Ed's Jachtvliegtuigen

Home of the fighters.

A-10 Thunderbolt

Battlefield tank-killer, heavily armoured and built around a powerful 30mm gun and its enormous munition drum. The large unswept wing, the two turbofan engines in pods on top of the fuselage, and twin tailfins are all designed to keep the A-10 flying after suffering serious damage. The cockpit is armoured to resist 23mm rounds. It seems that its career is going to be rather short, because the USAF now prefers faster and less specialized aircraft for the combat support role. The USAF bought 727.


Background

The first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ., 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 used there

Features

The A-10 and 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.

Thunderbolt IIs have 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.