Oh, ISIS. Man, have you done it now. The terrorist group's actions have had such an adverse impact on the situation in the Middle East that it's actually convinced the Pentagon to forestall the retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt. If you're a jihadist operating in Iraq or Syria, you should be very scared about this.
The A-10 has been at the center of a retirement battle that's seen congress, infantrymen, and even Chuck Norris advocating continued use of the plane. Affectionately referred to as the Warthog, Air Force brass have wanted to drop the nearly 45-year-old platform in favor of its shiny, new F-35, a plane that's far more expensive, has had plenty of reliability problems, and won't be able to serve in a close-air-support role until 2022.
But with the A-10 taking such a big part in the air campaign, there's been renewed interest in its ability to punish any man or machine foolish enough to wander into its crosshairs, Defense One reports, citing unnamed Pentagon officials. This isn't a full pardon for the aging Warthog, though. While DoD officials are shelving the immediate push for retirement, the Air Force is still very keen on diverting the A-10's resources to other, newer aircraft according to the report.
Still, the news was met with happiness from one of the Warthog's most vocal proponents.
"I welcome reports that the Air Force has decided to keep the A-10 aircraft flying through fiscal year 2017, ensuring our troops have the vital close-air support they need for missions around the world," Senator John McCain, the Senate's armed services committee chair, told Defense One. "With growing global chaos and turmoil on the rise, we simply cannot afford to prematurely retire the best close air support weapon in our arsenal without fielding a proper replacement."