Air Force to Postpone Retirement of A10 Fleet

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The Air Force has decided to set aside its plans to retire the A-10 close air support aircraft, in the wake of the attack plane’s critical role in the U.S. bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State, according to DOD sources.Air Force officials say they still will need to retire the A-10 to pay for newer generation aircraft, but for now the service will shelve its plan in response to commanders’ request for the Warthog, reported Defense One.The Air Force will release a revised retirement plan next month when the administration submits its fiscal 2017 budget request to Congress.The service had proposed retiring the fleet in each of its last two budget requests in response to fiscal constraints, but each time lawmakers blocked the plan, arguing the A-10 is the most effective aircraft in the Air Force inventory at protecting ground troops.Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he welcomed the report that the Air Force plans to keep the Warthog through FY 2017. “With growing global chaos and turmoil on the rise, we simply cannot afford to prematurely retire the best close air support weapon in our arsenal without fielding a proper replacement,” McCain said.The report represents good news for Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., which is home to the nation’s largest contingent of A-10s, with more than 80 of the planes in three squadrons, reported the Arizona Daily Star.“It appears the administration is finally coming to its senses and recognizing the importance of A-10s to our troops’ lives and national security,” Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), a former A-10 pilot who flew combat missions in the 1990s, said in a statement. McSally’s district includes Tucson, where Davis-Monthan is located.last_img