In this article:
The first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB), Ariz., in October 1975.
The A-10 Warthog (as the iconic Thunderbolt II is dubbed by her aircrews) CAS aircraft has received many upgrades over the years. In 1978, the aircraft received the Pave Penny laser receiver pod, which sensed reflected laser radiation from a laser designator. Pave Penney has now been discontinued in favor more capable advanced targeting pods. The A-10 began receiving an inertial navigation system in 1980.
Another important piece of early A-10 history came on Dec. 18, 1981.
On that day in fact, two A-10 aircraft arrived at Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) from the Fairchild-Republic factory in Hagerstown, Md. As explained By Don Fenton, 354th Fighter Wing Historian in the article Arctic camouflage makes Eielson’s hogs unique, the aircraft tail numbers were 80-221 and 80-222 … the first two A-10s assigned to Eielson.
Any guesses to what the difference is between the two hogs featured in the photos of this post?
The only difference between the two ‘hogs’ is color. A snowhog is covered in arctic camouflage and a warthog is all gray or green. OK, both Snowhogs and Warthogs are nicknames for the two A-10s.
However, not long after arriving at Eielson, 80-221 was repainted in an arctic camouflage scheme. This was done as an experiment for an upcoming exercise titled Operation Cool Snow Hog.
The exercise was held from Mar. 8 to 16, 1982, at a forward operating location in Kotzebue, Alaska.
Cool Snow Hog represented the Air Force’s first test of forward basing A-10s in Alaska. Overall, the plan called for the Air Force to fly 16 close-air-support sorties in support of the 3rd Scout Battalion of the Alaska Army National Guard.
Over the following years, the forward operating location concept was tested through various operational readiness exercises and major joint forces exercises such as BRIM FROST, but they were never again referred to as Cool Snow Hog exercises.
It must be noted that this paint scheme was only an experiment. The Air Force never fully adopted the scheme, thus A-10s never flew operationally long-term in the arctic scheme.
There are a few sources that mention an upwards of three additional A-10s were painted this way however, official documentation has yet to be discovered to verify this information. Nevertheless, the Hogs sure looked good.
Photo credit: SSGT Bill Thompson / U.S. Air Force
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