Skip to comments.Planned changes at D-M go beyond A-10 cuts
Posted on 03/21/2014 12:52:04 PM PDT by SandRat
Phasing out the A-10 attack aircraft could cost Tucson 2,000 jobs and thats just one of many changes in store for Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the proposed 2015 Air Force budget shows.
If Congress approves the cuts, D-M would see ongoing though, in some cases, diminished missions including electronic warfare and unmanned aircraft operations.
Among the proposed changes: Most significantly, the base would lose its entire fleet of 83 A-10 Thunderbolt IIs by the 2019 fiscal year. It also would lose seven EC-130H Compass Call electronic warfare planes by fiscal 2016. The base now operates 15 Compass Call aircraft, which are converted 1950s-era cargo planes that jam enemy communications and provide other electronic countermeasures, said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon. Used extensively in the early stages of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Compass Call aircraft are operated exclusively at D-M by the 55th Electronic Combat Group, which reports to the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. An Air National Guard unmanned-aircraft unit stationed at D-M would lose responsibility for three MQ-1 Predator drones. But it would gain operations of six newer and more capable MQ-9 Reaper drones in fiscal 2015 through 2017. Though the drones are operated by the Guard unit at D-M, the actual aircraft are based elsewhere, D-M spokeswoman Capt. Susan Harrington said. An Air Force Reserve unit at D-M would add 21 F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets in fiscal 2019, essentially replacing Reserve-operated A-10s.
The head of a group supporting D-M said that while its encouraging that the Air Force envisions continued operations at D-M, scrapping the A-10 would be a major blow.
There are some things there that still keep it functional, though youre taking the guts out of it when you eliminate the flying missions, obviously, said Mike Grassinger, president of the DM50 and a former Air Force pilot.
Among other significant functions at D-M, Grassinger cited the presence of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG); a significant headquarters operation of the 12th Air Force, which includes the major air component of the U.S. Southern Command; and the Air Forces only active-duty rescue wing dedicated to combat search and rescue.
While some 9,100 military members and civilians work at D-M, not including contractors and more than 600 employed at the AMARG, the loss of the A-10s would cause the loss of about 2,000 jobs there, Grassinger said.
The loss of significant missions would also make D-M more vulnerable to the next round of base cuts under the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, or BRAC, Grassinger said.
While federal law prevents any BRAC actions until 2015, the Air Force said last week that it would welcome any base-closing move before then, and Grassinger said there is some talk of initiating BRAC cuts in 2017.
The signals were getting is that Davis-Monthan is one of the better bases in the country in terms of flying, he said. But if and when they get to another round of closures, its going to be considered along with everything else, and there is some vulnerability there.
In the last BRAC round approved in 2005, 22 major military bases were closed and 33 others were realigned, a process of consolidation including both reductions and expansions.
Under the Air Force's plan to phase out the A-10, 55 of the planes operated by regular Air Force units at D-M would be retired in fiscal years 2015 and 2016. The rest of Davis-Monthans Warthogs, 28 aircraft operated by Reserve units, would be eliminated in fiscal year 2019.
Service-wide, 259 A-10s would be retired from nine bases including D-M between 2015 and 2019, while another 24 A-10s stationed overseas would be retired by 2015.
It's the only explanation that makes any sense.
Well, it’s not like we’re ever going to blow up another tank again, not when the plan is to simply surrender at the first sign of trouble.
I have heard that the muoozlums really hate the A10.
I spent 2 years in the 41st ECS, 355th TS and the 43rd ECS during the 1990s.
Those EC-130s are OLD. Really old. We don’t need to put airmen up there anymore with the capabilities of drones and modern electronics.
“not when the plan is to simply surrender at the first sign of trouble.”
The plan is to send strong letters to any attackers deploring their attack. These high value strategic complaint and interdiction letters (HVSC&IL) have already been written with blanks for the appropriate names and offenses. They use the strongest possible wording and the highest moralistic tactical words. They are so worded as to reduce any receivers into begging not to receive another. This means the end of all aggressor actions in the entire world. If only George Bush had listened to the academic community. None of this stupid war would have been necessary.
They call it "The Dragon Plane".
As recently as last year many veterans here on Free Republic were arguing with tofu brained idiots (some of them active military) that these systems are desperately required in case of major war.
The idiots in question insisted that future war would all be like Afghanistan, and the days of massed armies being deployed were gone for the foreseeable future.
Any of you idiots want to step up with the same crap in light of Europe and Asia now?
And islamist raghead jihadis and communist tank jockeys everywhere are celebrating...
Hate to see the A-10 go away, of our current planes it is my favorite.
The A-10 is just too embarassingly cheap to allow to continue. Probably less than $5 million a copy fully upgraded (that’s a purely civilian guess, and probably $4 million of that is in upgrades) We can’t get by with planes that do not cost at last 25 times that much.
3 months after the last A-10 is retired, China, Pakistan, and the Seychelle Islands will show up with similar planes in their forces and we will have nothing comparable.
Yeah, just a WAG here, but can't you just imagine Valerie Jarrett's pals back in the old country letting her know via back channels "hey, could you do something about those damn flying cannons?"
"We'll have more flexibility after the elections."
Well, if you started with the A-10 and removed the pilot, controls, armored cockpit and replaced it with a remote controlled / artificial intelligence pilot, it would be one of the best bang for the buck aircraft. We are at the age when it is not politically acceptable to sent a pilot up in such a slow “vulnerable” aircraft.
While RC is great, a good AI system would also be immune to jamming, and react faster cheaper, lighter etc. Shooting one down would be a nearly worthless victory because they are so cheap.
If you think that is a criteria for BRAC, I've got a bridge to sell you.
Now that the Fulda Gap is back in play, wouldn’t keeping the A-10’s be a no-brainer?
No-Brainers are what we have in Washington.
If the Fulda Gap is back in play then there's nothing to stop an enemy from coming through. The U.S. has removed its troops from Germany. Europe has pretty much disarmed. A couple of A-10s won't make any difference.