#1151 A-10C Thunderbolt II

A-10C Thunderbolt II
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£10.00 €11.71 $12.46
43.8 cm x 29.2 cm
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A-10C Thunderbolt II
81-0981 '81 FS'
81 FS, 52 FW
Spangdahlem AB, Germany
US - Air Force
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Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1151 - A-10C Thunderbolt II, 81-0981, 81st Fighter Squadron, 52d Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. With over 50 years of distinguished flying service, the 81st Fighter Squadron, “Panthers”, saw its first combat duty during World War II. Between March 1944 and the Armistice in May 1945, the 81st flew hundreds of close air support missions in the Republic P–47 Thunderbolt. Credited with 47 aerial victories, the 81st received two Distinguished Unit Citations for combat. The unit deactivated and re-emerged at McChord Field, Washington, in July 1947. During the next few years, the 81st tested many different aircraft, resulting with the North American F–86 Sabre Jet in 1953. During the 50’s, the unit relocated to Hahn AB, Germany, Toul Rosieres AB, France, back to Hahn AB, and converted to the North American F–100 Super Sabre. Re-equipped with the McDonnell Douglas F–4C Phantom II, the 81st relocated to Zweibrucken AB, Germany, in 1971. In 1973, the 81st moved to its present location with the 52d FW at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, flying F–4G Wild Weasels. In 1984, the F–4G and F–4E hunter/killer team was introduced, providing NATO its only defense suppression capability. In January, 1988, the F–4Es were swapped for General Dynamics F–16C Fighting Falcons, making the 81st the only USAF unit to fly two different aircraft in the same combat element. In 1990, the squadron switched to F-4Gs exclusively and deployed to Bahrain for Operations Desert Shield/Storm/ Calm in September. The 81st was deployed for 31 months, the longest of any USAF unit, and flew over 5,400 sorties in support of Allied Forces, 1,160 of which were during Desert Storm. In February 1994, the Panthers converted to the Fairchild Republic A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II. Armed with the powerful GAU-8 30mm cannon and the Maverick missile, the “Warthogs” flown by the 81st Fighter Squadron provide USAFE with its only dedicated close air support capability and are NATO’s premier forward air control and combat search and rescue assets. In September 1994, the squadron began deploying to Aviano AB, Italy, flying thousands of sorties for ongoing peacekeeping contingency operations over the Balkans. In early 1999 the squadron had a pivotal role in NATO’s Operation ALLIED FORCE, flying over 1,100 combat sorties, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of tanks, APCs, and artillery pieces. In 2003 the 81st made its first of 6 deployments (‘03, ‘04, ‘06, ‘08, ’10 and ‘11) to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM to support coalition forces fighting insurgents across Afghanistan. To date, the Panthers have flown over 8,800 sorties and 31,600 hours. They have expended over 243,881 rounds of 30MM, 354,500 pounds of bombs and have supported over 1081 troops in contact situations in Afghanistan. The 81st most recent deployment in March 2011 was to Aviano AB, Italy to support Operation ODYSSEY DAWN to engage the Warthog against the Libyan Regime. Flying over 60 combat sorties and 520 hours with an average of 8.6 hours per sortie resulted in the destruction of numerous tanks, APCs, military vehicles and boats. The 81st FS continues to train worldwide awaiting the next combat contingency.