WASHINGTON, July 16 (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force is desperate to get rid of some of its fleet of expensive, slow and outdated A-10 Warthog airplanes, but politicians have blocked the move, aiming to keep the local dollars flowing.
President Joe Biden wants to retire dozens of the 40-year-old warplanes to free up funding to modernize the military. But within weeks of the release of his proposed defense budget, Democrats drafted a law to keep the planes, many of which are based in Arizona, where Senator Mark Kelly is up for re-election in 2022.
The negotiations over the A-10, which the Air Force has wanted to retire for more than two decades, show the extensive measures Democrats will take to protect their slim majority in the Senate.
Having military aircraft based in a constituency brings enormous economic benefit. The A-10 fleet at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson has been viewed as vital to the base, which contributes about $3…