Tag Archives: a-10

Warthogs Along State Highway 32

Four A-10s, pulled from the Arizona-based 15th Air Force’s 354th Fighter Squadron and the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing, landed on a four-lane stretch of Michigan state highway 32 as part of Northern Strike 21, a large-scale training exercise, in Alpena, last week.

While the Air Force has long trained to operate from roadways in Europe and Asia, and it is a common tactic often trained by overseas allies, it is super rare here in the states.

“This is the first time in history that the Air Force has purposely landed modern aircraft on a civilian roadway in the U.S.,” said the service in a statement.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alex M. Miller)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alex M. Miller)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alex M. Miller)

From the USAF: 

The 355th Wing participation in this exercise demonstrates the unit’s continued effort to refine its agile combat employment capabilities and Dynamic Wing concept, which improve its Airmen’s ability to operate from austere locations with limited infrastructure and personnel. The A-10’s ability to land on a variety of surfaces, like highways and unimproved landing strips, allows the Air Force to project combat airpower closer quickly.

“This proof of concept proves that we can land on any highway and continue to operate,” said Capt. John Renner, 354th FS flight commander and one of the pilots who participated in the highway landing. “The A-10 allows us to land a lot more places to get fuel, weapons and other armament so we can operate anywhere, anytime. This will allow us to get away from using built-up bases that our adversaries can target by moving much more rapidly.”

Two C-146A Wolfhounds [Dornier 328s] assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command also executed highway landings as part of the exercise, highlighting the service’s ability to integrate and employ diverse missions in austere environments. These landings align with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.’s “Accelerate Change or Lose” strategic approach by testing and proving innovative tactics that are not typically trained to, which positions the force to outpace any potential adversary.

“This is a small step toward increasing our confidence in operating from austere locations,” said Lt. Col. Gary Glojek, 354th FS commander. “We are increasing the number of areas we can operate from to generate and deliver attack airpower by operating from dirt and pavement runways. Accelerating change is all about seizing every opportunity to move forward to increase your readiness.”

The Michigan State Police assisted the operation by blocking off the rural highway in the LP.

“No speeding citations were issued during the exercise,” noted MSP on social media.

29 Years Ago Today: Chopper Popper

On 6 February 1991, during the “Shock and Awe” of Desert Storm, Capt. Robert R. Swain, Jr., of the Louisiana-based 706th Tactical Fighter Squadron, in the Air Force Reserve’s 926th Tactical Fighter Group, was zooming around performing “battlefield interdictions” in his OA–10A Thunderbolt II over central Iraqi-occupied Kuwait.

“As I was leaving the target area after dropping six 500-pound bombs and firing my two Maverick missiles at tanks, I noticed two black dots running across the desert,” Swain said in a 1991 interview published in Air Force magazines. “They weren’t putting up any dust, and yet they were moving fast over the ground.”

It turned out those little black dots were Iraqi Bo-105s, little German-made light observation helicopters which could carry a centerline 20mm cannon or a series of rocket pods.

These guys…

“On the first pass, I tried to shoot an AIM-9 heat-seeking missile, but I couldn’t get it to lock-on [the target],” said Shaw. “So, on the second pass, I fired a long burst of 30 millimeter from the cannon [GAU-8], and the helicopter looked like it had been hit by a bomb. We tried to identify the type of [helicopter] after we were finished, but it was just a bunch of pieces.”

Shaw’s OA-10, 77-0205, would be dubbed the Chopper Popper, complete with a very Lousiana-like nose-art in honor of the 926th’s “Fighting Cajuns.”

It was the first air-to-air kill in the A-10s history. It would not be the last as another A-10A, flown by Capt. Todd Sheehy of the 10th TFW would splash a Soviet-made Iraqi Mi-8 helicopter with its GAU-8 30mm cannon on 15 February.

Shaw, a USAF Academy alumni (Class of 1979) who had switched to flying A-10s in the reserves after his active duty stint was over, went back to pushing tin as a commercial airline pilot but remained a “weekend warrior” flying not only Warthogs but also C-5s, retiring in 2011 as a full colonel in command of the 439th Airlift Wing, logging over 3,500 hours with the Air Force.

His old unit, the 926th, was deactivated in 2006. 

As for Chopper Popper, SN 77-0205, it was retired and placed on display at the Academy on 1 November 1993, with Shaw’s AFRES markings. It remains standing guard at Thunderbird Airmanship Overlook, South Gate.

Austere fields

Back in the first days of military aviation, all airfields would be, in today’s terms, “austere.” Just a patch of grass to park the planes along with a flat of packed earth to take off/land with tents and maybe a requisitioned chalet for the crews to bed down in.

March 19, 1916, Columbus, N.M Curtiss JN-3s of the 1st Aero Squadron. Flying from Columbus into Mexico, they accompanied Pershing on the chase for Villa. Dig the red stars. 

Today, about the minimum amount of space needed to operate a modern strike aircraft starts at 3,500 feet of nice runway– and that is just for a lightly loaded aircraft.

However, the ability to use rough forward strips has long been an ace in the hole should the established bases be flattened in the first days of WWIII.

Harrier on a forest highway harrier hide Europe early 1980s

F-5A prototype, rough field trials

Eight A-10s from the 175th Wing on Jägala-Käravete Highway Estonia 

With that, check out the rough field capability of the Saab Gripen

Warthogs on the highway

Last week eight combat controllers of the USAF’s 352d Special Operations Wing surveyed a two-lane section of the Jägala-Käravete Highway in Estonia, deconflicted airspace, and exercised command and control on the ground and in the air to land a eight-aircraft stick of A-10Cs from the Maryland Air National Guard’s 175th Wing’s 104th Fighter Squadron.

Does it get any more 1970s Reforger than that?

That’s a whole lotta brrt

Offical caption:

Aircraft from the 23d Wing conducted a surge exercise May 22, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The exercise was conducted in order to demonstrate the wing’s ability to rapidly deploy combat ready forces across the globe. The 23d Wing maintains and operates A-10C Thunderbolt IIs, HH-60G Pave Hawks, and HC-130J Combat King II aircraft for precision attack, personnel recovery and combat support worldwide.

‘It’s not glamorous’

The Drive has a really great article about a young Fairchild Republic A-10 driver in the “Flying Tigers” of the 74th Fighter Squadron, Lt. Kayla Bowers, call-sign Banzai.

Kayla Bowers A-10 Thunderbolt warthog a10 female pilot 10

And she wanted to fly A-10s, the newest of which is now 32-years-old, from the get go.

“I started researching the different aircraft,” says Banzai, “and when I learned about what an incredible platform the A-10 is, and looked at its combat search and rescue (CSAR) mission—it intrigued me. I also heard stories about it from high school friends who had enlisted in the Marine Corps and the Army. They had already deployed and told me stories of the A-10 saving their lives. It just really spoke to me that I could potentially do something like that, and make such a difference in somebody’s life. It’s not glamorous. Really, it’s just a very rugged aircraft that has a lot of capabilities. It’s just really incredible.”

Currently deployed to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, they have been flying missions with Bulgarian Air Force’s Su-25 Frogfoots, the A-10s Soviet-designed counterpart, and Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters, which is something the original A-10 designers probably never dreamed of in their wildest fantasy.

A-10 Thunderbolt warthog
There are like 40+ images in the piece from Frank Crebas of Bluelife Aviation & Rich Cooper of the Centre of Aviation Photography that are truly breathtaking, so do yourself a favor and head over there.

OZ to pick up 12 redesigned SSNs (-N) and upto 450 AMRAAMs

In the ever-continuing West Pac arms race, Australian officials announced this week that France’s DCNS has won the $38.5 billion Project SEA 1000 Future Submarine program to replace six Collins-class submarines currently in service with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with a dozen Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A boats.


The Barracudas (Suffren-class in French Naval use) are a sexy batch of nuclear-powered attack subs that are currently building. They are 5,300-ton ships that include advanced features like a pump-jet propeller and X-shaped stern planes. While smaller than the U.S. Virginia-class, they are comparable in size to the old school Sturgeon-class SSNs of the 1970s and 80s and the Los Angeles-class which are still bumping along. They will, naturally, be larger and more advanced that the Collins.


The difference between the Aussie subs and the Sufferns will be that their dozen boats– to be built in Australia– will be diesel boats. They will be able to force-project as needed.

Further, Australia could become the first foreign nation to buy the radar-guided Raytheon AIM-120D air-to-air missile under a $1.2 billion foreign military sales package approved by the U.S. government this week. The Delta has a 50% greater range (than the already-extended range AIM-120C-7) and better guidance over its entire flight envelope yielding an improved kill probability (Pk) and the U.S. military itself is wanting a bunch but they are tied up in sequestration.


Included with that deal is:

Up to 450 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AIM-120D)
Up to 34 AIM-120D Air Vehicles Instrumented (AAVI)
Up to 6 Instrumented Test Vehicles (ITVs)
Up to 10 spare AIM-120 Guidance Sections (GSs)

450 Fox Threes and a dozen of the world’s most advanced SSKs sure make a potent pill against a future enemy looking to roll hard over Canberra.

A-10s in the PI

In other news, the Air Force is rotating composite units of A-10s and HH-60s through the PI and, they are reportedly flying maritime patrols over Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. 

“Our job is to ensure air and sea domains remain open in accordance with international law,” said Air Force Col. Larry Card, the commander of the new air contingent in the Philippines. “That is extremely important, international economics depends on it — free trade depends on our ability to move goods. There’s no nation right now whose economy does not depend on the well-being of the economy of other nations.”

A U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II touches down at Clark Air Base in the Philippines on April 19 after returning from an operational mission. A-10 attack planes have been flying maritime patrols over a coral reef chain known as Scarborough Shoal as the situation in the South China Sea grows more complex. MUST CREDIT: Handout photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton, U.S. Air Force.

A U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II touches down at Clark Air Base in the Philippines on April 19 after returning from an operational mission. A-10 attack planes have been flying maritime patrols over a coral reef chain known as Scarborough Shoal as the situation in the South China Sea grows more complex. Photo: Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton, U.S. Air Force.

Warthog as described in 1974

Throwback Thursday: Just look at the highlights of this original Warthog brochure:

-“The A-10 was designed to cost–the lowest cost of any front line aircraft in the Tactical Air Command inventory.”
-The flight testing time was measured in months..not years or even decades!
-Quick turnaround time/long loiter time
-Able to be rearmed with engines running
-Able to land on austere runways
-Easy to maintain
-Survivability/redundant control systems
-Massive firepower

warthog a-10 a10 ad 1974 4 warthog a-10 a10 ad 1974 3 warthog a-10 a10 ad 1974 2 warthog a-10 a10 ad 1974
Too bad the Air Force has been trying to kill it for the past 40 years…

Source: https://sobchak.wordpress.com/tag/warthog/

Sounds like a fair trade

Just read that the USAF plans to replace its 350~ remaining A-10 “Warthog” close air support attack aircraft, which have proven reliable across the past thirty years…..


We give you the A-10 at full Brrrrrt...(The Idaho Air National Guard supports Exercise Combined Resolve II with A-10 Thunderbolt II jets at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, May 19, 2014. The exercise is a U.S. Army Europe-directed multinational exercise at the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels Training Areas, including more than 4,000 participants from 15 allied and partner countries including special operations forces from the U.S., Bulgaria and Croatia. Interoperability training during the exercise promotes security and stability among NATO and European partner nations. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Gertrud Zach/Released)

We give you the A-10 at full Brrrrrt(The Idaho Air National Guard supports Exercise Combined Resolve II with A-10 Thunderbolt II jets at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, May 19, 2014. U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Gertrud Zach/Released)


With 256 MQ-9A Reapers…which are good for 1500# of ordinance but can remain on target for 14-42 hours depending on load and version. Which would you rather see flying above you if you were a Joe or Devil on the ground?

Seems like a fair trade

The Reaper!

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