How much do you really know about the A-10 Warthog?
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, aka: "The Warthog" is arguably one of the most iconic aircraft ever utilized by the United States armed forces. The plane's unusual design coupled with its incredible ground support capabilities have made it a favorite of flying enthusiasts and ground troops alike.
Many a U.S. ground trooper has been pinned down behind enemy lines before an A-10 saved the day with its awesome 30mm autocannon. For 48 years now, the Thunderbolt has continued to hold off all contenders for its replacement.
But how much do you really know about the A-10's design and engineering? Did you know that 30mm cannon cuts the jet's thrust in half when it fires? Or that the plane has two hydraulic systems that allow it to keep flying if one ceases to function? Those are just some of the fascinating facts about this plane shown in the video below.
Each A-10 Warthog costs approximately $50 million and if you ask a soldier saved by one, they will tell you they are well worth the cost. It is comforting to know that all the armor for these planes is concentrated around the brave pilots who fly them low and fast into hot zones to support soldiers on the ground.
Like the video said, the A-10 is known to take quite the beating and still function. In April 2003, Captain Kim Campbell's A-10 suffered extensive damage from enemy fire during a mission over Baghdad, Iraq. The damage crippled the hydraulics they mentioned in the video. Understandably, Campbell did not want to ditch over Baghdad, but the A-10's design allowed her to take over manual control and land it safely back at base. She earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for her actions.
Before watching this video, we did not realize the A-10's unusual design was meant to facilitate it operating out of smaller, more rugged air bases. You learn something new every day.
As the video noted, the A-10 has come under threat of replacement so many times at this point that it seems redundant. This plane may fill a niche role in combat, but it does it better and more cheaply than any other plane the U.S. has right now. Personally, we do not think the A-10 is going anywhere any time soon because of that.