By Joachim Jacob
According to a Pentagon press briefing held yesterday, A-10C Thunderbolt IIs have already attacked Libyan regime forces threatening civilians. In direct response to a reporter's question, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, director of the Joint Staff, said: "We have employed A-10s and AC-130s over the weekend."
Involved should be A-10Cs from the 81st Fighter Squadron, 52nd Figher Wing (USAFE), Spangdahlem AB, Germany. As already mentioned on the Dutch Scramble Messagebord, six of the squadron's aircraft arrived at Aviano AB, Italy, on Friday, March 25, 2011 (Callsign Attack 01-06). In order of landing were logged: 81-0980, 81-0976, 81-0966, 81-0965, 82-0650 and 82-0649.
Aircraft in order of serial numbers:
(See Scramble topic: Libya - UN no-fly zone - Coalition overview)
Sorry! But because the coalition was talking only about a no-fly zone, I did'nt really expected any A-10C involvement. And so, for some days, I overlooked Scramble's latest OOD deployment info.
On the other hand, I also thinked about a possible involvement of 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10Cs which are now on their way back home from Afghanistan to Moody AFB, Georgia.
But a very helpful private contact in the United States e-mailed me later today: We will have to start calling them the "Lost Squadron" pretty soon. They are still stuck in Quatar waiting for tanker support. They are hoping to get out this weekend and have resorted to trying to find their own gas and tankers for the trip.
That means: The ten returning 75th EFS A-10Cs are still on stopover at Al Udeid AB, Quatar, home of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing. Let find the assigned pilots and maintainers any way to went home soon after their half-year Afghanistan combat deployment. Good luck!
Official background info:
U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, director of the Joint Staff, conducts a press briefing about the current situation in Libya at the Pentagon, March 28, 2011. (DOD photo by Cherie Cullen)
DOD News Briefing with Vice Adm. Gortney from the Pentagon on Libya Operation Odyssey Dawn
Presenter: Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
March 28, 2011
Q: Admiral, the effect if not the intention of western intervention in Libya with air power has been to help the rebels regain the initiative. As your first map showed, they've gone on the offensive and moving westward. I'm wondering if you intend to exploit that success by adding additional aircraft to the -- to the fight, like close air-support aircraft like the A-10?
ADM. GORTNEY: Well, first off, we're not in direct support of the opposition. It's not part of our mandate, sir. And we're not coordinating with the opposition. Our strategy continues to be to pressure him where we think it's going to give us the best effect. We see that possibly occurring here, but given the events that you see on the battlefield. And anytime that you do see an opportunity like that, good commanders in the field will try and exploit that opportunity. And you see if we -- the number of the strike sorties that you saw, I think, is a direct result of that.
Q: And the aircraft that I mentioned, are you having A-10s and AC-130s?
ADM. GORTNEY: We have employed A-10s and AC-130s over the weekend. Yes, sir.
Q: Can you say where and in what capacity and --
ADM. GORTNEY: No, I'm not able to tell you that at this time.
Q: So it was Saturday and Sunday?
ADM. GORTNEY: Yeah, it was over the weekend. Yes, sir.
Q: You're using the Warthog, the A-10, and then the AC-130Us, I guess. Are those allowing you to attack Gadhafi's forces in the cities now --
ADM. GORTNEY: I'm not -- I'm not going to talk about specifically how any of the weapons systems are being employed.
Q: Admiral, I think by definition, the A-10 and the AC-130 are defined as combat-support aircraft. Obviously, you're not in coordination with the ground forces, the opposition, but what -- these aircraft are clearly targeting Libyan -- Gadhafi's forces, maneuver brigades, I guess. Is that the message, that with these aircraft we're going to take you out?
ADM. GORTNEY: Well, both those platforms are -- expend precision munitions. So do F-16s, so do F-18s, so do Rafales. They're precision munitions. So it's really the -- it's not so much the platform as the weapon that's expending it.
So I don't call them combat support. They're combat aircraft, and they deliver a precision effect.
One of the slides, presented during this Pentagon press briefing. It shows different attacks against "Maneuver Forces".
Libyan Regime Forces Feel Effects of Coalition Attacks
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 28, 2011 – Moammar Gadhafi's forces are feeling the effects of the coalition attacking command and control centers and logistics hubs, as evidenced by the progress the Libyan opposition has made, the director of the Joint Staff said during a Pentagon briefing today.
Coalition aircraft – now including Air Force A-10 Warthogs and AC-130s – have attacked regime forces threatening civilians. They also have hit command and control centers, ammunition supply points, missile sites and radars.
Operation Odyssey Dawn (OOD) opens a brand-new chapter of A-10 Thunderbolt II ("Warthog") combat operations. FREE LIBYA!