Skip to comments.Congress moves toward saving A-10 jets at Selfridge
Posted on 05/26/2012 8:42:17 AM PDT by equaviator
The effort to preserve Selfridge Air National Guard Bases 24 A-10 aircraft gained some altitude Thursday when the Senate Armed Services Committee embraced a provision that would block budget cuts to the Air National Guard.
Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said his committee had unanimously approved an annual defense bill that rejects proposals to eliminate Air National Guard aircraft and personnel across the nation, including proposed cuts at Michigan bases.
The cuts proposed by the Air Force would have eliminated the A-10 jets in the 107th Fighter Squadron at Selfridge and the 560 military and civilian jobs that keep the unit running plus the plan would have pulled the plug on a plan to station C-27J cargo aircraft in Battle Creek.
The Air National Guard performs an extremely important function, and its capabilities should not be casually or precipitously changed, Levin said at a Capitol Hill news conference held with the committees top Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona. The Air Force proposal, which disproportionately affected the Air National Guard, was ill-conceived and unjustified. Our bill rejects the Air Forces proposal and takes steps to prevent a repeat of such poorly thought-out proposals.
The language of the Senate committee provision is nearly identical to the wording approved by the House earlier this month in their version of the defense bill. That will be welcome news to the military personnel on the Harrison Township base and to the Selfridge Base Community Council, which has been lobbying aggressively to save the 107th Fighter Squadron.
Under the Senate committees version of the National Defense Authorization Act, the fiscal year 2013 spending plan would block the Air Force from divesting, retiring or transferring aircraft assigned to the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserves. It also halts any plans to reduce manpower in the Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves.
That amounts to a $1.4 billion revision in the Pentagon budget. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who wants to eliminate five A-10 squadrons, has complained that the House bill contains too many pet projects and actually raises defense spending by $8 billion, instead of cutting.
Overall, the Obama administration seeks to chop Defense Department spending by $487 billion over 10 years.
Thursdays vote marked the first time since the threat of Selfridge losing the A-10s emerged in March that Levin and Rep. Candice Miller, a Harrison Township Republican, appeared to be on the same page. Miller said she was pleased that GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had introduced an amendment that would further broaden the protections for a certain Air Guard aircraft. That move would indicate bipartisan support for a freeze on Guard cuts.
While protecting jobs in communities across the nation were certainly a primary reason to fight the cuts, another is that the proposed cuts simply made no sense from a budgetary perspective since the Air Guard provides 35 percent of the (Pentagon) air capability for only 6 percent of the cost, Miller said in a statement.
It is unfortunate that the Air Force and the secretary of defense would not work with 49 governors and every adjutant general of the National Guard across the nation to find a balanced approach to make needed cuts in the Pentagons budget that was acceptable to all.
As in the House, the Senate Armed Services Committee also took a long-range approach, favoring the establishment of a National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force. Lawmakers in the House and Senate were unhappy with the lack of analysis and justification for the Air Force proposals to let proposed reductions fall more heavily on the Air National Guard.
According to Levins staff, the independent commission would consist of eight members, four appointed by the president and four appointed by the Democratic and Republican leadership of the armed services committees in the Senate and House. After completing a cost-benefit analysis of active duty units vs. National Guard squadrons, it would report back to Congress by March 31, 2013.
In the short term, the committee bill goes to the full Senate for approval. Then a House-Senate conference committee would iron out differences between the versions approved by the two legislative chambers. From there, final approval by the House and Senate would follow and the bill would be sent to president Obama for his signature.
Drop the expensive and failed F-35 program, stock up on F-22 for air superiority, and get thousands of A-10s, F-16s, and F-18s for ground attack.
Honestly, what can replace an A-10? It’s such a unique machine.
the air force has been trying to kill the a-10 for years. it was never sexy enough for them.
Nothing like a GAU-8 to ruin your whole day!
The guys on the ground sure seem to love them. A hog can get right in there and root out a hotspot with real precision.
I remember seeing a story out of Fallujah where soldiers were literally pointing to targets for the A-10s to take out.
Awesome!Thnx for the pics.
“the air force has been trying to kill the a-10 for years.”
It’s not supersonic, it has straight wings, and it works. That’s not good enough for them.
I have spoken to VietNam era Skyraider pilots who told me that plane’s ordnance load capability was greater than the weight of the entire plane. Of course, that one has a propeller so it would NEVER be considered, no matter how good it is for supporting the grunts on the ground.
As a retired military officer, I can say you hit the nail squarely on the head. I can’t count the number of times the Air Force has tried to get rid of the A-10, only to admit (grudgingly) that there’s nothing to replace it. At one point, they actually touted something called the A-16, and even equipped at least one guard outfit with that aircraft.
Just a few problems with that theory; the Hog has 12 hardpoints on its wing; the F-16 has only nine. And, when you consider that the Viper’s wingtip stations can only carry air-to-air missiles (and you’ve got to have a least one fuel tank for the F-16 to have any range), there’s even less room for ordnance. And of course, there’s no comparison between the 20 mm cannon on the Viper (with only 500 rounds of ammunition) and the GAU-8.
Sadly, we’ll never re-start production of the A-10. The Fairchild line was shut down in 1984 and the tooling was sold or destroyed. It would be far too expensive to re-create that capability. However, with many of the remaining A-10s in the Air National Guard, the Hog has a lot of friends in Congress. That’s one reason that more than 200 have been re-winged, and received a precision weapons capability.
I always thought the Army should get them.
A little A-10 action
We had A-10s at Willow Grove, PA. Closed. I miss them a lot. Watch the videos of them in action on youtube and can’t get over the unique sound of their weapons.
When production was stopped the tooling for the A-10 was scrapped. The planes currently flying are the last of the breed and are dependent on cleaver crew chief's and shot up hulks to keep them in the air.
If the military were to resurrect the A-10 (a great idea IMHO! no R&D required) it would of necessity require starting from scratch.
Any A10s that are not wanted may be donated to me.
I love that second pic.
‘See this gun? Make it fly, and make it survivable!’
I Guess they've never seen one flying at a 90° angle through a mountain pass
Or, the Marines. Does anyone know if an A-10 has ever taken off or landed on a carrier? It seems like it would handle that well.
During Desert Storm, their 24 F-16A/B aircraft were equipped to carry the General Electric GPU-5/A Pave Claw pod on the centerline station. The pod houses a 30mm GAU-13/A four-barrel derivative of the seven-barrel GAU-8/A cannon used by the A-10A, and 353 rounds of ammunition. The aircraft received the new designation F/A-16, and were the only F-16s ever to be equipped with this weapon, intended for use against a variety of battlefield targets, including armor.
I’d actually like to see the A-10 cannon fitted to a larger version of the Predator drone.
F16’s and F18’s are too fast for ground support, the range is too short, and their gun is too small. We always loved having the A10 overhead just for their loiter time and the amount of ordinance they could carry.
Disgusting, isn’t it?
It’s their most successful ground support platform but year after year they keep trying to kill it.
Apparently the Air Force doesn’t want the close air support mission anymore.
The Marine Corps did look at getting them, but (If I remember right) the frame is not rigid and the wings don’t fold (both are needed to be aircraft carrier capable).
Not seriously. Even when Congress mandated, prior to Desert Shield, that A-10s be transferred to both the Marine Corps and the Army, the Corps wanted no part of it.
Take what you read there with a liberal dose of skepticism.
If they had UCAV’s over the Road to Basra (’91), could the results have been any better?