A number of A-10C Thunderbolt II attack aircraft have arrived at Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland on their way back to the United States.

The ten A-10C Thunderbolt II attack aircraft belonging to the Maryland Air National Guard and assigned to the 104th Fighter Squadron landed in Iceland at the start of the month before proceeding to continental Europe.

The aircraft were in Europe to support the U.S. Army’s Swift Response exercise.

“Swift Response, an annual U.S. Army Europe and Africa-led multinational training exercise, taking place from May 2-20, throughout Eastern Europe, including the Arctic, Baltic Sea, and Balkan Peninsula regions.”

In addition to flying from Norway and North Macedonia, the A-10 aircraft were deployed to forward operating locations in North Macedonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland to execute their ‘Agile Combat Employment‘ capabilities.

According to a press release from the U.S Air Force:

“The A-10 is the U.S. Air Forces primary low-altitude close air support aircraft and is the first Air Force aircraft designed specifically for close air support to ground forces. These capabilities provide essential support to the joint force land component and afford the U.S. military flexibility in projecting power in highly contested regions.

Approximately 9,000 service members from 17 Allied and partner nations participated in the exercise, including approximately 2,700 U.S. Soldiers and Airmen.

USAFE-AFAFRICA’s ability to support and integrate with U.S. allies and partners continually strengthens solidarity, collective resolve, and ability to adapt in a dynamic warfighting environment.”

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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BobA
BobA
1 month ago

I’m genuinely interested in how the US manages to maintain Reserve aircrew at sufficient skill levels to operate such complex systems, particularly when layering in the tactical application. I don’t think we could even dream of doing it with our reserve forces. We can barely create reserve Infantry capable of being mobilised within 12 months (that is not a slight on the Army Reserve by the way, just highlights the actual difficulty of having forces who are current, competent and sufficiently qualified.)

John Stevens
John Stevens
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Yes, I remember last year when the government had the defence review announcement – saying they wanted to make the army reserves more readily available in the future. Hope they can move forward with those plans.. So important now we have a smaller regular force of personnel.

Looking forward to Trooping the colour this coming Thursday. Should be impressive as always.

BobA
BobA
1 month ago
Reply to  John Stevens

That’s been the plan since 2010 and ‘Army 2020’ – still not managed it, so I’m not holding my breath. My experience as a Reserve Adjutant was that any attempt at professionalising the Reserve was incredibly difficult because it wasn’t backed up by legislation. The main problem though, was the original plan was to build up the Reserve first and then cut the Regular component (actually it was technically a cut in the funded reserve component, but planning to actually recruit up the the funded level) – but the treasury demanded the cut in parallel. Pairing with regular units rapidly… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

It would be interesting to know the actual deployable number of Army Reserve troops? Life was somewhat easier years ago, the Army was significantly larger, the technical complexity of equipment was more basic, both factors meaning you had a steady small trickle of guys leaving the Army, who wanted to sign up for the TA, mixed with enough civilians joining (many more practical minded back then) to keep the TA viable, if fed a mix of rather worn kit to use! Today, the Army is far smaller, so the numbers feeding over to the Reserve are proportionally smaller. There are… Read more »

BobA
BobA
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I don’t think it would work very well. Firstly, people generally don’t leave in a good rank range to fill the Reserve Pids – way too many Majors, and WO2s, hardly any Ptes etc. Secondly, in my experience the most successful reservists are those for whom the Reserve has always been a part of their life. If you force people leaving the regular Army (or RN / hundred year experimentalists) into the Reserve forces, you’ll end up messing about their transition back into civvy street and have a lot of very disgruntled people. I think a better solution would be… Read more »

JF
JF
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

My son was a keen Army reservist, but was treated so badly by the ARMY that he gave up after three years. He was fit strong 6ft2ins,been a shooter, rifle and shotgun,most of his life had worked as a gamekeeper, and very keen on the ARMY but they treated him like dirt. The turnover of young men in his area was very high, and no wonder.

BobA
BobA
1 month ago
Reply to  JF

Sorry to hear that JF. That’s not acceptable anywhere.

Albion
Albion
1 month ago
Reply to  JF

Tell him to apply to the Royal Marines – they know good candidates when they see them.

John Stevens
John Stevens
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Thank you for the detailed reply. Interesting read.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Ah, the “Cap Badge Mafia ” in action.

Got to keep those battalions.

BobA
BobA
1 month ago

Interestingly Daniele it came from a very good intention that was built on a false (but reasonable) assumption. I was in Army HQ at the time and the assumption was that at some point in the next 10 years, the Army would be asked to grow again from 82k. That’s much easier if you maintain the Unit structures in place because the junior level is easy to train and replace. It’s the Coy and Bn HQs that take time to develop. You can’t grow a Maj, a WO2 and a Csjt etc over night. It was nothing to do with… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Morning Bob.

Thanks, that is really interesting information, from the inside too.
It seems to be a recurring theme as previously we also had the 2nd, 4th and 5th Divisions in the regional ORBAT in case they were needed. I remember them being described as “Regenerative” Divisions, when some just scoffed as their being another chance to keep a 1* or 2*

Do you know what HQs thoughts were on the lack of CS and CSS for the infantry that remain, which continues today and is getting worse?

BobA
BobA
1 month ago

Yes. It was seen as sub-optimal, but Op ENTIRETY forced the structure into a combat first approach. We could get away with fewer CS assets in particular because HERRICK didn’t require them and you could more easily generate extra CSS from the Reserve. I think there was probably a lot of optimum bias as to what could be delivered by technology to reduce the need for a tail. I’ve been out for about 5 years now, but from what I understand from mates still there; the plan pre-pandemic was to increase the Army by building the required CS and CSS… Read more »

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
45 minutes ago
Reply to  BobA

When was the last timr the Army had it’s numbers increase though? And isn’t that a lot like the old Soviet plan of have the officers in place and build up off that?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  John Stevens

That’s just repeating old spin, standard MoD/HMG Tosh.

The 2010 SDSR review talked of the reserves being expanded and plugging the gaps after the cuts. Where are they?

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago

Cloud Cuckoo Land..or maybe the Land of make believe…thats where..

John Stevens
John Stevens
1 month ago

Oh well.. Oops. There is always hope. We have to believe that anyway.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  John Stevens

Having just read BobAs excellent detailed post expanding on mine, I don’t have any.

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Its a bit like a flying club, the aircrews keep flying hours up and combat ready status. any deployments are planned and the training carried out accordingly.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

It’s hardly a “flying club.” The Reserve and National Guard Forces are totally integrated under a “total force” concept. For example, the National Guard is solely responsible for the air defense of the US and provides 100% of the fighter force, to include ready alert crews. Reserve Forces fly about 25% of the daily missions of the Air Force. Without belaboring the point, it’s rather ridiculous to compare the US Reserve and National Gurad Forces to a “flying club”. The level of professionalism and skill of these forces are comparable to active duty personnel of any country, including the UK.

BobA
BobA
1 month ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

So this is my question, assuming that is true, how do they do it? I’m assuming that these people have full time jobs and this is in essence a side hustle. Doesn’t it take 2 years to become a fast jet pilot (if you had no breaks in training)? And then how do they maintain currency on top of a day job? Maintenance of the airmanship skills alone would be hard. They must be seriously dedicated people with very understanding families.

grinch
grinch
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Their full time job is the National Guard. These are not reserve units.

Louis
Louis
1 month ago
Reply to  grinch

National guard is a reservist force…

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  grinch

don’t think that’s accurate , they may have a cadre of full timers, but the vast majority are reservists.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

I work with several natl. Guard people. The government has laws on the books for companies to give them time off no nonsense. You do not want to be on that naughty list of employers giving a Natl. Guard person grief or hardship about maintaining their high state of readiness. It’s a partnership and businesses are part of that partnership. Or god help them.

Klonkie
Klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

is a good question Bob. I wonder if ex air forces jet jocks are assigned to the ANG if they wish to be on the reserve once retired from the Air Force?

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Correct – thanks.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

The Federal government buys the equipment (though often they are hand-me-downs) and then the individual states have to pay for the ongoing maintenance and salaries until the Guard units are called up by the Federal government at which point it starts paying the expenses.

Last edited 1 month ago by Watcherzero
grinch
grinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Bull. They get new kit. These are airforces run by the states. They have the latest n greatest.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
1 month ago
Reply to  grinch

They received P51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts after then end of WW2 as jet fighters were being procured, the USAF F-16A & F-16B when the airforce acquired its F-16C’s then later F-16C & F-16D when the USAF reduced its number of active squadrons. The F-15B previously stationed in the Netherlands when retired and briefly for six years B-1B when numbers were being reduced during Iraq/Afghanistan before being replaced with JSTARS and Stratotankers. They do often get semi-new transport aircraft like Hercules as the USAF uses the air national guard to carry the weight in that role. Most Air National Guard… Read more »

Netking
Netking
1 month ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

You should be aware that there are guard units that currently fly F-22s, F-35 and B2. These are not some ragtag units.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
1 month ago
Reply to  Netking

And you should be aware that each of the 50 states and district of Colombia is mandated to maintain an air national guard unit, they arent full of the latest stuff by any margin. The Virginia 192nd also dont possess their own F-22, in 2006 they were merged and gave up their own planes to become reserve pilots to the 1st fighter wings 149th squadron at Langley. Unlike other ANG units where you can train to fly any aircraft from scratch on joining, the Virginians take in former F-22 pilots, they arent allowed to train their own new F-22 pilots.

Last edited 1 month ago by Watcherzero
Netking
Netking
1 month ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

My point being that some guard units operate the latest equipment in the US arsenal. It’s easy to cherry pick and find a unit that doesn’t have the latest piece of equipment, something like the F-22 for example that is admittedly, in short supply for even the active duty units. But doing that wouldn’t be an accurate representation of the nature of guard units overall which I believe the original poster was tying to to better understand how they fit in the US military.

John
John
28 days ago
Reply to  Netking

The first units to get the F15EX are ANG units. Also, some of the first units to get the F35 were ANG. It is by design, it’s not hand me down nor convenience. There are significant debates within the US government about keeping the National Guard, including the ANG, at credible strength and relevance. The notion being spoken here of hand me down and only second rate gear would never fly in the US. Yes, they do get hand me downs, when it makes sense. But it’s not the standard. The US Marine Corps also gets a lot of hand… Read more »

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  grinch

CORRECT.

Louis
Louis
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Since they are often commercial pilots as well they usually get two to three times the flight hours compared to the active component and most are usually ex active USAF

John
John
28 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Bingo. There are actually a number of stories that mention how highly experienced reserve and national guard units are, often more so than the active duty units for this reason. A large percentage of the two are made up of former active duty personnel who have years of experience. For these people, the training they do is maintaining and improving the knowledge they’ve built.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Bob, are you sure we could not mobilise any members of the Army Reserve in less than 12 months? I am staggered by that point.

BobA
BobA
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The Army Reserve is held at 12 months notice. There are exceptions – high readiness Reserves such as UKSF (R) and 4 Para for example. However, what would happen in a national emergency is that the notice time would reduce through a series of orders. But that assumes that you have notice. In a genuine national emergency like an immediate existential threat or declaration of martial law we could conduct full mobilisation quickly. However, the result of 12 month NTM and the fact that it is entirely voluntary is that very few Reservists are actually fully deployable at any time.… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Thanks Bob. I served in Camp Bastion in 2008/9 and 2/3 of our FP Coy, including the OC, were TA – and very good they were too.
I had no idea it took 12 months from flash to bang to get them out on ops.

JF
JF
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

I remember reading of a US AF reserve pilot, a young man, with his own elderly B-52 bomber. He was the main flyer of the aircraft. “Part owner” will have positive benefits I am sure.

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Correction. Forget the reserves, we can’t even maintain a basic army anymore. Our MBTs are being reduced to the bare minimum, Warrior upgrade cancelled, Ajax is a clusterfuck, AS-90s in a pitiful state, and I don’t even want to continue from there.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

All that is true. But we need the Reserve Army more than ever now that the Regular Army is being cut to 73,000.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  BobA

Maryland National Guard (and any state for that matter) maintain a high state of combat readiness. They are considered more than “reserve forces” and often used for front-line combat work and thus, are treated just like any other serving combat enabled member.

simon alexander
simon alexander
1 month ago

impressive. would 10 x A10’s only need one tanker to cross over? nice message for the bear.

Suportive Bloke
Suportive Bloke
1 month ago

Nice and clear.

The T-62’s should be pretty trivial for an A10….

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Seems the t62 is pretty trivial to anything.

The main reason the us airforce has been looking to take these out of service is they would be easy picking for air defences, but considering Russia has likely the most advanced such systems that the west is likely to go against and they appear to be highly ineffective, maybe some rethinks are needed

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Good points.

Trevor
Trevor
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Agreed, especially as the USAF plan is to use F35s in the CAS role instead which looks like a misuse of resources to me – taking out APCs and trucks with a $100m aircraft?

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Trevor

Not sure cost is so much an issue, I doubt the A10 are that much cheaper, considering they must be pretty pricey to maintain. They just do a better job at providing CAS in areas where they can operate due to their weapon load and time on station

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve
Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

A10s much better protecteced against ground fire, A10s designed to be survivable & repairable from the outset. Repairing f35s is astronomical & a long, slow process. Surely a misuse of precious F35s unless from distant stand off range.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

it would need to be at stand off range, since the f35 gun is of limited use due to lack of ammo.

grinch
grinch
1 month ago
Reply to  Trevor

Go look what 150 mill Typhoons have been plinking recently.

JohnM
JohnM
1 month ago

One tanker would be enough if they intend to route back through Greenland & Canada for example. Red Arrows transit to US that way without any tanker support.
Can’t see them crossing the pond in one go with one tanker. Not good if its fuel delivery system goes u/s.

Aaron L
Aaron L
1 month ago

Guessing they’ll be met with a second or possibly third tank from the US itself after they get a certain distance across the pond. You’ve got McGuire and Dover AFB’s on the east coast in New Jersey and Delaware respectively. McGuire having KC-135’s based there.

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago

Are there any A10s at the Boneyard/in reserve?

As a defensive weapon could some not be gifted to UKR – Give the Russians a headache.

Thoughts?

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

My thoughts….no chance Biden would even countenance that.

Cool plane though.

Last edited 1 month ago by grizzler
Marcase
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

There are indeed:
comment image
Sympathetic thought to be sure, but I would strongly suggest a proper (read: lengthy) course for UKR pilots before they jump in and turn the key. Some fundamental design differences between west and fmrly Sovblock aircraft (Su25).

As it stands, I would prefer more Switchblade-600s (the 40km AT variant equipped with a Javelin warhead) instead of more aircraft or even helicopters in the anti-tank role. Having a loitering munition that can reach 25-40km far without the danger of getting shot down is a massive game-changer imo.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcase

We have this in the pipeline, I’m not sure if it is in service? No doubt a smaller version could be made available if required?

Team LM, led by MBDA, is unveiling its Fire Shadow Weapon System at the DSEI exhibition in London this week. The weapon system is being presented as a solution for the UK ground forces’ requirement for a low cost, all-weather, 24-hour capability to carry out precision attacks against surface targets which may be difficult to engage and time-sensitive.”

https://www.mbda-systems.com/press-releases/team-lm-launches-fire-shadow-to-meet-uk-mod-loitering-munition-requirement/

Marcase
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Boy, that’s one I haven’t heard of in a long while. No idea what the status of that Fire Shadow program is, but wasn’t it circular-filed into oblivion? The Switchblade-600 I mentioned above is, unlike similar systems already available and still man-packable (~50lbs) meaning a 2-man team can reach out and touch an ERA-equipped T-series tank over 25 miles. That’s precision strike / Close Air Support at the company/platoon level without the need of fxd wg or rotary aircraft. Re-roll battalion or company mortar teams with this or similar light systems and you have a true game-changing ability – where… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Marcase

I couldn’t agree more!

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

yes over 200 are in storage. many of the machines are used as spares recovery.
its an amazing place i had a tootle about whilst I was based at Davis Monthan.

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

maybe we should ask for 50 of em ..

Mark franks
Mark franks
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

For years the USAF have been trying to get rid of them and Congress have refused. Our tank buster was the Jag and performed extremely well at it.

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark franks

loved the Jaguars …see them at Cosford taxi’ing around in teh AirShows …I dont get why none of them ever fly these days . 🙁

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago
Reply to  grizzler

I really like them, but I also, unfortunately don’t think they’re right for us. Even with the updates the US are putting on them, the primary benefits are arguably better filled by other aircraft these days (it’s an emotive subject..!) The aircraft is built around the main gun, which is impressive but these days isn’t going to kill much- even back in the day the USAF issued a “colouring book” to their A-10 crews which showed which parts of a T-62 they could and couldn’t kill. It’s really only good for straffing soft targets, infantry positions, and maybe IFVs. Not… Read more »

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

I wonder how many of them 200 are actually air worthy without significant time in maintainance, I doubt many if any

Mark F
Mark F
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

The Mojove desert is dry ideal for aircraft storage. Many can be returned to airworthy status with a little fettling.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark F

Thats assuming they were fully functional when they went there, and havent been raised for parts since. I am curious about storing in a dessert, as that normally sand blasts and destroys anything delicate.

Mark F
Mark F
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

No corrosion you see. Engines are out, all lines are drained and a special preservative pumped in and the use a white spraylat plastic coating parts of the aircraft.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark F

Such a handy thing to have really.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

Nice idea, but none of the ammunition/munitions that the A-10 uses are in service with Ukraine, and they will be all kitted with NATO-standard comms etc. That’s before you even get into thinking about training, maintenance, and training for maintenance.
It is significantly simpler to hand over artillery pieces and some ammo than it is a brand new model of jet aircraft with PGMs. Even then, the US left of the fancy targetting computer from their howitzers because it would’ve taken too long to get the Ukrainians up to speed.

DRS
DRS
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

Could UKR get the textron scorpion or even bae hawks? Would they be good in CAS and not seen as an escalation?

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago
Reply to  DRS

To be honest, I don’t know a lot about them. But for my money, given the limited number of pilots, time for training, creating stockpiles of NATO PGMs in country, etc. I’d just send them Bayraktar TB2s and surplus SU-25s and Hinds for CAS. Keep it simple. Once all this sorry mess is over and we have some hard data about how effective Russian AAD was (not just in shoot downs, but also restricting ops), Ukraine can review which of their CAS platforms were most effective and choose a western equivalent. I don’t think, long term, that they will continue… Read more »

grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

When its over …they may unfortunately have to …..

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  DRS

Bae Hawks too vulnerable to MANPADS & ground fire I would’ve thought.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  DRS

Best for Ukraine just now is what they have been doing so far. Aircraft they can fly already and ones they can use easily. They need artillery, rockets, drones that are longer range than the opponents. Also all the weapons given previously need to keep coming. Situational awareness and general recon is vital. They need to know where the enemy is so they can judge when to take the fight and when to back off and move. Ukraine is doing well and has made a smart move to attack around kerson while Russia is putting its efforts into the east.… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I wonder what long-range weaponry we are supplying? Ben Wallace has been talking about arty for weeks but none has yet been supplied by UK.

Adrian Frost
Adrian Frost
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

UKR military infrastructure is mostly legacy soviet as far as I’m aware – which presents some hurdles when trying to integrate western weapons & systems. Not necessarily an issue for small arms, but maybe for an aircraft and other more sophisticated systems that need broader infrastructure and systems in place to operate/maintain.
This is part of the reason that a lot of the equipment donated so far as been old soviet stuff from east European nations.

MARK STEVENS
MARK STEVENS
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

Biden hasn’t got the nuts to do that.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

How many Baryaktar drones and NLAWS can you buy for an A10?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Paul,
NLAW has an effective range of up to 800m at most; A10 can engage armour at much longer range. You are comparing apples with oranges.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Morning Graham Yeh. Just playing devil’s advocate. Perhaps a better question would be how many MAM armed drones can you buy for an A10?

duncan stayton
duncan stayton
1 month ago

warthogs should be going to Ukraine…they could do more good than in Maryland

Frank62
Frank62
27 days ago
Reply to  duncan stayton

Agreed. We’re allowing Russia to murder & devestate across Ukraine by our refusal to commit our forces & hold Ukraine back from being able to be more effective. Just because Putin expects everyone to pander to his wishes doesn’t mean we should. Still seems like we’re defending Ukraine to the very last drop of Ukrainian blood.