A-10 Warthog May Live to Fight Another Day with Support from Lawmakers
April 14, 2014 9:41 AM
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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."
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RE: Great plane but less useful today than in the past
4/14/2014 11:02:44 AM
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.
RE: Great plane but less useful today than in the past
4/14/2014 2:08:19 PM
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.
"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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