The F-15 Strike Eagle recently swapped out with the A-10 Thunderbolt II to assume responsibility of the close-air-support mission here.Isn't the A-10 the better choice? Is this a silly move, a political move, or have we just used them up to the point they don't have a combat unit that can fit the bill at this place and time? If not, what is the plan to replace the airframe. Don't say F-35A or AH-64. One is way too expensive, the both cannot take the hits from groundfire like an A-10. It has been arguably the most valuable aircraft of the last 25 years.
Let's review costs - shall we?
F-15E Strike Eagle: Cost per unit: ($43 million FY98$); number produced: 203
A-10 Warthog: Cost per unit:($9.8-13 million FY98$); number produced: 715 (273 A-10 and 172 OA-10 left)
We won't even go into the ability of the A-10 to take a hit and keep going - something only the SU-25 even comes close to doing.
What worries me is starting in the next couple of months, you will see a lot, a lot, come out of Afghanistan as both sides seem to have made the decision to run at each other's throat. This will be a knife fight. It would be nice to have the F-15E in reserve, but I would think the guys on the ground would rather have a brace of A-10s.