Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

U.S. Rep. McSally Debunks Claims that A-10 not “Survivable”

April 15, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Confirming the A-10’s unmatched capabilities as the U.S Air Force’s  best Close Air Support (CAS) asset, U.S. Rep. Martha McSally yesterday during a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing got top Department of Defense officials to concede that the F-35 would not be as survivable as the A-10 in certain CAS scenarios. The testimony conflicts with previous Air Force claims about the A-10’s survivability compared to other aircraft and exposes a gap in capabilities should the Administration mothball the A-10 without a replacement.

“As a former A-10 pilot and squadron commander, there are times, and there will still be times in the future, where you must get down and dirty with the guys on the ground who are often on the run, unable to give you their coordinates,” said Rep. McSally in response to the testimony. “And you have to visually be able to see, where are the good guys and the bad guys. You cannot stand off in all CAS scenarios even in the future, and that’s a concern I have with the limited capabilities in replacing the A-10.”

Rep. McSally repeatedly has described the flaws in the Air Force’s justification to retire the A-10 ahead of schedule, saying the decision is reckless and would put, “American lives at risk.”

“The (F-35) has some vulnerabilities that you would expect a high performance aircraft to have. The A-10 is going to be able to, can take, hits an F-35 couldn’t take,” said Department of Defense Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Michael Gilmore during the hearing. “The plan would probably be for the F-35 to stand off more for many of these threats than the A-10 does not stand off from. So the survivability of the F-35 against some of these threats isn’t going to be as good as the A-10, but I think the operators would say they wouldn’t use the F-35 the same way they would use the A-10 to do close air support.”

To watch Rep. McSally’s questioning, click HERE.

Rep. McSally has led a bipartisan effort to request appropriators reject the Administration’s plan to divest the A-10 fleet beginning in Fiscal Year 2016. Later this month, Rep. McSally and other lawmakers serving on the House Armed Services Committees will meet to decide national defense spending authorization for Fiscal Year 2016.