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Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II


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Soupeod

 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Republic_A-10_Thunderbolt_II

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An A-10 from the 74th Fighter Squadron after taking on fuel over Afghanistan

Role Fixed-wing close air support, forward air control, and ground-attack aircraft

National origin United States

Manufacturer Fairchild Republic

First flight 10 May 1972; 48 years ago

Introduction October 1977[1]

Status In service

Primary user United States Air Force

Produced1972–1984[2]

Number built 716[3]

Unit cost

US$18.8 million [4]
(approx. $46.3M today)

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twin turbofan engine, straight wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic for the United States Air Force (USAF). It is commonly referred to by the nicknames "Warthog" or "Hog", although the A-10's official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, a World War II fighter-bomber effective at attacking ground targets.[5] 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. The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon. Its airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines, and its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities. The A-10 served in the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), the American led intervention against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, where the A-10 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 single-seat variant 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 U.S. Air Force had stated the F-35 would replace the A-10 as it entered service, but this remains highly contentious within the USAF and in political circles. With a variety of upgrades and wing replacements, the A-10's service life can be extended to 2040; the service has no planned retirement date as of June 2017.

 

 

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Headshot

The bean counters in the USAF have always wanted one plane that could do everything. Of course, they were hoping the F-35 would be that plane. It isn't. It will never replace the A-10 any more than the F-16 replaced the A-10. The A-10 is purpose-built attack aircraft for close-in ground support. The F-16 and F-35 were built as multi-purpose fighters. They are both fairly good as high altitude fighters, and using smart bombs, they are fairly deadly on ground targets from high altitude.

However, because both the F-18 and F-35 have single engines. one lucky BB in the engine from ground fire, and they will shortly head for the ground, with the pilot left hanging under a parachute. They are unsuited for ground attack. Fighter pilots like to fly balls-to-the-walls, and high speed doesn't make for good accuracy at low altitude. The A-10 was built to take a licking and keep on ticking. Take out one engine, and the A-10 continues to fly. Many A-10's have received heavy battle damage during combat and continued to complete their mission before returning to base.

I was at Hill AFB, which is the depot for the A-10, and I can attest to the deadly nature of the A-10 and its ability to stay on-target and deliver strikes to targets on the ground. The A-10 has always been a much more accurate weapons platform than the F-16 or the F-35. On strikes to armored targets on the range, the A-10 had a consistent kill rate over 90%, whereas the F-16 and F-35 had kill rates about 10%.

I hope that the A-10 is around long enough for the USAF leadership to pull their heads out of their asses and come up with a real replacement (or just restart production on the A-10). This is the best fixed-wing ground attack aircraft ever built.

Edited by Headshot
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to_dave007

Isn't the A10 also a lot cheaper than the F35?

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4 minutes ago, to_dave007 said:

Isn't the A10 also a lot cheaper than the F35?

You can have a squadron of A-10's for the cost of an F-35.

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Salty Dog
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Lawmakers Just Saved Dozens of A-10 Warthogs from the Boneyard

9 Dec 2020
Task & Purpose | By Jared Keller

The Air Force may be desperate to retire a significant chunk of its A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet, but lawmakers have other ideas.

The service sought to retire 44 A-10 "Warthogs," or three squadrons worth, of the service's total fleet of 281 ground attack aircraft as part of its fiscal year 2021 budget request.

But unfortunately for the service, Congress has stipulated in this year's 2021 National Defense Authorization Act — which is currently headed to President Donald Trump's desk — that no defense funds can be used to divest or retire any A-10s in the fleet.

The legislation "prohibits the divestment of aircraft until the minima are reached to ensure that [the] Air Force can meet [National Defense Strategy] and combatant command requirements," according to the Senate version of the NDAA.

First added to the Air Force inventory back in 1976, this isn't the first time that the Air Force has sought to reduce its fleet of the beloved A-10 aircraft in the last several years.

Indeed, last year's NDAA included full funding for Warthog upgrades, including a broad re-winging effort, rather than ground the aging airframes.

This year's effort to preserve the current A-10 fleet comes after the Air Force completed installing new wings on 173 of the service's existing aircraft as part of a Boeing contract signed way back in 2007.

Boeing subsequently locked down a $999 million contract to continue building the replacement wings necessary to keep the service's remaining 100-plus A-10s flying into the early 2030s, as Defense News reported at the time.

The service's A-10s are also currently in the middle of a major effort to enhance the already-beastly lethality of the close air support workhorse as part of the Common Fleet Initiative (CFI) initiated in August 2018.

Those enhancements include a new high-definition cockpit display to improve the A-10's ability to find and fix targets from greater distances, jam-resistant GPS, an improved communication suite, and integrating the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB I) on all A-10 airframes, as Task & Purpose previously reported.

In addition, military aviation magazine Combat Aircraft reported at the time new "multi-target engagement capability" will make the A-10 "theoretically … able to target 18 weapons individually" while hauling four SDBs on a single hardpoint.

"GBU-39 munitions have proven to be highly-desired weapons in ongoing conflicts, and the addition of this weapon to the A-10's arsenal will greatly improve the flexibility of ground commanders," Alexi Worley, an Air Combat Command spokesman, told Task & Purpose at the time.

"Adding the GBU-39 will continue efforts to keep the A-10 relevant in ongoing and future conflicts, where versatility in weaponeering is critical to meeting ground commander needs."

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/12/09/lawmakers-just-saved-dozens-of-10-warthogs-boneyard.html

 

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4 GBU-39 (250 lbs) smart bombs replace one typ 2,000 lb bomb. Don't need 2,000 lbs for most targets.  https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/104573/gbu-39b-small-diameter-bomb-weapon-system/

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/chart-shows-hourly-cost-of-military-aircraft-2014-12/

A-4 / A-10 - "low, slow, ready to go" different wars - same motto .

image.png.8f8cfd60eacd62a55a24387dcca782ab.png

 

Edited by lamoe
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The cost of an A-10 is 1/7 that of a F-22 - couldn't find it but the maintenance hours are probably of similar disparity  as the A-4 vs F-4 of my era.

The motto refers to their typ attack altitude, speed, and low maintenance hours which translate into "ready to go" while the fighters are still being worked on.

BTW was estimated the F-35 routinely needed 50 hours of maintenance for every hour flown.

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Soupeod

The A-10 is a flying tank and NO other aircraft offer this close air support capability. 

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Salty Dog
13 hours ago, Soupeod said:

The A-10 is a flying tank and NO other aircraft offer this close air support capability. 

Airwolf was pretty impressive with a top speed of 1,535 mph (Mach 2)

Armament: 30 mm Cannon (×2), .50 BMG Chain gun (×4) firing up to 40 rounds per sec. AGM-12 Bullpup missiles (×2), AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles (×12), AIM-95 Agile missiles (×4), AGM-45 Shrike missiles, M712 Copperhead shells, FIM-43 Redeye missiles, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.

And that was nearly 30 years ago... :P

 

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