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Report: Air Force-Congress Talks Key on A-10 Retirement, F-35A Initial Operation Plans

A-10Negotiations between the U.S. Air Force and Congress are focused on the branch’s plans to retire some A-10 planes and reassign maintenance personnel to prepare for the initial operational capability of the F-35A, Defense News reported Tuesday.

Aaron Mehta writes that a compromise would mean only three squadrons or 72 A-10 planes will face retirement instead of the whole fleet.

According to Mehta, the Air Force would meet the planned F-35A IOC date for 2016 with a supply of maintainers and Congress’ concerns about the use of A-10s in international military operations.

The service sees positive congressional feedback over the compromise, the report said.

Mehta reports that the Air Force needs 1,100 trained maintenance personnel for the F-35A, which is scheduled for IOC on Aug. 1, 2016.

Congress and the service have considered plans to use manpower sources other than the A-10 fleet but emerging conflicts and fleet demand in Iraq and Syria have made this option seem too risky, the report said.

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