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Popular forum feedback on the A-10 Warthog is that it is held in high esteem however I also read that it is no longer being manufactured. Is this true and why would a highly successful combat aircraft be discontinued?

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    $\begingroup$ It hasn't been made for over 30 years, but it isn't being planned to be phased out of service until at least 2030, and by some estimates, 2040. If you read this somewhere, it would help to link the article, at this time there are no plans to retire the Warthog beyond its already expected service life. It may surprise you, but only 716 were made. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Oct 18 '17 at 4:59
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your reply Ron. My error - when reading the A-10 information, I did not consider the difference between ceasing manufacturer and retiring from service. $\endgroup$ – vonRuffy Oct 18 '17 at 5:04
  • $\begingroup$ Is this true and why would a highly successful combat aircraft be discontinued? For the same reason that the F-14 was finally discontinued, and for the same reason that the F-4 was discontinued, and the same reason that the A-6 was discontinued. That broad question applies to any aircraft that is no longer in production. Is your question about when the A-10 will no longer be used, or retired from service? (It's still alive and well, despite numerous attempts to put it to bed ...) $\endgroup$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 18 '17 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ My point being... why spend billions on designing/developing/manufacturing an alternate aircraft, like the F-35, that has lots of 'issues' to rectify prior to delivery. Why not capitalise on an existing combat legend like the A-10 by redesigning/modernising/manufacturing a current version. Constantly retrofitting an old aircraft is financial suicide. $\endgroup$ – vonRuffy Oct 18 '17 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ Related: What does the term “white-scarf Air Force” mean? $\endgroup$ – fooot Dec 6 '17 at 15:41
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A-10 entered service in 1976 and is the only production-built aircraft that has served in the USAF that was designed solely for close air support(CAS). With huge losses of A1 (226) in Vietnam war called for development for a aircraft capable for providing air support to ground troops and conduct counterinsurgency. If we look at the history of development of CAS it had direct competition from Army helicopter ( e.g AH-56 Cheyenne) for the above mentioned roles.

The CAS study provided two important recommendations for the Air Force: “(1) the Air Force should take steps to highlight in official USAF doctrine, tactics and procedures publications the methods for accomplishing those missions for which the armed helicopters were provided and which the Air Force considered part of the close air support function; and (2) to fulfill the requirements for the 1970 plus time period, the Air Force should take immediate and positive steps to obtain a specialized close air support aircraft, simpler and cheaper than the A-7, and with equal or better characteristics than the A-1.Based on Air Force and contractor studies, the estimated unit flyaway cost for the A-X was \$1 - \$1.2M (FY70)depending on purchase quantities. Research and Development costs were estimated at 240Million \$. Also for the projected unit cost (FY70)for the turboprop version was \$0.837M (600 aircraft buy) - \$0.937M (400 aircraft buy). The projected unit cost for the turbofan version was \$0.989M (600 aircraft buy) - \$1.092M (400 aircraft buy). Hence with the budget that airforce had they put up a order of 715 aircraft.

Avionics Estimation

Production of the 715 A-10 aircraft finished in 1984. With A10 seeing most of action and noteworthy performance in Afghanistan and gulf wars by the turn of 1990s the aircraft was outdated in terms of avionics and more modern helicopters capable of performing same role (e.g Boeing AH-64 Apache). In 1992 air force purposed F-35 multi role fighter to replace A-10. To put numbers into perspective the U.S. Air Force stated that retirement of A-10 would save \$3.7 billion from 2015 to 2019.

With delay in F-35, air force retrofitted all A-10 and OA-10 aircraft in the fleet to the A-10C standard with a new flight computer, new glass cockpit displays and controls, two new 5.5-inch (140 mm) color displays with moving map function, and an integrated digital stores management system.

References:

https://web.archive.org/web/20150910033808/http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a530838.pdf

http://www.gao.gov/htext/d07415.html

http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2008/June%202008/0608fade.aspx

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/a-highertech-hog-the-a10c-pe-program-03187/

http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/224/Article/104490/a-10-thunderbolt-ii.aspx

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting, but I'm not quite seeing how this is an answer to the questions raised? $\endgroup$ – Pekka 웃 Oct 18 '17 at 9:37
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    $\begingroup$ Ceasing to manufacturer/ discontinuation of A-10, had its roots back to when A-X program was launched, as Army and airforce both wanted different programs (army prefered helicopters and air force wanted A-X). Due to constraint in budget 715 was ordered, never used till 1991 gulf war, by the time their capability was seen it was already old and F-35 was started in 1992 to replace it. $\endgroup$ – Huntkil Oct 18 '17 at 9:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Huntkil please consider expanding this in the answer by editing it, rather than in the comments. $\endgroup$ – Federico Oct 18 '17 at 10:27
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    $\begingroup$ You start a quote, “(1) the Air Force should... but don't indicate where the quote ends, so it's difficult to tell which part of that is "their" analysis and which part is yours. Also, you have some references which is great, but no indication of which reference that quote comes from, nor an indication of where your chart comes from. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Oct 18 '17 at 14:58

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