GROUND SUPPORT: The A-10 Warthog Isn’t Going Anywhere — Yet.

The service recently solicited defense contractors to participate in the OA-X light-attack aircraft experiment at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico this coming July to “augment” the A-10. So far, the A-29 Super Tucano, Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine, and AirLand Scorpion are set to compete at OA-X.

While observers speculate that one of those warplanes may eventually replace the A-10 upon retirement, the DoD’s 2018 budget proposal seems to suggest the service is no longer itching to retire the legendary aircraft.

The DoD’s budget proposal is just that: a proposal. And a spokesman for Air Combat Command threw cold water on the idea that the budget request is a firm pledge to modernize and maintain the A-10 indefinitely.

“Any questions about the president’s budget proposal fall to the president,” Maj. Andrew Schrag, a spokesman for Air Combat Command, told Task & Purpose. “Congress debates and adjusts and manages all of these proposals, and months from now, we may or may not have the budget, and then we start making adjustments, and even those adjustments occur at a DoD level.”

“It’s a Russian nesting doll,” Schrag added. “We’re talking about hypotheticals on hypotheticals, and we’re talking about tactical- and maybe operational-level conversations about airframes that fall so far below items in a line item budget that haven’t even been voted on yet.”

Amazing planes, but those airframes aren’t getting any younger or cheaper to maintain.