Don’t Scrap the Warthog!

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The US Air Force doesn’t love the A-10 (Warthog) Thunderbolt II. They’ve tried to scrap it for years. But it keeps hanging on in the inventory. Introduced in 1977, it came too late for Viet Nam (lucky for the NVA). My suggestion is that it belongs in the US Army’s inventory but you know the Zoomies. They really don’t like anything with a fixed wing under Army control.
The Air Force prefers an aircraft that costs 100 times as much as an A-10 with a gun that doesn’t work and won’t be working before the end of the decade…the F-35 Thunderbolt II.

(IBD) The F-35 has state of the art stealth features, but won’t be able to fire a gun for four more years, according to reports. 

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is expected to enter combat with the Marine Corps in 2015 and Air Force in 2016. But the software on the high-tech fighter jet isn’t capable of shooting the 25mm cannon on board. Officials from the Air Force told the Daily Beast that the software support won’t be finished until 2019.
The plane will still have weapon capabilities, including two AMRAAM missiles and two bombs, according to the report. That’s nice, but it will not replace the A-10.

The A-10 provides precision close support in Iraq in the video below. Advance the video to 6:24 as the enemy moves into a tree line for safety.

Anyone who has worked on the opposite side of the Warthog fears the living daylights out of it. It’s able to sustain VAST combat damage and still fly, it carries much more ordnance than the F-35 and can fly low and slow when it counts.
Having Hawgs overhead in combat for close air support is like having a couple of destroying angels up there putting ordnance on target. Warthog pilots work with infantry on the ground all of the time. They know how to support them and how to bring put the aircraft into harm’s way. The F-35 will always be too expensive to risk in low level jinking and shooting. And that’s not what war machines need to be. I don’t oppose the F-35. I simply don’t feel that it will replace the Hawg.
If the Air Force doesn’t want it, why not give it to the Army? Once the Army is done with them, they can be successfully surplussed to the Marine Corps…since that is how it usually works.

18 thoughts on “Don’t Scrap the Warthog!

  1. The A10 looks like a goat screwing a bean-bag chair. And it works. No wonder the glamor guys don't like it.

  2. I don't understand why it doesn't already belong in the Marines' inventory, it's perfect for them and their mission independent of everything else.
    IMO the whole notion of inter-service coordinated close-support is a bureaucrats' and communications directors glorified wet-dream, and a time-waster when minutes count.

  3. A-10s WORK! And those that fly them love them. It's the brass that doesn't… sigh… And I'd agree just give them straight to the Marines!

  4. I would gladly pay you Tuesday for an A-10 today.

    Man, the things that I could do with a bird like that.

  5. We love the WartHogs here in Boise! it's so cool to see them fly ground-hugging formations in the canyons when you're out water skiing or fishing.

  6. It doesn't have folding wings for storage in an aircraft carrier. But motivation could find a fix IMHO.

  7. I dunno, LL. While the A-10 is a noble fighting machine, much like the B-52, there will always be those upper brass that want to replace them with new fangled killing machines. You know, machines that kill you in different ways, but still you end up dead.

    I'm sure that once the spear and then later the flintlock were retired and relegated to use in jarhead inventories, combat technology eventually moved on. There's plenty of room in the Smithsonean Air and Space Museum for a Warthog, where we can visit on a nice summer day and can all remember days gone by.

  8. To the best of my knowledge none of them have taken to blowing ski boats out of the water recently. It would be a target-rich environment on a July Saturday afternoon, however.

  9. There are times in the Persian Gulf where those Iranian Boghammers (open boats armed with cannons) would have been rich targets.

  10. The B-52 is still the mainstay bomber for the USAF and is expected to remain in that position for the next 20 years. We should keep the Hawg along at least until we retire the Buff.

    Buff = Big Ugly Fat Fellow = B-52 Stratofortress.

  11. That's what they are. They don't pretend to be anything else. And nobody wants to enter a battlefield where Hawgs are providing close air support for the US. After a Hawg strike there aren't enough pieces left that are identifiable to put in a baggy.

  12. Reading WoFat's comment about diving into the water reminded me about a story my FIL used to tell me when he was strafed by a ME-262 in Germany near the end of the war.

    They had never seen a jet before and were wondering WTH it was when it made it's initial pass. He only knew that it wasn't ours. He ran away from the armor (he was assigned to an armored unit in Patton's 3rd Army) cause it came back and blew the crap out of everything. He ended up diving into a river. Ruined his watch. Good man my FIL. We miss him.

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