Air Force admits A-10 on chopping block

warthogThe Air Force Times has once again confirmed the fears of fans of the A-10. The Air Force is considering scrapping its entire fleet of A-10 attack jets and KC-10 tankers, according to multiple military and defense sources. The cuts would not only devastate localities such as Tucson, the home of the Davis Monthan Air Force Base, but also those “boots on the ground that rely on the close air cover provided by the aircraft.”

According to the Air Force Times, the F-15C fighters and a planned $6.8 billion purchase of new combat search-and-rescue helicopters, are also on the chopping block.

Yesterday, Senator Kelly Ayotte a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioned the 2015 POM, which divests the A-10. Air Force officials admitted that the A-10’s complete divestiture is on the table.

Arizona Senator John McCain sits on the same committee and his office has not returned calls.

The Air Force has long desired to eliminate the less than glamorous A-10, and sequestration provides the perfect excuse to do so.

Each service is developing two budgets for 2015, according to the Air Force Times – one that includes sequestration spending cuts, and another that builds on the Pentagon’s 2014 budget proposal, which is $52 billion above the sequestration cap.

According to sources,  the A-10 is the only plane in the Air Force Times article that is mentioned in the 2015 POM (budget). Sources say they believe the Air Force is creating a smoke screen to pull attention away from those most concerned with the A-10’s demise. Sources say that A-10 pilots have had future training schedules cancelled – a clear indication that its future is at risk.

While many in the Tucson community hoped that the Davis Monthan Air Force Base would survive the A-10’s demise due to its massive aircraft “boneyard” of mothballed planes, Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller told a local radio show host that she was told the mothballed planes are now being sent to Utah.

“You only gain major savings if you cut an entire fleet,” Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff, said in a Sept. 10 interview with the Air Force Times. “You can cut aircraft from a fleet, but you save a lot more money if you cut all the infrastructure that supports the fleet.”

When directly asked about phasing out the A-10 fleet by the Air Force Times, Welsh declined to comment on specific aircraft.

“We are looking at every platform we have, every one of those five core missions and trying to decide where must we recapitalize versus where can we modernize,” Welsh said.

The proposed aircraft cuts, particularly the fleet of 340 A-10s, are sure to face scrutiny in Congress according to the Air Force Times. This is because the A-10 is a sturdy, multi-purpose plane that has saved countless lives of service members on the ground. Its maneuverability and durability are truly unique in the Pentagon’s airplane portfolio.

Supporters of the A-10 are hoping that the plane will not be scrapped completely and the Army will take over its operation. That will not help the residents of towns like Tucson, who have relied on the over $16 million annually the base brings to their economy. Tucson residents live in the nation’s 5th poorest metropolitan area in the country. With a business un-friendly City Council, the residents of Tucson have few options for employment other than those provided by government.

Over the Congressional summer break, Tucsonans first learned of the A-10’s possible fate when Arizona Senator Jeff Flake dropped the A-10 news bomb his Tucson constituents. In a radio interview, Flake inadvertently confirmed that the A-10’s demise was planned but attempted to reassure listeners that the A-10 would be replaced with the F-35. Stunned residents flooded the phone lines due to the fact that Tucson had just lost the F-35 to its northern neighbors, and Flake’s reassurances were a slap in the face.

According to staff for Congressman Ron Barber, there is a hearing this week in the House Armed Services Committee on which Congressman Barber serves. The topic is sequestration; therefore, the A-10 may be brought up in the hearing. The congressman promised to keep the public advised.

The Air Force Times reported that about half of the A-10 fleet resides in the Air National Guard. An Air Force proposal to cut five A-10 squadrons last year faced stiff opposition in Congress and from state governors.

Related articles:

A-10 training time cut as soldiers sing its praises

Congress urged to ask Air Force A-10 questions

Air Force demands silence on A-10

Flake drops A-10 bomb on constituents

Warthog fans rally after Flake revelation

12 Comments

  1. While many in the Tucson community hoped that the Davis Monthan Air Force Base would survive the A-10’s demise due to its massive aircraft “boneyard” of mothballed planes, Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller told Harris that she was told the mothballed planes are now being sent to Utah.

    thanks to the anti-military Ideoleaders – Tucson is on it’s way to “Baja everything” DM doors are closing – no mines – Ideotourists riding the trolly from the public works projects to the bar/tattoo shop and hospital, with a stop to pick up students seems the future of Tucson… ding ding ding… all aboard the Baja Limited

    • I think there is a misunderstanding here. Utah could not support a “boneyard” like Arizona can. Arizona was picked for it’s weather and low humidity (this helps significant reduce corrosion issues while in storage). My understanding is there is only one type of aircraft that is being “stored” there., and the only reason is because the aircraft has to be stored inside, not exposed to the heat and sun

  2. You make many excellent points about Tucson’s IdeoNazis, Billy. The Jolly Trolley continues to be a real standout:

    If one wants to hop on the IdeoTrolley To Nowhere In Particular, they can most likely get off at the Jolly Trolley Tamale Stop and grab a tamale and horchata to go?

    But… go WHERE? Mayhaps they can get off at the next stop, the Jolly Trolley Good Golly Miss Molly Record Stop – where they can purchase their next album by Mayor Jonny & Ideo Sync? Perhaps Mayor Jonny will be there to sign autographs? What a FOLLY!

    Jolly Ideology?

  3. We must keep the A-10 (Unless a similar or better plane is developed) or more combat troops will die. And that ain’t right.

  4. Interesting, wonder what they plan to do with all of the new base housing and the huge solar energy field that goes with them, as well as the one that is currently being built along Golf Links. Seems strange that they would be continuing improvements if they were planning to close it down…..but what do I know, just a taxpayer.

    • No one said anything about closing the base, another type off plane can come in.
      One thing people must understand, the when deciding to close a base, the focus in more on long term savings vs. what was spent recently. Many bases that have been closed in the past had been built up before it was decided to close

      • “You can cut aircraft from a fleet, but you save a lot more money if you cut all the infrastructure that supports the fleet.”

        Infrastructure means the bases that support the airframe. If the A-10 is put to bed, DM will soon follow. With Raytheon already slowly moving jobs to Huntsville, AL, this could be the perfect storm of devastation for Tucson. Picture Detroit type blight on steroids.

  5. Rat T …What do you mean “or it will go bust”. Check out the 6th to the bottom poorest city of its size in the country. Soon to drop further as they keep running businesses out of here. Klowns on the klowncil,.

  6. hey dont worry we dont need no stinkin airbase here, at least that is what all the nimbys say. Its too close to the houses, the airplanes and helicopters are ‘just tooo dangerous’ to be flying over the ‘city’.

    you have heard all the whines before, and they didn’t even offer you any cheese! Ft huachuca says the same thing when they go into the whine mode down there. close either of these 2 or both and there is no way in hell either town will survive. raytheon will move, anybody associated with services for either will downsize go out of business. touristas wont come here as ther already is really nothing to do once they get here. too hot to walk anywhere, no bars or restaurants as up in east la and you see that in the entertainment section of the ads. no sports of any consequence, just ua basketball but that is a niche sport for here. No they will just shrivel up and cry louder. When I was on AD down at the fort I was told it provided income to over 85% of the COUNTY. If you didn’t work on post, or for someone who did you really didn’t work. Basically the same here.

    The af brass dont care, they want the BIG TOYS not something manufactured back in the 70’s. No they are going to dump it all, replace with nothing here and just watch the tubleweeds take over. Think tusd has lost kids in the seats now, it will be all of the districts. Just think what is there here to support anything? The city and county I think are the biggest employers, followed up by ua, raytheon, the base. The local pols only care for what is in it for them, they dont care about anyone else. Just look how they put their hands in the guys pocket to blow off the people in sabino canyon. Really think you have seen nothing yet.

  7. Of course, McCain didn’t answer in inquiries–he’s a traitor.
    Of course, Flake is a slap in the face to his constituents.

  8. Stand up folks. Your vote counts in November. There are poeple running that will at least give us a choice. Where is the voice from the Republican political class? No wonder no one is funding you anymore.

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