The Air Force is keeping the beloved A-10 'Warthog' around for at least a few more years

A10 warthog a 10USAF / Senior Airman Corey HookCapt. Richard Olson, 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10 pilot, gets off an A-10 Warthog after his flight at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Sept. 2, 2011.

The Air Force is keeping the famed A-10 “Warthog” aircraft around for at least a few more years, Defence News is reporting.

The close air support aircraft beloved by ground troops won’t begin to be retired until 2021, reversing a previous decision to start mothballing them next year.

“We’re going to keep them until 2021, and then as a discussion that we’ll have with [Defence] Secretary Mattis and the department and the review over all of our budgets, that is what will determine the way ahead,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told Defence News.

The A-10 is pretty well-loved by infantry troops, since the aircraft can lay waste to ground targets with its 30mm cannon and air-to-surface missiles. Its heavy armour also makes it more survivable against incoming ground fire.

The Air Force, however, has been trying to kill the aircraft for years in order to make way for the multi-role F-35 fighter. For now, at least, the service is walking back those moves and is keeping the A-10 around until a suitable ‘A-10-like’ replacement can be found.

“That starts with an understanding of how we do the business today of close air support, because the reality is it’s changed significantly, and it will change significantly in the future if we get this right, because this is something we’ve got to continue to think about,” Goldfein said.

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