Our A-10 Thunderbolt II Scrapbook
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an attack and close air support jet operated exclusively by the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard. The twin engines are in pods to the rear of the aircraft, and eleven hardpoints are fitted for weapons and external fuel tanks. The internally mounted GAU-8 30mm cannon is a primary armament by itself.
Studies were underway in the 1960s to replace the aging piston-powered Douglas A-1 in the attack role. One of the offerings to replace this Korean and Vietnam war veteran was the Fairchild Republic YA-10. The first prototype YA-10 initially flew on May 10, 1972. In 1973 and 1974, the YA-10 model flew against the Northrop A-9 and the LTV A-7, winning both competitions. The first production A-10A flew in 1975, with initial operational deliveries commencing in 1976.
A total of 716 airframes were produced through 1984. Upgrades to the standard A-10A model commenced in 1999 with a wing replacement program for just a portion of the total manufactured. In 2006, another program was commenced for new wing sets too. The final re-winging program will allow the A-10 to fly to 2040, according to program supplier Boeing.
A modified version of the A-10A, known as the OA-10A, was identified in 1987, as a Foreword Air Control variant. For all intents and purposes, the aircraft design remained unchanged, but the FAC mission migrated from retiring Cessna OA-37s and Rockwell OV-10s.
Beginning in 2006, the remaining fleet of A-10s (operationally down to just about 280 airframes) were upgraded to the A-10C version, with a glass cockpit, enhanced weapons capabilities, and improved countermeasures against anti-aircraft weapons.
Here is a scrapbook full of A-10 photos from the collections of our Photorecon.net team. Enjoy!