Michael's Dispatches

Warthog

157 Comments

All photos in this dispatch made on March 1, 2010, at Kandahar Airfield.

Kandahar, Afghanistan
23 March 2010

The mission required crossing a bridge that had been blown up a couple hours earlier by a suicide car bomber.  The attacker hit a convoy from the 82nd Airborne, killing American soldier Ian Gelig.  Now with a hole in the bridge and recovery operations underway, our mission was cancelled.  So I called the Air Force to see if they were busy.  Yes, it turns out, the Air Force is busy every day, but Captain Kristen Duncan took me down to the ramp where the A-10 “Warthogs” are parked.

Lt Col Tim Eddins adjusts g-suit.

Two pilots were gearing up to fly from Kandahar over to neighboring Helmand to support a British unit.  The A-10 “Warthogs” are slow—not supersonic—but fantastically agile.  The aircraft dart like dragonflies and seem to change direction against the laws of physics.  The A-10s can turn so fast that they can break the laws of healthy physiology, and can cause a pilot to pass out and crash his airplane.  And so pilots wear G-suits to help counter adverse fluid dynamics.

The helmets offer no ballistic protection.  Helmets that ground troops wear can stop bullets, and have done so in Iraq and Afghanistan on many occasions, usually knocking out the wearer.  I remember a Marine Major in Mosul who got shot in the head.  He said it knocked him out cold.  He said it wasn’t pleasant getting shot in the head, but he was downtown in Mosul back in the action when I asked about it.  Army Lieutenant Colonel Terry Jamison also got shot in the helmet in the same city, Mosul.  When I asked LTC Jamison about getting shot while flying his Kiowa Warrior helicopter, he said the bullet somehow missed his head but ventilated his helmet.  (I saw the helmet.)  Pilots wear light helmets because of the hard turns, plus some high-G accidents can cause neck injuries.

Lieutenant Colonel Eric Murphy is an A-10 pilot from Baltimore.

Lt Col Murphy flies with the 104th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from the Maryland National Guard.  In his day job, “Captain” Eric Murphy is a commercial pilot who flies A320s but today he’s not flying British tourists traveling within the United States.  He’s going to Helmand Province to cover the British “Royal Welsh.”  I remembered some Royal Welsh from Iraq.  There had been much fighting.  A lot of killing that went both ways.  They had been Men of Valor.

As Lt Col Murphy crawled in, I wished him luck in covering the British, but didn’t say that some of those British soldiers are my personal friends.  It was good to see the A-10s heading out there.  The Brits appreciate it.

Flare dispensers under each wing.

A-10s have more tricks than Harry Potter, such as the flares designed to lure heat-seeking missiles away from the engines.  Over these battlefields, pilots often pop the flares as “We see you” warnings to the enemy.  If the enemy is in the open and no civilians are around, they are unlikely to get a friendly flare warning, but sometimes it’s better to hold off on the big weapons; the enemy might be fighting from a built-up area.

Today, Lt Col Murphy’s 30mm cannon is loaded with 1,150 rounds.  The 30mm can destroy tanks, but believe it or not, typically will not penetrate the walls around Afghan homes.  When the 30mm fires, it’s almost unbelievable.  The bullets don’t fly in a laser-like stream, but sort of spray in a lethal mist, as if the cannon is shot-painting a swath with huge bullets.  If the enemy is in the open, the cannon is like a weapon of mass destruction.  When people are hit with M-16 bullets, the wound is often more like a couple small holes, but when bodies get hit with weapons this large, they fly in pieces.

A-10 cannons are tilted down so that the pilot can fly level while strafing.  This is important: In Mosul, in 2004, an F-14 was strafing downtown after a massive truck bomb in December and many other bad surprises (I was not there), and the pilot told me he was fixated on the target.  Since the F-14 cannon is tilted up for “Top Gun” air combat, the pilot had to nose down the F-14 and was diving straight into the target and nearly crashed.  The hard turn to avoid crashing damaged his aircraft and the pilot had difficulty landing on the aircraft carrier later that night.  Since the A-10 gun is tilted down, it can fly level and strafe without accidentally crashing into the target.

Lt Cols Tim Eddins and Eric Murphy climb up the telescoping ladder into their jets and go through one of many checklists.  Watching Air Force missions and all the checklists is reminiscent of watching space launches.  Checklist after checklist of obscure terms.  Occasionally they say things normal people might recognize, like “brakes.”

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jarvi · 11 years ago
    This by far is my favorite, I recall driving through the back woods of Wisconsin only to look in my rear view mirror finding two hogs tracking my every move.
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    Whitelightning · 11 years ago
    If i remember right didn't they have the "P- 9 AIR-COBRA.It had a 20mm cannon mounted in the nose &
    they USED IT FOR CLOSE AIR SUPPORT in WW2....Just a little history.Unfortunatly the russiians got ahold of
    it with the LEND-LEASE program.It ws a beast TOO.Anyone can elaborate?
    Ken&Whitelightning(British restored TriumphSpitfire)
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    WHITELIGHTNING · 11 years ago
    WERE CLOSE AIR SUPPORT AIRCRAFT. WITH MIDENGINE SHAFT DRIVEN.FOR GROUND SUPPORT.
    W/20 MM CANNON.VERY EFFECTIVE AT GROUND LEVEL.
    BELL AIRCRAFT MFG.
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    Fred Barnabe · 11 years ago
    When comparing the A-10 to any other fighter jet, it is the "young bull old bull " story. The A-10 being the old bull of course.
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    Mallory · 11 years ago
    Thanks for the article and great pics. My husband is with the 175th Wing - MD ANG and just got back from Kandahar. He works in AMMO and is responsible for making, delivering and loading the ammunition on the A-10s!
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    Scooter · 11 years ago
    Dominican Republic designed A-10 Warhog. Great plane of all time!
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    simon no · 11 years ago
    I saw a pair of A-10s over Sacandaga also. It was in the mid 1980's and I was in a boat with friends taking turns water skiing. We were at the north end of the lake near the dam. I think the lake is a big landmark in a lightly populated area. It is easy to find for navigation.
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    HawgDriver · 11 years ago
    Emotive article, but it and some of the comments are factually as full of holes as a T-55 on the Highway of Death. Having flown the A-10 in three wars in three theaters (Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq), I can tell you that the Air Force does NOT want to get rid of the Warthog, nor would we ever give up the CAS mission. The gun is NOT canted downward and is not centerline boresighted to keep the aircraft from going out of control. Nor does the force of firing slow the aircraft down, albeit when 2,000 pounds are spinning at 4,000 RPM the old "right-hand-rule" does cause the nose of the aircraft to tuck. The only mist that comes from the gun is the mist that is left of what the GAU-8 0mm cannon was shooting. Mud walls offer no protection from even our training rounds. However, we WILL support our Army and USMC (and USAF JTAC) brothers unto our last round, last drop of gas, and last breath.
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    Art Durante · 11 years ago
    In 200 , just after the invasion of Iraq, I was with a unit in Baghdad. We had gotten mortared from an old abandoned factory building nearby. An A-10 was called in to deal with the problem. I had been in the Army a long time by then, and I had seen and heard them at the National Training Center many times. I thought I knew what to expect...but I was wrong. I had never been on the ground under them when they went in for REAL! It was awesome! There is no way to put into printed words that great burping, chugging, roaring, BLASTING sound they make. It is truly the sound a dragon would make if there were dragons. The cheers from the soldiers on the ground were loud enough to be heard by the pilot. The sound of those turbofan engines is with me today as it was then. Combat - mortar explosions - soldiers screaming - A10s diving in - cannon fire - rounds exploding - debris flying into the air -- It all added up to an adrenalin high that took hours to wear off. Thanks guys, and thanks to you Michael.
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    Jack E. Hammond · 11 years ago
    Folks,

    I wrote an article on the A-10A in the early 1980s for one of those SOF type magazines that ever magazine publisher was putting out (Hey, it paid the bills!) "The 0mm Cannon and the Stall" story. To wit, when the 0mm cannon was first fired in test, there was a problem engine "compressor stall" with the ingestion of the cannon gases, into on or both of the engines. So the newspapers got the story and wrote it as "flight stall" which is when an aircraft goes to slow and looses lift. Two different animals. Its a common problem with about all jets they have to come up with a fix. The "fix" Fairchild came up with was that cover you see on the front of the six barrels at the nose of the A-10.

    Also, a recent article in an aviation magazine whose reporter went to the main A-10 squadron for training pilots, stated that firing the A-10 0mm cannon is a "perishable skill" and he likes pilots to get to fire the cannon at least one time a week. Also, with the improved C models of the A-10 they have new gun sight connected to GPS they can hit targets at 5 miles range. On one aviation forum I asked a retired A-10 pilot who flew the A-10 in the 1980s. He stated that is a great improvement. Although he said they trained firing the 0mm cannon firing HEI rounds at extreme distances in a sort of lobe mode (think of aiming the garden hose at the kids playing) with decreased accuracy as an area weapon to keep the bad guys with antiair weapons heads down.

    Jack E. Hammond

    .

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    trashhauler · 11 years ago
    Some commenter posted: "the A-10's were not part of the original deployment package to support Desert Storm."

    That's wrong. I was an airlift flow cell chief in the Military Airlift Command (MAC) CAT on the day we began to respond to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. The A-10s at Myrtle Beach were the unchanging highest priority Air Force assets in an often-changed priority list validated by HQ USCENTCOM. The duty ready brigage (DRB) of the 82nd Airborne was sometimes before, sometimes after, depending on the latest frantic message from Tampa. Anti-tank TOW missiles and launchers were also right up there while we waited for the armored division equipment to arrive by sea. As I recall, the only unit consistently getting higher priority for airlift in the first days was the CENTCOM HQ itself.

    The A-10s were always right up front in the Air Force deployment package.
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    Jack E. Hammond · 11 years ago
    Folks,

    The original cannon for the USAAF and Russian P- 9s was a 7mm cannon. That was why the Russians like the P- 9s they got. The British ordered the P- 9 designated the P-400 which had the 7mm cannon replaced with a 20mm cannon. The British did not like the P-400 and the USAAF took them and sent them to the SE Pacific and the USAAF pilots "hated" the P- 7 or the P-400. Neither had the ability to get to altitude and were dead meat with the Zeroes out of Lae. (trivia: the first P-400 tested had four . 0 machine guns mounted in the nose above the prop spinner, but the British went back to two . 0 s above the prop and two . 0 s in each wing - ie the Pacific the USAAF put two .50 calibers above the prop)

    The P-6 solved the problems of altitude that the P- 7 and P-400 had. It could be fitted with either a 7mm cannon or a 20mm cannon. Most were sent as Lease Lend to the Free French Air Force or the Red Air Force.

    The 7mm cannon was not a high velocity weapon like the US 7mm antitank cannon. But a medium velocity weapon. But if a 7mm HE shell hit an aircraft, that aircraft was a goner.

    The Russians say it is a myth that they wanted the P- 7 because it was a great ground attack aircraft. Most air to air engagements over the Eastern Front in Europe took place at 10,000 feet or lower. And they stated it was an excellent fighter for engaging other aircraft. Which is the reason that Stalin sent a letter to FDR asking that the P- 7 have #1 priority.

    Jack E. Hammond

    .
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    Drak · 11 years ago
    I was serving with the 451st EAMXS (175th AMXS normally) and would like to thank Mr. Yon for his excellent work putting this article together. I was there when he was working on this peice. All of the men pictured in this article I am proud to call my comrades and all served extremely well. I have been working on this jet for the last 5 years and in Air Force parlance have a "7 level" in Armament (just as to add a little wieght to my comments). There is a very popular myth that the Gun will slow the jet down, as cool as this sounds, it doesnt. In fact a number of systems are built into the jet to keep the gun from effecting the flight of the aircraft (Rounds limiting by the GCU, wing slats and engine ignitors). During our combat trour in Afghanistan we flew LU-19 flares for IR illumination. Very helpful for NVG equipped pilots attempting helicopter insertions. The LU-2 flares are the "illuminators" with 2-million candle power. Also, it is nice to see that there are so many fans of our nasty, ugly jet. The A-10C conversion has been incredibly painful. And as advanced as this jet is now, it didnt come with out a price. We worked our tails off keeping the "advanced" systems working. ARC-210 radios and JDAMs all come with a maintenance cost. In some ways the old 'A model was better (at least easier to work on). I have worked on both. Again, thanks Mr. Yon for the great work, I will notify the NCO's and Airman pictured here so they can check out your work!
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    Drak · 11 years ago
    Oh, for those living in or around Avon Park florida or Ft. Drum NY...Sorry for the noise, but I dont think we are going to stop bombing and strafing your area anytime soon. For the last years all my TDY's are to the same places...Avon park, Ft. Drum, and DM. If you look up and see a MD tail flash, that's us. We got some of the best pilots and best maitainers out there...so your houses are safe (but I make no promises LOL!). Forgot to add on my last post...The gun is amazing, mechanically it is a work of art, there is nothing like it in the world. When the Iranians wanted A-10s, the US gave them F-14s instead, mostly due to the gun! I have seen first hand what it can do to a target, and a couple hundred rounds of HEI ammo will ruin anyones day, I dont care what you hiding in, behind or around. There are many Insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq that in the last few years that did not understand this...and they are no longer with us, of this I am certain!
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    Drak · 11 years ago
    The A-10's gun is NOT canted...just backing up other posts. The guns on fighters set up for dogfighting ARE canted UP! This part is true. However the A-10's gun is set up like this: The GAU-8 is a 7 barreled gattlin style weapon system. The entire gun systems is set off to the left of the pilot (the nose landing gear is set to the RIGHT of the pilot). The Firing barrel of the gun is set at the roughly 7 oclock possition of the gun, and is centered DEAD on the centerline of the jet. The reason for this is to provide the most stable gunnery platform possible. With the gun set up this way, the pilot has a very easytime setting up his "pepper track" and putting rounds on target. The IFFCC takes care of the math, all he has to do is get the pipper on target. Now, the gun does APPEAR to be canted when sitting on the ground, on most (every jet sits a little different) jets it appears to point down a little. There are many reasons for this (mostly the nose gear strut). Again, I still thank Mr. Yon for his great work in getting the accomplishments of my comrades out there!
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    Keith · 11 years ago
    ...yet, so agile and resilient. Hard to take down, too. I loved watching them soar around in "Transformers".
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    Kevin · 11 years ago
    Sorry Trashhauler, but as someone involved with joint ops I can attest to big Air Force's disdain for CAS. And the Navy and Marine Corps had to fight to add a rotary section to the Air Force-created ATO. There are many articles discussing USAF intent to rid themselves of the A-10, pre and post DESERT SHIELD, but the fighter mafia could not ignore the A-10s fantastic performance during DESERT SHIELD and beyond. With the unfortunate retirement of the A-6 Intruder the A-10 is the only true fixed-wing CAS platform in our inventory. The F/A-18 & JSF have a CAS capability but one platform cannot do all things as well as a dedicated platform like the A-10. Great article and extra kudos for ensuring the enlisted side of the mission was written on as well.
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    Michael in Kandahar · 11 years ago
    Thank you for all the comments. Will have some comments later today (circumstances permitting) about accuracy. Looks like there was at least one inaccuracy in my dispatch. Nailing it down, now. However, some of the comments about inaccuracies are themselves inaccurate.

    Am away from Kandahar Airfield and out with an infantry battalion, so cannot just head over to A-10s to ask questions. Have emailed.

    V/r,

    Michael Yon
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    Sra Mahan · 11 years ago
    As a crewcheif on these beautiful machines, you did an excellent job on this dispatch. Thank you for recognizing the groundcrews. We dont see too much of that.
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    Slartibartfast · 11 years ago
    Sniper targeting pods (I think)

    Yes, among other things. The Sniper/A-10 integration was completed a few years ago, and it gives them the capability to target LGBs and JDAMs with high accuracy. Among other improvements the A-10 has gotten are the H-764G GPS/INS and F-16-ish 155 bus.

    The targeting system shown in Michael's photos appears to be a LANTIRN pod, though.

    I too love the A-10, and was very happy that I could help extend its life by helping to give it precision targeting capability.
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    Steve Schlieper · 11 years ago
    Pound for pound, dollar for dollar the A10 is nothing less than a masterpiece of good engineering. This is not to diminish in the least the bugs-in-the-teeth "Sticks" who yank and bank (at considerable peril) over the enemy in the CAS death dance to the great delight of our troops, or the devoted guys/gals on the ground who maintain, fuel and arm to put the birds back in the air. Great Article. Great Pictures.
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    Joe · 11 years ago
    My daughter is there with the 188th Air Guard from Ft Smith, AR. She works in the flight operations and no words can tell how proud we are of her and all members of the 188th. The warthogs will make the entire nation proud of our fighting forces. May God richly bless them all
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    Don Windt · 11 years ago
    Mr. Hammond, your statement about the gun slowing down the aircraft is wrong. That's an old wive's tale. Shooting the GAU-8 did not cause the airplane to lose speed. Yes, the nose gear was offset to the side to make room for the cannon in the fuselage. The actual gun was not on the centerline of the airplane. Specifically, as you looked at the gun from the nose of the airplane, the barrel in the o'clock position (the location of the barrel that fired during gun employment) was actually on the centerline of the airplane. Also, the GAU-8 is seven barrels, not six as you stated. I don't know what "cover" you are referencing when you talk about Fairchild's solution to the engine stall problem. If you are talking about the flat plate that is located just aft of the barrel muzzles, that has been standard equipment from day one. Several years ago, an ugly contraption was installed over the front of the gun to divert gun gases under the airplane. It didn't work and was later abandoned. The solution to the engine stall problem is when the trigger is pulled, the engine igniters automatically fire to prevent engine stall/flameout. I flew the Hog for 14 years beginning in 1980.
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      Martin Pratt · 8 years ago
      Dear Sir, I am looking for some historical information relating to the last four A-10's that left Grisson AFB in 1994. Would you be willing to help me if I gave further details? Thank you.
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    Tony · 11 years ago
    Great piece! Your book was excellent as well!

    It is nice to see that a reporter values what our troops are doing. Please keep up the good work!
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    TSgt Shawn Thorne · 11 years ago
    I was present during your time out here on the Ramp. I watched you taking pictures! This is really quite nice to see the aftermath of such a visitor. I am a Crew Chief (mechanic) on the A-10C. I thoroughly enjoyed your pictures. Thank you for your work! We here would also like to thank everyone out there for their support!
    Shawn
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    S · 11 years ago
    Joe, God bless your daughter and all of the 188th from Fort Smith, AR, now in Afghanistan in support of the MD ANG...all of whom proudly work with the A-10 Warthog. If it weren't for the change-over to Warthogs, the FS ANG would have been toast due to BRAC. My boys LOVE to watch the jets fly over...we lived a mile from the airport a year ago, but enjoy their flight patterns over our new home miles from town as well! Michael, thanks again for the awesome photos and the great shout-outs to those who keep it all rollin'! Be safe!
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    debbie cohill · 11 years ago
    I worked at Fairchild in Hagerstown Md when we built the Thunderbolt . It was the one of the proudest times of my life . We were lucky enough to watch the pilots fly each and everyone off and I would get goose bumps every time. Even to this day I know that one is overhead just by the sound. And the pride is still there and so are the goose bumps. May the A-10 help to keep our military safe and our nation free.
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    Gary E. Dimig · 11 years ago
    A friend just sent me this article. Damn it, it made me cry. I flew it for 5 years, back in the 80's. I loved it. There was nothing that compared with its ability in air- to- ground work. I am going to be 70 this year, and I still miss flying the "Hog".
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    cas · 11 years ago
    Slartibartfast , March 24, 2010 wrote:
    "...The targeting system shown in Michael's photos appears to be a LANTIRN pod, though."
    I have to disagree, the Laser Pod on these A10's is (was?) called Pave Penny. Just below the cockpit, to the left of the Nose Gear. I spent 4 years, winning the Cold War, from the UK (RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge) working on those pods. Also, deploying to various locations in Germany, training for the war that fortunately never came.
    While there, I heard another myth I was never able to confirm. "Someone said" that certain portions of the Autobahn were designated as "combat reload areas". The A-10, with its' turbofan engines, require less runway to take off or land than it's more glamourous fighter cousins. The way I heard it, they would land on the Autobahn, taxi under an overpass, fill up on fuel, bullets and missles, and then taxi right out and take off... to get right back into the battle. It's such an elegant solution to keep the Wrthogs in the battle, it's probably not true.
    I loved ever minute that I worked on these; it's great to see them still in the fight!
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    Jason · 11 years ago
    Don't think that the warthog is a disrespectful name. Warthogs are ferocious, low to the ground, and they tear your shit up. Go Warthogs!
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    5050noline · 11 years ago
    @ADvanced Avionix. You heard right about autobahns/motorways being reinforced in some (straight : stretches to operate aircraft from. Some in Germany i used to know of, common in Scandanavia, I even took pictures of one in a ME country. From the air can be identified by turning circle areas at each end of the stretch to be able to taxi/turn the operating aircraft, but you usually need to know pretty much where to look in the first place : Its not the sort of information that is easy to come by.

    Great Article again Michael. Keep up the outstanding work.
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    DesertYote · 11 years ago
    Some already titled a post "Go Ugly Early" :-) Fighters are cool and all, but for pure awesomeness, nothing beats an A-10. It has been my favourite since its introduction. I still remember vividly, climbing over one at the 1980 Paris Air Show when I was stationed in Germany (at a Wild Weasel base, yay). The display had a mock-up of the cannon; Oh Boy, made me proud to be an American Airman! I guess I have a thing for air interdiction as my other favourite air craft is the A-6. Thank you for such wonderful photography. I especially like the ones documenting our hero's in action. History owes you much. And the world owes much to the Men and Woman who's commitment to freedom you document.
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    Jerry · 11 years ago
    I just wish we had a few of them in Viet Nam... on a few occassions, they would have been excellent! But-- picture Iwo Jima with a couple of FAC's in OV-10's, a couple of ALO's and their ROMAD's on the ground and a squadron or two of WARTHOG's loaded for bear! I do believe that the USMC casaulties would have been MUCH different... can you imagine being able to use the HOG on the Pacific Islands during the march to Tokoyo? YES, it would have been unleashing a dragon!
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    Paul Lindenberg · 11 years ago
    Good stuff. The A10 is the machine! A superb article and images. Lucky you to get close up.
    Paul Lindenberg
    EDITOR eDIGImag®USA
    and le Cirque Volant (The Flying Circus) emagazine.
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    Davinci_shadow · 11 years ago
    Never had the pleasure of being close to one....Never heard the whine of those beautiful fans, or heard the roar out of that cannon's ferocious maw, but oddly enough this plane has been a favorite of mine since I was 1 years old in '79 and bought a model kit of the A10. It's very different-ness intrigued the young artist I was then. It hung by black threads in a special spot from the ceiling in my room, right next to my other favorites, a P- 8 and a 1/24 scale F-4 phantom, blue angels edition. The moment I opened the box and read the specs on this amazing aircraft, that came printed with the instructions, I was hooked. That amazing downward curved wingtip, and the all business looking cannon had me zooming that model around my room, mowing down my star wars figures and making imaginary mincemeat of my little plastic green army men. It was me in that armored cockpit, strapped in and coming in on the targets inverted, to snap over only at the last minute, to let loose with that glorious cannon. The stories over the years since then about this amazing bird have NEVER disappointed me, and instead have only served to justify my adolescent love affair. The A10 is truly the baddest of the bad. Perhaps some day I will have the opportunity to get close enough to one that I can snap my own pin-ups, and hang them on my wall to remind me of my youth, and one mechanical hero that I've never quite outgrown. Godspeed, Hog pilots and Crews!
    and Michael....stay safe bro.
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    A. Brit · 11 years ago
    Outstanding.

    I think Rick Rescorla was Cornish ? "Celtic fringe", yes, but not Welsh.
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    LT · 11 years ago
    My husband was Nimrod 26 at Myrtle Beach AFB and England AFB, the sound of those engines still gives me goose bumps. And the sight of that plane is awe inspiring. I know he touches the face of God now and is forever proud of his time in the Warthog.
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    Michael Yon in Kanda · 11 years ago
    Corrections/clarifications:

    I made mistakes in two sentences in the dispatch. Firstly, the A-10 gun is not canted down. I'll never listen again to an F-14 pilot when talking A-10s. This is purely my error. Secondly, I identified the LUU 19 illumination as BLU 19. I stood right under the wing next to the rockets and wrote BLU 19 instead of LUU. It's loud out there, but not that loud. (Note to self: Get ears checked.)

    There were a number of other "corrections" by commenters above. However, those all appear to be incorrect. For instance, 0mm vs Afghan mud walls is not a clear match. According to British infantry I have been with, and one A-10 pilot, HEI rounds have a poor chance against the walls. (Ross Kemp video points to some blemishes on a compound in Helmand, which he identifies as 0mm hits.) One thing is certain: many of our British friends are convinced that 0mm rounds can be stopped by the mud. However...the depleted uranium and training rounds might crash through. Some American infantry soldiers here in Kandahar Province insist that .50 cal SLAP rounds will punch through, but takes many hits. Again...this is tricky. Afghanistan is a big country and construction varies. Rounds vary. Circumstances vary. (Range/angle/round/wall...etc.)

    Michael
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    Jet Mech · 11 years ago
    Great story once again Mike. Really like the way you recognized all involved, pilots/ground crews. The guys who fly & maintain all these aircraft (fixed & rotary wing) that work in close proximity with our ground troops are a breed all their own.
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    Hobart · 11 years ago
    My son is a "Hog Driver" with the Michigan ANG. No doubt the A-10C is a most capable weapons system, but it is the determination and profesionalism of the aircrew, maintenance and ground support personnel that make the airplane successful. Yes, we are very proud of all of them!
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    Big Time · 11 years ago
    For those interested/concerned, the A-10 will be around for a LONG time; current projections go through at least 20 0 (let's just hope we're not still in Afghanistan). The A-10A to C (Precision Engagement) upgrade will be completed next year, but there are other modernization efforts underway. The USAF has, and will continue, to spend $$ to keep it a viable and effective weapon system. To whit, we will spend $1.2B to retrofit most of the fleet with brand new wings over the next 10 years or so. Additionally, as it is an aging airframe (avg. is ~ 0 yrs), we're doing eveything we can to keep it from showing its age, especially from a structural standpoint. Rest assured, it will continue to support our troops and be the CAS 'go-to' platform for years to come. The articles and stories filtering back from the AOR about how the Hog saved someone's bacon (no pun intended) are a particular source of pride here at the program office. It's why we do what we do. "Go Ugly Early!"
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    Bartos · 11 years ago
    The photographs are nice, and the text is informative with a proper mix between a description of what we see and some additional background info. I like the whole feel of going out there and talking with the guys who use the hogs (hands-on style).
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Slartibartfast · 11 years ago
    "I have to disagree, the Laser Pod on these A10's is (was?) called Pave Penny. Just below the cockpit, to the left of the Nose Gear. I spent 4 years, winning the Cold War, from the UK (RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge) working on those pods. Also, deploying to various locations in Germany, training for the war that fortunately never came."

    Sorry, you're wrong. If it makes you feel any better, I'm wrong too; the pod shown on these aircraft is a Litening pod, which is what the Maryland ANG use. I'm not saying there isn't a Pave Penny pod on these aircraft; I'm saying that there's a targeting pod on it, and that targeting pod is a (and this is the part I'm having to correct myself on) a Litening pod. Probably mounted on the RT10 station. Sniper/ATP mounts at either RT2 or RT10.

    Last photo on the first page, you can see the pod out on a right wing station. Here's another look: http://www.es.northropgrumman.com/solutions/litening/assets/litening_a10.jpg

    LANTIRN and Litening are both ball-turret pods, so they have some superficial visual similarities.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Jackson · 11 years ago
    In the Michigan Air Guard, all of our former A10 Pilots have been transitioned to C-21A, which is a Learjet 5A if you can believe it; experienced and proficient Air-warriors turned into fling taxi-cab pilots, such a waste.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      ron smith · 9 years ago
      Well Paul, not ALL of your A-10 pilots transitioned to the C-21, just the ones that wanted to stay at that base, some of the pilots followed the A-10 to another Michigan base.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    olivier · 11 years ago
    hello,

    im loocking for pictures of interior of acces panel for a model im building.i want to open all the panel but missing pictures


    [url removed by webmaster]

    could you help with picture???

    this is my email

    memoir1944@hotmail.com
  • This commment is unpublished.
    olivier · 11 years ago
    hello,

    i'm making an a-10 for a model competition in canada.
    i ave open many panel but missing picture of detail of all the acces panel
    could somebody help mi whith pictures???
    thi is the link of the making in progress off my a-10

    [url removed by webmaster]

    thank for your help

    olivier

    memoir1944@hotmail.com
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gary H · 11 years ago
    Back in October of 2009 I was able to up close and personal with the A-10. Personally, as a pilot (of sorts) I think I would have a great time flying one of these.
    Here is a pic I took – I couldn’t tell you if this was just a training machine or what.
    http://www.pbase.com/garyhall/image/1057 914

    Thanks Michael – read every dispatch and as an avid photographer, love yours.

    Gary
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Yon In Kanda · 11 years ago
    Thank you for the great comments on my photography. Canon makes great gear, and our military folks are naturally compelling. The rest is click!

    There was comment above about 0mm cannons vs Afghan mud walls. More feedback has come to me offline -- from very well informed A-10 sources -- that my statements in the dispatch are accurate. Clarification is in order, however. The 0mm HEI rounds explode when they hit the walls, causing cosmetic damage to the mud. DU and training rounds, however, likely will go through the walls.

    Plenty of American, British and others can vouch for the liberal amount of plastic explosives needed to breach the thicker walls. 0mm DU obviously will have lots of KE, but the HEI round will have little HE and its KE apparently splats on the wall when the tiny HE charge explodes.

    Thank you,

    Michael
  • This commment is unpublished.
    jic · 11 years ago
    "Dominican Republic designed A-10 Warhog."

    Don't you mean Fairchild-Republic? I don't know enough about the A-10's design process to say that there were no Dominicans or people of Dominican desent involved, but it seems ridiculous to call it "Dominican Republic designed".
  • This commment is unpublished.
    HBW · 11 years ago
    Michael,

    Thank you for the fine job. I was part of the 81st TFW at RAF Bentwaters in England when we were the largest fighter wing in the AF. 118 of the warthogs in six squadrons. Thanks again for the memories.

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