Congress stepping in to save A-10
According to Jane's, Congress has submitted a measure in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act – the US military's budget, in layman's terms – that would actually prohibit the US Air Force from retiring the A-10. The NDAA push would also provide $350 million to "help the Air Force cover the cost of keeping the 100 A-10s they wanted to retire," an aide confirmed to Jane's. On top of that, 36 aircraft would be placed in "backup flying status," where they'd be flown occasionally to keep them up and running.
So, why the congressional push to save the A-10? Well, Jane's, citing another staffer, claims Congress believes the close-air-support jets are needed in Iraq. This is despite opposition from the USAF, which wants the Warthog's maintenance personnel trained on the F-35. A delay in the A-10's retirement, the military claims, delays the operational deployment of the Joint Strike Fighter.
Jane's reports the Air Force needs 1,000 maintenance personnel for the F-35, with 800 experienced techs coming from the A-10's retirement. According to the aide, though, the 36 Warthogs still being flown will only net the USAF a mere 100 maintenance personnel. "They said they needed 800 in FY 2015, so it is pretty thin gruel we're offering them," the aide told Jane's.
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