Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fwd: Warthog

'With a roaring engine, 30-mm. cannon and nose painted like a toothsome, snarling beast, the A-10 Thunderbolt sends ISIS fighters scattering like cockroaches on the Iraqi desert plains, but the legendary fighter plane pilots call the "Warthog" may be fighting for its own life…

"The aircraft sparked panic in the ranks of ISIS after bombing its elements and flying in spaces close to the ground," Iraqi News reported last week after a sortie took out several terrorists in ISIS-controlled territory near Mosul. "Elements of the terrorist organization targeted the aircraft with 4 Strela missiles, but that did not cause it any damage, prompting the remaining elements of the organization to leave the bodies of their dead and carry the wounded to escape …"

"The aircraft sparked panic in the ranks of ISIS after bombing its elements and flying in spaces close to the ground."

The plane is not as fast and lacks the graceful lines of other fighter jets. But the Warthog, as pilots call it due to the snout-like nose, is extremely low maintenance, flies low, can practically hover over a battlefield, land almost anywhere and packs a 20-foot-long, 2.5-ton, seven-barrel Gatling gun that can fire more than 1,100 rounds of 30-mm. bullets. And a titanium shell that wraps around the bottom of its cockpit makes it difficult to shoot down.

In Iraq, the A-10 has flown 11 percent of the sorties against ISIS, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said on Jan. 15. But that figure is deceptive, because the A-10 was not deployed until mid-November, some three months after strikes against ISIS began…

The Air Force has been itching to junk the plane for years, with some speculating that top brass believes the A-10 bucks the embraced strategy of high-altitude strategic bombing.  The Pentagon believes it can save $4.2 billion in operation and maintenance costs over five years by retiring all 283 of the Air Force's A-10s, the last of which rolled off Fairchild Republic's assembly line in 1984…


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