first published on March 17, 2018 by Funker
In Afghanistan, the presence of American air power is an every day reality that has existed since late 2001. After the tragic attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, America was committed to ousting the Taliban and Al Qaeda from the country once and for all. After almost 17 years of constant combat flight operations, the A-10 is still proving that it is one of the most dominant platforms for close air support in existence. Videos of the A-10 destroying the Taliban are still being uploaded by the Department of Defense on an almost weekly basis, and the rate of new footage is only increasing as flight operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve continues.
Since the newest rules of engagement were released by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the A-10 has been logging a lot more strikes on Taliban, ISIS-K and Al Qaeda positions. These new rules of engagement make it possible for the controllers on the ground to clear strikes against enemy positions without needing to be in direct contact with them. Along with this, Operation Inherent Resolve and the government forces of Afghanistan have been able to indiscriminately eliminate Taliban revenue sources like Narcotics facilities. To date, OIR and the Afghan government have removed $35 million in direct Taliban revenue by destroying over 50 massive Taliban narcotics facilities.
In the future, we believe that the A-10 will continue to be a vital air asset in the Global War on Terror. It’s maneuverability, combined with its range and firepower make it the strongest fixed-wing close air support platform in existence. In combination with this, the pilots who control the aircraft are second-to-none when it comes to experience and combat flight operations, and are an irreplaceable asset to the efforts in defeating terror organizations like the Taliban. In my opinion, the only platforms that even come close to surpassing the close air support capacity of the A-10 are rotor-wing assets like the Apache and Cobra, which both have much more maneuverability when conducting CAS.
The footage contained in this article is just a brief clip from some of Operation Inherent Resolve’s latest combat flight operations. This video was labelled by the Department of Defense as an artillery strike against a Taliban checkpoint, but inside of the video itself it is labelled as an A-10 strike that occurred on March 9, 2018. It is difficult to accurately represent the footage that is being released, when the Department of Defense is releasing the videos in a confusing manner, but for the sake of this article we are going to assume that the video description itself is correct, and that the keyboard jockey who uploaded it at the Pentagon made a mistake in the labeling process.