This photo shows (badass) A-10 Warthog landing on a sand runway

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.


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a 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 five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Doesn’t this headline say that the A-10 ISN’T a plane that can land on unprepared runways?

  2. A cut & paste from 175th Wing ANG official site, page 17 of photos for 104th Fighter Squadron – “Mud Lake at the Nevada Test and Training Range
    An A-10C assigned to the 104th Fighter Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard, lands at Mud Lake on the Nevada Test and Training Range, November 29, 2011. The pilots landed on an unimproved dirt runway during the day and night as a part of continuing training through the U.S. Air Force Weapons School. (National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/RELEASED)” A few other photos on the same range.

  3. The air force will miss this bird when it’s gone. The f-35 won’t be able to do all the warthog does.

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