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Air Force: A-10s headed to Europe

By Kristen Butler
Air Force: A-10s headed to Europe
An A-10 Warthog performs aerial maneuvers over the beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2007 during the annual McDonald's Air and Sea Show. File Photo by Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell/UPI | License Photo

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force has announced it is sending 12 A-10 Thunderbolts, also known as Warthogs, to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

The A-10s will be sent to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and deployed to partner nations in Eastern Europe.

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"The Air Force is increasing rotational presence in Europe to reassure our allies and partner nations that our commitment to European security is a priority," Lt. Gen. Tom Jones, vice commander of U.S. air forces in Europe, said in a statement.

The 1970s-era aircraft was designed for close-air support for ground troops, a function at the center of congressional debate over the Air Force's decision to retire the aging jets in the coming years as they phase in the troubled F-35 fighters built by Lockheed Martin.

Called "tankbusters" for their iconic nose-mounted Gatling guns, capable of quickly dispatching enemy tanks, the A-10s can carry a variety of munitions.

At the annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., this week, Air Force officials were sensitive to the controversy surrounding the A-10's upcoming retirement, with Gen. Herbert J. "Hawk" Carlisle making sure to say what a "fantastic" plane the A-10 is.

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