15 photos of the legendary A-10 Warthog, which Congress wants to keep flying for years to come

US Air ForceAn U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II flies over Southwest Asia in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Oct. 29, 2015.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II, commonly referred to as the Warthog or grunt, is beloved by US troops.

The grunt is the US Air Force’s primary low-altitude close air support aircraft and maneuvers very well at low air speeds and altitudes.

But it’s perhaps best known for its 30mm gatling gun mounted on the nose cone, which fires 3,900 round per minute and makes a loud “buuuuurp” when fired.

Speculation about the Warthog’s fate has abounded for years until Congress allocated over $US100 million for upgrades last summer, meaning it will remain in service for years to come.

Here’s what itthe legendary fighter can do:


The A-10 Thunderbolt II first entered service in March 1976, and is the predecessor to the P-47 Thunderbolt — but it didn’t see action until the Gulf War.

DVIDS

The A-10 was also developed by Fairchild Republic Co., which is now owned by Northrop Grumman, one of the largest defence contractors and political donors in the US.

Source: Defence Department


The original design revolved around the GAU-8 Avenger 30mm gatling gun, which fires 3,900 armour-piercing depleted uranium and high explosive incendiary rounds per minute.

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Source: Defence Department


This video shows what the gatling gun can do — now wait for the “buuuuurp.”


The Warthog is powered by two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans, each giving the A-10 about 9,065 pounds of thrust.

US Air Force

Source: Defence Department


The grunt has a top speed of about 450 mph, can hit altitudes of 45,000 feet, and has a range of 2,580 miles.

US Air Force

The A-10 was also the first Air Force aircraft to be powered by biofuels, and is the American counterpart to the Russian Su-25.

Source: Defence Department


In addition to the gatling gun, which sticks out of the teeth often painted on the nose cone and emits smoke like a cigarette when firing, the A-10 carries a payload of up to 16,000 pounds.

Source: Defence Department


It can carry 500 pound Mk-82 and 2,000 pound Mk-84 series low/high drag bombs.

US Air Force

As well as incendiary cluster bombs, combined effects munitions, and mine dispensing munitions.

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And even 2.75-inch rockets, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, and laser-guided/electro-optically guided bombs.


It also carries infrared countermeasure flares, electronic countermeasure chaffs, jammer pods, and illumination flares.

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The Warthog’s first air-to-air victory came in 1991 when Capt. Robert Swain shot down an Iraqi helicopter with the gatling gun.

US Air Force

It can even refuel in midair.

US Air Force

The Warthog’s iconic nose art, usually showing terrifying barred teeth, is part of a war paint tradition dating back to World War II.


It has saved US ground troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria multiple times, making it a favourite among American service members who see the A-10 as a guardian angel.

US Air National Guard

Source: Task & Purpose


Speculation has abounded for years about the fate of the A-10 until 2017, when Congress allocated over $US100 million to upgrade it.

DVIDS

Source: Business Insider


US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson even told the Senate Armed Services Committee in December that “I happen to be a fan of the A-10.”

US Air Force

Source: Business Insider


For more information about the A-10, watch “Grunts in the Sky,” a documentary about the A-10 which the US Air Force recently released.

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