A10 in Foreign ServiceEdit
Rhodesian Ridgeback II. GR6Edit
Development and procurmentEdit
The Royal Rhodesian Air Force operated the old Hawker Sea Hawk suitably modified as a ground attack aircraft well into the 1980s, (see earlier posting in this thread) by this time the craft was long in the tooth and no matter what the ground crew and maintenance technicians did its serviceability was slipping.
The RRAF was worried, they were locked in a guerilla war with Baghdad Pact sponsored rebels and they needed that air support, the only viable option was an off the peg purchase. As the procurement commission scoured the world looking for the best price the inherent weakness of the American system came to their rescue.
From the Land of the Mighty DollarEdit
The RRAF staff were approached by the US manufacturer Fairchild-Republic and told that they were willing and able to offer the RRAF 25 A10 aircraft. (The US Government would be unable to alter or even to stop this transaction for in this timeline the Dollar is king in the US and business rules!) These would be the last A10s produced and would incorporate many of the improvements so far included in the project, the price would be cheap as the USAF was no longer buying the aircraft and spares need to be used up.
The RRAF jumped at the chance to operate a state of the art aircraft and one which at the time the rebels had no means of countering, so two years after the deal was signed (1986) the A10, named the Rhodesian Ridgeback II fully replaced the venerable Sea Hawk in service.
The aircraft we see here is resplendent in the new four colour scheme introduced by the RRAF in 1990 and represents the craft used in action against Cuban forces in Angola during the fighting of the 91 disaster. This particular aircraft fell foul of a Mig 23 of the Angolan Air Force whilst trying to return home following attacks upon the 256th Cuban Motorised Regiment, considerable casualties were reported from the unit and the survivors were attached to other units along the front.