U.S. House panel defeats bid to save A-10 'Warthog' aircraft

WASHINGTON Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:53pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee defeated an amendment to a defense spending bill on Tuesday that would have preserved funding for the U.S. fleet of A-10 "Warthog" aircraft.

The Pentagon, facing budget cuts, decided to eliminate all 283 of the tank-killer jets, saying it would save $3.7 billion over the next five years plus another $500 million in planned aircraft upgrades.

The committee voted 23-13 against the amendment to the annual appropriations bill, which was introduced by U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican.

The 40-year-old, slow-flying Warthog is enormously popular among soldiers and Marines. The heavily armored aircraft can withstand ground fire while loitering for long periods above a battlefield spraying 30mm armor-piercing, depleted-uranium cannon rounds at tanks and other targets.

The U.S. Air Force says money saved by cutting the Warthog would be used to bolster readiness, which has slipped in recent years because of budget cuts, and focus on priorities for the future, such as the radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new aerial refueling tanker and a new long-range bomber.

The vote was not necessarily the final verdict on the Warthog. The Senate must also pass its version of the Appropriations bill, which could include funding to keep the Warthog fleet.

The Senate bill would then be reconciled with the House bill before coming law.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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Comments (6)
Burns0011 wrote:
So, to save 4.2 billion, the Pentagon wants to decommission 283 aircraft that are unique in the arsenal of tools and that are specialized for the still highly necessary ground attack role.

The cost of the A-10 is a tenth of the cost of ‘modern’ aircraft in development. The cost to maintain an A-10 is considerably less than the cost to maintain a ‘modern’ aircraft. And finally; the retirement of the A-10 will necessitate closing a large number of airfields and Air Force bases in the Pacific, as the Air Force will no longer have any planes that can land there or take off from there.

Simply put, this decision doesn’t make sense from a strategic point of view. The only reason this is happening is because the Air Force is in love with the ‘fast movers’ and hates, hates, HATES the highly necessary combined arms ground attack / ground support role.

Jun 10, 2014 1:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
EchoTony wrote:
9.4 Billion more for the JSF – which has yet to meet any benchmarks – and they kill the best ground attack airplane in history. Dumb.

Jun 10, 2014 1:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BeRealistic wrote:
Agreed Burns, the A-10 is the one of the ground troop’s best friends. In the overall big global picture, This aircraft has far more usefulness in any conceived conflicts than the already failed F-35 albatross and IS far more economical in operating and maintenance.

Jun 10, 2014 1:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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