The F-35 vs. A-10 Warthog, Head-to-Head in Close-Air Support. It’s On. By Christian Davenport, Washington Post
One of the biggest battles between Congress and the Pentagon over the past year has been over a snub-nosed grunt of an airplane, a jet so ugly (and fierce) it’s nicknamed the “Warthog.” It is beloved by the troops, particularly those who have been saved when the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and its huge 30 mm cannon, swooped in to save them in combat.
But despite the aircraft’s revered status, the Air Force has said it has no choice but to retire the fleet at a time of budget constraints. The A-10, officials have said, is designed for a single purpose—taking out enemy ground troops at such close range—a mission that could be taken over by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s $400 billion next-generation fighter jet.
Critics have argued that while the F-35 may be great at many things, it won’t be able to fulfill the dangerous role of what’s known as “close-air support” (or CAS) nearly as well as the A-10, which flies so low and slow it’s equipped with a titanium bathtub belly that’s designed to absorb the inevitable ground fire it receives…