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Air Force Thunderbolt hits bird, drops three dummy bombs over Florida

By
Allen Cone
The BDU-33 is a 25-pound training munition used to simulate the M1a-82 500-pound bomb. It is approximately 22 and a half inches long and is blue in color. Photo courtesy of Moody Air Force Base
The BDU-33 is a 25-pound training munition used to simulate the M1a-82 500-pound bomb. It is approximately 22 and a half inches long and is blue in color. Photo courtesy of Moody Air Force Base

July 2 (UPI) -- An A-10C Thunderbolt II jet was struck by a bird and dropped three dummy bombs used for training over northern Florida, the plane's home base in central Georgia said late Monday.

No one was injured when a "bird strike" caused the "inadvertent release" of three 25-pound nonexplosive training munitions Monday afternoon, Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta said in a news release obtained by UPI.

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The BDU-3, which is 22 1/2 inches long and blue, is used to simulate the M1a-82 500-pound bomb.

The Thunderbolt jet is assigned to the 23rd Fighter Group.

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The Air Force suspects the bombs are 1.2 miles west of Highway 129 near Suwannee Springs, about 54 miles south of the Moody base.

Officials have asked that if the training munition is found, people not approach it, report the location, leave the area and keep others away.

The Air Force has mandated every base have a Bird Avoidance Strike Hazard program, also known as BASH, which includes habitat manipulation, exclusion, repellent and lethal control.

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"This program is like eating at an elephant, you can only take one bite at a time," Odin Stephens, a U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife biologist in charge of the 23rd Wing Safety Office, said in a 2008 Moody news release. "You have to track wildlife habits, and use a mixture of all four BASH methods to be successful."

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Capt. Steve Bailey, a 75th Fighter Squadron A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot at Moody said at the time: "A bird strike can cause significant damage to any aircraft. We receive briefings frequently about the importance of the BASH program."

The Thunderbolt, commonly called "The Warthog," was developed for the Air Force by Fairchild Republic Company, now a part of Northrop Grumman Corporation Aerospace Systems in the 1960s. The first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in October 1975.

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