The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was officially named Lightning II in a ceremony held in Fort Worth, Texas, under the direction of U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley. That same year, Moseley introduced another expensive limited-use concept for which the Air Force could sink the taxpayers’ dollars: “Thundervision.”
A few years later, the F-35 is considered an expensive nightmare years away from usefulness by many in the Air Force, and the “Thundervision” PR concept, created by Moseley’s good friend and video producer Edward Shipley, lead in part to the unraveling of Moseley, who was eventually fired by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on June 5, 2008.
So it came as no surprise to anyone last week when the former fighter-pilot-turned-Lockheed-Martin-consultant “weighed in on the debate over the future of the A-10, saying it is time to let the venerable jet go and move on to newer jets that can face newer threats,” according to the Air Force Times.
In the Air Force Magazine, dated December 6, in an article entitled, “Moseley Returns With Forceful Defense of Airpower,” Moseley pushed Lockheed Martin F-35 as one investment that will make the difference between being a global air force and being a regional one. He urged airmen to “defend the faith,” and don’t “take a knee.”
Unfortunately for Moseley and others who are trying to sacrifice the A-10 at the sequestration alter, no one in the A-10 community, veterans, and citizens, who put troop welfare above operate welfare, will take a knee in the battle to save the A-10.
They are ready and armed with facts to fight the A-10 battle.
They are ready to fight Moseley’s patently deceitful comments and shoot them down.
They argue that Moseley, as CFACC during the C-SCUD fight in Anbar during OIF, should know, of all people, that the synergistic effect of cheap, non-coordinate-dependent, point-shoot weapons, high maneuverability, long loiter time, best-ever combat survivability & forward austere field capabilities makes the A-10 irreplaceable right now.
They note that in OIF, no other aircraft could have performed many of its high end missions, and if the A-10 is mothballed, there won’t be a replacement for it even 20 years from now. If the USAF were to own 10,000 F-35As, they still won’t possess the necessary capabilities.
Moseley had mentioned age as a concern in his arguments against the A-10, but A-10 supporters argue that the issue is not the age of the airplane. The issue, they say, is that there is no replacement now or on the horizon for A-10’s capability. The fault for that lies directly at the feet of the United States Air Force. There should have been a follow-on capability requirement to replace the A-10 years ago, but there was not regarding the mission requirements when it comes to planning for close air support capability.
They question whether Moseley reviewed the mission reports from Afghanistan and Iraq to see just what the A-10 community has been doing for 12 years. They want him to identify an aircraft that has repeatedly, on dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of occasions, attacked targets within 20 feet–repeat, feet–of American forces and protected them without any or very few losses, while taking out the bad guys to boot, all happening at night with little illumination.
F-16’s cannot do that. F-15E’s cannot do that. AC-130 s cannot do that, and the B-1 cannot get it done.
For the record, the A-10 is the most survivable air platform that has ever been built. For Moseley to insinuate that there are other more survivable airplanes coming along is simply laughable. In its current configuration, the A-10C with its very robust data-link, Sniper targeting pod, digital architecture, integrated IR & electronic countermeasures makes it the most survivable, lethal countermeasures equipped platform in the air today bar none.
The Air Force stridently continues to assert that there is no CAS capabilities gap. The Air Force clearly knows better. Many say that their current position on the A-10 represents dereliction of duty, and professional incompetence of the highest order.
After all the capabilities enumerated above, the corporate Air Force has completely overlooked the tactics, techniques & procedures cleansing that is about to occur. When that 60 year depth of mission continuity goes away abruptly over the next two to three years, all that corporate knowledge that spans all the way back to the late 1940s will be lost forever.
The Air Force Inspector General investigation in January, 2008, ended with an Air Force Maj. Gen. being reprimanded for his role in the project, and four other Air Force personnel disciplined, according to Reese Schonfeld. No action was taken against Moseley. The people underneath him paid. Should history repeat itself, the little people….. those guys on the ground… will pay for Moseley’s economic choices again.