As most of you know I’ve always been a big fan of the A-10 Warthaog. It is far and away the best ground attack/ CAS platform the US or any air force has ever deployed. Period, end of story. I could go on and on about how much better suited the A-10 is for the close air support (CAS) role than the F-35 is but this article dose a much better job than I could.
It can do what other aircraft can’t. While in Iraq the U.S. Air Force is sending A-10 Warthogs on successful sortie after successful sortie against the Islamic State, back here at home, Air Force brass are renewing their efforts to scrap the legendary plane. In fact, the Air Force, thwarted in last year’s efforts to scrap the A-10, is deliberately underutilizing it in the campaign against the Islamic State. The military waited until three months into the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria to deploy the A-10 and has deployed only a small percentage of the available planes. Showing the growing frustration over the failed efforts to scrap the A-10, Air Force Major General James Post, in a recent closed-session address to Air Force officers, stated that “anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason.” Never mind supporting and defending the Constitution or having the best tools for the job — active-duty personnel apparently have a duty not to release information on the A-10’s effectiveness or its purposeful underutilization by the Air Force. The A-10 has also been smeared by the Air Force as being the most dangerous to friendly troops, when in fact it has the lowest rate of friendly-fire incidents of any combat fighter or bomber. The Air Force is eager to replace the A-10 with the F-35, yet the latter is vastly inferior at providing supporting firepower for troops who are closely engaged with enemy forces. This close air support (CAS) as provided by the A-10 has proven invaluable on the battlefield. Retired Air Force chief master sergeant Russell B. Carpenter, who has been involved with or the lead controller on over 900 close-air-support sorties in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo, put it this way: “I have worked with F-16s, B-1B bombers, F-15s, F-111s, F/A-18s, etc., and no other [close-air-support] plane comes even close to the A-10.” In other words, substituting F-16s and F-15s for the A-10 in Iraq is putting questionable procurement priorities above the importance of our present mission. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo, the A-10, affectionately known as the “Warthog” or just plain old “Hog,” has handily bested all other U.S. aircraft in destroying artillery, tanks, and other vehicles while supporting infantry engaged in combat-at “danger close” ranges. At the same time, it’s also the least expensive combat plane in the U.S. arsenal to operate and buy. With $2.85 billion in recent upgrades, including better wings and a complete upgrade of avionics, sensors, targeting systems, and communications, the A-10C is no longer an “aging platform.” In fact, the A-10C is the most technologically sophisticated close-air-support plane on the battlefield and will be so for decades to come.