HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The Air Force has awarded Hill Air Force Base a $187.5 million contract to repair and maintain the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, a fleet the military has looked to scale back in recent years.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said the announcement is welcome news for Utah, the country and national security.

“Hill Air Force Base plays a vital role in maintaining a fighting force to carry out our country’s national security strategy, supporting our country’s military readiness, and bolstering our capacity to deter foreign aggression,” he said in a statement. “With this funding, Hill Air Force Base will be better equipped to continue carrying out these objectives for many years to come.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said the contract is great news for Hill.

“The A-10 Warthog is an exceptional plane and in a league of its own when it comes to close air support for our troops on the ground,” he posted on Twitter.

Last year, workers at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill installed the last of 173 new wings on the airplane also known as the “Warthog,” completing a project that started in 2011. The work was part of a $1.1 billion program to keep the A-10 flying late into the 2030s. The new wings are expected to last for up to 10,000 equivalent flight hours without an inspection.

The new maintenance contract with Northrop Grumman runs through November 2030. Built by Fairchild Republic Co. prior to its acquisition by Northrop, the A-10 aircraft is designed to help the Air Force perform airborne forward air control and close air support operations.

The Air Force has tried to retire the plane multiple times in the past decade, but Congress has repeatedly blocked those attempts.