Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) argued Monday in an op-ed that the A-10 attack jet, which supports ground troops in battle, should not be retired despite the Air Force’s plans.
“When American troops find themselves fighting for their lives, there is no better sound than an A-10, a plane officially nicknamed the Thunderbolt II but known affectionately by the troops as the Warthog, firing its enormous 30-millimeter gun at the enemy,” she wrote in The New York Times on Monday.
“It might not be pretty, but the A-10 is our most capable close air-support aircraft, and its arrival on the battlefield signals survival for our troops and annihilation for our enemies,” she wrote.
The op-ed comes as the House Armed Services Committee, of which McSally is a member, prepares to work on the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes the military’s activities and spending. It is also Congress’s vehicle for preventing the A-10’s retirement.
The Air Force is for a third year planning to retire the attack jet in order to save $4 billion over five years.
Air Force leaders argue that other plans can give troops the close air support provided by the A-10, and that the service must prepare for the wars of the future. Congress has prevented the service from retiring the plane, although it allowed for reduced flying hours and the shifting of some maintainers.