In a move that is coming as a welcomed surprise to many in the Air Force community, the plans for the retirement of the A-10 Warthog have been scrapped.
Why the sudden change? The fight against ISIS. This plan will be officially abandoned when the Pentagon releases its budget. Until then, officials are keeping quiet about specifics.
The A-10’s low and slow mobility to compliment ground forces have become a necessity as the U.S. tries to take out ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
The original plan was to retire the A-10 and move the money and maintenance workers over to the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which would replace both the Warthog and the F-16 fighter.
However, those plans were never popular especially in light of the numerous missions they are running against ISIS and their recent deployment to Europe to take part in NATO exercises.
This new development isn’t a huge surprise in light of the comments in November by Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command, when he said:
“I think moving it to the right and starting it a bit later and maybe keeping the airplane around a little bit longer is something that’s being considered based on things as they are today and that we see them in the future.”
From Defense One:
The Air Force is shelving its immediate plans to retire the A-10 Warthog attack plane, which has become critical to the U.S.bombing campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, Pentagon officials tell Defense One.
Air Force officials say they still need to retire the A-10 to make room for newer warplanes, but that the calculus for its sunsetting has been thrown off by commanders’ demands for the Warthog now.
Putting the A-10’s retirement plans on hold is a key policy shift that will be laid out next month when the Pentagon submits its 2017 budget request to Congress, said Pentagon officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the Obama Administration’s spending plan before its official release.
Source: American Military News