Skip to comments.A-10 pilots should have an edge next time they go downrange
Posted on 11/21/2007 4:33:45 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
SPANGDAHLEM, Germany Tracking and pursuing enemy forces on the ground should be easier for A-10 pilots with the 81st Fighter Squadron when they go downrange early next year.
By the time they deploy, leaders hope the units 18 aircraft will be outfitted with new targeting systems. Three already have been installed with six more on the way.
The technology allows pilots to deploy laser-guided munitions, pursue moving targets at night with infrared imaging and stabilize points on the ground while maneuvering. The information is routed from a targeting pod attached under the wing to a monitor in the one-man cockpit. Ground forces also have access to the images coming from the plane.
Its like a super-powered binocular, said 1st Lt. Stephen Bowen, who will be deploying for the first time with the unit. It is still unknown where the squadron will be sent.
But Bowen and the other pilots are learning to use the new systems with caution.
Its apparently easy to get caught up watching the tracking screen, jokingly referred to as the drool cup. So pilots are learning to strike a balance between using the targeting system and their tried-and-true technique of simply looking out the window.
Watching the monitor too much can be dangerous because its like looking through a soda straw, Bowen said. Its a very limited field of vision In some cases, its better not to use it at all.
The unit just got back to Spangdahlem after a seven-week training mission at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. There they worked with the new targeting technology and participated in two close-air support exercises with the U.S. Army, Navy and Marines, and British forces.
The scenarios allowed the unit the rare opportunity to integrate with all the different assets, said Maj. Mark Lambertsen, the units second in command.
Built to operate near the front lines, the A-10 can fly at low air speeds and altitude. It can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 23 mm. Pilots are protected by titanium armor that also protects parts of the flight-control system.
Close-air support missions are expected to be the units primary focus downrange, Lambertsen said.
The toughest part is keeping track of all the moving parts to make sure everyones de-conflicted and to maintain situational awareness, he said.
The key to close-air support is finding the fine line between trying to support them with air power and to do things fast without messing up, Lambertsen said. We cant afford any mistakes.
Dang! And just think, how long ago had the Air Force originally intended to retire the Warthog?
Gee, I always thought they already had the edge!
Just finished watching “Transformers” and there is a great scene at the beginning where there battling the scorpion transformer in the desert and they scramble the warthogs. But its the C- 130 with the cannon that does it in.
As aircraft are usually defined by the image of sleek, macho and sexy the Warthog is more than aptly named! Its no wonder those near sighted paperpushers ever allowed this ugly flying cannon to even be built, but it more than definitely gets the job done, and it brings home the pilot. There was news a little while back about these electronic upgrades, who knows maybe there might be a future for it even further, like a railgun?
I wanna see some danged pichurs!!!
I personally believe they should have gone all the way and named it the Buzzard.
I’ll always remember the Baghdad footage from Iraqi Freedom—the was the A-10’s maneuvered looked exactly like a turkey vulture, leisurely circling at low altitude—first standing on one wingtip, then the other, then dropping down to let off a braaaap.
My late father gave me the same advice on my wedding night.
There was also talk of upgrading the engines to get greater than 1:1 thrust to weight ratio to allow vertical climbs. Don’t know where that went. Anybody?
I understand they still suffer birdstrikes from the rear.
I am unsure if an upgrade was included in this upgrade.
Well, they could be, but the A-10 design has always called for converted airliner engines to power it.
It made for a hell of a cheap and reliable ground attack plane.
Enjoy the pics.
I had the pleasure of sitting in the cockpit of one of these beauties a few years back at Davis-Monthan (contractor capacity not pilot.) I asked about a test flight, but sadly there are no two-seater models.
The Warthog: The gift that keeps on giving.
What an extraordinary craft, driven by extraordinary men.
> ... but sadly there are no two-seater models.
One A-10B was built.
It’s on static display at Edwards.
God Bless John Boyd.
I love the A-10. When you really, really have to kill something right away, there is your aircraft.
Additionally, what’s not to love about bomblets?
The A-10 is one plane that needs to go back into production.
The 10s with the shark mouth are Conn ANG
Is that “party mix” being loaded?
It made for a hell of a cheap and reliable ground attack plane.
And lots of spare engine parts.
Yup! 30mm U235 specials.
As part of this last A-10 upgrade the engine pylons were changed. They are hoping “funds become available soon for engine upgrades.” Translated: “if the ‘rats don’t win the A-10 engine upgrade is possible.”
coming soon to a television near you....
You know it.
The A-10 is an amazing, enigmatic aircraft. If you talk to the US ground forces, they first ask why we don’t have armadas of A-10s to blanket the battlefield and wreak havoc on their enemy. Then they ask why don’t we make drone A-10s to do that.
And if the answer to the first question is complicated, the answer to the second one is paradoxical.
That is, as part of its design, as much of the A-10 as possible has redundant systems. This means, and has been proven, that in combat, an A-10 can take an unbelievable amount of punishment and still return home. Aircraft missing big chunks of wing and tail, perforated with holes so much you can see through them, blasted, scorched, torn apart.
And they do. Beaten all to heck up, they still limp home, nursed by their pilot. And that is the key. While an A-10 is a devastating weapon at several altitudes, when it is severely wounded, it needs a pilot to bring it home.
A drone or remote pilot just doesn’t have the feel of the aircraft. And the A-10, or the Raptor, which comes pretty close, is too pricey to just casually throw away. This means that it can fly high, but unless the target is critical, it can’t fly above the treetops and do that voodoo that A-10s do so well.
It is as amazing aircraft.
As = an
I think the tiger’s mouth A-10s are Pope AFB ships from the 21st Exp Wing — they have the AVG “Flying Tigers” in their lineage.
Insurgent gets flying lesson from the USA
I’d like to get the full story on that one! Is that really a body flying?
It sure looks like it. I just stumbled across it looking at the A-10 videos.
The chorus in the AC/DC music "Thunder" at the beginning of the video sounds a lot like the 30mm on continuous. Probably why it was chosen.
This reminds me when the air force built a fighter plane with no cannon because missiles are all you need. Now their bright idea is stealth is all you need. These paper pushers are as dumb as a door nail.
I thought “Party Mix” was two DUs and one HE. Repeat as necessary.
Center of gravity issues. The new engines are heavier and there is no place forward of the COG to put ballast. Their working on trimming the engine weight but the ideas I’ve read would mean the engines would then cost as much as the original aircraft.
The picture does appear to have a 2,1,2,1 pattern. When I watched the loading of ammunition in person, all the rounds were DU (or at least they all looked the same,) but the aircraft was headed for target practice out of Davis-Monthan not real combat.
By the way, even though they told me the DU rounds were "safe," I never touched them or the gatling barrels. Can't be too "safe!" I was planning children at the time and didn't want them to come out glowing.
Maybe that's why they changed the engine pylons in the last upgrade. Could be they went to a lighter metal like titanium to offset the increased weight of the possible new engines. Just guessing here.
LOL. That is so so so so wrong! LOL