ISIS claims they have shot down a U.S. Air Force A-10 in Syria. Pentagon denies.

An A-10 Thunderbolt II from the 25th Fighter Squadron shoots a flare during Air Power Day 2016 on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 25, 2016. The A-10 was showing off its capabilities to perform combat search and rescue missions during air show.(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen)

ISIS claims they have shot down a U.S. Air Force A-10 in Syria. But U.S. military deny.

ISIS claims they have just shot down a U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft west of Markadah, southwest of Hasaka, in Syria.

However, the Pentagon has denied the news.

Therefore, unless something different emerges (it’s not clear whether U.S. authorities are denying any loss or just the loss of a Thunderbolt), the call is bogus and all the A-10s deployed to the region are still in pretty good shape continuing their daily work in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. A support that has started about 2 years ago.

Indeed, during the week of Nov. 17-21, 2014, the U.S. Air Force moved a squadron-sized element of A-10C Thunderbolt aircraft from Bagram, Afghanistan, to Ahmed al Jaber airbase, in Kuwait, to join the fight against Daesh.

The aircraft belonged to the 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron “Blacksnakes”, part of the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, based at Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Shortly thereafter, videos showing Warthog aircraft attacking ground targets in Al Anbar region, in western Iraq, using its GAU-8 Avenger a 30 mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-type cannon emerged. The footage proved that the A-10 was back where 25 years earlier it had fought against Saddam doing what it does better than many other assets: attacking hostile targets that threaten friendly forces or assets on the ground.

Since then, the Hog (from various USAF units) has played an important role supporting Operation Inherent Resolve: it has carried out about one-third of the overall air strikes attacking the IS militants causing great losses (as when A-10s joined with AC-130 gunships and destroyed 116 ISIS fuel tanker trucks) and by deterring them from above.

However, the mission has put it at risk of being shot at by Daesh, using MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Systems).

For instance, in January 2015, U.S. A-10s were shot at with four Strela missiles near Mosul, in Iraq.

The Warthogs were targeted by the ISIS militants who attempted to shot down the A-10s flying at low altitude using9K32 Strela-2 (NATO reporting name SA-7 Grail) man-portable, shoulder-fired, low-altitude, IR (infra-red) guided, surface-to-air missile systems.

The A-10s were not hit but that episode just confirmed that Thunderbolts deployed to Kuwait could face MANPADS threat while flying at low and medium altitudes over Daesh positions.

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.

If you want to read more about the A-10 involvement in the air war against Daesh, visit this link, register and download our exclusive ebook here.





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.


      • He’s not that wrong. They are easy to kill when going up against a mechanize force with competent AAA and short/medium IR SAMs. Desert Storm Air Boss had to pull the A-10s from attacking Republican Guard units because they were taking a beating. They were replaced by F-16s and A-10s were tasked to take out less formidable iraqi units.

        Scroll down half way to A-10 vs. F-16s.

      • Ask him about how the Republican Guard shot down two in one day (one pilot killed, another captured), and how the A-10 was replaced by B-52s in that mission as a result.

      • Great job. You’re now short an A-10. You now have one less aircraft with which to meet your targeting requirements.

        Fix it? OK, now you’re diverting manpower away from turning around good jets, hanging bombs and refueling them to keep them in the fight towards fixing a banged up jet. You’re better off using that broke jet as a source of spare parts. Which is what they did in ’91…

        • Wrong, wrong, and wrong. My response was to the comment, “A-10 is one of the easiest planes to kill”. It is the most difficult plane to kill, as evidenced by this photo. Almost all other planes would not be flyable given that damage.

          In rebuttal to your idiotic comment:

          I’d rather have one less capable aircraft than be at full strength of incapable F-35s (of which at least half will be broken for other non-combat related issues).

          Different manpower is used to repair versus turn good jets and certainly different than hanging bombs and refueling. Those are different AFSCs.

          Finally, that photo is from 2003. There was no A-10 shoot-down, nor even damage. This is ISIS propaganda.

          In short, you have no idea what you are talking about.

          • “Almost all other planes would not be flyable given that damage.”
            -Why’d you say almost?
            “It is the most difficult plane to kill..”
            -dont have to kill it.

            • Uhhhh, I said almost all other planes would not be flyable given that damage because there are some other planes that would be flyable given that damage. That does not negate my statement that the A-10 is the hardest to kill.

              “don’t have to kill it”…to do what?

          • • If the A-10 is the most difficult plane to kill, then why did it have a higher loss rate than the “fragile,” single engine F-16, despite the F-16 flying both a greater number of missions, and flying against more heavily defended targets (including a daylight raid against Baghdad early on in the war) than the A-10 did in Desert Storm?
            • I’m aware that the photo was from 2003. The pilot had been flying long before she got into the Air Force (She got her pilot’s license at 16). Her level head and her skills got her home that day.
            • I’m also aware that the *only* US aircraft shot down by Iraq in the 2003 invasion was an A-10; shot down by a 1970s era Roland SAM
            • I know that Daesh’s claim is BS because there are currently no A-10s in theater. A-10s haven’t been the weapon of choice in Iraq recently (that distinction belongs to the B-1B) and the A-10 has been restricted from even entering Syrian airspace due to the MANPAD threat
            • in 2011 the A-10 was withheld from action over Libya for at least a week due to the MANPAD threat
            • As for the ability to weather damage…
            – F/A-18 after taking a direct hit from an IR missile
            – F-16 after losing half it’s wing in a mid-air that flew 100 miles and landed safely (with an inexperienced pilot at the controls)
            – F-14 after losing half a wing in a mid-air
            – The infamous F-15 that lost an entire wing in a mid-air and landed safely
            In nearly 40 years, I’ve yet to see an A-10 fly with that much structure/control surfaces/lifting surfaces missing

            • I meant in the context of this article…in other words, hardest to kill by a non-state entity on the order of ISIS. Obviously the A-10 is much less survivable against a significant MANPAD threat and obviously so against something like the Iraqi Air Defense Command in Desert Storm.

    • you don’t know much about air-to-ground combat as opposed to air-to-air. The Warthog is not designed to be an air-to-air fighter, hence an F-22 or a Joint Strike fighter could easily shoot it out of the sky in a dogfight. BUT!!! nothing on the ground, NOTHING! can deal with an A-10. ISIS is full of dog-doo! GUARANTEE ISIS DID NOT SHOOT DOWN JACK SQUAT. The only interaction ISIS had with the A-10 was to eat 30 mm depleted-uranium coated rounds and die by the dozen

  1. “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.”

    I wonder if the aircraft which was shot, is an F-35. Then, congratulations, you have already shot down our $85 million stealth-fighter-who-supposed-to-do-everything-including-CAS-mission.

    • Don’t be ridiculous. The plane has barely reached IOC with some services. It’s still years away from a deployment. Enough with the ridiculousness.

    • well the F35 like the F15 and F16 all face the same risks in regards to AAA and SA7s. A10 was built to take damage yes, but if our jets can bomb the enemy safety and effectively at a distance why wouldnt we? The F35s sensors will allow it to find, ID, track targets, and drop steel on targets in seconds..and pass that info to other assets btw…. while the A10 is circling trying to find where the friendly forces are.

      • The A-10 had to be upgraded to the A-10C to have comparable air to ground capabilities of the F/A-18C/D and F-16C block 32 to strike from on high with acceptable accuracy.

  2. The US is very good at hiding its combat losses. A plane gets shot down by a SAM – technical fault. A plane gets shot down in a2a combat – technical fault or a SAM!

Comments are closed.