IN THE SKY, IN SPACE AND IN THE NEWS

Air & Space Smithsonian - - What’s Up -

THE PIG STILL FLIES. An A-10 Thun­der­bolt II, bet­ter known as the Warthog for its brawny bad looks, inches to­ward an air tanker over northeast Afghanistan. The U.S. Air Force wants to re­tire the 300 re­main­ing A-10s to save money, but sup­port­ers say its re­place­ment, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,

can’t fill its niche: fly­ing low and slow to sup­port ground troops. Leg­is­la­tors re­cently ap­pro­pri­ated funds to op­er­ate at least part of the fleet for another year. The Air Force just sent sev­eral A-10s back to the Mid­dle East, where they sup­port Iraqi troops against the Is­lamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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