- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Air Force has a new critic of its efforts to scrap the popular A-10 Thunderbolt II: Chuck Norris.

The pop culture icon penned a piece for WND.com in defense of the A-10 Warthog, chiding the budget battles in Congress that have put the popular ground-support plane in jeopardy.

“I am humbled and honored that many have called the Warthog ‘the Chuck Norris of airplanes.’ But what you might not know is that its entire fleet right now runs the risk of landing in the U.S. airplane scrapyard, if the government has its way,” Mr. Norris wrote. “Is the fleet of A-10 ready for retirement? I just celebrated my 75th birthday, but I’m nowhere near ready to head to the scrapheap. Some things improve with age, and the A-10 has done just that, too.”

The Air Force came under fire in February amid charges it cherry-picked data for a USA Today article questioning the aircraft’s safety. The Project on Government Oversight released a report that said Air Force officials used “cooked statistics” to skew the debate in favor of ending the A-10’s run.

“The A-10 produces nearly five times fewer civilian casualties per firing sortie than the B-1 bomber,” the watchdog’s report concluded.

Air Force officials denied the charge that underhanded tactics were being used to frame the debate.

“The A-10 is an effective platform. There’s no denying that,” Lt. Col. Christopher Karns, a spokesman for the Air Force, told Military.com on Feb. 10. “However, with the fiscal realities of the day, we have to be responsible and take a look at actions that may help us ensure an affordable Air Force in the future.”

The U.S. military currently uses the A-10 Thunderbolt II in the U.S.-led coalition’s fight against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. In February, it was announced that 300 airmen and 12 of the airplanes would be sent to Germany over Russia’s involvement in eastern Ukraine.

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