WASHINGTON, June 10 The U.S. House of
Representatives Appropriations Committee defeated an amendment
to a defense spending bill on Tuesday that would have preserved
funding for the U.S. fleet of A-10 "Warthog" aircraft.
The Pentagon, facing budget cuts, decided to eliminate all
283 of the tank-killer jets, saying it would save $3.7 billion
over the next five years plus another $500 million in planned
The committee voted 23-13 against the amendment to the
annual appropriations bill, which was introduced by U.S.
Representative Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican.
The 40-year-old, slow-flying Warthog is enormously popular
among soldiers and Marines. The heavily armored aircraft can
withstand ground fire while loitering for long periods above a
battlefield spraying 30mm armor-piercing, depleted-uranium
cannon rounds at tanks and other targets.
The U.S. Air Force says money saved by cutting the Warthog
would be used to bolster readiness, which has slipped in recent
years because of budget cuts, and focus on priorities for the
future, such as the radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a
new aerial refueling tanker and a new long-range bomber.
The vote was not necessarily the final verdict on the
Warthog. The Senate must also pass its version of the
Appropriations bill, which could include funding to keep the
The Senate bill would then be reconciled with the House bill
before coming law.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle. Editing by Andre Grenon)