Saturday, April 25, 2015

One Tough Mother

More A-10s are going to fight ISIL. They will perform well despite Air Force brass insistence that the plane is a dangerous relic from the past.

This time, 12 planes from Selfridge air base in suburban Detroit are going:

About 350 airmen from Selfridge Air National Guard Base are overseas, deployed on an operation in Southwest Asia to eliminate the terrorist group the Islamic State.

The deployment, which includes a dozen A10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, is expected to last six months, military officials said today.

Good hunting to the Red Devils of the 107th Fighter Squadron.

As a personal aside, when I was in the service of the state legislature, I wrote resolutions urging the retention of the base (and others) during base closing and realignment rounds. I'm that good!

And when I was in the Army National Guard, "my" vehicle was "A-10" (A for Alpha Company), so we naturally called ourselves the Warthog.

We lost one A-10 in Iraq recently:

An A-10 deployed in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) suffered a "non-combat" engine failure and had to divert to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, according to an Air Force report.

The jet’s number-one engine suffered catastrophic damage during a routine refueling mission, and the pilot was able to safely land the aircraft at the air base in central Iraq, said the report Wednesday.

I would like to note that while the engine was a catastrophic loss, the plane was not. The pilot landed the plane--which was still flyable despite the engine mishap--on the remaining engine.

So the pilot lived to fly another day because of the ruggedness of the plane.

The incident is a reminder that rather than being a fragile waste of money that can only fly in "permissive" air environments, the A-10 is a tough plane as I wrote about recently:

The plane was designed to hit Soviet armored spearheads while the air fight up top took place, take damage, and keep flying, with armor and two engines in the rear and away from ground fire, which were designed (if my memory is accurate) to break away without destroying the plane, allowing the plane to limp home with just one engine.

You know, the Air Force built up a lot of credibility in the mind of this ground guy after more than a decade of effective and safe ground support for our troops in battle.

But the single-minded focus by the top brass in the Air Force to twist facts to kill the A-10 has undone all that good will.

Can the nation trust their judgment on anything given their shameful performance on this narrow issue?