Oddly enough, there's still a use for them: "An undisclosed number of Warthogs, part of the “Blacksnakes” 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron based at Fort Wayne, Indiana, have been deployed to Middle Eastern airbases to provide air cover to troops fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria." This is not the same as saying that the Warthog is 'back:' merely that objective reality itself is pushing back on any and all attempts to retire the airplane. ...And this should not shock anyone. People have been trying to kill the A-10 since it rolled off of the production line: if it's anything, it's tough. Tougher than the career of, say, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
This is not to say that the plane should not be eventually replaced, because it is forty years old. But the real problem here is that the Air Force faces what it appears to consider to be an unpalatable choice: they don't want to fly fixed-wing airplanes that specialize in Close Air Support (it's not sexy), but they don't want the Army to fly fixed-wing airplanes at all*. Until that particular moral dilemma is resolved, I think that we should keep the Warthog around for a bit longer.
Which is certainly more than could be said about Chuck Hagel, huh?
(Image via KPG_Payless / Shutterstock.com)
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*I would like to say that the Army would happily take over those duties if it meant keeping the A-10, but I have had it gently pointed out to me that just maintenance and resupplying them would be a stretch on the Army's resources and skill pool. But the ground troops do like the flying tanks, because they're tanks. That fly. And then shoot depleted uranium rounds at bad people (ie, people who are shooting at American ground troops). This is appealing to them.