The US military's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is proving to be a pain in the neck in more ways than one. Not only did the Pentagon spend almost $400 billion to buy 2,400 aircraft - about twice as much as it cost to put a man on the moon - the F-35 program is 7 years behind schedule and $163 billion over budget. This at a time when cuts in the defense budget are forcing the Pentagon to shrink the size of the military. CBS 60 Minutes took a closer look at the troubled fighter plane a few months back, but their rebroadcast on Sunday evening seems like as good a reason as any to revisit one of the biggest ongoing budget debacles in U.S. military memory. David Martin gets an inside look at what makes the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter the most expensive weapons system in history.
the A-10 should have been retained.
While I love the idea of the A-10, much the way everyone loves the idea of the SR-71, the argument against the A-10 is compelling.
Smart munitions have undeniably been effective replacements. Iraq and Afghanistan ground support has been carried out by B-52s or B-1s, as well as some drones, quite well. Ground troops get more support from long-lingering bombers than they would from many times more A-10s. There's something to be said for an airborne platform to launch smart bombs out of.
Complaints about the potential of GPS jamming are not compelling, as laser-guided munitions pre-date them and remain in the arsenal.
The article you linked, suggests that close combat support requires more than dropping munitions, which I'd like to hear about, but did not elaborate on the topic, nor did the link provide more information.
I have the benefit of Monday-morning quarterbacking, where the writers of the article did not, I realize, but the effectiveness of bombers and drones in support roles has been proven effective over many years of operation, in a post-A-10 world. Similarly, attack helicopters have the capability to perform many of the close air support roles the A-10 was needed for, and in some ways superior to the A-10.