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    HomeMilitaryThe Unyielding Warthog: Why the A-10's Tenacity Outshines Newer Jets

    The Unyielding Warthog: Why the A-10’s Tenacity Outshines Newer Jets

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    Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt Warthog” by AV8PIX Christopher Ebdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    The A-10 Warthog is defying retirement plans and proving its enduring value on the battlefield, as its deployment to the Middle East demonstrates an unwavering capability for close air support.

    Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II (A-10 Warthog)” by Peer.Gynt is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Despite the U.S. Air Force’s efforts to phase out the aircraft, arguing its vulnerability against modern air defenses.

    Fairchild-Republic A-10 ”Thunderbolt II” (”Warthog”)” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC CC0 1.0

    The Warthog’s deployment suggests a reliance on its proven and cost-effective performance, especially in areas with limited air threats.

    Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt Warthog” by AV8PIX Christopher Ebdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    The A-10’s iconic 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger gun, famed for its armor-penetrating firepower, and its ability to carry 16 GBU-39B small-diameter bombs, solidify its status as a lethal component in the U.S. arsenal.

    A-10 Warthog aerial refueling” by Janitors is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The cost of operation for the A-10, at approximately $6,000 per hour, starkly contrasts with the F-35’s $36,000 and the F-16C’s $22,514, highlighting the economical advantage of keeping the Warthog in the air.

    AirExpo 2010: A-10 Thunderbolt II, a.k.a the A-10 ‘Warthog’” by pmarkham is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    History has underscored the Warthog’s survivability and lethality. During the 1991 Gulf War, A-10s flew more than 8,000 sorties with an impressive mission-capable rate, and their low loss rate further cements their effectiveness.

    Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt Warthog” by AV8PIX Christopher Ebdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Unlike newer fighter jets that require extensive support and cannot operate from forward bases, the A-10’s operational flexibility allows it to utilize almost any airfield with minimal support.

    Fairchild-Republic A-10 ”Thunderbolt II” (”Warthog”)” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC CC0 1.0

    The A-10’s design is tailored for survivability. Its engines are mounted high to reduce infrared signatures from the ground, and the pilot is encased in a titanium tub, providing exceptional protection.

    AirExpo 2010: A-10 Thunderbolt II, a.k.a the A-10 ‘Warthog’” by pmarkham is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    These features, along with foam-lined fuel tanks, contribute to its exceptional resilience to ground-launched missiles and small arms fire.

    Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog) 9” by Jack Snell – Thanks for over 26 Million Views is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    In modern conflicts, where air defenses may not match the sophistication of superpowers, the A-10’s capabilities remain not only relevant but indispensable.

    A-10 Warthog of the Idaho ANG at Boise Airport” by Alaskan Dude is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    As conflicts evolve, the need for adaptable, reliable, and cost-effective close air support is clear.

    A-10 ‘Warthog’” by BriYYZ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    The Warthog’s deployment to theaters with lower-tier air defenses underscores its suitability for current combat scenarios.

    A-10 Warthog leaving Nellis AFB” by Alaskan Dude is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The A-10’s future, however, remains in contention as the Air Force plans to supplant it with the F-35, despite the latter’s higher operational costs and current inability to match the A-10’s close ground support prowess.

    It is noteworthy that if used in close support missions, the F-35’s “stealth” is of no value, as the aircraft will be exposed to gunfire and MANPADS.

    Business end of an A-10 Warthog” by Seamoor is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    In conclusion, while the Air Force’s long-term strategies may be oriented towards next-generation aircraft, the A-10 Warthog continues to demonstrate an unassailable tactical advantage in scenarios where its unique strengths are most needed.

    Relevant articles:
    Forget Stealth: A ‘New’ A-10 Warthog Should Be Supersonic, The National Interest
    Designing the replacement for the A-10, Secret Projects Forum
    Stealth ‘Hog Might Save A, PPRuNe Forums
    US Air Force in a big lie about the A, Asia Times

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