Chuck Hagel wants to kill the Warthog, once and for all.

(Via Instapundit) Why not?  After all, it’s only the single most useful all-around plane in our arsenal.

The New York Times reported late Sunday that Hagel’s proposal, which will be released to lawmakers and the public on Monday, will call for a reduction in size of the military that will leave it capable of waging war, but unable to carry out protracted occupations of foreign territory, as in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Under Hagel’s plan, the number of troops in the Army will drop to between 440,000 and 450,000, a reduction of at least 120,000 soldiers from its post-Sept.11 peak.

Officials told the Times that Hagel’s plan has been endorsed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and protects funding for Special Operations forces and cyberwarfare. It also calls for the Navy to maintain all eleven of its aircraft carriers currently in operation. However, the budget proposal mandates the elimination of the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft, as well as the retiring of the U-2 spy plane, a stalwart of Cold War operations.

Now, I am sure that many people would contest my characterization of the A-10 as our best plane, and certainly there are other candidates. But it’s kind of hard for any reasonable person to disagree that Hagel is showing poor judgment in scrapping a plane simply because it is hated so by the antiwar movement*. Is this why the President nominated the man for Secretary of Defense?

…The President probably doesn’t want you to actually answer that question.

Moe Lane

PS: The proper size of American military forces is, of course, a complicated and genuinely perplexing question that needs the input of qualified civilian and military experts and that’s why we shouldn’t let the Obama administration make the call because they’re the kind of people who would decide to go with Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

PPS: Told ya Barack Obama was thinking of gutting the military.  And I’m telling ya again: don’t expect Chuck Hagel to give Obama any cover.

*It’s a non-glamorous work horse that fires depleted uranium rounds and is best known for its ability to turn enemy ground forces into pate, up close and personal.  There are a heck of a lot of American troops that are alive because a Warthog showed up at the right moment.

…So of course the antiwar movement hates it.

27 thoughts on “Chuck Hagel wants to kill the Warthog, once and for all.”

  1. This is going to cause a ruckus. I’ve met infantrymen who think of the A-10 as the next best thing to a guardian angel. Whose district are these manufactured in, anyway?

    1. I don’t think we built a new one in years. And as another commenter mentions, it ain’t sexy therefore the airforce doesn’t want it. My bet is this a bargaining chip, the army will have to give up something else to keep it. Why can’t we give up on the F35 which from the sounds of things doesn’t work all that well and will be expensive.

      1. “Why can’t we give up on the F35”

        Because all the Air Force cares about is dogfighting, and the A10 isn’t a dogfighter. (Yes, that’s oversimplified.)

          1. Almost certainly not. The A-10 is literally* an aircraft that serves as a life support system for its armament — that Gatling gun is massive. Any smaller and cheaper, and the aircraft probably wouldn’t be able to fly (and certainly nowhere near as well, at least). I suspect it also would be adversely affected by recoil. And then you’d still have to design, build, and pay for telemetry and guidance systems … in a “new start” program that wouldn’t give pilots anything to fly.
            * Not figuratively, but literally.

      2. Because of the sunk cost fallacy.
        Also, corrupt congresscritters absolutely love that steaming pile of pork.
        The major bottleneck is the limitations of the human body. The F-15 and F-16 already surpass these. There’s no evidence that the F-35 will preform that well. But it’s certain that it will cost many times more per unit!

    2. I read somewhere that Russians call it “the devils crucifix” (or words to that effect) because of the way it looks in an attack dive and the hell it unleashes.
      I got to see one doing live fire once. Yeah, they’re pretty dang close to THE WRATH OF GOD…

        1. Could be, I did read that. But even if it’s fiction, it’s totally believable to anybody who’s seen one. All the best descriptives are verboten on Moe’s site…

  2. The Air Force also hates the A-10. They’ve been trying to kill it for quite some time. Their last attempt was turned back when Congress “offered” to transfer the A-10 squadrons to the Army and Marine Corps.

    The Air Force is into air superiority. Anything that doesn’t dogfight is strictly second-class. Ground support and cargo are roles they fill grudgingly, to protect and maintain their influence.

    1. Anything that doesn’t dogfight is strictly second-class.
      Heh. My dad was a KC-135 pilot for many years. I bet his response to people with that attitude would be a pat on the head and an “aren’t you cute?”

      1. So.. there is no “fighter jock mafia” ?
        The response I got from the father-in-law indicates otherwise.

        1. There’s a reason the Four Horsemen demonstration team was canceled, despite (or because of) regularly out-drawing the Thunderbirds.

        2. If there is, my dad would still pat them on their heads if they had too much of an attitude.
          My dad had the pleasure of flying tankers in Vietnam and one day was about 60 seconds away from a MiG. The only defenses his plane had involved the hope that you could take the enemy with you in the fireball from your death.

          1. While your dad was flying tankers, the father-in-law was flying the helicopters that picked up pilots who pulled the very noisy lever.
            He didn’t switch to tankers until that unpleasantness was over, and after IIRC two close calls where fighter jocks decided to see how close to his helo they could get.

  3. is best known for its ability to turn enemy ground forces into pate, up close and personal.
    Not only that, but damage that would render a normal fighter into past tense is shrugged off by the A-10, which continues to turn bad people into pate.

  4. I said this on twitter. And I’ll repeat it here. The fact that Chuck Hagel wants to get rid of the Warthog, without a viable replacement, is a disgrace to the Uniform he once wore.

    1. What do you expect from the administration that made Pol Pot’s Man in Paris Secretary of State?

      1. Mainly because this is Rand Paul’s weakest point for someone like me. He & fellow libertarians don’t do much to dispel the idea that their foreign policy extends to retreating into Fortress America and hoping nobody knocks.
        Grossly unfair characterization, yes. But I would sure like to see them make more of an effort at dispelling it.

      2. Graham, McCain, I think Flake. I don’t remember the others, it was 16 total. Only about 5 voted for the final vote though. And Rand was in that group too.

  5. Is this why the President nominated the man for Secretary of Defense?
    Robert Conquest’s Third Law of Politics: The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.
    In the case of the Obama administration, the assumption probably is justified.

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