The Arkansas Air National Guard’s 188th Fighter Wing has received the last two of its newly acquired A-10 Warthogs, reports the Times Record. Once on the BRAC 2005 hit list, the unit has transitioned from F-16s to A-10s, receiving its first Hogs last spring. Wing commander Col. Kevin Wear told the newspaper that the unit’s pilots are all through their basic A-10 qualification training and progressing with more advanced training. Meanwhile, the Air Guard maintainers are acquiring expertise in A-10 maintenance, which, according to CMSgt. Mike Lensing, 188th FW aircraft superintendent, require more work than the unit’s previous F-16s. The 188th FW’s A-10s are slated for avionics and precision weapon upgrades before the unit deploys in early 2010.
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.