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National Defense > Blog > Posts > A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says
A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says
By Chelsea Todaro



The possibility of sequestration returning in 2016 leaves the Air Force with hard decisions to make on budget cuts and how to maintain fighting capability, Gen. Michael Hostage, Air Combat Command commander, said July 29.

A tighter budget means letting go of resources that impact the ability to produce maximum combat power. Such plans include cutting the A-10 Warthog and U2 spy aircraft and closing Air Force bases. Politics is a challenge for the Air Force, said Hostage. All three proposals have met resistance on Capitol Hill.

The A-10 no longer meets the requirements for combat in the Middle East, he said at an Air Force Association breakfast in Arlington, Virginia.

The Air Force needs to make room for aircraft that are newer, more capable and survivable, he added.

“I can’t send an A-10 to Syria. It would never come back,” he said.

The Air Force needs a new base closure and realignment commission to do away with excess capacity, he said.   

“We don’t have the latitude anymore to hang on to the amount of infrastructure that we have,” said Hostage.

“We are bringing our force down to the size that it needs to be in order to be sized for the sequestration budget,” he said.

In light of these budget limitations, there is still a bright future for the Air Force, Hostage said. The challenge now is how to develop and deploy new platforms, such as the F-35 joint strike fighter. What makes the F-35 valuable is its speed and fusion, he said.

“The F-35 has tremendous stealth capability, tremendous fusion and the ability to work cooperatively with other airplanes that no other plane can do,” said Hostage.

The next step is to figure out what kind of aircraft will follow the F-35, he said. Budget cuts mean carefully planning what the sixth-generation fleet will be, said Hostage.
 
He said the Air Force was already behind on its timeline to define what this next-generation fighter should be.

“We have to figure out what is the capability that future technology will bring to us that will provide balance,” said Hostage. Yet he added that he was “confident we will have the capabilities before somebody else does.”

Having coalitions with other nations’ air forces is a key factor in producing as much combat power as possible for the sixth-generation fighter, he noted. The Air Force continues to conduct red flags, which are exercises to train pilots and other crew members from the United States, NATO and other allied countries for air combat situations.

The ability to have partners with interoperable equipment is important because the Air Force needs different security elements for synergy, Hostage said. “We have to be able to train together if we want to fight together.”

Credit: A-10 Warthog (Air Force photo)

Comments

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Odd considering that Iraqi Air Force is scrambling to get some SU-25 "Frogfoots" into service, the Russian "A-10 counterpart."  As such, I don't think the A-10 CAS is outdated from Middle East CAS.  And Ukraine just lost two SU-25s to SAMs so any "Fast mover" is vulnerable in CAS anyway.

If this USAF leader really believes this, why there is the F-16XL waiting to be developed and bought.  There are newer Block versions of the F-16...they carry more than the F-35 even though they're non-stealthy, but they're ready to be bought and made.

The problem is...the USAF F-35A *IS JUST NOT THERE (YET).*  It's not replacing anything so far, period, and will take a long time to replace anything with its LIRP.  So as such, the F-15E, F-16, and A-10 have to shoulder the CAS frontline.  Will all conflicts require an expensive stealthy sensor-fused F-35A to fly there to perform CAS?  The USAF seems to think so...a silver bullet to take care of every mole that pops up.
Peter at 7/29/2014 3:34 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Peter, the F-16XL was developed in competition with the F-15E and the assembly line for new F-16s is down to one hanger making block 50s for FMS.  The A-10 is an outstanding CAS platform, and if the Air Force had room in this sequestration budget, my guess is that they would want to keep it.  The problem is that the folks on Capitol Hill are forcing our Air Force leaders to make some tough decisions.  They've decided  that it's time to buy F-35 for the future.  I don't think we can afford to abandon everything else for the F-35, so there needs to be a balance between 4th generation aircraft for today's fight and 5th gen for tomorrow's fight. 
Jim at 7/30/2014 7:26 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Find this hard to take. the A-10 is a tier one ground attack unit. The Whizz bang as yet to be deployed F-35 that we in Australia have subscribed to isn't on stream YET General.  With respect sir, BULL.  Why have one of your best players on the bench, then again a job once retired is a good proposition isn't it!!
Aussie Roger at 7/30/2014 7:50 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Let's just call it what it is.....the A-10 is not sleek enough, fast enough, or pretty enough for the jet jockey's to want to drive. - bring back the Army Air Corp or just give them over to the Army.
Air Force wants pretty and stealthy toys
Ground Pounder at 7/30/2014 8:00 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

The fast jet mafia rules again.
Taff at 7/30/2014 8:54 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

So...the A-10 could not survive Syria, but the Air Force was fine about sending it against the Soviets? Wow.

No politics here, I'm sure.
Tom at 7/30/2014 9:06 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

The identity of the Air Force was formed in the years prior to becoming an independent Service when forward-looking individuals questioned the "we've always done it this way...it works...why spend money on something new?" prevailing attitudes in the Army and the Navy.  That remains a core identity for the Air Force today--leaning forward into the uncomfortable investments that others are unwilling to take on because they prefer to rest on past and present success, despite the entire historical record and current intelligence that highlights the importance of staying at least one step ahead of potential adversaries.  Unfortunately, that means making tough choices, many of which are constrained by budget realities driven by the Congress. 

The Army and Navy have similar instances in history where very unpopular individuals took on risk and pushed the hard choices because they recognized the prevailing status quo attitude doesn't sustain the world's greatest military. 
21st Century War Fighter at 7/30/2014 9:11 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

I have never read such BS in all my life.. we recently spent 500 million dollars ( half billion) on avionics and weapons upgrade capability on the A-10.. If the Air Force isn't ready to fly one of most effective aircraft in our arsenal to kill TANKS and provide ground cover to our fighting force... Let the Army or Marines have it... I am sick and tired of having people in charge who want to get rid of good weapon systems because they dont like the way it looks... Lets not forget the Flying wing, the AF didn't want it because it wasn't sexy enough...
Richard P  at 7/30/2014 9:20 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

The Air Force of the United States needs to be redesigned. ICM Rockets, missles and long range bombers  should be under the Air Force all other Jets (fighters/CAS) and short ragne rockets should be under the Army. Then the Jet jockeys would be working for the correct force!
Barry Stewart at 7/30/2014 9:28 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Ffast jet mafia rules again.... thats for sure!!
There is no other jet that can come close to completing with an A-10 for ground support.  No longer suitable for Middle East... thats an ambiguous statement at best... the A-10 has an awesome record of air ground support around the globe!!!
pete at 7/30/2014 9:33 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

  PUH-LEEZE! The Air Force Brass is Fixated on the as yet Unproven F-35.to be the Do All aircraft for everything! It os Unarmored, the A-10.has a Titanium Bathtub that provides protection against up to 20mm sized ordinance. The F-35's engines are contained in the fuselage, where a single hit can take them out. The A-10's twin engines are separately mounted so that one hit isn't likely to take Both of them out! Also, the A-10 has redundant systems to keep it flying, even with heavy battle damage, it can even Land With its gear retracted with minimal damage! It was Purpose Built for the CAS Role, and No Other aircraft in history has the Survivability from Battle Damage that The A-10.does. The F-35 may someday prove itself to be a great aircraft, but the A-10 Already Has, and Continues to be the most Potent and survivable aircraft of its type ever built!
Bruce Parker at 7/30/2014 9:42 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Has the General discovered a location where - for whatever reason - the F-35 would still be seen as stealthy? It certainly would have to work with OTHER aircraft, as it is slower, less manoeuvrable, has lower range and a seriously smaller weapons capacity than aircraft that were flying 20 years ago. Also, as we know, the software doesn't work, pilot visibility is dreadful and the Marine version can't land vertically except on specially prepare and hardened landing strips. It is less survivable than the A-10, the engines of which are, at max power, at least five times more fuel-efficient than the F-35. Oh, and can the F-35 pack a 30mm Vulcan?
Neil Marshall at 7/30/2014 9:47 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

By the same logic, the following systems must be retired:
AH-64s, UH-1s, HH-60s, MH-53s, AC-130s, EC-130s, C-130Js, V-22s, AV-8B Harriers, HC-130s, C-5s, F-16s, F/A-18s, all ground troops and their equipment.  Have we forgotten that wars are fought in Phases, by design? Yes, a measure of air superiority is desired prior to employing A-10s in certain areas.  The same pre-requisite exists for the commitment of ground forces.  Just tell us "We can't afford it." Stop generating falsehoods to support flawed logic.
JD at 7/30/2014 9:47 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Aussie Roger had it spot on. Future employment makes a compelling case to this argument.
Dave at 7/30/2014 10:12 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Gilmary Hostage has flown F-15Cs his entire career.  He could care less about the A-10 or the CAS mission.  Unfortunately, he keeps spouting out right lies such as "It would never come back" and coat-tail riders and yes men are more than happy to repeat the message.
Cliff at 7/30/2014 10:23 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

I can remember when the pentagon wanted to retire the A10 just prior to Desert Storm.  If memory serves the A10 did very well in that encounter.  If you happen to be carrying a M4 with your buddies and you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and there are non-friendlies at all points you position your people and are preparing for a good firefight and then you hear from a distance that unmistakeable sound of the Warthog and then another sound that can only be that 30mm cannon.  The good guys to the rescue.  Unless you have been there, it is nothing like it anywhere.  We have it now, it is perfect for CAS enough said.
Bill at 7/30/2014 10:26 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

The general's key comment was "We are bringing our force down to the size that it needs to be in order to be sized for the sequestration budget,”

The Air Force is not building the force to meet the foreign threat, they are building it to meet the budget limits, while still mainatining some growth in new systems.  A-10 and U-2 aircraft are going into mothballs to free up resources for building new platforms. 

The defense budget is driven in large part by the jobs provided in the defense manufacturing sector.  Congressional representatives of that sector vote to protect the jobs of their constituents.  That's why personnel benefits are such a ripe target for cuts.   Service-people do not generate income and profits for industry.
Mike at 7/30/2014 10:39 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

When I deployed in the hawg during Desert Storm we were told the same crap. The Iraqi air defenses would decimate the hawg. So General I'm standing in the back of the room waving the BS flag. There are other players that would help suppress any enemy air defenses or do we now send weapon systems into combat without support. There are pros and cons to every weapon system.
Girth at 7/30/2014 10:41 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Obvious which war I spent time in and I can't recall how many times I've seen the A-10 kick butt. if it is not broken then don't fix it stupid.
Troy Beauchamp at 7/30/2014 10:44 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

JD, so well said.

CAS occurs generally after the enemy air defenses are down, and the Army moves to break enemy ground forces' momentum.  By then, all your single-digit SAMs should mostly be shoulder-fired, so a radar-stealthy pointy noser with only 0+30 on-station is kind of a waste.  Keep them up high defending the low-flying cover and the AR tankers.   JTACs want Warthogs, Cobras and AC-130 Gunships.  Oh, and sometimes even Hornets.
Rodrigo Dill at 7/30/2014 10:46 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

I hate to say it, but the General is a dam'n fool!  He said the A-10 is no longer worthy of fighting in the middle east and it wouldn't make it in Syria.  The last time I checked, we don't send in ground attack aircraft without using other aircraft to control the airspace.  The same is true that we would not let Army AH-64 Apaches or Marine AH-1 Super Cobras fly in Syria unless the airspace was controlled by U.S. Air Force with either F-15's / F-16's or F-22's, or the Army's Air & Missile Defense units, or the Navy's F-18's.  I would argue that Syria and Iraq need A-10's right away... especially in Iraq since there is no threat of enemy aircraft in the airspace and no enemy air defense weapon systems in the area.  The A-10 is a perfect choice! 

The General is nothing more than a jet jockey and in this case his mouth runs about as fast!  Someone should send him some photos of A-10's that sustained damage in Afghanistan - yet they kept flying and continued their mission.  If an F-16, F-15, F-22, F-35, F-18, AH-1 or AH-64 had sustained similar damage - well they would have been blown out of the sky.  The truth is that the A-10 is the only aircraft that can engage the enemy up close - take a some hits - and destroy the enemy.

Congress needs to amend the National Security Act of 1947 which gave birth to the Air Force and killed the Army Air Corps, giving the Air Force authority for fixed wing combat aircraft.  Amend this portion of the act and word it so that the Army can design or in this case acquire a fixed wing combat aircraft that will serve the needs of ground forces.  Furthermore, allow the A-10 to be transferred to the Army National Guard since the Regular Army is trying to bully the Army National Guard into giving up all of its Apache fleet (another bad idea).

In this day in age, what we have here are literally arm chair Generals who are making decisions not as a leaders or what is best for the troops and the overall National Security of our nation, but they are making decisions like bureaucrats and politicians... just whatever they think is a good idea.  If our Generals were to go back to the days where they actually served in combat instead of being located at some protected headquarters outpost or highly guarded base, then I believe they might have a different perspective and appreciation of what is actually needed to not only win battles, but to also sustain the confidence of troops in war.
MIKE SIMS at 7/30/2014 10:48 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Obviously the Air Force is desperate to keep selling the F-35 concept of one plane can do it all.  Not happening.  If you do not want the A-10 give them to the Army and we will fly them.  At least we understand combined arms.  Anyone even contemplating sending in A-10s without the rest of the strike package is obviously unsuitable for command.  In its role, it is king of the battle field.
Blake K. Baxter at 7/30/2014 10:55 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

I think the author of this article might be a little confused and what she really meant the headline to be was, "Air Force Leader No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat".  This guy never was suitable for combat in any theater.  General Hostage is clearly not suitable for Air Force Leadership either. He should be forced to go on over to Walter Reed Hospital and sell his wares to all the Air Force Personnel there who have been shot, maimed and crippled while deployed to the middle east.  Oh that's right there aren't any because they're mostly army and marine folks. You remember those guys on the ground who you're supposed to support. Wake up AF/General Hostage and support the guy on the ground with the what Army Gen Odierno calls the best CAS platform.  Just because they're ground troops doesn't mean they don't deserve the best, or that the AF no longer owes them anything less than the best.
Hostage can't retire fast enough. AF leadership hates CAS and the A-10, Stop lying.
Joe the Pilot at 7/30/2014 11:12 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

LOVE the A-10!  Slow and tough is exactly what we need for CAS, not fast and stealthy.  Only thing worse than mothballing them would be to give them to the Army.  The Army would piecemeal the A-10s out to Divs and Bds just like they do with their helos, ensuring no one has enough of them when they really need them.
JTAC at 7/30/2014 11:46 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

AF didn't want the A-10 when it was new in the 1970s; *really* doesn't want it now, 40 years later...
James MacDonald at 7/30/2014 12:09 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

I think that this General has spent too much time at 40K feet and is suffering from long term hypoxia! (like most people in upper management positions) I think he needs to go spend some time at a hot FOB and maybe go out on a few patrols and see how well the A-10’s do when CAS is called in.  Maybe that would change his mind.  There has never been a better CAS system ever and I really don’t think that there ever will be a better replacement for this platform. Lets build more with some kickass upgrades. What’s next on the list AC-130’s?
Groundpounder2 at 7/30/2014 12:09 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

The Air Force has been trying to dump the A-10 since the Berlin Wall came down.  This is nothing new.  Every time a budget cut is mentioned the Air Force's answer is "retire the A-10!".

So if the A-10 couldn't go to Syria then the ground troops it supports couldn't go either because we would never send them in without local air superiority.  Is General Hostage saying that the Air Force is incapable of of clearing the Syrian skies and suppressing the SAMs and AAA so that the A-10 could operate?

The Air Force doesn't like the CAS mission. It never has.  The solution is to tear up the Key West interservice agreement and make Army aviation like Marine Corps aviation.  Take the CAS mission completely away from the Air Force.  They don't want to do it anyway.

The Air Force can haul us around in their transport aircraft and sit and look at their shiny new high tech fighter planes that will probably never see combat. 

The Air Force will be happy flying their shiny new toys at airshows and the grunts on the ground will have the CAS they need.
Jeff at 7/30/2014 12:43 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Gen Hostage & Gen Welsh's argument that fast movers & bombers can provide effective CAS was shown to be wrong yet again by the recent fratricide of 5 Green Berets by a B-1 bomber in a permissive environment.  Inexcusable.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8tGPT_7jrA

Take a listen to the above comm from a Mud Hen driver handing off a night TIC to an incoming Bone.  Not sure how the Bone is our "premier CAS asset"?

BMB at 7/30/2014 1:43 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

I agree with groundpounder,  put the jet jockeys on the ground under heavy fire, then ask them how it feels when a hawg comes on station and saves their ass.
ks at 7/30/2014 1:57 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

The Chief is correct.  Too slow in the target area.  The A-10 is a grape.
BigHat at 7/30/2014 2:10 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

General Hostage's comments come across to me as those from someone who has never been shot at. To presume his favored aircraft (F-15E, B-1, F-16) can survive in these environments is ludcrious. All aircraft benefit from a dedicated EW team to penetrate MEZs, not just the A-10 (Remember the F-117 that was shot down by a 30 year old SAM in Allied Force?). The A-10 was designed to provide persistent presence in a CAS/CSAR/ISR/XINT environment and as such has more robust capability than ANY other USAF/USN/USMC platform against AAA or IR SAMs. Thankfully nobody on the Hill believes the USAF on this matter, they have heard from our BRAVE Sons and Daughters on the ground...KEEP THE A-10.       
TC at 7/30/2014 2:19 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Actually, it is exactly what's needed. About two days of air domination & defense suppression is all you need--then turn the Hogs loose! 

Why are we always throwing the bay out with the bathwater?
Hogdriver at 7/30/2014 2:22 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

“I can’t send an A-10 to Syria. It would never come back,” he said.
....that comment can be attributed to multiple aircraft in the DoD inventory.  I get it, we need the F-35 for the first 3 days of the fight, then we need the Hawg and all the other aircraft that "can't" survive....problem....the reality of how much stealth we really need negatively affects force structure decisions and increase costs....look at the F-22 and the B-2 numbers vs cost.  It is truly infortunate that A-10 combat power is being sacrificed for a stealth strike falshood.
jollyneedshawgs at 7/30/2014 2:50 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Gilamary is a coward.  He's lost perspective on strategic objective and operational warfare.  It's clear he cares about saving face in a failed TRILLION dollar F-35 program and does NOT care about the men and women on the ground in harms way.
$1000 says he'll be working for Lockheed 2 months after he retires.
GilmaryPoppins at 7/30/2014 3:08 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Ask Gen (Ret) Horner, author of "I take back all the bad things I ever said about the A-10" (Desert Storm Day 3 SPINS) which aircraft he hand picked to take out Republican Guard SA-6 batteries after the F-16s missed.... 
TC at 7/30/2014 3:08 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

So, if the A-10 is no longer suitable for Middle East Combat, what is? The B-1 that just killed five special operators by providing "close air support" from 30,000 ft.?
General Hostage and his staff made a "corporate decision" to designate the A-10 a "single mission aircraft" to justify their decision to get rid of it. In fact, the A-10 has three distinct missions:
1) Forward Air Control (FAC)- Clearing aircraft in and out of combat airspace and running the "stack" of aircraft over Troops in Contact (TIC) while talking to the ground combatants and ensuring they are getting what they need.
2) Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) - a.k.a. the Sandy mission. Many, if not most, A-10's are assigned to rescue wings. The four A-10's assigned to a CSAR survivor recovery - Sandy 1,2,3, and 4 - each have separate and distinct functions requiring separate qualifications and certifications.
3) Close Air Support - Nothing does it as effectively, efficiently, and with the firepower and shock effect of an A-10. So much so that an A-10 can suppress hostile fire by simply making a low pass over an enemy position.

So tell us again, General Hostage, how you are going to defend ground troops from people shooting at them from 200 yards away? And how are you going to do the CSAR mission without A-10's? And who is going to do the FAC mission?

Here are a couple of ideas to save some money:
1) Eliminate all Group Headquarters. Have all Squadron Commanders report directly to a Wing Commander and give them the authority to run their squadrons.
2) Let squadron and wing commanders operate all the time as though they were in combat. Turn them loose free of B.S. and red tape.
Taipan 6 at 7/30/2014 5:02 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Gen Hostage got his 4th star from Obama because he's learned how to use completely irresponsible rhetoric just like Obama.  To claim that a Hawg wouldn't come back from a mission in Syria is delusional.  The Hawg was just dandy for Obama in his illegal war in Libya.  F-15s don't fly inside SAM rings, but Hawg pilots do.  We use mutual support and our countermeasures to survive.  If Gen Hostage had ever been shot down, would he have wanted an A-10 Sandy OSC or his C-Mo wingman fumbling around trying to coordinate his extraction?  If Hostage was a true warrior, he would go to the mat with both drunk Hagel the Drunk and Congress to get funding for both the Hawgs and the continued wet-nursing of the F-35.  Gen Hostage, got a question for you, your predecessors got the F-22 approved by lying and temporarily renaming it the F/A-22.  Why haven't we showed the taxpayer the ROI of the Craptor by employing it in either Iraq or Afghanistan?  Oh yeah, Big Blue said the Iraq environment overloaded the Craptor's sensors - poor baby.  I wonder what the Chi Comm's EW systems would do to it?!?
BEDE at 7/30/2014 5:33 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Turn them over to the U.S.Marine Corps, make it a Warrent Officer plat form.

As a Marine, I would love to have this aircraft, giving close Air Support with a Marine flying it.

Might even decide to become a Warrent Officer then.

Semper Fi
Dave Jones at 7/30/2014 8:03 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

So how is an F-35 (with no self-sealing fuel tanks) even remotely survivable in CAS fight with simple machines like ZPUs, ZSU-23-4s and DSHKs?

A small hit that a Hawg could survive would turn an F-35 into a roman candle. 

BMB at 7/30/2014 8:24 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Want to save money:  Roll the Air Force into the Navy.  The Navy has less than 300 ships.  The Air Force is bleeding planes.  The Navy has experience with supersonic aircraft, nuclear missiles, global communication, and close air support.  Give the A-10 to the Army.
Lets put some generals out of a job.
Saylor6 at 7/30/2014 8:53 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

I am guessing that this General was one of the fighter mafia that ended SAC, TAC, MAC and wants to have all the latest and greatest gizmoes. The same thing was said about the A1 Skyraider in Vietnam and that it was too old to fly Sandy missions...ask all the pilots who the A1's watched over if it was too old. Ask all the troops on the ground if the A10 is too old, antiquated...No other platform gives the troops what the A10 does. Ask all the pilots in Nam that didn't have guns in their F4s about technology. Ask the troops of Vietnam about the A7D Corsair IIs, they were the class of close air support until the A10

How many millions have been pissed away on the F35? Why is that foreign countries are reconsidering it as a universal fighter as are the Navy and Corps?

Sometimes "old technology" is the best.
snoopy at 7/30/2014 11:55 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Obama wants it gone and has put yes men in charge. These people will weaken us so bad I am afraid we will no longer be able to defend ourselves. Our President has thrown out almost all the real Generals and now is trying to throw out the best trained military force in the world. But hey we now have the biggest welfare system in the world and we are cutting off our military and tearing down our boarders.
CM at 7/31/2014 3:31 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

The days of the A-10 doing Air Interdiction against a near-peer in the opening days of a war are over.

That's it though. Once air dominance has been achieved - usually about four or five days into a war - the A-10 becomes the single most important asset. The Mud Hen, the Viper, Bone, etc., are all nowhere near as good at the CAS game, and in all of our most recent conflicts, 99%+ of sorties flown by combat aircraft have been CAS in airspace where air dominance was already achieved.

We don't even need the F-35. I'd rather just get more F-22s and train their aircrews up in air interdiction against credible IADS, then increase A-10 numbers. The "multi-role" aircraft that simply isn't "perfect" at anything is an outdated concept. Better to adjust TTPs to exploit our advantages in each combat segment then compromise when those compromises are going to get good men killed on the ground. I know this because I know I owe my life to an A-10 gun run, one where the F-16, F-15, or even worse, the B-1 would have left me to die.
Chee at 7/31/2014 10:32 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

What will the Air Force do with all of the retired A10s? Will they end up mothballed in Tucson?
 
It would be nice to see them to go an ally like South Korea or Poland. Maybe the Finns would like them. If a truly significant conflict broke out our allies could still bring the A10 to the fight.

I imagine that in the future CAS will be carried out by stealthy drones at high altitude. Camera tech is getting better and better so they have a great view of what is going on. They can loiter longer and are cheaper to operate. Arm them with a handful of AGMs and stealth coat the whole thing. Is that realistic?
Ben at 7/31/2014 11:35 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Normally I would say something along the lines of:

"No offense intended, but your opinion is flawed."

I have no desire to be even remotely that kind here.  Saying things such as, "if the A-10 went to Syria it would never come back!" is simply ignorant and shows a clear contempt for the individuals reading this article or listening to this point of view.  Saying something like that assumes that the people who really care are stupid and gullible and will just accept whatever opinion that a senior leader will feed to them.

The Israelis just struck Syria and they don't have stealth aircraft.  But the plain and simple is that if you send aircraft into a hostile environment, unsupported, you're likely to lose a few.  The A-10 is not a first-strike asset.  It is an asset that you use after you've attained air superiority and is even capable of wiping out the remaining parts of IADS and continuing to prosecute the ground war.  You wouldn't send a B-1 or B-52 to Syria without either.  Your reasoning is lacking substance.

As an individual who has been on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan and from both pilots AND other individuals who have served in the presence of the A-10, there isn't a better aircraft to have over your head when deadly force needs to be applied in close proximity to ground units (AC-130 notwithstanding).  It may not be sleek and it may not be fast (in comparison to other aircraft), but all of the "negatives" of the A-10 are also some of its greatest strengths. 

It's slow, but it'll take a beating and fly home.  Ask the pilot who flew Shark 01 home from the 1st Gulf War; 300+ holes up to 14mm, an engine flame-out, an SA-7 lodged in a wing and a helmet-sized hole in the other, half the tail shot off... pilot safely home.  It flies low to the ground where it's harder to engage with guided weapons, but is tough enough to absorb small arms punishment.  The pilot can actually identify friend from foe and better understand the battlefield.  It's got a heavy gun... that can punch through anything, has less scatter and better accuracy than the other multi-barrell rotary cannons.

I understand the need to move into a multi-role era.  I understand that our aircraft are aging and we have a limited budget, but you cannot design a military that sacrifices effectiveness for cost.  Maybe you bring down the numbers of whatever you keep in service, but don't trade excellence for mediocrity to balance the checkbook.

Ok, so the F-35 is stealthy and it's fast.  It has digital capabilities that the A-10 couldn't even dream about, but what happens when "stealth" is compromised?  What happens when the aircraft can be seen by some developing technology.  We already know that missiles are being developed that don't just use RADAR or IR to find their targets, but also use actual imagery and are "seeing" their targets to intercept accordingly.

So long as we care about the guys on the ground, there will always be a need to apply force in close to friendlies.  The AC-130 and A-10, neither of which are usable in non-permissive environments are unmatched in their ability to deliver that force and anything else is a compromise that endangers soldiers on the ground and the success of the mission.
Shazzam at 7/31/2014 1:53 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Was Gen. Michael Hostage appointed by Obama?  Fusion? That's a nice meaningless Star Trek word.
Fox at 7/31/2014 6:07 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

As a retired JTAC I can truthfully say that all the "fast fighter pilots" I knew in the USAF despised the A-10 until they had to serve as an ALO and be exposed to enemy fire. This clown probably never had to serve on the ground and doesn't realize how damning this is to Close Air Support. What a shame we now have this as an ACC commander.
Romad at 7/31/2014 6:53 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

This reminds me of the situation in 1961, when the US Army wanted to buy Northrop F-5 for the CAS mission, but the Air Force would not allow the Army to do so nor would it procure dedicated CAS aircraft to support the Army.

"Although testing of the N-156F [Northrop F-5 prototype] was successful, demonstrating unprecedented reliability and proving superior in the ground-attack role to the USAF's existing North American F-100 Super Sabres, official interest in the Northrop type waned, and by 1960 it looked as if the program was a failure. Interest revived in 1961, but when the United States Army tested it, (along with the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and Fiat G.91) for reconnaissance and close-support, although all three types proved capable during Army testing, operating fixed-wing combat aircraft was legally the responsibility of the Air Force, which would not agree to operate the N-156 or allow the Army to operate fixed-wing combat aircraft"   Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_F-5 
Contractor at 7/31/2014 8:32 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

What a load. The AF has been using that argument since the day the A-10 was forced on them. Its ugly, doesn't fly supersonic, and it performs TACAIR instead of strategic deep strike. F-35s aren't even ready to fly and are underpowered.  If the F-35 gets hit by a lucky 23mm round the thing will probably tear itself apart while flying. Face it the AF is useless and should be dismantled. The sissy fly boys think they are to valuable to actually do their job. Can't wait for drones to finish taking them out of the pilots seat so we don't have to listen to their bluster in peacetime and whining in wartime.
DBM at 7/31/2014 8:59 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

I understand that there are many who believe that the F-35 is a suitable replacement but unfortunately it is not ready to assume that role. In the meantime we still have troops on the ground in need of Close Air Support (CAS).

I would encourage you to read about how: “A-10s Saved the Day in Botched Afghanistan Raid” https://medium.com/war-is-boring/a-10s-saved-the-day-in-botched-afghanistan-raid-b78367f4fd0e). Then read: “How the US & Its Allies Got Stuck with World’s Worst New Warplane – ‘Can't turn, Can't climb, Can't Run’” https://medium.com/war-is-boring/fd-how-the-u-s-and-its-allies-got-stuck-with-the-worlds-worst-new-warplane-5c95d45f86a5?source=tw-a3ad02d68e7e-1402309929862.

By contrast the A-10 has proven to be one of the most effective CAS assets our military has and should not be retired without a suitable replacement.  The brave men and women fighting for us on the ground deserve the best “protection” they can get, and the A-10 fills this role effectively and inexpensively. 

I can say that I as the proud father of USAF Capt. Ian R. Osterreicher, who was recently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by USAF Secretary Deborah Lee James (see Buffalo News article: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/amherst-airman-honored-for-saving-convoy-20140228). Ian was recognized for his combat actions that saved the lives of at least 60 American soldiers while piloting his A-10C Thunderbolt II “Warthog” in Afghanistan last summer. 

The A-10 is NOT a single-mission aircraft, as the Air Force has claimed but even if it is it performs that critical mission like no other weapon in the military arsenal!
Mickey H. Osterreicher at 8/1/2014 6:31 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

You have got to be kidding me!  It is truly time for the Air Force Leadership to get out of the bussiness of supporting the Warfighters (This does not include the USAF TACPs and STS JTACs, you guys kick Booty) on the Ground.  Give the A-10 to the Army so they may be able to save the DoD over 50% of the flying cost and have Chief Warrant Officers fly this awesome lifesaver, or give it to the Marines. 

Let me count how many Air to Air missions in the last 13 years of Combat, oh thats right "Zero".  Too many ACC General dream of shooting down Dragons from 25 Miles away.

As a Retired Green Beret Officer I can say this is very very sad, The A-10 is truly a Proven War Machine and it saves lives on the Battlefield.   General and the Sec Def quite being so P.C. and wake up!
Chief Todd at 8/1/2014 5:37 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

This nostalgia for rapidly obsolescing weapon systems has got to stop. Serious surface to air threats are moving down the scale of warfare intensity, and the A-10 which was never intended to operate in even what the combat environment became during the latter stages of the Vietnam War, has become even more vulnerable over time. Spare me comebacks about its 'legendary' capabilities and the Army insecurity-driven myth of AF ambivalence concerning CAS, I'm too familiar with the actual history, for you to come up with something that hasn't already been debunked (search up "Debunking Close Air Support Myths") . The A-10 is 'done': let the next generation of CAS pilots survive.
SMSgt Mac at 8/2/2014 12:05 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

This article is the best article i have ever read in my entire life
Matthew Sheehan at 8/2/2014 8:30 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Personally I think the A-10 is very survivable, but it is interesting that AF brass does not think the F-35 would survive Farnborough Air Show.
Ed Schwartz at 8/4/2014 6:14 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Man, there are a lot of comments that say otherwise. Which would have a better success rate, a multi-role CAS or an A-10 CAS? I read somewhere that modernizing is not always better "while we live in a world of electronic jamming and etc." The A-10 would survive this.
M. Abdur-Rashid at 8/8/2014 2:25 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

It seems that the Air Force has successfully unlearned the harsh lessons we learned in Viet Nam.  During our time there, we found that multimission aircraft weren't nearly as successful as dedicated mission aircraft.  We found, for example, that the A-1 Skyraider was a great close air support aircraft, particularly for search-and-rescue missions. 

We also learned that the F-4 Phantom was a great carrier-based interceptor that was OK as a bomber, but not very good as a dog fighter -- and really poor as a CAS platform. 

Our Viet Nam experience convinced Air Force leaders that to be really great, aircraft -- and their aircrews -- need to be dedicated mission platforms.  That's why the F-15 Eagle is the world's best fighter ("Not one pound for air-to-ground") and the A-10 'Warthog" is the best CAS aircraft in the sky.

My hope is that the pilots who have to suffer through relearning this lesson in the cockpits of the F-35 survive long enough to transition into the A-10s they pick up from the Boneyard when their F-35s get shot to pieces trying to provide real close air support.
J. P. DeMeritt at 8/14/2014 1:36 AM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

I have an idea.  Repeal the Johnson-McConnell agreement of 1966 and give the Warthog to the Army.  They don't care how pretty it is, just that it gets the job done.
Kenneth Carden at 8/14/2014 5:36 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Love the A-10, but people who say Hostage is wrong just don't understand the modern air defense systems Syria possesses.  Americans have gotten used to the US bowling over opponents, but this isn't the case in Syria.  Syria has a purchased an extensive inventory of highly capable SAMS.  If we decided tomorrow to impose a no-fly against Assad's regime, it would take a concerted effort of significant forces, and would probably include an uncomfortably high number of losses (by recent standards).
The A-10 is awesome, but the F-35 is only partially responsible for the threats to its continued service.  The other challenger it faces is the growing RPA fleet.  MQ-9s can't strafe with a GAU-8 and aren't much good at a show of force, but they are able to survive in the same environment as the A-10, can deliver precision firepower and remain on scene much longer.  RPAs are overtaking the A-10 in the ability to provide low-threat CAS to US ground forces.
The problem with the F-35 and why it threatens both the A-10 and the USAF is that it is a one-trick pony that will break the bank.  F-35 expenditures are on track to gut the CAF force structure.  Air Force leadership knows it.  The F-35's stealth is great, but only so long as no one develops air defenses that can target it outside of the narrow frequency band where it can hide.  Once an enemy does, the F-35 will be a dead duck because it's aerodynamic performance is a step backward from existing 4th generation fighters.
Alan at 8/19/2014 4:29 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

this is what the Hog was meant for, those up high can't see past the pretty plane setting on the tarmac, oh how fast it look's I just can't wait for it to fly, I say get your Head's out of you know what and put the right piece of equipment where it belongs 4-hogs could do more damage in one pass then high flying jet jockies have done all week. Get em over there, Ex GI
lemuel evans at 8/22/2014 1:49 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

The US is about to retire 283 A-10 Warthogs. Their entire fleet. Why not strike a deal with Iraq and Ukraine to pick em up ? They are known tank killers something the Ukrainians could put to good use against Russian Tanks. Meanwhile over in Iraq, and Syria, ISIS would enjoy up to 16,000 pounds of mixed ordinance including conventional and laser-guided bombs, incendiary cluster bombs, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and various other munitions and countermeasures and oh yeah, that 30mm Avenger seven-barrel Gatling gun.
John Smith at 9/4/2014 6:19 PM

Re: A-10 Warthog No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat, Air Force Leader Says

Isn't it funny that the Indiana ANG announced to day that they are flying their A10's to Syria to help fight ISIS?  Clearly this guy doesn't know what he was talking about when he said they could never be sent to Syria because they wont come back? 
David at 9/24/2014 1:13 PM

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