The FrogfootFriday, July 25, 2014
In my library I have a pretty good collection of airplane books. One of them Dogfight – Air Combat Adversaries – Head to Head by Robert Jackson with illustrations by Jim Winchester is not among them. This one is in my guest bathroom. In that place where the king is always alone I like to glance at it.
Of late two planes in the book have been in the news. The Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II commonly, almost affectionately called the Warthog for its ungainly ugliness has an uncertain future. US Congress is attempting to save money and an airplane that was supposed to bust tanks of a Soviet invasion into Western Europe perhaps has no future in an era of drone warfare.
Had that Soviet invasion happened the Warthog would have faced its Soviet counterpart the Sukhoi Su-25 ‘Frogfoot’ (the name given it by NATO).
Although this blog will be up for another day, I am writing this today Wednesday, July 23, it just so happens that the Frogfoot is in the news. Two of them, property of the Ukrainian Air Force were shot down by Russian surface to air missiles today. Ukrainian authorities allege that the missiles came from inside Russia.
Whatever happens I kind of like the fact that although the articles mention the plane here in my blog you can have a look at what it looks like.
For those who have a memory for the Vietnam War I might note here that a converted military version of the Douglas DC-3, the Douglas AC-47 aka Puff the Magic Dragon was equipped with an advanced electronic version of the 19th century Gatling Gun. These were gunships that terrorized the Vietcong. The Warthog has such a weapon and you can see its multiple barrel sticking out the front of the A-10 in my photograph which took some years ago at the Abbotsford Air Show.
Both aircraft were heavily armoured to protect its pilots who in many cases as they strafed troops while flying low would have been subject to ground fire. There was heavy stuff under their seats, too! It is for this reason that it seems that the pilots of both downed Frogfoots were able to bail out.