I’m not anti-Warthog. But nor am I convinced it is the end all and be all of Close Air Support. CAS is a mission, not a platform.
There is a fair history of certain aircraft being successfully used by both the sea services and the Air Force. Three examples of tactical aircraft that pop immediately to mind are the A-1 Skyraider, the F-4 Phantom, and the A-7 Corsair II. What do these three platforms all have in common? They were originally designed for the Navy, then successfully operated (in modified form) by the Air Force. And while Robert S. McNamara is rightfully scorned for, among other things, the failed joint service TFX program,* he does deserve credit for forcing both the F-4 and the A-7 upon the Air Force.
The Navy bought the A-7 as a replacement for the A-4 for the light attack mission. The Air Force joined the program in 1965, but dragged its heels so that the A-7D didn’t enter service until 1970, and didn’t make its first combat deployment until 1972. In spite of that, it was highly successful in Southeast Asia.
Almost immediately after the Vietnam War, the Air Force began transferring it’s A-7s from the active force onto the Air National Guard.
The A-7D was an excellent ground attack aircraft. It had a fantastic load capability, excellent endurance, and was a very stable, highly accurate bombing platform. It’s avionics were quite capable for the time.
Given reasonable upgrades to the engine and avionics, the A-7 could still be providing excellent Close Air Support to US troops, at low cost.
*The F-111 bomber for the Air Force was quite successful, but as a program, the TFX was a dog, and the very idea of the F-111B as a fighter was ludicrous.