Air base mission to change
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — The Department of Defense is planning a mission change for Indiana Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne.
The Journal Gazette reports the wing’s A-10 jets will be replaced by MC-12 aircraft, a medium- to low-altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft with a primary mission is providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support directly to ground forces.
Five bases that fly the A-10 Warthogs, including Fort Wayne’s, are slated to lose those squadrons as the Pentagon transitions to the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Indiana congressmen sent a letter to Gen. Norton A. Schwartz on Friday expressing concern about the move. They say in the letter the 122nd Fighter Wing is essential to the Indiana National Guard and any cuts would have a deep impact on northeast Indiana.
Base Commander Col. David Augustine told a news conference the 122nd Fighter Wing had been informed it will receive nine to 11 aircraft from other bases in 2013. The plane is the MC-12, a twin-engine turboprop used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The planes were first deployed in 2009. The Journal Gazette said Augustine said he would urge that the Air Force keep the A-10 squadron at the 122nd Fighter Wing rather than convert to the MC-12.
The base has flown fighter jets since 1947. It has nearly 20 of the A-10 jets, nicknamed the Warthog, according to the Journal Gazette.
Augustine said he did not know how a conversion to the MC-12 would affect personnel at the base, where more than 1,200 people work.