- Historical moments
- Prerequisites to create
- Cold War standoff
- Interesting Facts
- Mass production
- Further operation
- Other features
- Airplane A10 Thunderbolt 2: radio electronic equipment
- Self defense
- Parameters in numbers
The plane "Warthog" (A-10 Thunderbolt 2) is an American single-armored attack aircraft. The device was created in the mid-seventies of the last century. Despite the honorary age, the flying unit is considered one of the best representatives of its segment. The main purpose of the vehicle is the liquidation of the enemy’s tanks and other armored vehicles. Consider its features and capabilities in more detail.
The plane "Warthog" first flew into service and was adopted in 1976. The battle check was waiting for the Thunderbolt in the Persian Gulf. This machine eliminated the maximum number of enemy technology, compared with other counterparts. Before the start of Operation Storm in the Desert, there was little hope for the plane. However, after a successful debut, the device began to look differently.
The most modern and technological modification of the aircraft "Warthog" is the version of the A-10C, which was put into service in 2007. After 2015, 283 aircraft remained in service. The average cost of attack aircraft starts from 11.8 million dollars.
Prerequisites to create
In many ways, the creation of the aircraft Thunderbolt 2 is associated with the confrontation during the Vietnam War. The fact is that in the early 60s, the Pentagon’s strategy had a directional vector to strengthen the confrontation with the USSR. To do this, combat airborne F-100, F-101 and F-105 aircraft were brought to combat readiness. They were reequipped for the possibility of incurring nuclear warheads, with the subsequent striking of strategic designated targets.
The Vietnam campaign has forced US generals to rethink the situation. Due to the lack of specialized equipment, the Americans had to use training aircraft "Troyan" in combat mode, which was re-equipped for the corresponding tasks. Meeting with military fighters has shown that this idea is inappropriate and completely disastrous. The development of the US special aircraft "Warthog", well protected by armor and equipped with powerful tools, began.
Cold War standoff
In the same period, the situation in Europe changed. At the end of the 60s, the upgraded tanks of the T-62 type entered the armament of the Soviet army. In addition, the BMP-1 infantry combat vehicle was acquired.
This technique theoretically exceeded all NATO counterparts, could be produced in large quantities. This formed a kind of myth (or reality) about the Soviet armed avalanche, capable of reaching the English Channel in a matter of hours. Another important point is the installation of the “Shilka” type, distinguished by the effectiveness of the suppression of enemy points and a high level of protection against enemy charges. Further development in this direction continued with the creation of the concept of an aircraft with subsonic flight characteristics.
A detailed program for the development of the aircraft "Warthog", a photo of which is presented below, began to be actively pursued in 1967. The conditions of competitive selection were sent to the 21 flight company. American air forces demanded a unit with a flight speed of at least 650 km / h, good maneuverability, powerful armament of various calibers and substantial bomb loading. Also, the new attack aircraft had to have take-off and landing indicators, allowing to operate the airfields with a ground coating.
When it became clear that the American army was losing the war in Vietnam, the development of the aircraft became more focused on a possible theater of military operations in Europe. In 1970, the designers finally decided on the main armament of the Warthog military aircraft. They became a 30-mm high-speed gun type GAU-8, designed according to the Gatling scheme (with an element of seven barrels).
The final stage of the development and creation of the American attack aircraft A-10 Thunderbolt II began in 1970. As a result, two companies confronted each other (Fairchild Republic and Northrop). The first company launched its prototype in a test flight in the spring of 1972, the car from competitors was tested after three weeks.
Comparative tests of both devices began in October 1972. The aircraft were tested at the Wright-Patterson air base. Both modifications turned out to be almost equivalent in characteristics and capabilities. Version YA-10 was focused on maximum survivability and had the original layout. Option A-9 is made in the classic version, slightly reminiscent of the Soviet Su-25 attack aircraft. In the end, the victory went to Fairchild Republic. The company received the first order for the manufacture of the initial series of attack aircraft from ten units.
The mass production of the Warthog attack aircraft began in 1975 and lasted until 1984. The device was mercilessly criticized, and suggestions were made to replace it with the F-16 model. All doubts were dispelled after the start of the famous operation “Desert Storm”, when Saddam Hussein sent troops into Kuwaiti territory (1990).
It turned out that the awkward and slow aircraft is perfect for fire support of ground units and the elimination of enemy armor technology. Modifications 144 A-10, which made more than eight thousand missions, lost seven units, participated in the combat operations. Among the achievements of "Thunderbolts" - the destruction of hundreds of Iraqi tanks, about two thousand copies of other equipment, about a thousand artillery installations. Such figures could not reach the famous stealth plane and the scandalous F-16.
The A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft during the confrontation in the Persian Gulf was represented by 60 vehicles, one of which was shot down, several other units were significantly damaged. The most modern modification was issued under the symbol A-10C. It was put into service in 2010, equipped with the latest electronic digital equipment with the ability to use high-precision charges and laser-guided weapons. In 2015, several aircraft placed in the Baltic States (Estonia).
Aircraft Thunderbolt 2 is in service with the sole US Army. While there were repeated discussions about possible deliveries of the car to other countries, it was not exported. The device aroused interest in the UK, Israel, Japan, South Korea and Belgium. The complexity of operating the aircraft under consideration lies in the fact that not every country can afford the content of a highly specialized model, the operation of multi-purpose analogues costs much less. One hour of flight of the specified attack aircraft - not less than 17 thousand dollars, the planned military program for the use of the unit is designed until 2028.
Thunderbolt 2 A-10 is a low-profile operation aircraft manufactured according to the standard aerodynamic design with a twin tail fin of the vertical type and a power unit of two motors.
The fuselage is made in the form of a half monocoque, the front part is equipped with a cockpit. The shape and configuration of the design provide the pilot with good visibility along different vectors. Protection is made in the form of a bath of powerful titanium armor, protecting the object from ammunition in caliber up to 37 millimeters. The catapult seat provides emergency evacuation of the pilot at any permissible speed and altitude.
In the center of the fuselage, motorized gondolas of a pair of turbine screw engines are fastened with the help of pylons. Such placement of the power unit helps to reduce the likelihood of foreign objects entering the engine compartment during takeoff and landing. In addition, this design simplifies the maintenance of elements, increases their protection from fire from the ground. Exhaust gases from the engine come to the exit through the stabilizer plane, limiting the visibility of the aircraft in the thermal range. The design features make it possible to place fuel tanks in the center of gravity zone, which eliminates the need to create a fuel transfer system.
The plane “Warthog”, the photo of which is available below, is equipped with a volumetric rectangular wing consisting of a center section and a pair of trapezoid-shaped consoles. On the wing - flaps with three sections and aileron. Design features allow you to actively maneuver at low speeds with a significant payload.
The stabilizer is distinguished by a large rectangular area; at the ends there are two vertical keels with steering elements. Such a device contributes to the "vitality" of the apparatus, even in the event of the loss of one of the keels or consoles of the stabilizer.
American attack aircraft "Warthog" is equipped with retractable landing gear with three legs and a front strut. In the inactive state, they are almost a third in favor of the fuselage contours, which helps to facilitate maneuvering during the draft of the aircraft. The chassis design makes it possible to operate runways with an unpaved surface.
The power unit of the aircraft is formed from a pair of engines General Turbine General Electric TF34-GE-100. Each of the motors has a 4100 kgf weight. Also, the aircraft is equipped with two autonomous hydraulic units that ensure the functioning of wing mechanization, retracting the landing gear, rotating the main 30-mm gun in the nose. To eliminate a possible fire, a special system with an inert gas (freon) is provided in the construction of the attack aircraft.
Airplane A10 Thunderbolt 2: radio electronic equipment
This part of the “Warthog” equipment can be described as a relatively simple scheme compared to other American counterparts. The system of radio electronics includes the following devices:
- Block near and far navigation.
- Radio compass.
- Height gauge.
- Sensor on the windshield.
- Landing control system.
- Several radio stations.
- Adaptation on the prevention of radar pulses.
- Notification of target detection using a laser beam (fixes objects at a distance of up to 24 kilometers).
- Container with EW equipment.
American aircraft "Warthog" in the main armament has a powerful 30-millimeter GAU-81A gun. It is mounted in the bow, made according to the Gatling scheme, equipped with seven rotating shafts. The ammunition cartridges are made of aluminum alloy, the total weight of the installation is 1.83 tons.
The gun has a hydraulic drive, the supply of charge-free type, drum magazine. The charges are made with plastic leading corbels, allowing you to significantly increase the resources of the barrels and set a different rate of fire tools (from 2100 to 4200 volleys per minute). In reality, the pilot is limited to short bursts lasting several seconds. When protracted firing is observed overheating trunks. Spent liners are not thrown out, but collected in a drum.
The GAU-81A gun mounted on the American Warthog aircraft is capable of working with two types of projectiles: high-explosive fragmentation projectiles (FBF) and sub-caliber ammunition (PCB) with uranium filling. As a rule, in the ammunition of one machine for one FBD there are three PCBs. Accuracy of target destruction - at a distance of 1.22 kilometers, 80 percent of the shells fall into the shape of a six-meter circle.
Attack aircraft equipped with 11 points of the external suspension. They contain free-fall bombs or controlled analogs. The last category includes missiles such as "Maverick" with a television type of guidance. Their working principle can be briefly described as “shot and forgotten”. The target detection distance is 12 kilometers in theory and no more than six in practice.
To protect the military aircraft in question, it uses air-to-air missile charges, as well as additional units with 20 mm caliber Vulcan guns. Attack aircraft are rightfully included in the elite group of their category. Along with a high parameter of survivability, maneuverability and relatively low cost, significant efficiency of airborne weapons and defensive capability are noted.
In confirmation of the "survivability" of the A-10, it is evidenced by the fact that during combat operations in Iraq and Yugoslavia, attack aircraft were able to return to the base even with a damaged engine, a missing stabilizer or a failed hydraulic system, including serious wing deformations.
If we talk about the armament of the US Warthog attack aircraft, then the total weight of the 30-mm A-10 cannon overlaps with the similar parameter of the GS-2-30, provided for by the Su-25. In addition, the use of sub-caliber charges greatly increases the effectiveness of firing at armored targets.
After the start of the test aircraft turned out that the powder gases are introduced into the power plants of attack aircraft, causing a reduction in their thrust. The average drop in power was about one percent for every thousand shots. This problem was partially solved by equipping the engines with a special system aimed at burning the surviving particles of gunpowder.
"Warthogs" successfully and actively used during operations in Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia. Now the machine in question is the basic unit of support for ground units in the US Army. The aircraft received its nickname (“Warthog”) in honor of the legendary predecessor of the Second World War, the Warthog P-47 Thunderbolt.
Parameters in numbers
The main characteristics of the considered attack aircraft:
- The length / height of the machine - 16.26 / 4.47 m.
- Wingspan - 17.53 m.
- Empty weight / take-off / maximum - 11.6 / 14.86 / 22.2 tons.
- Fuel mass - 4.85 tons
- Wing area - 47 square meters. m
- The speed at the height of the maximum - 834 km / h.
- Type of power plant - General Electric TF34.
- Practical range - 3.94 thousand kilometers.
- The crew - one pilot.
In 2003, the Thunderbolt assault aircraft was fired from the ground in the area adjacent to Baghdad. The device received more than 150 holes, but managed to get to the base with inoperative hydraulic systems. The pilot did not even get injured.
It should be emphasized the high efficiency of aircraft armament. The thirty-millimeter gun is able to eliminate and incapacitate virtually all types of existing modern armored vehicles. Its effective use is proved by guided missile weapons, although the 10A Thunderbolt 2 is an aircraft that is prone to firing unreasonable fire on its own positions. This is more characteristic of the general specifics of the attack aircraft, rather than the minuses of a particular aircraft.
The Warthog model is sometimes compared with the Soviet analogue of the SU-25. They were developed in about one period, and almost identical tasks were assigned to the machines. In full load, the Thunderbolt surpasses the “drying”, but the domestic attack aircraft gives a higher rate of speed.