The Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft of the US Air Force is a legend of military aviation.
Unfortunately, it is not easy to see these planes in Spain. In 2007, those attending the Vigo Air Festival had that great opportunity, with two A-10 flying over the Ría de Vigo armed in a very rare aerial demonstration in Spain. However, the A-10s had flown over Spanish territory before, even firing their powerful 30mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon, whose sound, the "Brrrrrrt" that appears in the title of this entrance, it is as famous as this plane.
In the National Archives of the United States, they managed to find a series of photos that show the deployment in Spain of at least four A-10As from the 91st Tactical Fighter Squadron "Blue Streaks", a unit formed in 1942, during World War II, and which was dissolved in 1992, to later reappear in 2013, being renamed the 91st Attack Squadron (currently its pilots no longer fly, as it is equipped with General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper UAVs and MQ-1 Predator). The 91st FTS flew the A-10A between 1978 and 1992, and its deployment to Spain took place in March 1987.
During that deployment, the A-10As flew to Zaragoza Air Base from RAF Woodbridge, England, where they were based at the time. The images show the planes flying over Spain and firing their GAU-8 at the Bardenas Reales Shooting Range, in Navarra. Let's go without further ado with the photos:
A mechanic from the USAF 91st Aircraft Maintenance Unit (91st AMU) at RAF Woodbridge, preparing the deployment of the A-10As to Spain on March 1, 1987. The aircraft were decorated in the camouflage of green tones used by the USAF in the 1980s.
A beautiful image of four A-10As flying over Spain, the same day they took off from England, on March 1, 1987. The formation is headed by the plane named "Blue Thunder" ( s/n 81-0991). This aircraft continued to fly with the USAF, being upgraded to the A-10C version and repainted with a gray scheme. Currently is at the aircraft graveyard at Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona, with the insignia of his last unit, the 354th Fighter Squadron.
Another image of the A-10A over Spain. In this photo the "Blue Thunder" is to the left of the formation.
The A-10As over Spain. The planes of the 91st FTS wore a blue stripe with a white lightning bolt on top of their drifts, alluding to their nickname.
The formation of A-10A over a desert landscape, probably already flying over the Bardenas Reales.
The "Blue Thunder" over the Bardenas Reales. On the outer underwing support of the starboard wing there is an ECM pod for electronic countermeasures.
The "Blue Thunder" firing its GAU-80 over the Bardenas Reales. The A-10 was designed around this powerful gun, whose recoil is so powerful that it slows the plane down a bit.
One of the A-10As deployed in Spain showing all its underwing supports. On the outboard support of the port wing is an ECM countermeasures pod. On the ventral mount and on the two closest mounts are about seven 10.8 kg BDU-33 training bombs. These bombs are made of iron and have no explosive charge.
Another of the A-10A firing its GAU-8 over the Bardenas Reales. It is probably the plane in the previous photo, as it has the ECM pod on the port wing.
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