As we reported months ago, while fighting for its life here at home, the A-10 has once again been sent to do America's low-down and dirty work. In this case, fighting ISIS in Iraq, a job no other aircraft in the world is better designed to do. Now, with video coming out of from the front lines showing an A-10 making a strafing run, we can report that the 'Hog is indeed back on the loose.
The A-10's arrival over Mesopotamia comes as it has been given a reprieve by US lawmakers, extending its like another year while forcing the USAF to conduct a study into how it intends to replace the jet's unique close air support abilities. The truth is that nothing in production today can replace the A-10, and there is a good chance that the jet's future will be ensured for a longer term once the new Congress begins work on their defense appropriations bill for 2016.
The one downside to the latest legislation is that A-10 readiness could be cut while the USAF conducts its worthless study to prove that not retiring the A-10 will indeed cause the F-35A's initial operational capability date to slip, as well as how the USAF plans on providing the same quality of close air support with the A-10 gone. This is all counter intuitive considering the fight we are in Iraq and even Syria for that matter, and even though it is good to see the Warthog proving it worth once again over the desert, one has to ask themselves: Why aren't there many more Warthog squadrons deployed doing the same?
This is an especially relevant question considering that precision bombing from 20,000 feet or more may have slowed ISIS's cancer-like growth, but it has not exactly pushed them back to Syria either. Also, seeing that the A-10 is by far the cheapest attack aircraft to operate, the one that can operate in very austere conditions and the most effective given the enemy's force posture, why isn't this 'the Warthog's war?'
The answer is the same old 'equal opportunity bomber' bullshit from the USAF, one where every community gets a piece of the action, even though a much more logical and less expensive solution exists for the same tactical problem. In this case, that solution is largely the A-10 Warthog.
Regardless of the USAF's blind hatred for the A-10, it is good to see it bringing the fight to the enemy, not just from on high, but down low where its massive Avenger cannon can play rapid executioner. I have a feeling that once the metrics of just how effective the Warthog is against ISIS are released, the USAF will be left hearing crickets when it comes to their pleas to throw this incredibly effective and relevant attack jet in the scrap heap.
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com