TUCSON, Ariz. — Some Arizona lawmakers intend to fight a plan by the U.S. Air Force to begin retiring parts of the nation’s fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets, which are part of a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.
The Arizona Daily Star reports that decommissioning the jets is part of an Air Force objective to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
Republican U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, a former A-10 pilot, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s beginning later this year.
Air Force officials unveiled plans Feb. 10 to begin discontinuing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
“The Air Force sustains our commitment to the Air Force’s most effective close-air-support platform, the A-10, with $161 million to continue the re-winging and avionics upgrades,” said Maj. Gen. John Pletcher, deputy assistant secretary for financial management and comptroller.
The retirement of the oldest A-10s that are the least ready for duty puts the Air Force on a path to field seven squadrons consisting of 218 modernized A-10s that will fly through the next two decades, Pletcher said.