The US Air force (USAF) has reportedly deployed A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, in a bid to support Operation Inherent Resolve.
AFP cited a US official saying that the force deployed 12 A-10 aircraft and will support the US-led mission.
The arrival of the new aircraft fleet, also known as the Warthog, is aimed to replace the six F-16s that have been involved in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants since August.
The A-10 Thunderbolt features better manoeuvrability at low air speeds and altitude. It is capable of operating near battle areas for extended periods of time and fly in low ceiling and visibility conditions.
Equipped with 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling-gun cannon, the aircraft will be able to fire 3,900 rounds a minute and can defeat an array of ground targets, including tanks.
The latest move comes as Russia strengthened its involvement in fight against Islamic State in Syria.
It also follows the USAF Central Command’s decision to start deploying small detachments of aircraft and airmen at Diyarbakir Air Base in southeast Turkey earlier this month to enhance coalition capabilities.
The US started deploying aircraft and crew in Turkey after the country agreed to join the US-led coalition in August.
Meanwhile, US and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on air safety in Syria to reduce the risk of inflight incidents among the international coalition and Russian aircraft operating in Syrian airspace.