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Four A-10 Warthogs Is Not Something You Want to See Landing on a Highway

You get wary just by seeing an A-10 Thunderbolt in the sky, as nothing about these terrifyingly-looking flying machines inspires peacefulness. Imagine the look on the face of Michigan’s residents, when four of these hogs landed on a highway west of Alpena.
A-10 Thunderbolt Warthogs land on a highway in Michigan 6 photos
A-10 Warthog jetA-10 Warthog jetA-10 Warthog jet on highwayA-10 Warthog jet using the highway as runwayA-10 Warthog jet
Fortunately though, it was a deliberate action, all part of an exercise carried out by the Michigan Air National Guard.

The Northern Strike is a multinational exercise meant to test the capabilities of the National Guard in case of an attack. It’s been part of Michigan’s National Guard training since 2012, but this particular one was a first.

Simulating an attack at the base they took off from, several A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthogs” had to safely land on highway M-32, pretend they’re rearming and refueling, and then fly back into combat.

Four Warthogs were used for this exercise, along with two C-146, engaging in Agile Combat Employment (ACE), as explained by Col. Matt Robins, commander of the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Operations Group, quoted by Military Times.

This wasn’t even the first time a military aircraft uses a civilian roadway for these purposes, as Robins explained they’ve done it before, but overseas. However, it was a first in the United States, with the whole purpose of the demonstration being for them to build confidence in what they already knew they are capable of.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog is a single-seat jet aircraft designed for CAS (close air support). Developed by Fairchild Republic (now part of the Northrop Grumman), for the U.S. Air Force, it entered service in 1976. With a bold, aggressive look, this straight-wing animal is equipped with a GAU-8 Avenger gun on its nose.

It can fly at altitudes of 45,000 ft (approximately 13,600 meters), reaching speeds of 420 mph (676 kph) and being able to cover ranges of up to 800 miles (1,287 km) on a single outing. A titanium armor protects both the pilots as well as some parts of the flight-control system.


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