A-10 Warthogs to remain in Idaho until 2022

Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-06 00:15:58-05

A-10 Warthogs will be sticking around at Gowen Field for at least another six years.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has announced the jet will be active until 2022 following their use in the Middle East to provide air support for ground troops.

The jet has been at Gowen Field for roughly 20 years and local pilots say they’re enthusiastic about the extension.

"When you interview A-10 pilots, they're emotional about this and the emotional connection is they know when they sit in this aircraft, it can make a difference," Col. Shannon “Sinjin” Smith explained.

Col. Smith is one of those people at the base who is happy aboutt the news.  He has flown the A-10 his entire career.

"The initial reaction was one of relief.  Anyone who flies the A-10 quickly develops a close bond with the aircraft,” Col. Smith said.

The future of the A-10 was uncertain in 2015 after the Department of Defense announced it would be replaced by the F-35.

However, critics are skeptical of replacing the A-10 after the F-35 was revealed to have never been tested in similar tactical operations.

"I think given the current fight, it was the right decision," Col. Smith said at Gowen Field.