DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. Air Force personnel have installed new lightweight airborne recovery systems on select A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft.
Technicians at the Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona have so far integrated new systems on 19 A-10s. The upgrade efforts began in late 2016, with work conducted by the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group.
"This urgent operational need arose in August," acting director Timothy Gray said in a press release. "Air Combat Command and the A-10 Program Office asked me if AMARG could complete 16 aircraft by Dec. 16."
The system, known as the LARS V-12, is designed to help A-10 pilots communicate more effectively with people on the ground. Air Force officials say the upgraded capability will make search-and-rescue operations easier.
"A-10 pilots take the combat search-and-rescue role very seriously," Lt. Col. Ryan Hayde added. "While this is just one tool, it can assist us in bringing them back to U.S. soil safely."
The Fairchild Republic-built A-10 Thunderbolt II is a multipurpose ground attack aircraft known for its mobility at low speeds and signature 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun. The "tank-buster" planes are designed to operate near battlespaces for extended periods of time.