Air Force Doctored Statistics about Friendly Fire and Civilian Deaths to Get Rid of A-10 Attack Jet

Friday, February 13, 2015

The U.S. Air Force really wants to ditch the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft despite its decades of reliable service as an effective close air support attack plane. The Air Force even released cherry-picked statistics to show that the plane killed friendly soldiers and civilians, when a more complete set of numbers revealed just the opposite.

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) looked at the doctored stats put out by the Air Force as well as other numbers on the A-10’s performance. The numbers the Air Force released indicated the plane, nicknamed the Warthog, had killed more civilians and U.S. troops than any other aircraft in service.

What the Air Force did, POGO pointed out, was release just total number of casualties. Given the high number of missions flown by A-10s, it was no wonder that the Air Force’s stats made the plane look like a real killer that should be decommissioned.

But POGO said the ratio of missions flown to number of civilians and soldiers killed showed the Warthog actually had one of the lowest rates of killing people. The A-10s ratio was only 1.4 for civilian casualties, the second lowest after the AC-130. For comparison, the B-1 bomber’s kill ratio was 6.6. The worst kill ratio was that of the AV-8 Harrier, flown by the Marine Corps, at 8.4.

POGO’s Mandy Smithberger wrote “the A-10 is the safest airplane in Afghan combat, except for the AC-130.” Furthermore, “retiring the A-10 gets rid of an Army-supporting mission Air Force generals despise and protects the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program from a combat-proven competitor.”

The F-35 won’t be operational until next year, and only then with less capability than originally advertised.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Air Force Headquarters Declassified and Released Incomplete Data to Further A-10 Smear Campaign (by Mandy Smithberger, Project on Government Oversight)

Air Force General Says Talking to Congress about A-10 Attack Jet is Treason (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)


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