Air Force officials announced yesterday that the A-10C ground-attack aircraft, the significantly upgraded version of the venerable A-10A Thunderbolt II, is now ready for combat, with the first squadron of them expected to deploy to Iraq within the next 30 days…
With the combat-ready declaration, the first two squadrons to be fully equipped with the A-10C, both Air National Guard (ANG) units, are cleared to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, the Maryland ANG’s 104th Fighter Squadron, which features 17 front-line A-10Cs, will deploy to Iraq in “less than 30 days,” Brig. Gen. Guy Walsh, commander of the Maryland ANG’s 175th Fighter Wing, which includes the 104th, told the audience here. The second unit is Michigan ANG’s 172nd Fighter Squadron, also with 17 primary aircraft authorized.
All 350+ A-10s will be upgraded to ‘C’ by 2011. Further upgrades, including wing replacements to increase service life and newer, more powerful engines, are being considered for the Warthog.