An official Air Force documentary that includes voices of support to keep the A-10 Thunderbolt II, known as the Warthog, that was never released was uploaded online this week.
The video basically features pilots and Air Force personnel praising the plane’s value in combat situations. The military has argued that there are replacements for the slow and low-flying Warthog, which has been used for decades and is currently deployed to provide support against ISIS militants.
As Wired magazine says in a recent report, “The Air Force wants to scuttle the 238 A-10s still in service, a move that would save $3.7 billion over five years—and make way for more sophisticated planes like the new F-35 Lightning II. But given the crucial role it plays providing close air support, something particularly helpful against enemies in a place like Iraq, the A-10 has many staunch defenders, including Senator John McCain.”
According to Medium writer David Axe, he questions A-10 Air Force video was never released.
He writes: “Why would the Air Force suppress the A-10 docu when it had no problem releasing a similar short film about the F-16, embedded below?
“Maybe it’s because there are hundreds or even thousands of A-10 pilots and maintainers who are passionate about saving their plane.”
He said the video was obtained via an A-10 advocacy group through Facebook.
“A-10 savin’ the day again, baby,” said one unidentified soldier on the ground, per the video. The pilots’ faces are obscured names are blanked out in the documentary.
Others praised the GAU-8/A Avenger cannon–originally used against Soviet-made tanks–mounted on the A-10. “There’s nothing that matches the devastation that gun can bring,” said one pilot.
“The A-10 was built for ground combat,” added another pilot, who said the plane’s sensors are “great” and can allow for “precision strikes.” But he said the main benefit provided by the A-10 is allowing the pilot to actually see what’s going on from the cockpit.
“That will never replace just looking right outside my cockpit and looking at the battlespace,” the unnamed pilot said.
Many of the pilots elaborated in saying that the A-10 is about giving air support to “the guy on the ground,” and it can establish a personal sense of responsibility for the pilots. After a successful A-10 strike, the soldiers on the battlefield can see tangible results, they argue.