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The A-10 Warthog Gets A Boost From Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson
After years of speculation surrounding the fate of the A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthog” — and amid compounding budget pressures — the Air Force’s beloved light attack aircraft just picked up a major boost from current Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Dec. 11, the former Air Force officer reassured lawmakers that a multi-million-dollar A-10 wing production program to upgrade the wings on half the service’s A-10s, far from being a budget boondoggle, would keep the aircraft dominant against all manner of baddies— and Wilson added, with a smirk, “I happen to be a fan of the A-10.”
The National Defense Authorization Act approved by the House and Senate before Thanksgiving will “add money to the Air Force budget to retool and open a line for wings,” Wilson told the assembled lawmakers in joint testimony with chief Pentagon weapons buyer Ellen Lord and newly-appointed Army Secretary Mark Esper.
“It wasn’t in our budget, and the Senate Appropriations Committee is working on that now,” she said of the wing upgrade. “If that comes through, we will execute that and get that line started back up so that we can [retool] the first four or five sets of wings.”
The budget line item represents a victory for an A-10 fleet that's perennially on the congressional chopping block. Air Force officials had ostensibly abandoned the idea of retiring the Warthog in recent years — in October 2016, Air Force Materiel Command Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski reiterated that the Pentagon plans on sustaining its fleet “indefinitely” — but funding upgrades for the branch’s nine squadrons is the clearest evidence yet that the venerable close-air support platform will live on.
The A-10 has played an essential role in the post-9/11 U.S. military, from providing close air support during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq to pounding ISIS strongholds with bunker- busters to joining hundreds of supersonic fighter jets in South Korea as a show of force to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. But Wilson acknowledged that even as the Warthog fleet keeps flying, the Air Force will likely continue to pursue additional light attack aircraft to augment the branch’s capabilities.
“We are always managing … How do we move to new platforms at the same time we try to maintain capability and cover missions with existing fantastic platforms?” Wilson told lawmakers.
'What happens after that is out of their control' — Former military leaders and lawyers react to Trump's war crimes pardons
On Friday, President Donald Trump intervened in the cases of three U.S. service members accused of war crimes, granting pardons to two Army soldiers accused of murder in Afghanistan and restoring the rank of a Navy SEAL found guilty of wrongdoing in Iraq.
While the statements coming out of the Pentagon regarding Trump's actions have been understandably measured, comments from former military leaders and other knowledgable veterans help paint a picture as to why the president's Friday actions are so controversial.
Raccoon infestations and extreme rust didn’t stop an anonymous buyer from nabbing this Soviet-era submarine
A former Soviet submarine that became a tourist attraction docked adjacent to the Queen Mary in Long Beach is expected to be sold soon to an anonymous buyer, with plans to remove the rusting sub by mid-May.
The 48-year-old Russian Foxtrot-class submarine, known as the Scorpion, had hosted paying visitors for 17 years before it fell into such disrepair that it became infested with raccoons and was closed to the public in 2015.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
A U.S. Air Force combat controller will receive the nation's third highest award for valor this week for playing an essential role in two intense firefight missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.
Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.