Posts Tagged ‘Thunderbolt II’

A-10 Thunderbolt II

December 2, 2008

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is a ground attack / close air support or CAS aircraft flown by the US Air Force and the US Marine Corps.

Find this and other exciting images as posters, framed art prints, 2009 calendars, and greeting card sets. Visit the PatriArt Gallery today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

American Patrol

November 30, 2008

America’s finest airpower comes together: F-15 Eagle fighters, the mainstay of US Air Force air superiority, join the 21st century’s super-fighter, the F-22 Raptor. Rounding out the scene is an A-10 Thunderbolt II, USAF’s finest tank-killer and close-air-support CAS aircraft.

Find this and other exciting images as posters, framed art prints, 2009 calendars, and greeting card sets. Visit the PatriArt Gallery today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

A-10 Warthog Drops First Laser JDAM

November 21, 2008

The veteran A-10 Thunderbolt II — “Warthog” to its friends — is still a powerful Close-Air-Support platform, as countless infantrymen in Afghanistan and Iraq will confirm.

Find this and other thrilling military aviation posters, framed art prints, and greeting card sets at The PatriArt Gallery – your one-stop destination for military and patriotic themed holiday shopping. Worldwide delivery available.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II, nicknamed the Warthog and known for its close-air support superiority and the ability to carry large and varied ordnance, is now on its way to delivering a new capability to the warfighter.

A pilot from the 40th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with support from people with the 46th Test Wing, Boeing and a host of other units, flew a quick yet historic mission early in November. For the first time, a guided bomb unit-54, the Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition, or LJDAM, was dropped from an A-10C.

“There is a strong need to destroy moving targets in the AOR,” said Capt. Kirt Cassell, the lead A-10C flight test engineer. “The Laser JDAM has shown to be very effective at destroying moving targets on other (aircraft) and Air Combat Command (officials) wanted to bring that capability to the A-10C for an upcoming deployment.”

Captain Cassell and team members from the 40th FTS began planning this test mission in early October. That’s a short timeline for a test mission, according to Captain Cassell. Plus, the team was challenged with ensuring the LJDAM worked correctly. To do this, the plan was to drop the bomb on a GPS target and then lase the weapon to another target downrange.

“The test was very successful!” Captain Cassell said. “The weapon functioned properly and released successfully, impacting the target almost exactly where the laser spot was located. We were able to demonstrate that the GBU-54 can successfully be integrated and dropped from the A-10C.”

Maj. Matthew Domsalla piloted the historic mission. He’s been flying the A-10 for more than eight years and knows that this added capability will make the A-10C even more lethal and more valuable to warfighters needing some firepower assistance. 

“The LJDAM provides the pilot the ability to update the targeting if the target moves while the weapon is in flight,” he said. 

The A-10C has already demonstrated tremendous capability in supporting the war on terrorism. According to Lt. Col. Evan Dertien, the 40th Flight Test Squadron commander, putting this bomb on the aircraft “will give the A-10 an outstanding precision targeting capability that will help the Air Force continue to provide precision engagement.”

And while making Air Force history is a great feeling for the 40th team, Colonel Dertien says the rewards of a successful test are more far reaching. 

“When the weapons are proven in combat and you get feedback from the deployed flying units that a capability worked as expected and made a difference in the fight, that’s the big payoff,” he said. 

The next step for the A-10C and LJDAM is to undergo operational tests to develop tactics and techniques for employing the weapon. If those tests prove to go as well as the first, Eglin’s test team may have their feedback as early as January. The goal is to have this new precision capability deployed to the area of operations by early 2009. 
Joy Josephson

Idaho Air Guard unit wins Hawgsmoke team award

October 21, 2008
A-10 Thunderbolt II

A-10 Thunderbolt II

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is a combination tank-killer and Close-Air-Support champion. Find your A-10 Thunderbolt II poster, framed print, or 2009 calendar print at The PatriArt Gallery.

The Idaho Air National Guard’s 190th Fighter Squadron was named the top team at Hawgsmoke 2008 in Salina, Kan., Oct. 17. An awards banquet capped off four days of competition among 14 A-10 Thunderbolt II squadrons from across the Air Force.

The 190th, part of the 124th Wing, based at Boise International Airport, Idaho, will be expected to host the next Hawgsmoke competition in 2010.

Held every two years, Hawgsmoke tests the skills A-10 pilots use in every-day training on the ground-attack aircraft. The primary role of the A-10 is close-air support of ground troops.

Hawgsmoke tests the pilots on their times over targets; how well they place 30-mm cannon rounds, training bombs and AGM-65 Maverick missiles on simulated targets; and the quality of their combat tactics and formation flying.

After being judged in each event, the scores are tallied and winners in each category are announced at the dinner on the last night of Hawgsmoke.

About 50 pilots competed in Hawgsmoke this year. Another 400 Airmen provided aircraft maintenance and combat support.

Thirty A-10s, all from Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard units, started arriving at the Salina Airport Oct. 14 and flew for three days to get all 14 teams through the events.

The pilots had to share aircraft from other units because of an Air Force time-compliance technical order that mandated inspections on about 130 of the Air Force’s 360 A-10 aircraft. The Air Force issued the order two weeks before the competition began.

The 442nd Fighter Wing’s 303rd Fighter Squadron hosted this year’s Hawgsmoke after winning the event at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in 2006. The 442nd, an Air Force Reserve unit based at Whiteman AFB, Mo., selected the Salina Airport as the 2008 location because of its ample flight line and its proximity to the Smoky Hill Range, where the bombing and gunnery events were held.

“The City of Salina and the people here have been absolutely outstanding in their support of Hawgsmoke,” said Lt. Col. Brian Borgen, event organizer. “We couldn’t have asked for a better location. We really owe Salina and our sponsors a huge ‘thank you’ for helping us plan and execute Hawgsmoke 2008.”

Journalists and visitors from around the world traveled to central Kansas to cover and witness the competition, which ended Oct. 18.

The Hawgsmoke 2008 winners in each category were:

— Top Maverick Missile Team: 303rd FS

— Top Tactical Team: 303rd FS

— Top Strafe Team: 103rd FS, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, Pa.

— Top Bombing Team: AFRC’s 47th FS, Barksdale AFB, La.

— Top Arrival Team: U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s 81st FS, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

— Top Pilot Award: Capt. Jerry Cook, AFRC’s 45th FS, Davis-Monthan AFB

— Top High-Altitude Dive Bomb Award: Captain Cook, 45th FS

— Top 30-Degree Dive Bomb Award: Maj. Bill Zutell, 103rd FS.

— Top Low-Angle, High-Delivery Pop Award: Lt. Col. Bob Pugh, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Test Center, Tucson, Ariz.

— Top Strafe Award: 1st Lt. Nick Decker, 303rd FS.

Col. Mark Clemons, 442nd FW commander, presented the awards.

Reverse! Air Force Wants More Flyboys, Fewer Jets

October 21, 2008
F-15 Eagle and F-16 Falcon
F-15 Eagle and F-16 Falcon

F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets have been the backbone of US Air Force combat power for more than two decades. Give these warbirds the place of honor they deserve on your wall. Find the F-15 / F-16 “Aggressors” poster, framed art print, or 12-month 2009 calendar at The PatriArt Gallery. (Make great Christmas gifts for the Air Force veteran or military aviation fan on your list, too!)Danger Room’s Noah Schachtman has a typically irreverent take the Air Force’s proposal to scrap major portions of its current combat force — years before replacement aircraft are ready!

“Not too long ago, the Air Force was looking to cut 40,000 people from the service, to pay for more planes. Now: Reverse thrust! The Air Force brass wants to add an extra 13,000 flyboys by 2010. To help pay for the new troops, they’ll retire more than 300 fighter jets early.

In all, the service plans to retire 137 F-15s, 177 F-16s and nine A-10s, according to internal Pentagon documents obtained by Inside Defense . That’s more than 10 percent of the existing fleets. And it means that the F-15s will be retiring seven years early; the F-16s’ service times will be cut short by six years; and the A-10s will head to the boneyard 11 years ahead of schedule.”

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USAF Expedites A-10 Safety Inspections

October 14, 2008
A-10 Thunderbolt II

A-10 Thunderbolt II

The A-10 Thunderbolt II — aka “Warthog” — started life as a tank-killer. Today it is the premier Close-Air-Support (CAS) aircraft in the US Air Force and USMC airfleets. Find the A-10 Thunderbolt II poster, framed art print, or 2009 calendar at The PatriArt Gallery. Or buy a box of A-10 Warthog greeting cards and provide your friends a little CAS this holiday season.

 Air Combat Command maintenance Airmen will begin an immediate inspection of all A-10 thin-skinned winged aircraft for cracking following a Time Compliance Technical Order issued to ACC A-10 units on Oct. 3.

ACC is working closely with AFMC and other major Combat Air Force major commands to address all of the thin-skinned winged A-10s with a priority focus being the A-10s currently in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

“The TCTO was released very early this morning and ACC maintainers have been actively complying with the requirements of that TCTO and the jets that were affected were pulled off the schedule and they are not flying as the maintainers are setting up their inspections and pressing forward,” said Lt. Col. David Trucksa, ACC A3 Chief of Flight Management.

Air Force flying and combat operations are inherently dangerous, ACC officials said. Aircrew and maintenance personnel mitigate risk by continuously applying Operational Risk Management principles.

“ACC maintainers will never provide an airplane to a pilot that is known to be unsafe, it will meet all safety standards,” said Colonel Trucksa.

Because of intense cross-checking of maintenance operations, Colonel Trucksa said he has full confidence in the inspection process.

Air Combat Command has 56 A-10 aircraft affected by this AFMC-issued TCTO. This risk is of great concern to ACC and is representative of a systemic problem of an aging Air Force fleet, they say.

“The airframe is 28 years old on average,” said Major David Ruth, ACC A-10 Weapons System Team. “Every weapons system has fatigue of some type. It’s just a matter of identifying it ahead of time and mitigating that through scheduled depot inspections and maintenance.”

As the aircraft are getting older, they will have different problems in different areas, said Colonel Trucksa. “It’s just a concern if the jet doesn’t meet the standards of safety.”

ACC A-10s will not be cleared for operational status until they have been inspected and any discrepancies found have been repaired or cleared. Command maintenance planners will work with AFMC experts on a timeline for repairs.
The location, size and orientation of cracks identified, will determine the length of time aircraft are down.

After engineers analyzed data, they determined the number of flight hours it took for the wing to suffer critical crack length.

“They apply a safety factor that basically guides them in developing the TCTO. This drives the current 450 flight hours in the current TCTO,” said Major Ruth.

Depot personnel who were working on a repair regarding the A-10’s thick skin fleet identified the cracks on the thin skin aircraft that drove the depot to evaluate crack criticality and identification of the thin skin fleet that are affected.

“For the thin-skin fleet, they did fatigue testing over the years,” said Major Ruth. “We are programmed to replace the thin-skins beginning in fiscal year 2010 through FY 2016. We already have contracts to replace those.”

To maintain combat readiness and support, ACC is working diligently with inspection data to minimize the impact this critical ground support aircraft provides to the warfighter.
“Right now we are looking at courses of action,” said Major Ruth. “We do have some capability within the mission design series, within the A-10 fleet to meet AOR commitments.”

Major Ruth explained that ACC is determining the proper courses of action needed to keep the A-10 combat ready for USCENTCOM requirements.

Steven Goetsch

A-10 / OA-10 Thunderbolt II (a.k.a. “Warthog”)

August 26, 2008

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.

Thunderbolt IIs have Night Vision Imaging Systems, or NVIS, goggle compatible single-seat cockpits forward of their wings and a large bubble canopy which provides pilots all-around vision. The pilots are protected by titanium armor that also protects parts of the flight-control system. The redundant primary structural sections allow the aircraft to enjoy better survivability during close air support than did previous aircraft.

The aircraft can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 23mm. Their self-sealing fuel cells are protected by internal and external foam. Manual systems back up their redundant hydraulic flight-control systems. This permits pilots to fly and land when hydraulic power is lost.

The Thunderbolt II can be serviced and operated from bases with limited facilities near battle areas. Many of the aircraft’s parts are interchangeable left and right, including the engines, main landing gear and vertical stabilizers.

Avionics equipment includes multi-band communications; Global Positioning System and inertial navigations systems; infrared and electronic countermeasures against air-to-air and air-to-surface threats. And, it has a Pave Penny laser spot tracker system; a heads-up display to display flight and weapons delivery information; and a low altitude safety and targeting enhancement system, which provides constantly computed impact and release points for accurate ordnance delivery. There is also a low-altitude autopilot and a ground collision avoidance system.

The A-10 is currently undergoing the precision engagement modification, which adds upgraded cockpit displays, moving map, hands on throttle and stick, digital stores management, LITENING and Sniper advanced targeting pod integration, situational awareness data link or SADL, GPS-guided weapons, and upgraded DC power. Precision engagement modified aircraft are designated as the A-10C. 

The Thunderbolt II can employ a wide variety of conventional munitions, including general purpose bombs, cluster bomb units, laser guided bombs, joint direct attack munitions or JDAM), wind corrected munitions dispenser or WCMD, AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, rockets, illumination flares, and the GAU-8/A 30mm cannon, capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute to defeat a wide variety of targets including tanks.

The first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in October 1975. It was designed specially for the close air support mission and had the ability to combine large military loads, long loiter and wide combat radius, which proved to be vital assets to the United States and its allies during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Noble Anvil.

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..

General Characteristics
Primary Function: A-10 — close air support, OA-10 – airborne forward air control
Contractor: Fairchild Republic Co.
Power Plant: Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans
Thrust: 9,065 pounds each engine
Wingspan: 57 feet, 6 inches (17.42 meters)
53 feet, 4 inches (16.16 meters)
Height: 14 feet, 8 inches (4.42 meters)
Weight: 29,000 pounds (13,154 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 51,000 pounds (22,950 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: 11,000 pounds (7,257 kilograms)
Payload: 16,000 pounds (7,257 kilograms)
Speed: 420 miles per hour (Mach 0.56)
Range: 800 miles (695 nautical miles)
Ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,636 meters)
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.
Crew: One
Unit Cost: Not available
Initial operating capability: A-10A, 1977; A-10C, 2007
Inventory: Active force, A-10, 143 and OA-10, 70; Reserve, A-10, 46 and OA-10, 6; ANG, A-10, 84 and OA-10, 18