled her, I discovered the complete opposite. That's a big mistake dailytech.

She is one of the most vocal supporters of the A-10 as her husband himself was an A-10 pilot.

Please correct that.

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