The first A-10s recently redeployed from Afghanistan to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing at an undisclosed base in the Gulf region, marking the first confirmed deployment of the close air support aircraft in support of anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria. The A-10s, assigned to the 122nd Fighter Wing at Fort Wayne ANGS, Ind., arrived in the Gulf Nov. 17-21 and are now flying in theater as the 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. They will work with coalition forces to support Operation Inherent Resolve, and other “regional operations,” according to a Nov. 24 Air Forces Central Command release. “The A-10s now will only be supporting military requirements in the Gulf region, including but not limited to, Operation Inherent Resolve,” AFCENT spokesman Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis told Air Force Magazine. Before relocating to the Gulf, the 122nd Fighter Wing briefly deployed to Afghanistan to meet close air support needs driven by the withdrawal of partner nation CAS in Afghanistan, a “temporary but urgent requirement for additional CAS during the most recent period of base closures or transfers,” and other “transition operations” as the US and NATO forces wind down their combat presence in the country and transition to an advise and assist role, said Sholtis. The aircraft will now operate under the recently reactivated 332nd Air Expeditionary Group, which previously stood down in 2012 after years of supporting combat operations in Iraq.
As the U.S. continues to pursue a diplomatic resolution with Russia over its troop buildup on the Ukraine border, the Defense Department is looking into what capabilities it will need to reassure NATO allies if Russia does launch an invasion, its top spokesperson said Jan. 21.