WASHINGTON --- Three squadrons of A-10 Warthogs will go out of service unless the Air Force comes up with funding to pay for new wings, the head of Air Combat Command confirmed in an exclusive interview with Defense News.
Although the Air Force fully funds the operations and maintenance of all nine A-10 squadrons in its fiscal 2018 budget request, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the service’s top uniformed acquisition official, and Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, its deputy chief of staff for plans, programs and requirements, committed in written testimony to Congress to retaining only six squadrons long term.
The crux of the issue, according to head of Air Combat Command Gen. Mike Holmes, is that new wing sets have been ordered for only 173 of 283 Warthogs, or about six squadron’s worth.
Exactly when the Air Force will drop down to six A-10 squadrons will depend on multiple factors, including operational tempo over the next few years and the buy rate of the F-35. But Holmes said the first planes could be phased out within five years, as their wings run out of service life. (end of excerpt)
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