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​Congress puts confidence in new A-10 wings

A third of the US Air Force’s Fairchild-Republic A-10C fleet is riding on pending funding from Congress, with money for new wings expected in both the fiscal year 2018 defence policy and appropriations bills.

The resilient A-10 dodged retirement once again in the air force’s 2018 budget, but that doesn’t spare a significant portion of the fleet from a boneyard fate.

With the the existing wings approaching the end of their service life, more than 100 aircraft in the almost 290-strong A-10 fleet will be grounded if the USAF does not receive funding for new wings, according to Congressional testimony this week.

Although the USAF did not request funding in its original fiscal year 2018 budget, its wishlist for programmes the service could not fit into the president’s FY2018 budget request included $83 million to start the programme at four wings. The House and Senate’s combined National Defense Authorization Act defence policy bill approved $103,000,000 million for new wings. The bill is waiting President Donald Trump’s approval.

In addition, the House Appropriations defense subcommittee mark added money to the air force budget to retool and open a line for A-10 wings, USAF Secretary Heather Wilson tells Senate lawmakers this week. The Senate Appropriations committee is working on similar legislation now, she adds.

“If that comes through, we will work on executing that so we can get that line back up so that we can re-wing,” she says. “I think the amount would be the tooling in the first four or five sets of wings for the A-10.”

Wilson noted the challenge of balancing modernization efforts with managing new platforms, but the legacy Warthog does not appear under threat on her watch.

“I happen to be kind of a fan of the A-10 myself,” Wilson says.

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