Dec 3, 2014

US Congress moves to block A-10 retirement in 2015

Congress has drafted a measure that would block retirement of USAFA-10 Thunderbolt II in 2015, according to legislative aides familiar with the deal.
The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would prohibit the air force from retiring the aircraft because lawmakers said they are needed in Iraq. If approved before the congressional session concludes next week, the NDAA would provide USD350 million to "help the air force cover the cost of keeping the 100 A-10s they wanted to retire".
Further, the measure permits the USAF to move up to 36 A-10s in the active component to 'backup flying status', a type of storage during which aircraft remain in a unit and are flown periodically to keep them in working order. This would allow the air force to move maintenance personnel from the A-10 programme to other career fields.
US military leaders recently warned that Congress's opposition to A-10 retirement is undermining the air force's goal to make its new fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35operationally deployable in August 2016. The USAF said it expects a shortage of fully trained maintenance personnel because the A-10 mechanics it had planned to train quickly for F-35 work may have to remain with the legacy programme.
The USAF recently scaled back its request to retire the entire A-10 fleet in hopes that lawmakers' resistant to the full divestment would allow a partial fleet retirement. The new proposal was for retirement of 72 A-10s, or three active-duty squadrons, in FY 2015 and then a gradual phase-out over the next five years.

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