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April 10, 2007



"I have been curious for awhile as to why the Air Force fly the A-10 and not the Army, since its only role is to support the Army on the ground?I have been curious for awhile as to why the Air Force fly the A-10 and not the Army, since its only role is to support the Army on the ground?"

The Army's forbidden from flying armed fixed-winged aircraft. Google "Key West Agreement" for more details.

I recall reading that about 10 years ago USAF Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak offered to trade the Army all his A-10s in return for all Army air defense above Stinger (Patriot, THAAD, etc.) The Army turned him down. Not sure what the reason was, probably logistical, but the Army Chiefs of Staff of the time have also been described as mediocre and unimaginative.

Or maybe peer pressure not to be the first one to break Key West.


I guess, I do disagree with what was written, sort of. It is important to look at the various ground support roles of the two Aircraft. Each may have a different and complementary ground support mission. The different roles was a difference I did not know. The answer does clarify the different ground support roles, but not really change my opinion much.

I guess I was trying to find the optimum mix of aircraft, both in terms of cost, to the taxpayer and military need for support of the troops on the ground.

What the article Changing Planes highlighted to me, was the misuses and increase strain of using a plane, while clearly capable of doing the mission, was not the most effective in terms of cost to the taxpayer and future readiness, of the fighter force.

A solution to me was the A-10. It has not happen.
It may be that the A-10 and the Apache have different roles and don't compete in terms of dollars allocated and missions.
It may be that division caused by the Key West Agreement distorts the ability of each service to match mission to aircraft and the dollars they will spend on each.

It just may be the military favors expensive high tech solution over the more cost effective low tech solution. I might add, Europe with much more limited military budgets, purchases the Apache and other aircraft over the A-10 and other aircraft for ground support.

Without a careful look at the dollars spent on each aircraft and matching that to the military value of the mission they preform ,we will never know.

Oh and Thanks to those of you at DTI for the opportunity to ask a expert.

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