Three A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft from the 74th and 75th Fighter Squadrons out of Moody Air Force Base, Ga., fly in formation during a training session here March 16, 2010. These A-10 pilots flew in several different formations

A-10 upgraded to support search and rescue missions

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By Douglas Ernst,

The iconic A-10 Thunderbolt has a new upgrade that will give ground troops one more reason to love it: communications equipment for Combat Search and Rescue operations.

Advocates of the famed “Warthog” received welcome news in October when Air Force Materiel Command announced plans to sustain the aircraft “indefinitely.” It appears as though part of the decision was based upon an “urgent operational need” that manifested over the summer — a way to more efficiently assist downed pilots and pararescuemen.

Timothy Gray, 309th AMARG acting director, explained to Air Force reporters Friday why the lightweight airborne recovery system V-12 (LARS V-12) has been installed in 19 aircraft from Davis-Monthan and Moody AFB, Georgia.

“This urgent operational need arose in August [2016],” Mr. Gray said. “Air Combat Command and the A-10 Program Office asked me if [Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group] could complete 16 aircraft by 16 December. 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,” he said.

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

By Douglas Ernst,

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