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The PJ Tatler

by
Stephen Kruiser

Bio

March 14, 2014 - 7:18 pm

Too soon?

The Pentagon’s decision to retire the entire U.S. fleet of popular A-10 “Warthog” aircraft is painful but necessary as the military is forced to save money now to develop tomorrow’s weapons, Air Force leaders said on Friday.

General Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, told a panel in the House of Representatives that eliminating the 283 tank-killer jets would save $3.7 billion over the next five years plus another $500 million in planned aircraft upgrades.

The money saved would in turn be used to bolster current Air Force readiness, which has slipped in recent years because of budget cuts, and to focus on priorities for the future, such as the radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new aerial refueling tanker and a new long-range bomber.

The planes are a fixture at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, which is my hometown. They have been on the bureaucratic chopping block before but have always survived because they’re very popular with the people who actually fight wars.

Stephen Kruiser is a professional comedian and writer who has also been a conservative political activist for over two decades. A co-founder of the first Los Angeles Tea Party, Kruiser often speaks to grassroots groups around America and has had the great honor of traveling around the world entertaining U.S. troops.

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Top Rated Comments   
3.7B over five years. Or, the greens fees that we pay for POTUS every year.
I remember that during the gulf war "generals" saying we really could have used the (retired) SR-71 for intelligence because of cloud cover affecting the ability of our satellites.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (22)
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If they ALREADY had a drone that could do the same thing I'd say retire it. But... they don't.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Air Force priorities have always been fast fighters and big bombers. They HATE the ground support mission - always have, always will.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Illustrating once again, and in ascending order, that a soldier's three greatest threats are: direct engagement with the enemy, a commanding general, and a civilian who can give orders.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
My thought on this is the Army doesn't want another service providing CAS. They want to do it with their helicopters; soldiers protecting soldiers. Get the Air Force out of the OODA loop. Aside from maintaining an antique aircraft it's more cost effective to put an Army SSgt in the air in a chopper rather than a USAF academy grad in a jet.

Marines, the most frugal bang for your buck service, got rid of their low and slow aircraft 40 years ago.

Final point, if needed the USAF could fill the skies with Texan II's to fulfill the same mission.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
do you really think that a Texan II has the survivability of a warthog?

also weapons A-10:
Weapons[edit]
"Although the A-10 can carry considerable disposable stores, its primary built-in weapon is the 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling-type cannon. One of the most powerful aircraft cannons ever flown, it fires large depleted uranium armor-piercing shells. In the original design, the pilot could switch between two rates of fire: 2,100 or 4,200 rounds per minute;[58] this was changed to a fixed rate of 3,900 rounds per minute.[59] The cannon takes about half a second to come up to speed, so 50 rounds are fired during the first second, 65 or 70 rounds per second thereafter. The gun is accurate enough to place 80% of its shots within a 40-foot (12.4 m) diameter circle from 4,000 feet (1,220 m) while in flight.[60] The GAU-8 is optimized for a slant range of 4,000 feet (1,220 m) with the A-10 in a 30 degree dive."

weapons Texan II:
The aircraft has six underwing hard points, three on each side for carrying air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons systems. The centre station on each side is 'wet' for external fuel tanks.

just curious
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
You guys are all missing the point here, which has nothing to do with Obama or anything else really other than the Air Force's culture. The Air Force is in some ways the most intelligent, or intellectually flexible, of the armed forces, but in others it's also the most rigid. One of the ways they're the most dumb is in their own view of their role in warfare. They have been fighting with the other services since the days of Billy Mitchell, trying to convince the country's political leadership that the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps are obsolete. The rest of the armed forces should be mothballed, and the Air Force should get all the money (or the lion's share of it anyway) because Air Forces can win future wars by themselves, by shooting down the enemy's Air Force and then bombing them back into the stone age. The average Air Force general, in his 50s, thinks of himself as an older version of Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun, reckless, daring, very nonchalant as he swaggers off the flight line wearing a jumpsuit with a helmet dangling casually from one hand. Everyone admires that sort of guy, and they get all the chicks.

Truth is, the Air Force only built the Warthog (official nickname Thunderbolt II) because they had to. One year the Democrat chairman of the House Arms Appropriation Committee essentially blackmailed the Air Force into buying it, because the manufacturer (Grumman) was in his district. There was enthusiastic help from a Dem senator, in whose state the engines were built. When the guy who was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee died, the Air Force cancelled the contract the next year, but they'd already bought a bunch of the planes. They never wanted it in the first place, because it does something the Air Force thinks silly--it helps the army win ground battles. That's obsolete thinking, to the Air Force, and it gets in the way of their getting their sexy fighter plane...so it has to go.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
"They have been fighting with the other services since the days of Billy Mitchell, trying to convince the country's political leadership that the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps are obsolete."

That's patently not true. All they've been saying is that they can make the surface forces' jobs immeasurably easier by reducing the threats before they can engage friendly forces. If we wait until the enemy is on top of us (thus requiring CAS), then it's too late. Do you want to engage two full enemy divisions, or a gaggle of decimated, uncoordinated elements with no leadership?

And while we're discussing airborne tank-killers with gatlings and missiles, how come the Army's 660+ Apaches never enter into the argument?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, and one other thing regarding comparisons to the Apache helicopter.

Apache Top Speed - 182 mph.

Warthog Top Speed - 439 mph.

Apache payload - 1,700 lbs.

Warthog payload - 16,005 lbs. external load capacity. Please note that this does NOT include the gatling gun. That is all extra....

In short, it can get to a target faster with a greater usable payload than the Apache helicopter can.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eliminating the need for CAS is great in theory - unfortunately any enemy the US will face will have plans that include that very scenario.

Would kind of suck to have CAS happening all over the battlefield only to they don't have something on hand to actually provide CAS.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
One minor correction - the A10 was built by Republic [later Fairchild-Republic]. It was one of the last planes designed the old way, on actual drawing boards.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
You are correct, of course. Perhaps it was, in hindsight, a mistake to spin of the Army Air Corps into it's own service, but than again, the dictates of the upcoming cold war pretty much demanded it.

The arragoance of the Air Force is indisputable. They never have understood the concept of "territory" in warfare.

Perhaps the Marines should take the plane as a valuable addition to their existing chopper fleet (like that's ever going to happen).
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
An absolutely boneheaded decision. Like the F-35 is going to be able to loiter and put concentrated 30mm Vulcan fire in infantry support missions? And the F-35 is going to be able to survive the sort of ground-fire hits and still return to base like the A-10?

Friggin' morons. I do hope they mothball them in AZ and then be forced to take them out for combat again.

DAMN FOOLS!!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Care to identify a threat that warrants 30mm (as opposed to the 20mm most jets currently sport) but doesn't warrant a couple of cluster bombs dropped on their laager?

The entire point of this decision is that air defense has advanced to the point that the A-10 is no longer survivable.

The fact of the matter is that the A-10, like the P-51, was superbly designed for a mission and threat that simply no longer exists.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The mission it was built for destroying tanks, with armored personnel carriers as a bonus. Because lately we've been fighting IslamoNuts on the ass end of nowhere, does not mean we are never going to fight a real army ever again. This reminds me of all those people who just knew we were never going to need tanks after the collapse of the USSR. And those people who knew our carriers were "too big and vulnerable" after the Falkland war. Not to mention those geniuses who decided the F4 didn't "really" need a gun.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe it's because it's a sexist and homophobic aircraft, an outdated 20th century weapons platform in a new and progressive era of warfare where our enemies use cell-phones and spools of fine wire as detonators for ANFO IEDs contained in wooden boxes.

Or something.

They'll just fly 'em and park 'em in New Mexico, where they'll be shrink-wrapped and stored ready to be reactivated for a can of whoop-ass.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are many ways of destroying enemy tanks - the A-10 is among the best tools in the arsenal to do that job. The trouble is the Wart Hog is vulnerable to surface to air missiles - and those are proliferating. Every weapons system has it's 'time' - and the Wart Hog's time has passed. Lets hope we don't need them in a future conflict.

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I recall from decades ago when the aircraft was first made operational, the A-10 can fly with one half of it's tail assembly blown away, and about half of a wing blown away, and one engine knocked out - at the same time.

It was designed with that much redundancy.

To protect the pilot, they created an armored bathtub around the cockpit to protect, again if memory serves me correctly, up to about a .50 caliber bullet.

That plane is VERY survivable in combat. It's basically a flying tank.

Another thing I recall is an account of how the Warthog pilots got tired of being easy targets for the fighter jocks in F15s during wargames.

The required tactic when under attack from fighter planes was to run. However, with a sub-sonic aircraft being chased by missile armed supersonic fighters - that basically meant the plane was toast in mock air combat.

The A10 pilots finally had enough and during the next war game, when pounced by a fighter plane, they turned that flying tank on a dime and pointed that biga$ gun right at the oncoming plane, aimed, and started firing.

Turns out it was highly effective.

The fighter pilots didn't appreciate that one bit....
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23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not to worry. My take away from the film "Terminator: Salvation" was that the A-10s will still prove effective in fighting the Machines in the near future.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
3.7B over five years. Or, the greens fees that we pay for POTUS every year.
I remember that during the gulf war "generals" saying we really could have used the (retired) SR-71 for intelligence because of cloud cover affecting the ability of our satellites.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I also recall that we had good imagery from a non-satellite platform and it wasn't the SR-71. You do the math.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
They're also really, really good at what they do.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's probably why the Idiot-in-Chief wants them retired.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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