A-10 of 104th Fighter Wing in flight, Iraq 2003 (2 of 2)

A-10 of 104th Fighter Wing in flight, Iraq 2003 (2 of 2)


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A-10 of 104th Fighter Wing in flight, Iraq 2003 (2 of 2)

This picture shows is a Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II of the 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard in Iraq in 2003, and shows the array of items that could be carried below the wings.

Many thanks to Robert Bourlier for sending us this photograph.


Warthog News

The Airmen of the 107th Fighter Squadron stand with one of their newly-assigned aircraft, A-10C 81-0975, May 2, 2009. Selfridge ANGB, Michigan, is now the home base for a squadron of A-10s, after the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing completed the transition to the A-10 from flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon for almost 20 years. The Wing also flies the KC-135 Stratotanker. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. David Kujawa) Hi-res

by TSgt Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs

5/3/2009 - Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. -- The Warthog has reported for duty.

The 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base launched its ceremonial first flight in the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft on May 2. The aircraft, more popularly known as the Warthog, was assigned to the base to replace the departing F-16 Fighting Falcon, a multi-purpose fighter that had been based at Selfridge for almost 20 years. The A-10 is used primarily for close air support and has drawn praise from Soldiers and Marines and other U.S. and allied ground forces during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The guys on the ground in the battle zone, this is the aircraft they want supporting them," said Lt. Col. Doug Champagne, commanding officer of the 107th Fighter Squadron at Selfridge. "We bring an incredible asset to the fight with the A-10."

"Some of the most exciting missions you can be involved with in the air take place in an A-10. It's all about supporting those troops on the ground, being a difference maker," he said.

As part of a short ceremony marking the transition from the F-16 to the A-10, 127th Wing members got their first look at an A-10 bearing the markings of the "Red Devils" of the 107th Fighter Squadron, which is a component of the 127th Wing. The A-10 is the latest in line of aircraft flown by the 107th in a history that stretches back before the dawn of the jet age - and even before the creation of the Air Force as a separate military service. Champagne said pilots and maintenance personnel have been working long hours at Selfridge and at other air bases around the country preparing for the transition.

"There's a lot to learn and I really have to tip my hat to the maintenance crews for getting these aircraft received and ready for us. Our personnel have been sent to schools and training sessions in Lousiana, Maryland, Arizona and other places to be ready for this day. It has meant a lot of sacrifice and hard work. I couldn't be more proud of the teamwork and positive attitude they've brought to the job," Champagne said.

Built specifically with the close air support mission in mind, the A-10 is slower than the F-16, which provides more loitering time around a battle zone, if needed. In addition, said Maj. Sean Campbell, the weaponry of the A-10 is different. Campbell was an F-16 pilot with the 107th and is now flying the A-10.

"With the A-10, the gun is the primary weapon. It brings incredible firepower to the fight," Campbell said.

The 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun is perhaps the A-10's most noticeable feature. Protruding from the nose of the aircraft, the gun can fire up to 70 rounds per minute.

"The precision of the gun is amazing," Campbell said.

While the A-10 is new to Selfridge and the surrounding Detroit region, it is far from a newcomer to the state. The Michigan Air National Guard's 110th Fighter Wing, which is based in Battle Creek, had been flying the A-10s since 1991. The A-10s were shifted to Selfridge as part of a 2005 Defense Department base and facilities re-alignment plan. Many of the same aircraft that were flown by the 110th - as well as many of the pilots and some ground crew personnel - are now assigned to Selfridge. The 110th flew the A-10s in deployments to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We're relying heavily on the expertise and the experience that the pilots from Battle Creek have brought to this side of the state," said Champagne.

Among those who have joined the 127th from the 110th is Maj. Shawn Holtz. The pilot said the transition has been a challenge in terms of changing work locations and related issues, but that the former 110th pilots were quickly welcomed into the Selfridge family.

"In terms of personal working relationships and the professionalism around the aircraft, you couldn't ask for much more," Holtz said.

While the A-10 carries the "A" for attack designation, it is still considered a fighter by the Air Force. The 127th Wing and its predecessor units in the Michigan Air National Guard have been flying "F" designated aircraft - "F" for fighter -- since 1950 when local Guardsmen began flying the F-84 Republic Thunderjet. Since then, the wing has flown the F-86, RF-84, F-89, F-100, RF-101, F-106, F-4 and F-16 aircraft.


A-10 of 104th Fighter Wing in flight, Iraq 2003 (2 of 2) - History

Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield Massachusetts

Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield Massachusetts

104th Fighter Wing flagship, F-15C Eagle 85-0125, wears new artwork on both sides of its nose, that is made up of unit members last name.

104th Fighter Wing flagship, F-15C Eagle 85-0125, wears new artwork on both sides of its nose, that is made up of unit members last name.

104th Fighter Wing flagship, F-15C Eagle 85-0125, wears new artwork on both sides of its nose, that is made up of unit members last name.

104th Fighter Wing flagship, F-15C Eagle 85-0125, wears new artwork on both sides of its nose, that is made up of unit members last name.

A loaner jet from the MA ANG getting some use before she heads home.

That photo attribution means you need to ask me for my permission first ([email protected]), before you download this photo to use it for whatever reason you're thinking of.

This photo includes my copyright, name and the date it was taken in the EXIF data, therefore, it is

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2018

Heading home from Green Things with a red grapefruit plant on the backseat.

I captured these lovely A-10s from Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson through the passenger's windshield. I think we were stopped at a traffic light on Pima in Tucson, Arizona, USA. This is cropped from a moderate angle shot.

These A-10s are constantly in use for training. They are an amazingly effective anti-tank weapon for the Army. The Air Force keeps wanting to kill their budget. I believe we need an Army Air Force with its own budget.

Side-view drawing of aircraft with cut-throughs showing crucial internal components

A-10 inboard profile drawing

The A-10 has a cantilever low-wing monoplane wing with a wide chord.[32] The aircraft has superior maneuverability at low speeds and altitudes because of its large wing area, high wing aspect ratio, and large ailerons. The wing also allows short takeoffs and landings, permitting operations from primitive forward airfields near front lines. The aircraft can loiter for extended periods and operate under 1,000-foot (300 m) ceilings with 1.5-mile (2.4 km) visibility. It typically flies at a relatively low speed of 300 knots (350 mph 560 km/h), which makes it a better platform for the ground-attack role than fast fighter-bombers, which often have difficulty targeting small, slow-moving targets.[52]

The leading edge of the wing has a honeycomb structure panel construction, providing strength with minimal weight similar panels cover the flap shrouds, elevators, rudders, and sections of the fins.[53] The skin panels are integral with the stringers and are fabricated using computer-controlled machining, reducing production time and cost. Combat experience has shown that this type of panel is more resistant to damage. The skin is not load-bearing, so damaged skin sections can be easily replaced in the field, with makeshift materials if necessary.[54] The ailerons are at the far ends of the wings for a greater rolling moment and have two distinguishing features: The ailerons are larger than is typical, almost 50 percent of the wingspan, providing improved control even at slow speeds the aileron is also split, making it a deceleron.[55][56]

The A-10 is designed to be refueled, rearmed, and serviced with minimal equipment.[57] Its simple design enables maintenance at forward bases with limited facilities.[58][59] An unusual feature is that many of the aircraft's parts are interchangeable between the left and right sides, including the engines, main landing gear, and vertical stabilizers. The sturdy landing gear, low-pressure tires, and large, straight wings allow operation from short rough strips even with a heavy aircraft ordnance load, allowing the aircraft to operate from damaged airbases, flying from taxiways, or even straight roadway sections.[60]

The front landing gear is offset to the aircraft's right to allow placement of the 30 mm cannon with its firing barrel along the centerline of the aircraft.[61] During ground taxi, the offset front landing gear causes the A-10 to have dissimilar turning radii. Turning to the right on the ground takes less distance than turning left.[Note 1] The wheels of the main landing gear partially protrude from their nacelles when retracted, making gear-up belly landings easier to control and less damaging. All landing gears retract forward if hydraulic power is lost, a combination of gravity and aerodynamic drag can lower and lock the gear in place.[56]

The A-10 is exceptionally tough, being able to survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high-explosive projectiles up to 23 mm. It has double-redundant hydraulic flight systems, and a mechanical system as a backup if hydraulics are lost. Flight without hydraulic power uses the manual reversion control system pitch and yaw control engages automatically, roll control is pilot-selected. In manual reversion mode, the A-10 is sufficiently controllable under favorable conditions to return to base, though control forces are greater than normal. The aircraft is designed to be able to fly with one engine, half of the tail, one elevator, and half of a wing missing.[62]

The cockpit and parts of the flight-control systems are protected by 1,200 lb (540 kg) of titanium aircraft armor, referred to as a "bathtub".[63][64] The armor has been tested to withstand strikes from 23 mm cannon fire and some strikes from 57 mm rounds.[59][63] It is made up of titanium plates with thicknesses varying from 0.5 to 1.5 inches (13 to 38 mm) determined by a study of likely trajectories and deflection angles. The armor makes up almost six percent of the aircraft's empty weight. Any interior surface of the tub directly exposed to the pilot is covered by a multi-layer nylon spall shield to protect against shell fragmentation.[65][66] The front windscreen and canopy are resistant to small arms fire.[67]

The A-10's durability was demonstrated on 7 April 2003 when Captain Kim Campbell, while flying over Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, suffered extensive flak damage. Iraqi fire damaged one of her engines and crippled the hydraulic system, requiring the aircraft's stabilizer and flight controls to be operated via the 'manual reversion mode.' Despite this damage, Campbell flew the aircraft for nearly an hour and landed safely.[68][69]

The A-10 was intended to fly from forward air bases and semi-prepared runways with a high risk of foreign object damage to the engines. The unusual location of the General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines decreases ingestion risk and allows the engines to run while the aircraft is serviced and rearmed by ground crews, reducing turn-around time. The wings are also mounted closer to the ground, simplifying servicing and rearming operations. The heavy engines require strong supports: four bolts connect the engine pylons to the airframe.[70] The engines' high 6:1 bypass ratio contributes to a relatively small infrared signature, and their position directs exhaust over the tailplanes further shielding it from detection by infrared homing surface-to-air missiles. The engines' exhaust nozzles are angled nine degrees below horizontal to cancel out the nose-down pitching moment that would otherwise be generated from being mounted above the aircraft's center of gravity and avoid the need to trim the control surfaces to prevent pitching.[70]

To reduce the likelihood of damage to the A-10's fuel system, all four fuel tanks are located near the aircraft's center and are separated from the fuselage projectiles would need to penetrate the aircraft's skin before reaching a tank's outer skin.[65][66] Compromised fuel transfer lines self-seal if damage exceeds a tank's self-sealing capabilities, check valves prevent fuel from flowing into a compromised tank. Most fuel system components are inside the tanks so that fuel will not be lost due to component failure. The refueling system is also purged after use.[71] Reticulated polyurethane foam lines both the inner and outer sides of the fuel tanks, retaining debris and restricting fuel spillage in the event of damage. The engines are shielded from the rest of the airframe by firewalls and fire extinguishing equipment. In the event of all four main tanks being lost, two self-sealing sump tanks contain fuel for 230 miles (370 km) of flight.[65][66]

Since the A-10 operates extremely close to enemy positions, where it is an easy target for MANPADS, surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), and enemy fighters, it can carry up to 480 flares and 480 chaff cartridges, which is more than any other fighter, but usually flies with a mix of both.[72]

Although the A-10 can carry a considerable amount of munitions, its primary built-in weapon is the 30×173 mm GAU-8/A Avenger autocannon. One of the most powerful aircraft cannons ever flown, it fires large depleted uranium armor-piercing shells. The GAU-8 is a hydraulically driven seven-barrel rotary cannon designed specifically for the anti-tank role with a high rate of fire. The cannon's original design could be switched by the pilot to 2,100 or 4,200 rounds per minute[73] this was later changed to a fixed rate of 3,900 rounds per minute.[74] The cannon takes about half a second to reach top speed, so 50 rounds are fired during the first second, 65 or 70 rounds per second thereafter. The gun is accurate enough to place 80 percent of its shots within a 40-foot (12.4 m) diameter circle from 4,000 feet (1,220 m) while in flight.[75] The GAU-8 is optimized for a slant range of 4,000 feet (1,220 m) with the A-10 in a 30-degree dive.[76]

Front view of the A-10's GAU-8 installation

The fuselage of the aircraft is built around the cannon. The GAU-8/A is mounted slightly to the port side the barrel in the firing location is on the starboard side at the 9 o'clock position so it is aligned with the aircraft's centerline. The gun's 5-foot, 11.5-inch (1.816 m) ammunition drum can hold up to 1,350 rounds of 30 mm ammunition,[61] but generally holds 1,174 rounds.[76] To protect the GAU-8/A rounds from enemy fire, armor plates of differing thicknesses between the aircraft skin and the drum are designed to detonate incoming shells.[61][66]

The AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missile is a commonly used munition for the A-10, targeted via electro-optical (TV-guided) or infrared. The Maverick allows target engagement at much greater ranges than the cannon, and thus less risk from anti-aircraft systems. During Desert Storm, in the absence of dedicated forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras for night vision, the Maverick's infrared camera was used for night missions as a "poor man's FLIR".[77] Other weapons include cluster bombs and Hydra rocket pods.[78] The A-10 is equipped to carry GPS and laser-guided bombs, such as the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, Paveway series bombs, JDAM, WCMD and glide bomb AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon.[79] A-10s usually fly with an ALQ-131 ECM pod under one wing and two AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles under the other wing for self-defense.[80]

The A-10 Precision Engagement Modification Program from 2006 to 2010 updated all A-10 and OA-10 aircraft in the fleet to the A-10C standard with a new flight computer, new glass cockpit displays and controls, two new 5.5-inch (140 mm) color displays with moving map function, and an integrated digital stores management system.[18][43][44][81]

Since then, the A-10 Common Fleet Initiative has led to further improvements: a new wing design, a new data link, the ability to employ smart weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser, as well as the newer GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, and the ability to carry an integrated targeting pod such as the Northrop Grumman LITENING or the Lockheed Martin Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP). Also included is the Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) to provide sensor data to personnel on the ground.[43] The A-10C has a Missile Warning System (MWS), which alerts the pilot to whenever there is a missile launch, friendly or non-friendly. The A-10C can also carry an ALQ-184 ECM Pod, which works with the MWS to detect a missile launch, figure out what kind of vehicle is launching the missile or flak (i.e.: SAM, aircraft, flak, MANPAD, etc.), and then jams it with confidential emitting, and selects a countermeasure program that the pilot has pre-set, that when turned on, will automatically dispense flare and chaff at pre-set intervals and amounts.[82]

Since the A-10 flies low to the ground and at subsonic speed, aircraft camouflage is important to make the aircraft more difficult to see. Many different types of paint schemes have been tried. These have included a "peanut scheme" of sand, yellow, and field drab black and white colors for winter operations, and a tan, green, and brown mixed pattern.[83] Many A-10s also featured a false canopy painted in dark gray on the underside of the aircraft, just behind the gun. This form of automimicry is an attempt to confuse the enemy as to aircraft attitude and maneuver direction.[84][85] Many A-10s feature nose art, such as shark mouth or warthog head features.

The two most common markings applied to the A-10 have been the European I woodland camouflage scheme and a two-tone gray scheme. The European woodland scheme was designed to minimize visibility from above, as the threat from hostile fighter aircraft was felt to outweigh that from ground-fire. It uses dark green, medium green, and dark gray in order to blend in with the typical European forest terrain and was used from the 1980s to the early 1990s. Following the end of the Cold War, and based on experience during the 1991 Gulf War, the air-to-air threat was no longer seen to be as important as that from ground fire, and a new color scheme known as "Compass Ghost" was chosen to minimize visibility from below. This two-tone gray scheme has darker gray color on top, with the lighter gray on the underside of the aircraft, and started to be applied from the early 1990s.[86]

The first unit to receive the A-10 Thunderbolt II was the 355th Tactical Training Wing, based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in March 1976.[87] The first unit to achieve full combat-readiness was the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina, in October 1977.[1] Deployments of A-10As followed at bases both at home and abroad, including England AFB, Louisiana Eielson AFB, Alaska Osan Air Base, South Korea and RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, England. The 81st TFW of RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge operated rotating detachments of A-10s at four bases in Germany known as Forward Operating Locations (FOLs): Leipheim, Sembach Air Base, Nörvenich Air Base, and RAF Ahlhorn.[88]

A-10s were initially an unwelcome addition to many in the Air Force. Most pilots switching to the A-10 did not want to because fighter pilots traditionally favored speed and appearance.[89] In 1987, many A-10s were shifted to the forward air control (FAC) role and redesignated OA-10.[90] In the FAC role, the OA-10 is typically equipped with up to six pods of 2.75 inch (70 mm) Hydra rockets, usually with smoke or white phosphorus warheads used for target marking. OA-10s are physically unchanged and remain fully combat capable despite the redesignation.[91]

A-10s of the 23rd TFW were deployed to Bridgetown, Barbados during Operation Urgent Fury, the American Invasion of Grenada. They provided air cover for the U.S. Marine Corps landings on the island of Carriacou in late October 1983, but did not fire weapons as Marines met no resistance.[92][93][94]

The A-10 was used in combat for the first time during the Gulf War in 1991, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles, and 1,200 artillery pieces.[10] A-10s also shot down two Iraqi helicopters with the GAU-8 cannon. The first of these was shot down by Captain Robert Swain over Kuwait on 6 February 1991 for the A-10's first air-to-air victory.[95][96] Four A-10s were shot down during the war by surface-to-air missiles. Another two battle-damaged A-10s and OA-10As returned to base and were written off. Some sustained additional damage in crash landings.[97][98] The A-10 had a mission-capable rate of 95.7 percent, flew 8,100 sorties, and launched 90 percent of the AGM-65 Maverick missiles fired in the conflict.[99] Shortly after the Gulf War, the Air Force abandoned the idea of replacing the A-10 with a close air support version of the F-16.[100]

U.S. Air Force A-10 aircraft fired approximately 10,000 30 mm rounds in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994–95. Following the seizure of some heavy weapons by Bosnian Serbs from a warehouse in Ilidža, a series of sorties were launched to locate and destroy the captured equipment. On 5 August 1994, two A-10s located and strafed an anti-tank vehicle. Afterward, the Serbs agreed to return remaining heavy weapons.[101] In August 1995, NATO launched an offensive called Operation Deliberate Force. A-10s flew close air support missions, attacking Bosnian Serb artillery and positions. In late September, A-10s began flying patrols again.[102]

A-10s returned to the Balkan region as part of Operation Allied Force in Kosovo beginning in March 1999.[102] In March 1999, A-10s escorted and supported search and rescue helicopters in finding a downed F-117 pilot.[103] The A-10s were deployed to support search and rescue missions, but over time the Warthogs began to receive more ground attack missions. The A-10's first successful attack in Operation Allied Force happened on 6 April 1999 A-10s remained in action until combat ended in late June 1999.[104]

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and recent deployments

During the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the A-10s did not take part in the initial stages. For the campaign against Taliban and Al Qaeda, A-10 squadrons were deployed to Pakistan and Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, beginning in March 2002. These A-10s participated in Operation Anaconda. Afterward, A-10s remained in-country, fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants.[105]

Operation Iraqi Freedom began on 20 March 2003. Sixty OA-10/A-10 aircraft took part in early combat there.[106] The United States Air Forces Central Command issued Operation Iraqi Freedom: By the Numbers, a declassified report about the aerial campaign in the conflict on 30 April 2003. During that initial invasion of Iraq, A-10s had a mission capable rate of 85 percent in the war and fired 311,597 rounds of 30 mm ammunition. A single A-10 was shot down near Baghdad International Airport by Iraqi fire late in the campaign. The A-10 also flew 32 missions in which the aircraft dropped propaganda leaflets over Iraq.[107]

In September 2007, the A-10C with the Precision Engagement Upgrade reached initial operating capability.[81] The A-10C first deployed to Iraq in 2007 with the 104th Fighter Squadron of the Maryland Air National Guard.[108] The A-10C's digital avionics and communications systems have greatly reduced the time to acquire a close air support target and attack it.[109]

A-10s flew 32 percent of combat sorties in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The sorties ranged from 27,800 to 34,500 annually between 2009 and 2012. In the first half of 2013, they flew 11,189 sorties in Afghanistan.[110] From the beginning of 2006 to October 2013, A-10s conducted 19 percent of CAS missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than the F-15E Strike Eagle and B-1B Lancer, but less than the 33 percent flown by F-16s.[111]

In March 2011, six A-10s were deployed as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn, the coalition intervention in Libya. They participated in attacks on Libyan ground forces there.[112][113]

The USAF 122nd Fighter Wing revealed it would deploy to the Middle East in October 2014 with 12 of the unit's 21 A-10 aircraft. Although the deployment had been planned a year in advance in a support role, the timing coincided with the ongoing Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIL militants.[114][115][116] From mid-November, U.S. commanders began sending A-10s to hit IS targets in central and northwestern Iraq on an almost daily basis.[117][118] In about two months time, A-10s flew 11 percent of all USAF sorties since the start of operations in August 2014.[119] On 15 November 2015, two days after the ISIL attacks in Paris, A-10s and AC-130s destroyed a convoy of over 100 ISIL-operated oil tanker trucks in Syria. The attacks were part of an intensification of the U.S.-led intervention against ISIL called Operation Tidal Wave II (named after Operation Tidal Wave during World War II, a failed attempt to raid German oil fields) in an attempt to cut off oil smuggling as a source of funding for the group.[120]

On 19 January 2018, 12 A-10s from the 303d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron were deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, to provide close-air support, marking the first time in more than three years A-10s had been deployed to Afghanistan.[121]

The future of the platform remains the subject of debate. In 2007, the USAF expected the A-10 to remain in service until 2028 and possibly later,[122] when it would likely be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[38] However, critics have said that replacing the A-10 with the F-35 would be a "giant leap backwards" given the A-10's performance and the F-35's high costs.[123] In 2012, the Air Force considered the F-35B STOVL variant as a replacement CAS aircraft, but concluded that the aircraft could not generate sufficient sorties.[124] In August 2013, Congress and the Air Force examined various proposals, including the F-35 and the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle filling the A-10's role. Proponents state that the A-10's armor and cannon are superior to aircraft such as the F-35 for ground attack, that guided munitions other planes rely upon could be jammed, and that ground commanders frequently request A-10 support.[110]

In the USAF's FY 2015 budget, the service considered retiring the A-10 and other single-mission aircraft, prioritizing multi-mission aircraft cutting a whole fleet and its infrastructure was seen as the only method for major savings. The U.S. Army had expressed interest in obtaining some A-10s should the Air Force retire them,[125][126] but later stated there was "no chance" of that happening.[127] The U.S. Air Force stated that retirement would save $3.7 billion from 2015 to 2019. The prevalence of guided munitions allow more aircraft to perform the CAS mission and reduces the requirement for specialized aircraft since 2001 multirole aircraft and bombers have performed 80 percent of operational CAS missions. The Air Force also said that the A-10 was more vulnerable to advanced anti-aircraft defenses, but the Army replied that the A-10 had proved invaluable because of its versatile weapons loads, psychological impact, and limited logistics needs on ground support systems.[128]

In January 2015, USAF officials told lawmakers that it would take 15 years to fully develop a new attack aircraft to replace the A-10[129] that year General Herbert J. Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command, stated that a follow-on weapon system for the A-10 may need to be developed.[130] It planned for F-16s and F-15Es to initially take up CAS sorties, and later by the F-35A once sufficient numbers become operationally available over the next decade.[131] In July 2015, Boeing held initial discussions on the prospects of selling retired or stored A-10s in near-flyaway condition to international customers.[42] However, the Air Force then said that it would not permit the aircraft to be sold.[132]

Plans to develop a replacement aircraft were announced by the US Air Combat Command in August 2015.[133][134] Early the following year, the Air Force began studying future CAS aircraft to succeed the A-10 in low-intensity "permissive conflicts" like counterterrorism and regional stability operations, admitting that the F-35 would be too expensive to operate in day-to-day roles. A wide range of platforms were under consideration, including everything from low-end AT-6 Wolverine and A-29 Super Tucano turboprops and the Textron AirLand Scorpion as more basic off-the-shelf options to more sophisticated clean-sheet attack aircraft or "AT-X" derivatives of the T-X next-generation trainer as entirely new attack platforms.[131][135][136]

In January 2016, the USAF was "indefinitely freezing" plans to retire the A-10 for at least several years. In addition to Congressional opposition, its use in anti-ISIL operations, deployments to Eastern Europe as a response to Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, and reevaluation of F-35 numbers necessitated its retention.[137][138] In February 2016, the Air Force deferred the final retirement of the aircraft until 2022 after being replaced by F-35s on a squadron-by-squadron basis.[139][140] In October 2016, the Air Force Material Command brought the depot maintenance line back to full capacity in preparation for re-winging the fleet.[141] In June 2017, it was announced that the aircraft ". will now be kept in the air force’s inventory indefinitely."[142][5]

On 25 March 2010, an A-10 conducted the first flight of an aircraft with all engines powered by a biofuel blend. The flight, performed at Eglin Air Force Base, used a 1:1 blend of JP-8 and Camelina-based fuel.[143] On 28 June 2012, the A-10 became the first aircraft to fly using a new fuel blend derived from alcohol known as ATJ (Alcohol-to-Jet), the fuel is cellulosic-based and can be produced using wood, paper, grass, or any cellulose based material, which are fermented into alcohols before being hydro-processed into aviation fuel. ATJ is the third alternative fuel to be evaluated by the Air Force as a replacement for the petroleum-derived JP-8 fuel. Previous types were a synthetic paraffinic kerosene derived from coal and natural gas and a bio-mass fuel derived from plant-oils and animal fats known as Hydroprocessed Renewable Jet.[144]

In 2011, the National Science Foundation granted $11 million to modify an A-10 for weather research for CIRPAS at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School[145] and in collaboration with scientists from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T),[146] replacing SDSM&T's retired North American T-28 Trojan.[147] The A-10's armor is expected to allow it to survive the extreme meteorological conditions, such as 200 mph hailstorms, found in inclement high-altitude weather events.[148]

Pre-production variant. 12 were built.[149]

Single-seat close air support, ground-attack production version.

A-10As used for airborne forward air control.

YA-10B Night/Adverse Weather (N/AW)

Two-seat experimental prototype, for work at night and in bad weather. The one YA-10B prototype was converted from an A-10A.[150][151]

A-10As updated under the incremental Precision Engagement (PE) program.[43]

Proposed unmanned version developed by Raytheon and Aurora Flight Sciences as part of DARPA's Persistent Close Air Support program.[152] The PCAS program eventually dropped the idea of using an optionally manned A-10.[153]

Proposed by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to replace its North American T-28 Trojan thunderstorm penetration aircraft. The A-10 would have its military engines, avionics, and oxygen system replaced by civilian versions. The engines and airframe would receive protection from hail, and the GAU-8 Avenger would be replaced with ballast or scientific instruments.[154]

The A-10 has been flown exclusively by the United States Air Force and its Air Reserve components, the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) and the Air National Guard (ANG). As of 2017, 282 A-10C aircraft are reported as operational, divided as follows: 141 USAF, 55 AFRC, 86 ANG.[155]

Air Force Materiel Command

514th Flight Test Squadron (Hill AFB, Utah) (1993-)

74th Fighter Squadron (Moody AFB, Georgia) (1980-1992, 1996-)

75th Fighter Squadron (Moody AFB, Georgia) (1980-1991, 1992-)

25th Fighter Squadron (Osan AFB, South Korea) (1982-1989, 1993-)

422d Test and Evaluation Squadron (Nellis AFB, Nevada) (1977-)

66th Weapons Squadron (Nellis AFB, Nevada) (1977-1981, 2003-)

40th Flight Test Squadron (Eglin AFB, Florida) (1982-)

122nd Fighter Wing (Indiana ANG)

163d Fighter Squadron (Fort Wayne ANGS, Indiana) (2010-)

124th Fighter Wing (Idaho ANG)

190th Fighter Squadron (Gowen Field ANGB, Idaho) (1996-)

107th Fighter Squadron (Selfridge ANGB, Michigan) (2008-)

104th Fighter Squadron (Warfield ANGB, Maryland) (1979-)

354th Fighter Squadron (Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona) (1979-1982, 1991-)

357th Fighter Squadron (Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona) (1979-)

303d Fighter Squadron (Whiteman AFB, Missouri) (1982-)

76th Fighter Squadron (Moody AFB, Georgia) (1981-1992, 2009-)

358th Fighter Squadron (Whiteman AFB, Missouri) (1979-2014, 2015-)

45th Fighter Squadron (Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona) (1981-1994, 2009-)

47th Fighter Squadron (Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona) (1980-)

706th Fighter Squadron (Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona) (1982-1992, 1997-)

18th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1982-1991)

23d Tactical Air Support Squadron (1987-1991) (OA-10 unit)

55th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1994-1996)

70th Fighter Squadron (1995-2000)

78th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1979-1992)

81st Fighter Squadron (1994-2013)

91st Tactical Fighter Squadron (1978-1992)

92d Tactical Fighter Squadron (1978-1993)

103d Fighter Squadron (Pennsylvania ANG) (1988-2011) (OA-10 unit)

118th Fighter Squadron (Connecticut ANG) (1979-2008)

131st Fighter Squadron (Massachusetts ANG) (1979-2007)

138th Fighter Squadron (New York ANG) (1979-1989)

172d Fighter Squadron (Michigan ANG) (1991-2009)

176th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Wisconsin ANG) (1981-1993)

184th Fighter Squadron (Arkansas ANG) (2007-2014)

353d Tactical Fighter Squadron (1978-1992)

355th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1978-1992, 1993–2007)

356th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1977-1992)[156]

509th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1979-1992)

510th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1979-1994)

511th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1980-1992)

77-0264 – Spangdahlem AB, Bitburg[157]

77-0259 – American Air Museum at Imperial War Museum Duxford[159]

80-0219 – Bentwaters Cold War Museum[160]

71-1370 – Joint Base Langley-Eustis (Langley AFB), Hampton, Virginia[161]

73-1664 – Air Force Flight Test Center Museum, Edwards AFB, California[162]

73-1666 – Hill Aerospace Museum, Hill AFB, Utah[163]

73-1667 – Flying Tiger Heritage Park at the former England AFB, Louisiana[164]

75-0263 – Empire State Aerosciences Museum, Glenville, New York[165]

75-0270 – McChord Air Museum, McChord AFB, Washington[166]

75-0293 – Wings of Eagles Discovery Center, Elmira, New York[167]

75-0288 – Air Force Armament Museum, Eglin AFB, Florida[168]

75-0289 – Heritage Park, Eielson AFB, Alaska[169]

75-0298 – Pima Air & Space Museum (adjacent to Davis-Monthan AFB), Tucson, Arizona[170]

75-0305 – Museum of Aviation, Robins AFB, Warner Robins, Georgia[171]

75-0308 – Moody Heritage Park, Moody AFB, Valdosta, Georgia[172]

75-0309 – Shaw AFB, Sumter, South Carolina. Marked as AF Ser. No. 81-0964 assigned to the 55 FS from 1994 to 1996. The represented aircraft was credited with downing an Iraqi Mi-8 Hip helicopter on 15 Feb 1991 while assigned to the 511 TFS.[173][174]

76-0516 – Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum at the former NAS Willow Grove, Horsham, Pennsylvania[175]

76-0530 – Whiteman AFB, Missouri[176]

76-0535 – Cradle of Aviation, Garden City, New York[177]

76-0540 – Aerospace Museum of California, McClellan Airport (former McClellan AFB), Sacramento, California[178]

77-0199 – Stafford Air & Space Museum, Weatherford, Oklahoma

77-0205 – USAF Academy collection, Colorado Springs, Colorado[179]

77-0228 – Grissom Air Museum, Grissom ARB (former Grissom AFB), Peru, Indiana[180]

77-0244 – Wisconsin Air National Guard Museum, Volk Field ANGB, Wisconsin[181]

77-0252 – Cradle of Aviation, Garden City, New York (nose section only)[182]

77-0667 – England AFB Heritage Park, Alexandria, Louisiana[183]

78-0681 – National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio[184]

78-0687 – Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum, Fort Campbell, Kentucky[185]

79-0097 – Warbird Park, former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina[186]

79-0100 – Barnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield, Massachusetts[187]

79-0103 – Bradley Air National Guard Base, Windsor Locks, Connecticut[188]

79-0116 – Warrior Park, Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona[189]

79-0173 – New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks, Connecticut[190]

80-0247 – American Airpower Museum, Republic Airport, Farmingdale, New York[191]

80-0708 – Selfridge Military Air Museum, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Harrison Township, Michigan[192]

Data from The Great Book of Modern Warplanes,[193] Fairchild-Republic A/OA-10,[194] USAF[81]

Wingspan: 57 ft 6 in (17.53 m)

Airfoil: NACA 6716 root, NACA 6713 tip

Empty weight: 24,959 lb (11,321 kg)

Loaded weight: 30,384 lb (13,782 kg)

CAS mission: 47,094 lb (21,361 kg)

Anti-armor mission: 42,071 lb (19,083 kg)

Max. takeoff weight: 50,000 lb[195] (22,700 kg)

Internal fuel capacity: 11,000 lb (4,990 kg)

Powerplant: 2 × General Electric TF34-GE-100A turbofans, 9,065 lbf (40.32 kN) each

Maximum speed: 381 knots (439 mph, 706 km/h) at sea level, clean[194]

Cruise speed: 300 knots (340 mph, 560 km/h)

Stall speed: 120 knots (138 mph, 220 km/h) [196]

Never exceed speed: 450 knots (518 mph,[194] 833 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,500 m) with 18 Mk 82 bombs[197]

CAS mission: 250 nmi (288 mi, 460 km at 1.88 hour loiter at 5,000 ft (1,500 m), 10 min combat

Anti-armor mission: 252 nmi (290 mi, 467 km), 40 nmi (45 mi, 75 km)) sea-level penetration and exit, 30 min combat

Ferry range: 2,240 nmi (2,580 mi, 4,150 km) with 50 knot (55 mph, 90 km/h) headwinds, 20 minutes reserve

Service ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,700 m)

Rate of climb: 6,000 ft/min (30 m/s)

Wing loading: 99 lb/ft2 (482 kg/m2)

Guns: 1× 30 mm (1.18 in) GAU-8/A Avenger rotary cannon with 1,174 rounds (original capacity was 1,350 rd)

Hardpoints: 11 (8× under-wing and 3× under-fuselage pylon stations) with a capacity of 16,000 lb (7,260 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:

4× LAU-61/LAU-68 rocket pods (each with 19×/7× Hydra 70 mm/APKWS[198] rockets, respectively)

6x LAU-131 rocket pods (each with 7x Hydra 70 rockets)[199][200]

2× AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles for self-defense

6× AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles

Mark 80 series of unguided iron bombs or

Mk 77 incendiary bombs or

BLU-1, BLU-27/B, CBU-20 Rockeye II, BL755[201] and CBU-52/58/71/87/89/97 cluster bombs or

Paveway series of Laser-guided bombs or

Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) (A-10C)[202] or

Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (A-10C)

SUU-42A/A Flares/Infrared decoys and chaff dispenser pod or

AN/ALQ-131 or AN/ALQ-184 ECM pods or

Lockheed Martin Sniper XR or LITENING targeting pods (A-10C) or

2× 600 US gal (2,300 L) Sargent Fletcher drop tanks for increased range/loitering time.

AN/AAS-35(V) Pave Penny laser tracker pod[203] (mounted beneath right side of cockpit) for use with Paveway LGBs (currently the Pave Penny is no longer in use)

Notable appearances in media

Main article: Aircraft in fiction § A-10 Thunderbolt II

The A-10 Thunderbolt II received its popular nickname "Warthog" from the pilots and crews of the USAF attack squadrons who flew and maintained it. The A-10 is the last of Republic's jet attack aircraft to serve with the USAF. The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was nicknamed the "Hog", F-84F Thunderstreak nicknamed "Superhog", and the Republic F-105 Thunderchief tagged "Ultra Hog".[204] The saying Go Ugly Early has been associated with the aircraft in reference to calling in the A-10 early to support troops in ground combat.[205]

Craig D. Button – USAF pilot who crashed mysteriously in an A-10

190th Fighter Squadron, Blues and Royals friendly fire incident

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

List of active United States military aircraft

With the inner wheel on a turn stopped, the minimum radius of the turn is dictated by the distance between the inner wheel and the nose wheel. Since the distance is less between the right main wheel and the nose gear than the same measurement on the left, the aircraft can turn more tightly to the right.


Development

Background

Criticism that the U.S. Air Force did not take close air support (CAS) seriously prompted a few service members to seek a specialized attack aircraft. [4] [5] In the Vietnam War, large numbers of ground-attack aircraft were shot down by small arms, surface-to-air missiles, and low-level anti-aircraft gunfire, prompting the development of an aircraft better able to survive such weapons. In addition, the UH-1 Iroquois and AH-1 Cobra helicopters of the day, which USAF commanders had said should handle close air support, were ill-suited for use against armor, carrying only anti-personnel machine guns and unguided rockets meant for soft targets. Fast jets such as the F-100 Super Sabre, F-105 Thunderchief and F-4 Phantom II proved for the most part to be ineffective for close air support because their high speed did not allow pilots enough time to get an accurate fix on ground targets and they lacked sufficient loiter time. The effective, but aging, Korean War era A-1 Skyraider was the USAF's primary close air support aircraft. [6] [7]

A-X program

In 1966, the USAF formed the Attack Experimental (A-X) program office. [8] On 6 March 1967, the Air Force released a request for information to 21 defense contractors for the A-X. The objective was to create a design study for a low-cost attack aircraft. [5] In 1969, the Secretary of the Air Force asked Pierre Sprey to write the detailed specifications for the proposed A-X project. However, his initial involvement was kept secret because of Sprey's earlier controversial involvement in the F-X project. [5] Sprey's discussions with A-1 Skyraider pilots operating in Vietnam and analysis of aircraft currently used in the role indicated the ideal aircraft should have long loiter time, low-speed maneuverability, massive cannon firepower, and extreme survivability [5] an aircraft that had the best elements of the Ilyushin Il-2, Henschel Hs 129, and Skyraider. The specifications also demanded that each aircraft cost less than $3 million. [5] Sprey required that the biography of World War II attack pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel be read by people on the A-X program. [9]

In May 1970, the USAF issued a modified and much more detailed request for proposals (RFP) for the aircraft. The threat of Soviet armored forces and all-weather attack operations had become more serious. Now included in the requirements was that the aircraft would be designed specifically for the 30 mm cannon. The RFP also specified an aircraft with a maximum speed of 460 mph (400 kn 740 km/h), takeoff distance of 4,000 feet (1,200 m), external load of 16,000 pounds (7,300 kg), 285-mile (460 km) mission radius, and a unit cost of US$1.4 million. [10] The A-X would be the first Air Force aircraft designed exclusively for close air support. [11] During this time, a separate RFP was released for A-X's 30 mm cannon with requirements for a high rate of fire (4,000 round/minute) and a high muzzle velocity. [12] Six companies submitted aircraft proposals to the USAF, with Northrop and Fairchild Republic selected to build prototypes: the YA-9A and YA-10A, respectively. General Electric and Philco-Ford were selected to build and test GAU-8 cannon prototypes. [13]

To meet the loiter time goal, a fuel-efficient engine was required, and the General Electric TF34 (first designed for the Lockheed S-3 Viking) was selected. It is a high-bypass design, smaller but similar to the large high-bypass engines on modern airliners.

Two YA-10 prototypes were built in the Republic factory in Farmingdale, New York and first flew on 10 May 1972 by pilot Howard "Sam" Nelson. Production A-10's were built at Fairchild in Hagerstown, Maryland. After trials and a fly-off against the YA-9, the Air Force announced its selection of Fairchild-Republic's YA-10 on 18 January 1973 for production. [14] General Electric was selected to build the GAU-8 cannon in June 1973. [15] The YA-10 had an additional fly-off in 1974 against the Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D Corsair II, the principal Air Force attack aircraft at the time, in order to prove the need to purchase a new attack aircraft. The first production A-10 flew in October 1975, and deliveries to the Air Force commenced in March 1976. In total, 715 airplanes were produced, the last delivered in 1984. [16]

One experimental two-seat A-10 Night Adverse Weather (N/AW) version was built by converting an A-10A. [17] The N/AW was developed by Fairchild from the first Demonstration Testing and Evaluation (DT&E) A-10 for consideration by the USAF. It included a second seat for a weapons system officer responsible for electronic countermeasures (ECM), navigation and target acquisition. The N/AW version did not interest the USAF or export customers. The two-seat trainer version was ordered by the Air Force in 1981, but funding was canceled by U.S. Congress and the jet was not produced. [18] The only two-seat A-10 built now resides at Edwards Air Force Base's Flight Test Center Museum. [19]

Upgrades

The A-10 has received many upgrades over the years. From 1978 onwards, the Pave Penny laser receiver pod was adopted, which receives reflected laser radiation from laser designators for faster and more accurate target identification. [20] [21] The A-10 began receiving an inertial navigation system in 1980. [22] The Low-Altitude Safety and Targeting Enhancement (LASTE) upgrade provided computerized weapon-aiming equipment, an autopilot, and a ground-collision warning system. The A-10 is compatible with night vision goggles for low-light operation. In 1999, aircraft began receiving Global Positioning System navigation systems and a multi-function display. [23] The LASTE system was upgraded with Integrated Flight & Fire Control Computers (IFFCC). [24]

In 2005, the entire A-10 fleet began receiving the Precision Engagement upgrades that include an improved fire control system (FCS), electronic countermeasures (ECM), and smart bomb targeting. Aircraft which received this upgrade are redesignated A-10C work was to be completed in 2011. [25] The Government Accounting Office in 2007 estimated the cost of upgrading, refurbishing, and service life extension plans for the A-10 force to total $2.25 billion through 2013. [11] [26] The Air Force Material Command's Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah completed work on its 100th A-10 precision engagement upgrade in January 2008. [27]

The A-10 is receiving a service life extension program (SLEP) upgrade with many receiving new wings. [28] The service life of the re-winged aircraft is extended to 2040. A contract to build as many as 242 new A-10 wing sets was awarded to Boeing in June 2007. [29] Two A-10s flew in November 2011 with the new wing installed. On 4 September 2013, the Air Force awarded Boeing a follow-on contract of $212 million for 56 replacement wings to increase the order total to 173 wing sets. The wings will improve mission readiness, decrease maintenance costs, and keep the type operational into 2035. [30] As part of plans to retire the A-10, the Air Force is considering stopping work on the wing replacement program, which would save an additional $500 million along with the total saving of retiring the fleet. [31] If the Air Force kept the 42 A-10s that already underwent wing replacement and retired the rest of the fleet, the savings would be $1 billion compared to $4.2 billion saved for retiring the whole fleet. [32]

In 2012, Air Combat Command requested the testing of a 600-gallon external fuel tank which would extend the A-10's loitering time by 45–60 minutes flight testing of such a tank was conducted in 1997, but did not involve combat evaluation. Over 30 flight tests were conducted by the 40th Flight Test Squadron to gather data on the aircraft's handling characteristics and performance across different load configurations. The tank slightly reduced stability in the yaw axis, however there is no decrease in aircraft tracking performance. [33]

In July 2010, the USAF issued Raytheon a contract to integrate a Helmet Mounted Integrated Targeting (HMIT) system onto A-10Cs. [26] The Gentex Corporation Scorpion Helmet Mounted Cueing System (HMCS) was also evaluated. [34] In February 2014, SoAF Deborah Lee James ordered that development of Suite 8 software upgrade continue, in response to Congressional pressure. Software upgrades were originally to be ceased due to plans to retire the A-10. Suite 8 software includes IFF Mod 5, which allows friendly units to identify the A-10 as a friendly aircraft. [35]

Other uses

On 25 March 2010, an A-10 conducted the first flight of an aircraft with all engines powered by a biofuel blend. The flight, performed at Eglin Air Force Base, used a 1:1 blend of JP-8 and Camelina-based fuel. [36] On 28 June 2012, the A-10 became the first aircraft to fly using a new fuel blend derived from alcohol known as ATJ (Alcohol-to-Jet), the fuel is cellulousic-based that can be derived using wood, paper, grass, or any cell-based material, and are fermented into alcohols before being hydro-processed into aviation fuel. ATJ is the third alternative fuel to be evaluated by the Air Force as a replacement for petroleum-derived JP-8 fuel. Previous types were a synthetic paraffinic kerosene derived from coal and natural gas and a bio-mass fuel derived from plant-oils and animal fats known as Hydroprocessed Renewable Jet. [37]

In 2011, the National Science Foundation granted $11 million to modify an A-10 for weather research for CIRPAS at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, [38] [39] replacing a retired North American T-28 Trojan. [40] The A-10's armor is expected to allow it to survive the extreme meteorological conditions, such as 200 mph hailstorms, found in inclement high-altitude weather events. [39]


Operational history

Introduction


The first unit to receive the A-10 Thunderbolt II was the 355th Tactical Training Wing, based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in March 1976. The first unit to achieve full combat-readiness was the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina, in 1978. Deployments of A-10As followed at bases both at home and abroad, including England AFB, Louisiana Eielson AFB, Alaska Osan Air Base, South Korea and RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, England. The 81st TFW of RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge operated rotating detachments of A-10s at four bases in Germany known as Forward Operating Locations (FOLs): Leipheim, Sembach Air Base, Nörvenich, and Ahlhorn. [ 71 ]

A-10s were initially an unwelcome addition to many in the Air Force. Most pilots switching to the A-10 did not want to because fighter pilots traditionally favored speed and appearance. [ 72 ] In 1987, many A-10s were shifted to the forward air control (FAC) role and redesignated OA-10. [ 73 ] In the FAC role the OA-10 is typically equipped with up to six pods of 2.75 inch (70 mm) Hydra rockets, usually with smoke or white phosphorus warheads used for target marking. OA-10s are physically unchanged and remain fully combat capable despite the redesignation. [ 74 ]

Gulf War and Balkans


The A-10 was used in combat for the first time during the Gulf War in 1991, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces, making it by far the most effective aircraft of the war. [ 4 ] A-10s also shot down two Iraqi helicopters with the GAU-8 cannon. The first of these was shot down by Captain Robert Swain over Kuwait on 6 February 1991, marking the A-10's first air-to-air victory. [ 75 ] Four A-10s were shot down during the war, all by surface-to-air missiles. Another three battle-damaged A-10s and OA-10As returned to base but were written off, some sustaining additional damage in crashed landings. [ 76 ] [ 77 ] The A-10 had a mission capable rate of 95.7%, flew 8,100 sorties, and launched 90% of the AGM-65 Maverick missiles fired in the conflict. [ 78 ] Shortly after the Gulf War, the Air Force gave up on the idea of replacing the A-10 with a close air support version of the F-16. [ 79 ]

U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft fired approximately 10,000 30 mm rounds in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994–95. Following the seizure of some heavy weapons by Bosnian Serbs from a warehouse in Ilidža, a series of sorties were launched to locate and destroy the captured equipment. On 5 August 1994, two A-10s located and strafed an anti-tank vehicle. Afterward, the Serbs agreed to return remaining heavy weapons. [ 80 ] In August 1995, NATO launched an offensive called Operation Deliberate Force . A-10s flew close air support missions, attacking Bosnian Serb artillery and positions. In late September, A-10s began flying patrols again. [ 81 ]

A-10s returned to the Balkan region as part of Operation Allied Force in Kosovo beginning in March 1999. [ 81 ] In March 1999, A-10s escorted and supported search and rescue helicopters in finding a downed F-117 pilot. [ 82 ] The A-10s were deployed to support search and rescue missions, but the Warthogs began to receive more ground attack missions as the days passed. The A-10's first successful attack in Operation Allied Force happened on 6 April 1999 A-10s remained in action until combat ended in late June 1999. [ 83 ]

Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya Wars


During the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, A-10s did not take part in the initial stages. For the campaign against Taliban and Al Qaeda, A-10 squadrons were deployed to Pakistan and Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, beginning in March 2002. These A-10s participated in Operation Anaconda. Afterwards, A-10s remained in-country, fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants. [ 84 ]

Operation Iraqi Freedom began on 20 March 2003. Sixty OA-10/A-10 aircraft took part in early combat there. [ 85 ] United States Air Forces Central issued Operation Iraqi Freedom: By the Numbers, a declassified report about the aerial campaign in the conflict on 30 April 2003. During that initial invasion of Iraq, A-10s had a mission capable rate of 85% in the war and fired 311,597 rounds of 30 mm ammunition. A single A-10 was shot down near Baghdad International Airport by Iraqi fire late in the campaign. The A-10 also flew 32 missions in which the aircraft dropped propaganda leaflets over Iraq. [ 86 ]

The A-10C first deployed to Iraq in the third quarter of 2007 with the 104th Fighter Squadron of the Maryland Air National Guard. The jets include the Precision Engagement Upgrade. [ 87 ] The A-10C's digital avionics and communications systems have greatly reduced the time to acquire a close air support target and attack it. [ 88 ]

A-10s flew 32 percent of combat sorties in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The sorties ranged from 27,800 to 34,500 annually between 2009 and 2012. In the first half of 2013, they flew 11,189 sorties in Afghanistan. [ 89 ]

In March 2011, six A-10s were deployed as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn , the coalition intervention in Libya. They participated in attacks on Libyan ground forces there. [ 90 ] [ 91 ]

On 24 July 2013, two A-10s provided close-air support to 60 U.S. soldiers. On 23 July, a 12-vehicle convoy was conducting route clearance when the first turned over, and then was ambushed. They established an overnight base and began receiving heavy fire from a tree line the next day, pinning them behind their vehicles. Three soldiers were wounded, and CAS was called in to protect casualty evacuation efforts. Two A-10s flew over to provide a show of force and engaged when the enemy didn't break contact. The ground unit didn't have a way to confirm the enemy's position, so the unit's joint fire observer communicated the estimated location to the pilots. Once they received the general location of the enemy's position, the lead aircraft, relying only on visual references, fired two rockets to mark the area with smoke, then the wingman rolled in to shoot his cannon. Unlike normal engagements, the attackers did not run after one or two passes, but instead moved closer to the soldiers. Helicopters could not evacuate the wounded because of the volume and close proximity of enemy fire, so the convoy commander authorized the A-10 pilots to fire danger close. The aircraft flew 75 ft above the enemy's position and 50 meters parallel to friendly ground forces to conduct strafing runs. In the two hours that the A-10s provided CAS, they completed 15 gun passes firing nearly 2,300 rounds, and dropped three 500 lb bombs. Both remained on-station until all the soldiers were safe. 18 enemy bodies were found, though more were suspected. This engagement demonstrated the type of close-air support mission the A-10 Thunderbolt II was specially designed for. [ 92 ]

Proposed retirement

In 2007, the A-10 was expected to be in USAF service until 2028 and possibly later, [ 93 ] when it may be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. [ 30 ] Critics have responded by saying that replacing the A-10 with the F-35 would be a "giant leap backwards" given the performance of the Warthog and the rising costs of the F-35 program. [ 94 ] In 2012 the Air Force briefly considered the F-35B STOVL variant for replacing the A-10 as a CAS aircraft, but concluded that the variant could not generate enough sorties to meet its needs. [ 95 ]

In early 2012, the USAF proposed to disband five A-10 squadrons in its budget request, in order to lessen cuts to more versatile aircraft in a smaller future fleet. [ 96 ] Congress however delayed this action in favor of more studies on the issue. [ 97 ]

In August 2013, Congress and a National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force were still looking at the proposal to cut A-10 numbers down to 246 aircraft, as well as others. The Air Force has been trying to replace the A-10 with a multi-role fighter that can cover more area and have a wider mission set for some time. The F-35, and even the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle, are seen as having the multi-role ability and modern sensors to fill the Warthog's missions of destroying vehicles and providing close-air support. A-10 pilots have been vocal about the aircraft's superiority in its field and its frequent request, sometimes by name, by ground commanders. One lesser-known function of the A-10 is escorting helicopters on combat search and rescue missions. Some believe that an A-10 that can perform this low-altitude, long-loiter time task and take ground fire is superior to an F-35 performing that job. The Thunderbolt II is armored and can take hits, while the F-35 is not protected enough and cannot afford to be replaced if shot down. If the F-35 must do combat search and rescue, it will have a 360 degree distributed aperture infrared system that the A-10 does not. Furthermore, the two planes have different primary armaments. The F-35 relies on deploying guided bombs and missiles, which can be vulnerable to jamming, while the A-10's 30 mm cannon is immune to electronic warfare. The A-10 can destroy 14 targets per mission, while the F-35 cannot. Air Force officials have stated publicly that the F-35 will not duplicate the A-10's missions, but they do need a multi-role aircraft and it has a longer range. Air Combat Command has said it should not be about which newer weapon systems must replicate the exact capabilities of older systems, but how many new systems will be needed to address future capabilities. The Air Force has not ruled out replacing the A-10 with another light attack aircraft to maintain numbers and mass firepower with the advantage of being able to integrate next-generation sensors. [ 89 ]

As part of the U.S. Air Force's FY 2015 budget, the service is considering retiring the entire A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet and other single-mission aircraft to prioritize multi-mission aircraft and keep future procurements on track. While the service has previously considered cutting squadrons, cutting an entire fleet with its infrastructure support is seen as the only way to gain major savings. The Pentagon and active Air Force have tried to retire the single-mission platform for years. While Congressional resistance has previously saved the A-10, budget realities may finally defeat the aircraft. Members of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve argue that moving A-10s from the active Air Force use to their control completely would achieve savings while still keeping them in the Air Force inventory. Half of the fleet is already under National Guard control. The U.S. Army has expressed their dissatisfaction with the process of replacing the aircraft they call on for close-air support. The Army has shown interest in obtaining A-10 jets themselves if the Air Force retires them. [ 98 ] [ 99 ]


A-10 of 104th Fighter Wing in flight, Iraq 2003 (2 of 2) - History

RE: Has The A-10 C Been Commited To Theatre Yet?

Does that mean not this September? This is the best news yet for the "Smart Hog".

Quote:
"The programme has in the past faced sceptics within the air force's leadership, with then-Maj Gen David Deptula reportedly having asked a subordinate to draft a memorandum justifying the retirement of the A-10 fleet in April 2003, with the invasion of Iraq still in progress. This effort was dropped after a highly publicised backlash and in 2004 the service announced a new plan to re-engine the A-10 fleet and upgrade the aircraft to use precision-guided weapons.

The so-called 'Super Hog' plan fell apart a year later when the air force killed funds for the re-engining plan, but a separate precision engagement programme was awarded to Lockheed Martin to upgrade all 356 A-10s with digital weapon stores, multifunction displays, the situational awareness datalink and smart weapons such as Boeing's GBU-38 JDAM. The first redesignated A-10Cs will make their combat debut in September, following a crash effort to accelerate the precision engagement programme by 18 months."


Contents

Established under Title 10 and Title 32 of the U.S. Code, the Air National Guard is part of the state National Guard and is divided up into units stationed in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the two U.S. territories. Each state, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have at least one Air National Guard wing level unit with a flying mission, while the Air National Guard in Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands are strictly non-flying support organizations at the group or squadron level.

When not in a "federal" status, the Air National Guard operates under their respective state, commonwealth or territorial governor. [4] The exception to this rule is the District of Columbia Air National Guard (DC ANG). As a federal district, the units of the DC ANG are under the direct jurisdiction of the President of the United States through the office of the Commanding General, District of Columbia National Guard.

In their "state" role, the Air National Guard may be called up for active duty by the governors to help respond to domestic emergencies and disasters, such as those caused by hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes. [4] In the case of the DC Air National Guard in this role, the Adjutant General of the District of Columbia reports to the Mayor of the District of Columbia, who may only activate DC ANG assets for local purposes after consulting with the President of the United States.

With the consent of state governors or equivalents, members or units of the Air National Guard may be appointed, temporarily or indefinitely, to be federally recognized members of the armed forces, in the active or inactive (e.g., reserve) service of the United States. [5] [6] If federally recognized, the member or unit becomes part of the Air National Guard of the United States, [7] [8] [9] which is one of two reserve components of the United States Air Force, [7] and part of the National Guard of the United States. [7] Because both state Air National Guard and the Air National Guard of the United States go relatively hand-in-hand, they are both usually referred to as just Air National Guard.

Air National Guard of the United States units or members may be called up for federal active duty in times of Congressionally sanctioned war or national emergency. [4] The President may also call up members and units of the Air National Guard using a process called "federalization", with the consent of state governors or equivalents, to repel invasion, suppress rebellion, or execute federal laws if the United States or any of its states or territories are invaded or is in danger of invasion by a foreign nation, or if there is a rebellion or danger of a rebellion against the authority of the federal government, or if the president is unable to execute the laws of the United States with the regular armed forces. [10]

The United States Air National Guard has about 107,100 men and women in service. [11] Like the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), the ANG is often described as a "reserve" force of "part-time airmen," although the demands of maintaining modern aircraft mean that many AFRC and ANG members work full-time, either as full-time Air Reserve Technicians (ART) or Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) personnel. Even traditional part-time air guardsmen, especially pilots, navigators/combat systems officers, air battle managers and enlisted aircrew, often serve 100 or more man-days annually. As such, the concept of Air National Guard service as representing only "one weekend a month and two weeks a year" is not necessarily valid.

The Air National Guard (ANG), in tandem with the U.S. Air Force's other reserve component, the strictly "federal" Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), comprise the "Air Reserve Component" of the U.S. Air Force under the"Total Force" construct.

Many ANG pilots work for commercial airlines, but in the ANG they may train to fly any of the aircraft in the USAF inventory, with the current exception of the B-1B Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress bombers, E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft, KC-10 Extender and the AC-130 Gunship. The Georgia Air National Guard and the Kansas Air National Guard previously flew the B-1B Lancer prior to converting to the E-8 Joint STARS and KC-135R Stratotanker, respectively. In addition, the 131st Fighter Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard transitioned from flying the F-15C/D Eagle at St. Louis International Airport/Lambert Field Air National Guard Station to the B-2 Spirit at Whiteman Air Force Base as an "Associate" unit of the Regular Air Force's 509th Bomb Wing and was re-designated as the 131st Bomb Wing.

In 2012, General Norton A. Schwartz, the then-Chief of Staff of the Air Force, defended cutting nearly twice as many service members from the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve as from the active duty Regular Air Force in order to maintain the service's surge and rotational capabilities in the Active Component. [12] These proposals were eventually overruled and cancelled by the U.S. Congress.

As state militia units, the units in the Air National Guard are not in the normal United States Air Force chain of command. They are under the jurisdiction of the United States National Guard Bureau unless they are federalized by order of the President of the United States. [13]

The Air National Guard Readiness Center, a field operating center of the United States Air Force at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, performs operational and technical functions to ensure combat readiness of Air National Guard units and is a channel of communication between the Air Force and the National Guard Bureau regarding readiness and operations. [13]

Air National Guard units are trained and equipped by the United States Air Force. The state (or equivalent) ANG units, depending on their mission, are operationally gained by a major command of the USAF if federalized. In addition, personnel and equipment are routinely federalized and deployed by the USAF as part of Air Expeditionary Forces, and are currently engaged in combat operations under United States Air Forces Central (USAFCENT) as part of the Global War on Terrorism.

Air National Guard personnel are expected to adhere to the same moral and physical standards as their "full-time" active duty Air Force and "part-time" Air Force Reserve federal counterparts. The same ranks and insignia of the U.S. Air Force are used by the Air National Guard, and Air National Guardsmen are eligible to receive all United States military awards. The Air National Guard also bestows a number of state awards for local services rendered in a service member's home state or equivalent.

Origins Edit

The modern day National Guard in the United States traces its origins to 13 December 1636, when the Massachusetts Bay Colony's General Court passed an act calling for the creation of three regiments, organizing existing separate militia companies in and around Boston. The creation of the militia regiments was caused by the perceived need to defend the Bay Colony against American Indians and from other European countries operating in North America.R This organization formed the basis of subsequent colonial and, post-independence, state and territorial militias which later became the Army National Guard.

Being "local" ground forces affiliated with the Army, militias were considered state-centric/territorial-centric in nature, this versus naval forces, which were considered wholly activities of the federal government. This distinction accounts for why there are no National Guard components in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps or U.S. Coast Guard. Because the present day U.S. Air Force evolved from the U.S. Army, it was only natural that a separate Air National Guard would be established with the divestiture of the former U.S. Army Air Forces and its establishment as a separate and independent U.S. Air Force in 1947.

The Air National Guard was officially established in law as a separate reserve component on 18 September 1947, concurrent with the establishment of the U.S. Air Force. However, National Guard aviation emerged before World War I with aviation units in Army National Guard organizations. [14]

In April 1908, a group of enthusiasts organized an "aeronautical corps" at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City to learn ballooning. They were members of the 1st Company, Signal Corps, New York National Guard. Although they received instruction and assembled a balloon, it was not clear whether members of the unit had ever actually ascended in it. In 1910 the unit raised $500 to finance its first aircraft. [14]

During the Mexican Border Crisis of 1915 Captain Raynal Cawthorne Bolling organized and took command of a unit that became the 1st Aero Company, New York National Guard. It trained at Mineola Field, Mineola, Long Island. It is recognized as the ANG's oldest unit and its lineage is carried by the 102nd Rescue Squadron of the New York Air National Guard. On 13 July 1916, the 1st Aero Company mobilized during the border crisis with Mexico. the unit was called into federal service when the Mexican revolution spilled over the border into the United States. Bolling's unit was joined at Mineola by the 2nd Aero Company of Buffalo and 12 Guard officers from other states. Both air units remained at Mineola during the crisis. [15]

When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, the War Department decided that it would not mobilize National Guard air units. Instead, individual Guard volunteers provided a major pool for the Army to draw aviators from. They were required to leave the Guard and enter the Signal Corps Reserve if they wished to fly in the war. About 100 National Guard pilots joined the newly formed United States Army Air Service. Guardsmen also played prominent roles in air operations in France. On 14 April 1918, Tennessee Guardsman Reed Chambers flew with Eddie Rickenbacker and David Peterson of the 94th Pursuit Squadron from Villeneuve, France on the first combat mission ever ordered by an American commander of a U.S. squadron of American pilots. At least four Guardsmen—Chambers, Field Kindley (Kansas), Reed Landis (Illinois), and Martinus Stenseth (Minnesota) – became aces. 2nd Lieutenant Erwin R. Bleckley of Kansas was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroism as an aerial observer. After the armistice and the return of the American Expeditionary Force in 1919, the wartime squadrons were demobilized and inactivated. [14] [15]

Interwar period Edit

After the war, National Guard aviation was placed on a permanent basis over the initial opposition of the Army's General Staff. In 1920, the Militia Bureau and the Army Air Service agreed on a plan for re-organizing National Guard aviation units. On 17 January 1921, the 109th Observation Squadron of the Minnesota National Guard (1921–1941) became the first post World War I air unit to receive federal recognition. During the interwar period, 29 observation squadrons were established. They were either integral elements of National Guard infantry divisions or assigned to Army corps aviation. [14]

An aviator in the 110th Observation Squadron of the Missouri National Guard (1923–1943) became the most famous National Guard pilot during the interwar period: Captain Charles A. Lindbergh. His service illustrated the close ties between military and commercial aviation. Trained to fly by the Army, he joined the 110th Observation Squadron in November 1925. The following year, he became chief pilot for an airmail venture started by fellow 110th pilots Major William Robertson and his brother Frank. After Lindbergh made his historic solo trans-Atlantic flight in May 1927, he recalled his service in the Guard fondly. [14]

After the Fall of France, during 1940–1941, approximately 4,800 experienced National Guard aviation personnel were mobilized from their observation squadrons. They provided a significant augmentation of the Army's rapidly expanding air arm during a critical period. Most Guard air units were stripped of many key personnel, and the units were federalized into the regular Army Air Corps and were re-equipped with more modem aircraft. Some of the early-deploying squadrons maintained a degree of unit integrity and cohesion. But, most lost their character and identity as Guard organizations during World War II. [15]

The units were transformed from observation organizations into reconnaissance, liaison, fighter, and bombardment squadrons. They served in every major combat theater during the war. The most significant wartime contribution of National Guard aviators was to train and lead the large numbers of volunteer airmen who had entered the AAF. That role was epitomized by Lt Col Addison E. Baker, a Guardsman from Akron, Ohio. On 1 August 1943, Baker commanded the VIII Bomber Command's 93rd Bombardment Group on a daring but ill-fated low-level attack against enemy oil refineries at Ploiești, Romania. Baker was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic leadership. [15]

Post-World War II Air National Guard Edit

The Air National Guard as it exists today, a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force in addition to the purely "federal" Air Force Reserve, was a product of the politics of postwar planning and inter-service rivalry during World War II. The Army Air Forces leaders who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II had little confidence in the reserves of the U.S. Army, especially the state-dominated National Guard. On the contrary, those leaders expected to build the largest and most modern standing air force possible. However, domestic politics and American history forced them to significantly alter their plans. [14]

Determined to include an Air Force National Guard in the postwar U.S. military establishment during World War II, the National Guard Association of the United States flexed its considerable political muscle. It compelled the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) to plan for a significant Air Force National Guard once the overseas fighting ended. General of the Army George C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, also pressured the USAAF to revise its ambitious plans for a large postwar active duty force. When President Harry S. Truman instituted dramatic postwar military budget cuts, he split defense dollars evenly among the Army, Navy, and Air Force. That move also required the Air Force to plan for a far smaller active duty service than it had envisaged. As a result, the Air Force needed both reserve components, the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve, to help fill the gap. [14]

As the wartime Army Air Forces demobilized in 1945 and 1946, inactivated unit designations were allotted and transferred to various State and Territorial Air National Guard bureaus to provide them unit designations to re-establish them as Air National Guard units. Initially, the National Guard Bureau (NGB) developed a table of organization for the Air National Guard to include at least one unit allocation per state. In addition, the territories of Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico were allocated one unit designation each. A table of organization was developed in which a series of twelve ANG Wings were allocated to provide command and control over separate regions of the United States each Wing controlled three or four Groups within the region, and the Groups controlled squadrons within the region, sometimes distributed over several states.

On 21 August 1946, inactivated USAAF group and squadron designations were transferred from the Department of the Army to the National Guard Bureau. The units were re-designated with unit designations within the 101–299 range and allotments were made to Adjutant General of the states and territories whose mission it was to organize the units being allocated and prepare them for federal recognition by the NGB.

The combat element was organized into twelve wings which were then divided into 20 fighter groups totaling 62 squadrons, two light bombardment groups comprising four squadrons, and five composite groups with twelve fighter squadrons and six bombardment squadrons. Command and control organizations were:

Individual state squadrons were assigned to either Groups or Wings, depending on circumstances, allocations, and gaining commands of the Army Air Forces. As individual units were organized, federally recognized, and activated, the Army Air Forces provided them airfields, equipment and surplus aircraft. Once formed, the units began obtaining federal recognition, and the state Air National Guard units were established. Its primary units were 84 flying squadrons, mostly equipped with P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt fighters with air defense of the continental United States as their main mission, its units under the jurisdiction of the USAAF Air Defense Command. Tactical Air Command also had several ANG units being assigned B-26 Invader medium bombers. [14]

18 September 1947, however, is considered the Air National Guard's official birth, concurrent with the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate branch of the United States military under the National Security Act. The postwar Air National Guard force of the late 1940s included 58,000 members. [14] Between 1946 and 1949, all of the initial allotment of units received federal recognition in the CONUS. The Hawaii Territory ANG received recognition and was activated on 4 November 1946 the Puerto Rico ANG on 23 November 1947, and the Alaska Territory ANG on 15 September 1952.

At the end of October 1950, the Air National Guard converted to the wing-base (Hobson Plan) organization. As a result, the former Army Air Forces Wings which were allocated were inactivated by the National Guard Bureau returned to the control of the Department of the Air Force on 31 October 1950. The personnel and equipment of the inactivated wings were transferred to new Air National Guard wings which were established, recognized and activated on 1 November 1950.

After World War II, the Air National Guard developed an unfortunate reputation as a glorified "flying club" for World War II combat veterans. Not only did the units and individuals lack specific wartime missions, their equipment, especially aircraft, was obsolete and their training was usually deplorable. Once mobilized, those Air National Guardsmen proved to be almost totally unprepared for combat. Regardless of their previous training and equipment, Air National Guard units were assigned almost at random to major air commands. It took months and months for ANG units to become combat ready some units never succeeded. [14]

Korean War Edit

During the Korean War, some 45,000 Air Guardsmen, 80 percent of the force, were mobilized. That callup exposed the weaknesses of the United States' various military reserve programs, including the ANG. Sixty-six of the Air Guard's ninety-two flying squadrons, along with numerous support units, were mobilized. Once in federal service, they proved to be unprepared for combat. Many key Air Guardsmen were used as fillers elsewhere in the Air Force. It took three to six months for some ANG units to become combat ready. Some never did. [15]

Eventually, they made substantial contributions to the war effort and the Air Force's global buildup. In the Far East, the ANG's 136th and 116th Fighter-Bomber Wings compiled excellent combat records flying F-84 Thunderjets. Air Guardsmen flew 39,530 combat sorties and destroyed 39 enemy aircraft. But, 101 of them were either killed or declared missing in action during the conflict. Four Air Guardsmen—Captains Robert Love (California), Clifford Jolley (Utah), and Robinson Risner (Oklahoma), plus Major James Hagerstrom (Texas) – became aces, with some, such as Risner, later transferring to the Regular Air Force. Largely as a result of the Korean War experience, senior ANG and Air Force leaders became seriously committed to building the Air National Guard as an effective reserve component. [15] [16]

With the reinforcement of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF), Air National Guard squadrons were deployed to Europe in late 1950, being assigned to newly constructed bases in France as part of United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). These deployments helped reinforce the NATO commitment of the United States in case the combat in Korea became part of a wider conflict with the Soviet Union. Beginning in February 1951, mobilized units were assigned to Air Defense Command (ADC), Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Tactical Air Command (TAC), replacing or augmenting active duty units. Air National Guardsmen assigned to ADC also were assigned to various aircraft control and warning as well as radar calibration units. Their organizations either strengthened American air defenses or were converted to tactical air control units that directed Air Force fighter aircraft in the continental United States, Alaska, Newfoundland, Europe, and French Morocco. [16]

As a result of the federalization of the Air National Guard, ADC, SAC and TAC established additional wings for command and control of the federalized units. These were as follows:

Air National Guardsmen began to be demobilized in July 1952, with their units being inactivated by the active duty air force. Subsequently, the individual state Air National Guard bureaus reactivated and reformed the units beginning in January 1953. The USAF-established wings were also allocated to their states. [16]

Runway alert program Edit

Although Korean War hostilities ended in July 1953, the Cold War with the Soviet Union persisted. The initial mobilization fiasco forced the Air Force to achieve an accommodation with the Air National Guard and to thoroughly revamp its entire reserve system. Because of the problems associated with the Korean War mobilizations, the Air Force and its reserve components pioneered new approaches like the runway alert program to reserve training and management. [16]

The Air Division chief at the National Guard Bureau wanted to find an innovative way to provide additional training for fighter pilots after their units were demobilized. At the same time, Air Defense Command could not call upon sufficient active duty Air Force units to defend the continental United States against the Soviet air threat. It was proposed to employ ANG pilots full-time from "strategically placed" Air National Guard units to perform "air intercept missions" against unidentified aircraft entering United States airspace. In addition they would "provide simulated fighter attacks against the Strategic Air Command's nuclear-capable bombers." [16]

Using Air National Guardsmen from the 138th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Hancock Field, Syracuse, New York, and the 194th Fighter-Bomber Squadron at Hayward, California, the experiment began on 1 March 1953. It proved a great success and in August eight squadrons began "standing alert" using volunteer aircrews on a rotating basis for 14 hours a day. In October, nine more squadrons joined the program. The ANG runway alert program required some planes and pilots to be available around-the-clock to become airborne within minutes of being notified to scramble. At its peak in the mid-1950s, all 70 Air National Guard fighter squadrons participated in that program, although that number was reduced to 25 by 1961 due to budget constraints. Most of the runway alert exercises involved interceptions of SAC bombers although a few actual scrambles turned out to be interceptions of late or off-course commercial airliners. The runway alert experiment in 1953 marked the beginning of the Air National Guard's modern homeland defense role. Moreover, it was the first broad effort to integrate reserve units into a major Air Force combat mission in peacetime on a continuing basis using volunteers. [16]

Aircraft modernization Edit

Originally the Air National Guard was designed as a combat reserve force. After World War II, its flying units consisted of 72 fighter and 12 light bomber squadrons equipped with obsolescent World War II propeller-driven aircraft while the active duty Air Force transitioned to jet fighters. Although it had no airlift or tanker units, the Air National Guard's flying units were equipped with a small number of liaison, trainer, and transport planes, and the Air National Guard actively sought out new missions and aircraft. [17]

With the end of World War II, the Air Force dropped "Air Commando" or special operations units from its rolls, although they were revived for the Korean War. After that conflict, in April 1955, the Air National Guard acquired its first special operations unit when the 129th Air Resupply Squadron was federally recognized and two C-46 Commandos were delivered to it at Hayward, California. It was allocated to the Air Resupply And Communications Service (ARCS), a predecessor organization of today's Air Force Special Operations Command [17]

As its P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts became more and more obsolescent in the jet age of the 1950s, the force structure gradually changed to include a significant number of airlift, tanker, and specialized combat-support units. As the Air National Guard expanded, additional squadrons, including airlift units as well as Air Resupply and Communications units, were established. Additional command and control groups and wings were also established by the National Guard Bureau and allocated to the states. [17] The ANG however, unlike the active duty USAF, did not inactivate its combat groups during the 1950s as part of the tri-deputate organization. Many of the combat groups remained assigned to the wings from which they were derived. It was not until 1974 that the ANG fully adapted the USAF tri-deputate organization and inactivated its combat groups, assigning its operational squadrons directly to the wings.

The Air National Guard aggressively worked to preserve its existing flying units by obtaining the most modern aircraft available. Some existing Air National Guard fighter units equipped with piston-driven fighters, however, could not convert to jets because the runways at the local airports where they were based were too short. In addition, some local leaders simply did not want jet fighters operating in their communities. [17]

The ANG considered replacing the fighter squadrons in these instances with transport aircraft a viable option for overcoming runway issues or community objections and also was a way to keep experienced senior aviators in the cockpit. During the late 1950s, the Air Force allowed several Air National Guard units to trade in their aging piston-driven fighters for second-line transports. New Jersey's newly organized 150th Air Transport Squadron (Light) became the first pure airlift unit in the Air National Guard on 1 February 1956. It received Curtiss C-46D Commandos. Two other aeromedical transport squadrons followed that year, primarily because of the impracticality of converting their locations to modern jet fighter operations. In 1959, the Air Force, in order to save operating funds, planned to phase out 48 C-97 Stratofreighters before their replacements were available to the active force. The Air National Guard requested these aircraft be sent to ANG units, and in January 1960, units in California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, and Oklahoma began trading in their obsolete fighters for C-97s. [17]

Additionally, the Air National Guard also took on an air refueling mission. The Air National Guard received its first KC-97 Stratofreighter aerial tankers in July and August 1961. During that period, the 108th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron in Illinois, the 126th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron in Wisconsin, and the 145th Air Transport Squadron in Ohio, converted to KC-97Fs and were redesignated air refueling squadrons. [17]

Cold War Edit

World War II had left the city of Berlin 100 miles deep within East German territory, controlled by the Soviet Union, and divided into Soviet, British, French, and United States zones of occupation, administered under local agreements which did not guarantee Western access to the city. Responding to a series of Soviet actions in 1948, the three western allies consolidated their zones and formed the city of West Berlin. For fifteen years the western powers maintained a tenacious hold on West Berlin under periodic harassment of the Soviets. On 13 August 1961, Berliners woke up to find they lived in a divided city. A wall now separated East Berlin from West Berlin. With that provocative act, the Soviet Union ratcheted up the Cold War. [18]

President John F. Kennedy mobilized a limited number of Reserve and Guard units, dispatching 11 ANG fighter squadrons to Europe. All the Guard units were in place within a month of their respective mobilization days, although they required additional training, equipment, and personnel after being called up. In all, some 21,000 Air Guardsmen were mobilized during the 1961 Berlin Crisis. [18]

By August 1962, the units mobilized for the Berlin Crisis returned to state control. They had hardly resumed normal operations when President Kennedy announced on 22 October 1962 that the Soviet Union had placed nuclear warheads in Cuba, only 90 miles from Florida. With the Cuban Missile Crisis, Air National Guard fighter units trained for "no notice" deployments, and volunteer ANG airlift crews and their aircraft augmented Air Force global airlift operations. Air National Guard bases hosted Air Force fighters and bombers dispersed there to avoid a possible Soviet nuclear response to the crisis. But in the end, no ANG unit was federalized. [18]

As a result of these two Cold War incidents, from January through December 1963, for the first time Air National Guard airlift units began routinely deploying overseas during their annual training periods, primarily to Europe, to exercise their wartime missions. Air National Guard transport units hauled cargo for the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) while training for their wartime global airlift role. [18]

With the Regular Air Force tanker fleet being used more and more in Southeast Asia after 1965 to support combat operations in South Vietnam, combined with the concurrent demands of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) for performing its nuclear deterrence mission, both volunteer Air Force Reservists and Air National Guardsmen in air refueling units participated in worldwide air refueling missions during their Annual Training or other additional active duty periods in order to supplement the active duty tanker force. The Texas Air National Guard's 136th Air Refueling Wing inaugurated Operation Creek Party on 1 May 1967, because the Regular Air Force did not have enough KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft available in Europe to train its fighter pilots in USAFE. The operation eventually involved nine ANG air refueling groups that rotated approximately every two weeks to Rhein-Main Air Base in West Germany. [18]

The Vietnam War provided the next significant test for the Air National Guard. However, for largely domestic political reasons, President Lyndon B. Johnson chose not to mobilize most of the nation's reserve forces before 1968. His reasons for not mobilizing reserve forces were many. Primarily, he did not believe that the war in Vietnam justified the dramatic act of mobilizing Reserve and National Guard forces. He accepted the need to fight the war, but he wanted to prosecute it as quietly as possible, not attracting too much attention at home and risk jeopardizing his domestic programs. He also wanted to avoid drawing the Communist Chinese into the war or the attention of the Soviet Union, the latter which might view the mobilization of Reserve and National Guard units as "escalatory" within a larger Cold War context. Moreover, recalling Reservists' complaints of inactivity following the Berlin mobilization of 1961, he was also reluctant to recall Reservists and National Guardsmen without the assurance that their employment would significantly affect the course of the war, an assurance no official in his administration could provide. As a result, even though still populated by many World War II and Korean War combat veterans, the Reserves and the National Guard acquired ill-deserved reputations during this period as havens for relatively affluent, young white men with no prior active duty military service to serve as officers or enlisted personnel as a means to avoid the draft into the active duty U.S. Army in an enlisted status. [18]

Air National Guard airlift units, however, began flying regularly to Japan and South Vietnam beginning in 1966 to support Military Airlift Command (MAC) operations. These flights continued on a regular basis until 1972. In addition, between August 1965 and September 1969, Air National Guard domestic and offshore aeromedical evacuation flights freed active duty Air Force resources for such missions in Southeast Asia (SEA). [18]

However, after the 1968 Tet Offensive in which the Communist North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops attacked positions throughout the Republic of Vietnam, the Pentagon dispatched four Air National Guard fighter squadrons to that nation. In addition, the Pueblo Crisis in Korea also saw mobilized Air Force Reservists, Air National Guardsmen and Naval Reservists in flying units. That crisis prompted the third partial Air National Guard mobilization since the end of World War II, and eventually two ANG fighter squadrons were dispatched to South Korea. However, the Pueblo crisis ended without a resort to combat. [18]

In July 1970, two EC-121 "Super Constellations" from the Pennsylvania ANG's 193rd Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron departed their home station for Korat RTAFB, Thailand. During the next six months, approximately 60 Air National Guardsmen were rotated through the latter installation on 30- to 60-day tours in Operation "Commando Buzz," their aircraft serving as flying radar stations and airborne control platforms for U.S. air operations in Southeast Asia (SEA) until January 1971. [18]

The 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron (355th TFS) in 1967 was a Regular Air Force squadron assigned to the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina. From January 1968 until June 1969, the 355th TFS changed from a Regular Air Force unit composed almost entirely of recent SEA returnees to a composite squadron consisting of approximately 50% of whose personnel assets were composed of activated ANG members from the 119th TFS of the New Jersey ANG) and the 121st TFS of the District of Columbia ANG). The 355th deployed on temporary duty (TDY) to Phù Cát Air Base on 14 May 1968 with 13 of its 30 pilots being ANG members. The transfer became permanent on 26 June 1968, at which time all TDY members were offered the opportunity to volunteer for a full year's tour. All 13 ANG pilots volunteered, one of whom was killed in action a month later. By Christmas 1968, 87% of the squadron's support personnel were ANG members. Five of the ANG pilots also volunteered as Misty Forward Air Controllers (FACs) flying the F-100 Super Sabre. In all, ANG pilots were awarded 23 Silver Stars, 47 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 46 Bronze Stars with Combat V for valor while stationed at Phu Cat. [19]

Total Force Concept Edit

As part of the re-thinking of military concepts after the Vietnam War, beginning in the early 1970s with the establishment of the All-Volunteer Armed Forces, both the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve force planning and policymaking were influenced by the "Total Force" Concept and have remained so to this day. The concept sought to strengthen and rebuild public confidence in the reserve forces while saving money by reducing the size of the active duty force. In practical terms, the Total Force policy sought to ensure that all policymaking, planning, programming, and budgetary activities within the Defense Department considered active and reserve forces concurrently and determined the most efficient mix of those forces in terms of costs versus contributions to national security. The policy also insured that Reservists and Guardsmen, not draftees, would be the first and primary source of manpower to augment the active duty forces in any future crisis. [20]


A-10 of 104th Fighter Wing in flight, Iraq 2003 (2 of 2) - History

Claire Lee Chennault (September 6, 1893 u2013 July 27, 1958)[1] was an American military aviator best known for his leadership of the "Flying Tigers" and the Republic of China Air Force in World War II.

Chennault was a fierce advocate of "pursuit" or fighter-interceptor aircraft during the 1930s when the United States Army Air Corps was focused primarily on high-altitude bombardment. Chennault retired from the United States Army in 1937, and went to work as an aviation adviser and trainer in China.

Claire Lee Chennault (September 6, 1893 u2013 July 27, 1958) was an American military aviator best known for his leadership of the "Flying Tigers" and the Republic of China Air Force in World War II.

Chennault was a fierce advocate of "pursuit" or fighter-interceptor aircraft during the 1930s when the United States Army Air Corps was focused primarily on high-altitude bombardment. Chennault retired from the United States Army in 1937, and went to work as an aviation adviser and trainer in China.

Starting in early 1941, Chennault commanded the 1st American Volunteer Group (nicknamed Flying Tigers). He headed both the volunteer group and the uniformed U.S. Army Air Forces units that replaced it in 1942. He feuded constantly with General Joseph Stilwell, the U.S. Army commander in China, and helped China's Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to convince President Roosevelt to remove Stilwell in 1944. The China-Burma-India theater was strategically essential in order to fix many vital elements of the Imperial Japanese Army on the Chinese mainland to limit their use against Allied forces advancing towards Japan in the two Pacific campaigns. ", "id": "84554580", "version": "11387088", "snacControlMetadata": [ < "dataType": "SNACControlMetadata", "citation": < "dataType": "Source", "type": < "id": "28296", "term": "simple", "type": "source_type" >, "text": "

Claire Lee Chennault (September 6, 1893 u2013 July 27, 1958)[1] was an American military aviator best known for his leadership of the "Flying Tigers" and the Republic of China Air Force in World War II.

Chennault was a fierce advocate of "pursuit" or fighter-interceptor aircraft during the 1930s when the United States Army Air Corps was focused primarily on high-altitude bombardment. Chennault retired from the United States Army in 1937, and went to work as an aviation adviser and trainer in China.

Vandenberg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951. Arthur H. Vandenberg papers 1884-1974 1915-1951

Corcoran, Thomas G. 1900-1981

J. M.(James Marshall) McHugh 1899-

Gilbert, Rodney, b. 1889. Rodney Gilbert Papers 1910-1968

7 cartons (7 linear ft.)

20 oversize boxes (25.5 linear ft.)

2 half boxes (0.5 linear ft.)

75 film reels (56 linear ft.)

cshm Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory Economic History of Indiana in the Twentieth Century 1976-1980 ohrc041

164 interviews . Audiotapes, transcripts, and collateral materials .



Comments:

  1. Amot

    Here I look at all the enthusiastic comments, and I can not understand - or is it me behind the times, or is everyone crazy? No, what is written perfectly, the original style is visible - I will not argue with that, it is. But as for the content itself - why describe it? Although many are interested: Probably, I do not understand something.

  2. Avonaco

    I consider, that you are mistaken. Let's discuss this.

  3. Reuben

    Certainly. And I have faced it. We can communicate on this theme. Here or in PM.

  4. Yozshubei

    Sorry, I would like to suggest a different solution.

  5. Kar

    It is very a pity to me, that I can help nothing to you. But it is assured, that you will find the correct decision. Do not despair.

  6. Marsh

    I think, that you are not right. I suggest it to discuss. Write to me in PM.

  7. Haden

    Of course not.



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