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Terrible Attack: USAF A-10 Drop 500-pound BDU-50 bomb destroying 40-mile Russian tank convoy

This A-10C Warthog unit wants to bring more ‘brrrrrt’ to Europe

As Buzz Patterson, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, put it on Twitter: “A 40-mile Russian convoy = an American A-10 pilot’s dream.”

A Maryland Air National Guard unit recently sent a fleet of 10 A-10C Thunderbolt II attack planes to participate in multinational combat exercises in eastern Europe, one of its largest training delegations there in the past decade.

It’s the A-10 enterprise’s latest step toward a greater presence in Europe as it pivots away from decades of combat missions in U.S. Central Command.

The 175th Wing tries every few years to visit Estonia, with which it works under the National Guard’s state partnership program. It has ramped up its role in European training in the last 10 years, growing from the four A-10s that trained out of Estonia in 2013 to 10 in 2017. A trip planned for 2020 was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During Swift Response, the A-10s supported paratrooper air assaults into Scandinavia and the Baltic, Balkan and Black Sea regions. The event brought together 9,000 service members from 17 countries, including roughly 2,700 American airmen and soldiers.

“Four A-10s and approximately 50 airmen operated out of Andoya Air Base in Norway, which is within the Arctic Circle,” Hughes wrote. More than 1,700 miles away, “six A-10s and approximately 60 airmen conducted operations from Ohrid Airport in North Macedonia.”

For Defender Europe, all 10 Warthogs came together in Latvia and were joined by another 60 or so Maryland guardsmen.

Four A-10s flew to Amari Air Base in Estonia, then out of Saaremaa, an island off the west coast of Estonia in the Baltic Sea. The other six planes remained at Lievarde Air Base in Latvia and flew training missions across Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia.

Over the course of one day, C-17s ferried airmen and equipment from Estonia to Lithuania so troops could quickly arm and refuel their A-10s, Hughes said. Then they packed up and returned to Latvia.

The Warthogs also supported a live-fire test of the HIMARS precision rocket system — which the United States recently supplied to Ukraine — and an amphibious Marine Corps landing on Saaremaa. The squadron participated in hundreds of JTAC controls in the Baltics throughout the two weeks, Hughes said.

“Over the month, A-10 pilots trained with joint terminal attack controllers from 11 NATO nations during live close air support missions that expended 17,211 rounds of 30mm [artillery], 18 AGR-20 laser-guided rockets, six AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles, and 12 inert 500-pound BDU-50 bombs,” he added.