Information

Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II in Flight


Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II in Flight (2 of 2)

View of the Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II in flight


Republic Aviation

The Republic Aviation Corporation was an American aircraft manufacturer based in Farmingdale, New York, on Long Island. Originally known as the Seversky Aircraft Company, the company was responsible for the design and production of many important military aircraft, including its most famous products: World War II's P-47 Thunderbolt fighter, the F-84 Thunderjet and F-105 Thunderchief jet fighters, as well as the A-10 Thunderbolt II close-support aircraft.


Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II in Flight - History

The A-10 is also designed for survivability given its role flying low and slow over the battlefield. The A-10 is extremely rugged and able to continue flying even with an engine, a tail fin, or even part of a wing shot off the plane. The A-10 also provides further protection against groundfire by encasing the cockpit and the ammunition drum for the cannon within a titanium "tub."

Several A-10 aircraft have also been adapted as OA-10 forward air control (FAC) platforms. Typically armed with rocket pods to mark targets and Sidewinder missiles for self-defense, the primary mission of the OA-10 is to locate targets and direct other aircraft in attacking them. The OA-10 is otherwise unchanged from the basic A-10, and both aircraft received few updates after production ceased in the 1980s until about 2005.

Even early in its career, Air Force planners had questioned the usefulness of the A-10 in combat and doubted its ability to survive against modern air defenses. Plans had called for the A-10 fleet to be gradually retired and replaced by the F-16 during the 1990s. However, the A-10 soon proved its worth during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 when the Warthog was credited with destroying over 1,000 Iraqi tanks, 1,200 artillery pieces, and 2,000 other vehicles. Two A-10 pilots also shot down Iraqi helicopters over Kuwait during the conflict.

Despite this success, the A-10 and OA-10 fleet was again in jeopardy of being retired during the late 1990s until its subsequent service in Afghanistan and Iraq again gave the attack plane a new lease on life. Many of the surviving aircraft are being upgraded to the A-10C standard under the Precision Engagement program. This upgrade includes updating the software and cockpit displays of older A-10 aircraft so they can carry the latest generation of guided weapons.

Over 700 examples of the A-10 were originally built for the US Air Force. Many have since been transferred to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves or retired from service. Approximately 350 remained in use by 2004. As the A-10 fleet has been reduced, many of the retired planes have been offered for sale to foreign nations.


In the current version, the aircraft simulation begins with the aircraft powered down.

The electrical power systems and the APU's operation are simulated to a large extent. Mid-air refueling is also implemented.

Several external loads are available and the HUD provides a CCIP .

Electrical power with APU starting procedure

At FlightGear startup, both electrical power and APU are shut down and there is no external power supplied.

You, might see, early on, some needles spinning back on the engines gauges panel and the VSI . this is only a software initialization artifact.

So, look at the right console, there is a panel with 6 switches, that's the Main Electrical Control Panel. Hit Ctrl-c and you will have a view of where to click.

Let's connect the battery: switch on the battery switch. A few indicators should light up, but not all of them. Now with the battery connected you can start the APU.

The APU start/stop switch is located near the throttle on the left console. Switch it on. Now check the APU's tachometer and EGT on the engine gauge panel.

If the APU has started successfuly you should see the EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) rapidly climb to 800/900 °C and then stabilize when the RPMs reach 60%.

Now the APU has sufficient RPMs to provide electrical power through its generator. So let's turn on the APU generator. This one is on the main electrical control panel, upper left corner of the electrical control panel, right console again.

With the APU generator powered up most of the instruments receive electrical power and now the AOA]] indexer lights up and the HSI (the compass) and ADI (artificial horizon) look much better.

At 85% RPM the APU supplies enough bleed air to start the engines.

Engines starting procedure

Now that we have minimum electrical power and bleed air supplied by the APU, starting the engines is straight forward.

Just click on one of the throttle rails (Ctrl-c to see them), the throttle will move from stop to idle and the engine start. Wait for the starting cycle light to turn off, turn on the corresponding generator and repeat with the second engine.

Now the complete electrical circuit is powered and you can stop the APU to save some fuel. It wont be useful anymore. (This could change with future development of engines failures. )

Fuel System

FlightGear A-10 starts with all internal tanks full.

2 wing tanks (left and right), 2 fuselage tanks: left main (aft) linked to left system and right main (forward) linked to right system, up to 3 external tanks (2 wings and 1 fuselage).

Normally the left wing and left main tanks feed the left engine and the APU. The right wing and right main tanks feed the right engine. The two feed lines can be interconnected by opening the cross feed valve (E switch).

The wing boost pumps (G switch) supply the respective engines until the wing tanks are empty, then the wing boost pumps automatically shut off. The main boost pumps then supply the respective engines with the remainder fuel in main tanks.

In case of a wing tank boost pump failure, the wing tank fuel will gravity feed its respective main tank if the main tank fuel level is below 600 lbs. Check valves prevent reverse fuel flow from the main tanks to the wing tanks.

In case of a main tank boost pump failure, the affected engine will suction-feed from the affected tank for all power setting up to an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet.

Unequal fuel level between left (aft) main and right (forward) main tank (imbalance superior 750 lbs) will cause a longitudinal CG shift that may exceed allowable limits. In this case, opening the valve "tank gate" create a link between the two main tanks.

Fuel from the external tanks is transfered to the wing or main tanks by pressure from the bleed air system. Wing tanks can be topped when the fuel level is below 1590 lbs. Main tanks can be topped when the fuel level is below 3034 lbs. The cycling is repeated until fuel is depleted from the external wing tanks first, and external fuselage tank secondly.

For negative G flight, collector tanks will supply the engine with sufficient fuel for 10 seconds operation at MAX power.

With fully loaded fuel tanks and a full load of armament, the A-10 is heavy--about 50,000 pounds. At this weight the plane is quite difficult to fly. Symptoms you would notice are difficult to take off, difficulty gaining altitude, difficult to manoeuvre without triggering stall warnings or actual stalls.

To avoid these problems, if you choose to equip the plane with full armament you may wish to fill the tanks only half full or so--the plane becomes much easier to fly and half fuel is still enough for a reasonably long flight.

The Fuel Control panel is located on the forward part of left console. 1 lever, 4 push buttons and 8 switches are functional.

(A) Fill Disable buttons, left and right wings tanks. Here fill disabled (button up showing red stripe). Refuel disabled for the wings tanks. (B) Fill Disable buttons, left and right main tanks (practically forward and aft fuselage tanks). Here fill enabled (button down hiding red stripe). Refuel enabled for the main tanks. (C) Refuel Receiver Door lever. (D) External Tanks switches, Wings and Fuselage. Set to OFF to un-pressurize external tanks (E) Cross Feed switch, allow any operating boost pump to feed both engines. (F) Tank Gate switch, open a valve linking the left (aft) and right (forward) main fuel tanks. (G) Boost Pumps (Wing) (H) Boost Pumps (Main)

The Head Up Display is turned off by default at aircraft startup. To turn it on electrical power on at least one of the three generator is needed as it isn't wired to the battery.

The HUD Control panel is located on the upper left corner of the main instrument panel. Three knobs are functional.

(A) Mode Selector Switch: OFF, TEST (standard display), NAV (standard display), CCIP (standard display + Countinuous Computed Impact Point), CCRP (standard display), EXP (standard display), STBY (standard display). Actually you will mostly use NAV and CCIP as other modes are not modeled yet. See later in Weapons System about reticles use. (B) INTEN knob: Adjust the HUD luminosity. (C) DEPR knob: Changes the vertical position of the primary aiming reticle in the HUD, There is a digital index in the HUD showing its position, range from -1.00 to 1.00 followed by the letter "D".

Weapons system

Be sure to have energy before trying to use the armament panel. The gun's rounds counter (A) should be lighted in blue and the HUD should be active.

There is actually 2 AIM-9, the GAU9 gatling gun, and MK85 250 pound bombs.

First of all push up the Master Switch to ARM (B).

For the gun, push up the Gun Rate Switch to HI (right of the rounds counter). You should have on the left side of the main panel a red light indicating 'Gun Ready'. Press key 'e' on the keyboard to fire the gun.

For AIM-9, turn (C) the AIM-9 Mode Knob to SEL (click on the right side of the knob). Now a big circle appears on the HUD symbology, that the searching aera of the AIM-9. Now select Pylon #11, you should ear the seeker sound. This sound is audible only when an AIM-9 is available, selected and searching. Press key ',' to fire the AIM-9.

(In Flightgear, the key ',' is usaly used for left brake, in the A-10 a nasal script intercepts the binding for weapons release, this is not a definitive solution).

You can also choose to fly without the AIM-9s and the ECM pod, press Tab or Ctrl-I on the keyboard to display the config menu.


FAIRCHILD Aircraft Manuals PDF

Some FAIRCHILD Aircraft Service Manuals PDF are above the page.

Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. — a former American company — is a designer and manufacturer of aircraft and other aerospace equipment. The headquarters were located at different times in Farmingdale, New York, Hagerstown, Maryland, and San Antonio, Texas.

Military aircraft

Fairchild C-26 Metroliner - tactical military transport aircraft

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II - attack aircraft (716 aircraft built)

Fairchild AC-119 - attack aircraft (52 aircraft built)

Fairchild VZ-5 - an experimental aircraft with vertical take-off and landing

Fairchild XC-120 Packplane - military transport aircraft

Fairchild C-123 Provider - tactical military transport aircraft (built 307 aircraft)

Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar - military transport aircraft (1,183 aircraft built)

Fairchild C-82 Packet - airborne transport aircraft (223 aircraft built)

Fairchild 91 - flying boat (4 aircraft built)

Passenger Aircraft

Fairchild Dornier 728 - prototype air taxi

Fairchild Dornier 428JET - prototype of a regional jet

Fairchild Dornier 328JET - air taxi. 110 aircraft built

Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner is a turboprop airliner. 600 aircraft built

Swearingen Merlin - turboprop business aircraft

Fairchild 228 - Regional jet airliner. 2 aircraft built

Fairchild Hiller FH-227 - a turboprop passenger aircraft. 78 aircraft built

Helicopters

Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 - a turboprop helicopter. 253 helicopters built


Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twin turbofan engine, straight wing jet aircraft developed for the United States Air Force. It is commonly referred to by the nicknames `Warthog’ or `Hog’, although the A-10’s official name comes from the World War II Republic P-47. The A-10 was designed for close air support (CAS) of friendly ground troops, attacking armored vehicles and tanks, and providing quick-action support against enemy ground forces. It entered service in 1976 and is the only production-built aircraft that has served in the USAF that was designed solely for CAS. Its secondary mission is to provide forward air controller – airborne support, by directing other aircraft in attacks on ground targets. Aircraft used primarily in this role are designated OA-10. The A-10 was intended to improve on the performance of the A-1 Skyraider and its lesser firepower and was designed around the 30mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon, more of this later. Its airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds of titanium armour to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying. Its short take-off and landing capability permits operations from airstrips close to the front lines, and its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities. The A-10 served in the Gulf War, where the Warthog distinguished itself. The A-10 also participated in other conflicts such as in Grenada, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and against Islamic State in the Middle East.

The A-10A was the only version produced, though one pre-production airframe was modified into the YA-10B twin-seat prototype to test an all-weather night capable version. In 2005, a program was started to upgrade remaining A-10A aircraft to the A-10C configuration, with modern avionics for use with precision weaponry. The first unit to receive the A-10 was the 355th Tactical Training Wing, based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in March 1976. The first unit to achieve full combat readiness was the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina, in October 1977. Deployments of A-10As followed at bases both at home and abroad, including England AFB, Louisiana Eielson AFB, Alaska Osan Air Base, South Korea and RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge, England. The 81st TFW of RAF Bentwaters/RAF Woodbridge operated rotating detachments of A-10s at four bases in Germany known as Forward Operating Locations Leipheim, Sembach Air Base, Nörvenich Air Base, and RAF Ahlhorn. A-10s were initially an unwelcome addition to many in the Air Force. Most pilots switching to the A-10 did not want to because fighter pilots traditionally favoured speed and appearance. In 1987, many A-10s were shifted to the forward air control (FAC) role and here the OA-10 is typically equipped with up to six pods of 2.75-inch (70mm) Hydra rockets, usually with smoke or white phosphorus warheads used for target marking. OA-10s are physically unchanged and remain fully combat capable despite the redesignation.

A-10s of the 23rd TFW were deployed to Bridgetown, Barbados during Operation `Urgent Fury’, the American Invasion of Grenada. They provided air cover for the U. S. Marine Corps landings on the island of Carriacou in late October 1983 but did not fire their weapons. Although the A-10 can carry a considerable amount of munitions, its primary built-in weapon is, as noted earlier, the 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger autocannon, one of the most powerful aircraft cannons ever flown and fires large depleted uranium armour-piercing shells. The GAU-8 is a hydraulically driven seven-barrel rotary cannon designed specifically for the anti-tank role with a high rate of fire. The cannon’s original design could be switched by the pilot to 2,100 or 4,200 rounds per minute, and this was later changed to a fixed rate of 3,900 rounds per minute. The cannon takes about half a second to reach top speed, so fifty rounds are fired during the first second, sixty-five or seventy rounds per second thereafter. The fuselage itself is built around the cannon, which is mounted slightly to the port side with the barrel on the starboard side at the nine o’clock position, so it is aligned with the aircraft’s centreline. The ammunition drum can hold up to 1,350 rounds of 30 mm ammunition, but generally holds 1,174 rounds. To protect the GAU-8/A rounds from enemy fire, armour plates of differing thicknesses between the aircraft skin and the drum are designed to detonate incoming shells.

The AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missile is a commonly used munition for the A-10, targeted via electro-optical (TV-guided) or infra-red. The Maverick allows target engagement at much greater ranges than the cannon, and thus less risk from anti-aircraft systems. During Operation `Desert Storm’, in the absence of dedicated forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras for night vision, the Maverick’s infrared camera was used for night missions as a `poor man’s FLIR’. Other weapons include cluster bombs and Hydra rocket pods. The A-10 is equipped to carry GPS and laser-guided bombs, such as the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, Paveway series bombs, JDAM, WCMD and glide bomb AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon. A-10s usually fly with an ALQ-131 ECM pod under one wing and two AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles under the other wing for self-defence. Throughout its life, the platform’s software has been upgraded several times, and their original Pave Penny pods have been removed and replaced by the AN/AAQ-28(V)4 LITENING AT targeting pod or Sniper XR targeting pod, which both have laser designators and laser rangefinders. The A-10 is exceptionally tough and is able to survive direct hits from armour-piercing and high-explosive projectiles up to 23mm. It has double-redundant hydraulic flight systems, and a mechanical system as a backup if hydraulics is lost. Flight without hydraulic power uses the manual reversion control system pitch and yaw control engage automatically, roll control is pilot-selected. In manual reversion mode, the A-10 is sufficiently controllable under favourable conditions to return to base, though control forces are greater than normal. The aircraft is designed to be able to fly with one engine, one half of the tail, one elevator, and half of a wing missing. The cockpit and parts of the flight-control system are protected by titanium aircraft armour, that has been tested to withstand strikes from 23mm cannon fire and some strikes from 57mm rounds. Any interior surface of the cockpit directly exposed to the pilot is covered by a multi-layer nylon spall shield to protect against shell fragmentation. The front windscreen and canopy are also resistant to small arms fire.

As noted, the A-10 was used in combat for the first time during the Gulf War in 1991, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces, and also shot down two Iraqi helicopters with the GAU-8 cannon. The first of these was shot down by Captain Robert Swain over Kuwait on 6 February 1991 for the A-10’s first air-to-air victory. Four A-10s were shot down during the war by surface-to-air missiles, and another two battle-damaged A-10s and OA-10As returned to base and were written off, while some sustained additional damage in crash landings. The A-10 had a mission capable rate of 95.7 percent, flew 8,100 sorties, and launched 90 percent of the AGM-65 Maverick missiles fired in the conflict. Shortly after the Gulf War, the Air Force abandoned the idea of replacing the A-10 with a close air support version of the F-16. The A-10 fired approximately 10,000 30 mm rounds in Bosnia in 1994-95 and following the seizure of some heavy weapons by Bosnian Serbs from a warehouse in Ilidza, a series of sorties were launched to locate and destroy the captured equipment. On 5 August 1994, two A-10s located and strafed an anti-tank vehicle. Afterward, the Serbs agreed to return remaining heavy weapons. In August 1995, NATO launched an Operation `Deliberate Force’, and A-10s flew close air support missions, attacking Bosnian Serb artillery and positions. A-10s returned to the Balkan region as part of Operation `Allied Force’ in Kosovo beginning in March 1999, and escorted and supported search and rescue helicopters in finding a downed F-117 pilot. The A-10s were deployed to support search and rescue missions, but over time the Warthogs began to receive more ground attack missions, and they remained in action until late June 1999.

During the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, A-10s did not take part in the initial stages. However, for the campaign against Taliban and Al Qaeda, A-10 squadrons were deployed to Pakistan and Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, beginning in March 2002. These A-10s participated in Operation `Anaconda’. Afterwards, A-10s remained in-country, fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants. Operation `Iraqi Freedom’ began on 20 March 2003with the A-10s again seeing action. A single A-10 was shot down near Baghdad International Airport by Iraqi fire late in the campaign. A-10s also flew thirty-two missions in which the aircraft dropped propaganda leaflets over Iraq. In September 2007, the A-10C with the Precision Engagement Upgrade reached initial operating capability. The A-10C first deployed to Iraq in 2007 with the 104th Fighter Squadron of the Maryland Air National Guard. The A-10C’s digital avionics and communications systems have greatly reduced the time to acquire a close air support target and attack it. In March 2011, six A-10s were deployed as part of Operation `Odyssey Dawn’, the coalition intervention in Libya. As part of Operation `Inherent Resolve’, A-10s to hit IS targets in central and north western Iraq on an almost daily basis. On 15 November 2015, A-10s and AC-130s destroyed a convoy of over 100 ISIL-operated oil tanker trucks in Syria. The attacks were part of an intensification of Operation `Tidal Wave II’ in an attempt to cut off oil smuggling as a source of funding for the group. On 19 January 2018, 12 A-10s from the 303rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron were deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, to provide close-air support.


A-10 Warthog: The Warplane Nobody Wanted

An A-10C Thunderbolt II from the 75th Fighter Squadron honing its skills in the skies over the training ranges at Ft. Irwin, Calif.

The A-10 story is a painful illustration of just how much flag-rank military thinking is driven by ego, selfishness and greed and how little of it is relevant to war-fighting.

In 1972 the Fairchild Republic A-10 came out of the big aluminum womb ugly, misbegotten and ignored. It seemed fated for a life as the awkward stepchild of its F-plane playmates, the pointy-nose F-15 and F-16, eventually to be joined by the rapacious F-22 and voracious, obese F-35.

The Warthog, as the attack airplane came to be known, finally had its day when it was a 19-year-old virgin with a mustache and, yes, warts, about to be put out to pasture. The A-10 was scheduled for retirement—for the first of several times—when the battle against Soviet T-55, T-62 and T-72 tanks that it had been designed to fight finally erupted. Only not in the Fulda Gap but in Kuwait and Iraq, and the tanks belonged to Saddam, not Stalin. It was called Desert Storm and thankfully not World War III, but overnight the ugly stepchild became the most vicious and powerful armor-killer ever to fly.

Ground attack from the air and what’s today called close air support (CAS) has a surprisingly long history (see “The First Ground-Pounders,”). We think of World War I airplanes as dogfighters and balloon-busters, but the Junkers J.I was the world’s first airplane designed from the wheels up for ground attack. Also the world’s first all-metal production aircraft, it was an enormous sesquiplane with a corrugated, Quonset-hut upper wing twice the span of a Sopwith Triplane’s. It had a tall, vertical exhaust stack that made it look like a flying locomotive and, presaging the A-10’s structure, featured an entirely armored cockpit bathtub. Like the Warthog, it too got an unflattering nickname: the “Moving Van,” thanks to its size, weight and 96-mph top speed.

Though J.Is managed to immobilize a few thin-skinned British tanks, the first effective anti-tank aircraft was the Russian Polikarpov I-15, an open-cockpit biplane fighter flown by the Republican Loyalist side in the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War. I-15s carried four wing-mounted, rapid-fire 7.62mm machine guns, and the total of 50 armor-piercing rounds per second could do serious damage to what passed for armor in that era. Several I-15s created enough chaos among Italian tanks advancing on Madrid that the attack was then broken up by Loyalist infantry.

This caught the attention of the Soviets and led to the legendary Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik tank-buster of World War II, an airplane that turned out to be so useful it was produced in greater numbers—more than 36,000—than any other combat aircraft ever built. The Shturmovik also had a heavily armored cockpit plus another valuable characteristic that would show up in the Warthog: It could carry a wide variety of underwing ordnance, including machine guns, cannons, bombs and rockets.

The Germans had also seen the need for a CAS airplane, the Junkers Ju-87 Stuka (see “Screaming Birds of Prey,” from the September 2013 issue). The Luftwaffe’s raison d’être, in fact, was entirely to provide ground support. It was the Wehrmacht’s air arm, and Stukas were initially used as flying artillery working in league with the army’s panzers as they blitzkrieged through Europe. Though the Messerschmitt Me-109 would soon take the title, Stukas were for awhile the most important arrows in the Luftwaffe’s quiver.

Knowing that the Ju-87 was becoming increasingly obsolescent, the Germans tried their best to develop a more modern tank-buster, the little-known Henschel Hs-129. Its parallels with the A-10, however, are interesting. Both airplanes are twin-engine for redundancy, though the Hs-129’s power plants were not very good. Both the Henschel and the A-10 utilized true “armored bathtubs” for cockpit protection—not just steel-plate fuselage skinning but an internal structure that, in the case of the Hs-129, had sloped sides to increase the effective thickness of the armor. And both carried enormous guns. The Hs-129 is said to have been the first airplane to fire a 30mm cannon in anger, and its final version mounted a 75mm cannon.

But what about the A-10 Thunderbolt II, as it’s officially (but rarely) known? Let’s back up and look at what was behind this shotgun marriage of World War II technology, turbofan engines and a massive piece of artillery, the 30mm Gatling gun that became the A-10’s best-known weapon. Has there ever been an airplane conceived under such miserable conditions? The A-10 story is a painful illustration of just how much flag-rank military thinking is driven by ego, selfishness and greed and how little of it is relevant to war-fighting. Dwight Eisenhower had already called its practitioners the military/industrial complex.

When the Air Force was released from its traditional service as an obedient part of the Army in September 1947, it became a separate and independent branch of the armed forces. The brand-new U.S. Air Force immediately foreswore serious duty working for soldiers on the ground. Let the Army and Marine Corps take care of their own, said the Air Force, our job is flying at the speed of heat, gunning enemy jets, making aces and dropping bombs, preferably nuclear. “Not a pound [of airframe weight] for air to ground” became an Air Force fighter-development principle.

This deal was further ratified in March 1948 by the Key West Agreement. The chiefs of staff and Secretary of Defense James Forrestal sat down in, obviously, Key West and agreed that the Navy could keep its tailhookers (some of which the Marines would of course continue to use for close air support), but that the Army was done forever flying fixed-wing aircraft in combat. They were welcome to play with helicopters, which seemed at the time to be of little consequence, but flying real airplanes was the Air Force’s job. The Army could continue to use aircraft for minor logistics, medevac and recon, but no weapons were allowed to be mounted aboard them.

The U.N. “police action” in Korea saw the Air Force grudgingly dedicating its obsolete F-51D and its least effective jet fighters, the Lockheed F-80C and Republic F-84, to the unglamorous job of going down low and helping grunts hold off raging Chicoms and North Koreans. But the most effective CAS missions were flown by Marine F4U Corsairs. Oddly, the Air Force had retired or given to the Air Guard all its P-47s, the workhorse American ground-support airplanes of WWII. No Thunderbolts flew in Korea.

Vietnam was the real wake-up call. North American F-100 Super Sabres and other jets were assigned the CAS mission and did the best they could, but finding targets hidden in thick jungle while flying too fast at altitudes too high with too little fuel to hang around for a second look didn’t work. “One pass, haul ass” became the CAS mantra.

To the dismay of the speed-of-heaters, the Douglas A-1 Skyraider proved to be the most effective CAS airplane of the war. Not only was the Spad old enough to have almost made it into WWII, but it was a Navy plane, forgodsake. Still, it was the best the Air Force could find for CAS.

The Army, meanwhile, was developing helicopter gunships into serious (albeit still vulnerable and delicate) CAS birds. Serious enough, in fact, that in 1966 the Army began work on a ground-up design for an armed and armored attack helicopter, the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne. The Cheyenne was a compound helo, with rigid rotors for VTOL and a pusher prop for pure speed. It was so complex and sophisticated that had it gone into production, each Cheyenne would have cost more than an F-4 Phantom. That will never do, the Air Force said that’s money we should be getting.

The Air Force set out to develop its own fixed-wing close air support machine. Even though they didn’t want the CAS mission, letting the Army take it over was worse. All the brass wanted was for their ground-attack bird to be better and cheaper than the Cheyenne. So began the 1966 A-X (Attack Experimental) program. Six airframers wanted in, but only two were selected: Fairchild Republic and Northrop.

Northrop’s contender, the YA-9, was conventional and unimaginative—its high wings made loading ordnance more difficult, the low-mounted engines were vulnerable to groundfire and a single vertical tail offered neither redundancy nor shielding of the engines’ infrared exhaust signatures. Fairchild Republic, however, had the help of an unusual civilian maverick, French-born systems analyst Pierre Sprey. The Air Force loathed Sprey, for he’d been one of the key developers of the much-reviled “lightweight fighter” that became the F-16 the Air Force preferred the big, expensive, electronics-laden, multiengine F-15.

But Sprey knew the importance of CAS, had some big ideas on how to do it best and had written scholarly papers on the subject. He’d studied the Stuka, and one of his heroes was Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the ultimate ground-attack pilot (with more than 2,000 vehicles, trains, ships, artillery pieces, bridges, aircraft and landing craft destroyed, including 519 tanks). Sprey is said to have required every member of the A-10 design team to read Rudel’s autobiography, Stuka Pilot.

Tasked with leading the A-10 team and writing the specs for the prototype, Sprey interviewed every Vietnam Spad pilot and forward air controller he could find. As a result, he prioritized long loiter time, good range, excellent visibility, low-and-slow maneuverability, survivability and lethal weapons “the very sight of which will turn an enemy soldier’s bowels to water,” wrote Robert Coram in his book Boyd, an excellent study of the “fighter mafia” led by iconoclasts John Boyd and Sprey. Still, as Coram put it, “the A-X was a leprous project led by a pariah.”

Sprey pretty much got his way, since the Air Force simply wanted to put a stake through the Cheyenne’s heart—which they did when the Lockheed program was canceled. Two A-10 features that Sprey didn’t like were its twin engines and enormous size he had wanted a smaller, lighter, more maneuverable airplane than the Warthog turned out to be. After all, it is a single-seat attack aircraft with a wingspan only 5 feet shorter on each side than a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber’s, and fully loaded for a CAS mission an A-10 weighs 6 tons more than a grossed-out B-25.

Yet the A-10 is a simple airplane, and until post-production upgrades beginning in 1989, it even lacked an autopilot—just like a WWII fighter. Nor does it have radar, and the main landing gear is only semi-retractable, like a DC-3’s. Half of each mainwheel protrudes from its fairing in flight, which some have assumed is to enable the Warthog to make safer gear-up landings. That’s true, but the design was really chosen because it allows the wings to remain free of wheel wells, making construction simple, straightforward and strong. Same goes for the protective cockpit structure, which is not a forged bathtub-like piece at all but several plates of titanium bolted together.

By zoomy blue-suiter standards, the A-10 is painfully slow. It can do just over 365 knots but usually flies strikes at 300 knots or less. The typical jokes are that A-10s don’t have instrument panel clocks, they have calendars. And bird strikes from behind are a big risk. (Those of us who flew the original Citation 500 business jet—often referred to as the Slowtation—were subjected to the very same snark.) But if the A-10 has a basic shortcoming, it admittedly is underpowered. A-10 pilots say the airplane has three power-lever positions: off, taxi and max power.

The A-10 was also designed around a specific weapon—the General Electric GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling cannon, which, with its huge 1,174-round ammunition drum (mounted behind the pilot), is as big as a car. It fires 30mm cartridges nearly a foot long, and though its firing rate is typically quoted as 3,900 rounds per minute, that’s a meaningless number. An A-10’s gun is fired for one- or two-second bursts, so a delivery of roughly 60 to 65 rounds per second in intermittent bursts is what “will turn an enemy soldier’s bowels to water.”

The rotating-barrel cannon is mounted exactly on the A-10’s centerline, resulting in the Warthog’s odd stance, with its nose-gear strut displaced well to the right to clear the barrel. A popular myth has it that firing the gun results in recoil so strong it could stall the airplane, but you’d have to be flying just a knot or two above stall speed for that to happen. What is a consideration, however, is that the gun’s recoil is strong enough that any off-centerline positioning of the firing barrel would result in yaw that could cause the firing pattern to be scattershot rather than firehose.

The cannon fires high-explosive and armor-piercing rounds, in addition to target-practice rounds in peacetime. The armor-piercing incendiaries have depleted-uranium cores, which have the advantage of being extremely dense—1.67 times as dense as pure lead—and thus have enormous hitting power. But DU has two other potent characteristics. It is “self-sharpening,” meaning the projectile doesn’t squash or flatten as it pierces armor but fractures and remains relatively pointed. The other is that DU is pyrophoric—it spontaneously ignites upon contact with the air. As an A-10’s DU rounds penetrate a tank’s armor, its fragments, some as tiny as dust, all become intensely incendiary particles scattering through the tank’s interior, with grisly effects on the crew.

By the end of the 1990s, it again seemed the Hog’s day was done. Seven hundred and fifteen A-10s had been built, but the active fleet was down to 390 units, what with weary and excess A-10s sent to the Davis-Monthan boneyard. (Many returned to base almost unflyable, but only seven Warthogs have ever been shot down or crashed due to combat.) Production had been shut down since 1984, and zero effort had been put into coming up with a direct replacement. It looked like the Hog would be makin’ bacon in the boneyard.

But wait. Saddam came back, and now we also had the Taliban to deal with. Hog pilots suited up and headed not to retirement but to the Mideast again, where A-10s continued to rule the anti-armor and CAS roost. The distinctive sound of an A-10’s engines was sometimes enough to make an enemy throw away his weapons and run. If he heard the even more distinctive sound of its GAU, it was already too late.

By 2008, most of the still-active A-10s were C models, with glass cockpits, upgraded sensors, video targeting and many other enhancements. Gone was some of the original Hog’s steam-gauge simplicity. Some pilots didn’t like the optical/FLIR imaging and called the video screen a “face magnet,” sucking the pilot’s view into the cockpit. The most frequently used metaphor was that viewing the battleground through a camera’s eye was “like looking through a soda straw.” Like looking through a toilet paper roll might be closer to the truth, but it was a far cry from a good pilot’s 360-degree physical scan.

Blame Congress and sequestration, not the USAF, but the Air Force has been told to lop a big chunk off its budget. They have chosen to do this by scheduling the A-10 for total retirement in 2015—not by just reducing the fleet size but by eliminating the airplane, the pilots, ground support, training, spare parts supply, logistics, upgrading and every other vestige of the Warthog. Total fleet and infrastructure removal is the only way to save serious money, which in the case of the A-10, the Air Force calculates, will come to $3.7 billion.

But some legislators want the Air Force to find another way to save that money. In May the House Armed Services Committee came up with a defense spending bill that specifically blocked plans to retire the Warthog, and it was approved a month later by the House of Representatives. If the Senate agrees—which as we go to press doesn’t look likely—the A-10 will fly on at least a while longer.

When the Hog does make that final fight to Davis-Monthan, what will replace it for the CAS mission? The Air Force version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Opponents of the way-over-budget F-35 program say that the JSF acronym actually stands for Joke Still Flying, in light of the F-35’s problems and presumed failings, and some have called for its cancellation rather than the A-10’s. But let’s assume the F-35 eventually meets all of its performance targets and goes into service as one of the world’s best fighters can it replace the A-10? The Air Force claims that with sophisticated targeting systems under development and even in existence, there will no longer be a need to get down in the weeds and use binoculars—a favorite Hog pilot tool—to find and identify targets. CAS will necessarily be done from altitude and at speed, since nobody is going to risk a $200 million fighter to small-arms fire.

An excellent article, “Tunnel Vision,” by Andrew Cockburn in the February 2014 issue of Harper’s Magazine, however, described a May 2012 CAS mission by a two-ship of A-10s over Afghanistan, controlled by a video-viewing JTAC (joint terminal attack controller) from a forward position. The JTAC sent the two A-10s to four different grid coordinates, one after the other, in a confused search for Taliban troops supposedly in contact with American forces. At the fourth location, the A-10 flight leader reported that yes, now he could see through his binocs people around a farm building, but there was no sign of weapons or hostile activity. He refused to attack, so the JTAC assigned the CAS mission to a loitering B-1 bomber that used satellite-guided bombs to obliterate an Afghan husband, wife and five children. Apparently, remote targeting systems still need work.

A-10 enthusiasts—including every pilot who has ever flown one in combat—argue that the Warthog is cheap to fly, is already in operation, has substantial loiter capability that the F-35 will lack, is extremely survivable and can put Mark I eyeballs on the target. Only an A-10, they say, can put ordnance “danger close” to ground troops, which in extreme cases means 20 feet away from them. And many A-10s are currently getting brand-new Boeing-built wings and center sections, which will allow them to operate for another quarter-century.

F-35 proponents point out that their airplane is stealthy, which the A-10 definitely isn’t that the A-10 is slow and vulnerable to sophisticated anti-aircraft systems and that, just like the WWII Stuka, it requires air superiority before it enters a target area. A point they especially stress is that the F-35 is a multirole aircraft: It can achieve air superiority, it can bomb and it can do the CAS job. The A-10, they say, is a single-mission aircraft, and the Air Force can no longer afford such specialized machines. (Though there is a forward air control version, the OA-10, it is simply a designator difference, as the airframes are identical and they are all part of the CAS mission.)

Inevitably, the last-generation multimission aircraft, the General Dynamics F-111, is brought up, for the Aardvark was largely a failure, a jack-of-all-trades that was master of none. “If history tells us anything,” Ian Hogg wrote in his book Tank Killing, “it tells us that can openers are better than Swiss army knives for opening cans.”

The A-10 has gone to war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Libya. Where it hasn’t gone to war is Russia, China or North Korea. If we could be guaranteed that our future opponents will be Somalis with AKs or Syrians with RPGs, the A-10 will continue to get the job done at the lowest possible cost. But if the U.S. needs to face off against a wacky Putin or a crazed Kim Jong-un, the stakes will be higher and the weapons vastly more deadly.

Perhaps the F-35 isn’t the perfect mud-mover, but could this be a case of perfect being the enemy of good enough?

For further reading, frequent contributor Stephan Wilkinson recommends: Warthog: Flying the A-10 in the Gulf War, by William L. Smallwood A-10 Thunderbolt II: 21st Century Warthog, by Neil Dundridge Tank Killing, by Ian Hogg and Boyd, by Robert Coram.

This feature originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Aviation History. Subscribe here!


HERITAGE FLIGHT – A-10 THUNDERBOLT II

The U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight (HF) program presents the evolution of USAF air power by flying today’s state-of-the-art fighter aircraft in close formation with vintage fighter aircraft.

An HF performance involves a current USAF fighter piloted by an Air Combat Command trained military HF pilot and flown with a historical warbird piloted by a trained and certified civilian HF pilot. The HF formations of modern fighters flying with World War II, Korean, and Vietnam era fighters such as the P-51 Mustang and F-86 Sabre, dramatically display our U.S. Air Force air power history and proudly support our Air Force’s recruiting and retention efforts. In 2010, the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation (AFHFF) was formed to keep this popular program flying.

FAIRCHILD REPUBLIC A-10 THUNDERBOLT II

The A-10 Thunderbolt II has excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude, and is a highly accurate and survivable weapons-delivery platform. The aircraft can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time and operate in low ceiling and visibility conditions. The 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 pilots can conduct their missions during darkness.

Thunderbolt IIs have Night Vision Imaging Systems, or NVIS, goggle compatible single-seat cockpits forward of their wings and a large bubble canopy which provides pilots all-around vision. The pilots are protected by titanium armor that also protects parts of the flight-control system. The redundant primary structural sections allow the aircraft to enjoy better survivability during close air support than did previous aircraft. The aircraft can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 23mm. Their self-sealing fuel cells are protected by internal and external foam. Manual systems back up their redundant hydraulic flight-control systems. This permits pilots to fly and land when hydraulic power is lost.

The A-10 has received many upgrades over the years. In 1978, the aircraft received the Pave Penny laser receiver pod, which sensed reflected laser radiation from a laser designator. Pave Penney has now been discontinued in favor more capable advanced targeting pods. The A-10 began receiving an inertial navigation system in 1980. Later, the Low-Altitude Safety and Targeting Enhancement (LASTE) upgrade provided computerized weapon-aiming equipment, an autopilot, and a ground-collision warning system. In 1999, aircraft began to receive Global Positioning System navigation systems and a new multi-function display. In 2005, the entire A-10 fleet began receiving the Precision Engagement upgrades that include an improved fire control system (FCS), electronic countermeasures (ECM), upgraded cockpit displays, the ability to deliver smart bombs, moving map display, hands on throttle and stick, digital stores management, LITENING and Sniper advanced targeting pod integration, situational awareness data link or SADL, variable message format, or VMF, GPS-guided weapons, and upgraded DC power. The entire A-10 fleet has been Precision Engagement modified and now carries the A-10C designation.

The Thunderbolt II can be serviced and operated from austere bases with limited facilities near battle areas. Many of the aircraft’s parts are interchangeable left and right, including the engines, main landing gear and vertical stabilizers. Avionics equipment includes multi-band communications Global Positioning System and inertial navigations systems infrared and electronic countermeasures against air-to-air and air-to-surface threats. And, it has a heads-up display to display flight and weapons delivery information.

The Thunderbolt II can employ a wide variety of conventional munitions, including general purpose bombs, cluster bomb units, laser guided bombs, joint direct attack munitions or JDAM, wind corrected munitions dispenser or WCMD, AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, rockets, illumination flares, and the GAU-8/A 30mm cannon, capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute to defeat a wide variety of targets including tanks.
Background

The first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in October 1975. The upgraded A-10C reached initial operation capability in September 2007. Specifically designed for close air support, its combination of large and varied ordnance load, long loiter time, accurate weapons delivery, austere field capability, and survivability has proven invaluable to the United States and its allies. The aircraft has participated in operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Provide Comfort, Desert Fox, Noble Anvil, Deny Flight, Deliberate Guard, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

General Characteristics
Primary Function: Close air support, Airborne Forward Air Control, Combat Search and Rescue
Contractor: Fairchild Republic Co.
Power Plant: Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans
Thrust: 9,065 pounds each engine
Wingspan: 57 feet, 6 inches (17.42 meters)
Length: 53 feet, 4 inches (16.16 meters)
Height: 14 feet, 8 inches (4.42 meters)
Weight: 29,000 pounds (13,154 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 51,000 pounds (22,950 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: 11,000 pounds (7,257 kilograms)
Payload: 16,000 pounds (7,257 kilograms)
Speed: 450 nautical miles per hour (Mach 0.75)
Range: 2580 miles (2240 nautical miles)
Ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,636 meters)
Armament: One 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun up to 16,000 pounds (7,200 kilograms) of mixed ordnance on eight under-wing and three under-fuselage pylon stations, including 500 pound (225 kilograms) Mk-82 and 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) Mk-84 series low/high drag bombs, incendiary cluster bombs, combined effects munitions, mine dispensing munitions, AGM-65 Maverick missiles and laser-guided/electro-optically guided bombs infrared countermeasure flares electronic countermeasure chaff jammer pods 2.75-inch (6.99 centimeters) rockets illumination flares and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
Crew: One
Unit Cost: $11.8 million (1994 dollars)
Initial operating capability: A-10A, 1977 A-10C, 2007
Inventory: Active force, 187 Reserve, 49 ANG, 107


A-10A “Thunderbolt II”

BY FAIRCHILD REPUBLIC

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 WWII. 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 ground targets, but specifically tanks and other armored vehicles. The Thunderbolt II’s great endurance gives it a large combat radius and/or long loiter time in the battle area. Its short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability permits operating from airstrips close to front lines. Service at forward base areas with limited facilities is possible because of the A-10’s simplicity of design.

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

The A-10 on display was delivered to the USAF in July 1977 to the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina. It later flew with the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing and Tactical Training Wing at Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona before being retired from active flying service in June 1992. It was later transferred to the Eielson AFB, Alaska to serve as maintenance instructional trainer before being flown via C-5 transport to Robins AFB for display at the Museum of Aviation in 2007.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Span: 57 ft. 6 in.
Length: 53 ft. 4 in.
Height: 17 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 TF-34-GE-100 turbofans of 9,000 lbs. thrust ea.
Crew: One
Cost: $2,400,000
Serial Number: 75-305

PERFORMANCE:
Maximum speed: 450 mph.
Cruising speed: 335 mph.
Range: 2,900 miles
Service ceiling: 44,200 ft.


Fantastic Plane, Better Pilot – Kim Campbell Brings Her A10 Warthog Home Heavily Damaged

The American A-10 is one tough plane. Its official name is “Thunderbolt II,” but its nickname is “Warthog.” This plane has been scheduled for decommissioning several times, and each time members of the Defense Department and the branches of the military which fly it have come to its aid. The plane began flying missions in the 1970s and A-10s are still flying support for American troops throughout the world.

The Warthog is tough in another way. Like its historical predecessor, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of WWII (nicknamed the “Jug”), the A-10 can take a lot of punishment. The Warthog is even made by a commercial descendant of the Republic Aviation Company, Fairchild Republic.

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt

Both planes were sturdily made, to say the least. In WWII, the P-47 frequently came home with big chunks taken out of its tail, damage to its wings, and numerous bullet holes in its fuselage.

The A-10’s pilot is encased in a titanium protected cockpit, its engines are located above the fuselage in the tail, it has a number of built-in redundancies in case of damage (for instance, its hydraulic system), and it gives less of a heat signature than similar planes would.

US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft on the tarmac of Volkel airbase.

Both planes were designed to be “tank busters” and carried the armament to do a great deal of damage. The P-47 went through a number of variants during WWII, but among their weapons were eight .50 caliber machine guns, rockets, and up to 2,500 lbs of bombs.

This A-10 piloted by Captain Kim Campbell suffered extensive damage during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, including damage to the hydraulic system, but she flew it safely back to base on manual reversion mode.

The A-10 can carry a variety of weapons, but its most famous armament is the 30mm cannon which it carries in its nose. This weapon fires a depleted uranium shell and can open most tanks like a can opener.

In the space of one day during the first Gulf War, A-10s destroyed over 20 Iraqi tanks. Other armaments include a variety of bombs (specialized according to mission) and missiles.

An A-10 from the 81st Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base (Germany) fully armed.

The other thing the planes have in common is that their pilots are tough. While the combat pilots of WWII were men, A-10s and other combat aircraft have been flown by women for some time now. One of those women was Colonel (then Captain) Kim Campbell, who flew an A-10 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

USAF Pilot Kim Campbell looks at her damaged A-10 Warthog which she landed at her base after a mission over Baghdad in 2003.

On April 7, 2003, Campbell was flying in support of troops on the ground and looking for opportunistic targets, such as the many AAA anti-aircraft batteries the Iraqis had in the city. As she was about to return home, Campbell felt and heard her aircraft get hit.

There was a loud bang. The A-10 rolled to its left and headed downward. She attempted to get her plane back under control by punching in commands on her flight computer, but it did not respond. Her hydraulics were out.

An A-10 firing its 30 mm GAU-8 Gatling gun during testing

Captain Campbell knew one thing: she did not want to crash land or bail out over Baghdad. If she was “lucky” she would be held prisoner for propaganda value, tortured, probably raped, and executed. If she was “unlucky” she would be mobbed at the scene and torn apart. Neither alternative had any positives.

A-10A after Operation Desert Storm, 1992

So, Campbell flew her Warthog under what is known as “manual reversion,” meaning that all of the hydraulics which made flying the plane so much easier were out.

She faced a struggle to get the plane back home manually. Imagine an 18-wheel semi truck with no power steering on a rainy road, and you’ll have some idea. Throw in people shooting at you from the ground, and you’ll have a better idea of what Captain Campbell was up against.

Arkansas Air National Guard A-10C firing an AGM-65 air-to-surface missile on a firing range at Davis-Monthan AFB

Landing the plane might have been the hardest part. Campbell was interviewed later and said: “The jet was performing exceptionally well.

I had no doubt in my mind I was going to land that airplane… When you lose all the hydraulics, you don’t have speed brakes, you don’t have brakes, and you don’t have steering.” The Air Force Chief of Staff later said: “She’s one of the few pilots who ever landed the A-10 in the manual mode.”

An A-10 Thunderbolt II from the 23rd Fighter Group while flying over Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom

When she returned to base, the captain and her flight crew took a good look at her plane. One engine was chewed up, as was the hydraulic system. Hundreds of shrapnel holes dotted the air-frame, and large chunks of the stabilizer were missing.

Those who fly will understand just how difficult landing that plane was. The A-10, for all of its brute strength, is not the most graceful machine on the planet.

An A-10 Thunderbolt II, assigned to the 74th Fighter Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, GA, returns to mission after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker, 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, over the skies of Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, May 8, 2011.

For her efforts, Captain Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. She later went on to fly combat missions in Afghanistan.

A Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft in flight at the Great Lakes International Air Show

A10 Thunderbolt

An Air Force A-10 Warthog: Thunderbolt II fighter jet parked on a runway in Moody AFB. This A-10 attack jet belongs to the 74th Fighter Squadron.

An Air Force A-10 Warthog: Thunderbolt II fighter jet parked on a runway in Tampa, FL in March 2016. This A-10 attack jet belongs to the 442nd Fighter Wing of Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC).

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II ‘Warthog’ fighter aircraft take-off at the 2017 Los Angeles Air Show in Los Angeles, California.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II at Langley AFB

The A-10 Thunderbolt II displayed at Langley AFB

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II performing airshow routine at the Langley Air Force Base located in Hampton, VA

USAF A-10A THUNDERBOLT on display Royal Netherlands Air Force Days


Watch the video: Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II Single EDF - Slow speed tests (January 2022).