Air Force plans aircraft changes for Arizona, Nevada bases

A-10C Thunderbolt II (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eugene Oliver)

The Air Force wants to free up space for more fighter aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base in metro Las Vegas by transferring attack and rescue aircraft to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.

Under realignment plans announced on June 30 with an Air Force budget request, units operating A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets and HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters would be transferred to Davis-Monthan.

The transfers from Nellis are intended to allow the Air Force to assign F-35A Lightning II and F-22 Raptor fighters to the Nevada base for testing and training while locating more rescue units together at Davis-Monthan, according to Air Force statements.

The first phase of the proposed plan is contingent on congressional approval of retirement of 42 A-10s, including 35 at Davis-Monthan, an Air Force statement said.

The Air Force said it will conduct a required environmental analysis before the moves are made and that it plans to modernize 218 of its current fleet of 281-combat-capable A-10s.

The Air Force in 2019 awarded a contract for the purchase of new wings for 218 A-10s. With avionic modernizations, the aircraft will be able to fly well into the 2030s, the Air Force said.

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