Saturday, March 1, 2014

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: The A-10 Thunderbolt II Jet - Warhog of the Skies

Defense News: DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: The A-10 Thunderbolt II Jet - Warhog of the Skies
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - March 1, 2014: The A-10 Thunderbolt II, also known as the Warthog, is a twin-engine aircraft that provides close-air support of ground forces and employs a wide variety of conventional munitions, including general purpose bombs. The simple, effective and survivable single-seat aircraft can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles. The aircraft is currently supporting operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The first flight of the A-10 was in May 1972, and a total of 713 aircraft have since been produced. Over 350 A-10 aircraft are in service with the US Air Force, Air Combat Command, the U.S. Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard.

A-10/OA-10 Thunderbolt IIs 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. Using night vision goggles, A-10/OA-10 pilots can conduct their missions during darkness.

The single-seat cockpit is protected by all-round armor, with a titanium "bathtub" structure to protect the pilot that is up to 3.8cm thick. The cockpit has a large bulletproof bubble canopy, which gives good all-round vision.

The A-10 can carry up to six Maverick AGM-65/B/D/G/H/K air-to-surface missiles, and up to four AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.

With its superior manoeuvrability and firepower, the A-10 Thunderbolt II jet is one of the toughest aircraft operated by the U.S. Air Force.

Attacking Targets on the Ground

The A-10 Thunderbolt II jet provides close air support for U.S. troops on the ground. The aircraft attacks tanks and other armored vehicles, as well as enemy ground positions. Developed in the 1970s, it was the first aircraft created to provide close air support to U.S. ground forces.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II has excellent manoeuvrability due to its large wing span. It is heavily armed with a 30 millimeter Avenger Gatling cannon that is capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute; AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles; cluster bombs; and Hydra rocket pads. And, the aircraft is extremely durable with over 1,000 pounds of armor. The A-10 Thunderbolt II’s exterior is so tough that it can withstand direct hits by armor piercing bullets and explosive projectiles. The heavy duty armaments and protective armor have earned the aircraft the nickname "Warhog" among U.S. soldiers.

Developed during Vietnam 

The A-10 Thunderbolt II was designed in response to the large number of ground-attack aircraft that were shot down during the Vietnam Conflict by small arms and low level gun fire. The U.S. military decided to develop a tough and heavily armored aircraft that could provide close air support and survive ground attacks. The first versions of the A-10 Thunderbolt II came into service in 1976.

Over the years, the A-10 Thunderbolt II has been used extensively in war zones. The aircraft first saw combat during the 1991 Gulf War and was responsible for destroying almost 1,000 Iraqi tanks and more than 2,000 military vehicles. The A-10 Thunderbolt II also served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Upgrades and Pilot Reaction

Over the years, the A-10 Thunderbolt II has received many upgrades and enhancements. The U.S. government is spending more than $2 billion to refurbish the aircraft and keep them operational through the year 2030. About 700 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft have been built to date, and each aircraft costs about $12 million to manufacture. Current modifications are designed to provide the jets' with precision weapon capabilities.

Despite the durability and strength of the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the aircraft has not always been popular with U.S. Air Force pilots. Many fighter pilots complain about switching to the aircraft as they find it slow and dislike its appearance. Fighter pilots generally prefer faster and sleeker jets to an aircraft that has the nickname "Warhog."

*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Boeing
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

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