National Security

Military Exercise Shows The A-10 Could Blow Iran’s Swarm Boats Out Of The Water

U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. William Greer

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The U.S. military recently engaged in a mock exercise that proved the iconic A-10 “Warthog” could theoretically obliterate Iranian boats engaging in swarm tactics against U.S. forces.

Approximately 35 boat captains participated in the Air Force’s Combat Hammer exercise in Florida’s Choctawhatchee Bay, which featured fighter jets and helicopters, as well as the Warthog. The exercise intended to address the threat posed to Navy vessels from Iran’s small, fast-attack vessels.

“We evaluate precision guided munitions against realistic targets with realistic enemy defenses,” said Lt. Col. Sean Neitzke, commander of the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron. “There are plenty of places in the world where low-tech adversaries can mount 50-caliber machine guns and rocket launchers on small boats for use against us. They could also use other types of shoulder launched weapons, all of which could be a threat to American assets.”

In order to simulate the Iranian vessels, the military made ‘pirate boats’ by mounting makeshift guns and weapons on the local boats. The A-10 pilots used inert 30 mm rounds to practice attacks on the boats. Pilots also used air-to-ground missiles, inert 2,000-pound bombs, 500-pound laser-guided bombs and laser-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions, also known as JDAMs.

The Warthog was initially developed during the late Cold War as a tank-killer, but it has since become well-known for its impressive close-air support capabilities. It’s massive 30mm cannon provides devastating firepower, making it a ground trooper’s best friend. The platform was nearly retired by the Air Force in 2014, but some friendly lawmakers in Congress have kept it flying.

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