Defense Cuts Target A-10, U-2
Under a proposed new budget for the U.S. Department of Defense announced on Monday, the Air Force would shut down its fleet of A-10 "Warthog" close air support aircraft and also would retire the U-2 spy plane. Funding would be continued to develop the new Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new aerial refueling tanker, and the unmanned Global Hawk system. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also recommended investing $1 billion in "a promising next-generation jet engine technology," which should provide savings in fuel and maintenance costs. He also recommended changes in the National Guard's helicopter fleet.
"We've recommended Army Guard Apache attack helicopters be transferred to active-duty units," he said. The active Army will transfer Black Hawk helicopters to the National Guard, and the Kiowas and the Jet Ranger training helicopters used at Fort Rucker will be retired. The active Army's overall fleet would decrease by about 25 percent, and the Guard's fleet of helicopters would decline by 8 percent, Hagel said. The budget proposals now go to Congress, where some of the cuts are expected to meet opposition.