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Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II

Ground attack aircraft

A-10 Thunderbolt II

The A-10 Thunderbolt II remains airworthy with an engine, tail or other parts shot away

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 1977
Crew 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 16.26 m
Wing span 17.53 m
Height 4.47 m
Weight (empty) 11.32 t
Weight (maximum take off) 22.68 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans
Traction 2 x 40.32 kN
Maximum speed 706 km/h
Combat radius 463 km
Armament
Cannon 1 x GAU-8A 30 mm cannon
Missiles AGM-65B/C air-to surface missiles with IR- or TV-guidance. 4 x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
Other 6 x LAU-68 seven shot launchers for 70 mm unguided rockets

 

   Originally conceived as a counter-insurgency aircraft to help the US war effort in Southeast Asia, the Fairchild A-10 emerged as a dedicated close air support aircraft with the primary role of destroying enemy armor. First flew in A-10A production form on 21 October 1975 and entered United States Air Force (USAF) service in 1977. Oficially known as Thunderbolt II, this aircraft is commonly nicknamed as the Warthog. Over 700 of these close support aircraft were built. A number of them are still operational. The type has been flown exclusively the the US military. This close support aircraft was never exported to the US allies.

   The A-10 was built around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger cannon, the most powerful gun ever flown. The A-10 was also required to carry large numbers of ground-attack stores and be survivable in the face of intense battlefield anti-aircraft fire.

   Unpressurised and without radar, the A-10A remains austerely equipped in terms of avionics, but is a very hard-hitting and well-protected machine. The cockpit is protected from 23 mm cannon hits by a bath of titanium armor. The nickname of Warthog has largely stuck on account of the type's ungainly looks. However, the unconventional design is central to its ability to survive the lethal battlefield environment; the fuel-efficient turbofans of low IR signature are mounted above the rear fuselage and the A-10 can remain airworthy with an engine, tail or other parts inoperative or shot away.

   Much derided and destined for premature retirement prior to the 1991 Gulf War, the star performance of the A-10A and its identical, but Forward Air Control (FAC)-roled, OA-10A variant led to the type's continued leading presence in the USAF's front-line. Most current aircraft have received the LASTE modification which adds an autopilot and also considerably improves gun accuracy.

   Primarily armed with AGM-65 Maverick missiles in addition to the 30 mm gun, the A-10 has been a key player in subsequent USAF actions, including combat over the former Yugoslavia. Although a plan to supply second-hand A-10As to Turkey was aborted, the type will remain in USAF service for some time. Though currently the USAF is adopting an F-35A Lightning II stealthy multi-role fighter, which will take some roles of the A-10.

 

Variants

 

   A-10A is a series production version of the A-10.

   A-10C is an updated version of the A-10A under the incremental Precision Engagement program. By 2015 the US military operated 283 of these aircraft.

   OA-10A is an version of the A-10A, used for airborne forward air control.

 

 

 

 
 
A-10 Thunderbolt II

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A-10 Thunderbolt II

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A-10 Thunderbolt II

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A-10 Thunderbolt II

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A-10 Thunderbolt II

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