Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

The A-10 is a dedicated ground attack aircraft first flown May 10, 1972.  Developed by the Fairchild part of the merged Fairchild Republic company, it nevertheless was named after Republic’s P-47 Thunderbolt fighter from World War II.  Unlike the P-47, which served many roles, the A-10 is specialized for attacking ground targets and is built around a multi-barrel rotating “Gatling gun” cannon that fires 3,900 shells per minute, or about 60 to 75 rounds per second.  The plane carries only enough ammunition to fire this weapon for about 15 seconds, but it can do a phenomenal amount of damage with a few bursts of a few seconds each.  The A-10 can also carry a wingload of bombs and assorted other weapons.  The A-10 is commonly called the Warthog or just the Hog by those associated with it.

The A-10 grew out of the lessons of Vietnam where the United States was caught without a really good ground attack aircraft.  It used a mixture of aging, slow, under-armored aircraft from the 1950s and fast new jets that could not point at the target for long enough to be very effective.  The A-10 arrived too late to participate in Vietnam but has been successful in the U.S.’s mideast adventures starting from 1991. The USAF is the only user of the 710 A-10s built.

There is an ongoing debate about when to retire the A-10.  Proponents of new attack fighters such as the F-35 have been eager to get the A-10 out of the inventory to make room for these new aircraft, but many people who have been close to combat insist that neither the F-35 nor any other projected USAF aircraft can do what the A-10 does.

A-10C 80-163

Launching from Selfridge, Michigan, is this 107th Fighter Squadron A-10.

A-10C 80-213

This A-10 serves with the 107 Fighter Squadron at Selfridge, Michigan.

A-10C 80-263

Here is another 107th Squadron A-10.

A-10A 80-278

This A-10 is with the 354th Fighter Squadron based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, thus the “DM” tail code.

A-10C 81-994

This A-10 was painted up in 2017 in special markings to commemorate the 100th birthday of Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan as an Army and Air Force air base.  The 107th Fighter Squadron, currently based there, painted the plane in reference to the North American F-6A Mustangs (photo reconnaissance variant of the P-51A) that it operated when it existed as an Observation Squadron at the type of the D-Day invasion.  Its Mustangs of that time were painted olive drab over neutral gray with invasion stripes and gray or, perhaps, yellow ID codes.  The “red devil” motif was adopted by the squadron in the 1950s.

A-10C 81-998

Here is another, plainly-marked 107th Squadron A=10.

 

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