A-10 Thunderbolt II Military Aircraft
Fairchild-Republic designed the A-10 Thunderbolt II during the middle of the Cold War as a tank destroyer, although capable of carrying a large array of weapon stores it is primarily a highly manoeuvrable flying Gatling gun platform, the fuselage being designed around it's massive 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling gun. The A-10 Thunderbolt it not the most aesthetically pleasing aircraft in service with the US air-force and as a result has acquired the nickname "Warthog" or "Hog". The A-10 Thunderbolt II first flew in 1972 and entered service in March 1977, a total of 715 aircraft have been built to date.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II is flown at a relatively slow speed when engaging ground targets making it susceptible to ground fire, to combat this the aircraft is protected with 900 pounds (408 kg) of titanium armour and fitted with numerous back up systems. The Thunderbolt's Gatling gun fires 30mm depleted uranium rounds at a rate of 65 or 70 rounds per second from a drum which holds 1,174 rounds, this results in a potential maximum continuous burst of approximately 17 seconds, however, the re-coil of the gun is so powerful that the aircraft would literally stop in the air and fall to the ground if a continuous burst of much over a second was ever fired.
It is of note that in the first Gulf War A-10 Thunderbolts destroyed 2,900 military vehicles of which a third were tanks.
Fairchild-Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II Specifications:
|Crew: Pilot onlyLength: 53 ft 4 in (16.26 m) Wingspan: 57 ft 6 in (17.53 m) Height: 14 ft 8 in (4.47 m)Wing area: 506 ft² (47.0 m²)Empty weight: 24,959 lb (11,321 kg)Max takeoff weight: 50,000 lb (23,000 kg)Engines: Twin 9,065 lbf (40.32 kN) General Electric TF34-GE-100A turbofansMaximum speed: 381 knots (439 mph, 706 km/h) at sea levelCruise speed: 300 knots (340 mph, 560 km/h)Stall speed: 120 knots (220 km/h)Combat radius: 250 nmi (288 mi, 460 km)Ferry range: 2,240 nmi (2,580 mi, 4,150 km)Service ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,700 m)Rate of climb: 6,000 ft/min (30 m/s) || |
Fairchild-Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II Specifications Armament:
- Cannon: Single 30 mm (1.18 in) GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling Cannon
Hard-points: Eight under-wing and Tree under-fuselage pylons with a 16,000 lb (7,260 kg) capacity which may carry a combination of the following -
- Four LAU-61/LAU-68 rocket pods (each with 19× / 7× Hydra 70 mm rockets, respectively)
- Four LAU-5003 rocket pods (each with 19× CRV7 70 mm rockets)
- Six LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4× 127 mm (5.0 in) Zuni rockets)
- Two AIM-9 Sidewinders air-to-air missiles
- Eight AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles
- Mark 80 series of unguided iron bombs
- Mk 77 incendiary bombs
- BLU-1, BLU-27/B Rockeye II, Mk20, BL-755 and CBU-52/58/71/87/89/97 cluster bombs
- Paveway series of Laser-guided bombs
- Joint Direct Attack Munition (A-10C)
- AN/ALQ-131 & AN/ALQ-184 ECM pods
- Lockheed Martin Sniper XR & LITENING targeting pods
- Twin 600 US gallon Sargent Fletcher drop tanks
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A-10 Thunderbolt II Military Aircraft Picture & Information