As already reported US Air Force (USAF) Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown Jr. said on Mar. 7, 2023 the service would likely retire all its A-10 Warthog attack aircraft over the next five or six years.
Until recently, the USAF and Congress have disagreed over what to do with the iconic CAS aircraft. While the A-10 was known and beloved for its CAS role in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two decades, the USAF says the low-and-slow-flying plane would not be able to survive in a fight against a nation with modern air defenses, like China.
But in a high-threat scenario could the A-10 still be effective in CAS after more modern aircraft had gone through first to clear the air and suppress the air defenses?
‘What IS woefully outdated is public perception of how the mighty Hawg does CAS.
‘The A-10 now performs almost all of its CAS missions in roughly the same altitude block as its more pointy-nosed brethren.
‘And it drops the same precision-guided munitions.
‘Now, it still goes “slow” when compared with jets that can push it up to Mach snot (even though they usually go slower because of fuel burn rate), but cruising in the 275–300 knot range will still get you most places in time to only be fashionably late rather than miss the party altogether.
‘The difference is that, once it arrives, the Hawg can often hang around for the after-party, and still have enough party favors to go around. (Some of which you likely won’t find on any other jet.)
‘And the ability to do that will never go out of style. 😉
‘It is sometimes vitally important to have the option of going low. Like when your troops are fighting for their lives, withdrawing under withering fire, at night, under a low cloud deck, against a moving enemy. That’s when you MUST be able to get down in the weeds with your troops, get eyes on, and do your job as a professional CAS pilot to save their lives.’
‘So, the Hawg usually fights from high and outside with PGMs like every other carnivore these days, but it hasn’t forgotten how to get down and dirty when the situation calls for it.
‘And that’s why it’s still the best there is at what it does.’
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force
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