A-10 Thunderbolt II

938da8b726d39e3daeec4860f2d306ef4cd6fe82.jpgThe A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. The A-10 was designed for a U.S. Air Force requirement to provide close air support (CAS) for ground forces by attacking tanks, armored vehicles, and other ground targets with limited air interdiction capability. It is the first U.S. Air Force aircraft designed exclusively for close air support.

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The A-10 was designed around the GAU-8 Avenger, a heavy automatic cannon that forms the aircraft’s primary armament. The aircraft’s hull incorporates over 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of armor and was designed with survivability as a priority, with protective measures in place that enable the aircraft to continue flying even after taking significant damage.


The A-10’s official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of World War II, a fighter that was particularly effective at close air support. The A-10 is more commonly known by its nickname “Warthog” or simply “Hog.”  As a secondary mission, it provides airborne forward air control, guiding other aircrafts against ground targets. A-10s used primarily in this role are designated OA-10. The A-10 is expected to be replaced in 2028 or later.

General Ccharacteristics of the A-10 Thunderbolt II

  • Crew: 1z
  • Length: 53 ft 4 in (16.26 m)
  • Wingspan: 57 ft 6 in (17.53 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 8 in (4.47 m)
  • Wing area: 506 ft² (47.0 m²)
  • Airfoil: NACA 6716 root, NACA 6713 tip
  • Empty weight: 24,959 lb (11,321 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 30,384 lb (13,782 kg); On CAS mission: 47,094 lb (21,361 kg); On anti-armor mission: 42,071 lb (19,083 kg
  • Max takeoff weight: 50,000 lb (23,000 kg)
  • Power plant: 2× General Electric TF34-GE-100A turbofans, 9,065 lbf (40.32 kN) each


A-10 Thunderbolt II
Performance

  • Never exceed speed: 450 knots (518 mph, 833 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,500 m) with 18 Mk 82 bombs
  • Maximum speed: 381 knots (439 mph, 706 km/h) at sea level, clean
  • Cruise speed: 300 knots (340 mph, 560 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 120 knots (138 mph, 220 km/h)
  • Combat radius:
  • On CAS mission: 250 nmi (288 mi, 460 km) at 1.88 hour single-engine loiter at 5,000 ft (1,500 m), 10 min combat
  • On anti-armor mission: 252 nmi (290 mi, 467 km), 40 nm (45 mi, 75 km) sea-level penetration and exit, 30 min combat
  • Ferry range: 2,240 nmi (2,580 mi, 4,150 km) with 50 knot (55 mph, 90 km/h) headwinds, 20 minutes reserve
  • Service ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,700 m)
  • Rate of climb: 6,000 ft/min (30 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 99 lb/ft² (482 kg/m²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.36

A-10 Thunderbolt II Armament

  • Guns: 1× 30 mm (1.18 in) GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling cannon with 1,174 rounds
  • Hard points: 11 (8× under-wing and 3× under-fuselage pylon stations) with a capacity of 16,000 lb (7,260 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:
  • Rockets:
  • 4× LAU-61/LAU-68 rocket pods (each with 19× / 7× Hydra 70 mm rockets, respectively)
  • 4× LAU-5003 rocket pods (each with 19× CRV7 70 mm rockets)
  • 6× LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4× 127 mm (5.0 in) Zuni rockets)
  • Missiles:
  • 2× AIM-9 Sidewinders air-to-air missiles for self-defense
  • 8× AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles
  • Bombs:
  • Mark 80 series of unguided iron bombs or
  • Mk 77 incendiary bombs or
  • BLU-1, BLU-27/B Rockeye II, Mk20, BL-755 and CBU-52/58/71/87/89/97 cluster bombs or
  • Pave way series of Laser-guided bombs or
  • Joint Direct Attack Munitions (A-10C) or
  • Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (A-10C)
  • Other:
  • SUU-42A/A Flares/Infrared decoys and chaff dispenser pod or
  • AN/ALQ-131 & AN/ALQ-184 ECM pods or
  • Lockheed Martin Sniper XR & LITENING targeting pods (A-10C) or
  • 2× 600 US gallon Sergeant Fletcher drop tanks for extended range/loitering time.

A-10 Thunderbolt II Avionics

  • AN/AAS-35(V) Pave Penny laser tracker pod (mounted beneath right side of cockpit) for use with Pave way LGBs
  • Head-up display (HUD) for improved technical flying and air-to-ground support.

A-10 Thunderbolt II Nicknames

The A-10 Thunderbolt II received its popular nickname “Warthog” from the pilots and crews of the USAF attack squadrons who flew and maintained it. The A-10 is the last of Republic’s jet attack aircraft to serve with the USAF. The Republic F-84 Thunder jet was nicknamed the “Hog,” F-84F Thunder streak nicknamed “Super Hog,” and the Republic F-105 Thunder chief tagged “Ultra Hog.” A less common nickname is the “Tank Buster.”  The saying “Go Ugly Early” has been associated with the aircraft in reference to calling in the A-10 early in combat.

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