Warthogs and All

The A-10 also seems to be a goner if budget sequestration goes on beyond Oct. 1. As one of the vertical cuts Air Combat Command is looking at, the A-10 is one of those single-mission aircraft whose role other, more versatile airplanes could perform, said ACC chief Gen. Mike Hostage on Sept. 17 at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference. He told reporters “we can do close air support with a lot of things,” even the B-1 bomber, but his commitment to the Army is to achieve CAS “with what we have.” He said he’d love to have “a thousand A-10s” but “I can’t afford it. I can’t afford the fleet I have now.” Halving the A-10 fleet wouldn’t save enough, said Hostage. “While I don’t want to do it, I would rather lose that entire fleet and save all the infrastructure and logistics, to afford the things I can’t do without.” The F-35 strike fighter doesn’t offer the A-10’s same terrifying 30 mm gun and is an expensive way to do CAS, he said, but “if a bad guy goes away, the Army’s not going to argue about how it went away.” Hostage said he told the Army “one of the things I think I have to give up is the A-10. While they were not happy, they . . . understand that we’re in a fiscal crisis.”