May 4, 2018

HMM: U.S. Air Force Leaders Are Deliberately Slow-Rolling A-10 Refurbishment.

In a victory for supporters of the battle-proven A-10 close air support aircraft, Congress provided the necessary seed money to extend the fleet’s lifespan for at least another decade in its last spending bill. The U.S. Air Force had announced in 2017 that 110 A-10s were in danger of being retired because their wings were rapidly approaching the end of their useful service life.

The seed money is not as clear-cut a victory as many have supposed, however. The $103 million Congress appropriated for the A-10 re-winging project will only produce four new pairs of wings and it will likely take six years before new wings are installed on any operational A-10s. These funds will mainly be used to start up an entirely new production line.

The Air Force claims it needs all this money and time to get competitive bids to start up the new wing production line. All the while, the men and women serving in combat for the next six years badly need to be able to count on an A-10 force that is not shrinking rapidly due to a failure to replace worn out wings.

Air Force procurement hasn’t exactly been aiming high in recent years.

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