A-10 Thunderbolt II Review of Technical Specifications – Designed specifically for close air support missions, Fairchild Republic’s A-10 Thunderbolt II has become a legend in the world of military aviation.
A-10 Thunderbolt II Review of Technical Specifications
|Type||Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II|
|Year of development||1976|
|Development Status||Active, In-Service|
|Manufacturer||Fairchild Republic Aviation (USA)|
|Engine||Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbine engines (no afterburners), 9,065 pounds of thrust per engine.|
|Max Speed||382 Knot (439 mph)|
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – From the outset, the A-10 Thunderbolt II was designed solely for close air support (AAS), a role that was probably filled only by the Soviet/Russian Su-25 Flogger.
The term “close air support” has been defined differently by different countries (or commanders).
The Naming of the A-10 Thunderbolt II is Warthog
The A-10 was officially named Thunderbolt II in April 1978, after another famous Republic product, the WWII P-47 Thunderbolt, following the corporate tradition of informally naming them after “pigs”.
The Republic’s F-84 was the first to be used, earning the nickname “Groundhog” or “Hog,” but the F-84F Thunderbolt became the “Super Hog” and the Vietnam-era F-105 Thunderbolt became the “Super Hog.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II was unofficially called the “Warthog” for a long time because of its poor appearance. The name was changed during a presentation by Commander Michael G. Major at the Tactical Air Warfare Review Center (TAWC).
The name stuck with the crew, but was later changed to the simpler “Hog,” or more accurately, “Hawg. As it turns out, the official name Thunder II and the unofficial nickname Wild Hog are essentially interchangeable for this wonderful aircraft.
The manufacturing of the A-10
Republic’s production capabilities were not up to par with the latest products of its defense-related competitors. Fortunately, the A-10 is not a highly complex aircraft and did not require the latest technology for production.
However, the U.S. federal government was concerned about the delay in production and ordered Republic to accelerate its production capacity at its expense. This was satisfactory for the US but painful for Republic.
With a few exceptions, the mass-produced aircraft closely resembled the pre-production aircraft. Berry stamps have been added and the front spine has been affixed. The wingspan has been increased by about 30 inches and the wing angles have been adjusted.
The AN/AAS-35(V) PAVE PENNY has a laser receiver added to the right side of the forward fuselage for use of “friendly” laser-guided munitions on the ground (“PAVE PENNY” searches for reflected lasers hit on targets by others).
The pre-production aircraft used the ESCAPAC sheet ejection system from Douglas, while the production aircraft used the ACES II series from McDonnell Douglas.
The final production assembly of the A-10 was moved to Hagerstown, Maryland. The first production A-10A took off on October 10, 1975.
The 355th TFW conducted the necessary testing and evaluation of the A-10A and participated in the 1977 Joint Air Weapons System (JAS) tests.
These tests would play a key role in developing tactics and determining the actual operational role of the new A-10A and its relationship to existing operational components such as artillery and attack helicopters that would essentially perform the same tank firing role as the A-10.
The first operational A-10 squadron appeared in October 1977 as the 333rd Tactical Combat Training Squadron (“Lancers”), soon joined by the 358th Tactical Combat Training Squadron (“Wolves”). The 354th Tactical Combat Wing at Myrtle Beach spawned the 353rd, 355th, and 356th Tactical Combat Squadrons.
On April 3, 1978, at a ceremony when the 100th A-10 glider was produced, the Pentagon officially recognized the Thunderbolt II designation. The last A-10 was shipped to the United States in 1984.
The A-10A was delivered to the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing in the United Kingdom, where it had completed testing and evaluation. Because of its decisive role in Europe, this fighter was one of the first major operators of the new aircraft.
The first A-10A arrived on January 26, 1979, eventually inaugurating six squadrons of the 78th, 91st, 92nd, 509th, 510th, and 511th Tactical Fighter Wings.
In 1988, 81st Group was expanded to 10th Wing, based at RAF Elkhornbury.
In the event of a full-scale war, five National Air National Guard squadrons were formed to reinforce the Europe-based 81st Group.
These were the 103rd CCI in Connecticut, the 104th CCI in Massachusetts, the 128th CCI in Wisconsin, the 174th CCI in New York, and the 175th CCI in Maryland.
The next to receive the A-10A was the Air Force Reserve. The 917th TFW received its specimen in October 1980. The 442nd, 926th, and 930th TFW joined them.
Later groups included the 23rd TFW at British Air Force Base in Louisiana, the 51st Composite Group stationed in Korea, and the 343rd Composite Group stationed in Alaska. The latter two groups implemented the system between 1981 and 1982.
The cockpit of the A-10
The cockpit is a beautiful design with a two-piece canopy that allows the pilot to get a good view of the front and sides of the aircraft.
It is mounted in the nose section of the wing, allowing even a view of the armament payload under each wing unit, while providing a limited view of each vehicle mounted on the outside of the wing, which is useful for assessing battle damage.
The cockpit is relatively spacious, and the pilot sits high in the cockpit. The ejection system is a high-back ejection seat from the ACES II series. The rear bottom of the cockpit is articulated and driven.
The front cowling is divided by a frame placed above the heads-up display (HUD) system at the top of the instrument panel. The front cowling can withstand the impact of a 20mm cannon.
On either side of the HUD are the accelerometer (vertical frame post on the left) and the backup compass (vertical frame post on the right). The rest of the cockpit glass is somewhat bulletproof.
The instrument panel itself is well organized and in many ways reflects Republic’s experience in designing and building jet aircraft.
The throttle is located low on the left side of the pilot’s foot, and the controls are traditionally located between the pilot’s two feet.
Interestingly, the Warthog was not initially equipped with an autopilot function, which required the operator to be fully aware of the situation during long flights. Fortunately, this situation was remedied sometime later by an upgrade program.
One of the most important elements of the cockpit design was its placement in the titanium “cockpit. Despite the name, the “bake” is simply a sheet of titanium bolted together, not a forged piece.
These tabs protect against 23mm of the hull at the bottom, front, sides, and rear. Only the rear titanium plate has openings for the hydraulic, electrical, and control systems.
Power and Capacity of the A-10
It was powered by two General Electric TF34-GE-100 series high-mounted turbofans. With only 9,065 pounds of thrust, the A-10 was a subsonic aircraft and not capable of supersonic flight.
However, supersonic speed is only a small factor for CAS. In fact, the A-10 weighs more than 2,000 pounds more than originally planned. The U.S. removed this additional weight because they believed that they could adjust for the slight loss of speed with the CAS still installed.
The engines were mounted higher to prevent fires on the ground and to prevent foreign objects from entering the aircraft at unprepared airfields, so the A-10 could operate without a full load of engines.
The angle of each engine in the nacelle is slightly upward at 9 degrees to bring the overall thrust flow closer to the aircraft’s center of gravity.
The all-important auxiliary power unit (APU) is mounted on the fuselage next to the engines, and the exhaust port always has black soot covering the left side of the engine nacelle.
The performance of the A-10A was a top speed of 439mph, a cruise speed of 340mph, and a speed that never exceeded 518mph. Stall speed was 138mph.
The operational radius is close to 300 miles, depending on the type of payload and mission. Assume a shuttle range of 2,580 miles. The service ceiling is 45,000 feet and the rate of climb is 6,000 feet per minute.