The A-10 Thunderbolt
The A-10 Thunderbolt with the nicknames: Warthog, Hog, the Tanker Buster and the Flying Gun, is the latest aircraft to be judged by the Department of Defense of the United States.
United States Air Force Pilots most favorite aircraft the A-10 Thunderbolt earned its popularity due to its high-survivability, versatility, durability and “get home” effectiveness.
It was the preferred aircraft used by pilots during Operation Desert Storm, a war waged by the coalition forces in alliance with 34 countries, against the Ba’athist Iraqui invasion of Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991.
The A-10 was also used extensively for the NATO operations in response to the Kosovo crisis, the Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Favorite in the battlefields
A-10 Thunderbolt is a fixed-wing close air support, forward air control, and ground-attack aircraft with twin-engines and a straight-wing jet, manufactured in the United States by Fairchild-Republic between 1970 and 1984 producing a total number of 713.
It is the only United States Air Force military aircraft designed for close air support or military tactic where the air action is by rotary-winged aircraft or fixed against targets that are close to the ground such as tanks, armoured vehicles and other threats with limited air defences.
The A-10 Thunderbolt is appropriate for operation from forward air base or a military base that is used to support tactical operations due to its ability to fly slowly enough to take-off and land on short runways.
The A-10 is a favorite in the battlefield for its movability at low speed and low altitude that is below 1,000ft. This movability allows accurate and effective targeting, not to mention the delivery of weapon over all types of terrain.
Is the A-10 retiring?
Despite the astounding contributions made by the A-10 Thunderbolt, and the United States willingness to keep the A-10 in service up until 2028.The new commander of the Mountain Home Air Force Base: Col. David Iverson stated that the advancement in air defence technology is unfortunately turning the A-10 Thunderbolt into a relic of the past.
It is tantamount to say that it served its purpose and has reached the end of its service to the Air force. In addition to this, he said that the A-10 is not a serviceable platform in wars with countries armed with sophisticated defence weaponry. That is that the possibility of the A-10 not being able to survive against countries with advanced capabilities is forthcoming.
Col. David Iverson also stated, “That the A-10 provides a valuable mission. However, there are other aircraft out there that can do the same mission as the A-10.” According to Col. David Iverson, the A-10 Thunderbolt has made a mark in the Air Force missions, but the money spent for its maintenance could be better spent on research and development for future platforms.
By retiring the A-10 Thunderbolt, the United States Air force would save about 4 Billion USD, opening doors to other projects, such as extra funding for the Lockheed Martin F-35, joint strike fighter and the possibility of moving Idaho Air National Guard to Mountain Home from Gowen Field
One of the motion to retire the A-10 was also based on a statement made by the Air Force secretary, Deborah Lee, James, during an interview with an online magazine called, Breaking Defense, “The time has come to move forward.”
In answer to the suggestion of the retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and the members of Idaho’s Congressional delegation stated that there will be continued support for the A-10, up until another aircraft is ready to be used as a replacement.
Fortunately the current funds that have been set aside will allow this magnificent aircraft to stay with us another year. After which, the congress will need to decide the final fate of the A-10, thus leaving the doors open for the Air force to decide whether to move Idaho National Air Guard to Mountain Home.
However, if the decision to retire the A-10 becomes a reality, may its legacy live on and its role in the defence of many nations be always remembered.
Whatever the outcome we are all led by the advancement of technology to stay in tune with the world and build a stronger defence system for the security of all nations. For now, let’s allow things to unfold.