House Votes to Block A-10 Retirement

House Votes to Block A-10 Retirement

The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of blocking the Air Force from retiring the A-10 gunship next year.

The Republican-controlled chamber late Thursday approved a series of amendments to its fiscal 2015 defense spending bill, including a provision that would prohibit the Pentagon from spending any money to retire the fleet of Cold War-era aircraft.

The measure, which passed 300–114, was sponsored by Reps. Candice Miller, a Republican from Michigan, and Ron Barber, a Democrat from Arizona.

“I offer my amendment because I stand shoulder to shoulder with the troops on the ground, any one of which will tell you the champion, workhorse aircraft in theater in both Iraq and Afghanistan has been the A-10,” Miller said in a statement afterward.

“It may be old, but it has proven to been ideally suited to its mission,” she added. “It’s lethal, it’s incredibly effective, and when our troops on the ground hear it coming, they know what it means, and so do our enemies; it means pain is coming their way.”

As part of its budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the service proposed retiring its entire fleets of A-10 attack planes and U-2 spy planes, and partial inventories of other aircraft. The recommendations were driven in a large part by automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Sending the close-air-support aircraft to the bone yard would save an estimated $4.2 billion over five years alone, officials have said.

The passage of the amendment makes it increasingly likely that the A-10 will remain in service next year.

Both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees voted to restore funding to keep the planes flying for at least another year. And while the House Appropriations Committee agreed to retire the aircraft, their colleagues easily rejected the idea.

The amendment, however, doesn’t include any additional funding to keep the planes operational. So unless lawmakers come up with the money, service officials will be forced to raid other accounts in a tightening budget — precisely what they don’t want to do.

“What we’ve said to opponents of the proposal is, ‘If we’re not allowed to retire the A-10 … please, please, please, you must give us the money to add back,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said during a breakfast with defense reporters this week. “And, by the way, when you find the money, please don’t take it out of readiness. We really, really need to get our readiness levels up.”

The House is expected to vote on passage of the defense appropriations bill later today.

Tags: , ,

Join the Conversation

Politics. The AF brass looked at their budget and saw they didn’t have the funds for every program. So to “prove” their cries of poverty, they put something on the block they KNEW Congress couldn’t accept. That way they thought they could get either get more $ for fast pointy things, or lose something they don’t care about. Bluff called. No new $ and they have to keep the A-10.

The soldiers on the ground are the winners in this spat. Having friends in theatre, I myself am happy as well as they will be.

I would like to know what you think the AF Brass should have put on the block that, in your mind, Congress would have accepted? I agreee, as does everyone in the DoD, the A-10 is a great weapon system. However, budget buts are being forced on the AF and something has to go. Cutting an entire fleet of “something” frees up the entire logistics support it brings (no more sustianment costs, improvement cost, etc). Cutting only a few aircraft here and there still leave behind the big bills that the general public does not see (depot overhauls, supply lines, modernization and sustainment, etc).

Please don’t trow out the weak answer of F-35. If you really think Congress would cut the F-35, I should have just hit my head on my desk rather than type this message to you.

I really doubt it would ever happen, but if the Air Force reduced the “Brass to Boots” ratio and RIF’ed a few hundred generals over the next couple years, it would save a good portion of the funds needed.

Finally some good new many in congress saw this budget the Obama administration wanted as a smoke screen for revenge because we need some budget cuts to end run away defense spending. Glad they saved a plane we need and the crappy F-35 could not do a A-10s job at ground attack. This is a win for US air power.

There are lots of things that could be offered in reality. Offer to cancel EELV contracts if SpaceX can put their claimed savings into a contract. Drooling congressmen would love to see the Atlas engine problem gone… Cut the Bone since it’s no more survivable, costsore per hour and carries less than the BUFF. Cut command staff— oops that’s just a reduction so it doesn’t fit your question and would never come from that staff making the cut suggestions.
It would never happen, but I’d put an offer to Boeing for new F-15s as a hedge against the fatted calf F-35. Put up or shut up, best deal wins. No new logistics there and I might have something useful before 2020. Privatize AF1 and the VIP fleet rather than giving free trips across the world to congress critters etc. transfer all rotary lift to the Army and use them for utility support. Just killed several logistics lines there including CSAR renewal.
Want some REAL balls? Propose retiring the ICBM fleet and go to a dyad. Then any prompt response launches wouldn’t been confused with Nucs and lots of available launch sites…

Not so hard to come up with alternatives, I’m pissed that the money grubbing was so obvious.

Smart Move!

Just cut the air force general staff by a mere 5% and you’ll have plenty of money for the A-10

Thank God, someone has sense.…..

I believe the Air force did this in hopes of receiving additional appropriations. They may still get more money as its going to be hard for the Army, who Howled the Loudest, not to have to cough up money to the Air Force. Doubt the debate is over with and now will become an Internal DOD issue for funding. The A-10 is a Great Weapons system for the Ground Guys but is expensive to maintain.….

They just increased the F-35 “buy” for next fiscal year. Delay it until we’re out of A-stan, and keep the A-10 flying ’til then! CAS is very important to the troops on the ground; and the A-10 is the best aircraft to git-er-dun!

Totally agree with you on the causes and costs of the AF budget strategy. I do have issue with the comment about maintenance costs. Expensive compared to what? Yeah, my Honda is cheaper to maintain, but I get nasty looks from the local cops driving around with that GAU-8, it just doesn’t work for concealed carry. No LO coatings to maintain, no afterburners or lift fans, no composites, no radar, no problems with airspeed heating effects and a lower overall cost per hour operation means this is one of the cheapest planes we have to maintain!

The A-10 has an established constituency, and the House has protected them. No base closures (not in MY district!) Keep the A-10! .…. Readiness, unfortunately, just doesn’t have a Congressional support base.

The A-10 has done a great job. It predates most available antiair weapons, MANPADS and otherwise, and it predates the era of smart weapons. We are unlikely to ever again see as permissive an environment as Afghan airspace. What the House is achieving, by protecting every available existing constitutency, is to ensure lower readiness and also to pre-empt the development of the next generations of air-to-ground weapons that will permit the F-35 (or any other airframe, or UAV) from attacking targets from longer ranges.


I think the Vote to keep the A-10 had a lot to do with the current situation in the Middle East. I am talking about the loss of Iraq to Islamic terrorists and killers. If the Islamic terrorists can hold northern and western Iraq, the US and Western Europe are in grave danger.

Cancel a dozen F-35’s and switch the money to the A-10.


Problem being that we are drawing out of A-stan and UAVs are doing more CAS than any other aircraft.


If the Air Force wants to get rid of the old equipment like the Navy did with the U.S.S.Enterprise then why don’t they get rid of the B-52 Bomber cause it’s Old.

“However, budget buts are being forced on the AF and something has to go”

Yeah the F35. Problem solved.

(should have been done a decade ago)

Because like I think you know its a lie. Its an excuse to get rid of the last non fighter aircraft in their tactical inventory.

The airforce HATES CAS. They have tried to do everything to stop the A-10 and the AC-130. In their belief all wars can be won from above 10,000 ft. So a aircraft that supports ground troops is something they don’t want.

Last time I checked the Islamic terrorists held all of Iran.

But they want to continue to fund and buy the F35 which cant do anything even to a “meets standards” level.. Its stealth dont work well due to the fuselage shape (space for vertical vans for vert takeoff), its maneuverability is limited due to its short wings (for stealth), its weapons stores are limited due to short wings and internal carry and lastly it cant fly low&slow (like the A10) due to many factors (short wings, also easily damaged by ground fire because not hardened like the A10).. So it cant fly like the F16 (dog fight) though it is replacing it, it cant cary bombs like an A10 or F16 due to short wings, and it isnt stealthy.. so.. WHY ARE WE BUYING IT?? Because Congressmen are pushing it and 4Stars want to set themselves up for jobs when they retire.. It is a big waste of money

Why not hand the A-10s and C-130s over to the Army? They can cover themselves and leave the AF, Marines & Navy to do the high flying.

I have bad news for you. Our nuclear deterrence is in deep deep trouble. Even while Russia is building new nuclear warheads and keeping thousands of nuclear warheads on its surface ships, Obama had unilaterally all 200 tactical nuclear cruise missiles we had on our ships destroyed in 2010. He even did not put the warheads in storage. Even now he is rushing to reduce our nuclear arsenal this year as part of New Start while the deadline is 2018 and Russia and China are greatly expanding their strategic nuclear force and are becoming hostile. We need more new ICBMs such as a landversion of the Trident D5 not less.. We need to abandon New start. We need to put tactical nuclear missiles back on our ships so that our sailors have a fighting chance if there is a hot war in the Pacific in which China is looking at using nuclear cruise missiles against our aircraft carriers. Obama and the tea party hobbits have been a disaster for the security of this great nation. We need Ronald Reagan II if we still will be around to have another election in 2016. By the way, a stronger nuclear deterrence will cost us but we should gladly accept new taxes to pay for it

The Air Force tried to kill the A-10 when it first came out, saying it was unnecessary. The Army loves it, the pilots love it. Its a proven weapons platform, no way a F-35 can perform this mission.

In another article it was reported that the Air Force crashed 418 drone aircraft since 2001. That is over 30 per year. A lot of money lost. Perhaps they need to mothball the drones until they are able to fly them efficiently and effectively without crashing them. That would be a real cost saver and the money can be used to fly the A-10 for a long time.

Because if there’s something the AF fighter brass hates more than CAS, it’s the Army flying fixed wing birds. They wouldn’t let us even have the C-27, they sure as hell won’t let us take over the A-10. And yet for some odd reason those same brass don’t seem to mind the Navy and the Marines flying supersonic jet fighters…

Brian, you and a lot of other kept repeating the same old lie about the A-10 being designed for a “permissive” environment. Did you forgot the original purpose of the A-10? Did you forgot what it was originally designed to do? I guess you have. Haven’t you ever wondered by it has an armored cockpit, why it has two well protected engines that are hard to hit, I guess you have.

the air force is only interested in three things: zoom zoom, boom boom, and golf golf

the B-52, even though it’s ancient and wouldn’t survive day one in a modern war, fills their need for boom booms

but of course, the air force only has boom booms so that hey can have zoom zooms, because zoom zooms are truly the only thing they really care about, everything else is for show

Keeping the Ol’ Warthog , in service is a no brainer! This war horse has saved many US service personnel! It’s speed and maneuverability, is without a doubt, one of the best close support aircraft! It’s armaments make it the ideal close support aircraft! It not only can handle enemy combatants, but it can handle enemy tanks and any other armored vehicles. Keep the Warthog, flying as long as we can!!

well if the air force can’t support the ground troops then give the a-10 to the army and marines so as they can support their soldiers on the ground!!!!.

No, that would make too much sense.

I think they hate the Navy and USMC having jets, too, they just lost those fights a long time ago. ;)

No, I haven’t forgotten — which is what I think you meant to say. But I am aware, as you may not be, that no system is for forever. MANPADS are no longer limited to a half-dozen first-world armies. Multicolor sensors are harder to fool with a shower of flares. Mid-size SAMS are proliferating like rabbits. And, while this might surprise you, the kind of total air control with which we’ve operated for ten years in theater is not a given either.

Look back in 1975 till present these A10s were the icons from the air those A10s are the tank busting enemy distrucking air craft the US has ever made to protect our troopers on the ground , if it wasn’t for the A10 s that congress produced what would be use to protect our ground troopers.…SAVE the A10s we need them, they can last another 25 yes.….

There is NOTHING to replace the A-10!! At least not yet! There is nothing on the drawing board and the F-35 CAN NOT DO THE JOB OF CAS it is not designed for it! The “Fighter Mafia” as we called it in the Air Force lost this round. It is time to break the Fighter Mafia once and for all!! Then AC’s like the A-10 will face less issues for the future!!

I am a South African, but a great admirer of the US Constitution and armed forces. I know the “Warthogs” are an aging fleet, but they have been upgraded, and when you let the “Warthogs graze”, the grunts on the ground feel a lot safer!


Give a dozen to Ukraine, they will be needing them.

Not to mention, in the AF officers fly drones. In the Army enlisted fly drones. Anyone else see a cost saving oppurtunity there?

SEMPER FIDELIS! The USAF has never understood the concept of “Close Air Support” of the Combat Infantryman! The US Marines developed Close Air Support with their own planes and pilots along with the US Navy during WWII and refined it in Korea. It was again proven by them in Viet-Nam and still the USAF wanted no part of it and wanted to kill it off in the Marines & Navy. Then the A-10 was developed around a cannon and it became the premier close air support aircraft in the entire world. Ask any Army or Marine grunt what they think of the A-10 and it’a pilots and they’ll sing their praises as long as you’ll stay and listen to them. The USAF Pilots who flew the A-10 followed the tactics developed by the Marines in getting down in the weeds and took pride in their support of the grunts. So this made them outcasts amongst their brother USAF pilots and General’s! Keep the A-10



Problem is, superraptor, that the taxpayer WON’T pay for anything with new taxes. That’s why we’re $17 trillion in the hole!

We don’t need tactical nukes, and we don’t need land-based ICBMs either. Submarines are the most secure. Update those and save money. Plus, cut out the Air Force B-52’s, which are costing a bundle, including all the military, civilian and contractor personnel associated with them. Be sure to cut out the generals, too.

The Air Force is in love with expensive, very fast and good looking fighters. All of these are next to useless in supporting troops on the ground. The A-10 is excellent and a welcome sight to troops in contact on the ground. Give me one A-10 and you can leave a whole flight of F-16s, F-18, F-22s or F-35s at home. Troops on the ground are better supported by the A-10, Apachie helicopters and even a Huey with door guns. The fast burners can’t stay around long enough to be of help.

You do realize that the F-16, F-15E, and F/A-18 have done a whole lot of supporting troops on the ground in both Afghanistan and Iraq correct? Precision guided weaponry like JDAMs enable those fast movers to provide effective support. The A-10 is a great asset to have around when the combat environment permits it (same goes for our current UAVs) but we are slowly but surely shifting away from performing CAS by getting down in the mud with guns and rockets, at least with fixed-wing aircraft that is.

B-52s these days are flying a lot of missions dropping conventional munitions. They’ve served us well and we really can’t afford to cut them until we get a new bomber in service. Cutting all of the personnel associated with that aircraft is a waste too.

any talk about how the A-10 is not fit for the ‘new’ MANPAD and SAM environment can best be answered by simply reading the diaries of A-10 pilots who fought in that EXACT environment in Bosnia. it is a truly fascinating read at: http://​aupress​.maxwell​.af​.mil/​d​i​g​i​t​a​l​/​p​d​f​/​b​o​o​k​/b_

that is an excellent comparison using the Navy/marine CAS versus the Army/USAF close air.
I really think you’d enjoy reading this — http://​aupress​.maxwell​.af​.mil/​d​i​g​i​t​a​l​/​p​d​f​/​b​o​o​k​/b_
that illustrates exactly what you are saying in the form of personal diaries of A-10 pilots what they — and only they — can accomplish in today’s threat environment.
thanks DBW86.

EXACTLY! Close Air Support is ALL about ‘Time on Station’.

you are dreaming. Our missile subs can be hunted down. Our navy can be wiped out by nuclear cruise missiles. Our landbased ICBMs are 40 years old and won’t work. We need to spend more on defense which can be accomplished by cutting tax loop holes and reducing medicare drug spending by limiting patent protection on new drugs to 7 years. I hope we will get Ronald Reagan 2 in 2016 because I want to remain alive, not t be vaporized by a surprise nuclear attack

I’m pretty sure Russia has better/more SAM assets than the 90’s Serbs.

I’m also pretty sure they have more fighter aircraft.

Also, I find the idea of outnumbering the Russians in the same manner as the Serbs were by NATO (and company) pretty hard to fathom.

1. I’m a little slow on the uptake but will the Air Force allow a head to head demonstration to congress of the A-10 and F-35 to show which one performs the intended mission better?
2. The A-10 is an old platform, but so is the B-52 at 60+ years and I don’t see any calls for it to be retired because of age.
3. What’s the cost to upgrade an A-10 vs building a brand new unproven F-35?
Is the F-35 ready to deploy to combat today? The A-10 is most definitely ready, proven and able.
4. Boots on the ground. Is it possible to transfer the A-10 to Army inventory and train Army pilots to fly the A-10. If the platform is intended to support boots on ground, shouldn’t the Army have a say in the matter. I know that’s why it’s the Air Force instead of the Army Air Corps. But if the USMC have their own fast moving air assets then the Army should as well. Oh! That’s right, it’s the USAF.

How about aircraft used to shuttle congress and bureaucrats around. Pony up a couple bucks to teach them how to use GOTOMEETING​.COM and save a bundle on travel costs.

I am a huge advocate of the A-10. It is and has been a “One-of-a-Kind” weapons platform. The AF was scheduled to retire it in the next 5 years. I hear everybody asserting that the F-35 cant do this or cant do that. Fact of the matter is that we really don’t know what the F-35 can do since it hasn’t been tested. Furthermore, according to our administration we are supposed to be withdrawing form Afghanistan and dare I say Iraq. What this comes down to is money. What can the U.S. tax payer support? Don’t forget, this isn’t just about the A-10. It’s also about the infrastructure, training, support, maintenance and funding for contractors to tool new parts and such. Its almost like buying a new platform all over again, only the price just increased from 4 million a plane to 40 million. There will come a time when it has to go. Making faulty comparisons to other acft make no sense. The B-52 has out lived many other platforms because it does a different mission. I love the A-10 but its days/years are numbered. We need a viable replacement designed for that mission. That’s what needs funding. Anything less is a bandaid on a hemorage.

I worked on these aircraft from 1982 to 1996 when I retired. They were great maintenance aircraft but certain generals felt it was not ” fun to fly”. Even deployed 4 of them to Thailand from Korea and fly each one every day with little or no problem. Great aircraft for maintenance troops too.….….…..

It’s a serious win for ground troops as well!

The A-10 should remain in service until a plane with an equivalent or superior close air support capability is built, and that most certainly IS NOT the F-35, a jack of all trades, master of none. Watch:


Brilliant aircraft designer Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the F-16 & A-10, explains why the F-35 will not cut it on the modern battlefield.

The Air Force brass never liked the A10 because it was a low and slow aircraft it’s been around since the 70s and they don’t like old technology but it works and all the guys I know that flew it love it. They would be better off putting more money into it to upgrade but it’s a dam good fighting machine.

This is a great desition in leaving atleast for now in service the A-10. Its a flying tank. It be be ugly looking but it sure gets the job done when ever and where ever its needed. Bravo Zulu !

I’m happy to see the A-10 serve another year. Hope they continue to keep them as long as they can fly. It’s proven air frame. Coming from a Marine, there’s no other plane that could take it’s place. Low and slow and full of armor. Until they can replace it with something just as good or better, we should keep them flying.

For what it does there is nothing better than the A10. And since it doesn’t even seem they are close to peace in the Middle East we might as well build another thousand of the great A10’s. What else do we have to battle all the Abrams tanks we’ve allowed our great pResident to give our enemies? The 30mm cannon shells are a lot cheaper to shoot than Hellfire missiles.

I agree with Jerry jones comment aabout the need for a viable replacement for the A-10. In the meantime, keep it flying. We recently lost U.S. troops in Afghanistan due to a “friendly fire” mishap from ordinance delivered by one of the CAS assets above them. There was an A-10, a B-2, and one other aircraft that I don’t remember. The incident is still “under investigation.” It reminds me of the incident early on in the Afgan campaign where a 2,000 lb bomb was “guided in” by a malfunctioning aiming device, sending targeting info from an SF Group 5 operator on the ground. It was delivered from way above, far from sight, and landed right on our guys. I bet they would have prefered an A-10 that they could actually talk to, rather than some committee way, way above in the clouds. I know of this because a friend of mine got blown up in that event. Moral of the story: Don’t try to fake CAS deliverd by fast movers and high altitude bombers. As much as they might try, they are relying on their technology and might not “relate” to the ground pounders way down there in the dirt. .

Upgrades on the A-10 might make more sense than upgrades on the B-2. Or, as suggested, take the A-10 away from the Air Force and give it to the Army or the Marines. Cut support for Air Force golf courses as well

Retire immediately the B-1 bomber and divert the funds to the A-10. If the A-10 had the mission FIVE SF soldiers would still be alive. BTW when Air Staff was asked to come up with a reduction they answered with an ELEVEN HUNDRED plus up and an additional FOUR STAR billet. The Air Farce is still trying to play the game they developed over a half century ago when building air bases, first the golf course and bowling alleys, then the EM/NCO/Officer clubs with pools and finally money requested for runways. The negative comments about the A-10 not being able to survive in a hostile ADA environment are canards. That is why you have ‘Wild Weasel’ type aircraft suppressing ADA!

How about just two F-35s, like the one that caught fire and was destroyed at Eglin the other day? That would be enough to keep the A-10s flying for another year, wouldn’t it? $200M?

Brian, I appreciate that the above is your honest opinion. But you are incorrect in more than one regard.

First, “We are unlikely to ever again see as permissive an environment as Afghan airspace.“
Do you see ISIS running over Iraq? They have zero air defense systems, unless you are counting shoulder fired RPG’s.Plus when there are air defense systens in place, you send the A-10’s in with Growlers. Ask the Israeli’s, they know all about this, and without 5th gen aircraft.

Second, “attacking targets from longer ranges.“
It would seem from this comment Brian, that you don’t understand the nature of the A-10 at all. If it were feasible to attack these ground targets from longer range (without killing our own guys at the same time), we’d could do it now. We have to be able to loiter over the field of battle and pick out individual targets. Only the A-10 can do this.


I’ve been saying that ever since this topic first started.…. You KNOW the AF won’t allow their new toy to go “play in the mud” (below 10K feet) cause golden BBs are a B!@*^^.

AND NOTHING in the works to replace or upgrade the capability. Sorry AF, you just cannot provide effective and accurate CAS from 30,000 feet at MACH 1.

Give the A-10 to the Army along with the pilots too. The AF doesn’t to like ground support. The Army can do it!

I like you wish it could be that simple. Even when we were building the A-10, at Fairchild Republic, the A.F. tried like hell to kill it because it wasn’t sleek and fast. The Army tried to adopt it but was shot down because the defining line between the services is that the A. F. has all fixed wing aircraft, The Army –rotary. At that time, the Army even appealed to Congress and the result was the A-10 was shoved down the A.F.‘s throat. The A.F. couldn’t get rid of it so it reassigned it to reserve and National Guard units, were they have stayed since then. This was the first time “NEW” hardware had ever been assigned to reserve and guard units. Knowing this, one has to wonder where else they will try to assign it. now. LoL

No plane is better at providing close combat air support than the A-10. The recent friendly-fire deaths are just one example of what the fast movers cannot do as efficiently as the bad ol’ Warthog!

This is only good for one more year. Some body has to get something going for next year or it will be a repeat or worse.

Thank you congress for supporting the troops with a dependable A10C (warthog ) What the Air force should do is deploy a fleet ( 24 –48 ) of warthog II’s to one of ours or shared bases in Quwait but first do all Major inspections making them Low airframe time to inspection time table. then rotate pilots and us maintenance personnel because we use ALL the same inspection Reg’s. Then there’s enough warthog in theater and you wouldn’t beat the airframe hours deploying them back and forth. BUT the Biggest problem Is OWNERSHIP USAF, RES, ANG
I’m sure pilot’s and maintainers would have problems with that especialy if every thing is set up. All you do is a face to face swap of people for a few days to get knowledge of base because we can inform our self of Airframe thru the system.
“Hog maintainer” give best ground support for our troops

Finally congress is doing something. As a bonus, in this case, they did something right for a change.

Nice note here. Hated the one about the AF’s bluf, though — wrong logic.

How about Congress stays out of the business of telling the military what they need to do? Who’s more qualified to defend this country and run a military, dozens of Generals or a couple Representatives with political clout?

Ziv, I really, really doubt the Air Force is going to save $4.9 billon over five years by cutting a few GO slots.

Wanna take a guess as to why the AF has so many drones in the first place?

The B-1 & The B-2 can do the job of the B-52. Get rid of that Model T before it kills some Airmen. The F-35 cannot do the job of the A-10. The F-35 is a jack of all trades like the F-111. How well did that work


NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2015 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.