Awesome Firepower!

An A-10C Thunderbolt II performs a low-angle strafe using its 30mm GAU-8 rotary cannon. The entire A-10 platform was designed around the tank-killing cannon.
An A-10C Thunderbolt II performs a low-angle strafe using its 30mm GAU-8 rotary cannon. The entire A-10 platform was designed around the tank-killing cannon.

Article Excerpts Provided by the USAF

The A-10 Thunderbolt II has excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude and is a highly accurate and survivable weapons-delivery platform. The aircraft can remain on scene (near battle areas) for extended periods of time and operate in low altitude and poor visibility conditions. This makes the "Warthog" well suited to its role as a close air support attack aircraft  - Tank Killer.

The A-10 has received many upgrades over the years. In 1978, the aircraft received the Pave Penny laser receiver pod, which sensed reflected laser radiation from a laser designator. Pave Penney has now been discontinued in favor more capable advanced targeting pods. The A-10 began receiving an inertial navigation system in 1980. Later, the Low-Altitude Safety and Targeting Enhancement (LASTE) upgrade provided computerized weapon-aiming equipment, an autopilot, and a ground-collision warning system. In 1999, aircraft began to receive Global Positioning System navigation systems and a new multi-function display. In 2005, the entire A-10 fleet began receiving the Precision Engagement upgrades that include an improved fire control system (FCS), electronic countermeasures (ECM), upgraded cockpit displays, the ability to deliver smart bombs, moving map display, hands on throttle and stick, digital stores management, LITENING and Sniper advanced targeting pod integration, situational awareness data link or SADL, variable message format, or VMF, GPS-guided weapons, and upgraded DC power. The entire A-10 fleet has been Precision Engagement modified and now carries the A-10C designation.

Background
The first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in October 1975. The upgraded A-10C reached initial operation capability in September 2007. Specifically designed for close air support, its combination of large and varied ordnance load, long loiter time, accurate weapons delivery, austere field capability, and survivability has proven invaluable to the United States and its allies. The aircraft has participated in operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Provide Comfort, Desert Fox, Noble Anvil, Deny Flight, Deliberate Guard, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Did You Know? In 2010, the A-10 was the first Air Force aircraft to fly powered by biofuels.

First Flight: 1972 First aircraft delivered in 1975
Primary function: Close air support, airborne forward air control, combat search and rescue
Maker: Fairchild Republic Co.
Power plant: two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans
Thrust: 9,065 pounds each engine
Speed: 450 nautical miles per hour (Mach 0.75)
Range: 2580 miles (2240 nautical miles)
Armament: one 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun; up to 16,000 pounds (7,200 kilograms) of mixed ordnance on eight under-wing and three under-fuselage pylon stations, including 500 pound (225 kilograms) Mk-82 and 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) Mk-84 series low/high drag bombs, incendiary cluster bombs, combined effects munitions, mine dispensing munitions, AGM-65 Maverick missiles and laser-guided/electro-optically guided bombs; infrared countermeasure flares; electronic countermeasure chaff; jammer pods; 2.75-inch (6.99 centimeters) rockets; illumination flares and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
Unit cost: $18.8 million

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