Save the A-10!


Everett Pyatt has a not-new plan to save the Warthog from the Air Force's decades-old desire to rid itself of that unwelcome beast of a plane: Give it to the Army. That idea has been floated pretty much every time the Air Force has threatened to retire its A-10 air fleet. They wanted to kill the A-10 after the Cold War ended, but then the 'Hog became the stuff of legend during the First Gulf War. It survived the axe again thanks to continued stellar performances in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So why doesn't the Air Force want to keep such an effective plane, especially one that's so cheap to operate? Two reasons:

• It isn't a fast sexy fighter.

• It serves an Army function.

But the Air Force steadfastly refuses to let the Army have the 'Hog, either. The Air Force has a legal monopoly on fixed-wing aircraft and is afraid that breaking their monopoly would put them at a disadvantage with the Army at obtaining money for future planes.

Well, OK -- the Navy and Marines are allowed to have fixed-wing aircraft, too. But not if the Air Force had anything to say about it.

Fact is, the Air Force was divorced from the Army after WWII, and lives in fear of a forced reconciliation. That's bad for the A-10 which is bad for the Army and a boon to the bad guys.