The National Defense Authorization Act contains language that would provide upgrades to keep the A-10C in service until the late 2030s. Funding to upgrade structural components such as wings, wing spars and joint couplings is specifically identified. A-10 air frames were built between 1975 -1983, the latest models are at least 36 years old.
The A-10 is a mission critical asset for the close air support role and the only US Air Force aircraft dedicated to this mission. Combat experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya demonstrated the attack aircraft’s ability to loiter over an area to engage targets at low altitudes. The US Army’s need for the A-10 during CAS operations was reflected when the branch stated the possibility of acquiring they type from the US Air Force if retired. The US Army does not typically operate fixed wing aircraft.
The A-10’s service life extension is supported by two previous major upgrades launched in 2007. The first bringing the type to the A-10C configuration by the addition of glass multi-function displays, precision strike capability and full color moving map. The second major upgrade replaced wings. The current service life extension includes further wing production and funding for additional maintenance repair and overhaul.
The A-10 is ideal for counter insurgency operations against non-state actors, a common use today, while retaining utility for conventional operations against mechanized forces.
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