Air Force: Retiring A-10 Saves $3.5 Billion

NGAUS Washington Report

(Oct. 22, 2013) The Air Force says it can save $3.5 billion over five years by cutting the entire fleet of A-10s. The service made the claim in response to questions from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who had put a hold on the nomination of an Air Force secretary candidate until she received answers about the Air Force’s desire to retire the aircraft.

“Only by divesting entire fleets (vertical cuts) will we achieve savings measured in billions rather than ‘just’ millions of dollars,” the Air Force response said, according to a report in Air Force Times. “Additionally, the savings from an entire fleet divestiture prevents the AF from having to eliminate newer, more capable, multi-role aircraft such as the F-16 or F-35.”

Ayotte, the wife of an A-10 pilot in the Air National Guard, had blocked the nomination of Deborah Lee James to be the next Air Force secretary. She lifted the hold Thursday after receiving the 19-page Air Force response.

The Air Force says other aircraft can perform the close-air-support mission that is the A-10’s bread and butter.

“A-10 capabilities already exist on multi-role platforms,” the service said in its response to Ayotte. “The evolution of targeting pods, precision guided munitions, and the refinement of tactics, techniques, and procedures have enabled other platforms to provide the capabilities once considered unique to the A-10.”