A-10 retirement deferred until at least 2022

Published: Feb. 2, 2016 at 5:26 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 29, 2016 at 4:26 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The A-10 attack jets that fly out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base will not be retired until 2022 at the earliest.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Tuesday, Feb. 2 announced funding for the A-10 will be included in the Obama Administration's 2017 budget request, which will be released Feb. 9.

The A-10s are the primary mission for Davis-Monthan and are responsible for the majority of the jobs on the base.

"Today's announcement confirms why we fought so hard and continue to fight to keep this plane flying," U.S. Rep. Martha McSally said in a news release. "The A-10 is critical to our national security. It continues to demonstrate its value on the battlefield against ISIS, in Europe to deter Russian aggression, and on the border with North Korea."

For the past few years, the Pentagon has tried to retire the planes to save several billion dollars.

"Secretary Carter's announcement today is a credit to the brave airmen from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and military installations across the country who are providing unmatched close-air support in critical missions throughout the world," Sen. John McCain said in a news release.

There is not another airplane that can do what the A-10 Thunderbolt II, more affectionately known as the 'Warthog', can and there is no viable replacement in development.

The A-10 is for close-air support. When soldiers on the ground need help, the A-10 can swoop in 50 feet above the ground and take out enemy targets.

The F-35 cannot do that, which makes the A-10 the ground soldier's best friend.

"There is no weapon in our arsenal that offers more effective close-air support to American ground troops serving in harm's way than the A-10 aircraft," McCain said. "I look forward to seeing our A-10 pilots continue to make important advances in the fight against ISIL in the Middle East, boosting NATO's efforts to deter Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, and supporting vital missions for U.S. national security wherever they are needed."

Carter said that once the A-10s are retired, they will be replaced with the F35s on a squadron-by squadron basis.

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