Boeing (Chalet 321, 324) is exploring the international market for a modernized and re-engined A-10 Warthog if the U.S. Air Force retires the aircraft, according to Paul Cejas, chief engineer for off-Boeing programs in the company's support division.

Cejas stressed that any such project is dependent on the Air Force retiring the aircraft, in the face of congressional opposition, and releasing its inventory. "It is fairly new and not at a point where we can provide more details."

Boeing is the lead contractor for A-10 sustainment and is fulfilling a contract for 173 sets of new wings for the fleet. The company has delivered 105 sets and does not expect that the contract will be canceled even if the Air Force retires the aircraft. The new wing is close to returning the A-10 to zero-time condition.

A new engine "is one of the items on the agenda," Cejas says. The current TF34 is little changed from the original 1970s design and a number of suitable engines in the same thrust class are available. Boeing is also looking at a new targeting pod and a helmet-mounted display system with more integrated functions than today's A-10 offers with the Thales Scorpion.

The modernized A-10 is billed as a "low-cost counterterrorism" system, implying that it is aimed at Middle Eastern customers, which have shown increased interest in affordable attack aircraft since the rise of the ISIS movement. Of the two largest potential customers – the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – Boeing has the closest relationship with the latter.