- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Air Force is delaying plans to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt attack plane due to its usefulness in the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Officials say the “Warthog” will still need to be shelved at some point to make room for newer warplanes, but the timeline for its retirement has been thrown off due to increased demand from commanders who now depend on the Warthog to bomb Islamic State targets, Defense One reported, citing unnamed Air Force sources. 

The Air Force would not officially comment because the Pentagon’s budget request has not yet been finalized. 

The idea of keeping the A-10 around longer has been tossed around before. The warplane is known for its ability to withstand enemy ground fire and lawmakers in Congress have blocked its retirement for the past two years. 

“I think moving it to the right and starting it a bit later and maybe keeping the airplane around a little bit longer is something that’s being considered based on things as they are today and that we see them in the future,” Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command, said in November, Defense One reported. 

The A-10 flies low, slow air support missions with ground troops and top Air Force officials have said the warplane is better at flying these types of missions than any other plane in the arsenal. 

Retiring the A-10 will eventually free up more money for the production and development of the new F-35 joint strikers, which have been heavily criticized for their high price tag. 

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