Flightlines

Army chief expresses support for Air Force’s A-10 retirement plans

A common argument from A-10 supporters is that it is far and away the preferred close air support platform for troops on the ground, but the top soldier said today that the Army would be OK without the Warthog having its back.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told lawmakers today that while the Army did not make a recommendation to retire the A-10, the Air Force has worked with the service to ensure that the best close air support will be provided.

The Air Force, in its fiscal 2015 budget request, is proposing retirement of the entire fleet of 343 A-10s, with other aircraft, such as the F-35, expected to take over the close air support role. Ground troops have always favored the A-10, with its infamous GAU-8 Avenger gun and slow loiter time, as the best close air support platform.

Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., pressed Odierno on the A-10 issue, and the general expressed the Army’s support for the Air Force’s decision.

” Could you give us your thoughts from an Army perspective, as — whether or not the Air Force’s decision to stand down that entire A-10 fleet is in the best interest of national security?” Chambliss asked.

“So as we talk to our soldiers, they will tell you that they, obviously, support and have been getting great support from the A-10 aircraft in the Air Force. And a lot of it has to do with the visual deterrence that it provides. Low-flying. Visible both to us and the enemy itself and the impacts that it has. So the A-10 is a great close air support aircraft, as far as we’re concerned, the best close air support aircraft,” Odierno responded.

However, Odierno said, other aircraft such as F-15s and F-16s also provide close air support, and the Air Force has assured the Army that other aircraft will be sufficient.

“So we are working with them in the future to develop those techniques and procedures that will be necessary to provide us the proper support of F-16s. So, you know, we have had several discussions about this and we are supporting their effort. But a lot of it has to do with this visual piece and we have to work with the Air Force on how we replace that, once the A-10 goes away.”

Comments

  1. Rosa Says:
    April 3rd, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    My comment is, how come if the military want to retire early and why the army has to pay for fees?

  2. Cave John Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    When ground fire is intense our those fast moving jets (Expensive) going to with stand the ground fire are they armored. (No)

  3. Jamie Dodson Says:
    April 8th, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Have served in Germany during the Cold War, the Gulf War and other non discript conflicts I came to love the firepower and agility of the A-10. They spread Greta fear amount our enemys and have saved countless American lives in combat. But my views are old as I have become. As long as we don’t get into a shooting match with Russia, nothing and no country can stand in our way. His bless the Warthog. The A-10 and their pilots will always get my respect and thanks. But now it may be time to hang up the old bird. Warfare contains countless risks. The question is can we risk losing the primier tank killer in the world? I think we can, sad as it is for me to see the great old plane grounded.

  4. Matt Says:
    April 8th, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Cave John,

    When ground fire is intense those other jets fly above it.

  5. Mark Says:
    April 9th, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    He openly admits that it is the best aircraft for close air support. And then he “speaks for the soldiers”, who he just previously said WANT the A-10, that they would be ok without it. These are the same generals (who make $15K+/month in take home pay) saying that the enlisted of the military are willing to take pay cuts.

    Talk about out of touch… and who the hell is he really speaking for?

  6. Marc Says:
    May 2nd, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Unfortunately the country is being run by people in “ivory towers”. They sit at their desks and make decisions that affect the real world. Just like our politicians constantly saying “what the America people want…..”, like they have a clue.