Military Aviation

Fairchild A-10A Thunderbolt II

image1 The Fairchild A-I DA Thunderbolt II was the first aircraft designed specifically for the close-air support role for the USAF. The first production A-10 took to the air on 10 May t972. The A-10 was designed to be highly maneuverable at low speeds and to provide an extremely accurate weapons platform. It has a short take-off and landing capability and a useful combat radius, For protection the pilot is surrounded by titanium armor while the airframe has numerous back-up systems.Fuel tanks are self-seal and surrounded by foam, while the main undercarriage is positioned so that the aircraft can land without hydraulic power. The first A-I Ds were delivered to the 355th Tactical Training Wing at Davis Monthan AFB in March l976. A total of six A-10 squadrons were based in the UK from January l979. From the UK they would deploy to forward operating bases in Germany in times of tension. A total of 713 A-10As were built for the USAF, of which 26 were later converted, to OA-10A for the Forward Air Control role. During Desert Shield, a total of 144 A-10s were deployed to the Gulf, During Desert Storm the A-10s excelled in the destruction of Iraqi equipment. The A-10 is fitted with a 30 mm GAU-8/A gun in the nose which can five 4,200 rounds per minute. In addition, it has eight under wing hard points plus another three under the fuselage. They can carry up to a total of 16,000 Ib of ordnance. This can include iron or Laser Guided Bombs (LGB), Maverick air-to-surface missiles, Sidewinder air- to-air missiles, jamming and chaff/ flare pods. In 1993 the last of the 81 TFW, based at RAF Woodbridge were flown out as part of the winding down of US forces world-wide. The only A-10s that now remain in Europe belong to the 81st FS, 52nd FW based at Spangdahlem AB in Germany.


Span:57 ft 6 in / 17.53 m
Length: 53 ft 4 in / 16.26 m
Height: 14 ft 8 in /  4.47 m
Weight: 21,541 lb empty / 50,000 lb max. take-off
Armament: General Electric GAU-8/A 30 mm seven-barrel cannon and eleven hardpoints capable of carrying up to 16,000 lbs. of stores
Engines: Two General Electric TF34-GE100 each rated at 9,065 lb


Speed:never-exceed speed 450kt (518 mph; 834 km/h)
Range: ferry range 2,131 nm (2,454 miles; 3949 km) with drop tanks
Ceiling: 45,000 ft

Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II photo gallery

A-10 Thunderbolt image3 A-10 Thunderbolt image4 A-10 Thunderbolt image5 A-10 Thunderbolt image6 A-10 Thunderbolt image7
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