AZ Sen. John McCain discusses future of A-10 jets

Published: Jan. 16, 2016 at 2:42 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 12, 2016 at 2:42 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Arizona Senator John McCain sat down with Tucson News Now's Bud Foster on Friday evening to discuss the A-10 jets and their future at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

The retirement of the A-10 jets has been put on hold until at least 2017.

A replacement must be found, which is still being decided.

"We've got to develop plans also for other missions because the A-10 will not be around forever," he said.

McCain said that work is being done.

It could be drones, because the nearby Goldwater Range is the only place in the country which can train using live ammunition.

In the near term, it does not look like it will be the F-35.

The trillion-dollar weapons system has been in McCain's words, "a debacle."

Saving the A-10 had much to do with his recent chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee, where he was able to tie the A-10 opponents in knots.

"Because we put in legislation that prohibited them from retiring the A-10, they didn't have a choice," he said.

McCain also said southern Arizona is in vital need of a transportation upgrade.

He said the state is losing Mexican and Central American trade to Texas because of poor infrastructure, and he hinted a tax increase may be the way to fund it.

"If there's ever a time to add a couple of pennies at the pump it would be now when gas prices are low, but you also have to sell it to the people," McCain said.

Easier said than done in a time of voter anger against tax hikes, but he said that's something he's well aware of.

"And those of us who are up for re-election had better understand there is a lot of dissatisfaction and anger out there," he said.

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