By Popular Request…

First ya need a gun…

Oops, gun in too big to fit in any current airplane… Need new airplane…

Hello, Fairchild-Republic?  Yep, remember the P-47 Thunderbolt? Yeah, yeah, can you update that a bit?  Couple of jet engines would be good; yep, tanks and stuff like that…  Uh huh, A10 Thunderbolt works for us, kthxbi. 

NOW we’re making progress just design the damn airplane AROUND the gun…

Make it Old School, butt ugly, powerful and with a Titanium Tub for the pilot, just in case…  After all it IS going to be low, slow and shooting at things that CAN shoot back…

And just in case the bad guys get lucky, make everything at least doubly redundant (Old School- Belt AND Suspenders)… and triply redundant on flight control systems two hydraulic and one manual…

Capt. Kim Campbell sustained this damage over Baghdad and flew for another hour before returning to base. Story HERE.  And here’s one by Michael Yon.

Get the biggest damn bullet you can, 30mm 6500 grains depleted uranium penetrator and push it real fast… 

Just to put it in perspective, the .223 Rem (M16 rifle round) is fast. It shoots a 55 or so grain bullet at about 3300 feet/sec, give or take. It’s the fastest of all those rounds shown (except one). When you move up to the .30 caliber rounds, the bullets jump up in weight to 160-200 grains. Speeds run from about 2600 to 3000 fps or so. 

The .338 Lapua is the king of the sniper rifles these days and shoots a 350 grain bullet at 2800 fps or so. They kill bad guys at over a mile with that one.

The .50 BMG is really big. Ask AEpilot Jim…

Everyone who picks one up thinks it’s some sort of fake, unless they know big ammo. It’s really huge with a bullet that weighs 750 grains and goes as fast the Lapua.

The bullet for the 30×173 Avenger has an aluminum jacket around a spent uranium core and weighs 6560 grains (yes, over 100 times as heavy as the M16 bullet, and flies through the air at 3500 fps (which is faster than the M16 as well).

The gun shoots at a rate of 4200 rounds per minute. Yes, four thousand. Pilots typically shoot either one- or two-second burst which set loose 70 to 150 rounds. The system is optimized for shooting at 4,000 feet. 

I personally have seen Hog destroy a Soviet T-72 tank with ONE 2 second burst...

How big IS the gun?  Well, here is a PR photo done with an old VW Beetle…

Seven barrels, 112 inches long, total gun length? 19 1/2 feet long… 

Oh yeah, stick a few hard points on the wings too will ya, we ‘might’ want to carry ‘other’ things…

And the Air Force Generals hated it, because it was ugly, and the gear wasn’t fully retractable, and they kept trying to kill it…  

But the pilots loved it, the maintainers loved it, and they flew the hell out of them, and killed MANY things with them… And the pilots came home almost every time…

And they are STILL being used in combat, and are the ONLY true CAS asset the Air Force has…

h/t WSF


By Popular Request… — 31 Comments

  1. It’s the finest CAS asset on the planet IMHO. If I was a USAF pilot, I’d cast my career to the breeze and fly a Warthog. It’s seat of your pants/nap of the Earth action.

  2. I friggin’ LOVE the comparative photo with the VW! Now THAT’S a photograph that hits home!

    And the A-10 is a wonderful craft, highly useful, greatly analog, and doesn’t cost one billion dollars.

    It’s time for a portion of the US forces, land, sea, air, to go back a bit more to analog days.

    One EMP and everything we possess can be gone.

    How stupid that we should make ourselves so susceptible to just one properly-placed blow?


  3. P47 and A 10 two great planes. Anything designed to take a licking and keep on flying is beautiful as far as I’m concerned. Good read thanks.

  4. Just another reason the Army needs their own fixed wing combat assets – ground support is the lowest priority of the Air Force.

    Bet the A-10 is way cheaper to operate than an Apache.

  5. After the Wall fell and before Desert Storm the AF really wanted to get rid of the A-10.
    Seems it made it all the way to the JCOS. The Marine Commandant said he’d take all the A-10s AND their support personnel and budget.
    The AF COS had a change of heart.
    Desert Storm made sure the Warthog stayed.

  6. The sound of an A-10 buzzing over your head is almost bad enough to kill you. I can’t imagine taking fire from one and then having it roar over you just to add insult to injury.

  7. I have know personal experience with aircraft, but that A 10 is a bad mo-fo. I’ve been in constant awe of that thing since I first learned of its existence.

  8. LL- Good point! 🙂

    Murph- I wonder why…LOL

    BZ- When you actually see one, your jaw just drops!

    SG- You’re welcome!

    WSF- good point and thanks for the info!!!

    Stretch- I’ve heard that before 🙂

    BP- Yep

    DB- especially at about 100 feet (or less)…

    45- Yep they are impressive, on MANY fronts!

  9. First ya need a gun… Isn’t that one of the 10 basic rulees of life?

  10. The A10, aka the T72 Can Opener, maybe ugly but it gets the job done in spades. They have a special appreciation in my lowly opinion.

  11. I remember the first time I touched off 7.62’s on a Huey.
    Scared the crap out of me.
    Second pass was,..,. oh , hell yes!!

  12. It has that “distinct sound!”
    My son was in the Regular Army from 97-2001. The guys on the ground love this airplane!
    I am a fan of combat airplanes whose number begins with A.
    Did three tours in the A6 and one in the A7!

  13. I was bow hunting in Sugar Valley, PA. The tree stand was on the side of a hill in a state forest about half way up the hill.

    At about 10:00 in the morning an A-10 went by me at eye level. The second one went below me by 50 feet.

    I knew the aircraft were from the 111th Fighter Wing so I call my buddy when I got home. He was a pilot out of WGNAS.

    I said that I saw them playing games and the were pretty low. He said no way, they have a hard ceiling of 1000ft.

    I told him the second guy was under my tree stand and the tail number of his aircraft.

    He was pretty quiet for a second and then said, maybe some feet are smaller than others and made me promise not to say anything to his CO or his wife!


  14. Poppa- Yep it is!


    Skul- Made a ‘bit’ of noise didn’t it 🙂

    ORPO- Hmmm, do I detect a ‘bit’ of bias there??? 🙂

    Gerry- Yep, those ‘hard’ floors sometimes DO have short feet in em…

  15. We used to see these parked off the tarmac at Al Udied AB. They are smaller in real life than you would imagine. Of course, we were in the rumbling EP-3, so we dwarfed them. . .

  16. I was an SP at Sembach in the 80s and worked with Det 1 of the 81st TFW… yes the A-10 is a bad ass aircraft.

  17. Navy One- Just big enough 🙂

    Crusty/Danny- Yep 🙂

    POI- That DOES work!

    Pissed- yep one hellva bird!

    Woman- Thank you!

  18. I used to pick my hotels at Myrtle Beach, SC based on proximity to Myrtle Beach AFB. I’d play in the ocean and lay on the beach, waiting for the Hogs to fly by.

  19. If the Air Force Generals ever do kill the A-10, the Army is going to buy all of them and pretend they aren’t fixed wing aircraft, they are just mobile vertical anti-tank gun platforms.

    Remember that future AF pilots will be in hangers in California, flying drones in the Middle East.

  20. Freeholder- If you remember MBAFB, you’re an OLD fart 🙂 First one I ever saw was at England AFB Louisiana.

    Earl- Yep, and the Army STILL wants a Mohawk replacement WITH guns!!!

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