The A-10 Thunderbolt II is the first USAF aircraft designed specifically for close air support of ground forces. The Thuderbolt II is named for the famous P-47 Thunderbolt, a fighter often used in a close air support role during the latter part of World War II. The Thunderbolt II is designed for maneuverability at low speeds and low altitudes for accurate weapons delivery, and carries systems and armor to permit it to survive in this environment. It is intended for use against all ground targets, but specifically tanks and other armored vehicles. The Thunderbolt II’s great endurance gives it a large combat radius and/or long loiter time over a battle area. The short takeoff and landing capability of the A10 permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines. Service at forward area bases with limited facilities is possible because of the A-10’s simplicity of design.
The first prototype A10 Thunderbolt II made its initial flight on May 10, 1972. A-10A production commenced in 1975. Delivery of aircraft to US Air Force units began in 1976 and continued until 1984.
A-10 Thunderbolt II Performance
|Maximum speed||450 mph.|
|Cruising speed||335 mph.|
|Service Ceiling||44,200 ft.|
A-10 Thunderbolt II Specifications
|Country of Origin||USA.|
|Similar Aircraft||None, but compare with the Su-25 Frogfoot.|
|Role||CAS, ground attack.|
|Armament||One GAU-8/A 30mm Gatling Gun and 16,000 lbs. of mixed ordnance|
|Engines||Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans of 9,000 lbs. thrust each|
|Span||57 ft. 6 in.|
|Length||53 ft. 4 in.|
|Height||14 ft. 8 in.|
A-10 Thunderbolt II WEFT Description
|Wings||Low-mounted on the fuselage, untapered to the wheel pods, and equally tapered from the wheel pods to the blunt, curled under tips. Landing gear pods are under the wings.|
|Engine(s)||Two turbofan engines in pods, mounted high on the rear of the body between the wings and the tail section.|
|Fuselage||Rounded nose, tapered rear, bubble canopy. Protrusion in the left side of the nose section is the 30-mm GAU-8 cannon.|
|Tail||Two tail fins on the tips of a rectangular tail flat; unequally tapered fins extend above and below the tail flat. Flat is low-mounted on a sharply tapered rear fuselage.|
Countries which Fly the A-10 Thunderbolt II
A-10 Thunderbolt II Manufacturer Web Site
Fairchild Republic is now part of M7 Aerospace.
Books on the A-10 Thunderbolt II
An unusual looking aircraft at first sight, the A-10 Thunderbolt evolved from the U.S. Air Force’s need for an aircraft that could fly low, carry an extraordinary amount of ordnance, have excellent maneuverability at low speeds, and support ground troops. This illustrated history follows the A-10’s development from its conception during the Vietnam War through its notable role as a tank-buster during the Gulf War. Also included is a large selection of photography from throughout the career of the ground-attack aircraft whose pilots came to affectionately refer to it as the “Wart Hog.”
This book chronicles the story of the A-10, including program history, aircraft paint schemes, all units operating the aircraft and their markings, and selected nose art and ladder door art. Over 100 colorful official and unofficial patches of the units and combat operations involving the A-10 are included. The book also includes a description of the aircraft, its systems, and weapons.
This seventh edition of the LOCK ON series focuses attention on the tank busting Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. The crisp color photographs cover all physical details of this enigmatic jet, including general airframe details, landing gear, avionics, cockpit, external stores, engine, gun, and ammunition loading system. The book is concluded with an updated description of plastic model kits of this airplane, as well as Verlinden Productions Detail Sets designed to improve them. This book is a �’must-have�’ for anyone who wishes to detail an accurate model of the A 10, and is also invaluable for aviation enthusiasts.