Incoming Armed Forces Committee Chairman John McCain has once again come out in support of the A-10 aircraft, which narrowly escaped being retired in a cost-cutting move. During a visit to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, McCain, said it will remain as part of the country’s defense for years to come.
"The A-10 is the most capable air-to-ground weapon system that is in the entire inventory," said the Republican Arizona senator, despite the Pentagon’s push to retire the aircraft. “I think they will be with us for an extended period of time.”
McCain, a former Navy aviator, has been a longtime supporter of the aging aircraft, a favorite among ground troops for its accurate, deadly close air support. He was joined on his visit by members of the Arizona congressional delegation, which was visiting various military installations around the state.
The aircraft, affectionately known as the “Warthog” for its bulky and unusual look, has been on the chopping block on various occasions this year and last, being saved by Congress each time. But in the most recent 2015 military budget some concessions had to be made, including cutting the flying time and cutting some maintenance staff from the A-10 to help service the new F-35 joint strike fighter.
McCain made the comments just days after military commanders confirmed that the A-10 had been used to hit ISIS targets in Iraq, making it harder for military commanders to scrap it during negotiations for the 2016 budget.