U.S. A-10 reportedly shot at by ISIS militants with Strela MANPADS in Iraq

U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft face the threat of Man Portable Air Defense Systems in Iraq.

According to a report by Iraqi News, American A-10 were shot at with four Strela missiles during the recent air strikes carried out by the Warthogs (as the Thunderbolts are referred to by the pilot community) on ISIS positions near Mosul, in Iraq.

Based on reports by unnamed sources who witnessed the attack, the A-10s killed and wounded several terrorists but were also targeted by the ISIS militants who allegedly attempted to shoot down the U.S. planes fling at low altitude using 9K32 Strela-2 (NATO reporting name SA-7 Grail) man-portable, shoulder-fired, low-altitude, IR (infra-red) guided, surface-to-air missile systems.

Even though the Warthogs were not hit by the surface-to-air missiles, the episode seems to confirm that, flying at medium and low altitude and loitering over the battlefield, the A-10s deployed to Kuwait face the threat of MANPADS known to be in possession of Islamic State forces.

Still, the “Hog” is a tough plane, that has already shown its special ability to bring the pilot back to the homebase in spite of heavy damages by ground fire.

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.


  1. 1) MANPADS like the 9K32 are infrared seeking missiles: They go for the engine exhaust, then look for the next coolest object to hit.
    2) The A-10 engines were purposely placed to allow an impact on one not to interfere with the operation of the other; one can be blown off and the other still function without fault.
    3) The A-10 is designed for the CAS mission; no other aircraft in the inventory is.
    4) Yes, the A-10 WILL get hit. That’s its number 1 design priority. It is designed to take that hit and more, and keep flying.
    5) An analysis done by the RAND corporation on combat damage survivability states that the A-10 while a dated design, still performs better than either the F-16 or the F-35 in the CAS environment; even with F-16 and F-35 at a standoff range due to anti air denial systems.

    • really? You’re preaching to the choir, Don. During desert Storm, after losing two A10s to Sams in the same day and having 15 other A10s out of service due to severe battle damage (some were later scrapped), USAF general Horner pulled the remaining A10s out from attacking the IRAQI Republican Guard and re-assigned them to less formidable targets. He sent the F16s after the formidable republican guard which suffered far less losses and achieved the same results. He stated that the A10s #1 problem is its lack of speed to escape threats. That was 1991. fanboys seem to struggle with the concept that Facts are facts and that things change over time. These are not cheap old Strella2 MANPADS which were used against A10s in desert storm and have a limited yield warheads. These new manpads are lethal and will more damage than an engine.

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