The venerable A-10 has been a workhorse for close air support in Iraq and Afghanistan. A very useful source of monitoring Warthog activity in global operations is to be found at http://warthognews.blogspot.com. Not surprisingly what one finds, if one is looking for it, further confirmation of the role of combat air for presence missions, combining with striking power. This is simply a role for which the unmanned aircraft is not suited. To quote from the A-10 Afghanistan combat summary for November 2009:
Nov 1: (also relased on USAF’s public main website)
A-10 Thunderbolt IIs were providing armed overwatch for a friendly forces patrol. The aircraft were also conducting reconnaissance and surveillance of the area when a request for assistance from friendly forces was received. The friendly patrol was receiving enemy fire so a show of force was conducted to deter the enemy aggression. The show of force ended the engagement.
Nov 2: (also relased on USAF’s public main website)
A-10 Thunderbolt IIs provided overwatch for friendly forces. Shows of force were requested to deter enemy and reassure the troops and locals that air power was present. The shows of force were performed, with flares expended, and were considered successful.
Nov 3: (also released on USAF’s public main website)
A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft provided overwatch and route reconnaissance for a friendly forces convoy.
When a possible ambush was reported, a show of force was requested to deter any possible enemy action and reassure the troops and locals that airpower was in the area. The show of force, with numerous flares expended, was performed and considered successful when no enemy activity was observed…..
A-10s were overhead in support of friendly forces. A request for a show of force was made when a vehicle struck an improvised explosive device and friendly forces in the area reported taking enemy small-arms fire. The show of force was demonstrated and the show of force was considered successful when the enemy fire stopped.
The slide show provides a glimpse of the A-10 in Afghanistan. The first photo shows An A-10C Thunderbolt from the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron preparing to depart Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
The second photo pictures Airmen with the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron preparing an A-10C Thunderbolt II for flight.
The third and fourth photos show An A-10C Thunderbolt II from the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron taking off.
The fifth photo shows Airmen with the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron preparing an A-10C Thunderbolt II for flight.
The sixth photo shows Airmen from the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron inspecting an A-10C Thunderbolt.
The seventh photo pictures a pair of A-10C Thunderbolts from the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron taxing down the runway.
The seven photos were shot on December 27,2009 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan and are credited to the Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan.
The A10s are in need of significant upgrading to maintain their service life. Part of that upgrading is the re-winging of the fleet. A modernization program is underway to extend the service life for another 20 years with engine, avionics and wing upgrades. The eighth photo shows a technician working on the A-10 upgrade at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davish-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. The upgrade process is designed to make the wings of the aircraft thicker and stronger while increasing the service life of the aircraft another 8,000 hours in the air.
***Posted February 14th, 2010