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A-10 Flake

Posted by Jolly on August 22, 2013

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I had this article from the Arizona Daily Independent forwarded to me from Kevin(click here to listen to the audio of the interview).   It's very disturbing that our clueless political managers in Washington are spreading lies about how close air support to our troops on the ground will be in good hands once the A-10 is retired.  Read what "well informed" Senator Flake from Arizona (who has a history of saying one thing and doing another) has to say about the A-10 and how the F-35 will be an ample replacement for the close air support role.  YGBSM right?  How do these clowns get elected to office?  I know the answer to that question, but it just makes my blood boil to think the American public puts their trust in these politicians to "do the right thing."  Retiring the A-10 early makes about as much sense as court martialing Billy Mitchell for saying that Air Power is the key to winning all future wars.

Flake Drops A-10 Bomb on Constituents

By Diego Moya

flake2.jpgSenator Jeff Flake is making the customary rounds of Arizona during D.C.’s summer recess, and on a rare trip to Southern Arizona, he dropped a bomb on the residents of the 6th poorest metropolitan area in the country. In one of the few free opportunities to hear from their senator, Tucsonans were told that the Air Force plans to phase out the A-10, which will result in an estimated loss of 5,000 jobs.

In one of the few opportunities to hear from the Senator without paying a cover charge, Flake confirmed for listeners of the James T. Harris radio show that one of their worst fears was true: the A-10 has been marked for elimination in the next 1 to 2 years.

Flake told Harris’ audience that the plan to eliminate the A-10 and the KC-10, an air refueling tanker and cargo aircraft, have been in the works for a while. This claim left many residents wondering why the Senator had not given them a heads up and an opportunity to defend the A-10 critical mission set.

When asked by Harris if he had any concerns about the proposed phase out’s effect on national security, Flake flippantly responded that he doubted the Air Force “would make a decision that would harm the national security.” Flake then claimed that the F-35 would provide an alternative to the A-10, ignoring the fact that the F-35 would not provide an alternative source of jobs for Tucsonans who lost the F-35 last year to Luke Air Force base in the Phoenix area.

Luke, understandably, fought hard for the F-35, but the plane is still a theoretical concept due to technical problems and massive cost overruns.

Air Force and legislative personnel say the planned phase out is part of a deal cutting that will leave the country at risk and cost far more than the 5,000 jobs at Davis Monthan Air Force Base and the surrounding area. But, they say, there is still time to stop the process if Flake and others will listen to the facts.

They say that the cuts to phase out the A-10 in the Program Objective Memorandums (POMs) for the upcoming fiscal years are intended to spare the B-1 Bomber. The B-1 bargaining chip is for a future bomber. KC-10 retirement is to force the purchase of more Boeing KC46 tankers, another program far from ready for prime time. The B-1, an aging limited use aircraft, is the perfect bargaining chip in future negotiations for defense spending.

POMs include decisions as to what defense programs live or die.

In the case of the A-10, any decision would also determine which soldier lives and dies as A-10s provide ground cover for the boots on the ground.

Despite this vital service to service men and women, the reasoning by Air Force officials is that the aging B-1 can be trotted out to U.S. senators and representatives as a solid example why they need more money down the road. Because the operating cost of one B-1 is the equivalent of 24 A-10s, the sturdy A-10 is not a compelling bargaining chip.

The Air Force will argue that the A-10 is a single purpose aircraft and as a result, is expendable. The decision makers in D.C., like Flake, will likely have only the information provided by the powers that be upon which to make an “informed” decision. What they will not be told is that the A-10 is critical to combat operations and the KC-10 crucial to mobility, say experts.

Unlike the loud single engine F-35, the A-10 is quiet and highly maneuverable. Unlike the F-35, the 30 millimeter GE GAU-8 Avenger cannon used by A-10s can have a devastating effect on the enemy. The 25 millimeter cartridge used by the F-35 is only marginally better than a 20 millimeter and does little damage. So little in fact that a few years back when a F-16 pilot inadvertently shot at a school in New Jersey, witnesses reported only hearing the “…sound of someone running across the roof of the building.” No damage was reported at all.

Bottom line for pilots: the 30 millimeter is far superior.

Supporters of Davis Monthan and the A-10 mission say it is not too late to save the life-saving attack plane. They are urging local officials and the public to call upon Flake to come to the defense of national defense.

Unfortunately, Flake is using the summer recess to sell immigration reform as his national defense plan. The irony is not lost on the residents of the area, who have seen the illegal entrants change over the years from poor people looking for opportunity to hard core drug runners taking advantage of a country who lost all interest in national defense.

Just recently, officials report a low flying A-10 near Ajo surprised a cartel convoy that was being confronted by a lone border agent. The curious A-10 made numerous low passes over the confrontation. The result, the cartel fled south. A border patrol source says there is no doubt the arrival of the A-10 saved the border agent’s life.

While Flake is trying to sell the border residents on the idea of drones overhead as part of their future, he is trying to convince them that the loss of the A-10, a source of their livelihood, is a thing of their past.

 

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Comments:

Posted by grumpyoldcrow on
I certainly think the A-10 remains by far, the best down-in-the-dirt airframe for the CAS mission, and the combat record for the Hawg is indeed noteworthy.

That said, given the drastic cutback planned for the army, will the Hawg even have any boots on the ground to protect?
Posted by Hyde on
Do you want 100 a-10s right now or 100 f-35s in 10 years? The a-10 and the f-16 are not survivable on the modern major operational battlefield. they can only do low threat operations. Any one who tells you different is full of shit and they know it. We either need heavy advancement in EA or stealth and AESA. I say get rid of the a-10 and SLEP some block 50s...don't hang on to something cause its what you knew...look to the future and what America would need to survive if it came down to a WW3 type brawl. F-22s and F-35s...period
Posted by Jolly on
Hyde,

Can't argue that we need F-22s (which we are done building -- Brilliant) and F-35's to win the next war. But to say the F-35 could perform the CAS mission as well as an A-10 (time on station and one bad ass gun) is absolute BS. I'm sure the Army will be happy to see the A-10 retire -- NOT. That's coming from an Eagle guy, not a Hawg driver.

Jolly
Posted by Hyde on
you are right...im not saying that the 35 will be as good as cas as the a-10....
jolly rogers Laughlin tweets 03?
Posted by grumpyoldcrow on
Hyde,
The A-10 isn't survivable? I seem to recall some pretty banged up Hawgs taking hits and still being able to take the pilot home. Regardlessn the majority of combat losses for the A-10 were due to IR threats. EA is absolutely essential, but credible IR countermeasures are just as important for the low altitude CAS mission.

If anything ought to be SLEP'd, it should be the Hawg, complete with the re-wing effort, uprated motors, and PGM (notably SDB) capability. I'd pay for that by boneyarding every single F-16, except the block 50 series and replace those vipers with new Block 60s (like we sold the UAE) at a ration of 7 block 60s for every 10 older airframes that would be retired.
Posted by Hyde on
negative...the med altitude threat has increased ten fold. War heads are bigger, more accurate, and if you magically see the manpad being launched at you they also have amazing IRCCM now. rolands, SA-18s, etc. etc. Im not knocking the hawg in any way. however both the Hawg and the viper are 4th gen. They can be targeted rather easily now.

SDB's on the hawg? whats the point? Hawgs cant sling shit...they can't get high enough and fast enough to sling a SDB into an SA-10 mez. Your idea of benching every block 40 or less is definitely a good one. I also would bench every guard, reserve, and AD block 40 or less and buy some 1/2 the amount of jets in block 60+. That with F-22s and the Hawg would be a sight to behold. Look I'm not saying that the Hawg is bad or anything, I'm just saying that if you have a radar return you are dead meat in the modern IADS. We didn't pay big bucks for EA...we payed for stealth. Someone, somewhere back in the day knew the 4th Gen would get screwed by that decision. Hawgs are awesome...slow as fuck but awesome at what they do...which is low threat CAS.
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