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.
An Air Force spokeswoman declined further comment because the Pentagon’s budget request has not been finalized and publicly released.
Top Air Force officials had already hinted that the A-10 retirement plans might be put on hold due to the planes’ demand in combat.
“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,” Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command, said in November.
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