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200 A-10 maintenance workers being laid off at Tucson's Davis-Monthan base

200 employees of a private contractor working on A-10 jets at Tucson's Air Force base are being laid off, government documents show.

According to a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act notice filed in January, the 200 workers for DynCorp are being let go.

Since 2016, the military contractor has been paid nearly $70 million to maintain A-10 fighters at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base here.

The company was brought in so that the active-duty airmen of the 357th Aircraft Maintenance Unit at the base could "transition over to the F-35" fighter jet, DynCorp said when it was first awarded the contract.

The Air Force did not decide to base any F-35s in Tucson, and ultimately backed off a plan to stop flying most A-10s by the 2020s.

Several units of active-duty airmen have continued to work on A-10s at the Tucson base.

Employees indicated that about 240 DynCorp workers were affected by the contract ending, with about 40 employees transferring to other sites run by the contractor.

"Recently, the U.S. Air Force notified DynCorp International that our work in support of the 357th Aircraft Maintenance Unit would be returned to active duty maintenance personnel," said John Gastright, a company spokesman. "It has been an honor to support this effort, and as the largest provider of aviation maintenance services to the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard we look forward to working with our maintenance experts to provide potential opportunities elsewhere."

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The company had been awarded a renewal contract at the base that runs through March 2020.

The federal WARN Act mandates that companies planning mass layoffs to give workers at least 60 days' notice. DynCorp filed a notice with state officials on Jan. 15.

DynCorp workers at D-M voted to unionize in 2017, joining Local 2949 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The A-10, also known as the “Warthog,” was introduced in the early 1970s. The heavily armored, fixed-wing aircraft specializes in close-air ground support and has the ability to take heavy fire while attacking tanks, armored vehicles and other targets.

The Air Force has about 320 of the planes, operating out of five bases across the United States, including a large presence at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, where about 80 of the jets are based.

The Pentagon has spent billions re-winging the attack fighters, rather than retiring them.

Pentagon officials have said that the four-decade-old design of the A-10 limits its capabilities, especially in an age when high-tech battlefield communication has become common. A-10s do not have the technology to communicate information as quickly and easily as newer jets, they have said. The Air Force had planned replace the Warthogs with the F-35 Lightning II, and the MQ-9 Reaper, an upgraded version of the Predator drone.

Both former U.S. Reps. Ron Barber and Martha McSally worked to have the Air Force re-invest in the A-10, and keep a squadron flying out of the Tucson base.

In 2018, the Pentagon said that the A-10 will likely fly through at least 2030.

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Air Force photo

U.S. Air Force airmen from the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron A-10 Phase section work together to remove a TF-34 turbofan engine from at A-10 Thunderbolt II at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Aug. 8, 2019.