“Even though we will lose CAS capacity, we are retiring the A-10 anyway” U.S. Air Force says

Mar 24 2016 - 52 Comments

The U.S. Air Force has revealed that the A-10 retirement will begin in fiscal year 2018.

Taken on Feb. 26, the picture in this post shows an A-10 Warthog in action during a joint air attack team exercise at Yakima Training Center, Washington, where the “Hogs” trained alongside the AH-64 Apache helicopters deployed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., providing Close Air Support (CAS) to Soldiers with 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

Still, this kind of training will come to an end in the near future. In fact, in spite of its unmatched capabilities in the CAS role, the U.S. Air Force will soon retire its A-10 fleet.

As reported by DefenseNews.com, the service has recently revealed the number of A-10s that will be retired each year before the type is completely withdrawn from service in 2022.

The plan call for the retirement of 49 planes or 2 squadrons in fiscal year (FY) 2018. This will be followed by 49 aircraft in FY2019, 64 in FY2020, and 96 in FY2021.

During a hearing held at the House Armed Services Committee on Mar. 16 Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said that accelerating the retirement of the A-10 will help to better support the stand up of F-35 squadrons. “If we keep the A-10, by FY21 — the scheduled FOC (Final Operational Capability) date for the F-35 — we will be about 50 percent short of the maintenance manpower we need to field the F-35. So it’s a manpower problem.”

However, even though the F-35 can perform the CAS mission, it would be too expensive using the Lightning II in the A-10 role, thus leaving the problem of the Hog replacement unsolved. As explained by Welsh himself: “The F-35 is intended to the high-threat CAS platform, (with the retirement of the A-10) we are losing CAS capacity.”

Image credit: Sgt. Cody Quinn/28th Public Affairs Detachment / U.S. Army


  • sferrin

    Helloooooo, not enough money. I get it, internet fanbois just luuuvvvvv the “ZOMG BIG GUNZZZ” but the A-10 is useless anywhere there are actual air defenses and it’s a one trick pony. The F-35 will do CAS far, FAR better than the A-10 can run intercepts, fly CAP, or deep strike. Get over it people.

    • Max Power

      USAF has plenty of platforms that do CAP and deep strike and fly fast and sparkle and look pretty and provide a promotion track to COL and BG for their dashing young pilots…those aren’t going to go away. Meanwhile, back at the wars, what we have only one of is a rugged aircraft capable of persistent, wont-go-away-for-hours CAS, fast FAC, and CSAR support, in the vast majority of the world’s battlefields that don’t have an integrated air defense system, but have lots and lots of small arms, AAA, and MANPADS. In short, every low-intensity conflict we’ve been involved in for the last twenty years had lots of work for the A-10 and aircraft like it. To say that we don’t need both kinds of systems in the USAF is missing the point.

  • paul

    USAF writing checks they don’t have to cash. I am amazed the USA is going to sit back and watch this happen.

  • BernardP

    Let’s wait after the November election. In a likely Clinton – Cruz contest, lots of decisions could change if Cruz was to pull off an upset.

    Of course it won’t be Trump for the Republicans.

  • MattMusson

    Baloney. They keep cutting it knowing full well that Congress will ‘force them’ to add it back in.
    This is budget baloney.

  • Calvin Hughes

    There is no doubt that there are several airplanes that can conduct the CAS mission but the government always forgets that the A-10 was built specifically to two things. Kill tanks and survive AA (flack) fire. Every single aircraft proposed to take its place can do neither. So either we don’t plan to kill anymore tanks(NOT) or we don’t plan to ever go against third world nations that still use AA cannon fire. Yea I know missiles work…LOL.

  • large

    It’s not about the A-10 or it’s pilots . . it’s all about shifting the support and maintenance logistics from the A-10 to the JSF . . A manpower shift, thus saving recruiting and training new people . .

    Stupid concept!

  • Icepilot

    Give the A-10s & the Close Air Support mission to a combined Army/Marine Corps Air Command.

  • Dixie_Pixie

    Air Force Brass to Congress: “We want a new Duck” for the A-10 is old and ugly.

  • Joe Trader

    The OV-10 Bronco was recently brought back out of retirement to fight isis – I hope they at least keep every A-10 in storage

  • Uniform223

    Close air support IS A MISSION… NOT A PLATFORM!


    the sooner people can stop their infatuation with what they think CAS is and what it should be compared to how its actually done and carried out; the sooner people can let go of the A-10. It was/is a good aircraft but it isn’t the cream of the crop anymore. Other aircraft and platforms can fulfill its role. The A-10 (in my opinion) is nothing more than a redundant luxury.

  • Headrick

    Idiots…..Hopefully if conservative becomes President they will cancel any decision to remove the A-10.

  • jack anderson

    give the CAS Money to the Army, Air Force doesn’t care about Army solders, they are bigger, higher ,faster, farther, and way, way more expensive.

  • Curtis Conway

    The title belies reality: “Even though we will lose CAS capacity, we are retiring the A-10 anyway” U.S. Air Force says. The USAF redefined CAS from proximity of the support platform to the proximity of the support weapon, which of course does not cover all situations, and HiStory demonstrates this time and again to which the USAF intends to be blind. Customer desires are not the concern of this service provider. Congress had to create a law to Force the USAF to support the US Army in the field because the Zoomies all want ‘to be safe’ at altitude in rarefied air, going Mach 2 with their hair on fire. The plight of the average combat soldier on the ground is NOT something to which they want to be related. Therefore, they will spend as little time as possible in that domain (below 8,000 ft). This sentiment does not describe your average “Warthog Pilot” who, in my opinion, are the REAL Knights of the Air. The drive a Bomb Truck that can absorb damage, and that is the death knell to there career aspirations.

    The USAF newly announced ‘A-X Program’ must be funded, with a Plan of Actions and Milestone. Execute USAF, and I don;t mean shoot our troops in the head. Ask the customer what they Need, then fill that need. Do not tell them what they are going to get!

  • Max Power

    “A manpower problem…” Silly Air Force: show me one base that has an understaffed BX, golf course, HQ building, dining facility, financial services center, gym, or one of any other dozen feely-good, ice-cream-cone-licking programs…but the perfumed Pentagon princes don’t have enough money for aircraft maintainers. Without aircraft that fly, the USAF is just another bloated make-work welfare program.

  • Guan_yu

    If the USAF retires the A-10 prematurely, then the Key West Agreement needs to be scraped, letting the Army provide its own fixed wing CAS.

  • Bubba

    I was in the Air Cav in 1967 when the AF took all of our fixed wing Aircraft. They took the mohawks and caribous. The cav had modified the aircraft in Nam to provide CAS when the
    AF was having drinks in Saigon.

  • yay so good remove an aircraft currently zapping ISIL

  • Gatorski0827

    One of the stupidest decisions I have heard in a while. Definitely driven by Bureaucrats not fighting men……

  • David Doumèche

    You know than by firing a few hundreds generals in the oversized corps officer, you cna have the A-10, do you ?

  • Dave Vert

    I wonder if the powers that be in this decision had a son or daughter that was a soldier on the ground would they feel this a good thing to do… I too am a firm believer that the Army should take the A-10 over. Army (Ret)