The Big Ugly: Why the A-10 Warthog Refuses To Retire

The A-10 Warthog: Loved by pilots and loved even more by troops on the ground. It’s kinda slow, bulletproof, and very deadly. Let’s keep it.
Paying Attention: America goes to war on a regular basis and goes to irregular wars and confrontational situations constantly. Sometimes we go because we are asked to, sometimes we go because we feel like we have to, and sometimes we go because no one else will take up the challenge. Wars are now fought in the air, in space, in and under water, and in cyberspace, but, in the end, wars are still won, lost, or finalized on the ground.  Of the many tools the military has at its disposal to win on the ground is a 30 year old airplane called the A-10, nicknamed” The Warthog”. It’s does not have the sleek beauty of an F-15 or the stealthy, mysterious look of the B2. It is not, in purely aesthetic terms, a beauty, but, as Mies van der Rohe once said,”Form Follows Function”, and to troops on the ground, tank commanders, and those in (often desperate) need of “close air support”, the A-10 is the weapon of  choice: it can flow low and slow, it’s packed with all kinds of deadly weapons, and it can take a punch or a ground-to-air missile and keep flying. It is perfect for what it does and, once again, despite continuing attempts by bean counters to put it out of service (old, hard to maintain, expensive), it’s going into battle, this time back to the Middle East where it will introduce it’s unique set of “special skills” to ISIS. WIRED magazine pays attention to such things, and they produced a great piece, complete with video, on the A-10 Warthog and why it’s one of the great planes of all time. It is the plane that refuses to retire and everyone associated with it–from pilots to ground troops–agrees with the decision.
The Fine Print: Photo of the A-10 Warhog taken by and copyright (c) Justin Connaher, taken on 21 August 2014 with a Nikon D700 (F10..1/250th..ISO 800..70mm, for the techs among us). Used under Creative Commons license. The photo has not been altered. We thank Justin for sharing. 

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