U.S. A-10s conduct unimproved surface landings on a dry lake bed in simulated assault zone

A-10s rock White Sands Missile Range

On Dec. 3 and 4, A-10 Thunderbolts belonging to the 354th Fighter Squadron, from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 74th Fighter Squadron, from Moody AFB, Georgia, conducted night and day unimproved surface landing training on a dry lake bed.

Sand land

The training activities were supported by 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, from Hurlburt Field, Florida, who provided air traffic control at the landing strip located inside a simulated assault zone “similar to what would be seen in a deployed environment.”

This kind of activity is useful to validate procedure used when operations occur from within a denied territory, where there is no established landing zone under friendly control.

Low pass

During the training, soft spots on the designated landing strip interrupted the departure of the first Warthog (the nickname of the Thunderbolt) causing the mission to change: subsequent aircraft practiced low approaches without conventional landing aids and instruments including night ones using NVGs (Night Vision Goggles).

To be replaced by the F-35 in the following years, the A-10 is currently supporting Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS targets in Iraq.


Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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.