The United States Air Force (USAF) deployed ten of its A-10C Thunderbolt II attack aircraft to Europe a few days ago.
As announced by the USAF in a statement, this deployment takes place within the framework of the Defender 2023 exercise, led by the Army of USA. These ten aircraft will be deployed in Spain and Greece (five aircraft in each country) during this exercise, which will end on June 23, according to has communicated the US Army command for Europe and Africa. More than 7,000 United States military personnel and 17,000 military personnel from 20 other countries participate in the exercise. Its goal is to develop readiness and interoperability among US and NATO allies and partners.
The A-10Cs deployed in Spain and Greece belong to the 303rd Fighter Squadron of the 442nd Fighter Wing, a squadron created in World War II and belonging to the Tenth Air Force, depending organically on the Reserve Command of the Air Force. He is based at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, and has flown the A-10s since 1982.
The DVIDS portal of the United States Armed Forces has already published two series of photos of the deployment of the A-10C in Spain, specifically at the Zaragoza Air Base, where the A-10 were already deployed in 1987, as we saw a few days ago. You can see here a selection of the published photos.
An A-10C in Zaragoza last Sunday, May 7. On one of the underwing mounts it carries an AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missile. In the background we see one of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft that the USAF has deployed to Europe for this exercise.
Ground personnel from the 442nd Maintenance Group of the USAF checking the starboard engine of an A-10C in Zaragoza, in a photo taken last Sunday. The initials AFRC that appear on the engine are those of the Air Force Reserve Command.
Another image of one of the A-10Cs deployed in Zaragoza, the one we have seen above. One of the 442nd Maintenance Group members crouched near the plane doing a pre-flight check before takeoff on Sunday.
The A-10C AF79-113 (79-0113) in Zaragoza. This aircraft was built in 1979 (its construction number is 0377).
The five A-10Cs deployed in Zaragoza parked in a line on the apron of that air base.
The five A-10Cs deployed in Spain have their noses painted with the classic warthog decoration, which is the nickname given to this aircraft in the USAF.
The A-10C piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Joe Shetterly, photographed last Sunday in Zaragoza. The folding ladder door has a Joker card painted on it. It has become a tradition for ground crews to decorate these A-10C doors with various motifs. Another of the planes deployed in Zaragoza has the classic "pin-up" of the Second World War on that door. As a curiosity, the pilot carries two United States flags in the cockpit, one of them folded in a triangular shape (this is how the flags that are delivered to relatives of fallen soldiers are folded).
A member of the 442nd Maintenance Group removing the starboard engine cover from an A-10C last Sunday in Zaragoza. The A-10C have the engines located in nacelles behind the wing. Its air intakes are of a considerable size, which increases the risk of foreign objects entering when parking them on a track.
A member of the 303rd Fighter Squadron checking the helmet of an A-10C pilot in Zaragoza last Sunday. Currently, A-10C pilots wear HGU-55/P type helmets.
The flight equipment of the A-10C pilots in Zaragoza. The gray vests that we see hanging are anti-gravity or anti-G suits, used by combat aircraft pilots to avoid losing consciousness when doing very abrupt maneuvers These vests serve to maintain blood flow to the pilot's head, pressing the legs and abdomen.
One of the A-10Cs deployed in Zaragoza with interesting equipment under its starboard wing. On the outermost underwing mount it carries a short-range AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile. On the next bracket is an AN/AAQ-28(V)4 target designator. The Spanish EF-18Ms use this same type of designator.
A frontal image of the A-10C from the previous photo. Behind the attack plane we see a USAF C-17.
The photo that heads this post: three of the A-10C deployed in Zaragoza. The first of them is the one we have seen in the two previous photos. The photo was taken last Sunday.
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