Friday, August 04, 2017

Friendly Fire

The Air Force continues their plan to kill the A-10 even as they pretend to love the plane and the capabilities to support ground troops that the plane provides.

This seems about right:

According to several sources inside the Air Force, the service will push ahead with the light attack tests and eventually select one of the airframes for procurement. The acquisition of the selected OA-X will then be dragged out over years. In the meantime, the Air Force will request permission to divest increasing numbers of A-10s to free up funds to purchase the new aircraft, while using the justification that it makes the A-10 redundant. The A-10s will be sent to the boneyard where they will quickly be scrapped, thus ensuring they can never again be brought back into service. Once the A-10’s demise is a fait accompli, the light attack plane program will be quietly canceled. This may seem rather conspiracy-minded, but the Air Force has repeatedly attempted to rid itself of the A-10 and the close air support mission only to be thwarted by public pressure and congressional injunctions.

A year ago, the Air Force said they were planning a super awesome replacement for the A-10--the A-X2--and the OA-X would be an interim low-cost plane useful for the fights right now. I viewed the OA-X as a placeholder to kill the A-10 for good:

Little money will be spent on the super awesome A-X2; the A-10 will be retired and scrapped; the small OA-X force will be quietly sold off; and the multi-role F-35 (with expert pilots and support crews previously dedicated to close air support turned into multi-role air power crews, losing the experience built up over decades) will be touted as the ground support solution.

And the Air Force will proceed as they planned, paying little attention to ground force fire support needs.

I don't have any sources inside the Air Force. I just have their statements, doctrine, and history to go by.