Watch Six A-10 Warthogs Execute A Glorious Mass Flare Release Over The Persian Gulf

Mass flare releases by a single aircraft can be major crowd-pleasers, but six A-10 Warthogs flying in formation behind a tanker raining flares in unison is downright glorious. Just such a spectacle occurred near Dubai’s famed Palm and World man-made island archipelagos. 

The video, which was posted by one of our favorite Instagram follows, Combat_learjet, can be seen below or by clicking this link.

Some of our readers are probably asking themselves “is this actually a screen capture Digital Combat Simulator (DCS)?” At first glance, we had the same concerns, but it appears to be authentic based on our analysis. 

The A-10s shown are fitted in with a 500-gallon fuel tank on their centerline stations. This configuration is often associated with ferrying operations. Beyond that, we have no idea when the video was taken or what the circumstances were that led to the mass flare release photo-op. 

You also might  be wondering “how much did that seconds-long display cost?” We do have an answer for that, at least in terms of what the flares themselves cost. In our recent piece about what the Pentagon actually pays for various infrared decoy flares, the cheapest ones used by the A-10—the M206s—cost $35 apiece. A single bucket is packed with 30 flares. So, if just one bucket was spent by each ‘Hog—it very well could have been more—it would have run a total of $6,300. 


The prices for various other flares only go up from there, but as we noted in our piece, these things have an expiration date, and they are better disposed of having a little fun than via some costly hazardous materials elimination process, if that was indeed the case. 

Historically, A-10s spend a lot of time in the Middle East area of operations and they would be especially useful at taking on swarms of Iranian fast boats during even a limited conflict in and around the Strait of Hormuz, which isn’t far from where this was shot. This is a mission set that A-10 pilots, as well as those of other platforms, are increasingly becoming proficient in.

Regardless of the details, or lack thereof, the six-ship flare dump is an amazingly beautiful and unique sight to behold. 

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