Below are the links to two video clips from PBS. The first is their News Hour piece on the A-10 from February 25. It shows some of the arguments for and against the Air Force’s plan to send every existing A-10 close air support aircraft to the boneyard, and museums, as soon as the Air Force can do so.
It’s is an interesting piece, but I direct your attention especially to the second video link. It is an extraordinary interview by PBS’s Dan Sagalyn of Pierre Sprey on the origin and specific design characteristics of the A-10. I urge you to watch that second video and then consider if there is another aircraft that can even begin to bring to the modern battlefield the characteristics that the A-10 brings. The Air Force position is that the F-35 will pick up the close support mission in a few years and that other fighter-bomber designs can do it in the interim. That position dismisses the specialized, focused training close air support pilots must have (and will not get in a multi-role aircraft), and it provides only the most superficial reassurance that the physical aircraft characteristics essential for the close air support mission are somewhere present in F-16s, F-15s, B-1Bs and B-52s, and their air to ground munitions, including precision munitions. To claim the F-35 can perform the mission is especially pathetic.
See the two links below:
Click here to watch the PBS video on the A-10.
Click here to learn more about the A-10 from Pierre Sprey.
If you care to read more on the close support mission, the A-10, and why the F-35 and other multi-role aircraft are so much less effective in that role, even with precision munitions, see the summary and notes on two recent seminars that the Straus Military Reform Project and POGO sponsored in late 2013.
Finally, the Air Force and others contend that the A-10 cannot survive on the modern battlefield against sophisticated air defenses. That conventional wisdom is also unsupported by the facts; more on that later.