A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog)

Product Type:

Ground-Attack Close-Air-Support Aircraft

Using Service (US):

Air Force (USAF)

Program Status:

No more new aircraft will be purchased.
Focus is on upgrades and sustainment.

Prime Contractor:

Fairchild Republic (now Northrop Grumman)

The A-10 Thunderbolt II aka Warthog
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About the A-10 Thunderbolt:

The Fairchild Republic (now part of Northrop Grumman) A-10 Thunderbolt II, also known as the Warthog, is a single-seat twin-engine ground-attack close-air-support (CAS) aircraft. The A-10 is an effective and survivable aircraft, which can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles. The A-10 is powered by two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines, each providing 9,065 pounds of thrust.

The A-10's wide combat radius and short takeoff and landing capability permit operations in and out of locations near the front line. Using night vision goggles, pilots can conduct missions during darkness. The Thunderbolt can be serviced and operated from limited facility bases near battle areas.

The Thunderbolt is an extremely survivable aircraft. To protect the pilot, the cockpit is protected by titanium armor up to 3.8 cm thick. The cockpit has a large bulletproof bubble canopy, which provides excellent all-round vision. The aircraft can survive direct hits from up to 23mm armor-piercing and high-explosive projectiles. The self-sealing fuel cells on the A-10 are protected by internal and external foam. Manual systems back up the hydraulic flight control systems, thus permitting pilots to fly and land even when hydraulic power is lost.

Avionics equipment on the A-10 includes multi-band communications; GPS/INS systems; IR and electronic countermeasures against aerial and surface threats; the AN/AAS-35(V) Pave Penny laser spot tracker system; a heads-up display for flight and weapons delivery information; a Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING targeting pod; Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-33 Sniper XR targeting pod; a low-altitude autopilot; and a ground collision avoidance system.

The A-10 has received many upgrades over the years. Starting in 2005, the entire A-10 fleet has been modified with precision engagement upgrades. The upgrade program installed an improved fire control system (FCS); electronic countermeasures (ECM); upgraded cockpit displays; the ability to deliver smart bombs; moving map display; hands-on throttle and stick; digital stores management; AN/AAQ-28(V) Litening EO/IR targeting pod + AN/AAQ-33 Sniper XR advanced targeting pod integration; situational awareness data link (SADL); variable message format (VMF); GPS-guided weapons; and upgraded DC power. Having received the precision engagement upgrades, all aircraft now carry the A-10C designation.

The A-10 was developed by Fairchild Republic in the early 1970s. The aircraft first flew in May 1972, and the first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona in October 1975. A total of 713 aircraft have since been produced. The A-10 was delivered to the U.S. Air Force from October 1975 to March 1984. The latest variant, the A-10C, achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in August 2007. The A-10C was specifically designed to perform forward air control missions.

As of September 2013 there were 334 A-10C aircraft in service with the U.S. Air Force, Air Combat Command, the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and the Air National Guard (346 in Sept. 2012). As of March 2014, only 283 aircraft remain in the active inventory.

The DoD has announced its intention to retire the entire A-10 fleet beginning in FY 2015. According to Mark Welsh, the Air Force Chief of Staff, retiring the aircraft will save a total of $4.2 billion over the next five years. According to DoD leaders, the decision to retire the popular A-10 is painful but necessary as the military is forced to save money on older platforms to ensure there are sufficient funds available for future weapon systems. The decision to retire the A-10 has been met with significant resistance in Congress and it is unlikely that the DoD will be able to retire the aircraft in FY15. The Air Force is instead trying to work out a compromise with Congress to retire a percentage of the A-10 fleet in order to transfer maintenance crew to the F-35. The Air Force has suggested retiring three active-duty squadrons or about 72 aircraft, however, this was not been well received in Congress either.


The A-10 Thunderbolt is equipped with a 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger seven-barreled gatling gun. The aircraft has 11 hardpoints and can carry up to 16,000 pounds of ordnance, including Mk 82/84 General Purpose Bombs, Paveway II laser-guided bombs, GBU-31/38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), AGM-65 Maverick, and AIM-9 Sidewinder (AIM-9X projected) missiles. For more detail, see specifications below.


To provide close air support for ground forces by attacking armored vehicles and other ground targets.

FY 2014 DoD Program:

The Wing Replacement program is the biggest A-10 modification in FY 2014. It procures replacement wings for the A-10 because the cost of sustaining A-10 wings has exceeded economic limits. Economic analysis determined a $1.3 billion cost avoidance by replacing wings instead of repairing them. To increase the aircraft service life, replacing A-10 wings with enhanced wing assemblies provides the major contribution to meet the A-10's operational service life requirement. The replacement wings incorporate reliability and maintainability improvements to known fatigue critical locations. With these improvements, the replacement wings do not require major structural inspections for the first 10,000 hours of service life. The Budget funds a total of 145 wings. The A-10 fleet was recently restructured to a size of 283 aircraft.

FY 2015 DoD Program:

No funding requested. The Air Force has proposed the A-10 be retired in FY 2015.

For more information, click to see the Complete FY 2015 A-10 DoD Budget.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), The Boeing Company,
General Electric Co., and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2015 Budget

Updated: November 17, 2014.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// (jkasper@bga-aeroweb.com)

External Resources:

Lockheed Martin: A-10 Thunderbolt II
Northrop Grumman: A-10 Thunderbolt II

YouTube: A-10 Thunderbolt | YouTube Videos

Fact Sheet: Not Available

A-10 U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the A-10 Thunderbolt II in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
DoD Purchases of A-10 Thunderbolt II Aircraft in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12/13 + Budget for FYs 2014 + 2015

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the A-10 Thunderbolt II

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Modification of A-10 Aircraft (USAF) Spares and Repair Parts (USAF)

Aircraft Specifications: A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog)

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Primary Function: Close air support and airborne forward air control
Prime Contractor: Fairchild Republic Co.
Power Plant: 2x General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines
Thrust: 9,065 pounds (each engine)
Wingspan: 57 ft 6 in (17.4 m)
Length: 53 ft 4 in (16.2 m)
Height: 14 ft 8 in (4.4 m)
Weight (Empty): 29,000 lbs (13,154 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 51,000 lbs (22,950 kg)
Payload: Up to 16,000 lbs (7,200 kg) of mixed ordnance on eight under-wing and three under-fuselage hardpoints
Fuel Capacity: 11,000 lbs (7,257 kg)
Speed: Cruise: Mach 0.46/300 kts/340 mph (560 km/h); Max: Mach 0.56/365 kts/420 mph (676 km/h)
Rate of Climb: 6,000 ft/min (30.5 m/s)
Service Ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,636 m)
Range: 695 nm/800 miles (1,287 km)
Combat Radius: 250 nm/288 miles (463 km)
Crew: One
Price/Unit Cost: Unknown
First Flight: May 10, 1972
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): A-10A: 1977; A-10C: August 2007
Aircraft Inventory: Total: 346x A-10C /// Active: 190; ANG: 108; AFR: 48 (as of September 2012)
Total: 334x A-10C /// Active: 187; ANG: 106; AFR: 41 (as of September 2013)

Main Gun: 1x 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger seven-barreled gatling gun with 1,174 rounds.
Typical Configuration: 2x AIM-9 Sidewinder (AIM-9X projected); + a range of different combinations of other missiles and bombs.
These combinations can include up to: 6x AGM-65 Maverick; or 6x GBU-38 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM);
or 2x GBU-31 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition; or 6x GBU-12 Paveway II Laser-Guided Bombs;
or 6x 500-pound Mk 82 General Purpose Bombs; or 2x 2,000-pound Mk 84 General Purpose Bombs;
or 4x CBU-87 1,000-pound Combined Effects Munition; or 4x CBU-89 GATOR Mine System;
or 4x CBU-97 1,000-pound Sensor Fuzed Weapon; or 5x LAU-131/A Rocket Pods w/7x Hydra-70 2.75" (70mm) rockets each.

Avionics & Sensors:
Lockheed Martin AN/AAS-35(V) Pave Penny laser spot tracker system
Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING EO/IR targeting pod
Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-33 Sniper XR targeting pod.

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