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AF Secretary, General Downplay A-10

January 20, 2015

The Air Force battling Congress over A-10s parallels the Army battle with Congress over helicopters in a period of Sequestration

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James last week tried to minimize the role the A-10 fighter is playing in the war against the Islamic State. She said other aircraft are being used more often in the campaign against the militant group, but pointed out that 11 percent of the Air Force’s sorties have been flown by the A-10, which the Air Force wants to retire by 2019.

“There are a number of strike platforms, of course, that are engaged in [the campaign],” she said, according to Defense News. “[The] A-10 is one of it, but there are also F-16s, F-15s and so forth. They’re each contributing.”

The A-10s now flying missions against the Islamic State are from the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. James Post, the vice commander of Air Combat Command, said praising the aircraft known for its close-air support capabilities is treason. According to The Arizona Daily Independent, Post said, “If anyone accuses me of saying this, I will deny it . . . anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason.

A spokeswoman for the command based at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, said the general was using “hyperbole” to make a point.

The secretary’s remarks seem intended to downplay the aircraft’s role while the service tries to retire it in a money-saving effort. However, Defense News pointed out that the aircraft entered the fray only in November, three months after the air campaign began.

“For the A-10 to have hit 11 percent overall sorties in half the time of the F-16 indicates a high usage of the Warthog,” the publication wrote, using the nickname for the A-10. It also said supporters of the A-10 will probably use that figure to show the need for the aircraft.

Last month, Congress, with support from National Guard Association of the United States, delayed for one year the Air Force’s plan to put the aircraft out to pasture.

From → sequestration *

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