The A-10 Operations Tempo Against ISIS

The Air Force units deployed to fight ISIS have set records, and expended thousands of munitions at an extremely high rate, the service’s head of operations said Wednesday. To highlight the intense operational tempo, Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, the deputy chief of staff for operations, said to look at the Maryland Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Squadron that deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve from Oct. 2016 to Jan. 2017. During this deployment, A-10s flew 940 sorties—a total of 5,400 flight hours. During these missions targeting ISIS, the A-10s dropped 1,680 missiles and fired more than 90,000 rounds. The A-10 was a “perfect platform” for the fight against ISIS, flying in an uncontested environment at targets that might not always need large and expensive munitions. For example, an ISIS fighter on a motorcycle might not be the best target for a 500-pound bomb. While the Air Force uses the term “uncontested” to describe deployments like this, the A-10s are still receiving fire from small arms on the ground—and the aircraft’s armor around the pilot protects it well.