Fairchild A-10 THUNDERBOLT II / WARTHOG gallery 3

In total, 18 A-10/OA-10 participated in Operation Deliberate Force from the Italian bases of Gioia del Colle and Trapani. Eight aircraft belonged to the 23rd TFW and the rest were from the Air National Guard of the 104th, 110th and 124th TFW based in Massachusetts, Michigan and Idaho respectively.
In 1999 the A-10 returned to the Balkans within Operation Allied Force carried out from March to June. On this occasion it was the 81st Fighter Squadron that was deployed with the main task of supporting search and rescue missions. However, as the operation progressed, more close support missions were developed.
On March 27, 1999, several A-10s participated in the rescue of the pilot of an F-117 shot down by a Serbian SA-3 Goa missile. On May, 2 one Warthog was damaged by a Serbian SA-7 Grail missile that destroyed the right engine forcing it to make an emergency landing at the airport in Skopje, Macedonia.
From the Balkans the A-10 returned to the hot sands of the Middle East, this time to Afghanistan. In 2002, in the so-called “War on Terrorism” and within Operation Anaconda, several A-10s were deployed to support ground troops. This operation took just two weeks and consisted of attacking Taliban and Al Qaeda forces. On March 4, they supported a Special Forces attack on a cave complex in Shahi-Kot Valley.
In 2003, the A-10 again returned to Iraq, where it had best demonstrated its lethality in 1991. Again an International Coalition under command of the United States, was formed with the intention, this time, of overthrowing Saddam Hussein in a once and for all. We are talking about Operation Iraqi Freedom, the most important military operation since the 1991 Gulf War.
Sixty A-10/OA-10 (on the image) were deployed with the 75th, 81st and 190th Fighter Squadrons in Kuwait. On March 21, 2003 they began operations supporting ground units on their way to Baghdad, which was heavily bombarded with more than 300 TLAM Tomahawk cruise missiles and more than 3,000 bombs dropped by 700 aircraft that carried out more than 2,000 sorties.
On March 26, several A-10s were sent to the outskirts of Baghdad after detecting the launch of several Iraqi Al Samoud tactical missiles against Coalition forces stationed in Kuwait. The Al Samoud missile is an Iraqi scaled-down copy of the Soviet Scud, and nine of these launchers were destroyed during the attack.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom the A-10 fired more than 300,000 30mm rounds and performed 32% of all combat sorties. They had an availability of 85%, very high once again, and they carried out some curious missions during this campaign. These missions consisted of the launching of propaganda leaflets on Iraq.
Operation Enduring Freedom encompassed several missions between 2001 and 2014, especially in Afghanistan but also in Iraq, the Philippines and some countries of the Sahel against Al Qaeda and other related groups. It is estimated that the A-10 carried out around 20% of all CAS (close air support) missions carried out in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2006 and 2013, with an average of up to 31,000 missions/year between 2009 and 2012.
In 2011 the Warthog participated together with an international coalition in Operation Odyssey Dawn under the command of the United Nations against the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Later the Operation would continue under the command of NATO with the name of Operation Unified Protector. For these missions, six A-10s were deployed that went into action between March 26 and 29 against Libyan ground troops and against several Libyan Coast Guard vessels, sinking one of them.
In September 2014 the US began Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIL (Daesh) leading an international coalition. Since August twelve A-10s of the USAF 122nd Fighter Wing began to carry out support missions to Kurdish Forces in Northern Iraq. Later, in November, these missions were extended to central and northwestern Iraq and in two months, until January 2015, the A-10 carried out more than 1,700 airstrikes on ISIL forces.
The A-10 have also participated in the fight against ISIL (Daesh) in Syria, especially in cutting off the largest source of income for this organization. Operation Tidal Wave II began in October 2015 against everything concerning the oil infrastructure controlled by ISIL, from extraction to transportation. As an example of this, in mid-November 2015, several A-10s together with AC-130 destroyed a convoy of about 100 oil tanker trucks bound for southern Turkey black-market. In less than 6 months, more than 200 attacks were carried out that reduced the oil production capacity by more than 90%.
Despite the apparent lack of major military operations, the fight against ISIL is ongoing and from time to time certain operations where A-10s are involved come to light. In May 2016 they participated in 30 airstrikes against ISIL near Mosul, Iraq, after having attacked a Peshmerga position with truck bombs.
On 17 September 2016, two A-10s together with Danish F-16 fighters mistakenly bombed a Syrian Army base in the ISIL besieged city of Deir ez-Zor, eastern Syria. This attack provoked a diplomatic conflict with Russia that accuses the US of supporting ISIL to regain that important strategic position.
In January 2018, twelve A-10s belonging to the 303d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron are redeployed in Kandahar, Afghanistan after the verification that Taliban activity in the country is being strongly relaunched. It was the first time in three years that fighter jets had to be redeployed in the country, and unfortunately instability continues to rage with murders and terrorist attacks every so often.
Despite the success demonstrated by the Warthog, no one except the USAF has operated this aircraft. There were contacts with Turkey to transfer 50 Warthogs, but in the end, the cost to the US amounted to more than 100 million dollars and the operation was canceled. It seems that Greece also showed interest in acquiring some A-10s kept in reserve, but this transaction did not materialize either.
In a short time the USAF will have to seriously undertake the withdrawal of the A-10 from its inventory and has a serious tactical problem to solve. According to experts, starting a new attack aircraft program would take 15 years from the design table to the commissioning of the first aircraft. On the other hand, helicopters are much more vulnerable and less effective to carry out the missions that A-10 does. And finally, the replacement by a supersonic fighter supposes a gigantic increase in the operating costs, and above all, the lack of capacity to carry out attacks at such low height and speed with the same efficiency with which the A-10 does it. Considering all the above, perhaps the best solution would be ….., to build new A-10 Warthog again !!

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