As a former USAF pilot, I always thought the very senior leadership of the Air Force sometimes made really dumb decisions based on ego and agenda rather than common sense and wartime needs.
The retirement of the A-10 was one of those.
Sometimes, if you hold out against a stupid decision long enough, people wake up and do the right thing. It seems the U.S. Air Force may be doing just that. Today, Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command, said Tuesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington “I think we would probably move the retirement slightly to the right,” Defense One reports.
“Eventually we will have to get there, we will have to retire airplanes, but I think moving it to the right and starting it a bit later and maybe keeping the airplane around a little bit longer is something that’s being considered based on things as they are today and that we see them in the future.”
The A-10 is a very cheap aircraft to operate but is extremely effective, a real ‘force-multiplier’ if you will. The Air Force has been trying to retire the ground attack aircraft in order to free up dollars for the F-35 multirole fighter. Congress has been trying to stop this from happening. The A-10 was developed to counter Soviet armor streaming through the Fulda Gap in Eastern Europe. However, the plane really earned its stripes in the Middle Eastern campaigns of the last two decades.
Air campaigns from Africa to the Middle East have stressed the services combat aircraft tempo and the addition airframes of the A-10 are in great need; they have just been deployed to the Syrian conflict to fight the Islamic State.
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