Update from Christopher Conover, April 28
The first paragraph of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prohibits the Air Force from putting any more A-10s in backup status this year.
More than a dozen, 18, of the planes were grounded earlier this year when the Air Force changed them to backup aircraft. Nine of those planes were based at Davis-Monthan Air Force base in Tucson.
The Air Force planned to ground another 18 planes later this year but the NDAA prohibits that move.
The House Armed Services Committee’s proposed defense bill includes more than $680 million to keep the A-10 fleet fully operational.
For the past year, the Air Force and President Barack Obama have tried to retire the plane as a cost-saving measure.
Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally, who serves on the committee, said the plane’s continued use will be a victory for Tucson and southern Arizona.
About 80 A-10s are stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and training for the plane is the base’s primary mission.
"It’s great for Davis-Monthan," McSally said. "It’s great for the men and women who are serving here, and it’s obviously good news for our local community - the jobs and the economic impact which is about $1.5 billion."
The proposal also funds another plane flown out of Davis-Monthan, the EC-130, which jams enemy radar and communications.
The committee will vote on the proposal on Wednesday. It will then move to the full house for a vote. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have vowed to block the A-10’s retirement.