Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Service Doth Protest Too Much

The Air Force keeps insisting that some of their best friends are in the Army and that providing support to ground forces is a high priority for the Air Force. Yet whenever the Air Force has to make a choice based on money that affects ground force missions, it seems that they choose not to support the ground forces. The A-10 has been in the news lately as a plane the Air Force has long wanted to scrap, but don't forget electronic warfare support:

Not long ago the air forces now proposed to retire half the EC-130H fleet in order to provide more money for F-35s and the new heavy bomber. Ground forces quickly came forward with a mountain of evidence about how useful the EC-130H was in fighting Islamic terrorists. Faced with that the air force is now seeking to replace the EC-130H with a smaller but similar (in capabilities) aircraft. Some orders for F-35s are being delayed and the new bomber will take longer to develop.

I wouldn't mind this Air Force anti-ground force bias if they'd simply concede the mission and the money for the mission to the Army, and truly "aim high."

UPDATE: And don't forget the A-10 that was recently saved from Air Force plans to retire the critically needed plane:

Previously, the Air Force planned to fully retire all 300 A-10s by 2018. Congressional and public opposition — and the fact that the Pentagon has recently deployed A-10s to battle Islamic State and to deter Russia — compelled the Air Force to bump back the twin-engine jet’s final flight [to 2022]. ...

But a planning document the Air Force published in mid-February reveals that 2022 is the flying branch’s deadline for the last A-10 retirement, not the first. In fact, according to the document, the first A-10s — those currently with the Air National Guard in Indiana and the Air Force Reserve in Kansas — will bow out as early as 2017.

The Air Force brass is a persistent bunch, you must admit.