Dec 11, 2013
A-10 The Victim Of Difficult Choices
That view is not far beneath a debate over close air support (CAS) that has smoldered over decades like a case of inter-service malaria. The latest attack of fevers and night sweats has been triggered by the revelation of Air Force sequester-based budget plans that include retirement of the A-10 Warthog, which nobody ever calls by its official name of Thunderbolt II.
The Air Force is in a fiscal trap that is partly of its own making. Aging combat fleets and an unmanned aerial system (UAS) force that can't survive against any form of air defense are two of its closing walls. The service cannot find the will to escape from its commitment to raise its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter buy rate to 80 per year, but it also sees a stark need for aircraft with longer range.