HomeAbout UsFact SheetsDisplay

A-10C Thunderbolt II

The A-10 and OA-10 Thunderbolt IIs are the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. They are simple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles. The A-10/OA-10 have excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude, and are highly accurate weapons-delivery platforms. They can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time and operate under 1,000-foot ceilings (303.3 meters) with 1.5-mile (2.4 kilometers) visibility. Their wide combat radius and short takeoff and landing capability permit operations in and out of locations near front lines. Using night vision goggles, A-10/ OA-10 pilots can conduct their missions during darkness. (U.S. Air Force Photo Staff Sgt. Steve Thurow)

The A-10 and OA-10 Thunderbolt IIs are the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. They are simple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles. The A-10/OA-10 have excellent maneuverability at low airspeeds and altitude, and are highly accurate weapons-delivery platforms. They can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time and operate under 1,000-foot ceilings (303.3 meters) with 1.5-mile (2.4 kilometers) visibility. Their wide combat radius and short takeoff and landing capability permit operations in and out of locations near front lines. Using night vision goggles, A-10/ OA-10 pilots can conduct their missions during darkness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Thurow)

1990's -- A-10

An A-10 during a sortie in the 1990s. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

OVER THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA -- An A-10 Thunderbolt II from the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Municipal Airport, Westfield Mass., Massachusetts Air National Guard, banks while flying accross the Mediterranean Sea enroute to a forward operating base.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Bucher)

An A-10 Thunderbolt II from the 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard, Barnes Municipal Airport, Westfield, Mass., banks while flying across the Mediterranean Sea enroute to a forward operating base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Bucher)

1990's -- An A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft takes part in a mission during Operation Desert Storm.   The aircraft is armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, and Mark 82 500-pound bombs.

An A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft takes part in a mission during Operation Desert Storm. The aircraft is armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, AGM-65 Maverick missiles and Mark 82 500-pound bombs. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

1970s -- The A-10 Thunderbolt in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The A-10 Thunderbolt in flight in the 1970s. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Mission
The A-10C Thunderbolt II is the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. They are simple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against light maritime attack aircraft and all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles.

Features
The A-10C offers excellent maneuverability at low airspeeds and altitude while maintaining a highly accurate weapons-delivery platform. They can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time, are capable of austere landings and operate under 1,000-foot ceilings (303.3 meters) with 1.5-mile (2.4 kilometers) visibility. Additionally, with the capability of carrying precision guided munitions and unguided munitions, they can employ above, below and in the weather. Their wide combat radius and short takeoff and landing capability permit operations in and out of locations near front lines. Using night vision goggles, A-10C pilots can conduct their missions during darkness.

Thunderbolt IIs have Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS), goggle compatible single-seat cockpits forward of their wings, Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems, and a large bubble canopy which provides pilots all-around vision. The pilots are protected by titanium armor that also protects parts of the flight-control system. The redundant primary structural sections allow the aircraft to enjoy better survivability during close air support than previous aircraft.

The aircraft can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 23mm. Their self-sealing fuel cells are protected by internal and external foam. Manual systems back up their redundant hydraulic flight-control systems. This permits pilots to fly and land when hydraulic power is lost.

The Thunderbolt II can be serviced and operated from bases with limited facilities near battle areas. Many of the aircraft's parts are interchangeable left and right, including the engines, main landing gear and vertical stabilizers.

Avionics equipment includes communications, inertial navigation and GPS, fire control and weapons delivery systems, target penetration aids and night vision goggles. Their weapons delivery systems include heads-up displays that indicate airspeed, altitude, dive angle, navigation information and weapons aiming references; and a low altitude safety and targeting enhancement system (LASTE) which provides constantly computing impact point freefall ordnance delivery. The aircraft also have armament control panels, and infrared and electronic countermeasures to handle surface-to-air-threats, both missile and anti-aircraft artillery.

The Thunderbolt II's 30mm GAU-8/A Gatling gun can fire 3,900 rounds a minute and can defeat an array of ground targets to include tanks. Some of their other equipment include electronic countermeasures, target penetration aids, self-protection systems and an array of air-to-surface weapons, including laser and GPS guided munitions, AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

Background
The first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in October 1975. It was designed specifically for the close air support mission and had the ability to combine large military loads, long loiter and wide combat radius, which proved to be vital assets to the United States and its allies during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Noble Anvil.

In the Gulf War, A-10s had a mission capable rate of 95.7%, flew 8,100 sorties and launched 90% of the AGM-65 Maverick missiles.

General Characteristics
Primary Function: A-10 -- close air support, airborne forward air control, combat search and rescue
Contractor: Fairchild Republic Co.
Power Plant: Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans
Thrust: 9,065 pounds each engine
Length: 53 feet, 4 inches (16.16 meters)
Height: 14 feet, 8 inches (4.42 meters)
Wingspan: 57 feet, 6 inches (17.42 meters)
Speed: 420 miles per hour (Mach 0.56)
Ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,636 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 51,000 pounds (22,950 kilograms)
Range: 800 miles (695 nautical miles)
Armament: One 30mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun; up to 16,000 pounds (7,200 kilograms) of mixed ordnance on eight under-wing and three under-fuselage pylon stations, including 500 pound (225 kilograms) Mk-82 and 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) Mk-84 series low/high drag bombs, incendiary cluster bombs, combined effects munitions, mine dispensing munitions, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, laser-/GPS-guided bombs, unguided and laser-guided 2.75-inch (6.99 centimeters) rockets; infrared countermeasure flares; electronic countermeasure chaff; jammer pods; illumination flares and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
Crew: One
Date Deployed: March 1976
Unit Cost: $9.8 million (fiscal 98 constant dollars)
Inventory: Total Force – approximately 281

Point of Contact: Air Combat Command, Public Affairs Office; 115 Thompson St., Suite 121; Langley AFB, VA 23665-1987; DSN 574-5007 or 757-764-5007; e-mail: accpa.operations@us.af.mil

(Current as of December 2020)

Engage

Twitter
RT @AFSpecOpsCmd: After years of honorable service to the @usairforce, one AC-130U Spooky will enjoy its retirement in @Hurlburt_Field's ai…
Twitter
“It’s more than just a paint scheme; it’s an incredible opportunity to educate millions on the history behind the R… https://t.co/88l3HQZ3JX
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: We must also consider how to achieve improved interoperability and data sharing with our closest allies and partners so t…
Twitter
“The first thing that comes to mind is fire,” said #USAF SSgt Michael Rogers, 57th Rescue Squadron pararescueman. “… https://t.co/q0NXHfiisU
Twitter
“At @PACAF we will incorporate the knowledge gained into our command’s Mission Defense Team force array & employmen… https://t.co/n2wqAmw6W7
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official discuss the importance of knowing the Airmen. #AirPower #Airmen #Questions https://t.co/D9PL395j7q
Twitter
In line with the Air Force's new mission statement "To fly, fight, and win…#Airpower #Anytime, #Anywhere,"… https://t.co/42w2Obb4nc
Twitter
RT @AF_Academy: Cadets got a chance to get up close and personal with an AC-130 thanks to its crew from @CannonAFB_ . The insiders' tour @…
Twitter
Did you miss the @A10DemoTeam at Cocoa Beach, Florida? Here's a chance to see the pilot's perspective! The A-10 is… https://t.co/NmFH7lnZYL
Twitter
“We’re working with colleagues across the #AirForce to deliver modern child care facilities that help balance the d… https://t.co/HRaJKGvF0x
Twitter
“When I was prepping to take command of the 363rd ISR Wing, I visited the #AirForce Historical Research Agency at… https://t.co/vSmKcLn85N
Twitter
Commissioned Airmen and Guardians have until June 25 to apply for DAWN-ED. This is a funded degree program that pro… https://t.co/AWtaDsmjm5
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: Congrats @Spangdahlem_AB on becoming the 1st base in U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa to announce #AgileCom
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Oh the jokes 👀. But seriously, the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy at @17TRW_GAFB provides training to all components of the…
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official discuss how empowering Airmen will lead to success in building the future Air Forc… https://t.co/DdxWYllO91
Twitter
Take a look at the most recent Week in Photos! Which one is your favorite? Check out the rest here:… https://t.co/fWBLo4MZwU
Twitter
"Working with @USAF_ACC & other stakeholders, the MQ-9 enterprise will add new capabilities to the platform to help… https://t.co/SbHCyMhmXc
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: It was an honor joining 8 allies and partners in #INIOCHOS21, enabling us to enhance combat readiness and strengthen our r…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,345,111
Follow Us