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End Of An Era: A-10C Thunderbolt II Demo Team Announces Final Airshow Season

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A-10 Demo Team Farewell Tour 2024

The A-10 Demo Team has just announced their farewell tour 2024.

The U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II demonstration team is the unit in charge of highlighting the A-10C’s capabilities during airshows across the United States and to recruit, retain and inspire the next generation of Airmen. The team will perform its duty for one last season this year: in fact, as announced on social media, 2024 is going to mark the final airshow season for the Warthog demo.

The farewell tour does not come unexpected though: last month, the 355th Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, where the Demo team is based, begun divesting its fleet of A-10 aircraft after nearly 50 years.

The first model of the aircraft to arrive at Davis-Monthan was an A-10A on March 2, 1976. This model was assigned to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing that arrived here in 1971 and replaced the Vought A-7D Corsair flown by the 355th TFW. The 355th TFW was later reclassified as the 355th Tactical Fighter Training Wing, prompting the 354th, 357th, and 358th Fighter squadrons to train U.S. Air Force Pilots on the A-10A aircraft.

A-10 Demo Team
The heritage paint scheme of the A-10C Demo Team, introduced for 2023 season.

The U.S. Air Force has plans to divest the entire fleet of A-10 aircraft within the next 3-5 years, when the iconic jet will be replaced by the F-35.

“The A-10 has been the symbol of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for many years, and it will continue to be a symbol for the Airmen of DM, a symbol of their commitment, excellence and service,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Scott Mills, 355th Wing commander and A-10 pilot in a public statement. “For now, we’re divesting a single squadron during the summer-fall timeframe of 2024.”

Coinciding with the divestment, Davis-Monthan plans to expand its Rescue Footprint, which may lead to additional utility of the HC-130 aircraft and the HH-60W helicopter. Airframes expected to arrive from the Air Force Special Operations Command include the MC-130 and OA-1K.

A-10 Demo pilot
Capt Lindsay “MAD” Johnson, Demo Team Commander, poses in front of her aircraft.

“From an Ops personnel standpoint, this divestment arguably allows a more expeditious stand-up of the F-35, even as that program continues to struggle with a variety of delays,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Razvan Radoescu, 355th Operations Group commander.

The aircraft 82-648 was the first to be retired from service at Davis-Monthan on Feb. 6, 2024, and transited from the 354th Fighter Squadron to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group for final maintenance procedures and display preparation for the Davis-Monthan where hundreds of retired Aircraft are stored.

“There will always be a job for maintainers; it may not be on the A-10, but the Air Force needs maintainers to sustain airpower,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Clarence McRae, 355th Maintenance Group commander, “Perhaps the biggest draw of future maintainers will be in the F-35 community. Airplanes are still going to break, and we are still going to fix them.”

One of the memes that you could find online during the early days of the Ukrainian invasion by Russia.

Anyway, there’s still time to attend an airshow and watch the A-10 Demo Team, commanded by Capt Johnson, an Instructor Pilot and Flight Commander assigned to the 357th Fighter Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona and previously served also in Texas and Korea, at her second season as the commander of the team.

Here’s the schedule.

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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