[Editor’s Note: This is great news for all you Hawg lovers out there! As we all know, the status of the A-10 has been a hotly-contested topic for quite some time. And while the ultimate fate of the Warthog has already been decided, at least this amazing workhouse has been given a new lease on life. ATTACK!]
As predicted by Air Combat Command commander Gen. Hawk Carlisle in November, the Air Force is indefinitely freezing all plans to retire the A-10 Warthog, a warplane many officials, airmen and congressional members have rallied behind since the announcement of its withdrawal from the battlefield.
“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., said in a statement Wednesday in response to the news reports. McSally is a retired colonel who served 26 years in the Air Force and was the first female pilot to fly in combat.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., another A-10 advocate, echoed McSally’s sentiments.
“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,” he said in a statement.
For months, leaders have been saying the retirement of the A-10 comes at an improper time because the planes are still needed to fight global threats such as the Islamic State group.
“I think we would probably move the retirement slightly to the right,” Carlisle said on Nov. 10. “Eventually we will have to get there. We have to retire airplanes. But I think moving it to the right and starting it a bit later and keeping the airplane a bit longer is something to consider, based on things as they are today and what we see in the future.”
While the decision ultimately lies with Pentagon leadership, Carlisle said that he believes the retirement of the A-10 could be delayed by a few years to make sure the Air Force has the number of planes it needs — especially since top brass is re-evaluating the number of F-35’s (planes intended to replace the A-10) that the U.S. will purchase.
“If I have them, I’m going to use them because they’re a fantastic airplane, and I’m going to take advantage of them,” Carlisle said. “The pilots are incredibly well-trained and they do incredible work in support of the joint war fight.”
The original article by the Air Force Times can be found here.
(Featured photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)
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