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 World War II (though this A-10 type also is known as the "Warthog"). The A-10 was in competition with the Northrop A-9A for the ground support role that has always been an important mission for the US Air Force.
The A-10 is designed for maneuverability at low speeds and low altitudes, and for accurate weapons delivery. It carries systems and armor to permit it to survive in this environment and is intended for use against all ground targets, specifically tanks and other armored vehicles. The Thunderbolts great endurance gives it a large combat radius and/or long loiter time in a battle area. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines. Service at forward area bases with limited facilities is possible because of the A-10s simplicity of design.
The first prototype Thunderbolt II made its initial flight on Many may 10, 1972. A-10A production commenced in 1975 Delivery of aircraft to USAF units began in 1976 and ended in 1984.
The A-10A on display here at the end of the thumbnails was flown on January 21, 1991 by Captain Paul Johnson on an eight-hour rescue support mission during Operation Desert Storm for which he was awarded the Air Force Cross, the Air Force's second highest award for valor.
More A-10 Thinderboldt II info..
Nation of Orgin: USA
Contractor: Fairchild Republic Co.
Type: close air support, airborne forward air control
Length: 53 feet, 4 inches (16.16 m)
Height: 14 feet, 8 inches (4.42 m)
Wing span: 57 ft, 6 in (17.42 m)
Max T-O Weight: 51,000 lbs (22,950 kg)
Engine: Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans
Max. speed: 450 mph (391 knots/Mach 0.56)
Ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,636 m)
Range: 2,900 statute miles (2,520 nautical miles)
Armament: One 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun; 16,000 pounds (7,200 kg) on eleven hardpoints including infrared countermeasure flares, electronic countermeasure chaff, jammer pods, 2.75-inch (6.99 centimeters) rockets, illumination flares, MK-82, MK-84, MK77, MK20 Rockeye II, CBU-52, CBU-58, CBU-71, CBU-87, CBU-89, CBU-97, BL755, AGM-65 Maverick, GBU-10, GBU-12, AIM-9 Sidewinder