Arizona lawmakers blast ‘ridiculous’ plan to retire A-10 fighter jets - Your West Valley News: Topstory

Arizona lawmakers blast ‘ridiculous’ plan to retire A-10 fighter jets

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 6:15 am

WASHINGTON – Arizona congressmen Thursday renewed calls for the Pentagon to drop its “absolutely ridiculous” plan to retire the A-10 fighter, saying the replacement F-35 is 10 times as costly and does not protect ground forces as well.

The Air Force announced in February that it would retire the 40-year-old, close air support jet as part of its 2015 budget cutting, saying it can no longer afford the aging, one-mission plane.

But lawmakers with A-10s in their districts battled back Thursday, saying scrapping the jets would hurt local economies while weakening troop support.

Keeping the A-10 “is a mission we will not stop fighting for,” said Rep. Ron Barber, D-Tucson, whose district includes Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, where more than 80 of the jets are based.

Barber joined Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and lawmakers from five other states who argued that F-35 jets that are supposed to replace the A-10s will not be online until 2021, leaving a huge gap.

“We are then going to have some kind of nebulous idea of a replacement with an airplane that costs at least 10 times as much?” asked McCain. “That’s ridiculous. That’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in February that the Pentagon plans to retire the A-10 and replace it in the short-term with F-16s until the F-35s are flying.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Davis told a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday that the F-16s will be phased out as F-35s become “fully fielded and ready.” He told the Armed Services subcommittee that there should be more than 100 fully operational F-35s by 2016.

The A-10 was designed for one purpose – close air support for soldiers on the ground, Davis said. But A-10s only fulfill about 20 percent of missions today because they are about 30 years old, on average, and do not have the technology to communicate information as quickly and easily as newer jets.

The new F-35 will bring “a net-enabled linkage that shares data with the entire joint force, and it’s that alone that probably makes this airplane more valuable,” Davis said.

Barber said Thursday that the A-10′s one-function design lets it fly at only a few hundred feet, assisting ground troops better than any jet today. He called it the “most important aircraft today.”

“The men and women on the ground deserve our full support. The A-10 provides it,” Barber said. “Ugly though it may be, it is one fine plane.”

Barber said the fleet at Davis-Monthan generates as much as $1.5 billion in economic activity for Tucson and the rest of Pima County per year.

“Clearly there is an economic impact on the community should the A-10 be divested,” Barber said. “It’s an important asset that we have to keep telling the Air Force about. They know about it, but we have to emphasize the A-10 needs to fly here.”

McCain said he and his colleagues will work to “make sure that any decision made by the United States Air Force regarding the A-10 … is something that is clearly justifiable.”

“At this point in time, I certainly do not think that’s the case,” McCain said.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • John H posted at 11:14 am on Sun, Apr 13, 2014.

    John H Posts: 1

    Unfortunately the only Arizona legislative representatives fighting this battle are Ron Barber and finally on thursday better late than never John McCain. However Flake and every other Representative from Arizona have been silent and unsupportive of the A-10 mission. Where are Schweikert,Gosar and the rest including Kirkpatrick and the democrats who have left Barber out alone with Senator Ayotte.[sad][sad]


Tell Us What You Think!


Scottsdale medical marijuana dispensary opening its doors

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Just weeks away from putting the issue of recreational marijuana use in front of Arizona voters, Scottsdale is opening up its…

Published: September 26, 2016 - 2:26 am @…

Why Does Trump Like Dictators?

And would he support democratic movements abroad as president? Donald Trump likes dictators and likes to be liked by them. After meeting Egypt…

Published: September 26, 2016 - 12:54 am @…

Arizona High School Soccer Team Refuses To Play Team With 2 Girl Players

An Arizona high school boys soccer team forfeited a match against an opponent because there were two girls on the team. The Arizona Republic r…

Published: September 26, 2016 - 12:25 am @…

Thief is caught on camera stealing Halloween decoration in North Phoenix

PHOENIX - He either didn’t see the cameras or didn’t care. But the cameras captured a man nabbing a Halloween decoration in a North Phoenix ne…

Published: September 25, 2016 - 11:55 pm @…

How Instagram Stealthily Publishes Maps of Our Exact Locations… and we don’t care

After a few years of little use, in the last few months I’ve been semi-casually posting photos to Instagram. My primary destination remains fl…

Published: September 25, 2016 - 11:32 pm @

Domingue's New Mask Honors Arizona Sports Stars

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content GLENDALE - Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue unveiled a new mask at training cam…

Published: September 25, 2016 - 10:53 pm @…

Man refuses to cooperate with police investigation after being shot in Phoenix

PHOENIX - Police say a man isn't cooperating with an investigation after being shot in Phoenix. Police were initially called to an apartment c…

Published: September 25, 2016 - 9:55 pm @…

Phoenix Things To Do: 19 events to check out this week around the Valley (Sept. 30

PHOENIX - It is a big week for events in the Valley! From Oktoberfest events to food festivals to country concerts, Phoenix is the place to be…

Published: September 25, 2016 - 8:53 pm @…

Phoenix fire treat woman with multiple stab wounds, taken to hospital in critical condition

PHOENIX - A woman has been transported to the hospital in critical condition.

Published: September 25, 2016 - 8:24 pm @…

Going to Mars Could Mess Up the Hunt for Alien Life

Twenty years ago, America celebrated its Independence Day by landing several thousand invaders on the surface of Mars. On July 4, 1997, the Pa…

Published: September 25, 2016 - 8:22 pm @…

Facebook on Facebook

Twitter on Twitter


Subscribe to via RSS

RSS Feeds