The A-10 Thunderbolt ‘Warthog’ is Here to Stay – ‘Indefinitely,’ Says US Air Force

After years of threatening to stop financing for the A-10 program and channel the funds to the newer F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the US Air Force has determined that the Warthog is just too effective to terminate.

General Ellen Pawlikowski, Air Force Material Command Chief, recently told AviationWeek that the maintenance depot that repairs and maintains the Air Force’s 283 Warthogs has restarted maintenance operations to full capacity.

The maintenance depot has cranked up operations; the depot line has been turned on and is being built back up to capacity and supply chain. The US Air Force Command is approaching this as another aircraft that will be sustained ‘indefinitely.’

Representative Martha McSally, former A-10 pilot, and Senator John McCain, former Navy pilot, both fought hard for the A-10 Thunderbolt, nicknamed the Warthog, which also echoed the feelings of many people in the defense community.

It seems that the former pilots, as well as many other people, are urging the Armed Services Committees to disprove the Air Force’s claims that the F-35 would be more effective than the Cold War-era aircraft, Business Insider reported.

Followed by trials initiated by the Air Force, suggests that the Warthog won this battle to determine which aircraft executes the close air support function better, the F-35 or A-10.

The generals of the US Air Force maintain that the A-10 Thunderbolts could be replaced. However, the Government Accountability Office discredited this contention arguing that the unique airframe, the aircraft’s low flight costs, and the highly competent and impeccably trained pilot brotherhood was without peer in today’s Air Force.

At the Hill Air Force Base in Utah, the maintenance staff can finally finish the 2007 contract with Boeing for sustainable repairs and maintenance to keep the aging aircraft flight-worthy for years to come.

For now, admirers and supporters of the aircraft can breathe freely and celebrate, even though the A-10 is still facing finance cuts in the 2018 budget.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE