The ole ‘Warthog’ tactical platform gets a place to show it’s worth?
The US IS still doing combat mission’s in the Middle East folks….
An old slow tactical jet is being sent over to add to the Air Forces’ fast moving F-16’s….
A squadron of A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets, specially modified to nearly triple their bomb loads, has been dispatched to the Middle East to boost U.S. airpower in the region amid increased tensions with Iran-backed forces in Syria.
The Warthogs will get software updates enabling them to carry up to 16 Small Diameter Bombs within weeks, said Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, who leads Air Forces Central Command.
“They’re really here as a message to both assure our partners…but also as…a true capability that can work against some of the threats that we face with respect to Iran,” Grynkewich said in an interview Thursday.
With each plane carrying four SDB bomb racks, a flight of four A-10s could bomb up to 64 ground targets, a nearly three-fold increase. Each plane can also carry laser-guided rockets along with its famed 30mm tankbusting gun.
“That’s a lot of targets that you can hit from an air-to-ground perspective,” Grynkewich said.
The rugged attack jet also gives commanders more flexibility because it can fly from short or dirt runways.
“We would be able to maneuver [the A-10] very rapidly to different locations and show an ability to do strike operations that really would be very difficult to to counter in any meaningful way should things escalate,” he said.
In March, Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, the head of U.S. Central Command, told lawmakers that he needed more airpower in the region. He testified that the A-10 deployment had been approved, but did not mention their new armament.
The A-10 joins two squadrons of F-16s under Grynkewich’s control.
“It’s a really good additive capability for the region,” he said. “What we have now allows us to maintain a reasonable, sustainable and sufficient posture.”.
Though the Pentagon’s presence in the region is a fraction of what it was during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, U.S. forces are still fighting ISIS in Syria and helping the Iraqi military.
“You’ve got a fair amount of ISIS activity, including some senior leaders who want to reconstitute, and we’re just trying to keep the pressure on them to keep them from doing that,” Grynkewich said….
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