Two Relevant Pieces on the A-10 Controversy
By: Winslow Wheeler | June 16, 2014
In the last few days, David Axe’s “War Is Boring” website ran two useful and highly relevant pieces about the A-10 close air support aircraft, Capitol Hill defense-think, and the B-1B bomber—the latter touted by the Air Force as a suitable replacement for the former.
Recent history and a 2007 incident in Afghanistan undermine the Air Force’s case for the B-1B—and against the A-10.
In an impressive piece of reporting, Axe describes a 2007 incident when A-10’s literally saved a large number of ISAF (British) troops from being killed by a B-1B in an unfolding friendly fire incident—which was averted literally at the last second thanks to the operating characteristics of the A-10 and the specialized training of its aircrew. It is an instructive lesson about the continuing need for the A-10.
Find Axe’s insightful article here.
The day before, “War Is Boring” ran a commentary by Pierre Sprey and myself. The piece addresses the recent action by the House Appropriations Committee, conducted in a manner to hold Members unaccountable, to deny funding for retaining the A-10. While adding at least $1.6 billion for preferred hardware programs, the committee could find nothing to support the A-10, and it did so when the morning headlines were revealing the death of five American soldiers in another friendly-fire tragedy—this one carried to fruition by a B-1B bomber. The committee studiously avoided the hypocrisy of its funding numerous big ticket hardware goodies and declaring itself poverty-stricken for the A-10, and it also demonstrated its own purposeful obliviousness to unfolding events directly relevant to the debate at hand—the then-available Washington Post and Fox News revelations that the friendly fire event had occurred and that a B-1B was responsible.
Find this commentary here