US A-10 Warthogs in maritime target exercise off Estonian coast

A-10 'Warthog' involved in Wednesday's exercise.
A-10 'Warthog' involved in Wednesday's exercise. Source: EDF

The sea off Estonia's two largest islands, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, was the scene of a fire support coordination exercise that involved iconic Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft.

The A-10 aircraft form part of the Maryland National Guard's 175th Wing and were involved in air to sea target practice using both the plane's famed 30mm nose-mounted rotary cannon, plus its guided missile systems, the Estonian Air Force (Õhuvägi) said Wednesday.

While the exercise took place off Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, civilians on land could not have helped noticing the distinctive sound of an A-10 as it flew over land, as regional daily Järva teataja (JT) reports, with a video accompaniment.

Järva County is no stranger to these planes – JT reported that several years ago, landing practice took place on the Jägala-Käravete highway there. A-10s have flown from Ämari before and made flyovers of Tallinn too.

Plume of water erupts during target practice involving A-10 'Warthog' off the Estonian coast, Wednesday, June 14, 2023. Source: EDF

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" was introduced in the mid-1970s  and designed with close air support to friendly ground troops in mind.

Its capabilities include attacking armored vehicles, including tanks.

The sheer superiority of U.S. resources compared with most other countries means that even the reservist, state-based National Guard has air forces among its structures. The 175th Wing is based at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, Maryland.

The relationship between the Estonian military and the Maryland National Guard stretches back to the early days of the restoration of Estonian independence in the early 1990s.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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