- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The A-10 Thunderbolts II’s fate may be uncertain as politicians and Pentagon brass conduct budget battles in Washington, but its immediate future is known — the popular fighter jet will conduct airstrikes on the Islamic State group.

The U.S. Air Force reported Monday that aircraft from the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group were made available to coalition forces at an undisclosed location on Nov. 17.

The A-10 “Warthogs” are part of the 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, a unit with the Indiana Air National Guard. The squadron recently provided close air support during operations in Afghanistan, the Air Force reported.

Some air force officials have been fighting to retire the A-10 to make way for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The plane has been in service since the 1970s and has numerous defenders working to keep the 283 planes in the sky.

“I’ll tell you who would love to retire the A-10s. That’s the enemies of this nation,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said earlier this month, Reuters reported.

Air Force officials have said $3.7 billion can be saved over five years if the A-10 is retired.

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