An A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog fighter jet of the United States Air Force (USAF) dropped three dummy bombs following a bird-hit near Suwannee Springs in northern Florida on Monday. The A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog of the USAF 23rd Fighter Group based at Moody Air Force Base was on a training mission when it suffered a bird-hit resulting in the release of three BDU-33s munitions, reported US news website Valdosta Daily Times.
The 11-kilogramme non-explosive BDU-33 is a training munition and is inert, but does contain small pyrotechnic charges. The USAF Moody Air Force Base issued a statement claiming there were no reports of damages to live or property following the accidental dropping of the three BDU-33s.
The USAF added that an investigation has been launched into the incident. While the exact location where the bombs fell is not known, the USAF suspects the munitions landed about 87 kilometres south of the Moody Air Force Base near Suwannee Springs in northern Florida.
Cautioning people against getting close to the BDU-33s, the USAF also asked them to inform the local authorities. The blue-coloured BDU-33 is approximately 221/2 inches long and is used to simulate the M1a-82 500-pound bomb.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog is a Close Air Support aircraft, rugged and survivable, to protect combat troops on the ground. Armed with a 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun, the A-10 Thunderbolt II can carry up to 16,000 pounds (7,200 kilogrammes) of mixed ordnance on eight under-wing and three under-fuselage pylon stations.
It carries several types of bombs including 500 pounds (225 kgs) Mk-82 and 2,000 pounds (900 kg) Mk-84 series low/high drag bombs, incendiary cluster bombs, combined effects munitions, mine dispensing munitions, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, 2.75-inch (6.99 centimetres) rockets, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and laser-guided/electro-optically guided bombs. The aircraft is also equipped with infrared countermeasure flares, electronic countermeasure chaff, jammer pods and illumination flares.
Powered by two General Electric TF34-GE-1 00 turbofans, each of which can generate a thrust of 9,065 pounds, the 16.16 metres long aircraft has a wingspan of 17.42m and its height is 4.42m. The plane weighs 29,000 pounds (13,154 kg) and has a maximum takeoff weight of 51,000 pounds (22,950 kg). Its fuel capacity is 11,000 pounds (7,257 kg)
A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog's maximum speed is 420 miles per hour (Mach 0.56) with a range of 800 miles (1287.48 km/695 nautical miles) with a service ceiling of 45,000 feet (13,636 m).