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Why is the Air Force want to get rid of the A10 and replace it with the F35. I realize the A 10 is old and needs protection from fighter jets but it is also a flying tank and slow is sometimes a good thing in close air support.

Why would you use a F 35 fighter that can be shot down by anti air craft fire that is not a flying tank that cost 150 million a peice. The A 10 is kinda like the B 52 just a good timeless design.
Why?

Because they are old, tired, iron and are increasingly hard to maintain, one trick pony.

Old aircraft are time consuming and expensive to maintain, many of the companies that made the original parts are gone. There were only 700 made and currently less than 150 remain serviceable. The number of parts donors is dwindling. And, it only does one thing. It does it better than anything else, but these days "multi-role" is a requirement.

The B-52 is in a slightly different position, There are more spare parts available, Many airlines retired their JT3D engines and these were bought by the USAF, also the re-engine program of the KC-135 fleet freed up TF-33s for the few B-52. Also, many of the subsystems common enough to be reworked for B-52 use. This is one of the reasons the B-52 will probably outlast the B-1B.

Honestly, the A-10 should have been replaced years ago. But, the threat of 50 Soviet armored divisions (apparently) disappeared years back, and CAS against soft(er) targets can be done just as well by multi-role aircraft.

Do I agree that the A-10 should be retired? From a maintenance and fiscal point of view, yeah, they probably have reached the point where cost to maintain them exceeds what you can get out of 150 airframes. From a capability point of view, no not without a true replacement. The A-6 and OV-10 were retired without a true replacement and it looks like there never will be for those.
 

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Love to see an apples to apples comparison of these "multirole" planes compared to an uninhibited a10. Wasn't the test they ran a couple years ago laughed at for sounding like they designed the test to have the f35 "win"?

Call me simple but if the argument against the a10 is that it's only good in uncontested airspace why not deploy them with other aircraft like we used to deploy bombers and such?
Theoretically, a single squadron of F-35s can do both, contest the airspace and perform the CAS mission. The same logic that resulted in the USAF choosing to buy more F-4Es over picking up Republic's bargain close out offer to re-start F-105 production in 1968 for about 1.5 million a copy, about 2/3s the price tag of an F-4.

The A-10 can be compared to the JU-87, if you control the sky, they are the greatest thing since sliced cheese for the CAS mission, if the other side can even field fighters, you're better off with something that can dump the bombs and defend itself.

I'm not sure if there is another jet that is quite setup like the Warthog, as in oldschool "light it up" with fast brrrt rounds for convoys of trucks, tanks and hostile buildings, but I could be wrong. They are ridiculously agile as well, and can fly low, can other jets do that as well? Heck, do other jets even have machine guns? Lol, typing it just seems so archaic nowadays.
The USAF version carries a 25mm that shoots the same AP ammo as the Bradley.
 

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Well Lysander, I could agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong...GI2
Actually, all kidding aside, my own personal take is that CAS is not real high on the priority list for the USAF. The A-10 Thunderbolt II is nicknamed the Warthog. It's not sleek and sexy like fighter jets such has the F-16. The USAF would rather spend their $ billions on modern, high tech stuff. Probably the same holds true for the US Navy. Would they prefer building nice, new high tech carriers, or mine sweepers and ice breakers?
And with the A-10, designed for one thing, CAS, there is nothing better. After Desert Storm, and with thousands of Iraqi soldiers captured, many were asked which weapon system we deployed against them did they fear the most, and most of them replied it was the A-10.
I think if more parts are needed to keep them flying, it might still be more cost effective, vs. the F-35 which is a very expensive aircraft.
But I could be wrong, just my humble opinion.
1) How many Iragi aircraft were flying around during DS/DS?
2) I don't think you have a good understanding of what it cost to restart production of out of production parts...

The original manufacturer designed and made a unique part. It was made from cast aluminum and originally cost about $2000 dollars in 1990. That company stopped making the part and the casting house went defunct. Now to restart production, a) a new master mold has to be designed and made* and since it is a new design, qualified, a new casting house has to qualified as a manufacturer. Worse since the demand is small, you will have trouble finding companies that are willing to take on such a large investment for such a small production run. We once had a casting that went out of production and were quoted 5 million just to develop the casting, that's not including the final machining, part qualification, or manufacturer qualification. It might cost 6 or 7 million dollars to get a handful of new parts.

It gets worse when you talk about electronics, as so many of the 1980s chips are so antiquated no can make them. An analogy would be asking a modern gunmaker to supply some spare flints for your flintlock muskets . . .

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* Drawings for casting and forgings actually give very little information on the actual shape. These features are controlled by the master mold. Even if you still have the original casting house, things get expensive, as master molds wear out and to make a new master, you have to clone it from the old master, and yes, you do get clone degeneration. I have dealt with that too in some of our legacy systems.
 

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The cost of reproducing parts can be astronomical. Several year ago the government put out a contract for 450 M14 op rods. They ended up costing about $1600 each.
The highest historical contract for operating rods since 1990, in FEDLOG is $178,200 for 450 in 2005, but it came down to $300 each in 2007.

Granted that's still almost 8X what they paid in 1984.
 

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Dang, I missed another money making scheme! I was ready to make them for $1500 each! Where's my lobbyist when I need him?
Make them? You don't have to make anything.

You buy them surplus from DRMO, stick them in a barn for fifteen to twenty years, then sell them back to the government for 10 to 100X what you paid for them....
 

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Unfortunately time and technology has caught up with the A-10. A grunt with a laser and a zoomie at 30,000 feet can do what it used to take a warthog to do low and slow with ordinance and Apaches are pretty effective down low.
Jim you may have a half dozen points there, . . .

But every time I see one of these things take place, . . . I just wonder which congressman trying to scrap a "tool" has a brother in law or son or some other kinfolk sitting in the drivers seat for another 50 cool million bucks just as soon and the vote is taken , . . .

The old "X" is voted out, . . the new "Y" is voted in, . . . and us taxpayers get stuck with the bill.

May God bless,
Dwight
The A-10 is like the German Ju-87 Stuka, it works great if you have total air supremacy, otherwise it's dead meat against modern fighters or surface-to-air missiles.

There is a reason the Israelis never bought any.
 

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I still think it's so cool and when don't we have air supremacy? That's who we are and what we do.
The problem is when was the last time we fought someone with a real air force? One that really tried to stop a US bombing campaign? One that had a good integrated missile/gun/radar network?

The last time I recall that being the case was December 1972, and we lost 9 B-52s, 3 F-4s, 2 F-111s, 2 A-6s, and an RA-5, in just 12 days of combat. If you go back to the May-October timeframe, you can add another 104 aircraft lost in combat, worthy of note are the 36 attack aircraft lost during this phase, all fast jets, A-7s, A-6s, or A-4s. (The A-1 Sandys had been retired by this point)

I picked Linebacker and Linebacker II as representative of the US versus an integrated Air Defense as this was the first time all of North Vietnam was fair game.

Other examples of having air supremacy but still suffering heavy losses in attack aircraft, look up the War Of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War. The advancement of surface to air missiles and simple radar directed AAA, have made "low-and-slow" a recipe for failure.
 
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