Senators Fly to A-10’s Rescue

Lawmakers propose to block Air Force from cutting attack planes

Senators Fly to A-10’s Rescue Senators Fly to A-10’s Rescue

Uncategorized November 20, 2013 0

A-10s. Air Force photo Senators Fly to A-10's Rescue Lawmakers propose to block Air Force from cutting attack planes A bipartisan group of U.S.... Senators Fly to A-10’s Rescue
A-10s. Air Force photo

Senators Fly to A-10's Rescue

Lawmakers propose to block Air Force from cutting attack planes

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is co-sponsoring an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act to prevent the U.S. Air Force from prematurely retiring the A-10 Warthog attack jet.

The air service has been considering getting rid of all 350 of the venerable close air support planes between 2015 and 2018.

The amendment, which originated with the office of New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, would prevent the Air Force from eliminating any of the twin-engine attack aircraft until the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is fully operational.

The proposed amendment, which was introduced on Nov. 18, would require the stealthy F-35 to be upgraded to the Block 4A configuration, which would include enhanced electronic warfare capabilities to survive air defenses at low altitude, where the heavily armored A-10 is at its best.

The JSF would also have to be equipped with the 250-pound GBU-53 Small Diameter Bomb II—or an equivalent weapon. The new SDB II is able to moving targets in all weather conditions using a combined semi-active laser, infrared and millimeter-wave radar seeker.

Finally, there would have to be enough F-35s in the inventory to provide sufficient CAS before the Air Force would be allowed to retire the Warthog.

The proposed amendment has picked up the endorsement of the National Guard Association of the United States. “The A-10 is DoD’s best CAS platform, and it should not be retired until its replacement achieves full operational capability,” the association said in a statement. “We urge senators to cosponsor and support the … amendment.”

In addition to Ayotte, Senators Roy Blunt, Mike Crapo, Claire McCaskill and Lindsey Graham have signed on as cosponsors of the amendment.