Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hawg Slaughter

Part of Obama's Pentagon leadership's attempt to cut an incredible amount out of the defense budget has resulted in a horrendous decision to retire a third of our A-10 force.

Tha A-10 has been, arguably, our most important and effective fixed wing weapon since 9/11.  It has been indispensible during Iraq and Afghanistan, providing Close Air Support for troops on the ground.  In fact, there has been an A-10 squadron based (on a rotational basis) in Afghanistan constantly since the Taliban was originally defeated.

The A-10 is perfectly suited to such mission, its tremendous weaponry, ability to loiter over the battlefield, and redundant systems that allow it to survive battle damage that would bring down other aircraft have meant it has been a constant presence for our forces in conflict.

There are currently 348 operational A-10s, about half of those that were originally produced back in the 70s and early 80s.  Almost all of the survivors have recently been upgraded to the latest standard, the A-10C.  That, combined with a re-wing project that has just started, was projected to keep the force combat effective until 2040.

Obama's puppets in the Pentagon have decided that five squadrons currently flying the A-10 will be dissolved, and their 102 A-10Cs will be retired to the boneyard.  This will leave 246 A-10s operational.  Work to take down these squadrons has already begun, and all five are to be gone by the end of this year.  The victims are:

47th Fighter Squadron, Air Force Reserve, Barksdale AFB LA
81st Fighter Squadron, USAF, Spangdahlem AB, Germany
107th Fighter Squadron, MI ANG, Selfridge ANGB MI
184th Fighter Squadron, AR ANG, Ft. Smith AR
163rd Fighter Squadron, IN ANG, Ft. Wayne IN

The Arkansas Guard A-10s are currently deployed to Afghanistan.  When they get back, they shut down, aircraft are sent to the boneyard, and people are fired.

This represents a huge loss for the Air Force in terms of capability and experienced personnel.  It is, to be blunt, a stupid decision.

Supposedly, this action is being taken to help preserve funds for the golden goose, the F-35.  There is no replacement for the A-10 on the books, or even being considered.  F-35 proponents will try to tell you that it will replace the Hawg, but that is bullshit.  The F-35, if it is ever built in sufficient numbers, will not be capable to performing the A-10's mission.

Hopefully, a change in the US administration will lead to at least a partial reversal of this action.  It will have to take place quickly, for once the units are shut down and the aircraft are processed into desert storage, it will be too late.

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