The Biden administration plans to retire dozens of military aircraft at a base in Tucson as part of its budget proposal. Several members of Arizona’s congressional delegation, however, are fighting the plan. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.
The proposal would ground 35 A-10 Thunderbolts, also known as the Warthog. According to several members of Congress, it would reduce staffing at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base by more than 600, negatively impacting the local economy. The base houses the largest fleet of the planes in the nation.
Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema and Representatives Tom O’Halleran, Ann Kirkpatrick and others also say the A-10 occupies an important place in the nation’s arsenal. Arizona lawmakers have long defended it against budget cuts. Kirkpatrick recently introduced a bill to keep the plane in the air.
According to Defense News, the plan to retire the A-10 along with other aircraft would save the Air Force nearly a billion-and-a-half dollars it could allocate to new technologies.
The A-10 was designed to support ground forces. It was delivered to Davis-Monthan in the 1970s and used heavily during Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s.