Dec 17, 2014

The A-10 jet carries out its first airstrikes against the Islamic State

The A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jet has been carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State since late November on a near-daily basis, a U.S. military official said Tuesday. It marks the first time the use of the pugnacious plane against the militant group has been confirmed, although U.S. military officials disclosed last month that they had deployed the A-10 in support of the mission in Iraq and Syria.
The jet is beloved by U.S. ground troops for its ability to strikes enemy fighters from the air, but it remains in a fierce budget battle in Washington. Air Force officials and some fiscal conservatives have advocated retiring the aircraft to save money and using other planes for close-air support missions. A compromise in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act will keep it flying at least one more year, but it’s future afterward is still uncertain.
The slow-moving jet isn’t designed to get into dogfights with fighter jets, but is well suited for the mission in Iraq and Syria.
Air Force officials said last month that the A-10s had arrived at an undisclosed base in the region between Nov. 17 and Nov. 21, and will support Operation Inherent Resolve – the mission against the Islamic State – and other operations in the region. The jets will be part of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group, which was reactivated Nov. 16.

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