Friday, April 01, 2016

Assisted Suicide

I thought the plane hated by enemies and Air Force brass--the A-10 close air support plane--was saved from premature retirement, but the Air Force brass are a persistent lot.

That whole joint "Purple" way of fighting wars just really hasn't sunk into Air Force culture, which just wants to do its own thing and ground forces be damned:

A U.S. Air Force is facing some serious credibility, political, legal and morale problems with its repeated attempts to get rid of its most popular combat aircraft; the A-10. This is a special Cold War era design that was optimized for operating close to troops on the ground. Despite the success and popularity (especially with ground troops) of the A-10 the air force leadership refuses to allocate money to keep existing A-10s flying or developing an acceptable replacement. The need was made clear (again) with the recent revelation that a survey of Marine, Army, and Air Force JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and JFOs (Joint Fires Observers) showed an overwhelming preference for the A-10. JTAC and JFO teams are trained to call in air strikes and most of these teams contain a combat aircraft pilot. At the same time these teams work directly with ground forces and are well aware of what kind of air support the ground troops find most useful. Ground controllers mostly (48 percent) preferred the A-10.

The Air Force will starve the A-10 of maintenance funds and then claim that the plane isn't fit to fight--as they've wrongly claimed for so long.

Do read it all.

The Air Force is very good at what it chooses to do. But it is choosing not to do a very basic task that is the heart of what the Air Force is for--supporting ground troops.

I'll never say that service parochialism is an exclusively Air Force problem. But it does seem to be more prevalent in this service.