2003 marked the 80th anniversary of the 118th FS, the third oldest ANG squadron. They wanted to celebrate the occasion with a special paint scheme for their A-10A. Aircraft 78-621 was selected for the modernized version of the scheme that was inspired by the 118ths WWII P-51s with black lightning bolts on the side. This was how the WWII group got the name the "Black Lightning Squadron" and the 103rd FW "wing jet" became known as "Black Lightning". The 103rd FW markings were eventually restored to the engine. Fairchild A-10A Thunderbolt II Designed to counter criticism that the US Air Force wasn't serious enough about close air support, the A-10 Thunderbolt II was first flown on May 10, 1972. The Thunderbolt II is a single-seat attack aircraft used to protect ground forces from tanks, armored vehicles and other ground targets. Nicknamed "Warthog," the A-10 is highly maneuverable at low speeds and low altitude and is capable of short take-offs and landings. It is designed for easy maintenance—many of its parts are interchangeable between the right and left side and it can operate from bases with limited facilities. The A-10 is expected to remain in service until 2028 or beyond.
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