'Warthog' used to carry out ISIS strikes

The A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" attack jet the Air Force has pushed to retire has been carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since late November on a near-daily basis. 


Air Force leaders have argued that under budget cuts, the Cold War-era plane needs to be retired, in favor of newer, multi-role aircraft like the F-35, but the fact that it's been striking targets in the current fight, according to The Washington Post, could make that argument harder. 

The 2015 defense policy bill keeps the plane flying for at least one more year, but reduces its flying hours and reallocates some of its maintainers toward the F-35. The Air Force says retiring the aircraft could save the service $4 billion over the next several years.

Ground troops love the plane for its ability to provide superior close air support during battles. The aircraft can fly low and slow, has a powerful 30mm Gatling gun cannon and carries an assortment of bombs, missiles and rockets.