By Joachim Jacob
According to some other official sources, SUU-25 is mainly used for nighttime sorties. That could be the reason for some Bagram Warthog pictures with empty pylon on Station 3. Because it´s not usual to drop empty launchers/dispensers during a combat mission, it could be that these aircraft were launched or on alert for daytime sorties only.
Any reasons for removing pylons from stations 5 and 7 (as seen in some of latest Bagram pictures) are still unknown to me. Perhaps related to weight/fuel...
Current A-10 OEF standard loadout:
Station 1: empty pylon
Station 2: LAU-68/131 rocked pod
Station 3: SUU-25 flare dispenser
Station 4: GBU-12 LGB
Station 5: empty pylon
Station 6: Mk-82 LDGP
Station 7: empty pylon
Station 8: GBU-12 LGB
Station 9: AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT targeting pod
Station 10: LAU-68/131 rocked pod
Station 11: empty pylon
82-0659 from the 103rd FS, 111th FW (Pennsylvania ANG) returns to the fight after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission over Afghanistan on May 29th, 2008. The pylons on stations 5 and 7 are removed. (USAF photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)
That is one of the very best A-10 OEF shots ever seen, taken together with the following picture:
78-0653 from the 190th FS, 124th Wg (Idaho ANG), flown by a pilot from the 303rd FS, 442nd FW (AFRC), moves into position to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission over Afghanistan on May 29th, 2008. (USAF photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)
81-0983 from the 81st FS taxis on the runway at Bagram AB, Afghanistan. The runway has received many upgrades as well as a new Air Traffic Control Tower. (USAF photo by Master Sgt. Demetrius Lester)
Same standard loadout but still with installed pylons on stations 5 and 7. According to EXIF data, shot was taken on April 11th, 2008.
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan -- An A-10 Thunderbolt II waits on the tarmac for takeoff here on July 21, 2008. The A-10 has proven itself as invaluable throughout its more than 30 years of operation due to its combination of large and varied ordnance load, long loiter time, accurate weapons delivery, austere field capability, and survivability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse)..
78-0611 from 190th FS, 124th Wg (Idaho ANG), Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho (ID)
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan -- Sun sets on an A-10 Thunderbolt II here on July 21, 2008. With Night Vision Imaging Systems, or NVIS, goggle compatible single-seat cockpits forward of their wings and a large bubble canopy which provides pilots all-around vision, time of day means little to this aeronautical legend. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse)
82-0659 from 103rd FS, 111th FW (Pennsylvania ANG), Willow Grove ARS, Pennsylvania (PA), and 78-0655 from 303rd FS, 442nd FW (AFRC), Whiteman AFB, Missouri (KC).
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan -- Two A-10 Thunderbolt II jets taxi out to the runway here on July 26, 2008. The jets are experts at close air support missions and have proven to be invaluable despite being well past their expected useful lifespan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse)