No announcement yet.

Random Thoughts on the Mighty Hog - Part 2

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #76
    Although the A-10 is pretty slow, no helicopter will ever be able to respond as quickly as it can. Another thing to keep in mind is that although the Apache and other modern attack helicopters have impressive weapons loads, none of them even begin to compare to the massive amount of destruction that an A-10(especially the new upgraded A-10C) can bring down.

    I think that the lack of export success for A-10s was probably more of a symptom of the percieved threats when it was offered for sale as opposed any shortcomings on its part. In the late 70s and early 80s, low intensity conflict against adversaries with very little if any airpower was not what people were preparing for. F-16s probably seemed like a better buy to most countries at that time. If the A-10 had been introduced more recently, I bet it would have done pretty damn well in the export market.


    • #77
      Hog Pilot given DFC

      Major given DFC for SEAL rescue mission

      By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer
      Air Force Times
      Posted : Thursday Aug 2, 2007 12:54:33 EDT

      A rescue mission in Afghanistan detailed in a best-selling book has earned an Air Force major the Distinguished Flying Cross.

      Maj. Keith Wolak of the 74th Fighter Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, N.C., received the honor Friday in a ceremony at the base.

      On July 2, 2005, Wolak, then a captain and flying with the call sign “Sandy 02,” was part of a task force assigned to rescue Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell from the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. Luttrell was the only survivor of a four-man SEAL team that was attacked while on a reconnaissance mission. The first attempt to rescue the team June 28 ended with the crash of an Army MH-47 Chinook helicopter and the deaths of 16 soldiers and SEALs onboard.

      Luttrell wrote about his experience in “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.”

      From his A-10 cockpit, Wolak had the job of controlling 17 aircraft pushed by bad weather into an area of about 16 square miles, the DFC citation said.

      When another A-10 had an equipment failure that prevented the fighter from flying strafing runs to clear out Taliban positions near the landing zone, Wolak took on that job.

      “Without hesitation, Capt. Wolak maneuvered his A-10 into position, identified the targets and rapidly engaged with 30 mm rounds, suppressing enemy air defenses,” the citation stated.

      As Wolak rolled in on his final attack run, he was directed to mark the landing zone for an approaching HH-60G Pave Hawk that would land to pick up the SEAL.

      “If Sandy 02 [Wolak] hadn’t marked the landing zone, we wouldn’t have landed,” one of the rescue helicopter crew members was quoted as saying in the citation.



      • #78
        Hog vs Bird

        A-10 Warthog hits bird at races; does significant damage

        You may have seen an accident in the air over the Columbia River, an Air Force A-10 hitting a bird during the Air Show.
        The bird did some damage to the plane's vertical stabilizers, but the air force says the A-10 is built to withstand heavy damage and still fly safely.

        Nevertheless, officials stopped the show for safety reasons saying it's not worth it to continue flying after a birdstrike.

        Part of the bird was actually found inside the rear of the plane along with a fish the bird was carrying at the time.


        Last edited by Shipwreck; 07 Aug 07,, 11:01.


        • #79
          The very capable new A-10Cs are starting to arrive. If you follow the link there are a few pics.

          Air Combat Command - Story Media

          First A-10C arrives at Moody

          8/7/2007 - Maintainers with the 23rd Maintenance Group place the chocks under Moody Air Force Base’s first A-10C Thunderbolt II Aug. 7. This aircraft is the first of approximately 50 upgraded A-10Cs moving to the base as a part of a force realignment. The move is expected to be complete in early spring 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres)


          • #80
            A-10c Ioc

            A-10 Thunderbolt II gets technological 'thumbs up'

            A-10 Thunderbolt II gets technological 'thumbs up'

            by David R. Hopper
            Air Combat Command Public Affairs

            8/27/2007 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFPN) -- The precision engagement modified A-10C Thunderbolt II received its Initial Operational Capability Aug. 21 during a ceremony here.

            The A-10C has received its most significant modifications in its 30-year history, said Lt. Col. Ralph Hansen, chief of A-10 requirements for Air Combat Command.

            The modifications, give the A-10C pilots better battlefield capabilities. The now digital A-10C upgrades include: the "hands-on-throttle and stick," which allows the pilot to drop bombs or switch positions without taking his or her hands off the throttle or stick. The situational awareness data link, allows the pilot to link the targeting pod to a target and the new system will determine the coordinates.

            Additionally, the new 1760 data bus that runs most of the weapons systems allows the A-10C to use the joint direct attack munitions, or JDAM, and wind corrected munitions dispensers. The new upgrades also include a digital stores management system. This computer system keeps track of the munitions loaded onto the aircraft and which of those are still on board.

            The A-10 is best known for its missions of close-air support, airborne forward air controller, and combat search and rescue. The A-10C can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles. The upgrades will only enhance those capabilities, according to one pilot.

            "The main benefit of the A-10C is the inter-connectivity between the pilot, the weapons and the targets," said Lt. Col. Timothy G. Smith, commander of the 104th Fighter Squadron for the Maryland Air National Guard. The 104th is the first to receive the new upgrades, just in time for the unit's upcoming deployment to Iraq, he said.

            The advantage of all the new digital systems and weaponry is "the pilots can see much better than they have in the past and perform in all weather," said Stephen Ramsey, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego. "It is much more than subsystems working together -- it is actually all of them integrated together to perform seamlessly," he said.

            The new wiring on the A-10C enables it to carry the Lockheed Martin Sniper XR or Northrop Grumman Litening AT advanced targeting pods. The targeting pods can link up two aircraft or even the air to ground forces below to locate and lock on to targets.
            What normally could have taken several minutes to half an hour can now be done in seconds, said Lt. Col. Eric Mann, 104th FS operational requirements division chief for the Guard.

            "The A-10C now has the ability to link up and identify targets as a collective with ground forces and any other sources without each individual aircraft having to search and find them," he said.

            One of the key factors in the successful A-10 upgrade is the "total force effort where it includes all of our industry partners, includes the reserves, includes the active duty and certainly our Air National Guard brothers," said Gen. Ronald E. Keys, commander of ACC.

            With around 75 A-10s currently upgraded, the project to modernize the 356 A-10As will cost around $500 million and is scheduled for completion by 2011.

            Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

            View the comments/letters page


            • #81
              A-10C IOC (again)

              A-10C ready for combat

              by Michael Sirak,
              Defense Daily

              LANGLEY AFB, Va.--Air Force officials announced yesterday that the A-10C ground-attack aircraft, the significantly upgraded version of the venerable A-10A Thunderbolt II, is now ready for combat, with the first squadron of them expected to deploy to Iraq within the next 30 days. "Behind me stands a war bird and she is ready to go to war," Gen. Ronald Keys, commander of Air Combat Command (ACC), said at the initial-operational-capability (IOC) ceremony here to mark the event, which occurred just over one year after the first upgraded A-10C rolled out of depot at Hill AFB, Utah, with its new digital cockpit and improved weapons interfaces and targeting pod integration.

              "When we started this program, it was along and hard process," Keys said. "Some of the hardest wars that we fight are not on the battlefield. Those wars are fought in the halls of Congress and are fought in the Pentagon and are fought in programs to make sure that the money you committed stays committed, and make sure that the program that you are operating doesn't grow and run out of money. So I appreciate the support that we got from everybody." The new A-10C model, he continued, "is going to make us better in the air and it is going to make us better on the ground."

              With the combat-ready declaration, the first two squadrons to be fully equipped with the A-10C, both Air National Guard (ANG) units, are cleared to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, the Maryland ANG's 104th Fighter Squadron, which features 17 front-line A-10Cs, will deploy to Iraq in "less than 30 days," Brig. Gen. Guy Walsh, commander of the Maryland ANG's 175th Fighter Wing, which includes the 104th, told the audience here. The second unit is Michigan ANG's 172nd Fighter Squadron, also with 17 primary aircraft authorized. "Today is a great day for Lockheed Martin. Today is a great day for our entire industry team, but much more importantly, this is a great day for the United States Air Force," said Stephen Ramsey, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego [LMT], the A-10C prime contractor, during his speech here.

              There is no milestone more important than "when you actually deliver the operational capability to the warfighter," Ramsey said. "That is what we all worked so hard for, and that is why we are so delighted to be here today to share in that celebration of the IOC of the A-10C."

              The Air Force intends to upgrade its entire fleet of 356 A-10s to the C configuration under the Lockheed Martin-led Precision Engagement (PE) initiative, the most extensive modification effort in the history of the aircraft, which entered service in 1976 and is commonly known as the Warthog.

              PE entails numerous enhancements, including new digital cockpit displays and flight controls, a new datalink, full integration of targeting pods, and the ability to deploy all-weather satellite-guidance-aided munitions. "It used to be very much hands off of the throttle and stick, writing things down, typing things in," said Lt. Col. Timothy Smith, commander of the 104th Fighter Squadron, in describing to reporters how the changes improve the aircraft. "Now I am integrated with the airplane a lot better where I can receive information and I can integrate it into my systems, faster, quicker, more effectively."

              Lockheed Martin's industry team includes BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman [NOC], and Southwest Research Institute. The team supplies the PE upgrade kits to the Air Force, which then installs them at Ogden Air Logistics Center on the grounds of Hill. The service rolled out the first A-10C from Ogden on August 18, 2006 (Defense Daily, August, 22, 2006).

              Lt. Col. Ralph Hansen, director of A-10 requirements within ACC, told reporters after the ceremony that the Air Force plans to have the entire fleet converted to the new configuration by early 2011. About 75 aircraft have been fitted with the kits to date, he said.

              While it took 163 days to complete installation of the kit on the first aircraft, Ogden has now reached the desired flow rate of about 91 days per aircraft, Air Force officials said here. It requires about six to eight months to covert a squadron to the A-10C. The total cost of the PE program is pegged at about $500 million, Hansen said. The per-unit amortized cost is $1.4 million, he said.

              The Air Force intends to keep the A-10 in service out to 2028 and keep the platform viable to enable 16,000 lifetime flight hours, about half of which have been consumed per aircraft on average, said Hansen. The A-10 will be replaced by the F-35 Lighting II multirole stealth fighter aircraft.

              While the PE is a substantial improvement to the A-10A model, the Air Force still needs to undertake additional work to keep the aircraft structurally sound for that long. The service also wants to upgrade the A-10's existing General Electric [GE] TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines for added thrust, enabling, for example, better performance in high-altitude and hot-temperature environments.

              Indeed said Keys, the A-10C sans these additional features is still "not the super 'hog" that the service envisions but rather "a better than average 'hog."

              Toward the objective standard, the Air Force chose Boeing [BA] in June over Lockheed Martin to supply new wings for 242 A-10s that have comparatively thinner wings and are experiencing structural cracks that could make these aircraft unsafe to fly by the middle of next decade (Defense Daily, July 9 and July 2 and March 16, 2006). And Hansen said the Air Force has requested money in its FY'08 supplemental request to purchase some upgraded engines to test them on the platform.

              The Air Force also intends to add the AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning System to the jet to bolster its self-protection capabilities and is installing ARC-210 radios for secure line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight communications. It also would like at some point to integrate an affordable helmet-mounted cueing system in the A-10C cockpit and perhaps add a new infrared countermeasures system.



              • #82
                Beyond 2028 ?

                US Air Force may extend Fairchild A-10 life beyond 2028

                By Stephen Trimble
                Flight International

                The US Air Force may seek to retain and continuously upgrade its Fairchild A-10 fleet far beyond its currently planned retirement date of 2028. "There are bigger numbers throwing around that are much [later] than that," Air Combat Command chief of requirements Lt Col Ralph Hansen told Flight International on 21 August.

                Armed with a nose-mounted 30mm cannon, the A-10 was first deployed in 1976 to destroy enemy tanks, but its mission has been expanded since the end of the Cold War to also include close air support duties and co-operating with special forces for combat search and rescue purposes.

                The programme has in the past faced sceptics within the air force's leadership, with then-Maj Gen David Deptula reportedly having asked a subordinate to draft a memorandum justifying the retirement of the A-10 fleet in April 2003, with the invasion of Iraq still in progress. This effort was dropped after a highly publicised backlash and in 2004 the service announced a new plan to re-engine the A-10 fleet and upgrade the aircraft to use precision-guided weapons.

                The so-called "Super Hog" plan fell apart a year later when the air force killed funds for the re-engining plan, but a separate precision engagement programme was awarded to Lockheed Martin to upgrade all 356 A-10s with digital weapon stores, multifunction displays, the situational awareness datalink and smart weapons such as Boeing's GBU-38 JDAM. The first redesignated A-10Cs will make their combat debut in September, following a crash effort to accelerate the precision engagement programme by 18 months.

                The air force also plans to replace the thin-skin wings on about 250 A-10s with a more robust wing structure, and awarded a $2 billion contract to Boeing in July to complete the modifications. A wide range of additional upgrades may also still be in store for the A-10, ranging from new networks, additional weapons and reviving the engine upgrade proposal.

                Roger Il Grande, Lockheed's precision engagement programme manager, believes integrating new networks tops the priorities list, with the Link 16 and Tactical Targeting Networking Technology considered candidates.

                The programme also is reviewing options for installing the Lockheed AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile, says Hansen. The air force has meanwhile proposed reviving production of Raytheon's laser-guided AGM-65E Maverick missile, as A-10 squadrons have been forced to acquire the missiles from the US Navy for operational needs.

                Hansen says the Air Combat Command will also reconsider inserting funds for the General Electric TF-34 engine upgrade kit in the next five-year spending plan starting in fiscal year 2010.



                • #83
                  Mav is back

                  USAF To Fly With Mavericks for First Time in Years

                  Posted 09/27/07 13:47
                  By GAYLE S. PUTRICH
                  Defense News

                  WASHINGTON — An old missile could get new life with the U.S. Air Force, Raytheon executives said this week at the annual Air Force Association conference.

                  To meet what the Pentagon says is an urgent close air support need, the Air Force is considering using a laser-guided version of the AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile.

                  Developed in the late 1960s and early 70s for use in Southeast Asia and still being produced, the Maverick has come to be viewed as an “older, outdated” weapon after years without upgrades, said Dorsey Price, Raytheon’s director of business development for strike weapons.

                  “We basically lost the recipe because the government didn’t put money into it,” Price said.

                  The Air Force has about 8,000 old Mavericks in deep storage. Raytheon has been buying them back, refitting them so non-U.S. aircraft can carry them, and selling them abroad.

                  Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy and Marines have been using the new laser-guided AGM-65E. After tests, Air Force officials decided to give the old missile a new whirl, Price said.

                  Raytheon has granted the Air Force $50 million in what amounts to “store credit” for the remilled Mavericks — more than enough to cover upgrades to all of the service’s old Mavericks, Price said.

                  Service officials are waiting for Pentagon permission, he said.

                  In the meantime, the air service can “borrow” AGM-65Es from the Navy, which has been using the updated weapon on its Hornets, said Harry Schulte, vice president for Raytheon’s Strike product line. The Air Force is expected to use the AGM-65E on the A-10 for close air support in urban environments.

                  Because the laser detector for the Maverick is supplied by the same vendors that build the lasers used in Paveway missiles, which are in use by the Air Force, they are already air-qualified so paperwork on the Maverick upgrade was minimized, Price said.

                  Air Force officials could not respond by press time.



                  • #84
                    That's pretty awesome...honestly though, I thought we were still using Mavericks on A-10s.


                    • #85
                      More A-10 upgrades as USAF prepares to recompete prime role

                      By Graham Warwick
                      Flight International

                      BAE Systems is to upgrade more than 100 US Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Fairchild A-10As to improve pilot situational awareness as an interim step before they are modified to A-10Cs under Lockheed Martin's precision engagement programme.

                      The US Air Force, meanwhile, has signalled plans to recompete the A-10 prime contract Lockheed has held since December 1997 and which is expected to expire at the end of 2008. Under the contract, Lockheed acts as system integrator for the close air-support aircraft.

                      Lockheed is completing software development for the precision engagement upgrade under its prime contract while supplying retrofit kits for the USAF for a total of 356 aircraft under a separate production contract. The first upgraded A-10Cs are now operational in Iraq.

                      Boeing in June won a $2 billion contract to rewing 242 A-10s, and says it plans to bid for the prime contract. Rewinging and other upgrades are intended to extent the fleet's life by 20 years. The USAF plans to retire the A-10 in 2028, but may retain the aircraft beyond that (Flight International, 28 August-3 September).

                      A draft request for proposals has yet to be released, but the new prime contract is expected to encompass further upgrades to the A-10. These could involve the self-protection system, datalink connectivity and data fusion. Re-engining continues to be discussed, but depends on funding.

                      The precision engagement upgrade is integrating the Lockheed Sniper XR and Northrop Grumman Litening AT targeting pods, new weapons and improved cockpit controls and displays on the A-10 to increase situational awareness and targeting capability. BAE's upgrade will integrate the targeting pod and multifunction display to reduce pilot workload as a stopgap.



                      • #86
                        I still find it odd they chose to go with SADL rather than Link-16.


                        • #87
                          A Sunday unlike any other
                          by Capt. Michael Meridith
                          455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

                          10/22/2007 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- Capt. Dennis Hargis will never forget Oct. 14, and it's likely those whose lives he saved won't either.

                          The 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10 pilot from San Antonio was mere days away from the end of his six-month deployment here when he received the call that nearby friendly troops were in contact with the enemy. Although he and his wingman had been returning to base from another mission in southern Afghanistan, they immediately raced to the scene.

                          "We got on station and realized the situation was dire," Captain Hargis said. "A 10-vehicle convoy had come under ambush from two sides by heavy machine gun and mortar fire and multiple (rocket-propelled grenades)."

                          Captain Hargis and his wingman swung into action, diving through the steep terrain from more than 20,000 feet to reach the convoy. When the initial shock of the aircrafts' arrival failed to stop the attack, the A-10 pilots realized the magnitude of what those in the convoy were facing.

                          "It was a four-mile kill zone of constant ambush," Captain Hargis said. "An orchard near the convoy was just alive with muzzle flashes. The ground commander was calling up to us, saying 'We need your help!' I told my wingman we were going in and told the ground commander that because of his proximity to the enemy the bullets would come close. He gave us the go-ahead."

                          Captain Hargis rolled in with an initial blast of 300 rounds from his 30 mm, seven-barrel Gatling gun, stopping the attack from the orchard. For the next 10 minutes, he and his wingman made multiple passes -- six in all -- until the enemy fire was silenced.

                          "The guys on the ground did an extremely good job of telling me where the enemy fire was coming from and at what distance," Captain Hargis said.

                          With the attack halted, the convoy was able to get to waiting helicopters and evacuate their wounded to medical care. Captain Hargis was later able to experience firsthand what his efforts meant when he was personally thanked by some of the wounded convoy members during a visit to the military hospital here.

                          "Talking to them was a very emotional experience for me. In fact, the whole mission was one of the most intense and memorable experiences of my life. It's the toughest part of the job, but for A-10 pilots, this is what we train for everyday. Taking care of the guys on the ground is our first and foremost mission."



                          • #88
                            Engine upgrade (again...)

                            U.S. Supplemental Request Contains Billions for Weapons Development
                            By WILLIAM MATTHEWS, Defense News
                            Posted 10/23/07 19:42

                            The $45.9 billion in additional war funding President George W. Bush asked for Oct. 22 includes more than $3.8 billion for research and development of new weapons and $7.8 billion to buy new planes and upgrade existing planes in the Navy and Air Force.

                            In all, Bush is asking the U.S. Congress for $196.4 billion to keep fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism.

                            That’s in addition to a $507 billion in military spending for 2008 unrelated to the wars.

                            Bush said his latest spending request is to “to provide additional resources for ongoing military and intelligence operations in support of” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “and selected other international activities.

                            But the request includes billions to be spent on research and development of equipment that may not be available to troops for years.

                            The Navy, for example, would receive $131 million to develop a next-generation jammer for its EA-18G. The electronic warfare plane itself is still in the testing phases and is not yet ready for use.

                            The Air Force would receive $202 million to spend upgrading engines on A-10 attack planes and to develop a massive ordnance penetrator — an earth-penetrating bomb — to be dropped from B-2 bombers.

                            And the Defense Department would receive $630 million to develop “wide area service architecture networks” to improve communications for the National Security Agency.

                            Should this kind of spending be in a war-funding bill? “That’s always one of the questions we raise whenever war supplementals come through: how directly connected to the war is this funding?” said Christopher Hellman, a defense budget analyst for the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

                            “You can argue that some R&D money does belong” in the supplemental. Hellman said. Developing better ways to detect and disable improvised explosive devices, for example, is directly applicable to the Iraq war.

                            But in recent years the Bush administration has stretched the wartime supplementals cover a variety of questionable items.

                            In 2006, Bush has included Joint Strike Fighters in the war-funding bill even though JSFs won’t be flying for several more years. Congress later voted to remove the JSFs.

                            The 2008 war-funding request includes $416 million “to expedite completion” of a replacement hospital for Walter Reed medical center.

                            “That just doesn’t belong in an emergency war-funding bill,” Hellman said. It’s a base closing expense that belongs in the regular annual military construction bill.

                            The war-spending bill also includes $950 billion for upgrading Navy P-3 aircraft. The Navy wants to modify the planes, which were built to be submarine hunters, by adding radars that are able to spot ground targets.

                            Other items in the war-funding bill:
                            * Five Navy EA-18G aircraft for $375 million.
                            * A Navy F/A-18E/F Hornet fighter for $54.5 million.
                            * Three Navy MH-60S helicopters for $102.3 million.
                            * $22 million for shipboard information warfare and command, control, communications, computer and intelligence equipment.
                            * 609 million for Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles and modifications to A-10, F-15, F-16 aircraft and E-8C aircraft.

                            The bill also seeks $11.0 billion for 7,274 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and $3.1 billion to buy armor and other protection against improvised explosive devices.

                            Another $8.8 billion would go toward replacing equipment worn and damaged in the wars and replenishing depleted propositioned war supplies, and $1.4 billion would be spent building airfields, roads and other facilities.



                            • #89
                              Originally posted by Jimmy View Post
                              That's pretty awesome...honestly though, I thought we were still using Mavericks on A-10s.
                              U.S. Air Force Joins U.S. Navy and Marines in Using Raytheon's Laser-guided Maverick in Combat Operations

                              TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 31, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Air Force fired Raytheon Company's (NYSE: RTN) AGM-65E laser-guided Maverick missile in combat operations for the first time in June.

                              Until now, only the Navy and Marine Corps have used the laser-guided version of the Maverick missile. The laser-guided Maverick has a combat-proven record of effectiveness and reliability against armored and moving surface targets in urban environments and during close air support missions.

                              Raytheon's laser-guided Maverick addresses a joint Air Force and Navy urgent operational need for a close air support weapon to defeat high-speed moving targets with minimal collateral damage.

                              To meet its long-term need for precision engagement of high-speed moving targets, the Air Force asked Raytheon to restart the laser-guided Maverick production line after a 15-year hiatus. The latest laser-guided Maverick will incorporate state-of-the-art seeker technology that is expected to improve on Maverick's proven combat record. Raytheon anticipates laser-guided Maverick production for the Air Force, Navy and international customers as early as 2009.

                              Maverick is the most widely used precision-guided missile in the world. Maverick has been upgraded to meet evolving threats and played a key role in recent conflicts.

                              Raytheon Company, with 2006 sales of $20.3 billion, is a technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 85 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.

                              Note to Editors:
                              The Air Force used the AGM-65E Maverick in combat on June 14, 2007.



                              • #90
                                Markle's Mackay Trophy (again)

                                A-10 pilot awarded Mackay Trophy

                                by Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
                                Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

                                10/30/2007 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AFPN) -- Capt. Scott Markle received the Clarence Mackay Trophy during a ceremony here Oct. 29 for his actions while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom last year.

                                Captain Markle, an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot from the 81st Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, directly engaged a group of Taliban fighters June 16, 2006, who were in combat with a 15-person special forces team.

                                "The presentation of this award to Captain Scott Markle underscores the very essence of what we believe about air power and the vital role America's Air Force plays in our nation's defense," said Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, who presented the trophy to Captain Markle.

                                Captain Markle was leading a two-ship flight to support a mission in southern Afghanistan when his flight was re-tasked on takeoff to support special forces troops along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in contact with Taliban forces.

                                When he arrived just before dawn, heavy gunfire and tracers were going in many directions and visibility made it difficult to find the team's location. Captain Markle, unable to employ weapons due to the enemy's close proximity to the team, flew a dangerously low pass over the area while releasing self-protection flares.

                                The flares momentarily halted enemy fire, which was noted by the ground controller. The controller requested a few more close passes from Captain Markle that gave the special forces team time to create more distance between themselves and the Taliban. This also allowed Captain Markle to strafe the enemy area with more than 1,000 30 millimeter rounds on his final pass.

                                The special forces team was able to escape with no casualties. Captain Markle was credited with destroying three machine gun nests and killing 40 enemy combatants.

                                "I am humbled to have my name added to the list of trophy winners, which includes some of the greatest aviators of all time," Captain Markle said at the ceremony.

                                "Receiving the Mackay Trophy puts you in the company of air power legends," General McNabb said. "Not many names are mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Hap Arnold, Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle and Chuck Yeager, but tonight, the Markle name is now one of them.

                                "While we celebrate Captain Markle's incredible achievements tonight, he is not alone," General McNabb said. "As we speak, 35,000 Airmen are deployed fighting the global war on terror and more than 200,000 Airmen fulfill important missions for our combatant commanders around the globe."

                                Air Force and National Aeronautic Association officials present the Mackay Trophy to Airmen or an organization involved in the "most meritorious flight of the year." The trophy was first awarded in 1911 and is on display at the National Air and Space Museum.