Davis-Monthan Air Force Base begins retirement of A-10 fleet

U.S. Air Force photo

The A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, also known as the “Warthog,” is being retired at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base after nearly 50 years of service.

The first aircraft, tail number 82-648, was phased out and transited from the 354th Fighter Squadron to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), colloquially known as the Boneyard, for long-term storage at Davis-Monthan AFB.

The 355th Wing is divesting its fleet of A-10s as the US Air Force shifts its focus towards modernization and acquiring aircraft better suited for operations in contested environments. The pilots and maintainers at Davis-Monthan will transition to new roles within the USAF as the A-10s make way for newer platforms, such as the F-35 Lightning II.

Designed by Fairchild Republic in the 1970s, the A-10 was created for close air support missions and gained legendary status for its ability to provide precise firepower in support of ground forces. It played a crucial role in missions ranging from Operation Desert Storm to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars during the so-called Global War on Terrorism, earning praise for its ruggedness and effectiveness on the battlefield.

“The plane is unique in its diverse ability to support our ground team not only with precision munitions from a distance, like we’re doing as we speak in the Middle East, but also with scalpel-like accuracy using the GAU-8 gun under the most difficult environments imaginable,” US Air Force Colonel Razvan Radoescu, 355th Operations Group commander, commented. “The plane, coupled with our high-level training standards, are the reasons so many of our joint and coalition forces returned home to fight another day – because they had A-10s overhead covering their six, or employing weapons to save their lives when nobody else could.”

As the A-10 fleet is gradually retired over the next three to five years, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base will undergo a transition period. Plans are underway to expand its capabilities in areas such as rescue operations.

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