WASHINGTON — Sen. Kelly Ayotte is blocking Senate action on President Barack Obama's nominee for Air Force secretary until she gets answers about the fate of the military's A-10 attack aircraft.

The New Hampshire Republican placed a "hold" on the nomination of Deborah Lee James amid signals from senior Air Force officials that the aircraft may be scrapped due to budget cuts.

"As ranking member of the Armed Services readiness subcommittee, Sen. Ayotte's central concern is that our troops, including New Hampshire servicemen and women serving in harm's way, have the close air support they need to safely accomplish their missions," Liz Johnson, a spokeswoman for the senator, said in a statement Thursday. "The A-10 airframe is credited with saving 60 American lives this summer in Afghanistan."

Johnson said Ayotte had not gotten the answers from the Air Force on whether it planned to eliminate the aircraft before a replacement was available. The Air Force was in the process of responding and once Ayotte received a "substantive response" she would lift her hold on the nomination, Johnson said.

Ayotte's husband, Joe Daley, is a former A-10 pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq.

The senator questioned James about the aircraft at her confirmation hearing earlier this month, arguing that until the next generation F-35 aircraft was operational "we can't be giving up our capacity, particularly important capacity that protects our troops."

James had testified that there had been no decision on the A-10, but the Air Force was looking at all options as it faces automatic, across-the board spending cuts.

Ayotte submitted 32 follow-up questions to the Air Force.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)

    FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2013, file photo Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., questions President Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., during his Capitol Hill confirmation hearing. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)

    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 23: U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks to members of the press during a news conference May 23, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)

    This Nov. 6, 2012 file photo shows Sen.-elect Deb Fischer, R-Neb. speaking in Lincoln, Neb. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver, File) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks during a news conference about the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

    WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference, June 14, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.)

    WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 30: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), 2nd from right, talks to reporters after the House passed the STEM Jobs Act November 30, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.)

    Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) makes brief remarks to journalists after a meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the U.S. Capitol June 2, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)

    Committee on Resolutions Co-Chairman Representative Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.)

    Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., stands behind a prop of 'Magic 8 Balls', during a news conference held by Republican Freshmen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, to discuss the budget. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.)

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) speaks during a news conference April 12, 2013 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas)

    WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24: U.S. Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) speaks at The Elton John AIDS Foundation and UNAIDS breakfast at the Russell Senate Office Building on July 24, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Elton John AIDS Foundation) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.)

    Republican Vicky Hartzler, with her husband Lowell Hartzler, speaks to supporters after winning the Missouri 4th Congressioinal Distict seat over Democratic challenger Teresa Hensley on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 in Harrisonville, Mo. (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, Allison Long) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.)

    Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) speaks during a news conference following the weekly House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol March 5, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.)

    Congressional Western Congress Co-Chairwoman Cynthia Lummis, R-WY, holds a hearing on forests health and wildfires in Denver on Thursday, May 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.)

    FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2011 file photo, House Administration Committee Chair Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich. speaks on Mackinac Island, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.)

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) speaks during a news conference February 3, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.)

    House Armed Services Committee member and Subcommittee Chairman on Oversight and Investigations Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., speaks to the reporters following a House Armed Services Committee closed-door briefing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)

    Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., speaks about the Boston Marathon explosions, during a House Republican Leadership news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)

    In this Dec. 12, 2012, file photo Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.)

    FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2012 file photo Republican Ann Wagner, is seen in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Kelley McCall, File) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.)

    Jackie Walorski gives her acceptance speech after winning the Indiana Congressional District 2 seat over Brendan Mullen inside the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart on Tuesday, IN Nov. 06, 2012. (AP Photo/South Bend Tribune/ROBERT FRANKLIN) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

    US Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito makes her formal announcement to run for Senate in 2014 during a news conference at the Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Monday Nov. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/The Charleston Gazette, Chip Ellis) <a href="http://www.nfrw.org/republicans/women/congress.htm" target="_blank">Source:</a> National Federation Of Republican Women

  • Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.)

    Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a member of the House Budget Committee and Ways and Means Committee, center, joins House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, right, and Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, to demand for President Obama to submit a budget proposal to Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)