Not all planes have undercarriages capable to sustain a landing on an unprepared runway. The A-10 is not among them.
Although the reader who sent us this image was not able to provide more details about it, the photograph is worth a note because it shows something you don’t see every day: an attack plane landing on an unprepared runway.
In this case, the aircraft is a U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthog, wearing the markings of the 104th Fighter Squadron of the 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard stationed at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, Maryland.
What the aircraft was doing in the desert is unknown: most probably it was performing a test somewhere in the Continental U.S.. Still, the picture proves the A-10, likely to be retired by the U.S. Air Force and to be replaced by the F-35 in spite of being the preferred platform to perform Close Air Support in Afghanistan and elsewhere, can even operate from a desert/sand strip.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force. If any of our readers know something more about this image, let us know.
There is four or five interesting photos on the 175th Wing website.