- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2015

The fate of the A-10 Warthog may be uncertain, but the U.S. has at least one more mission for the storied fighter jet: A dozen of the planes have been deployed to Romania in the face of Russian aggression.

The Pentagon confirmed Wednesday the A-10 Thunderbolt II planes have been sent to the region.

“The 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron forward deployed 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and approximately 200 Airmen and support equipment from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany to Campia Turzii, Romania over the weekend,” Pentagon spokesman James Brindle said in a statement, Military.com reported. “The unit will conduct training alongside our NATO allies to strengthen interoperability and demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe,” he added.

Pentagon officials told the website that the deployment of the A-10s was part of NATO’s Operation Atlantic Resolve. The mission objective is, in part, to send a message to Russia about America’s commitment to its NATO allies.

“Operation Atlantic Resolve will remain in place as long as the need exists to reassure our allies and deter Russia from regional hegemony,” Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Karns told Military.com.

The deployment is expected to last 90 days.

SEE ALSO: Chuck Norris defends A-10 to Air Force top brass

The popular ground-support aircraft has been the focus of an ongoing budget battle between Air Force senior officials and members of Congress. The Air Force plans to eventually phase out the Thunderbolt as it brings the F-35 stealth fighter online.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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