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. It’s always a problem when your Third World enemy learns how to use First World weapons, especially on this missile-magnet.

  2. Would you rather put a 40 year old paid for ammo truck that costs a few million a year to operate against a low level air defence system, or a brand spanking new $120 million aircraft with less of a weapons load and costs 10’s of millions of dollars a year to operate?

    • Agreed, plus the A-10 has a kevlar armored cockpit tub and the airframe can take a lot of damage and get it’s pilot back to base. The engines are spread out so that a hit to one from an IR missile won’t take out the other one allowing it to keep flying. I doubt that the F-35 can take any damage and still fly, especially with just 1 engine.

      • These Puppy’s (A-10) are basically an airplane built around a high speed Galling Gun and the pilot is enclosed in a Titanium ‘bathtub’ with redundant back up systems…God Bless Fairchild industries.

  3. As glad as I am to hear no Hogs lost and all pilots back to base – it’s just a matter of time. And my heart goes out to the pilot that gets captured and turned into a propaganda piece. So, no missions without escort of AC-130, use ’52’s to carpet bomb any substantal positions, and let’s return to using napalm. I have no sympathy or tolerance for the barbarians. Don’t make this political, just exterminate.

  4. A properly handled Strela can absolutely take down an A-10. I think the actual combat survivability of the A-10 has been exaggerated by the stories we’ve heard about it flying with one wing shot off, etc… True, but misses the point.

    People conveniently forget that in the original Gulf War, A-10s were pulled away from Republican Guard units and redirected to attack poorly defended rear units because they were suffering too many combat losses.

  5. Google USAF Capt Kim Campbell, hit by a SAM during Desert Storm. Lots of pics on the net of Her Hog post-strike…..

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