How Many A-10 Combat Planes Can You Count In This Photo?

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What's going on in the Middle East and Central Asia? According to The Aviationist, that's the sort of question that comes to mind when you see a bunch of A-10 attack aircraft normally stationed in Arizona sitting on the tarmac at a Massachusetts air base.

Apparently the Westover Reserve Air Base in Massachusetts is a prime dropping off point for aircraft headed to the Middle East and Afghanistan. And because the A-10 Thunderbolt II is used to support ground troops by blowing up tanks and armored vehicles with its massive GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon, there's a good chance that something gnarly's going to happen.

Seriously, A-10s are crazy. The whole plane is built around that massive gatling gun, which is the largest cannon ever mounted to an aircraft platform. The GAU-8 fires 4,200 30mm shells per minute, and loaders have a range of rounds to choose from, including high incendiary and depleted uranium.


But what could be going on? There's no doubt that the A-10, which debuted in U.S. Air Force attack squadrons in the early '70s, is a Cold War relic intended for use against conventional militaries. So does that mean they've found a new use for them; say, blowing up underground Taliban bunkers in Afghanistan? Or maybe Bibi Netanyahu and his funny charts have caused some alarm about Iran or Syria. The mind does wander.

What do you think? We encourage armchair generals, battle hardened vets, and fresh faced doughboys alike to sound off in Kinja.


Photo credit: U.S. Air Force