Proposed budget cuts could move A-10s from DM base to boneyard

Justin Schecker

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Proposed budget cuts could move A-10s from DM base to boneyard

CREATED Aug. 29, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A military airplane often seen flying over Tucson could potentially find a permanent home in the Davis-Monthan Boneyard.

If so, it could have a major impact on national security and Tucson's economy.

Three A-10 "Warthog" squadrons are stationed at DM. Two are for training and one is operational and ready for deployment anywhere in the world in 24 hours notice.   

The high-powered air to ground fighter jets are often tasked with saving American lives in harms way. 

But now fiscal fights, not enemy firepower, are threatening to ground these planes for good.    

The A-10s were scheduled to remain in the Air Force inventory until 2028, but they are at risk to retire much sooner because of proposed Pentagon budget cuts. 

Retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally flew the A-10 in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. She told 9 On Your Side over the phone getting rid of the A-10s means risking American lives on the ground in enemy territory.

Here locally, if the A-10s go, McSally said there is the possibility the DM base could be next on the chopping block.   
"(DM) as a national treasure as a military base is tied to having an air to ground asset here," she said, "and if not the A-10 and it is not the F-35, then it becomes vulnerable to being cut."
The F-35 is one plane that's being developed and tested to replace the A-10. But right now, Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz. is preparing to become home to the F-35s, not Davis-Monthan. 
While plans to ground the A-10s are still up in the air, the closure of DM would mean the shut down of Tucson's third largest employer, McSally said.