The U.S Air Force on Jan. 21 conducted a massive elephant walk at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, launching ten A-10 Thunderbolt II, or the more affectionate A-10 Warthogs, in a row.
“A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter aircraft flown here by pilots of the 107th Fighter Squadron, perform an, “Elephant Walk,” on the runway as they deploy for Snowbird January 21, 2020,” according to a news release issued by the 127th Wing Public Affairs.
An ‘Elephant Walk’ is a fundamental training element when preparing for global strike missions. This exercise refers to the close formation of military aircraft before takeoff.
The Elephant Walk showcases the 127th Wing’s motto, “We Stand Ready,” and demonstrates the Wing’s readiness and ability to generate combat airpower at a moment’s notice, according to a recent service news release.
American Military News previously reported that the maneuver pictured is called “elephant walk” because of the close formation of the military aircraft while taxiing before takeoff. The term originated in World War II when allied bomber operations consisted of 1,000 aircraft and their attacks were carried out in a single file, nose-to-tail fashion that resembled elephants traveling to the watering hole.
As to aircraft, the A-10 Thunderbolt II has excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude, and is a highly accurate and survivable weapons-delivery platform. The aircraft can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time and operate in low ceiling and visibility conditions. The wide combat radius and short takeoff and landing capability permit operations in and out of locations near front lines. Using night vision goggles, A-10 pilots can conduct their missions during darkness.