There’s been a lot of hay being thrown regarding the budget proposal by President Donald trump. Special focus has been given to critiques on the significant cuts to funding for medical care and food stamps, as well as the possibility of greater income and wealth inequality.

Another point of contention is the beefed up allocations to defense and the military, with the Air Force and Navy being the most favored services. Speaking of the Air Force, one sign of the priority that Trump gives it is the proposed plan to further extend the service of the now-decades-old aircraft the A-10 Thunderbolt Ii and the U-2 reconnaissance plane.

Still going

The budget released by President Trump on Tuesday, May 23 contains an outline for the Air Force to provide new maintenance for their fleet of A-10s, alternatively known by their nickname of “Warthog.”

Introduced into service in 1977, the A-10 first came into prominence during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, with its role of close air support for ground troops and impressive firepower against enemy armor. The Warthog is best known for its main armament, the massive GAU-8/A Avenger auto-cannon, and its utter efficiency in the role it was designed for has kept the Air Force from seriously considering any replacements for it.

Aside from the Thunderbolt II, another classic aircraft that has been deemed by the budget as still worth the upkeep is the Lockheed U-2, nicknamed “Dragon Lady.” First deployed in full back in 1957, this is the same U-2 that was used to recon Cuba in 1962 during the Missile Crisis.

With periodic updates in sensors and cameras, the Dragon Ladies continue ably contributing to intelligence gathering for the Air Force to this day. Such has been their impact that the Trump budget states that there is no retirement date set for the U-2.

Better than replacements

While there have been plans put in place to gradually replace the A-10 Warthog in its role by the Lockheed F-35, its proponents point out that the old plane is still extremely capable.

The virtues of the aircraft that is emphasized by the Air Force is slow speed compared to the F-35 enabling its pilot to more accurately target ground enemies while avoiding friendly fire, as well as its toughness and system redundancies that increase its survivability against ground fire.

Trump’s budget would have the Warthog to keep serving by being brought to bear against ISIS forces on the ground, while the U-2 recon plane can sniff out ISIS commanders in their safe-houses and examine battle positions.

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