Arkansas Air National Guard’s A-10s fly last 4-ship before transitioning to drones

On Dec. 30, 2013, Arkansas Air National Guard’s 188th Fighter Wing at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark. flew one of the very last four-ship missions with the A-10C Thunderbolt (“Warthog”).

Indeed, the wing is currently transitioning from a fighter mission with the A-10C to an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance mission with the Reaper drone.

The 188th has been equipped with the A-10s since April 2007 and has had assigned a manned aircraft on site since 1953. At a rate of two Warthogs per month since September 2013, the unit is planned to complete its 60-year history with military aircraft at Ebbing ANGB in June 2014.

Fearsome four-ship: 188th Warthogs train at Razorback Range

The four-ship formation included Col. Mark Anderson (Tail No. 188), 188th Fighter Wing commander; Maj. Doug Davis (Tail No. 639), 188th Detachment 1 commander; Col. Brian Burger (Tail No. 613), 188th Operations Group commander; and Capt. Wade Hendrickson (Tail No. 638).

The aircraft flew over Razorback Range, at Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center, Ark., along with a 189th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules which took some impressive air-to-air photos as those in this post.

Currently, the 188th flies with nine remaining A-10s: the last pair of Thunderbolts departed for Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, to join the 75th Fighter Squadron on Jan. 15.

The U.S. Air Force plans to retire the A-10C aircraft, its best CAS (Close Air Support) asset, between 2015 and 2018, even if the deadline might be postponed until 2028.

Fearsome four-ship: 188th Warthogs train at Razorback Range

Image credit: 188th FW / U.S. Air Force

 

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About David Cenciotti 3629 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.