/ Modified feb 2, 2016 5:21 p.m.

A-10 Retirement on Hold Until 2022, Defense Secretary Says

The Department of Defense announced the A-10 will keep flying

A-10 Thunderbolt Aircraft Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

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At a speech at The Economic Club in Washington, DC Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the Pentagon now plans to retire the A-10 aircraft in 2022.

The defense budget over the last few years has tried to retire the A-10 for budgetary reasons.

Congress rebuffed those efforts.

Sen. John McCain issued a statement applauding the decision.

“There is no weapon in our arsenal that offers more effective close-air support to American ground troops serving in harm’s way than the A-10 aircraft,” said Sen. McCain.

Rep. Martha McSally, who was an A-10 pilot, issued a statement expressing her support for the move. However, she said the 2022 retirement date is still early.

“We’ve recently invested $1 billion into our A-10 fleet to keep it flying until at least 2028,” said Rep. McSally

Sec. Carter said the retirement of the plane will be accomplished on a squadron-by-squadron basis.

Tucson’s Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is home to nearly 80 A-10 aircrafts.

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