The A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twin turbofan engine, straight-wing jet aircraft.
The A-10 was designed for close air support (CAS) of friendly ground troops, attacking armored vehicles and tanks, and providing quick-action support against enemy ground forces.
It entered service in 1976 and is the only production-built aircraft that has served in the USAF that was designed solely for CAS.
Here is a Video of a Crazy Pilot who Landed an A-10 fighter jet after getting hit by a Missile.
Its secondary mission is to provide forward air controller – airborne (FAC-A) support, by directing other aircraft in attacks on ground targets. Aircraft used primarily in this role are designated OA-10.
The General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger is a 30 mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-type autocannon that is typically mounted in the United States Air Force’s Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.
Designed specifically for the anti-tank role, the Avenger delivers very powerful rounds at a high rate of fire.
The GAU-8/A is also used in the Goalkeeper CIWS ship weapon system, which provides defense against short-range threats such as highly maneuverable missiles, aircraft, and fast maneuvering surface vessels.
Read more: A-10 Women Pilot “Killer Chick” Kim Campbell Successfully landed back a damaged A-10 Warthog
The A-10A single-seat variant was the only version produced, though one pre-production airframe was modified into the YA-10B twin-seat prototype to test an all-weather night capable version.
In 2005, a program was started to upgrade the remaining A-10A aircraft to the A-10C configuration, with modern avionics for use with precision weaponry.
The U.S. Air Force had stated the F-35would replace the A-10 as it entered service, but this remains highly contentious within the Air Force and in political circles
In 2005, the entire fleet of 356 A-10 and OA-10 aircraft began receiving Precision Engagement upgrades including an improved fire control system (FCS), electronic countermeasures (ECM), and smart bomb targeting.
The aircraft receiving this upgrade was redesignated A-10C
The A-10 has a cantilever low-wing monoplane wing with a wide chord. The aircraft has superior maneuverability at low speeds and altitudes because of its large wing area, low wing aspect ratio, and large ailerons.
The wing also allows short takeoffs and landings, permitting operations from primitive forward airfields near the front lines.
The aircraft can loiter for extended periods and operate under 1,000 ft ceilings with 1.5 mi visibility.
It typically flies at a relatively low speed of 300 knots which makes it a better platform for the ground-attack role than fast fighter bombers, which often have difficulty targeting small, slow-moving targets