Get Ready, China: Lethal A10 Warthogs Are Patrolling South China Sea

The U.S. Air Force’s venerable A-10 Warthog has been a lot of things. A Cold-War Soviet tank-killer. A slow-flying escort for rescue helicopters. A heavily-armed counter-insurgency plane. Even a specialized hunter of rotorcraft.

Now add “maritime patrol plane” to the twin-engine attacker’s resume. That’s because the Pentagon has sent four A-10s and their crews and maintainers to fly sea patrols west of The Philippines, in a mineral-rich region of the South China Seas that Manila and Beijing both claim.

The four Warthogs from the 51st Fighter Wing, home-based in South Korea, were actually part of a larger contingent of U.S. warplanes that visited The Philippines for the 2016 edition of the Balikatan war game. When the exercise ended on April 15, most of the Americans and their planes departed. But four A-10s and two HH-60G rescue copters remained behind at Clark Air Base.

ASIA TIMES —

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