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It’s a very old plane, but definitely one of the most capable, air Force has been moving toward multi-mission aircraft, but when Air Force comes to this particular mission this plane is unrivaled in Air Force ability. There is no weapon in our arsenal that offers more effective close-air support to American ground troops serving in harms way than the A-10 aircraft, - Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. First designated for retirement in 2011, a planning document the Air Force published in mid-February reveals that 2022 is the flying branch's newest deadline for the last A-10 flight. The extension was announced by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter during a preview of the Pentagon’s budget at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. according to the Arizona Daily Star. The venerable plane, first built for destroying Soviet tanks, has been on the chopping block since the sequester of 2011 mandated steep cuts in the Pentagon budget. Although the planes haven't been built in more than 30 years, the Department of Defense believes it can save maintenance costs by phasing them out. Air Force brass believes newer, faster aircraft like the F-16, F-15E, and, eventually, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 can do a better job of the Warthog’s mission of providing close air support to soldiers on the ground. But the Pentagon disagrees and has pushed back, leading to Air Force brass to extend the end date for a phase out. The plane has survived year-to-year, with powerful lawmakers such as Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., fighting to keep it alive.
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