/ Modified apr 2, 2015 10:38 p.m.

Sen. McCain: A-10 Will Fly for Another Year

Arizona’s senior senator says the A-10 is staying in the air.

a10 in air over Boneyard An A-10 from Davis-Monthan AFB flies over The Boneyard. Photo by Will Seberger

Sen. John McCain guaranteed the Air Force will not retire the A-10 this year. More than 80 of the planes are based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.

McCain, R-Arizona, is chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has substantial influence over the Department of Defense budget.

“Until the United States Air Force has an adequate replacement for the A-10 aircraft it will remain in operation and it will remain at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, I promise you,” McCain said.

The Air Force and President Barack Obama are trying to retire the plane as a cost-saving measure. This year, the Air Force put 18 planes in “backup status.” That means the planes have no assigned pilots or maintenance crews, effectively grounding the craft.

McCain said putting planes in backup status to save money also will not happen again.

“That’s done," McCain said. "I wasn’t chairman last time."

Congresswoman Martha McSally is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. The former A-10 pilot said, she too is confident the plane will not be grounded this year.

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