Lt. Col. Ben Rudolphi, 407th Expeditionary Operation Support Squadron commander, conducts a preflight check on an A-10 in July at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Air Force photo by SrA Ramon A. Adelan
Twenty lawmakers on Friday called for funds needed to re-wing the remaining A-10s in the Air Force’s fleet in order to avoid creating “a significant capability gap” in the close air support and combat search and rescue missions.
The service has already replaced the wings on 173 of its active A-10s, but 110 more will require new wings to extend their service life, the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to congressional appropriators.
The A-10 funding request was included in the service’s Unfunded Priority List, as well as the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act and the House’s defense appropriations bill. Now 20 lawmakers, led by Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), are asking Senate appropriators to include the funding in their bill, as well. McSally is a former USAF A-10 instructor pilot. The letter is signed by Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate.
The Air Force has recently indicated its plan to keep the A-10 in service indefinitely, reversing a plan to decommission the aircraft.
“I happen to be kind of a fan of the A-10 myself,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Congress on Dec. 7. “I know the Senate appropriations committee is working on that now,” Wilson said. “If that comes through, we will execute that and get … that line started back up so that we can re-wing” the remaining A-10s.
“The A-10 remains the only aircraft in the US military specifically designed for (close air support) and (combat search and rescue)” missions, the letter states. “Now that the Air Force has confirmed that it plans to maintain the A-10 fleet well into the foreseeable future, the remaining 110 wing sets must be delivered as soon as possible.”