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A Massachusetts Democrat and Iraq War veteran is pushing a compromise to let the Air Force keep flying half of its A-10 fleet and retire the rest.
The amendment would let the military purchase the counter IED technology, TOW missiles, F-16 upgrades, more C-130Js, C-130 upgrades, MQ-9 Reapers and KC-135 defense systems.
Moulton's proposal comes as former A-10 pilot, Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., is expected to propose an amendment prohibiting the A-10's retirement. The chairman's mark, under debate on Wednesday afternoon, funds the A-10 fleet.
The Air Force warned Congress this week that keeping the A-10 would mean it would not have enough maintainers for the F-35 to make its initial operating capability on time, and would force the service to retire F-16s currently stationed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
"The Air Force is as lean as possible on maintainers," Moulton wrote. "By keeping a high number of A-10s, Ms. McSally's plan may require the Air Force to take maintenance personnel from other fighter aircraft units. This will reduce their readiness, which is already at dangerously low levels. We should never sacrifice the whole team to give special treatment to one player. Hundred dollar bills are not going to turn wrenches to keep F-35s, F-16s and F-15s in the air. Period."