A-10 fight to return to Capitol Hill on Thursday


Airmen with the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron ensure an A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft is ready for a flying mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on Oct. 24. (Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Air Force)

The battle over the future of the A-10 will return to Capitol Hill tomorrow as a group of lawmakers and Air Force veterans gather to call on the service to end its planned retirement of the jet.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., will host an event with Reps. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., Vicki Hartzler, R-Mo., and Austin Scott, R-Ga., on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

The press conference will come two days after the Air Force said it is discussing a compromise with Congress to just retire some of the service’s A-10s in order to move needed maintainers over to the F-35. Air Force officials said the service could possibly retire three active-duty squadrons, about 72 A-10s. The service needs 1,100 maintainers for the F-35 to reach initial operating capability by the planned date of Aug. 1, 2016, and the bulk of those maintainers would come from A-10 service.

The lawmakers’ conference comes “Ahead of potential action by the Senate and House on an annual defense policy bill in the coming weeks.”


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