The A-10 Thunderbolt II, affectionately known as the Warthog, has become a drag on American air power. Conceived during the Vietnam War to provide close air support to ground forces, the 40-year-old tank killer is outdated — too slow to survive in contested air space, too focused on a single mission to give the joint force the flexibility it needs. And yet a handful of legislators are seeking to block retirement of the aging Warthog, even though that means depriving the next-generation F-35A fighter of the experienced maintainers it needs to become operational in 2016. Rather than letting fond memories of the Warthog’s former glory impede progress, Congress should give the Air Force the flexibility it needs to manage its fleet. Failing in that, Congress should loosen spending caps legislated in 2011 so that keeping A-10 in the force doesn’t harm other facets of U.S. air power. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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