This is a Navy blog but I just can’t pass on the following Air Force item especially since it indirectly impacts Marine and Navy CAS.
DoD Buzz website quotes Air Force Gen. Mark Welsh as saying that scrapping the A-10 will save $4.2B over five years (1). This apparently is the Air Force's justification for letting the A-10 go. Of course, the real justification is preserving the Air Force’s buy of F-35’s. Be that as it may …
Let’s check that cost savings number out, shall we? Since the purpose behind letting the A-10 go is to preserve the F-35 purchase, let’s do the math and see how many additional F-35’s we can purchase (or save from cuts) for $4.2B.
At the moment, a reasonable cost for an F-35A is $150M. I know there are some of you who believe that the F-35 will eventually cost $9.95 each once we reach super-serial production buoyed by an upswell of foreign buyers. Well, a check of the actual budget requests shows a much higher cost. Will the cost come down someday? Perhaps, but we’ll deal in the here and now.
So, $4.2B / $150M = 28
There you have it. Scrapping 300 A-10’s will buy (or save from cuts) 28 F-35’s.
That’s probably worth repeating. Scrapping 300 A-10’s will gain us 28 F-35’s.
Does that seem like a worthwhile trade?
And I thought the Navy was screwed up! I’m going to have to write the Navy a letter of apology.
Note: For you absolute diehard JSF fanboys, if you won’t accept real costs, go ahead and make up any number you want and run the arithmetic. It doesn’t change the conclusion.