Aug 21, 2013 9:24 PM by Nathan O'Neal
TUCSON - Comments made over the future of a well-established fighter jet program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base has created quite the stir.
News 4 Tucson has received a lot of phone calls and emails from viewers recently, concerned about Davis-Monthan losing its A-10 fighter jets -- and a lot of it snowballed from comments made by Senator Jeff Flake over the weekend.
The first production of the aircraft was delivered to Davis-Monthan in October of 1975. Currently, there are 2,100 personnel employed and maintaining the aircraft.
The A-10 has a strong history in Tucson. but it's the blogger and social media buzz that's caught a lot of people's attention. The first production
It all traces back to an interview Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) gave on a local radio station, talking about the future of the A-10 on the base. Word spread like wildfire, asserting that Sen. Flake had confirmed that the A-10 was to be immediately phased out in a matter of one or two years. However, News 4 Tucson has found those reports to remain not true.
Senator Flake's spokesperson said that "[he] did not comment on any timetable for the A-10, nor does he have information on any such timetable. He also did not address job-loss numbers. He simply said that the Air Force wants to eventually phase out the A-10, which is no secret."
Michael Grassinger is the President of DM-50, a Davis-Monthan support group.
"In reality, I don't think anybody can tell you with any certainty what the future of the A-10 is at Davis-Monthan. We believe that it's going to be there for several years yet," Grassinger said.
In a recent trip to the Pentagon, he learned that the A-10 has a life expectancy of anywhere between 10 and 15 years but acknowledged just like any other mission, it will phase out over time and something else will replace it.
Grassinger said that there was no indication that a decision about the A-10 was going to be made any time soon.
News 4 Tucson reached out to the Department of Defense. Our calls were not returned immediately.
Many are pointing to the F-35 as a possible replacement for the A-10. The Air Force is poised to conduct a study to determine its effectiveness in replacing the retired aircraft.
The aircraft has participated in several operations including Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.