The Government Accountability Office raised serious questions about the Air Force’s plan to eliminate the A-10 attack plane in a new report, focusing in part on lesser-known missions for the aircraft while pointedly saying that the Defense Department should use “quality information” to make a decision.
The report, released Wednesday, acknowledged the A-10 Thunderbolt II’s role in close-air support (CAS), which has popularized the plane with ground troops and some members of Congress alike. The aircraft was fielded beginning in the 1970s specifically to carry out that mission, relying on a powerful 30mm Gatling gun cannon to strike enemies and a titanium armored “bathtub” that protects the pilot from ground fire. Nicknamed the Warthog, it has a snub-nose design and the ability to support ground troops more cheaply than its potential replacements.
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