PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona lawmakers have introduced a bill that would keep the A-10 “Warthog" attack aircraft in operation.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick introduced the bill in Congress this week to continue funding the plane, upholding a long tradition of Arizona congressional members working to keep the aircraft functional, the Arizona Republic Thursday.
The late Republican Sen. John McCain, who chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee, former Republican Sen. Martha McSally and other state lawmakers have played past roles in keeping the A-10 in the air.
Several other representatives have expressed support for the bill already, including Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego, Tom O'Halleran and Greg Stanton. Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly sponsored a Senate version of the bill.
The Air Force has used the A-10 Thunderbolt II since 1975, when the planes were delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. It was the first aircraft designed for close support of ground forces, the newspaper reported.
“The A-10 Warthog is a vital fixture of Southern Arizona and the bedrock of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which employs hundreds of airmen and contributes millions of dollars to our local economy,” Kirkpatrick said in a statement.
Kirkpatrick's district "is home to the largest contingent of the A-10 fleet, and preserving this aircraft is one of my top priorities,” she said.
The Air Force had planned last year to retire 44 A-10s but the plan was postponed after Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act.