Air Force A-10 Warthogs are back in the Baltics, practicing for rough landings close to the Russian border


US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt Warthog runway landing takeoff Estonia

US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolts are back in the Baltics this month, practicing for rough landings on improvised runways as a part of Saber Strike 18, the annual exercise where NATO and partner forces work to improve their ability to operate across Europe and with NATO’s forward-deployed battle groups.

In early June, A-10s from the Michigan Air National Guard’s 107th Fighter Squadron, based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, practiced landing and taking off from a rural highway in Latvia and an abandoned runway in Estonia.

During the Cold War, highways were considered an option for fixed-wing aircraft, as standard airstrips were likely to be targeted first in the event of conflict. But the A-10s only recently resumed the exercise.

During the 2016 iteration of Saber Strike, Warthogs from the Michigan National Guard landed on a strip of highway in Estonia — the first such exercise since 1984. In August 2017, A-10s from the Maryland National Guard practiced landing and taking off from a stretch of highway in northern Estonia.

“The requirement that we’ve been tasked with to be able to force project into battle spaces where the assumption is that the enemy is going to immediately try to destroy or limit capabilities on known airfields,” said Air Force Maj. David Dennis, the detachment director of operations for the 107th Fighter Squadron.

“So the A-10 has been tasked with being able to forward deploy into areas a little bit more austere,” he added, “whether they’re old airfields, riverbeds, old highways, whatever the case may be, so we continue to provide close air support to the guys on the ground.”

SEE ALSO: NATO has put forces in Eastern Europe to counter Russia — here’s where its battle groups are located

The 107th Fighter Squadron is …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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