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​The U.S. Air Force deployed 12 A-10C Thunderbolt II attack aircraft from Moody AFB, Ga., support equipment and approximately 300 personnel to Incirlik AB, Turkey, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct. 15, 2015. Air Force photo by A1C Cory W. Bush.

​While lawmakers are unsurprisingly prohibiting the Air Force from retiring any A-10s, the Fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act also pushes the Pentagon to further study any shortfalls in the F-35's close air support capability. The compromise on the authorization bill, announced Wednesday, calls on the Air Force to keep a minimum of 171 operational A-10s and to not make any reductions in manning of A-10 squadrons. Defense Department and Air Force leadership this year have said the service is delaying the final retirement of the A-10 until 2022, with squadrons beginning to draw down in 2018. At the same time, the bill requires the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation to submit a report on F-35 testing, including a comparison of that aircraft’s and the A-10's capabilities in combat search and rescue and forward air control missions. Following that report, the Air Force needs to submit its own evaluation of the comparison and a plan to address any deficiencies, according to the bill.