Air Force Considers Dumping A-10 Fleet

NGAUS Washington Report

(Sept. 17, 2013) The Air Force is considering dumping its entire fleet of A-10 Thunderbolts in a cost-cutting effort.

The move would impact the Air National Guard in four states where A-10 squadrons fly the air-to-ground fighter jet.

The possibility was reported this week by Defense News, which said the flying service may also dump its KC-10 aerial refueling aircraft. The report said the F-15C Eagle fighter jet is also being eyed for the scrap heap.

The publication cited “multiple military and defense sources.” The Air Force is trying to cut billions of dollars from the budget. In an interview with Air Force Times last week, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the Air Force chief of staff, said, “You only gain major savings if you cut an entire fleet. You can cut aircraft from a fleet, but you save a lot more money if you cut all the infrastructure that supports the fleet.”

He declined the publication’s invitation to address the A-10 specifically, saying, “We are looking at every platform we have, every one of those five core missions and trying to decide where must we recapitalize versus where can we modernize.”

The Air Force has 340 A-10s. Some are flown by the Air Guard in Idaho, Indiana, Maryland and Michigan. Arkansas lost its A-10 mission in the 2013 budget battle. The Air Force Reserve also flies the Thunderbolt, also known as the Warthog for its stubby appearance.