U.S. A-10 Warthogs Operate Over The Caribbean During Operation Forward Tiger


An A-10C refuels on its way back to Moody AFB at the end of Operation Forward Tiger (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lauren Cobin)

A-10C jets from Moody Air Force Base have taken part in Operation Forward Tiger, in the Southern Command area of responsibility.

A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 23rd Wing, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, have recently taken part in the three-week Operation Forward Tiger exercise, that came to an end on Mar. 4, 2023. Operating as part of the 23rd Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW), the Warthogs deployed along with C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to Muniz Air National Guard Base, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, to train and enhance interoperability between the Dominican Republic Air Force (FARD), Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) and United States Air Force (USAF).

Designed to increase combat readiness alongside humanitarian assistance and disaster response capabilities, Operation Forward Tiger allowed the 23rd Wing to put the ability of the unit to rapidly deploy and employ forces around the globe at a moment’s notice to test, and saw the implementation of the agile combat employment (ACE) – a concept of rapidly inserting into a theater, establishing logistics, communication capabilities, command and control, while receiving follow-on forces and generating airpower, enabling several levels of training and integration.

From Muniz Air National Guard Base, the A-10s launched a variety of missions, including a counter-maritime operation that saw the integration with the Dominican Republic Navy. During this training event, U.S. forces employed the A-10C and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft supported the Dominican Republic Navy vessels with air operations in maritime surface warfare and contested environment resupply capabilities.

An A-10C Thunderbolt II and C-130J Super Hercules fly near a Dominican Republic Navy ship above the Caribbean Sea off the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, Feb. 22, 2023. (Dominican Republic Navy courtesy photo)

“The purpose of our training was to strengthen the bonds of collaboration between the Dominican Republic Navy and the US Air Force, to improve our interoperability,” said Lieutenant Juan Carlos Mora Maldonado, Dominican Republic Navy, in a public statement. “Also, to visualize our capabilities to participate in future combined joint exercises.”

An A-10C Thunderbolt II flies near a Dominican Republic Navy ship above the Caribbean Sea off the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, Feb. 22, 2023. This ship was taking part in air and maritime integration with U.S. Air Force’s 23rd Air Expeditionary Wing during Operation Forward Tiger to improve interoperability and expertise for both forces. (Dominican Republic Navy courtesy photo)

Operation Forward Tiger served as an opportunity to build on Lead Wing concepts and experience realistic interoperability training as allied countries, bringing fighter forces to the Southern Command AOR (Area of Responsibility) “something that is rarely done,” as Col. Sean Baerman, 23rd AEW vice commander, said.

“Operationally, we integrated with the 612th Air Operations Center, honed our Lead Wing operations, set up a Main Operating Base (MOB) in San Juan, a Forward Operating Station (FOS) in San Isidro, Contingency Locations (CL) in Ceiba and Aguadilla, and all the Command and Control operations and logistics that accompany that. Tactically, we worked with over-the-horizon intel taskings, Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance, Air Operations in Maritime Surface Warfare, Close Air Support, Dissimilar Air Combat, air drops and airfield seizures.”

An A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 23rd Wing, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 6th Air Refueling Wing, for refueling over the Atlantic Ocean, Feb. 28, 2023. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lauren Cobin)

Operating throughout the Caribbean provides a strategic advantage as having small and dynamic targets makes it more difficult for an enemy to strike.

“Our ability to open, operate and close operating locations quickly, as well as operate from several locations simultaneously means the enemy can’t target our forces as easily,” Baerman said. “Moody Airmen truly are on the leading edge of future combat operations against peer-threats.”

The 50th ARS refueled the Warthogs as they returned home from the Lead Wing exercise Operation Forward Tiger, an Air Forces Southern exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lauren Cobin)

The Warthogs returned home from the exercise on Feb. 28. During their return leg they were supported by KC-135 assigned to the 6th Air Refueling Wing. Mayaguana, the easternmost island and district of The Bahamas, provided an impressive background for the shots taken from the tanker of the A-10s as they carried out AAR (Air-to-Air Refueling) from the Stratotanker.

An A-10C flying over Mayaguana (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lauren Cobin)

David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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