Former hog driver Gen. Ron Keys took time to thank the Air Force’s industry partners for their work in getting the upgraded C Model A-10 Warthog ready for combat operations, but he noted at the initial operational capability ceremony (see above) that the program has had to struggle to keep its dollars. Keys, who retires as commander of Air Combat Command this fall, declared that some of the toughest battles over funding the Warthog modernization program were fought with Pentagon officials and lawmakers. Keys believes the precision engagement upgrade was worthwhile, he thinks the C model is not the “’Super Hog’ we envisioned, but this is a better than average hog,” in a reference to the now-aborted 2005 plan to upgrade the aircraft’s engines. Pilots flying combat today have said that the Hog’s engines could use more power to carry full weapons loads. That is one reason, said Lt. Col. Ralph Hansen, ACC’s director of A-10 requirements, that the Air Force has requested funds in its Fiscal 2008 supplemental to test upgraded engines on the A-10. If the tests prove out, USAF could begin an engine retrofit as soon as 2010 or 2011, he added.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.