Ayotte Goes Silent on Fight to Save A-10

Ayotte Goes Silent on Fight to Save A-10

Kelly Ayotte, the Republican senator from New Hampshire who has led the fight to save the A-10 gunship from retirement, was surprisingly quiet on the issue Tuesday.

Unlike her previous public appearances, Ayotte didn’t have any tough questions on the subject — or any questions, at all – for Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James or Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Instead, she chatted amiably with the service leaders and talked generally about the importance of communication between the active and reserve components. (The hearing itself was focused on recommendations from a congressionally mandated panel to restructure the Air Force in part by shifting more personnel to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.)

The shift in tone caught reporters off guard and led many to speculate about her motive. After all, she helped coordinate a news conference earlier this month on Capitol Hill featuring lawmakers and even former Warthog pilots and joint terminal air attack controllers who favor keeping the plane.

Perhaps she was playing nice cop and letting Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., play bad cop? McCain earlier in the hearing excoriated the service leaders for saying the B-1 bomber could help perform the A-10’s close air-support mission.

“You will not pursue the elimination of the finest close air-support weapon system in the world with answers like that,” he scoffed at James. “So I hope you will come up with something that is credible to those of us who have been engaged in this business for a long, long time.” When Welsh stepped in to support James on the B-1 statement, McCain interrupted him, saying, “General, please don’t insult my intelligence.”

Or, perhaps Ayotte, whose husband was an A-10 pilot, was simply playing politics. She repeatedly mentioned an upcoming trip James was making to New Hampshire — and it was in this context in which she referenced another aircraft, the KC-46A refueling tanker.

“Secretary James, we are very much looking forward to you coming to New Hampshire on Friday, so I look forward to joining you there,” she said.

Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., is one of three bases across the country that will station the new tanker. The others are Altus Air Force Base, Okla., and McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The KC-46A program is on schedule, with four aircraft on the production line, one of which will begin testing this year, Welsh said.

It remains to be seen whether Ayotte’s silence on the A-10 debate will continue or whether it signals more congressional support for the Air Force’s plans to retire the aircraft. McCain said there is still “incredible skepticism” in Congress about the proposal and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the committee’s chairman, reportedly later said he’ll try to preserve funding for the aircraft.

The service in its budget request for fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1, has recommended retiring its fleet of the Cold War-era planes, known officially as the Thunderbolt II and unofficially as the Warthog. The service estimates it will save $4.1 billion over five years by retiring the almost 300 A-10s that remain in the inventory.

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Doubt it that she supports Obama lame brain retirement plan for our only real CAS plane. Not every conference you have to have a speech at people who came up with this dumb idea. Think overall most of congress knows better and hopefully kill this bad idea Obamas DoD cronies came up with.

Some simple questions to answer: Is the A-10 obsolete? Can its battlefield effects be replicated or bettered by another single platform? If yes, end of debate but I think McCain is correct on this one…don’t insult our intelligence. If no, then is a few billion $ in foreign aid, or food stamps, or Obamacare subsidies, or green energy grants more important than having the best military in the world?

I do not mean to pick out just you in particular, but the culture of it is always Obama’s fault is really getting out of hand. No man is perfect and no man will ever make everyone happy. However, is it to much to ask for an actual open conversation about issues and possibly find some ground “closer” to the middle??? The he doesn’t agree with me on this, so I can’t agree with him at all mentality is just nonsense.

This has nothing to do with Obama. Why bring him into the equation? You could have said that his policies led to the sequestration cuts that led to the air force’s decision, but that is not what you are implying.

The air force is trying to kill off a plane that they only bought in order to keep the army from doing its CAS role. Also, all of the planes are between 30 and 37 years old by now and have taken a lot of ware as a result of the role they play on the battlefield. So it is obvious why they “want to” and need to retire these planes within the next 5–10 years. Do I believe that they should be replacing them with the F-35, F-16, B-1, or the F-15? No I do not. A new frame built around the A-10’s legacy systems and technology would be the ideal and most likely cost effective pursuit of action.

I am an independent. I think therefore I am.

Obama is to blame because he the COMAMNDER in Chief. and by definition is responsible for every thing happens or fails to happen.
Since Bush was responsible for everything right or wrong in his administration; guess What? So is Barak.
During the bush era if a goat herder in Mongolia lost his animals it was Bush’s fault,(“Of ocurse it is his fault, he didn’t sign the Kyoto agreement.”)
That being said BHO is not making this decision (He has neither the training nor the experience to do so.) What is happening is the Air Farce is being typically short sighted.
If any one thinks they will risk a 125+ million dollar single engine lawn dart getting hit by a Golden BB or even a bird strike, then you are fooling your self.
They will make a 30k hard deck and try to use overly priced missils in stead. When low and slow with a few dozen 30mm rounds will do.
The biggest irony is that as the specter of war in Europe looms (Admittedly unlikely but more so than even 6 weeks ago.) the Administration is cutting the very tools that may be necessary to counter Russian aggression. Even if only as a threat in being.
Like I said short sighted.

When did I ever say I was a Bush hater or supporter? I enjoyed some of his policies, while some I disagreed on. No one’s perfect. But when did I ever say everything was his fault? When did I ever bring him up to begin with? I was talking about politicians in general, regardless of my opinion on them.

And I am very much for keeping the A-10’s in service. Do they need to replaced eventually? Of course they do, all planes do as they age, but I am not for replacing them with anything like the F-35. As I sad previously, I believe the best option would be to create an updated A-10, since it is true that the current ones are aging. However, until a new TRUE CAS plane is developed, or new A-10’s are made, they should not be taken out of service.

And thank you for making my point. Since I defended Obama, it “must” mean I hate G.W.B

I am an independent. I think therefore I am.


It is the job of the CONGRESS to deal with spending and taxation. The executive branch might make their spending priorities known, but those are routinely trashed by the HoR and have been ever since the CBO was created.

It is the congress that allocates money to the DoD. The laziest congress in US history, who’s popularity rating remains lower than EBOLA.

all of the money that might be saved on retiring the A-10 will only buy us a few more line of software code for the junk strike fighter

but to the the air farce, a few more line of code is much much more important than saving boots on the ground

Great idea to scrap the A-10, hopefully with the little bit of money thats saved they can piss it away on the F-35, but dont forget to set some aside for all the extra body bags the army and marines will need when you take away the best CAS platform ever built.

The GOP could make this all go away if they allowed a vote to cancel sequestration. We would have the F-35 and the A-10> How do you fix it? Vote Boehner out and get real prodefense GOPers back into power. We need another Ronald Reagan.

Is that you, Senator McCain?

Presidents rarely, if ever, get involved with individual weapons systems or any other consideration at that level. It is in fact CONGRESS’S job to appropriate funds, not the President’s.

They should have built the night/adverse weather version of the warthog! The warthog was originally built for the cold war threat. It looks as though Putin wants phase 2 of the cold war. Keep the A-10 flying, ’cause no other jet can work out of unimproved airstrips (FOD). Plus, the warthog has redundant systems to keep it flying (i.e. hydraulics), and a titanium bath tub to protect the pilot.

Yup, the USAF has a history of screwing over the Army whenever it can. A Vietnam vet neighbor told me that in 1966, the USAF was getting chaffed at the Army’s operation of Caribou transports. The USAF petitioned Congress, and managed to have them transferred to the USAF. Then the USAF instated scheduled flights (vis a vis ad hoc flights when under Army control) that turned out to be a bureaucratic and operational nightmare for the troops. Sound familiar? It should. More recently, the Army was developing the MC-27J as a replacement for their Sherpas. The USAF objected, went to Congress, and managed to wrestle control of the program (and subsequently cancelled it, claiming lack of funds.) Now we have to USAF crying for lack of funds (but plenty it seems for F-35,) and wants to cancel another aircraft program that supports the Army, the A-10. One way they’ll want it back is if the Army takes it over…

McCain just needs to go ahead and retire.

We’ll have to start storing our aircraft for Cold War II. Put the A-10’s in Tonopah and pull them out for Red Flag and NTC exercises. Support the Apache to assure continued Army-controlled close air support. The A-10’s role is to penetrate contested airspace and destroy things, and its role in CAS is an anomaly of the lack of high-value enemy targets that need-to-be/can-be destroyed by a durable fighter.

We should look into the next generation of CAS fighter. There’s always the armed Texan or the Super Tucano, which can be operated in even closer to the front than the A-10, and will be cheap as potato chips when the enemy pulls a FOB Bastion. Aircraft directly controlled by the army or at least closely co-located with army units on the front line are likely to be the most responsive CAS assets available.

Isnt it in the Constitition ? The HR has initial responsibility for the funding for the military. No money no A10 ?

The A10C , the current version is much what you describe.

AS well Boeing designed and had started installing a new wing, composite materials so should be a a big plus

She is playing politics, plain and simple. She raises a ruckus, then brings up that she would like the new KC-46A stationed in her state. She is then silent about the A-10. Politics as usual.

The budget that you are talking about is the “President’s Budget” which the EXECUTIVE BRANCH (the Pres) submits to Congress in the early part of each year. The House and Senate then make adds and deletes to it over the course of their debate until they approve it which is typically in the latter part of the year. The PRESIDENT’S Budget (which he got from the Air Force) is what is cutting out the A-10, make no mistake about that. The Air Force makes their budget up to conform to the dollars that the President says they will get.

No, The budget that you are talking about is the “President’s Budget” which the EXECUTIVE BRANCH (the Pres) submits to Congress in the early part of each year. The House and Senate then make adds and deletes to it over the course of their debate until they approve it which is typically in the latter part of the year. The PRESIDENT’S Budget (which he got from the Air Force) is what is cutting out the A-10, make no mistake about that. The Air Force makes their budget up to conform to the dollars that the President says they will get.

Not anymore. The congress used to rely on the budget coming from the POTUS, but this is no longer true.

The “Presidents Budget” used to come as a result of research done by the OMB, from which the POTUS would then outline his spending priorities. Before the congress had the CBO — they were beholden to the POTUS for his spending priorities, that they would subsequently modify.

But since they got the CBO — they already have the information they want/need, so now they routinely toss the POTUS budget into the recycle bin (after maybe giving it some lip service, etc.). This was all done in the name of “efficiency”.

Ironically — even with this “efficiency”, we’re still stuck with the lousiest performing HoR in history.


Nothing you say changes my assertion that Congress has constitutional authority and responsibility for spending. And the POTUS rarely gets involved in line items. That’s a FACT.

Or the Dems could stop holding defense hostage to pay for social programs & entitlements by separating the two…

When Dems whine about sequestration defense cuts they are using defense for cover. They know if they whine about entitlement cuts America would be incensed.

By and by she will realize that the KC-46 must also be sacrificed for the F-35. Very few tankers will be built and none will be based in NH.

Nooot how it works.

Give it up OldRet, you’re wrong on this one.…no matter how many times you say it.

Really.…OldRetSWO’s explaination sounds pretty dead on to me…the DoD and the Services build thier budgets based on guidance (“that the President says they will get”) from, ultimately, the White House.

Oh really? What budget is it that has zeroed the A-10? It’s the Air Force Budget which was part of the PRESBUD submittal which for this year (FY15 submital) happened in early March.
The House and Seante Defense Committees, The House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee are now examining the budget and will release their results which is called their “mark”. Soon afterward, the House and Senate will take action on the marked up budget and unless ther marks are identical, they will have a conference committee to negotiate the differences.

Please wrpworrier, please instruct me where specifically I am wrong. Do you think that the Air Force just submitted their budget on their own? That the White House did not give Top Line budget guidance? Nowhere did I say that the President PERSONALLY picked one program over another but I can tell you most assuradly that the White House did provide spending guidelines to the DoD and services.

OK so the Air Force wants rid of the A10 so let the Marine Corps, Army and Navy take them over instead of retiring them. This way the top brace don’t have to find a place to park them and keep inventory of them. You really don’t appreciate something until use lose it.

Works for me after all the best CAS coordination are between the Marines and their pilots thye developed the techniques. Also helps that the Marine pilots get to play grunt. Only Air Force FACs get to do that, worse thing every happen was when the USAF was created from the USAAC.

The HoR has passed many bills but they are not taken up by the Senate.

The Army, Navy and USMC don’t have the money in their FY15 budgets to save the A-10 either…the Budget Control Act really cut into the Service’s TOA

It’s idiocy to think a b1 can do close air support. By the way palin can see outing from her porch!!! That’s how much sense this makes. Keep the a10, give it to the army!!

Or both parties could keep pointing fingers at each other and refusing to compromise while nothing gets fixed and our defense, infrastructure, and social safety net all simultaneously decline for no better reason than political infighting and apathy.

Yeah, I betcha that’s what happens.

You do realize Palin never said that? It was just in a skit on SNL.

First, I love the A-10, I was in USAF for 22 years and but for the AFSC I had, I would have killed to be in an A10 squad. But, this is the USAF thinking, the generals like bright shiny high flying dogfighting jets, most never flew teh A-10. They do not like the CAS role though they would never say it publically. Pilots who flew teh A-10 love it. But they dont make general in enough numbers to make a difference. Secondly, USAF will never let teh army have a flying unit, they are jealous of what they see as their territory. Me, I think teh army should fly teh A-10. All this bullshit between the services needs to stop, and figure oout whats best for teh grunt and the airman.

To answer your first and second questions No and No! There is nothing in the U. S. inventory that can mask it self and hide but has enough speed to make an attack and exit fast enough to protect itself from enemy fire. It has the perfect blend of maneuverability and speed. Out of all the aircraft in the U.S. inventory, the A-10 if the most feared. The weak spot of the A-10 was the wings. After decades of high “G” turns with thousands of pounts of bombs and missiles the wings are wore out. The Air Force contracted with Boeing to build new wing sets for the A-10 at a cost of 2 billion dollars and are installing them as we speak. The A-10 have alot of years left on them.
Keep em flying!

The Air Farce thinks super jets are fun to fly, and they are (when they are working) but they think playing down in the weeds is undignified. Let the grunts and the jarheads who appreciate the A10 own and operate it.

No compromise? The sequestration cuts are split 50/50 across defense and entitlements (welfare creating generations of dependence is a heck of a “social safety net”).

Infrastructure declining? I don’t buy the premise. Where’s the evidence? Where’s the list of bridges closed because they are unsafe? Where is infrastructure so lacking that the gov’t has to build more? Infrastructure is code for more government spending for the left’s cronies, e.g Solyndra and unions.

How’s that for compromise…

You want compomise? Well since we are going to have a pre WWII size Army because “we can’t afford it” how about pre WWII size entitlements…

Let them sell them all to the Confederate Air Force and they can fly and maintain with retirees and volunteers until we need them against enemies, foreign or domestic.

Are our upper echelon military so under the control of political appointee forces they no longer think as professional military people? I can’t believe General Welsh really believes a B1 can replace an A10’s close ground support abilities. God help us.

Darn, where is my lesson from wtpworrier and the rest of the “experts”?
I was really hoping that they could explain how the budget that zeroed the A-10’s was written/submitted by Congress.

Why are all my comments getting deleted when the moment I post?

Eastern European NATO nations could use a few…and the Syrian rebels could use a bunch of shoulder fire ground to air missiles like Ukrainian/Russian special forces are using on helicopters. Russian support ther is to keep a naval base in the Med.

You are right about that!

Battleships, yah..thats the ticket!!

The Air Force would never do that.….Body bags will come out of the ground soldiers budgets, not theAir Forces!

The AF Generals need to be retaught the lessons of VietNam. The AF could not provide effect CAS until they brought the Navy A1E out retirement. Fast movers do not have the loiter time the A10 has and the A10 can go low and slow. The A10 was built from these lessons learned, the hard way. As an A10 beddown officer an AF General once remarked to me “it doesn’t have and F in front of it, so it’s not a real fighter”.


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