Warriors deserve a warrior’s death, not a retirement spent rusting away in the desert. The Bushido taught samurai, “death before dishonor.” The A-10, one of the USAF’s most iconic planes, deserves a warrior’s death. The plane was developed in the middle of the Cold War with a specific type of warfare in mind, to kill Soviet tanks on the front line. It has a chance to do that before being shuffled off into memory.
Instead of sending America’s most iconic aircraft to the desert for zero dollars, Erik Prince says, “send them to Ukraine on a lend-lease policy.”
Air Force Asks to Retire 201 Aircraft in 2022 – By John A. Tirpak
The Air Force will ask Congress to let it retire 201 aircraft in its 2022 budget request, though it plans to buy just 91 new airplanes, as it looks to free up cash from legacy systems for new technologies needed to keep pace with peer adversaries such as Russia and China in a high-end fight.
The largest hit would be to the fighter inventory, which would see a net reduction of 77 aircraft. The Air Force would retire 48 F-15C/Ds, 47 F-16C/Ds, and 42 A-10s for a total of 137 fighters retired. The service will buy 48 new F-35s in 2022 and 12 new F-15EX Eagle IIs.
Daniel Brown of The Insider interviewed an A-10 pilot serving in Afghanistan about the fear an A-10 brings to the battlefield. He writes (abridged):
I had the chance to speak on the phone with a US Air Force A-10 pilot serving in Afghanistan in 2018, and he told me about how the Warthog’s “presence alone scares the enemy into submission.”
“Lot of times [when] we’re overhead, they’ll just put their guns down and go away because they know the A-10 is overhead,” the pilot, who asked to be called “McGraw,” said. “We’ve heard that for years.”
“Do you mean that literally — they’ll literally throw their guns down?” I clarified.
“I unfortunately can’t see [them throw weapons down],” McGraw said, “but there’s been numerous times over the years when I’ve heard radio calls and phone calls and [been] talking to teams on the ground [and] … they know when the A-10 is overhead.”
“I know over the years we’ve been called ‘the monster’ and other intimidating names,” McGraw said. “When they hear or see A-10s, they know the business end of combat is overhead and [that] maybe it’s time to retreat and withdraw because … they know the punishment that we can deliver is pretty devastating.”
McGraw, who has completed five tours in Afghanistan, said he’s flown about 300 combat missions in the wartorn country, deploying his weapons about 25% of the time.
“I can confidently on every single pass put 30mm exactly on target, exactly where I want it,” he said. “That gun is incredibly accurate, and it obviously delivers fearsome effects and devastating effects … so when I pull that trigger, I know those bullets are going where I want them [to].”