The Arkansas Air National Guard’s 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith, Ark., is actually happy to be trading their F-16 fighters for A-10 attack aircraft, reports the Times Record. The reason is that the A-10 has a longer projected shelf life—perhaps 2025 to the F-16’s 2012. The switch, of course, is BRAC 2005 motivated, but it was a close run thing that the wing managed to keep a flying mission because the Air Force had targeted the unit for demise. Now, the wing gets a different—not new but more lasting—aircraft and some hundred new jobs. It already has begun shuffling off its F-16s, which go to a California ANG unit with even older F-16s, and will continue to do so in small batches through spring, when it will begin receiving Warthogs.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.