McCain Lambasts Air Force Chief of Staff Over A-10 in Islamic State Fight by Travis J. Tritten, Stars & Stripes
Sen. John McCain on Thursday charged the Air Force chief of staff with being dishonest about the critical role of the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft in the war against Islamic State militants.
The Arizona Republican said Gen. Mark Welsh was “disingenuous” for insisting the service is replacing the A-10 close air support in Iraq and Syria with F-15 and F-16 fighter jets. Instead, the Air Force actually has no clear plan to fill the combat role of the aging battlefield aircraft, McCain said during a tense exchange on Capitol Hill.
The Air Force general drew McCain’s criticism while testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee about the service’s continuing plans to retire the A-10. Congress fended off the retirement plans last year but the service has not abandoned the effort, contending the aircraft is too old and expensive to maintain…