Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II
From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine
|Fairchild A-10A Thunderbolt II|
|First Flight||May 20th, 1972|
|Entered Service||November 25th, 1975|
|Length||16.26 m||54 ft 6 in|
|Wingspan||17.53 m||57 ft 6 in|
|Height||4.47 m||14 ft 8 in|
|Wing area||47.0 m²||506 ft²|
|Empty||11,321 kg||24,959 lb|
|Loaded (CAS mission)||21,361 kg||47,094 lb|
|Maximum takeoff weight||23,000 kg||50,000 lb|
|Capacity||7,200 kg / 16,000 lbs weapons|
|Engines||two General Electric TF34-GE-100A|
|Thrust||40.32 kN (each)||9,065 lbf (each)|
|Maximum speed||833 km/h||518 mph|
|Operational range||460 km||288 miles (CAS, 2h loiter)|
|Service ceiling||13,700 m||35,000 ft|
|Rate of climb||30 m/min||6,000 ft/min|
|Armament||General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm gun with 1,174 PGU-13/B High Explosive Incendiary or PGU-14/B Armor Piercing Incendiary rounds|
Developed to replace the F-4D Phantom II in the close-air-support/ground-attack role, for which the Phantom proved to be unsuitable. The design is fully aimed at survivability, including many dual system and cockpit armour. Main weapon is the huge 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger gun, capable of destroying even the most modern main battle tanks. The A-X contract was awarded to Fairchild-Republic on January 18th, 1973, after a competitive fly-off against the Northrop YA-9. First prototype (71-1369) flew May 20th and the 1st A-10A was delivered November 25th, 1975. The 713th and final a/c was delivered April 1984.
Due to extensive combat services, wing cracks were found in about 130 early model A-10A's. These were built with so called 'thin-skin wings'. In June 2007, the Air Force awarded Boeing Integrated Defence Systems a contract to replace the wing sets for all A-10s with thin-skin wings. On October 3, 2008, the Air Force ordered immediate inspection and repair of wing cracks for this portion of the A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet.
On February 15, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) requested information on potential alternatives to the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) component of a Next Generation Close Air Support (NGCAS) system. The NGCAS is scheduled to replace the A-10.
Initial and sole production model, prototype designated YA-10A. Weapon options include LGB and TV-guided AGM-65A/B Maverick missiles. Fitted with AN/AAS-35 Pave Penny laser spot tracker. On operational missions, Westinghouse AN/ALQ-119 ECM and Tracor AN/ALE-37 chaff/flare dispensers can be used, directed by Raytheon (Litton) AN/ALR-69 radar warning receivers. The GA-10A designation is used for ground instruction airframes. Designation OA-10A used for A-10A re-assigned in the Forward Air Control (FAC) rol. This is merely a re-designation - to comply to the CFE treaty - rather than a modification.
A-10A upgrade under the incremental Precision Engagement (PE) program. Features fully digital avionics, a new glass cockpit (including digital moving map displays), GPS, advanced datalink, and all-weather multi-mission precision weapons and laser targeting capability (provided by the AN/AAQ-28 Litening targeting pod). It can use smart guided weapons such as JDAM and WCMD. The first A-10C took to the skies in January 2005 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
- US Air Force Fact sheets