The fact that the USAF is so willing to throw away 300 of the finest close air support platforms ever invented just to save the cost equivalent of 30 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters is total bullshit and both the American taxpayer and those who bravely fight our wars on the ground should be furious.
The Air Force wants to "replace" the A-10 some time in the future, hopefully, with something not nearly as "elegant," to use their own words, but still capable of the basic close air support (CAS) mission. Elegant is not a term not usually associated with this brutish killing machine, but there is little doubt that the Warthog accomplishes its mission with almost an artistic flare. This "something" the USAF brass touts is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In the meantime, our soldiers will be left getting close air support from "adequate" high-performance fighter aircraft, Predator and Reaper unmanned systems, and huge aircraft built originally as strategic bombers.
During an interview with Defense News Air Combat Command chief Michael Hostage stated:
"I would dearly love it to continue in the inventory because there are tactical problems out there that would be perfectly suited for the A-10. I have other ways to solve that tactical problem. It may not be as elegant as the A-10, but I can still get the job done, but that solution is usable in another level of conflict in which the A-10 is totally useless. It does not make any sense to cut the other program and keep A-10s if I have to give one up for the other. I really save the big bucks when I take an entire [platform] and shut it down because I save the squadrons of those airplanes but I also save the logistics infrastructure, the training infrastructure and all of the overhead."
The fact that General Hostage acts like he has no choice in the matter when it comes to shutting down the entire A-10 program, which equates to close to 300 aircraft and their support infrastructure, is bogus. Doing so would reportedly save only a measly 1% of the USAF's total yearly budget of close to $110,000,000,000, and that savings would only be programmed over the next few years.
The A-10 is a national treasure, and the hundreds, if not thousands, of American and allied soldiers it has saved over decades of combat operations will attest to this. Regardless of the Warthog's undeniable effectiveness on the battlefield the aircraft has always been the unwanted straight-winged step child of the USAF. In fact, the boys in blue have tried to kill the A-10 program since its very inception, and have repeated their assassination attempts time and time again. Strangely, these attempts usually come quickly after the aircraft has performed marvelously in combat and has saved the lives of our troops on the ground while taking those of our enemies with great prejudice.