Tuesday, September 15, 2015

US Air Force to Deploy More A-10s to Europe This Month, General Says | Military.com

US Air Force to Deploy More A-10s to Europe This Month, General Says | Military.com: The U.S. Air Force this month plans to deploy another squadron of A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft to Europe in support of NATO allies amid Russian military activity in the region, a top general said.

The 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia will send a dozen more of the Cold War-era gunships, known as Warthogs, as part of a second theater security package, Gen. Frank Gorenc, the service's European commander, said during a briefing with reporters Monday at the Air and Space Conference. The plane will join a number of U.S. aircraft that have recently flown missions around the continent, including the F-15 Eagle and the F-22 Raptor.

"We've had the A-10s and F-15s all over the continent in many countries, 20-plus countries, that they engaged with ... and so they've been out and about doing particularly JTAC training -- joint terminal attack controller training -- and then to support Gen. Hodges with all of the rotation force that the Army is bringing in," Gorenc said, referring to the additional soldiers cycling through the region under the supervision of Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the service's European commander.

The U.S. brought the tank busters stateside in 2013 as part of a consolidation of bases and equipment in Europe. But it sent them back to the continent as part of a theater security package earlier this year -- including countries in the former Soviet bloc -- in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and support for pro-Russian separatists.