I posted this on a mailing list a few days ago as part of a discussion on why Israel never bought the A-10. Might as well repost it here….
Tactically, the A-10 is a fantastic aircraft for IDF/AF needs. Armour is the game in the Middle East, and the A-10 is one of the top anti-armour weapons in the world. It wreaked havoc in Iraq.
The A-10′s strength is in its ruggedness and its ability top bring its pilot home despite any damage it may receive. It’s slow, and vulnerable to hits, but it will get home. The USAF can afford this strategy. It can send out assets and replace those that are damaged.
The problem is that the A-10 doesn’t meet Israel’s strategic needs. Unlike the USAF, the IDF/AF has few resources.
Israel’s strength lies not in the number of planes but in the number of sorties. What the IADF/AF does better than probably
any air force in the world is turn around aircraft. The IDF/AF’s pit crews can get more sorties per day out of an airplane than anyone else.
The A-10′s strength doesn’t match the IDF/AF’s strength. What good is all that rapid turnaround if your A-10s have to go in to be patched up or get a new engine every third sortie? The USAF can afford to do this, air forces with fewer aircraft can’t.
The IDF/AF and other less wealthy air forces need to opt for fast attack aircraft that will evade the hits or for pop-up attack
helicopters that will hide from them. It’s a strategy of avoiding damage rather than taking it and coming home.