I thought the editorial at the link was so bad at the time it came out (along with a bunch of similar A-10 puff pieces), I don't remember paying it much heed. But Driscoll's resurrection of this poorly 'informed' op-ed illustrates--- once again-- the power of the CAS Mythology and "narrative". Just look at the comment thread at Instapundit. Yikes!
Normally, I like what Ed Driscoll writes, and writes about, but he's waaay out of his area of expertise this time.
Dear Ed: That IBD Op Ed could have been written by one or more squirrels.
The A-10 wasn't fielded in 1972. It first flew, in a fly-off, in 1972. (I was there) It didn’t hit IOC until 1976 or FOC until 1978. Core operational concepts for Europe weren't developed until 1979 (I was there too).
The cockpit armor and other design features make it harder to shoot down that it would be otherwise, but having bits and pieces shot off you is not a long term survival strategy. A-10s in Desert Storm saw the most intense air defense environment they have seen before or since. They did not do well. A-10s were pulled off the Iraqi Republican Guard units and tasked against weaker units as a consequence.
A fast mover may cost more $ up front, but if the attrition rate is even a few percentage points lower, the savings, not to mention the ability to sustain operations, far outweighs the operating costs—even if you don’t factor in the fewer 'dead aircrew' part. THAT is the proper context for framing a statement like “Force requirements should be dictated by battlefield requirements, not budget restraints.”
The F-35 will provide CAS in its own way and not in the manner the A-10 provides it, so the open question is not whether or not the F-35 “can take the punishment the A-10 can”. The open question is:
Why do people think you have to take punishment like an A-10 to fly CAS?
May I Suggest Some Remedial Reading?
Start at Part 1 (Links for Part 2 through 8 at bottom of Part 1).
Just found out where and how Driscoll got suckered in.