Of course I’m not suggesting we send Skyhawks into battle. I was just pointing out that a piston-engine single can do things a business jet cannot and, by extension a single-engine or twin-engine turboprop can do things ‘fast-movers’ can’t do. For example, a Cessna or a Piper can land on and take off from many more places a Gulfstream or Lear can’t. A Cessna is better for sightseeing or for searching, though a Gulfstream is better for getting across the country in a short time.
IMO the A-10 is better for some operations than just about any other aircraft because it was designed specifically to do the task it does. But I think it’s over-designed for the counterinsurgency role. The OV-10 seems better for some operations. It can maneuver in tighter quarters than the A-10 or F-35 (though the A-10 is no slouch in that department). You don’t really need a GAU-8/A to take out personnel or trucks, and the OV-10 has four .50 caliber machine guns that are nicely suited to do the job. The OV-10 is also considerably cheaper to buy (especially since there are several out of the 360 built that still exist) and operate than an A-10 or other less-suitable jet.
I think a turboprop is a very good choice for the type of warfare we find ourselves involved in nowadays. There’s no way the OV-10 is going back into production, but it’s very interesting (to me) to see them deployed 20 years after they were retired. A more likely COIN aircraft – especially since we’ve already purchased some for the Afghan Air Force – is the Embraer Super Tucano. At between $9 million and $14 million each and an operating cost of around $500/hour, they’re much cheaper than any A-10 replacement, and they are better suited to the role.