A10 warthog thunderbolt striker USAF

A-10 Warthog Thunderbolt Striker USAF

The A-10 is the first USAF aircraft designed specifically for close air support of ground forces. It is named for the famous P-47 Thunderbolt, a fighter often used in a close air support role during the latter part of WW II.

Fairchild was an aircraft and aerospace manufacturing company based at various times in Farmingdale, New York; Hagerstown, Maryland; and San Antonio, Texas.

The A-10 is designed for maneuverability at low speeds and low altitudes for accurate weapons delivery, and carries systems and armor to permit it to survive in this environment. It is intended for use against all ground targets, but specifically tanks and other armored vehicles.

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The Thunderbolt II's great endurance gives it a large combat radius and/or long loiter time in a battle area. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines. Service at forward area bases with limited facilities is possible because of the A-10's simplicity of design.

Pilots have a history of giving the planes they fly deprecatory nicknames. Sometimes it seems that the more the pilots love a plane the worse the insult in the name they use for it. The A-10 quickly acquired the "official" unofficial name of Warthog. However, what the plane's pilots mostly call it is the Hog. This name also has a long tradition behind it, connecting to several fighters of the Fifties and Sixties.

The first prototype Thunderbolt II made its initial flight on May 10, 1972. A-10A production commenced in 1975. Delivery of aircraft to USAF units began in 1976 and ended in 1984.

The A/OA-10 is a single place, pressurized, low wing and tail aircraft with two General Electric TF-34-100/A turbo-fan engines, each with a sea level static thrust rating of approximately 9000 pounds. The engines are installed in nacelles mounted on pylons extending from the fuselage just aft of and above the wing. Two vertical stabilizers are located at the outboard tips of the horizontal stabilizers. The forward retracting tricycle landing gear incorporates short struts and a wide tread. The nose wheel retracts fully into the fuselage nose. The main gear retracts into streamlined fairing on the wing with the lower portion of the wheel protruding to facilitate emergency gear-up landings.

The General Electric Aircraft Armament Subsystem A/A49E-6 (30 millimeter Gun System) is located in the forward nose section of the fuselage. The gun system consists of the 30mm Gatling gun mechanism, double-ended linkless ammunition feed, storage assembly and hydraulic drive system.

The General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger is a 30 mm, hydraulically-driven seven-barrel Gatling-type rotary cannon that is mounted on the United States Air Force's Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. It is among the largest, heaviest and most powerful aircraft cannons in the United States military. Designed specifically for the anti-tank role, the Avenger delivers very powerful rounds at a high rate of fire.

The A-10A on display was flown on Jan. 21, 1991, by Captain Paul Johnson on an eight-hour rescue support mission during Operation Desert Storm for which he was awarded the Air Force Cross, the Air Force's second highest award for valor. It was delivered to the Museum on Jan. 24, 1992.

A10 warthog thunderbolt striker USAF

TA-10

A10 warthog thunderbolt striker USAF

The A-10/OA-10 have excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude, and are highly accurate weapons-delivery platforms. They can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time and operate under 1,000-foot ceilings (303.3 meters) with 1.5-mile (2.4 kilometers) visibility. Their 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/ OA-10 pilots can conduct their missions during darkness.

A10 warthog thunderbolt striker USAF

Avionics equipment includes communications, inertial navigation systems, fire control and weapons delivery systems, target penetration aids and night vision goggles.

Their weapons delivery systems include head-up displays that indicate airspeed, altitude and dive angle on the windscreen, a low altitude safety and targeting enhancement system (LASTE) which provides constantly computing impact point freefall ordnance delivery; and Pave Penny laser-tracking pods under the fuselage.

A-10 warthog

The aircraft also have armament control panels, and infrared and electronic countermeasures to handle surface-to-air-missile threats.

A10 warthog thunderbolt striker USAF

5 A-10 squadrons to be cut

Tight budgets lead AF to focus on F-35 capabilities
By Jeff Schogol - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jan 30, 2012 10:01:18 EST

The A-10 Thunderbolt II provides the type of close-air support that ground-pounders love and the Taliban dread. Although the A-10s are workhorses in the war on terrorism, the Air Force in its new budget request is planning to get rid of five squadrons.

As part of the Defense Department's efforts to trim close to $500 billion in spending over the next decade, defense officials said Friday that the service intends to cut five A-10 tactical squadrons and two other squadrons as well.
More on the budget:

• 10,000 airmen to leave service, Schwartz says

• Air Force seeks to nix Block 30 Global Hawks

The Thunderbolt squadrons to be stood down encompass one active-duty, one Reserve and three National Guard units. The remaining two squadrons disappearing are a Guard F-16 tactical unit and an F-15 training squadron.

The move was part of a series of proposed budget cuts announced Jan. 26 at the Pentagon. Also on the chopping block are the C-27 and the Global Hawk Block 30; and as the ground force shrinks, the service plans to retire the oldest of its aging transport aircraft.

Facing a new age of fiscal austerity, the Defense Department is trying to pivot away from the counterinsurgency campaigns of the past decade, which required large numbers of conventional forces, toward smaller, less expensive missions waged primarily by special operations forces.

A10 warthog thunderbolt striker USAF
A10 warthog thunderbolt striker USAF

A10 warthog thunderbolt striker USAF

SPECIFICATIONS
Span: 57 ft. 6 in.
Length: 53 ft. 4 in.
Height: 14 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 47,000 lbs.
Armament: One GAU-8/A 30mm Gatling Gun and 16,000 lbs. of mixed ordnance
Engines: Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans of 9,000 lbs. thrust each
Crew: One
Cost: $2,400,000

PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed: 450 mph.
Cruising speed: 335 mph.
Range: 800 miles
Service Ceiling: 44,200 ft.

 

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