Tag Archives: Warthog

Video of A-10 attacking ISIS targets in Iraq emerges

The A-10 is back in Iraq doing what it does better than many other assets: attacking hostile targets that threaten friendly forces or assets on the ground.

During the week of Nov. 17-21, 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 ISIS.

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

US A-10 Ahmed al Jaber Air Base

Little was known about their activities in support of Operation Inherent Resolve until a video showing a “Warthog” (as the A-10 is nicknamed among the fighter pilots community) 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

The Air Force planned to get rid of the A-10 but the Congress blocked the retirement in 2015 keeping part of the Warthog fleet (100 aircraft) intact.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

These are some of the coolest A-10 Warthog air-to-air, in action photos ever

Even if the fleet of 350 “Boars” is essential to conduct Close Air Support (CAS) missions in Afghanistan and in any other low intensity conflict the U.S. may be called to fight in the future, the Air Force has a plan to prematurely retire all its A-10 Warthog aircraft between 2015 and 2018.

While some senators and congressmen are fighting back against this decision, the future of the American troops in theater will be tied to the effectiveness, reliability and capabilities of the F-35, that is going to replace the A-10 in the air-to-surface, Troops-In-Contact (TIC) role.

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In the meanwhile, Warthog aircrews continue to train, even though the training pipeline for pilots destined to this type of aircraft has already been scaled back.

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The images in this post, taken by Jim Haseltine and made available by the Air Force, show A-10C Thunderbolt II “Warthogs” with the 188th Fighter Wing, Arkansas Air National Guard conduct close-air support training near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

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The A-10 can carry AGM-65 Maverick missiles, Snakeye bombs, Paveway LGB (Laser Guided Bombs) but their main weapon is the GAU-8 Avenger, a 30 mm rotary cannon, the heaviest such cannon mounted on a fast jet.

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How many aircraft can fly low and hit hard employing such variety of guided and unguided weapons?

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Image credit: USAF / Jim Haseltine

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23 tanks destroyed in one day: the A-10 Warthog in action

Without the presence of the A-10A Thunderbolt II attack planes, allied forces would have suffered a far higher cost in terms of lives during the ground phase of Operation Desert Storm in February 1991.

This is proved by what happened in the morning of Feb. 25, 1991, during the second day of the ground war.

That day, a large column of Iraqi tanks was moving south from areas controlled by the Republican Guard and two “Warthogs” (the most common of the A-10 nicknames) belonging to the 76th TFS (Tactical Fighter Squadron) of the 23rd TFW (Tactical Fighter Wing) were scrambled to destroy them.

The two A-10s,  flown by Captain Eric Solomonson and Lieutenant John Marks, were led to the target area by an OA-10 FAC (Forward Air Controller).

Solomonson and Marks noted that some Iraqi tanks had scattered and tried to hide in prepositioned revetments while some others were pulling off from both sides of the road.

However there were enough targets for both infrared AGM-65 Maverick missiles and for the powerful 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger seven barreled cannon of the two Warthogs.

In a matter of ten minutes six tanks were destroyed by the Mavericks and two more were killed by the brutal force of the Avenger.

Instead of returning to their base, the Thunderbolts landed to a FOL (Forward Operating Location), were refueled and reloaded of weapons and took off again to help the Marines near Kuwait City.

A “Fast FAC” F/A-18 Hornet directed Solomonson and Marks in the area where two AV-8B Harriers had been hit. One of the two Harrier pilots had to eject and so the Warthogs had to cover the rescue mission for the “jump jet” pilot.

Once in the target area, during a rapid and tough engagement, the two A-10s killed eight more tanks, six by using the Mavericks and two by means of the cannon.

However for Solomonson and Marks, it was not yet time to rest because, as they returned to their main base, their Thunderbolts were re-armed and took off once again for more Marines support. During this third sortie the two Warthogs destroyed seven more tanks!

On an interview featured in the excellent book “Gulf Air War Debrief” by Stan Morse, Salomonson says: “There are a lot of jets that fly a lot faster, a lot higher, but don’ t drop nearly as much stuff , nor can they hang out in the target area as long as we can.”

The A-10 is one of the most imporant U.S. assets. It will be replaced by the F-35 in the future.

 

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Close-up view of the (rather bumpy) A-10 Warthog nose. With serpentine noseart around the 30mm gun

Taken from a KC-135R Stratotanker during a training flight over Michigan on Jul. 11, the following close up image shows the nose of an A-10 Thunderbolt (affectionately known as the Warthog) from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan.

The Warthog features serpentine noseart around the 30 mm GAU-8/A Gatling Gun, able to dispense 3,900 rounds per minute.

Interestingly, the nose of the A-10 has some bumps possibly caused by the impact of the refueling boom or by some the shell casings (provided they are expelled for some reason, since the Warthog normally cycles its casings back into the ammo drum).

Image credit: U.S. Air Force