Chamber Applauds Decision to Keep A-10 Flying at Davis-Monthan AFB
On Tuesday of this week the U.S. Department of Defense announced that the A-10 “Warthog” close air support aircraft will continue to fly at Davis-Monthan AFB. Maintaining a flying mission at Davis-Monthan has been the subject of an aggressive advocacy campaign by local interests including the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance (SADA) and the D-M 50. The Tucson Metro Chamber is proud to have been a part of the SADA advocacy effort since its inception of SADA several years ago.
The Air Force had planned to retire the A-10, but faced intense pressure from Congress. Advocacy by local groups played an important role in demonstrating support for the A-10 and Davis-Monthan. Davis-Monthan is a major contributor to the local economy. Its economic impact is $1.75 billion. There are 19,179 direct and indirect jobs associated with the base.
On Tuesday Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, “We’re…investing to maintain more of our 4th-generation fighter and attack jets than we previously planned – including the A-10, which has been devastating ISIL from the air. The budget defers the A-10’s final retirement until 2022,” Carter said. Replacing it with F-35s on a squadron-by-squadron basis so we’ll always have enough aircraft for today’s conflicts.”
Notable support from elected officials came from Sen. John McCain and Congresswoman Martha McSally, who on Monday said, “Today’s announcement confirms why we fought so hard and continue to fight to keep this plane flying. The A-10 is critical to our national security. It continues to demonstrate its value on the battlefield against ISIS, in Europe to deter Russian aggression, and on the border with North Korea. But make no mistake: this is still an early retirement. We’ve recently invested $1 billion into our A-10 fleet to keep it flying until at least 2028. No other plane can perform the tasks for which the A-10 is uniquely suited and no other weapon system we have has the same ability to protect troops’ lives on the ground. I’ll continue to lead the fight to ensure we keep the A-10 until a suitable alternative yet to be identified is developed, tested, and proven to do the mission.”
More information about advocacy efforts for all Southern Arizona military installations may be found at www.missionstrongaz.org.
Michael V. Varney
President & CEO