- The US Air Force is pursuing a new deal for new A-10 wings
- A key officer expects the close air support aircraft to remain in service through the 2030s
The US Air Force (USAF) will pursue a new rewinging contract in fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) for its fleet of Fairchild Republic A-10 Warthog close air support (CAS) aircraft that would also procure more wings than under the previous deal, according to a key officer.
Air Combat Command (ACC) chief General James Holmes said on 25 January that the previous contract with Boeing recently ended for a variety of reasons. Gen Holmes said the deal stopped being cost effective for Boeing, and the USAF was also evaluating how it wanted to proceed with the future of the A-10.
The service tried to retire the aircraft – a favourite of US Army and US Marine Corps (USMC) ground troops for its effectiveness eliminating opposing tanks – a number of years ago but was rebuffed by Congress.
“The money is there to do it,” Gen Holmes told an audience at the Brookings Institute in Washington.
Gen Holmes said the USAF plans to keep its fleet of roughly 280 A-10s until at least the 2030s. The future of the aircraft beyond that time frame is questionable as Gen Holmes said the service has to balance a limited budget with figuring out how many fighter squadrons it can afford to maintain. Gen Holmes added that because the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) comes online at roughly 48 or 50 aircraft per year, he will not be able to add those ‘on top’ of the squadrons he currently has.
Neither the USAF nor Boeing responded to requests for comments by press time on 25 January.
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