Air Force Budget Slashes Legacy Aircraft

Air Force Budget Slashes Legacy Aircraft

The Air Force on Tuesday released a 2015 budget that translates into fewer airmen and fewer aircraft across its active-duty, reserve and guard components with officials saying the service has chosen to recapitalize the fleet versus upgrading legacy aircraft.

Air Force personnel would drop across the force from 503,400 to 483,000 under the 2015 plan.

It will reduce its active-duty personnel from 327,600 to 310,900, for a loss of 16,700 airmen. The Air Force Reserve will lose 3,300, leaving a force of 67,100, and the Air National Guard would trim its numbers by 400 members, leaving 105,000 citizen airmen.

At the same time the Air Force says it will be transferring some people and planes to its reserve components that stand to lose missions because its plans to retire the A-10 and the U-2

As Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced last week, the Air Force plans to retire its A-10 Thunderbolt fleet, a plane built for close air support and long and widely appreciated by ground troops. But the Air Force considers the plane, dubbed the “Warthog,” as a single-mission aircraft at a time when it needs weapons able to conduct multiple missions.

Air Force leaders have said retiring the A-10 “achieves large savings while preserving multi-role [aircraft].” Of course, the Air Force tried this last year, and was promptly denied by Congress who included legislation in last year’s budget ordering the service not to spend a dollar toward retiring the fleet.

Service leaders also chose to reverse last year’s decision to keep the U-2 Dragon Lady fleet and allow the RQ-4 Global Hawk to continue to mature. Even though, Air Force brass freely admits that the Global Hawk still struggles to operate in bad weather, the service has proposed shutting down the historic fleet.

The Air Force backed up its promises to improve on the Global Hawk fleet by doubling the research and development funding for the fleet from $120 million to $244 million.

Even though the Air Force decided to retire the A-10 and the U-2, Air Force leaders decided on Tuesday to save the Combat Rescue Helicopter program. In January, Congress inserted $333 million into the budget to save program after the Air Force decided it wasn’t a priority in a lean budgetary environment.

Air Force brass chose on Tuesday not to fight Congress on the program. Air Force Maj. Gen. Jim Martin, director of budget, said the Combat Rescue Helicopter program has enough funding from last year and will likely present a contract this year even though a funding line is not included for the program in the 2015 budget proposal.

The service’s top three modernization priorities remain the same. The budget proposal includes increased funding for two of the top three priorities — the F-35 Lightning IIs and the KC-46 Pegasus, an aerial refueling tanker and transport plane.

The Air Force anticipates picking up 26 of the 34 F-35s the Pentagon plans to buy next year. The service has requested an increase of funding for the Joint Strike Fighter by about $600 million in 2015 versus 2014.

Air Force leaders expect to purchase the service’s first seven KC-46 tankers and plan to spend $2.3 billion on the program in 2015.

Other purchases include a dozen more MQ-9A Reapers, seven C-130J Super Hercules transports, and the recapitalization of four HC-130s and two MC-130s.

One fleet that took a hit to funding in 2015 was the C-5. Funding for the Galaxy dropped from $1.1 billion to $385 million in 2015.

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Funny they didn’t mention the B-2 replacement bomber program. Clearly the Air Force’s spending priorities tell us what we’ve always known, we don’t need flying aircraft or soldiers. We need to spend more money on aircraft development programs, because that maximizes the profits for the defense contractors. The Air Force is now nothing more than a wholly controlled subsidiary of those defense contractors. As long as the Generals can retire to their cushy jobs with the defense contractors who pull their strings, all is good in the world. To hell with the nation, to hell with the soldiers, as long as the few at the top get their cut life is good.

With the Governors of “All 50 States” against the Guard cuts, plus most of the related Congressmen & Women from all the states that are “Targeted” I wouldn’t bet on seeing the A-10 retired. What the Air Force might get is a “Congressional Inquiry” into their Proposed Budget and to where the $$$ is going and the Air Force really doesn’t want that., because then they would have to explain the costs of “ALL Those Mistake F-35’s ” they want and how much more money will be needed to Fix those F-35’s just to make them work. Could get very ugly for them and LM.

The air-force and military in general are poor stewards of the nations resources. Military “leadership” stands for nothing, advocates no foundation for it’s values, has no principals to live by. For the sake of their careers they have quickly fallen in to the PC line and fail to see that there is no place for the military in that muddled ideology.

How about this: The joint chiefs all together and perhaps all their aids, submit their resignations stating that the nation is in danger, and they have either lost the confidence of the CINC and/or have lost confidence in the CINC and they can best serve the nation through the statement of their resignations.

Maybe Congress will step in and keep the A-10 flying for another year. While I’d bet that most of Congress doesn’t know a thing about aircraft, the A-10 has such a name for itself where its fair share of support. The money to keep flying them is another matter.

The AF does not need to buy any more F-35s. Wait until all development has been completed. This way we will not have to spend more money updating the one we bought before development was completed. This will save money now and latter.

I agree with most the A-10 due to congress wont be retired soon. Think this is more waste on the JSF is a shame the plane is inferior to most 5th gen planes and cannot work right time to scrap it and work more on Eagles and Raptors.

The air force wants to get rid of the A10? The army WANTS the A10 because it is the BEST support aircraft for the troops on the ground. OOOH you can’t have it sez the air force cuz its an airplane and not a helicopter!
The A10 has an extended loiter time on target as opposed to the air forces “wham, bam, thank you mam“
The A10 carries an amazing amount of ordnance to support the ground troops and the cockpit is armored plus it can fly on one engine if need be.

bydand: It’s not the Air Force who says the Army can’t have the A-10, its the law. The army is restricted from flying fixed wing aircraft greater than 12,500 lbs. It is probably the best ground support aircraft ever made and the Army really doesn’t want it to go away but they won’t send the AF funds to keep it.

They need to give the A 10s to the Marine Corps. They are the ones that need the ground support and based on My experience in Viet Nam the Marine Pilots will fly their planes on the deck shooting Bad Guys with a pistol to support their Guys on the Ground if they have to.

Let’s see, we are going to replace a $10m aircraft that has done an excellent job supporting the troops that need it with a $135m aircraft that isn’t even combat rated yet. Just in case you missed my point: someone in Washington need to sharpen their pencil and figure out the sheer stupidity of that thinking. The F-35 is just too expensive to risk in ground support where things can get messy in a hurry. Or perhaps you can ask the ground troops about how they feel having their ground support aircraft dropping bombs from 20K feet up and 4 miles away. Anyway you cut it my money would be better spent updating the A-10 and protecting the ground troops.

u-2 over and out! warthog should stay!

Won’t happen. Obummer has fired or dismissed must of the leadership that had kahunas. Mostly A$$ kissers and incompetents now left.


I still remember an old timer teling me when I was young that we had to have a good hard all out “Oh my God they are going to invade us if this doesn’t work and we win!” war, even if it only lasts 3 months every 20 years to make the beancounters remember. ‘Lest we forget. Exporting our wars is sanitary and can be played any way the media wants it, but it just doesn’t match that fear of them fighting at your doorstep. We haven’t been there since WWII. Ask any old-timer what they think about scaling back the military in favor of currying favor with the lazy. We have lots of ibfrastructure to work on and we have lots of people out of work — sound like CCC would be a real good fit, oh yoiu don’t want the money bad enough to work — well that is OK too…we would just as soon have a goos military.

At the present time, is the Army restricted from flying fixed wing aircraft greater than 12,500 lbs the law? Or just an agreement reached some time ago between a few 4 stars? Either way, it needs to be changed! Someone lost the concept that what is always needed, is the best support we can give the boots on the ground. And a single mission platform will always out perform a multi mission platform. What is needed is an investigation into the F35 program and terminate it with extreme predigest. But that ain’t going to happen as long as the pieces of that pie is divided among so many congressional districts. That makes it bullet proof. Too bad, because the A10 has and will save lives.

Amen, bydand. Give the Army the A-10’s and they will have ground support for many years to come.
How-some-ever, I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Air Force will never allow the Army to have a fixed wing support force. They will, however, fight tooth and nail for the F-35’s. The notion that the Army can’t have aircraft over 12,500 pounds is a simple ploy to keep them stuck with rotary wing. This doesn’t make any sense., does it?

Why not keep the A-10’s? With all the upgrades it’s had, it maybe cheaper to keep them & ditch the F-35’s & more drones. Money already spent as to spending more on things that’s not really needed.

Scrapping the F35 and working more on F15/22s won’t solve the problem of developing a dependable JSF to take over the A10’s work.

Nothing wrong with voicing an opinion, but funny how everyone is suddenly an expert. When have we become such pessimists? All everyone does today regardless of the topic is bitch, complain, and criticize. I don’t feel that type of attitude is what made this country great. One of the problems with the internet and cable TV is that anyone, regardless of their expertise, can make an opinion and be heard. We no longer seem to respect the experts in any field, we don’t respect the president, many in this country today don’t even believe in science unless it conforms to thier political or religious beliefs. We’ll listen to political hacks when they throw out red meat regardless of whether it’s a true, but we don’t demand honesty, we don’t worry about the truth, and we don’t respect intelligence.

Terminate it with “extreme predigest”? So, that means you want to partially digest the termination before ingesting it? I.e. we investigate it and then eat the investigation…yep sounds like a good congressional approach to me.

Give the A-10 to the Marines. the A-10 is far more survivable. Than ANY attack helicopter.

Sir, many of the people who post here are experts. I am. I’ve just retired after 34 years with the Air Force. I’m an expert in misappropriation of the public’s hard earned money. I’ve seen it over, and over, and over again. I’m an expert in how our “leadership” in the Pentagon keep spewing morals and ethics slogans to us in the field all while championing big-budget money pits like the F-35, GCV, and LCS and then going on to cushy, high-paying gigs with those same manufacturers after retirement. I’m an expert because I’ve seen first-hand the effects of a platform like the A-10 can have in suppressing an overwhelming enemy and save hundreds of allies lives. All while that same “leadership” wants to put the A-10 into retirement for the second time when subordinates affected by that platform and the civilian leadership in Congress are practically begging them not too. I’m an expert because I’ve seen, first hand, how a platform like the Pave Hawk was the only asset in the region able to suppress enemy fire and rescue injured soldiers while our “leadership” in the pentagon time and again failed to fund the replacement for the tired and over-used Pave Hawk. Now Congress has to step in and bail out the Pentagon and (finally) direct-fund the Pave Hawks replacement.
Yes Sir, I am an expert and I know the difference.

Serving 34 years in the AF dosen’t make you an expert on understanding all the factors that go into making the right decision to support all of the missions the AF must support. That dosen’t mean I don’t respect your service or your skills, but few of us are in the position to understand all the resource constraints the AF has and tough decision that are required in picking how long to keep an airframe and when to retire it. I’ve not heard you or anyone else on this forum talk about what the AF plans to use to replace the A-10 mission. Having spent years in the AF myself I know we have good people in these position trying to make the best decisions possible. Are they perfect, no, none of us humans are, but have a little faith, and don’t berate something just because you can. And I’d rather leave it up to our AF leaders to make the call that to let congress force the AF to keep a weapon system just becuase it’s in their district. Pork barrell politics is not the way to go!

The A-10 is a proven platform that saves our ground forces in tight situations and places abject FEAR into the hearts of the enemy. It is a devastating weapon, survivable and takes care of the pilot. I wouldn’t put all my eggs into a basket of unproven systems or other aircraft before retiring this gem of an aircraft. To do so would be irresponsible. Until you have a proven better alternative, go with what works. An A-10 pilot never has to buy his drink in a bar full of ground pounders. Did you ever wonder why?

Well said. Let the warrior on the ground tell you what works — not a politician that knows no more about war than video games.

So then, English was your favorite subject in high school? You understand what was expressed. I counted no less than four grammatic errors in your response. When you say you can drive a stick shift, you’d better make sure you remember to use the clutch.

Keep the A-10s. Perfect the F-35 and for sure invest in proven drone effectiveness. The world is a dangerous place.……growing worse every day. Shock and awe should be our goal. Fund research and defense as such.

I notice the President got his new helicopters in the budget too.….….. More good news for Sikorsky, who just got handed an Air Force contract for a helicopter the service didn’t want or prioritize and are getting pretty much the same H-60s the USAF said weren’t up to the mission anyway.

I guess USMC V-22s will just have to continue to do that mission for the USAF until the NY/Conn Congressional delegation finally stops running DoD.

If you are an expert on how Pave Hawk was not yet replaced then you know that the Pentago actually DID fund the replacement but the Air Force bungled the procurement TWICE and each time, the contract was protested and the contract stopped. If your AIR FORCE really gave a crap, they would have fixed their procurement paperwork and gotten it done but instead they folded their tent and walked away. Meanwhile the helicopter manufacturers who spent MILLIONS of $‘s on the competition (TWICE) just lost the money that they had spent on the proposals. Blame your own service, they are the ones who dropped the ball onb this.

Buying F-35A’s to replace A-10’s is Pure Pork Barrel Politics.
The A-10 was designed to survive in a “High Threat Environment” fighting Russian tanks and Air Defenses in Europe during the Cold War. So when they say it can’t Survive , it’s pure BS. They just want more “Junk Strike Fighters” and to Hell with the Ground Forces. They want to get rid of 300+ A-10’s so they can buy 21 F-35A’s for $3.6 Billion considering the F-35A costs $172.7 Million each. So 21 F-35A’s can equal 300+ A-10’s in Combat Capability. Ya Right!!!

How much the F-35 Really Cost? http://​defense​-update​.com/​2​0​1​4​0​1​0​3​_​m​u​c​h​-​f​-​3​5​-​r​eal

Didn’t they try this with the A-10’s right before Desert Storm? The army said it had outlived its usefulness! Then the Storm changed their minds for at least 20 years… ALso they want to close the AF Reserve unit at Pope AAS and get rid of the C-130’s there…So much for a rapid deployment force! BRAC destroyed Pope AFB tren designate it an Army Air Field, got rid of 2 squadrons od 3 hercs…now they finally get some J-models and now they want them out… Looks like this all began when McPeak was around, been going down hill since early 90’s. Ah well, we were the most powerful military in the world, Congress isn’t going to be happy until “It” comes to our shores in waves.


NEW Air Force One Back In Budget; — WOW! All these debates about what’s in and what’s out of the budget and this administration is funding both a NEW Air Force One & a NEW Presidential Helicopter and NOT ONE WORD from CONGRESS or the MEDIA about it ?????? Stunning. Absolutely stunning.


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