President Donald Trump has given a new lease of life to two well-known aircraft of the USAF – these are the warthog and the dragon lady. The first is the nickname for the A-10 Thunderbolts and the second for the U-2 spy aircraft. Both have provided yeomen service to the United States and will continue to do so for some more years. There were rumors that these will be retired but those have been scotched.

The Warthog and the Dragon Lady

CNN reports that the Warthog and the Dragon Lady have been in service with the United States Air Force for ages.

The Warthog was inducted into service in 1975s, and its main advantage is its close-air-support role. This has become a key factor in its fight against the ISIS because this aircraft can zero in and target enemy forces from close quarters. Pilots can fly at low speeds and distinguish between enemy and friendly forces by visual contact.

The USAF was in favor of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as a replacement for the A-10, but in the close-air support role, A-10 is believed to be a winner.

Similarly for the U-2 spy or the "Dragon Lady." This is basically a plane of the era of Cold War and has been in operation ever since the 1950s. They have been upgraded with latest technological advances to convert them into a formidable intelligence gathering mechanism.

Therefore, the Air Force has extended its operational life as well. The logic appears to be that of ‘old is gold.'

Reasons to shelve retirement

USAF is deploying the F-35s in combat roles but, due to delays and associated cost overruns, the Pentagon had to find out a solution. It had no other option but to extend the operational life of the A-10 in order so that it can carry out its missions against the ISIS.

As explained by Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, the decision of the Pentagon was based on the changing political scenario on Capitol Hill. He never wanted the A-10s to be put into cold storage and had been working in that direction.

It seems one woman who deserves credit for the decision is Rep. Martha McSally, R-Arizona.

She is a retired Air Force pilot and took a leading part to win over the Pentagon as well as Donald extolling the virtues of the Warthog. She apprised them about the capabilities of the Warthog apart and various aspects of its usefulness in the close-air support role.

Talks of the retirement of A-10s have been going on for quite some time, and last year it had been said that the retirement of A-10s would be kept in abeyance at least until 2022 after which the F-35s would take over.

As to the positives of the Dragon Lady U-2 spy plane, it has proved its worth many times over and is an important asset for the USAF because it can locate and destroy installations of the ISIS terror outfits to nullify their influence. Hence, both these old-timers will continue to hold the fort till such time better alternatives emerge.