Image copyright Staff Sgt Bennie J. Davis III/Air Force
By Brian Everstine
Copyright US Air Force Times
The Air Force would be forced to make heavy cuts to its fighters and bombers if Congress rejects plans to retire the A-10 without providing additional funding, a top budget official said today.
The administration’s plan to cut the entire A-10 fleet, including infrastructure and depots, would save the Air Force $3.7 billion, plus another $500 million in cost avoidance, said Maj. Gen. James Jones, the deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements.
The Air Force could save the same amount by eliminating the entire B-1B Lancer fleet or about 350 F-16s.
“If you don’t let us divest, if we are returned force structure without additional [funding authority], we would have to evaluate what the options are,” Jones told reporters at the Pentagon Tuesday.
While the B-1 and F-16 cuts are not part of the fiscal 2015 budget plan, each is considered the “cost equivalent” to retiring the A-10 and could be an option if the Air Force can’t execute its budget, Jones said.
“We have to turn to something else,” he said. “We have to cut elsewhere. [The A-10] was the least-risk option.”