U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II
Specially designed for close air support, the A-10 Thunderbolt II has excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude as well as a highly accurate weapons-delivery system. The venerable Warthog, dubbed for its unglamorous appearance, came into the Air Force inventory in 1975 and no one guessed that it would still be a valuable asset in 2017. With several upgrades through the years, it’s one tough fighter as the Warthog can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 23mm and fly when hydraulic power is lost. Known as the “tank buster”, the Thunderbolt has contributed in many military operations including Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The A-10 Thunderbolt is nicknamed the Warthog!
- The A-10 is the only U.S. Air Force production aircraft designed solely for close air support of ground forces!
- The Warthog’s cockpit is surrounded by 1,200 pounds of titanium which is known as the “bathtub”!
- It was designed to fly with one engine, one tail, one elevator, and half of one wing missing!
- The A-10 carries the heaviest automatic cannon ever mounted on an aircraft. The 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger takes up about 16 percent of the aircraft’s weight!
- The 30 mm gun shoots depleted uranium shells at a rate of 3,900 rounds per minute!
- To allow room for the 30 mm gun, the front landing gear on the aircraft is offset!
- The Air Force was originally planning to retire the A-10 in 2018, but instead decided to keep the aircraft around until at least 2028!
A-10 THUNDERBOLT II FAST FACTS:
Engines: Two GE TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines
Thrust: 9,065 pounds per engine
Wingspan: 57 feet, 6 inche
Length: 53 feet, 4 inches
Height: 14 feet, 8 in
Speed: 515 MPH
Weight: 29,000 pounds
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 51,000 pounds
Range: 2,580 miles
Ceiling: 45,000 feet
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 pound (225 kilograms) Mk-82 and 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) Mk-84 series low/high drag bombs, incendiary cluster bombs, combined effects munitions, mine dispensing munitions, AGM-65 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 Sidewinder missiles.
Unit Cost: $18.8 million