The A-10 Warthog Isn’t Going Anywhere — Yet

Gear
Photo via DoD

If President Donald Trump gets his way, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, lovingly nicknamed the “Warthog” by U.S. Air Force pilots, will remain a crucial part of the Pentagon’s arsenal for years to come.


The Department of Defense’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, published on May 23, “fully funds the entire fleet of 283 A-10 Thunderbolt IIs” and vows that the Warthog fleet’s long-term viability “will be assessed as the Air Force determines a long term strategy.”

The Warthog, first built by Fairchild Republic in the 1970s and known for the characteristic “BRRT” of its devastating 30mm cannon, is just one beneficiary of the Pentagon’s proposed commitment to modernize and recapitalize legacy aircraft that, in the DoD comptroller’s words, offer “a cost-effective platform to provide capacity for today’s operations and tomorrow’s threats.”

Speculation has swirled for years around the Pentagon’s efforts to develop a close-air support aircraft that could potentially replace the aging A-10 fleet in the Air Force’s arsenal. As Defense News reported in 2016, the Air Force attempted to retire the Warthog in both FY2015 and FY2016, only to face pushback from Congress.

The DoD has vacillated on whether to abandon the storied attack warplane. In its FY2016 request, the service abandoned the idea of fully retiring the Warthog, due to the aircraft's spectacular performance against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria. And in October 2016, Air Force Materiel Command Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski reiterated that the Pentagon plans on sustaining its fleet “indefinitely.”

But the service recently solicited defense contractors to participate in the OA-X light-attack aircraft experiment at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico this coming July to “augment” the A-10. So far, the A-29 Super Tucano, Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine, and AirLand Scorpion are set to compete at OA-X.

While observers speculate that one of those warplanes may eventually replace the A-10 upon retirement, the DoD’s 2018 budget proposal seems to suggest the service is no longer itching to retire the legendary aircraft.

The DoD’s budget proposal is just that: a proposal. And a spokesman for Air Combat Command threw cold water on the idea that the budget request is a firm pledge to modernize and maintain the A-10 indefinitely.

“Any questions about the president’s budget proposal fall to the president,” Maj. Andrew Schrag, a spokesman for Air Combat Command, told Task & Purpose. “Congress debates and adjusts and manages all of these proposals, and months from now, we may or may not have the budget, and then we start making adjustments, and even those adjustments occur at a DoD level.”

“It’s a Russian nesting doll,” Schrag added. “We’re talking about hypotheticals on hypotheticals, and we’re talking about tactical- and maybe operational-level conversations about airframes that fall so far below items in a line item budget that haven't even been voted on yet.”

So the Warthog’s future isn’t a set in stone as the DoD’s budget proposal might suggest. But given Congress’ past enthusiasm for the A-10, chances are enemy combatants will find themselves fearing the “BRRRT” for years to come.

Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
Veterans Day at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, 11 November, 2018. Photo: Erich Backes/U.S. Army

In typical veteran community fashion, hundreds of people showed up to two separate funerals last week for veterans who otherwise would have been buried alone.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Darien J. Bjorndal)

KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban killed more than 100 members of the Afghan security forces inside a military compound in central Maidan Wardak province on Monday, a senior defense official said.

Read More Show Less
Coast Guard cutter Bertholf on a counterdrug patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean, March 11, 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Trees

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bertholf left California on January 20 for a months-long mission in the Pacific to support U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the largest of the U.S. military's geographic combatant commands.

Coast Guardsmen aboard the Bertholf left Alameda on the 30th day of what is now the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. They left a few days after not getting their first paycheck since that shutdown started and without knowing when the next will come.

Read More Show Less
Plebes in the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2015 march into Bancroft Hall following noon meal formation in Tecumseh Court. (U.S. Navy)

Leaking pipes. Moldering walls. Condemned offices and balconies. Plumbing that can't handle its load and a stormwater system dumping unfiltered rainwater into the Severn River.

These aren't the issues of a long-abandoned factory. They describe the current condition of the Naval Academy.

Read More Show Less