US Air Force (USAF) A-10C Thunderbolt II planes assigned to active duty fighter squadrons at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, US, are in the process of being upgraded with new lightweight airborne recovery systems controllers.
The USAF said the new LARS V-12 systems will allow the A-10Cs to communicate more effectively with individuals on the ground, through the system’s speech or text communication functions. It also provides the pilot with the individuals’ GPS co-ordinates. The upgrades are being installed by the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Squadron (AMARG).
“This urgent operational need arose in August (2016),” said Timothy Gray, the 309th AMARG acting director. “Air Combat Command and the A-10 Program Office asked me if AMARG could complete 16 aircraft by December. I said, ‘Absolutely!’ It was awesome to see Team AMARG take on this massive logistical challenge, build a production machine, find facilities, manpower, equipment, tools, and make material kits (to) execute the requirement.”
As 6 January, 19 aircraft had received the LARS upgrades which will provide ‘pilots and ground personnel downrange with a valuable search capability’.
Lt Col Ryan Hayde, the 354th Fighter Squadron commander and A-10 pilot, added: “A-10 pilots take the combat search and rescue role very seriously. While this is just one tool, it can assist us in bringing them back to US soil safely.”