Republican senators are urging the chairmen of two key committees to ensure the Air Force doesn’t take any steps to retire the A-10 “Warthog” attack jet.
“When we send our troops into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation to ensure that they have the very best support possible so they can accomplish their missions and return home safely,” said a March 27 letter from the group, led by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), to leaders of the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees.
“Unfortunately, the Air Force is again pursuing its premature, misguided, and dangerous divestment of the A-10,” they warned.
The group is calling for the forthcoming 2016 defense policy bill to specifically prohibit any steps to ground the A-10, which provides ground troops with close air support during battle, until an equally capable replacement is operational.
The letter argues the Air Force should not be allowed to place the aircraft in storage or “backup” status, or make “significant changes” to manning levels or flight hours.
The letter also urges leaders to authorize the $737 million needed to keep the A-10 fleet running in 2016.
The letters were sent to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), a strong supporter of the A-10, Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).