Originally introduced in 1977, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, more commonly known as the Warthog, is among the oldest aircraft in service of the United States Air Force. After the turn of the millennium, the plane was originally meant to be phased out in favour of the more versatile F-35. However, perpetual design disputes, technical issues and overflowing costs resulted in a severe scaling down of the Joint Strike Fighter project in the late 2010s. While the F-35 only achieved a margin of success as an export plane for America's more prominent allies such as Canada, Turkey, Israel and Japan, the A-10 fleet was brought back from the boneyard and refurbished for service during the Global War on Terror. Now, two decades later, the 'Hog' will once again distinguish itself in the battle against Russian armour divisions in Europe.
Ever since the coordinated destruction of the major European air bases at the onset of the Russo-European War, Russia's Frontal Aviation had free reign over Europe. That was until the United States made their entry into the war in summer 2048. Since then, the skies above the continent became contested between Berkuts and Raptors while the European air forces resumed their operations from secured air fields in Scotland, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. As the fighting continued, the casualty rates of the Russian Air Force soared out of control. The toll was especially heavy on the venerable Su-25 ground attack plane, which stood no chance against the advanced Western fighter jets without escorts. In February 2049, the remaining planes were ordered back to the Motherland. In their stead, the Russian military ramped up the production of the Su-50 fighter-bomber. Originally reserved for only the most elite of fighter squadrons due to its high production costs, the 'Sokol' was now deployed in considerable numbers in order to provide close air support for missions that the Su-25 could no longer accomplish. It is armed with six powerful anti-tank missiles and its advanced stealth characteristics allow for covert intrusions into contested air space, making the Sokol the ideal plane for tank hunting and suppression of enemy air defences.
The Ka-68 was first sighted by a joint contingent of British and American forces in northern Germany in January 2049. Labled the 'Hellion' by the Western soldiers in a brief revival of the old NATO reporting name system, the new gunship appeared to be a successor to the Ka-50 'Hokum'. Chieftly fielded by the helicopter detachments of the Russian Air-Landing Forces, its function and combat performance appeared largely similar however unlike its predecessor, the Hellion can also be equipped with a new type of unguided 80mm rocket which contains a thermobaric charge. This allows the new helicopter to lay down a devastating barrage of incendiary rockets alongside its standard armament of Vikhr anti-tank missiles and two semi-rigid 30mm cannons.