A-10 divestment looms, Ayotte stands firm

While Tucson’s representatives wring their hands as their Tucson constituents are about to lose the core of an economic force, the A-10 at Davis Monthan Air Force base, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte is showing them and the country how to fight for something you believe in. Ayotte has blocked the confirmation of the new Air Force Secretary, Deborah Lee James, until the Air Force responds to her concerns about its plans to divest its entire A-10 fleet.

In comparison to Ayotte’s strong stand, the actions by Arizona Representative Ron Barber and his congressional challenger, former A-10 pilot Martha McSally, look like nothing but grandstanding.

Pease Air National Guard Base, NH, is the Air Force’s largest presence in Ayotte’s state and does not house any A-10s, unlike Arizona, which is proudly the home of the A-10. Ayotte’s colleague, Arizona’s Senator Jeff Flake, has been as absent in the A-10 fight as he was on the Senate floor during Friday’s cloiture vote.

A briefing slide obtained by Inside the Air Force, from Ayotte’s office which was first revealed by a Tucson radio talk show host, includes a chart that depicts a scenario in which the Air Force divests its A-10s in fiscal year 2015.

Inside the Air Force reports, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and ACC Commander Gen. Mike Hostage have said recently that the service is seriously considering removing the entire A-10 fleet — as opposed to cutting aircraft from multiple fleets.

According to Inside the Air Force, Richard Lombardi, the Air Force’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition Integration, confirmed for reporters what was first reported over a month ago, “If the Air Force decides to divest the A-10 fleet, that decision would be made as part of the FY-15 program objective memorandum (2015 POM), which the Air Force briefed this week to Pentagon Acquisition Chief Frank Kendall.”

Lombardi confirmed the report that the Air Force had intended to cut the A-10 even before 2015, when Lombardi admitted that “decisions about halting ongoing maintenance and upgrade programs would need to be made in FY-14.” However, Lombardi said a significant piece of the process would be Congress’ response to the prospect of removing the fleet.

Already, A-10 pilots report that their training schedules have been cut.

“If there are some adjustments that we would want to or have to make in ’14, we can possibly do that,” Lombardi said according to Inside the Air Force. “But what we don’t want to do is presuppose a decision for Congress. So that’s the balance that we continue to plan. It’s pre-decisional. We’re going to have to continue to work through it with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and then as we submit the president’s budget to the Hill.”

Inside the Air Force reports that “until that time, Air Combat Command will continue to execute fleet upgrades, including the installation of new wing sets. ACC has installed 30 new wings onto the Air Force’s A-10 fleet and expects prime contractor Boeing to deliver four more upgrade kits by the end of the month.”

Col. James Flattery, the Air Force’s A-10 systems Program Manager, told Inside the Air Force in a Sept. 25 email that the program office has not received any guidance on when the wing replacement and other upgrade programs might be put on hold should the service decide to eliminate the A-10 fleet.

Also read “A-10: The most terrifying yet beautiful sound I have ever heard” – a soldier’s A-10 story.

4 Comments on "A-10 divestment looms, Ayotte stands firm"

  1. A vote for McSally is like a vote for McCain. Get ready to get hosed again. Republicans get out there and work for Ed. I hope he runs and knocks the socks off McSally. The Republican professional political class would be wise not push McSally on us. We’re tired of your choices. Get registered folks and vote for anyone who will walk us towards more freedom. Conservative Libertarians are the future of the Republoican party. McCain, Flake, & McSally are merely clones. No more.

  2. Sadly,I agree with you to a point. Clearly a McSally vote will be for another establishment drone. To take the McCain influence one step farther, I’m going to hold my nose and vote for Martin just because McSally is such a rotten choice. Martin has not shown any reason other than that to make him a compelling choice.

    It is a sad state of affairs that the southern Arizona republican party has become so dysfunctional that they couldn’t even come up with an opponent for the Ward 6 City council seat much less someone for congress.

  3. Inside the Air Force reports that “until that time, Air Combat Command will continue to execute fleet upgrades, including the installation of new wing sets. ACC has installed 30 new wings onto the Air Force’s A-10 fleet and expects prime contractor Boeing to deliver four more upgrade kits by the end of the month.”

    They have pissed away bazillions on upgrades to the A-10 GOLD HOG, which includes new bombing capability with GPS bombing systems for high altitude release – engine modifications to make the aircraft fly higher – fixed the entire fleet of a wing crack problem – now this “new wings’ and the development of those ‘new wings’ Boeing was not the original mfg. who is now non existent – why didn’t they simply quit before all this ‘waste of dollars’ the JOB IS DONE and now the dump it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MORONS is who runs what is left of this country.

  4. Billy B, its not a true “gold hog”, that honor goes to the go fast types and the big bombers. These little toys are the af version of the old AH-1 ‘Cobra’ helicopter. It could get down and dirty and did for about 30 years and still soldiers on in the marines! They tried to do away with the A-10 in the early 90’s, was supposed to replace the OV-1 Mohawk but since it was a single seat aircraft it sould not make the transition. Then iraq 1 happened and it again became the darling of the AF fleet because it made GOOD HEADLINES! Now everything is drawing down and so another old war horse is to be put out to pasture so they can SPEND BIG BUCKS on new toys for the AF! The original article said that the KC135 was to go finally along with the KC 10 so they can JUSTIFY NEW acquisitions!

    Yes the upgrades that you are whinning about are really needed, but they COST much LESS than the BILLION DOLLAR toys the brass want. The aircraft were designed and built in the 70’s and 80’s. Our newest B 52 was built about the same time and it is to soldier on until mid century! The BUFF is older than most of its crew members and some kids had fathers who flew in them!

    But the real bottom line is here that the WORTHLESS politicians from this area just need to go away. Fire them all and start anew It cant be any worse than where we are now!!!

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