Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A-10's Earliest Retirement Reset to 2021: General |

A-10's Earliest Retirement Reset to 2021: General | The Air Force has reset the date for the earliest possible retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt II to 2021, the service's top general said Tuesday.

"Then we're going to have a dialogue within the department of what the long-term plan is," Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told reporters during a breakfast in Washington, D.C. "As a mission, we're fully committed to close-air support."

Last year, then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced the aircraft's retirement would be delayed until 2022 after officials opined the Air Force was ridding the U.S. military of a "valuable and effective" close-air-support aircraft.

However, fiscal 2017 budget documents revealed the service still hoped to remove A-10 squadrons in increments between 2018 and 2022 in order to make room for F-35A Lightning II squadrons coming online.

"We're going to keep them through 2021. Then, as a result of a discussion we'll have with [Defense] Secretary Mattis and the department, and review all of our budgets -- that's when we'll determine the way ahead," Goldfein said.

The close-air-support conversation needs to swing in "a new direction" regardless of the A-10, affectionately known as the Warthog, because the mission "has changed significantly, and it will change significantly in the future if we get this right."