The next contract for the A-10 Thunderbolt II Advanced-Wing Continuation Kit is going through source selection and is expected to be awarded this fall.
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is getting ready for the next A-10 Warthog contract to re-wing more of the close-air support aircraft.
USAF spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said on Apr. 1, 2017 that the next contract for the A-10-Thunderbolt II Advanced-Wing Continuation Kit (ATTACK) is going through source selection and is expected to be awarded this fall. She added that the service has $267 million set aside to buy “about 20 total wings.”
The service last year said it had begun searching for a new company to rebuild wings on the A-10 after ending its arrangement with Boeing Co., even though officials have not committed to re-winging the entire fleet. As reported by Military.com, the Air Force has 281 A-10s in its inventory, but it has decided to maintain wings for only six of its nine A-10 combat squadrons through roughly 2032.
Boeing is on track to complete its re-winging agreement, known as the “Enhanced Wing Assembly,” for 173 aircraft by this summer, Stefanek said. So far, 169 aircraft have been re-winged under the contract, with the remaining four to be completed in the next few months.
ATTACK effort adds to the 173 aircraft that were upgraded under the previous Wing Replacement Program (WRP) that ran from 2007 through to 2018, with Boeing as prime contractor. Despite the USAF’s announcement midway through the WRP that it was to prematurely retire the A-10, it was deemed cheaper to continue with contracts awarded under the A-10 Thunderbolt Lifecycle Program Support (TLPS) than to cancel them.
Noteworthy General James Holmes, Air Combat Command (ACC) chief, revealed last year that the USAF aims to maintain the A-10 fleet out into the 2030s. Approximately 350 A-10s are currently in the inventories of the active USAF, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard, although a number have already been sent for mothballing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona.
Since the A-10 is a legacy platform, it is supported equally by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman.
As we have previously explained, over the past several years the A-10 received little support from the USAF that instead pushed to retire the Warthog from FY15 onward. In FY18, the service decided to retain the aircraft but kept the procurement of new wings out of its budget, bumping it instead into the unfunded wish list given to Congress every year.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com