- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Under a new Air Force proposal, the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson could start losing some of its jets as soon as fall 2018.

The Air Force recently agreed to delay retirement of the A-10 “Warthog” until 2022, reported the Arizona Daily Star (https://bit.ly/1ScZyL3). That aircraft is a mainstay of operations at the Tucson base.

The latest details from the Air Force show that it would begin phasing out several jets housed at D-M, including the A-10s, in fiscal year 2019. It calls for D-M to lose 25 active-duty A-10s in that year, which begins Oct. 1, 2018.

Under the plan, Davis-Monthan would also lose six EC-130H Compass Call electronic-warfare planes that year.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, Tucson Rep. Martha McSally and other A-10 backers in Congress blocked an earlier plan that would have begun retiring the aircraft in 2015.

The new retirement schedule will give the A-10 a temporary reprieve and let local supports get to work identifying new missions for D-M, said Brian Harpel, president of D-M support group DM50.

“It goes back to what we’ve been saying, the A-10’s going to go away at some point in time — it’s not if, but when,” Harpel said.

The DM50 has joined with the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance, the city of Tucson, Pima County and other interested groups to lobby for new missions that would keep D-M open and relevant in the future.

The base is a boon for the local economy, pumping in nearly $1 billion annually, according to Harpel.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Star, https://www.tucson.com


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