The A-10 Thunderbolt, Warthog To His Friends…

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt, a single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing air-craft designed for the United States Air Force to provide close air support (CAS) to ground forces. Specialising in attacking tanks, armored vehicles, and other ground targets with a limited air interdiction capability. The A-10 is the first U.S. Air Force aircraft designed solely for close air support. Singular of purpose, a rarity amongst modern fighter aircraft.

A-10 Warthog, it’s not just its unusual features that earned it the name Warthog, the scream of its rotary machine gun sounds akin to a wild bore growling. A truly unnatural sounding and looking aircraft. It is also the most majestic and beautiful aircraft to take service in the American Air Force, slow flying and highly maneuverable  the A-10 harks back to an older era of aircraft.

Included for your viewing pleasure are 3 videos, the first two being two of the best examples the the Warthog screaming available on the internet. Listen to the roar of the rotary canon, look at the faces of the soldiers it supports, they know the sound of the A-10 screaming at their foes.

A-10 close call

The Fairchild Republic A-10

Built primarily to perform ground support roles, looking after the troops on the battlefield was a dangerous but rewarding role. The tight banking turns required to stay locked on ground targets are the A-10’s piez de resistance, dancing till its noise is pointed at the target then it screams, then the dust settles.

Close combat is it’s specialty, nearly 600 kilo’s of Titanium armor and uranium tipped shells that can literally chew though any target . The six foot rotary cannon is still the largest machine gun put in any aircraft, ever. Not to say that’s the only string in its tail, the Warthog likes to turn up to knife fights with a gun. With multiple wing pods as well as the Gatling gun it is well prepared. Armaments include one 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, cluster bombs and guided bombs.

Operating from the front line, making use of short rough runways the A10’s straight wide wings allow short take-offs and landings as well as making the aircraft extremely maneuverable at low speed.

The first production A-10 flew in October 1975, and deliveries to the Air Force commenced in March 1976. In total, 715 air-planes were produced, the last delivered in 1984. Through-out the various middle eastern conflicts of the last 30 years the A-10 has become famous for its durability. With parts of wings and tails shot off, one engine missing and holes in every part of the air-craft they keep flying,

A-10 up close landing.

Being a single purpose aircraft afforded the designers the luxury of altering almost every aspect of the aircraft’s design to suit CAS and attack from the ground. The 600kg’s of Titanium armor plating line the underside of the aircraft, protecting the pilot and vital systems. The position of the jets helps shield them from ground fire, dissipates heat to protect from IR missiles and generates more lift at low speed by dragging air over the top surface of the wing.

Different to most modern fighter aircraft, the A-10 has a flat wing, similar to old straight wing aircraft of WWI and II. Most modern aircraft have adopted angular swept back wings to allow high speed flight, Mach 2 and above, speeds not possible with a flat wing. The wing itself has a lot of surface area and angle for an aircraft of this size, again sacrificing speed for maneuverability.

In many ways the A-10 could also be described as a flying tank, not unfairly. Even beyond the obvious armor and low speed nature, the way it wraps around the cannon. Where as most modern aircraft use fire and forget missiles the A-10 is about close quarters combat, getting up close and personal.

Being integrated with its main cannon, the shape along with the position of the wing and tail, all these things point to the A-10 being designed from the ground up to be different.

A-10 in formation

With the US Air Force and Army working through the latest round of budget cuts there is talk of cutting the number of A-10’s in operation. The Air Force has already proposed cutting the A-10 program at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base. Local politicians and workers are petitioning to change the decision.

At the same time new purposes for the A-10 are being found. The Discoverl is reporting that the A-10 is now being put to work as a storm chaser, with its tough exterior and high operating ceiling the A-10 is being sent head long into major storm fronts. Thanks to the A-10 we may soon have more accurate weather forecasts.

The awkward looking, ugly duckling of a single seater air-craft has saved more soldiers lives than any other aircraft. When soldiers look up preying for air support the A-10 is the air-craft they have in mind. The A-10 Thunderbolt, Warthog to his friends.

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A-10 Strafes Taliban Position in Afghanistan



General Specification
Primary Function: A-10 — close air support, OA-10 – airborne forward air control
Manufacturer: Fairchild Republic Co.
Engines: Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans
Thrust: 9,065 pounds each engine
Length: 53 feet, 4 inches (16.16 meters)
Height: 14 feet, 8 inches (4.42 meters)
Wingspan: 57 feet, 6 inches (17.42 meters)
Speed: 420 miles per hour (Mach 0.56)
Flight Ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,636 meters)
Maximum Weight (Take-off): 51,000 pounds (22,950 kilograms)
Range: 800 miles (695 nautical miles)

Buddha’s Brother out…