Skip to comments.A-10 backers win House vote to save plane
Posted on 06/20/2014 7:39:41 AM PDT by SandRat
The U.S. House on Thursday overwhelmingly adopted an amendment to the 2015 defense appropriation bill that would prohibit the Pentagon from spending any money to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt II jet a mainstay of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
But the fate of the venerated Warthog close-air-support jet remains far from certain, as the Senate still must act, and the issue will likely be hammered out in conference committee.
The amendments bipartisan adoption was a victory for Rep. Ron Barber, a Tucson Democrat, and other A-10 supporters, who were chagrined when the House Appropriations Committee left A-10 funding out of its version of the defense spending bill.
This is a victory for those brave men and women in our armed forces and engaged in ground combat who depend on the A-10, Barber said in prepared remarks after the late-evening vote. I am fighting for the A-10 to remain in service because there is no better and more effective aircraft for close air support of our soldiers and Marines on the ground.
The amendment, primarily sponsored by Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., and Barber, passed on a 300-to-114 vote, with support split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats.
The amendment prohibits the Pentagon from spending any money to divest, retire, transfer or place in storage, or prepare to divest, retire, transfer or place in storage any A-10 aircraft. It also prohibits the Pentagon from closing any active or reserve unit that flies or is otherwise associated with the A-10, Barbers office noted.
The Air Force wants to save money, but they dont have an adequate follow-on at this time, and with whats happening in Iraq and the Middle East, eliminating the A-10 is the absolute wrong move, Miller said in a news release.
But where to find the money to keep the A-10 flying remains a major issue.
Opponents, including the chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, called the A-10 retirement spending ban disingenuous because it would raise no funds for the A-10, requiring the Air Force to scramble to find about $500 million.
Miller said during debate on the bill Wednesday that A-10 backers were told by the Houses leadership that proposals that identified funding offsets to pay for continued A-10 operations would be blocked on procedural grounds.
A measure to fund the A-10 for a year in the House-passed version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act attracted opposition because it would use $635 million in an as-yet-unsettled overseas war fund. An amendment adopted by the Senate Armed Services Committee would use $339 million in operations funding to pay for A-10 operations for a year.
But the Senate has yet to bring its committee version of the authorization bill to floor debate and a full vote, and the upper chamber has not yet passed its defense appropriations bill out of committee.
Both the defense authorization bill which sets spending policy but may not dictate actual appropriations and the defense appropriations bills eventually passed by both chambers will have to be reconciled in conference committees before final votes in both houses.
They just have to hold out until we get a real president, one who puts America first.
By far my favorite plane in the U.S. arsenal. Save the Warthog!
This airplane has been on the hit list since before the first Gulf War, when it saved itself through service in that war by being so versatile and useful that the generals hoping to retire into work at competitive manufacturers were sore.
When the report does not compare replacement costs, and at benefit to whom, the story is incomplete.
It’s reliable, consistent and ominously scary to the enemy.
Anyone who has never seen a pair of slow, whistling A 10s go overhead is missing it, the Taliban know this.
I believe we would all be best served by selling the lot of them (steeply discounted) to the Texas militia. There by moving that particular weapons platform to a more responsible party.
I’m just not seeing how fighter jets can take over low speed loiter support roles.
The A-10 is the greatest Close Air Support platform ever built. Marines and soldiers love it. Unfortunately the Air Force hates CAS and will do anything to get out of doing it.
I would love to see the A-10’s given to the Marine Corps and the Army.
Maybe the USAF could save money by closing some of their golf courses.
Make the Staff Officers play at public courses.
It’s absolutely consistent that this admin would do everything it can do to shunt aside and retire one of the most effective and lowest cost weapons we have. Didn’t the whole fleet of these things just undergo (and may not even be done) with I believe a $10 bn wing update? That’s chump change in terms of an aircraft program. I am 100% sure the problem with this plane is that it’s too cheap.
Personally I believe a 5/8 scale A-10 drone with miniguns instead of the GAU-8 would be an awesome weapon, though more anti-personnel versus anti-tank.
They’re not telling us in the article how much it costs to replace the A-10.
Is that part of it. I know it’s a jet manufacturing industry issue, and competition for new systems, retiring senior staff going to these industries, etc.
I know (many of) the pilots who fly A-10s like close air support just fine.
Preferably an American born president.
Totally awesome! I love that aircraft. It is such an essential part of our air superiority forces. I am so glad to see this news. I am sure a great many ground pounders are as well.
I had an Apache pilot tell me that the carnage that the A-10s can deliver is just frightening.
I agree, and I have met some A-10 pilots. Everyone of them has told me they love the aircraft and their CAS role. It’s the Air Force as an institution that hates doing CAS.
As to the new systems issue, you hit the nail on the head there also.
If the DOD or the USAF are looking for a program to cancel I suggest that's the one.
They need to amend this stupid law that prohibits the Army from having fixed wing aircraft (except for utility category) aircraft in their inventory
Removing a vital war fighting asset that has saved many a US life is just about criminal
Depleted Uranium rounds tend to do that.
While sitting in your trench ,you could lift your arm and light a match on the belly of these things
Truthfully, the heart of the A-10 is its engines. If congress could just appropriate money to build the high quality engines, we could export the engines to an ally who could build a fleet of A-10s, outside of the US where it is a perpetual political football.
The trick is that all of its electronics and critical systems are modular and redundant. So they would produce planes with a lot of empty slots, and if the US needed them, it would make just these systems, and plug them in to the basic plane.
The best part is that once in production, per unit cost would be around $20-25 million per plane, which is very inexpensive, compared to say, the Raptor, which is about $150 million each.
#339 Million? Chump change in today’s world of Four Trillion Dollar Federal Budgets.
That’s less than the VA spends on Solar Panels or Obama spends on Vacations.
In all seriousness, didn’t the Air Force spend more than that brewing up some Bio Jet Fuel that costs ten times as much as regular Jet Fuel? Nothing like Priorities.
The A-10 will be replaced by the F-35 the F-35 Costs $182 Million to $299 Million Per Plane. Right now the B-1 bomber is doing CAS and it costs 300 million per plane. Neither the F-35 nor the B-1 can do CAS as well as an A-10. The Air force should give the A-10’s to the Marines rather then retire it. Unfortunately there is some kind of stupid rules that say the US Army can not operate fixed winged aircraft. That rule needed to be done away with so the Army can operate A-10’s too.
I’m ready to make a low ball bid on one with it’s weapons systems disabled.
Love to fly one out of this little airport.
Shake up the neighborhood.
Add me to the list of Warthog fans. What a great war machine!
Solve the problem once and for all:
Make an inter-service transfer of all aircraft, support equipment and personnel to the Army and/or the USMC. The folks who really need and appreciate CAS should own and control the assets.
“While sitting in your trench ,you could lift your arm and light a match on the belly of these things”
That would make an awesome visual if anyone could manipulate the CGI.
This all goes back to the Key West Agreement of 1947-48, excluding the Army from the CAS role. Also, the MOU from 1951 between the Army and Air Force restricted Army FW aircraft to a 5,000 lb empty weight, although exceptions were made in the late 50’s- early 60s for the CV-2 (later C-7) Caribou and OV-1 Mohawk aircraft.
There are a heckuva lot of state Guard and Reserve units flying the A-10, so it was easy to get House support. Now let’s see of the Senate can back up the House, and if Zero will sign the papers.
As the article states, the real issue will be that the Air Force is not provided the funding to actually keep them operational.
IIRC this happened years ago with the USN carrier fleet. The USN wanted to retire the USS Kennedy. Congressional legislation prohibited it from doing so. So it parked the ship at Mayport FL with a skeleton crew and, ostensibly, kept it “in commission” for a few years.
Unless funding is found, that’s exactly what’s going to happen to the A-10 fleet. The planes will be parked where they are with no preservation and little to no maintenance, the squadrons kept “open” with minimal/cadre staffing all the while the experience to maintain and operate them is passively drawn down to the point where they can only be returned to combat-read status through exorbitant expenditure of funding.
Which should hint at why they would be so boneheaded as to think about sending it to the boneyard
The recipients of the spoils
Nothing magical about TF-34s that were built in the 1970s, originally for the S-3 Viking.
Any modern business jet engine in the same 9,000 lb thrust class would do.
The A-10 is exactly what we should have in Iraq now!!!
The stupid survalance flights aren’t worth squat!
“Personally I believe a 5/8 scale A-10 drone with miniguns instead of the GAU-8 would be an awesome weapon, though more anti-personnel versus anti-tank.”
CAS without a pilot at the battlefield is stupid. It is the brain a few feet above ground that makes the different between CAS and precision bombing from great heights.
I love this aircraft. I have seen them between the hills of the Odenwald in Germany. I have never heard them coming and even going.
The problem with this aircraft is quite simple. It is a simple and cheap aircraft. The industry can’t make big money with it.
CAS with the F-35A? There are cheaper aircraft to drop a bomb from high altitudes.
CAS with the F-35B? Did work superb with the AV-8B Harrier in Afghanistan. Dirt and dusty runway? ...