View Full Version : Air Force appears to concede that the F-35 can’t (and won’t) replace the A-10 Warthog

10-31-2016, 02:23 PM
The amount of money that we’ve flushed into the development and deployment of the F-35 Lightning all-weather, stealth multirole fighter is now enough to fund the budgets of several small to mid-size nations. But for all of that, the program has experienced one setback after another, including one in April that threatened to ground the entire fleet. Even with that issue resolved, a later test of six of the new, stealthy fighters revealed that only one of them was capable of a rapid, ready alert launch.

This has led to inevitable, unfavorable comparisons to the aging but highly reliable A-10 Warthog. In fact at one point, the military even scheduled a face to face “grudge match” testing the two craft against each other in close air support scenarios. That process is still rolling out but we’re getting a pretty good idea of how it’s going from the supply chain side of the military. While no official announcement has been made, an article from Instapundit pointing us to this piece from Popular Mechanics shows that the Warthog “ain’t going anywhere.”

On paper, the Air Force plans to start mothballing the A-10 in 2018, with the last Warthogs sent to the boneyard by 2021. But last month Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said that the retirement of the A-10 would likely have to be delayed further as the military continues to rely on the low-and-slow attack plane for close-air support (CAS) missions flown against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. Even more telling, the Air Force Material Command (AFMC) is bringing the depot line for A-10 maintenance and repair back up to full capacity, according to Aviation Week.

The Hawg isn’t going anywhere.

“They have re-geared up, we’ve turned on the depot line, we’re building it back up in capacity and supply chain,” AFMC chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski recently told Aviation Week. “Our command, anyway, is approaching this as another airplane that we are sustaining indefinitely.


10-31-2016, 04:12 PM
The idea that the F-35 would replace two birds as incredibly different as the F-16 and A-10 is almost ridiculous on its face. The F-15 and F-16 are fighters with ground attack capabilities. Ditto the F/A-18. But they don't have the ability to loiter as long while carrying so many "eggs" and able to fly low and slow so as to pick out targets.

The USAF has wanted to kill the A-10 since at least the early 80s, but it keeps proving how vitally useful it is. And for all the USAF claims of how vulnerable the A-10 is, that hasn't been demonstrated in losses or limited usability.