The A-10/OA-10 have excellent maneuverability
at low air speeds and altitude, and are highly accurate weapons-delivery platforms.
They can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time and operate under
1,000-foot ceilings (303.3 meters) with 1.5-mile (2.4 kilometers) visibility.
Their 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/ OA-10
pilots can conduct their missions during darkness.
Thunderbolt IIs have
Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS), compatible single-seat cockpits forward of
their wings and a large bubble canopy which provides pilots all-around vision.
The pilots are encircled 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. Their redundant hydraulic flight-control systems are backed up by manual
systems. This permits pilots to fly and land when hydraulic power is lost.
Thunderbolt II can be serviced and operated from 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.
equipment includes communications, inertial navigation systems, fire control and
weapons delivery systems, target penetration aids and night vision goggles. Their
weapons delivery systems include head-up displays that indicate airspeed, altitude
and dive angle on the windscreen, a low altitude safety and targeting enhancement
system (LASTE) which provides constantly computing impact point freefall ordnance
delivery; and Pave Penny laser-tracking pods under the fuselage. The aircraft
also have armament control panels, and infrared and electronic countermeasures
to handle surface-to-air-missile threats.
The Thunderbolt II's 30mm GAU-8/A
Gatling gun can fire 3,900 rounds a minute and can defeat an array of ground targets
to include tanks. Some of their other equipment includes an inertial navigation
system, electronic countermeasures, target penetration aids, self-protection systems,
and AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in
October 1975. It was designed specially for the close air support mission and
had the ability to combine large military loads, long loiter and wide combat radius,
which proved to be vital assets to America and its allies during Operation Desert
Storm. In the Gulf War, A-10s, with a mission capable rate of 95.7 percent, flew
8,100 sorties and launched 90 percent of the AGM-65 Maverick missiles.
Primary Function: A-10 -- close air support, OA-10 -
airborne forward aircontrol.
Contractor: Fairchild Republic Co.
Plant: Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans
Thrust: 9,065 pounds (4079.25
kilograms) each engine
Length: 53 feet, 4 inches (16.16 meters)
14 feet, 8 inches (4.42 meters)
Wingspan: 57 feet, 6 inches (17.42 meters)
420 miles per hour (Mach 0.56)
Ceiling: 1,000 feet (303 meters)
Takeoff Weight: 51,000 pounds (22,950 kilograms)
Range: 288 miles (250 nautical
miles) carrying 9,500 pounds (4,275 kilograms) of weapons and with a 1.7-hour
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 pounds (225 kilograms) of retarded
bombs, 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) of general-purpose bombs, incendiary and Rockeye
II cluster bombs, combined effects munitions, 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
Date Deployed: March 1976
Cost: $8.8 million
Inventory: Active force, A-10, 72 and OA-10, 72; Reserve,
A-10, 24 and OA-10, 12; ANG, A-10, 64 and OA-10, 30
Point Of Contact:
Combat Command, Public Affairs Office; 115 Thompson Street, Suite 211; Langley
AFB, VA 23667; DSN 574-5014 or (804) 674-5014, e-mail email@example.com
Top USAF Photo by TSgt Fernando Serna