The A-10 attack aircraft can’t help but keep shredding ground targets in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
The slow, low-flying close air support plane, known as the Thunderbolt II and nicknamed the Warthog, teamed with the AC-130 gunship to decimate a convoy of oil tankers stolen by ISIS militants in Syria.
As my colleague Richard Sisk reported:
“In the first wave of U.S. airstrikes since the Paris attacks,A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft and AC-130gunships raked a convoy of more than 100 ISIS oil tanker trucks in Syria in a stepped-up effort to cut off a main source of terror funding, the Pentagon said Monday …Given the battlefield successes of the Cold War-era gunship, it’s not surprising that the Air Force has pulled back on its push to retire the aircraft.
The oil convoy attack and the carrier deployment signaled the U.S. intent to intensify airstrikes while increasing efforts to share intelligence with allies in the aftermath of the Paris carnage last Friday that killed at least 129, but President Obama insisted that there would be no fundamental changes in strategy …
‘ISIL is stealing oil from the people of Iraq and Syria’ at a rate estimated by the Treasury Department at $1 million daily, [Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis] said. By hitting ISIS-controlled oil facilities and distribution networks, ‘We’re disrupting a significant source of funding’ for terror activities, he said.”
As my colleague Bryant Jordan reported last week, the Air Force will probably seek to delay by “a few years” the retirement of the aircraft until 2019:
“Gen. Herbert ‘Hawk’ Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, said changes in the production rate of the F-35 Lightning II coupled with increased demand on aircraft means the A-10 will likely remain in the inventory longer than originally planned.
‘We will probably move the retirement slightly to the right,’ Carlisle told reporters during a breakfast with defense reporters on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. ‘Eventually we will have to get there — we have to retire airplanes. But I think moving it to the right and starting it a bit later — maybe keeping the airplane around a bit longer — is something that’s being considered.’”