Photos taken during a training exercise by the United States military show the assault aircraft, often called a cannon with wings, in action, showcasing some of its capabilities.
Reports show Air Force pilots used a-10 Thunderbolt II, or Warthog, close-air support aircraft, for strafing run practice during the beginning of December. The ground-attack aircraft’s distinctive shark-inspired nose paint and powerful cannons make them stand out.
Pilots engaged in strafing runs use mounted automatic guns to strike targets on the ground.
A formidable 30 mm gun protrudes from the nose of the aircraft, allowing it to fire 3,900 rounds per minute and produce thunderous explosions. Armor-piercing depleted uranium projectiles are discharged by the aircraft. The noise from the plane’s cannon is so loud that pilots must wear two sets of earplugs.
In an Air Force news release, the commander of the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron A-10C division, Major Kyle Adkison, said that an A-10 may fire on nine or ten targets before running out of ammunition since a standard A-10 gun engagement requires 120 rounds. He said that against large deployed troops, A-10 formations can engage over forty armored vehicles equipped with 30 mm munition.
The “Warthog” is sometimes shown with painted fangs on its snout. A few that took part in the exercise had a shark-like paint job on the front of the aircraft.
A report shows the Thunderbolt II can use a broad array of conventional munitions, such as GAU-8/A 30mm cannon rounds, rockets, laser-guided bombs, illumination flares, cluster bomb units, WCMD, JDAM, AGM-65 Maverick, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, and rockets.
But it’s possible the A-10 won’t be in the air for much longer.
The Air Force has previously requested to Congress that the over 40-year-old A-10 be retired.
Concerns remain about the new F-35A Lightning II’s ability to fulfill the Air Force’s objectives for critical A-10 tasks like close-air support. The Warthog is still in the air for the time being, but it won’t be for much longer.