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The Air Force wants to replace the aging but beloved A-10 “Warthog” with a robotic “flying coke machine” that loiters over the battlefield, dispensing firepower at the touch of a button, the outgoing Chief of Staff said this morning.
“Eventually, I think the right close air support replacement is something that’s overhead for ground forces all the time,” Welsh said. “It’s firepower on demand, it’s flying artillery…an orbiting weapons station.”
Or you could call it “a flying coke machine,” Welsh said, using a phrase used 10 years ago to describe combat drones. “Put your quarter in and you get whatever kind of firepower you want,” he said. “[E.g.] ‘it would be really nice to have area fire right now, and I mean right now.’ 911-ROCKETS.”
“I have a son who’s an infantry officer in the Marine Corps,” Welsh said. “As his dad, I’d like him to have that.” But there’s no money and no program to develop such an aircraft.