As the US ramps up its aggression towards its main targets in Moscow and Beijing, at least one retired general is complaining that American troops in the Middle East are being left with hand-me-down hardware.
The US military is reportedly getting ready to send A-10 attack planes in the Middle East so that it can deploy its latest aircraft to Asia and Europe as Washington takes an increasingly hardline posture towards Russia and China.
The outlet which broke the news of the shift – which is set to take place in April – described the move as being “part of a broader plan that also calls for retaining modest naval and ground forces in the Middle East region, according to American officials.
Nicknamed “the Tank Killer,” the A-10 “Warthog” attack plane is among the oldest in the US Air Force’s arsenal. Nearly 50 years have now passed since the aircraft made its inaugural flight on May 10, 1972.
In an attempt to defend the decision, Air Force Major General Larry Stutzriem insisted “the A-10 is still relevant to the mission CENTCOM flies over the Middle East.” He characterized the move as an effort “to get the most suitable aircraft to the Pacific” for what he called “the higher threat challenges.”
The plan to shift the aging warplanes back to the Middle East reportedly comes amid concerns that “the four-decade-old planes are too vulnerable and slow to contend with China’s growing military,” per the US outlet.
Citing an anonymous senior defense official, the publication wrote that US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, previously decided it needs to maintain 2½ squadrons of jet fighters in the region.
But the Biden regime’s focus on subduing Russia and China reportedly left the military shy of their desired air capabilities, so, “under the new plan, a squadron of A-10s will be based in the Middle East along with two squadrons of F-15Es and F-16s,” the outlet noted.
The report indicates Iran will be the main target of the aircraft in question, and its author speculated the A-10s could be used to attack “Iranian naval craft.”
But at least one prominent military leader worried the decision will reduce the hardware advantage the US has historically maintained over Tehran.
“That’s nothing you are going to counter Iran with,” complained retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, who led CENTCOM from 1997 to 2000. Zinni claimed that, at best, the Warthogs would merely “hold” opposing forces “until additional forces arrive” – but only “if they have sufficient warning and a plan to get forces in.”
The redeployment plans come as US defense officials intend to place two Patriot missile battalions and maintain over 30,000 service members stationed across the Middle East. While between two and three ships are anticipated, officials have indicated no aircraft carriers are expected.