The Swift Response phase of the multinational exercise Defender 23, part of which takes place in Spain, is leaving spectacular images.
Among those images are those published yesterday by DVIDS, the multimedia website of the US Armed Forces, some photos taken by a US Air Force (USAF) captain near Zaragoza and showing JTAC operators (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers) from Spain and the United States directing the famous USAF A-10C Thunderbolt II attack aircraft in a CAS (close air support) exercise. You can see some of those photos below.
A VAMTAC S-3 from the Spanish Air Force Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA) during this exercise, which took place on May 8. The vehicle has an orange tarpaulin on its roof, a measure that has been used by NATO countries for decades to indicate to aircraft that it is an allied vehicle and prevent casualties from friendly fire.
Two Spanish JTAC operators from EADA (in arid pixelated uniform) together with American JTAC and TACP (Tactical Air Control Party) operators, coordinating for the A-10C close air support mission. JTAC operators arose during the Vietnam War with the mission of directing air operations in combat scenarios in which the front is not well defined, in order to prevent air attacks from causing casualties among their own forces.
The American JTAC and TACP that we see in these images belong to the 435th Air-Ground Operations Wing (435 AGOW) of the USAF, a unit based in Ramstein, Germany, specifically to the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron (2nd ASOS), based in Vilseck (Germany).
Two Spanish Army JTAC operators (in the background, with pixelated wood camouflage) together with Spanish Air Force and USAF JTAC operators. The Spanish Army has JTAC operators in several units. DVIDS has not indicated which of them belong to those in the photo.
An EADA non-commissioned officer (left) talking with a USAF TACP operator. In the background we can see a VAMTAC ST-5 of the Spanish Army.
An American TACP operator from the 1st TACP Detachment of the 2nd ASOS during the CAS exercise held on May 8. On his right arm and on a holster on his chest he wears the patch of that detachment, whose motto is "Ad infernum cum aureis" (Towards hell with splendor).
JTAC and TACP operators from Spain and the United States saluting an A-10C during the CAS exercise. The attack aircraft is one of the five A-10C of the USAF 303rd Attack Squadron that have been deployed in Zaragoza to participate in these maneuvers.
A Spanish JTAC operator from EADA creating a smoke signal to indicate his position to the A-10C attack aircraft.
Two spectacular images of an EADA JTAC operator greeting the A-10C that appears behind the smoke screen. The Spanish soldier was making the sign of the sign of the horns with his left hand, a typical greeting among heavy metal fans.
Below these lines, the formidable silhouette of the legendary A-10 flying over the area at low altitude. This aircraft entered service in 1977, and if so many years later it is still in service it is because it has proven to be a formidable and irreplaceable aircraft.
The A-10 moving away at low altitude. What I would give to have been there with my reflex camera...
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