Air Weapons: A-10 Impact in Afghanistan


January 1, 2006: In Afghanistan, one of the most effective aircraft weapons has been the 30mm automatic cannon carried by the A-10 aircraft. Stationed outside of Kabul, the A-10s average about 18 sorties (each nearly four hours long) a day. Several times a month, an A-10 will be called on to apply some precision firepower with it's 30mm cannon. For these missions, high-explosive/incendiary rounds are used. Pilots are very accurate with the cannon, and it is the preferred weapon when the bad guys are operating close to civilians.

At other times, the aircraft drops laser guided bombs, or fires rockets at ground targets. Because the A-10 has armor, and is designed to fly close to the ground, the aircraft often does scouting in support of friendly ground forces. In fact, most of the sorties are scouting missions, because the A-10s can most quickly get to the scene of a recent Taliban attack. The mere sight of the A-10 usually sends the Taliban fleeing. Actually, the knowledge that an A-10 can be overhead in an hour or so is something Taliban raiding parties have to take into account. The A-10s usually operate in pairs, making them even more effective for searching and fighting.


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