/ Modified apr 28, 2015 11:50 a.m.

Bill Would Unground A-10 Aircraft

Proposed defense bill includes more than $680 million to keep the A-10 fleet fully operational

A-10 squadron in flight spotlight
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base

Update from Christopher Conover, April 28

Listen:

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.

Listen:

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.

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