The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, or “Warthog” as it’s commonly known, was the first aircraft the U.S. Air Force ever purpose built specifically for close air support operations. In the years since its introduction in 1976, it has become a trademark of American combat operations, providing quick-action support for U.S. and allied ground troops in nearly every conflict the U.S. has been involved in since, liquefying enemy armored vehicles, combatants, and even tanks with its massive rotary canon, defined audibly by its tell-tale sound… BRRRRRRRRRRT
The A-10 was unusual from its very inception, as its design could, in some ways, be considered a bit backwards. Whereas most combat aircraft are designed and built around a functional air frame first, the A-10 began its design phase differently: The A-10 was built specifically to house the massive 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon. In order to get this massive gun into the air, the A-10 had to be built around it. Because the A-10 was intended to get right into the middle of the fight, it was also adorned with some serious armor – with over 1,200 pounds of titanium tasked with protecting the cockpit and flight systems alone. The A-10 can take off and land on short runways, absorb a seemingly otherworldly amount of punishment, and lay waste to enemy armored assets to the tune of 65 massive 30mm rounds on target per second.
In fact, as massive as the A-10’s GAU-8 gun is, it’s dwarfed by the size of the ammunition drum it’s got to carry to keep up with its massive fire rate. The GAU-8 30 mm cannon weighs in at a formidable 620 pounds (imagine holding a 620 pound machine gun…) but once coupled with the feed system and a full drum, the weapon alone weighs 4,029 pounds.
Thanks to its combat capabilities, resilient construction, and, of course, it’s massive firepower, the A-10 “Warthog” has proven to be a favorite among war fighters… and now you can own your own (scaled down) version of the legendary aircraft.
Of course, the remote controlled A-10 doesn’t come equipped with a scaled down version of the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon, but the airplane itself, complete with functional jet turbines, makes for a seemingly worthy recreation of the aircraft that has saved countless American lives throughout combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past sixteen or so years. With a new slew of upgrades slated for the A-10, the aircraft that was once on the chopping block is now expected to remain in service until at least 2040 – but only time will tell if its remote controlled counter part can match that kind of staying power.
Image courtesy of YouTube