The Secretary of the United States Air Force (USAF), Frank Kendall, made some statements on Wednesday that have caused surprise.
Asked by the moderator of the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado about the upcoming withdrawal of part of the USAF's Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft fleet and their possible delivery to Ukraine, Kendall said: "That's largely up to Ukraine," adding: "Older U.S. systems are a possibility. ... We will be open to discussions with them about what their requirements are and how we might be able to satisfy them."
Kendall's remarks come after the US House of Representatives recently approved a $100 million item under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2023 to train Ukrainian pilots to fly American fighter jets, as the Russian invasion is about to enter its fifth month.
The A-10 is an excellent attack aircraft, specialized in close air support and specifically in the mission of destroying battle tanks. It made its first flight in 1972 and entered USAF service in 1977. The aircraft was designed around its cannon, the GAU-8 Avenger, a powerful 30mm-caliber Gatling-type machine gun that It is capable of a rate of fire of 4,200 rounds per minute.
There have already been some attempts to remove USAF A-10s from service, replacing them with F-16s equipped with a 30mm cannon in an external pod, but the initiative did not prosper. A total of 716 A-10s have been built, of which 282 are still in service with the USAF, Air Force Reserve and US National Guard. Until now, United States has been the only operator of this exceptional plane, so its delivery to Ukraine would be something new. Some designs of what the decoration of the Ukrainian A-10 could be like have already begun to circulate on social networks, like the one you can see on these lines.
Photos: US Air Force.
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