Sen. John McCain vows to save A-10 attack jet

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX (AP) -- Sen. John McCain says the Air Force won't be able to retire the A-10 Warthog ground attack jet now that he's in line to become chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

McCain said Thursday the A-10 is the best close-air support aircraft ever made and there is "no doubt" Congress will prevent its retirement. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson has 80 of the twin-jet planes and trains A-10 pilots.

McCain says there's no replacement for the jet's close-air support mission and pointed to a June friendly fire in Afghanistan where a B-1 bomber mistakenly targeted American troops, killing five.

The Air Force announced plans earlier this year to retire the jet as a cost-savings measure, but Congress blocked it for a year in June's defense spending bill.