Military Aviation

U.S. AIR FORCE A-10 THUNDERBOLT IIs RECEIVE UPGRADE TO BOOST THEIR SEARCH CAPABILITY

A-10 pilots take the Combat Search and Rescue role very seriously

As explained by Airman 1st Class Mya M. Crosby, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs in the article Upgrade advances A-10s search capability, the A-10C Thunderbolt IIs assigned to active duty fighter squadrons at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB), AZ, and Moody AFB, Georgia, are in the process of having new lightweight airborne recovery systems installed.

The LARS V-12 is designed to allow A-10 pilots to communicate more effectively with individuals on the ground such as downed pilots, pararescuemen and joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs).

The LARS system provides A-10 pilots with GPS coordinates of ground personnel and enables them to communicate via voice or text, according to Staff Sgt. Andre Gonzalez, 355th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics technician.

The systems upgrades are being installed by the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group.

“This urgent operational need arose in August (2016),” said Timothy Gray, the 309th AMARG acting director. “Air Combat Command and the A-10 Program Office asked me if AMARG could complete 16 aircraft by (Dec. 16). I said, ‘Absolutely!’ It was awesome to see Team AMARG take on this massive logistical challenge, build a production machine, find facilities, manpower, equipment, tools, and make material kits (to) execute the requirement.”

In the last three months, technicians have completed LARS installations on 19 aircraft from Davis-Monthan AFB and Moody AFB, which will ultimately provide pilots and ground personnel downrange with a valuable search capability.

“A-10 pilots take the Combat Search and Rescue role very seriously,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Hayde, the 354th Fighter Squadron commander and A-10 pilot. “While this is just one tool, it can assist us in bringing them back to U.S. soil safely.”

The A-10 is the first U.S. Air Force (USAF) aircraft specifically designed for close air support (CAS) of ground forces. The Thuderbolt II is a simple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles. Its combination of large and varied ordnance load, long loiter time, accurate weapons delivery, austere field capability, and survivability has proven invaluable to the United States and its allies.

An A-10C Thunderbolt II, upgraded with a new lightweight airborne recovery system V-12, rests on the flight line at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Dec. 21, 2016. The LARS V-12 is designed to allow A-10 pilots a more effective means of communication with individuals on the ground such as downed pilots, pararescuemen and joint terminal attack controllers.

Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Mya M. Crosby / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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