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Download A-10s Over Kosovo: The Victory of Airpower Over a Fielded by Christopher E. Haave PDF

By Christopher E. Haave

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USAF Photo by SMSgt Rose Reynolds A-10 leads fellow 52d AEW aircraft past a German castle. The wing also included a deployed F-117 FS. 81st Fighter Squadron “Panthers” During the 1993 Air Force restructuring, the 81st FS, known as the “Panthers,” stood up as part of the 52d Fighter Wing at 15 A-10s OVER KOSOVO Spangdahlem AB, Germany, with some personnel and aircraft from the deactivated 81st Fighter Wing at RAF Bentwaters, England. Subsequently, the 81st FS deployed many times to the Balkan theater, and, until the spring of 1997, a portion of the squadron maintained a near-continuous presence at Aviano AB, Italy, in support of AFAC operations over Bosnia.

However, other vehicles and pilots are capable of performing these functions, and there may be many other CSAR actors when the enemy threat is medium to high. These other elements could include the air-refueling tankers; a C-130 ABCCC to provide overall mission coordination and tracking of airborne assets; air-to-air fighters to provide air defense; F-16CJs and other similarly equipped aircraft to provide suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) and protection against enemy radar-guided surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems; jamming aircraft such as EA-6Bs; and any type of strike aircraft to provide air-to-ground firepower against enemy ground forces attempting to capture the survivors.

During this time, A-10 Sandys occasionally exercised with Italian and French forces using their Puma helicopters as recovery vehicles. The first Kosovo crisis in October and November of 1998 led to the Spangdahlem Hogs being sent to Aviano to “stand up” a CSAR alert. At that time, the 81st pilots initiated the development of standardized CSAR procedures for the Balkan area by coordinating with personnel assigned to the CSAR cell at the combined air operations center (CAOC) in Vicenza, Italy, and representatives (rep) from the theater’s NAEW, ABCCC, and Pave Low communities.

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