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A-10 Warthogs Receive Next-Generation, Search-And-Rescue Upgrade
Even as the future of the A-10 hangs in the balance, nearly two dozen Warthogs recently received upgrades to enhance their combat search and rescue capabilities, a need described as “urgent” by one Air Force official, according to an Air Force statement.
A new recovery system has been installed on 19 A-10C Thunderbolts assigned to Davis-Monthan and Moody Air Force bases in the United States in the past three months, the Air Force said in a statement Friday.
Called the LARS V-12, the system is designed to allow A-10 pilots to better communicate with downed pilots, pararescuemen and joint terminal attack controllers. It provides pilots with ground personnels’ GPS coordinates and enables them to communicate by voice or text, the Air Force said.
“This urgent operational need arose in August (2016),” Timothy Gray, acting director of the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan, was quoted as saying.
Gray said that Air Combat Command and the A-10 Program Office asked whether Gray’s unit could outfit 16 aircraft with the upgrade by mid-December of 2016.
The Air Force did not say whether additional A-10s would be outfitted with the new system.
Earmarked by the Air Force several years ago for the chopping block to make way for the multirole F-35, the A-10 — which entered service four decades ago — has seen its stock rise in the U.S. fight against the Islamic State.
More than 700 A-10s of all models were built. Since the end of the Cold War, large numbers of Warthogs have been mothballed or transferred to Air Guard and Reserve units.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in February that the Air Force would defer the A-10’s retirement until 2022, saying the aircraft “has been devastating to ISIL from the air.”
The Defense Department has said it will replace the A-10 with F-35 Joint Strike Fighters on a squadron-by-squadron basis. But the plan could be in jeopardy under the new administration, as President-elect Donald Trump recently criticized the F-35’s cost.
The A-10 is particularly adept at close-air support, able to fly low and slow while attacking ground targets with precision. The plane, which carries a nose-mounted General Electric GAU-8 30 mm cannon that has proven devastatingly effective against ground targets, flies regular combat missions against Islamic State forces in both Syria and Iraq.
©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.