Thursday, August 30, 2007

Report: Air Force may keep A-10 past 2028

Above: An A-10 Warthog prepares to take off from Al Asad Air Base to provide close air support to ground troops in Iraq in May. The 438th Air Expeditionary Group A-10 jets perform 10 sorties daily.

The Air Force’s workhorse A-10 attack jet may be around much longer than its currently scheduled 2028 retirement date, the magazine Flight International reported Wednesday.

The magazine cited Lt. Col. Ralph Hansen, Air Combat Command’s chief of requirements, as saying the aircraft may continue to get upgrades to a variety of its systems, and a re-engining plan that the Air Force killed in 2005 might be put back into the five-year budget that starts in 2010.

A-10s were originally designed as tank killers, but they have seen extensive action in a close-air support role in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are popular with ground troops and battlefield airmen because of their long loiter time and powerful 30mm cannon.

The newest upgraded version of the plane, the A-10C, received its initial operational capability Aug. 21. The upgrades include an all-digital cockpit; a new data bus that allows the plane to carry the Joint Direct Attack Munition; and new wiring that enables it to carry the Lockheed Martin Sniper XR or Northrop Grumman Litening AT advanced targeting pods.

Read the rest at Air Force Times