The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a jet fighter for the USAF that is a single seat, turbofan engine and straight wing aircraft which was developed by the Fairchild Republic. The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is commonly known by its nicknames “Warthog or Hog” despite the fact that the original name of the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt which was a World War II-era fighter bomber used for attacking ground targets.
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II was designed to serve the USAF for the close air support (CAS) missions for friendly ground troops. It mainly attacked the enemy armored vehicles and tanks. The aircraft entered in the USAF’s service back in 1976 and is the only aircraft that was designed for the sake of CAS. However, the aircraft has a secondary mission as well which is to provide FAC-A (Forward Air controller-Airborne) support which directs the other attack aircraft to attack the enemy’s ground targets.
The main conflict in which the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II shined brilliantly was the Gulf War’s Operation Desert Storm which was an operation led by America against Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Other than that, the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II has participated in following other conflicts.
- Islamic State in the Middle East
The USAF has recently announced that after F-35 entered in the service, the future of the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II with USAF is timed. There are still talks that the aircraft could get upgrades and wing replacement for better capabilities that could extend its service until 2040.
For our readers today we have gathered a bunch of amazing facts about the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II or more commonly known as A-10 Warthog, which are as follows.
Designed to Meet the Changing Needs of War
The need for an attack aircraft was needed by the US during the Vietnam War that it was time to have a second generation aircraft for the ground attack. At the same time, this aircraft needed to be faster and more robust in its delivery of firepower as well as its ability to evade the enemy’s fire.
The first solution of this idea was the AH-1 Cobra and the next one was AH-64 Apache. Along with these, USAF came up with a solution to the fixed-wing problem and entered in the world of aerial military battles the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.
The USAF issued a directive back in 1966 for manufacturing an aircraft that was to be sued for ground attacks and had to have following features.
- Carry a payload of at least 16000 lbs
- excellent low-speed maneuverability
- A takeoff runway distance of 4000 feet or less
- Longer loiter time
- Extreme survivability
All of these directives were accepted by a company known as Fairchild Republic who started working on the first prototype that was later known as the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.
First Flight: Slight Problems:-
Although Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is known for its excellent maneuverability, the first prototype of this aircraft had few glitches. The aircraft took its first flight back in 1976 but it failed to achieve the standard testing of 8000 hours. The engineers found out the problem to be airframe that needed to be reinforced which was a minor problem. The problem was fixed and a total of 715 airplanes were manufactured with an average of 15 planes manufactured per month.
One of the most amazing features of the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is its armor. Any damage to the aircraft’s body does not affect its reinforced armor. The cockpit and flight controls are heavily protected in a surrounding of 12000 lbs of titanium armor. This titanium armor covering the cockpit and flight controls is referred to as the “Titanium Bathtub”. The aircraft has a flawless record of keeping the pilots safe from enemy fire.
Engine: Power and Maneuverability:-
One other main feature that makes the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II prominent is its amazing power and maneuverability during flight which is all thanks to the Twin General Electric TF34-GE-100A turbofan engines. These engines allow the aircraft to have a top speed of 439 mph with a cruising speed of 300 mph.
As for the stall speed which is nearly impossible considering the size of the A-10, it is 138 mph to give it low-speed maneuverability.
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II comes equipped with a wide range of following weapons.
- A nose-mounted 30mm GAU-A8 Avenger Gatling-type Autocannon for air-to-ground or air-to-air missions.
- AGM-65 Maverick missiles for surface-to-air missions.
First Combat Mission: Battle Tested:-
After its deployment into the USAF, the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II was deployed into Invasion of Granada during the Gulf War of 1991. The aircraft served as a splendid ground attack aircraft against Iran’s armored division and was the backbone for the CAS.
According to official reports of USAF, the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II had a mission capable rate of 85% with its firing 311597 rounds through its 30mm cannon. Despite many dangerous missions during this conflict, the enemy only managed to shot down one A-10.
Future bleak for the A-10 Warthog:-
After the F-35 Lightning entered in the USAF service, the future of the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II seems bleak in the USAF. The aircraft is still put up in talks for upgrades and wing replacements which could extend the aircraft’s service in USAF until 2040.