The A-10 Warthog: A Legend Retires

By Ethan Cole on
 July 28, 2023

The A-10 Warthog, a legendary icon of the U.S. Air Force, is set to retire within the next five years. This aircraft, designed specifically for close air support missions, has provided an unparalleled level of support to ground troops. Its retirement raises significant questions about the future of close air support in the U.S. military.

The A-10's Unmatched Capabilities

The A-10 Warthog's 30mm cannon allows it to attack targets within 100 meters of U.S. troops, much closer and more effectively than other Air Force aircraft. This single-mission aircraft has proven its effectiveness time and again, with nearly 3,000 flight hours in the Warthog under its belt.

The Uncertain Future of Close Air Support

While the U.S. Air Force has other aircraft capable of close air support missions, such as F-16s, F-15Es, B-1 bombers, AC-130 gunships, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, none were designed specifically for this purpose. The retirement of the A-10 Warthog leaves a gap in the Air Force's capabilities, and it remains unclear how this gap will be filled.

The Contenders: F-35s and F-16s

The Air Force has signaled its intention to replace A-10s at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and Gowen Field Air National Guard Base in Idaho with F-35s and F-16s respectively. However, these multirole aircraft may not be as effective as the A-10 in close air support missions.

The F-35: A Different Approach

Air Force officials have suggested that the F-35 could provide close air support to troops on the ground, albeit in a different way than the A-10. The F-35 will not perform the close air support mission in the same way as the A-10, which was designed to be low, slow, and close to the targets it was engaging.

The F-16: A Versatile Option

The F-16, another multirole aircraft, can fly several types of missions that include close air support. However, as with the F-35, it may not be as effective as the A-10 in this specific role.

The A-10's Legacy: An Irreplaceable Asset?

The A-10 Warthog's retirement marks the end of an era. Its unique capabilities and unmatched effectiveness in close air support missions have made it a valuable asset to the U.S. Air Force. As the Air Force moves forward without the A-10, it must find a way to maintain its proficiency in close air support missions. The future of close air support in the U.S. military remains uncertain, but the legacy of the A-10 Warthog will undoubtedly continue to influence future decisions and strategies.

The A-10's Potential in Modern Warfare

Despite concerns that the A-10 is too old and slow to survive against advanced Chinese air defenses, some argue that the Warthog would have advantages over other U.S. aircraft in a war against China. Its ability to carry more weapons, burn fuel slower, and take off and land from small runways could prove invaluable in a contested environment.

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Conclusion: A Farewell to the Warthog

As we bid farewell to the A-10 Warthog, we must acknowledge the significant role it has played in the U.S. Air Force's close air support capabilities. Its retirement leaves a void that will not be easily filled. The U.S. Air Force faces a challenging task in maintaining its proficiency in close air support missions without the A-10. As we look to the future, we can only hope that the lessons learned from the A-10's service will guide the development of new strategies and technologies to ensure the continued effectiveness of U.S. air support.

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9 comments on “The A-10 Warthog: A Legend Retires”

  1. Sometimes so called leaders aren't leaders at all. If their decesions are made for Political reasons and watching the backs of equip suppliers they are doomed to fail!

  2. Marine Corps pilots designated it as two jet engines with wings and the miniguns used with them would make a pilot a little nervous on first time firing them because of the kick back. All pilots said the recoil would feel like that they would stop moving forward .For those not familiar with the miniguns they shoot rounds per second verses rounds per minute and are belt fed and electronically controlled with battery packs included. Plus there is no way the terminator in the movies or anyone else could fire that weapon by hand.

  3. As usual dumb moves. This is possibly the most affective air weapon we have. Of course the push to retire the most affective close air support against the Chinese would be retired by this administration. We have them train over our area from Moody. Watching a pair of these at near treetop re is awesome.

  4. I don't think the warthog can be replaced, (low slow, heavy hauler, protected engines), like the Stuka, but it will have to be protected by fighter jets running cover, providing electronic interfearance for missiles

  5. Here we go.Stupid people making dumb ass decisions.An f-35 can't do the same massive ground cover need that an a-10 can do.It also proved in the Iraqi war how it was also a tank killer.And it has a titanium shape bathtub to protect the pilot.And the cost factor is cheaper then an f-35.

  6. We are going to end up like the Russians with no good ground support. We need ground pounders in put to help ground troops!!

  7. The A-10's could and should be used to obliterate the drug carte headquarters in Mexaco, central, and south Americabefore we ever think og retireing them.

  8. I think that the fast mover jockies in the AF don't want to deal with something as specialized as the A-10. I concede that the platform is outdated. However none of the proposed standins can really do the job. I think a lot of ground pounders will suffer from this move. The only way this would be good is if a similar but modernized plane could be designed and deployed. We'll see how it works out, but I'm really glad that I won't be one of the poor slobs waiting for close air support once the A-10 is gone.

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