Who developed the A-10?
Both Fairchild Republic and Northrup developed prototypes to replace the Korean War-era Skyraider. Thanks to its superior, low-altitude maneuverability and mission-capable prowess, Fairchild’s A-10 was ultimately chosen.
Why is the A-10 called the Thunderbolt II?
The A-10 was named for its infamous WWII predecessor, the P-47 Thunderbolt, a fighter bomber that was resistant to battle damage and remained an effective fighter, that also excelled in close-air support with its 8 .50-caliber machine guns.
When was the A-10 produced?
The A-10 was in production for the United States Air Force (USAF) between 1972 and 1984, with over 700 airframes being completed. The A-10 entered service at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB) in March 1976. Through numerous upgrades and retrofits, including all new wings, the airframe is likely to remain in service through 2040.
What’s the main gun on the A-10?
The A-10 was specifically built around the 30x173mm GAU-8/A Avenger autocannon, aka the Gatling gun, firing 30mm depleted uranium, armor-piercing rounds. With a firing rate of just over 61 rounds per second, the A-10 is world renowned for its “BRRRRT.”
How big is the A-10’s gun?
The GAU-8 measures an impressive 19 feet by 10 1/2 inches and is so massive that the A-10’s front landing gear is offset to accommodate it. This includes the near five-foot magazine drum that typically carries 1,174 rounds. The cannon is so large, it accounts for roughly 16% of the aircraft’s total, unarmed weight.
What’s so special about the GAU-8?
The Gatling gun is a hydraulically-driven, seven-barrel, rotary cannon with a fixed rate of 3,900 rounds per minute with 80 percent accuracy inside a 40-foot radius. With this weapon the aircraft earned the moniker “tank buster,” for its ability to quickly destroy enemy armor.
How big is the A-10?
At 53 feet 4 inches long with a wingspan of 57 feet 6 inches, the A-10 is almost as long as it is wide. It weighs 12 tons and, including the GAU-8/A autocannon, carries up to 13 tons of armament.
How tough is the A-10?
Designed to absorb significant damage and maintain airworthiness, the A-10 can fly with one engine, one tail and half of one wing missing. It also has redundant hydraulic systems to offset any significant damage. It’s tough exterior also extends to its design, as many of the A-10’s internal systems can be mounted on either the left or right side to make repairs simpler.
Why is the A-10 a close-air support aircraft?
The A-10s have excellent maneuverability at low airspeeds and altitude and are highly accurate weapons-delivery platforms. They can loiter at low elevation (under 1,000 feet) near battle areas for extended periods of time. Straight, large wings and a wide wheelbase give the A-10 its short takeoff and landing capability that permits operations near front lines.
What’s “the bathtub”?
The A-10 cockpit and flight control systems are surrounded by 12,000 pounds of protective, titanium armor nicknamed “the bathtub.” It’s capable of withstanding 23mm, armor-piercing rounds, keeping the pilot from harm’s way and increasing the aircraft’s overall survivability from small arms fire.
When was the A-10’s first deployment?
The A-10’s first time in combat was during the 1991 Gulf War where it destroyed more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 1200 artillery and 2,000 other military vehicles. Since then, the A-10 has seen its fair share of military action in other conflicts including Grenada, the Balkans and Afghanistan.
Why is the A-10 called the “Warthog”?
Due to its aggressive appearance, and regularly being given tooth-filled nose-art, soldiers and airmen took to affectionately calling the A-10 the “Warthog.”