A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog)

The A-10 Thunderbolt is also known as the Warthog, the ‘flying gun’ and the Tankbuster. The aircraft was used extensively during Operation Desert Storm, in support of Nato operations in response to the Kosovo crisis, in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The A-10 is a high-survivability and versatile aircraft, popular with pilots for the ‘get home’ effectiveness.

The mission of the aircraft is ground attack against tanks, armoured vehicles and installations, and close air support of ground forces.


The A-10 is suitable for operation from forward air bases, with short take-off and landing capability. The aircraft has a long range (800 miles), high endurance and can loiter in the battle area.

The manoeuvrability at low speed and low altitude (below 1,000ft) allows accurate and effective targeting and weapon delivery over all types of terrain.

A-10 Thunderbolt development

a10_cv.gifImage @airforceworld.com

The first flight of the A-10 was in May 1972, and a total of 713 aircraft were produced. The production of A-10 aircraft came to an end in 1984. Originally manufactured by Fairchild, since 1987 the prime contractor for the A-10 has been Northrop Grumman, which carries out support and structural upgrade programmes from the Integrated Systems and Aerostructures Divisions at Bethpage, New York and at St Augustine in Florida.

Over 367 A-10 aircraft are in service with the US Air Force, Air Combat Command, the US Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard. The aircraft variants currently in service in the US Air force are A-10 (143), and A-10C (70); Reserve A-10 (46) and OA-10 (6); ANG, A-10 (84) and OA-10 (18).

In June 2007, Boeing was awarded a $2bn contract for the A-10 wing replacement programme. Boeing will supply 242 replacement wing sets by 2018.

In September 2009, the US Air Force awarded two contracts worth $4.2m to Boeing for modernising its fleet of 365 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft for a period of three to 18 months. The contract was awarded as part of the total $1.6bn A-10 Thunderbolt life-cycle programme support (TLPS) contract.

The two contracts included A-10 Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) which involves providing engineering services to the aircraft and upgraded data transfer unit (UDTU) which include trade study analysis and operational assessment / proof of concept. Both the contracts aim at upgrading the aircraft with avionics architecture to improve memory and data capability.


A-10C – precision engagement upgrade programme

The precision engagement upgrade programme for the A-10 includes enhanced precision target engagement capabilities, which will allow the deployment of precision weapons such as JDAM (joint direct attack munition) and wind-corrected munitions dispenser (WCMD), as well as enabling an extension of the aircraft’s service life to 2028.


Improvements include: hands-on throttle and stick control, two new Raytheon Technical Services 5in×5in multifunction cockpit displays, situational awareness datalinks (SADL), digital stores management system, integrated flight and fire control computer (IFFCC) from BAE Systems Platform Solutions for automated continuously computed weapons delivery, Sniper XR or Litening targeting pods for precision-guided weapons and helmet-mounted sighting system.

image.jpgIMG_1418.JPGpreviewImage @digitalcombatsimulator.com

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego is prime contractor for the program. First flight of the upgraded A-10C was in January 2005. A contract for low-rate initial production (LRIP) of 72 units was awarded in March 2005. The first was delivered to Baltimore Air National Guard in August 2006.

Raytheon Technical Services 5in×5in multifunction cockpit display

Situational awareness datalinks (SADL)

The most significant change to the A-10C is the addition of the Situational Awareness Data Link, or SADL. With SADL, the A-10C joins a massive “internet-like” network of land, air, and sea systems. Each individual member “uploads” information for other platforms to see and use, and “downloads” information that it can use to better perform its mission.

slide_4.jpgA-10C Cockpit Detail The Future: A-10C Central computer provides full sensor and weapon systems integration Information displayed to pilot on 2 Multi-Function Color Displays Data-link capable Moving digital map Integration of new precision weapons Improved lethality and survivability – Image @slideplayer.com

For the A-10C pilots here at D-M, this means instead of annotating friendly and enemy locations in grease pencil on paper maps, they digitally access the most current information from command and control systems. SADL automatically update the digital battlefield information on the integrated moving map in the aircraft.

With SADL, participants gain situational awareness by exchanging digital data over a common communications link that is continuously updated in real time. “With SADL you can see everything that a friendly user puts on the link,” said Lt. Col. Michael Millen, 357th Fighter Squadron operations officer. “Everyone with a piece of the puzzle can put it on the net, which collectively creates an electronic representation of the battlefield. SADL automatically downloads the pertinent information and displays it on a screen in the cockpit.”

slide_7Situational Awareness Data Link SADL Benefits Data-link greatly enhances the A-10’s ability to detect and engage the enemy Data-link also permits the A-10 to fight at significantly increased ranges, resulting in improved survivability SADL Capabilities Linked to air and ground networks Depicts friendly and target locations Permits transmission and reception of target information to other fighters Displayed to pilot on MFCD and other systems (HUD, target pod) – Image @slideplayer.com

SADL is a military inter-computer data exchange format, similar in many ways to the more prolific format Link 16 (utilized by F-15s, some F-16s, and many command and control platforms), and supports the exchange of tactical information in real time. SADL is used primarily by US land forces, the A-10C and the F-16C+ in the tactical arena. Link 16 and SADL share information via gateways, which are land-based or airborne portals that permit the transfer of information between different formats.

A command and control platform–such as the 12AF Air Operations Center (AOC) here at DM–can send digital communication via SADL to the A-10C for a variety of purposes. Tasking messages, targeting information, threat warnings, and friendly locations can all be sent and received by the A-10C. Additionally, the A-10C is the only platform with the ability to task other fighter platforms to attack targets, indicative of both the importance of this airframe and the trust placed in A-10C pilots by the AF leadership. Source dm.af.mil


A contract for full-rate production of 107 units was placed in August 2006. The A-10C achieved initial operating capability in August 2007. 100 A-10s had been upgraded by January 2008. The A10C began operational deployment in Iraq in September 2007. 356 A-10 aircraft have been upgraded in the contract.

In February 2004, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for the integration of the Sniper XR targeting pod on the A-10 as part of the PE programme. Sniper XR includes mid-wave FLIR (forward-looking infrared), dual mode laser, CCD-TV, laser spot tracker and IR marker.

Sniper XR targeting pod


It is safe to say that the AN/AAQ-33 Sniper XR (manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation) is the most advanced targeting pod in service in the world today. Based on its predecessor, the LANTIRN targeting pod, it is far superior in range (3-5 times the range of LANTIRN), resolution, stability and in many other parameters. The first time in the history of targeting pods, it allows pilots to pick out even individual enemy soldiers on the ground from outside jet noise ranges. It is highly reliable, having an MTBF value (mean time between failures) of over 600 (!) hours. Its hardware and software configuration featuring “plug-and-play” flexibility across services and multiple platforms, Sniper XR can be used on A-10, B-1, B-52, F-15E, F-16 and F-18 aircraft. Source f-15e.info

A10-Sniper-ATP-0609aAN/AAQ-33 Sniper XR – Image @aero-news.net

A-10 Warthogs to get new wings: Details


Earlier this month, a Pentagon official in charge of the A-10 program announced an effort to re-wing 110 of the jets “was not going to happen.” Of the 280 A-10s still in U.S. Air Force service, 173 have received new wings to keep them flying into the 2030s. The original re-winging contract with Boeing was for 242 sets of wings, but the contract ended when it was no longer cost-effective for the company, and the Boeing production line is closing later this year.

That left at least 110 A-10s high and dry without new wings, a state that threatened to ground them for good unless a solution was found, reducing the number of A-10 squadrons from nine to six. The Air Force, focused on getting the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter up and running, didn’t include a new wing contract it its 2018 budget. Congress, however added funding a new wing assembly line and four new wings to get it warmed up.


The single-seat cockpit is protected by all-round armour, with a titanium ‘bathtub’ structure to protect the pilot that is up to 3.8cm thick. The cockpit has a large bulletproof bubble canopy, which gives good all-round vision.

c8d65c6466bebe3191c9ef08909bd4d46109946779_b0b3b0d9b6_zThe cockpit of the A-10 is surrounded by over 1,200 pounds of titanium armor. The armor is capable of stopping .50 caliber direct hits or 25mm and 37mm airburst rounds. Source @controversialtimes.com 

The cockpit is equipped with a head-up display, which is used for targeting and weapon aiming, a Have-Quick secure radio communications system, inertial navigation and a tactical air navigation (TACAN) system.

Have-Quick secure radio communications system

Radios.jpgImage @dcsblackwater.com

Lockheed Martin has begun delivery of 21 USAF A-10 aircraft with the embedded global positioning system / inertial navigation system (EGI), which pinpoints the exact location of the aircraft. The aircraft are also to be fitted with BAE Systems terrain profile matching systems (TERPROM).

Embedded global positioning system / inertial navigation system (EGI)

TMHG30-31_650.jpgThe GPS dome, pictured in “The Modern Hog Guide – The A-10 Warthog Exposed”, by Jake Melampy, Reid Air Publications, 2007. – Image @warthognews.blogspot.com

Embedded GPS INS (EGI)

egi-cduImage @dcsblackwater.com

The pilot is equipped with night-vision goggles and also the infrared imaging display of the Maverick AGM-65.

AN/ALQ-131(V) ECM Pod


The AN/ALQ-131 Electronic Countermeasures Pod provides electronic countermeasures protection for USAF, ANG, AFRES, and FMS country aircraft. The AN/ALQ-131 is certified on the F-16, F-111, A-10, F-4, F-15, F-5 and C-130 aircraft. The ALQ-131 ECM Pod is modular in design containing various electronic receivers, antennas, and powerful transmitters designed to alter the flight path of an incoming enemy missile. This modular pod-mounted system can be configured to cope with a range of threats, spread over one to five frequency bands, by selecting individual modules for inclusion in the pod, the userthe pod to handle threats. Both noise and deception-jamming modes are available, and he pod can be reprogrammed to match the expected threat. The pod is controlled from the cockpit by both automatic and manual means. The cockpit control indicator is used to turn the system on, enable threat response actions, and display system status. ECM pods are pre-programmed on the ground for specific threats that may be encountered [ …they also double as a pretty darn good microwave oven!].

2jex079.jpgImage @aereimilitari.forumfree.it

The ALQ-131 pod contributes to full-dimensional protection by improving individual aircraft probability of survival. The ALQ-131 Block II is an upgraded version of a pod configured ECM system first fielded in the 1970s. The pod provides self protection jamming for USAF tactical fighter aircraft and is designed to operate in a dense, hostile environment of radar directed (RF) threats that require high duty cycle (pulse doppler) or CW jamming techniques. The ALQ-131 Block II is modularly constructed, providing a high degree of adaptability to various mission requirements. Basic hardware components include an Interface and control module, 2 or 3 Band modules that cover a portion of the pod’s total frequency range, and the Receiver/Processor (R/P) module. The R/P module combines an accurate signal identification capability with power management. An important function of the R/P is the management of “look through” which permits periodic surveillance of the threat environment while jamming is in progress. This system is no longer in production for U.S. forces and is well past IOC. Operational Flight Program (OFP) Block software up-dates are expected about every two years, or as tactically required based on the continuum of threat evaluation to support theater tailored User Data Files (UDF), and jammer technique optimization.  Source fas.org


AN/ALQ-184 Electronic Attack Pod


AN/ALQ-184(V) electronic warfare pods both contain a radar jammer, and can tow an AN/ALE-50 decoy. It is an upgrade of the AN/ALQ-119, and is used on F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt tactical aircraft. Those aircraft still use the AN/ALQ-131, but the ALQ-184, now in its 11th upgrade, AN/ALQ(V)11, is generally considered superior. It has also been approved for aircraft including the F-4 Phantom II, F-111, F-15 Eagle, A-7 and C-130 Hercules. Raytheon makes them.

ALQ-184 EW Pod.jpg

In version (V)9, the device was put onto dual-redundant MIL-STD-1553B electronic busses, allowing better integration with other onboard electronic warfare systems. The ALQ-184 electronics decide if the electronic countermeasure transmitter on the pod, or on the towed decoy, is most appropriate against a given threat. ALQ-184 pods come in “short” and “long” versions, but all are being converted to “long” as part of intermediate maintenance at Moody Air Force Base. The ALQ-184 is available in two-(Mid and High band) and three-band (Mid, High and Low band) configurations.

AN/ALE-50 decoy


AN/ALE-50 expendable electronic warfare decoys are towed behind aircraft, typically under the control of an AN/ALQ-184. They are being superseded, on high-performance aircraft such as the B-1 “Bone” and F-18 Super Hornet, by the AN/ALE-55, which can be used while the protected aircraft is maneuvering at supersonic speed; the ALE-50 also has to rely on its own onboard electronics while the ALE-55 can take more sophisticated programming via a fiber optic cable from the towing airplane. Source citizendium.org

Version 11 added more intelligence, in both a noise generator (i.e., brute-force jamming) and deceptive transponder mode. It is programmable not to start responding to a radar until it senses a certain number of hits from the threat, so the jammer does not become a beacon.

Source citizendium.org


AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning

images (1)

The AN/AAR-47 is an electronic warfare system designed to protect aircraft against IR guided missile threats, laser-guided / laser-aided threats and unguided munitions. Upon detection of the threat, the system will provide an audio and visual sector warning to the pilot. For IR missile threats, the system automatically initiates countermeasures by sending a command signal to the Countermeasures Dispensing Set.

Multi-Threat Detection: Missile, Laser, and Hostile Fire

dsc_3190_650(Photo by Mariusz Krawczyk) @warthognews.blogspot.com

Orbital ATK’s AN/AAR-47 System Offers:

• Multi-threat warning in one fully integrated system

• Low False Alarm Rate

• High Probability of Timely Warning

• Sensor pre-processing for improved performance in high clutter environments

• In service on a wide variety of fixed and rotary wing aircraft

• Proven performance & reliability in prolonged and demanding combat environments

• 15-Year Service Life

Interfaces with the following equipment:

• Radar Signal Detecting Set – AN/APR-39

• Countermeasures Dispensing Set – AN/ALE-39, AN/ALE-40, or AN/ALE-47

• Multi-Function Display cockpits

• Pilots Intercom System

Small and lightweight:

• Computer Processor (CP) is approx. 8x8x10 inches and weighs approx.16.25 lbs.

• Control Indicator (CI) is approx. 2x5x6 inches and weighs approx. 2 lbs.

• Optical Sensor Converters (OSC) are approx. 5×8 inches and weighs approx. 3.5 lbs

Source orbitalatk.com

AN/AAR-57 common missile warning system (CMWS)

dsc_2892s_650-1(Photo by Mariusz Krawczyk) @warthognews.blogspot.com

Superior detection

  • Compatible with existing chaff, flare and RF decoy dispensers, and laser DIRCM systems
  • Over 2,100 systems installed on fixed –wing and rotary-wing aircraft
  • Flown more than 2 million combat theatre flight hours
  • Hostile fire indication capabilities
  • Enables data recording capabilities for post-mission analysis
  • Can be used as a centralized processing system for Integrated Aircraft Survivability Equipment

AN/APR-39 Radar Signal Detecting Set


The AN/APR-39D(V)2 will be the latest upgrade to the AN/APR-39 radar warning receiver that corrects deficiencies and enhances capability in the same weight and dimensions as the current system. The upgrade calls for a new digital receiver for the AN/APR-39D(V)2.

The AN/APR-39 family of radar warning receivers is for a variety of Navy fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and naval vessels. The contract also calls for Northrop Grumman to antennas and receiver resources for various Navy fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

The APR-39 radar warning receiver detects radar threats to aircraft, such as radar ground sites and particularly radar-guided missiles, and provides 360-degree coverage around the aircraft. When the system detects radar threats, it alerts the aircraft crew to each threat with a graphic symbol on the cockpit display.

The APR-39 provides the pilot and air crew with information on threat types, bearing, and the severity of the threat. The system also gives the aircrew synthetic speech audio threat warnings.

The APR-39 also functions as an electronic warfare management system, and serves as the heart of Northrop Grumman’s suite of integrated sensors and countermeasures that integrates and displays data from onboard sensors radio frequency and electro-optical sensors.

Source militaryaerospace.com

Countermeasures Dispensing Set – AN/ALE-39, AN/ALE-40, or AN/ALE-47


Image @forummarine.forumactif.com

The dispenser countermeasures AN / ALE-39 system is capable of launching up to 60 cartridges flares (flares) or sheet metal (chaff) able to confuse and divert enemy missiles, both infrared and radar guide, which are threatening the plane.In the Fightinghawk and other Skyhawks, CMDS dispensers are found in the lower part of the tail section.


The AN/ALE-40 Counter Measure Dispenser System (CMDS) provides expendable counter measures stores and dispensing for multiple aircraft platforms. The AN/ALE-40 system is a means by which the pilot can release chaff or flare, depending on the threat type, to counter any homing of a missile to the plane. This is a very simple yet effective system. Chaff looks like millions of tiny strands of aluminum foil and each strip is cut to length to match the various wavelengths of the radar. Using chaff to combat radar was used as early as WWII and still proves very effective against nearly all radar threats. Flares are white hot magnesium that are designed to defeat a missile’s infra-red (IR) tracking mechanisms.This system is manufactured by Tracor. Source fas.org



In response to automated warnings of radar, infrared, laser and other threats against aircraft, the AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser System (CMDS) both assists the crew in staying aware of the threats, and managing the deployment of electronic warfare devices that operate externally to the vehicle. “Electronic”, in this context, covers enemy sensors across the electromagnetic spectrum. Electronic defense includes, as well as receivers and computers that detect and analyze threats, both countermeasures that are part of the aircraft, but also expendables that are released from it.In other words, it both acts as an electronics countermeasures suite controller and as an electronic warfare expendables dispenser. It replaces the AN/ALE-39. Alternatively, it can be controlled by other control systems, such as the AN/ALQ-213.

These expendables include radar-reflecting chaff, infrared countermeasures to confuse heat-seeking missile guidance, and disposable radar transmitters. In addition to active and passive countermeasures, expendables now include sensors for both electronic support, electronic warfare, and other intelligence functions such as chemical weapon detection using materials MASINT. In addition to the truly expendable items usually released as cartridges, a modern dispenser system will control towed decoys that lure radar- and infrared-guided missiles that avoid the other countermeasures. Source citizendium.org



The aircraft has 11 stores pylons, providing an external load capacity of 7,260kg. There are three pylons under the fuselage and the loads can be configured to use either the centre-line pylon or the two flanking fuselage pylons.

For weapon guidance, the aircraft can be fitted with Pave Penny laser guidance / electronic support measures, pod installed on the starboard fuselage pylon. Each wing carries four stores pylons: three outboard and one inboard of the wheel fairing.

Pave Penny laser guidance / electronic support measures pod


Pave Penny is a passive laser tracker which uses reflected laser energy to give the pilot precise target location. It uses a cockpit-selectable four-digit code and can use either a ground or airborne designator. Pave Penny is used by A-10 and A-7 aircraft. The current Pave Penny laser spot seeker is becoming unreliable and unsupportable. Current employment ranges for the primary ordnance of the A-10, the GAU-8 30mm Gatling gun and the AGM-65 Maverick missiles, are beyond the range of the Pave Penny system.

Description: Pod contained laser seeker and tracker.
Function: To receive laser energy and provide cockpit head-up steering to source of reflected energy.Can provide A-7 automated release.
Employment: Used to help pilot locate reflected laser energy.
PRF Codes: All codes. In flight selectable.
Target Nominal Range
(for std tgt 2.3 x 2.3 meters):
Stationary- 20 milesMoving- 20 miles plus (moving target provides better visual acquisition)
System Unique Capabilities: Very sensitive seeker, capable of engaging targets the pilot cannot see given adequate designation.Expands aircraft capability by providing early target acquisition.
Limitations: Laser spot must be within seeker field of view.
Platform: A-10, A-7

Source fas.org


The A-10 can carry up to ten Maverick air-to-surface missiles. The Raytheon Maverick AGM-65 missile uses a variety of guidance systems, including imaging infrared guidance and warheads, including a high-penetration, 57kg conical-shaped charge warhead. Range is more than 45km. The A-10 can also carry the Sidewinder air-to-air missile, which is an all-aspect short-range missile with maximum speed over Mach 2.

Maverick air-to-surface missile

The AGM-65 Maverick is a tactical, air-to-surface guided missile designed for close air support, interdiction and defense suppression mission. It provides stand-off capability and high probability of strike against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, transportation equipment and fuel storage facilities. Maverick was used during Operation Desert Storm and, according to the Air Force, hit 85 percent of its targets.


The Maverick has a cylindrical body, and either a rounded glass nose for electro-optical imaging, or a zinc sulfide nose for imaging infrared. It has long-chord delta wings and tail control surfaces mounted close to the trailing edge of the wing of the aircraft using it. The warhead is in the missile’s center section. A cone-shaped warhead, one of two types carried by the Maverick missile, is fired by a contact fuse in the nose. The other is a delayed-fuse penetrator, a heavyweight warhead that penetrates the target with its kinetic energy before firing. The latter is very effective against large, hard targets. The propulsion system for both types is a solid-rocket motor behind the warhead.

The Maverick variants include electro-optical/television (A and B), imaging infrared (D, F, and G), or laser guidance (E). The Air Force developed the Maverick, and the Navy procured the imaging infrared and the laser guided versions. The AGM-65 has two types of warheads, one with a contact fuse in the nose, the other a heavyweight warhead with a delayed fuse, which penetrates the target with its kinetic energy before firing. The latter is very effective against large, hard targets. The propulsion system for both types is a solid-rocket motor behind the warhead.


Primary Function: Air-to-surface guided missile
Contractors: Hughes Aircraft Co., Raytheon Co.
Power Plant: Thiokol TX-481 solid-propellant rocket motor
Autopilot Proportional Navigation
Stabilizer Wings/Flippers
Propulsion Boost Sustain
Variant AGM-65A/B AGM-65D AGM-65G AGM-65E AGM-65F
Service Air Force Marine Corps Navy
Launch Weight: 462 lbs(207.90 kg) 485 lbs(218.25 kg) 670 lbs(301.50 kg) 630 lbs(286 kg) 670 lbs(301.50 kg)
Diameter: 1 foot (30.48 centimeters)
Wingspan: 2 feet, 4 inches (71.12 centimeters)
Range: 17+ miles (12 nautical miles/27 km)
Speed: 1150 km/h
Guidance System: electro-optical television imaging infrared Laser infrared homing
Warhead: 125 pounds(56.25 kilograms)

cone shaped

300 pounds(135 kilograms)

delayed-fuse penetrator, heavyweight

125 pounds(56.25 kilograms)

cone shaped

300 pounds(135 kilograms)

delayed-fuse penetrator, heavyweight

Explosive 86 lbs. Comp B 80 lbs. PBX(AF)-108
Fuse Contact FMU-135/B
COSTS Air ForceAGM-65D/G NavyAGM-65E/F
Date Deployed: August 1972 February 1986 1989
Aircraft: A-10, F-15E and F-16 F/A-18 F/A-18 and AV-8B

AGM-65 Maverick data fas.org

Sidewinder air-to-air missile


The AIM-9 has a cylindrical body with a roll-stabilizing rear wing/rolleron assembly. Also, it has detachable, double-delta control surfaces behind the nose that improve the missile’s maneuverability. Both rollerons and control surfaces are in a cross-like arrangement.

The missile’s main components are an infrared homing guidance section, an active optical target detector, a high-explosive warhead, and a rocket motor.

The infrared guidance head enables the missile to home on target aircraft engine exhaust. An infrared unit costs less than other types of guidance systems, and can be used in day/night and electronic countermeasures conditions. The infrared seeker also permits the pilot to launch the missile, then leave the area or take evasive action while the missile guides itself to the target.

Primary Function Air-to-air missile
Contractor Naval Weapons Center
Power Plant Hercules and Bermite Mk 36 Mod 71, 8 solid-propellant rocket motor
Thrust Classified
Speed Supersonic Mach 2.5
Range 10 to 18 miles depending on altitude
Length 9 feet, 5 inches (2.87 meters)
Diameter 5 inches (0.13 meters)
Finspan 2 feet, 3/4 inches (0.63 meters)
Warhead Annular blast fragmentation warhead
25 lbs high explosive for AIM-9H
20.8 lbs high explosive for AIM-9L/M
Launch Weight 190 pounds (85.5 kilograms)
Guidance System Solid-state, infrared homing system
Introduction Date 1956

AIM-9 data fas.org


The A10 is capable of deploying a wide range of ordnance: for example, the LDGP mk82 226kg, 500lb general-purpose bombs, BLU-1 and BLU-27/B Rockeye II cluster bombs and the cluster bomb unit CBU-52/71.

LDGP mk82 226kg


Low-drag, general-purpose (LDGP) bombs are used in most bombing operations. Their cases (bomb body) are aerodynamically designed, relatively light, and approximately 45 percent of their weight are made of explosives. General-purpose bombs may use both nose and tail mechanical or electric fuzes and conical or Snakeye fins. The general-purpose bombs currently in use are the LDGP Mk 80 (series).

Snakeye Fin Assemblies

Snakeye fin assemblies are used with the Mk 82 LDGP bombs. They are capable of delivering bombs at high speed and low altitude without the danger of damaging the aircraft from ricocheting bombs or fragments. A physical description of both fin assemblies and the principles of operation are discussed in the following paragraphs.



—The Mk 15 bomb fin assembly is a retarding fin. It is used with the 500-pound LDGP, Mk 82 bombs. The fin assembly presents a low-drag configuration when dropped in the unretarded position and a high-drag configuration when in the retarded position.


Source active-duty.com

500lb general-purpose bomb


BLU-1 and BLU-27/B Napalm bomb canisters

The containers of napalm bomber are very light and fabricated of aluminum, with a capacity for about 75 gallons of combustible gel. They lack stabilizing fins, and consequently acquire a tumbling motion on being dropped that contributes to the scattering of the combustible gel over a wide area.

Napalm is a mixture of benzene (21%), gasoline (33%), and polystyrene (46%). Benzene is a normal component of gasoline (about 2%). The gasoline used in napalm is the same leaded or unleaded gas that is used in automobiles. Source fas.org


The BLU-1/B was a 340 kg (750 lb) class fire bomb, filled with about 340-380 liters (90-100 US gal) of napalm. Other than the BLU-1/B, which was filled in the field, the BLU-1B/B was filled in the factory. There was also a BLU-1C/B version, for which no details are available. The BLU-27( )/B series was similar to the BLU-1( )/B, but was filled with the heavier Napalm-B mixture.

Data for BLU-1/B:
Length: 3.30 m (10.8 ft)
Diameter: 47.0 cm (18.5 in)
Explosive: 260-290 kg / 340-380 l (575-640 lb / 90-100 US gal) napalm


Source designation-systems.net

BLU-27/B series

The BLU-27( )/B series of 340 kg (750 lb) class fire bombs was very similar to the BLU-1( )/B, but was filled with Napalm-B, a heavier derivative of the basic napalm. The BLU-27/B could be fitted with alternate nose and tail cones, and probably also with an optional tailfin kit. There were also BLU-27A/B, BLU-27B/B and BLU-27C/B versions, but no information about the differences is available.

Data for BLU-27/B:
Length: 3.30 m (10.8 ft)
Diameter: 47.0 cm (18.5 in)
Weight: 396 kg (873 lb)
Explosive: 359 kg / 380 l (791 lb / 100 US gal) Napalm-B


Source designation-systems.net


Rockeye II anti-tank cluster bomb


The CBU-100 Cluster Bomb (also called the Mk-20 Rockeye II) is an American cluster bomb which is employed primarily in an anti-tank mode. It weighs 490 pounds and carries 247 Mk 118 Mod 1 bomblets.

The anti-tank cluster bomb is an air-launched, conventional free-fall weapon. The Mk 20, CBU-99, and CBU-100 are used against armored vehicles.

When the Mk 20 bomb cluster is released from the aircraft, the arming wires (primary and/or optional arming) are pulled sufficiently to arm the Mk 339 fuze (and recently the FMU-140 fuze) and release the fins. The positive armed fin release arming wire frees the fin release band, and the movable fins snap open by spring-force. Functioning of the fuze initiates the linear shaped charges in the dispenser which cut the dispenser case in half and disperse the bombs/bomblets. When the Mk 339 Mod 1 primary fuse arming wire is pulled, the fuze will function 1.2 seconds after the arming wire has been extracted. If the pilot selects the option time (4.0 seconds), both the primary and option arming wires must be pulled. If the pilot selects the option time and the primary arming wire is not pulled, the fuze will fail to function and be a dud. Source revolvy.com

CBU-52/71 cluster bombcluster bomb 1.jpged05e3e7-c083-4cae-b5ee-c2ef90a6a970Original.jpg

The CBU-52, loaded with 220 antimaterial, antipersonnel bomblets, weighs 785 pounds and can be used with a variety of proximity fuzes or the mechanical MK-339 timed fuze. The submunition is a 3.5-inch spherical bomblet weighing 2.7 pounds with a 0.65-pound high-explosive warhead.

The CBU-52, -58 and -71 all use SUU-30 dispensers, a metal cylinder divided longitudinally. One-half contains a strong back section that provides for forced ejection and sway-bracing. The two halves lock together. Four cast aluminum fins are attached at a 9~degree angle to the aft end of the dispenser and are canted 1.25 degrees to impart spin-stabilized flight. When released from the aircraft, the arming wire/lanyard initiates the fuze arming and delay cycle. At fuze function, the fuze booster ignites and unlocks the forward end of the dispenser. Ram air action on the dispenser forces the two halves apart, instantaneously dispensing the payload and allowing the bomblets to spin-arm and self-dispense. A total of 17,831 were expended during the Gulf War.

Weight: 766 pounds
Length: 93 inches
Diameter: 16 inches
Guidance: None
Control: None
Autopilot: None
Propulsion: None
Warhead: 220 BLU-61A/B anti-materiel / anti-personnel submunitions
Fuse: M339, FMU-56, FMU-11, FMU-26, M907
Aircraft 8 A-7
4-8 F-4
4 F-16
8 F-111
B-52, A-37, A-10, F-5
Source fas.org
New A-10C Weapons JDAM Joint Direct Attack Munition Joint Service 500 & 2000 pound bombs Satellite guidance to target using the GPS, aided by onboard inertial navigation system WCMD Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser Tail kit that turns existing cluster munitions into all-weather precision-guided weapons – Image @slideplayer.com

The Northrop Grumman Litening ER (extended range) targeting pod has been successfully integrated on an A-10. Litening ER features a 640×512 pixel thermal imager, CCD TV, laser spot tracker / rangefinder, IR marker and laser designator.

Northrop Grumman Litening ER (extended range) targeting pod


LITENING is a precision targeting pod system currently operational with a wide variety of combat air forces aircraft (A-10, B-52H, F-15E and F-16) as well as aircraft operated by other services and allies (AV-8B and EF-18). This precision targeting system significantly increases the combat effectiveness of the aircraft during day, night and under-the-weather conditions in the attack of ground targets with a variety of standoff weapons (i.e., laser-guided bombs, conventional bombs and GPS-guided weapons).

LITENING is a targeting pod integrated and mounted externally to the aircraft. The targeting pod contains a high-resolution, forward-looking infrared sensor (FLIR) that displays an infrared image of the target to the aircrew; it has a wide field of view search capability and a narrow field of view acquisition/targeting capability of battlefield-sized targets. The pod contains a charged coupled device (CCD-TV) camera used to obtain target imagery in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. An on-gimbal inertial navigation sensor has established line-of-sight and automatic boresighting capability.

The pod is equipped with a laser designator for precise delivery of laser-guided munitions, a laser rangefinder provides information for various avionics systems, for example, navigation updates, weapon deliveries and target updates. The targeting pod includes an automatic target tracker to provide fully automatic stabilized target tracking at altitudes, airspeeds and slant ranges consistent with tactical weapon delivery maneuvers. These features simplify the functions of target detection and recognition, and permit attack of targets with precision-guided weapons on a single pass.

General Characteristics
Primary function: Navigation and infrared/electro-optical targeting
Prime Contractor: Northrop Grumman Corporation teamed with Rafael Corporation
Length: 87 inches (2.20 meters)
Diameter: 16 inches (0.406 meters)
Weight: 440 pounds (200 kilograms)
Aircraft: A-10, B-52H, F-15E, F-16 Block 25/30/32/40/42/50/52
Sensors: Infrared detector, CCD-TV camera, laser rangefinder and laser designator
Date Deployed: February 2000
Source acc.af.mil

litening-breakdown-lr.jpgImage @defense-update.com

LITENING design enables the fighter air crew to carry out the following missions/tasks:

  • Detection/Recongnition/Identification/Laser Designation of surface targets
  • Accurate delivery of Laser Guided Bombs, cluster and general purpose bombs
  • Performance of low level night flights
  • Laser spot detection
  • Identification of aerial targets from BVR ranges

In order to accomplish all these tasks, LITENING employs 5 main sensors located on a single optical bench in the forward section of LITENING:


LITENING uses a high performance FLIR with 3 Fields of View. The wide FOV is displayed on the head-up for navigation while Medium and Narrow FOVs are used for target selection and are displayed on a heads-down display.

CCD camera
The CCD camera significantly improves daytime performance when compared to the FLIR selection.

Laser designator / range-finder
LITENING uses a 100 mJ laser to designate targets selected by the air crews and provides guidance to the Laser Guided Bomb.

Laser spot designator
The laser spot detector detects the laser energy from a secondary source, enabling ground or airborne Forward Air Controllers to designate the targets for the fighter aircraft. This feature is not present in any of the competitor pods.

Strap-down system
The SDS aligns LITENING to the aircraft line-of-sight electronically, improves target tracking and stabilizes the seeker.

All these sensors incorporated in a single pod provide the fighter aircrew with the flexibility to perform multiple missions and make LITENING the most cost effective solution available.

Source globalsecurity.org

mcp7e.jpgImage @deviantart.net

The aircraft is armed with a General Dynamics GAU-8/A Avenger 30mm cannon, mounted in the nose of the aircraft.

GAU-8/A Avenger 30mm cannon


The GAU-8/A Avenger is more than a scaled-up M61. Such a weapon could have been designed and built but would have been unacceptably heavy. The first of many design differences is that the heavier weapon has seven barrels, instead of six. The maximum firing rate is lower (4,200rds/min versus 6,000), and the firing rate per barrel is lower again; each GAU-8/A barrel fires a maximum of 10rds/sec, while the M61 barrel fires nearly 17. Essentially, maximum firing rate has been traded for a heavier, more accurate and more lethal round; each shell is far heavier than the M50 round fired by the older weapon, and the more modest firing rate per barrel is necessary to ensure a long barrel life. The USAF specified a minimum 21,000-round life for each set of barrels. The GAU-8/A also has an improved and more compact bolt design that reduces the overall length and weight of the gun. The GAU8/A is relatively compact, being only fractionally larger in diameter than the much less powerful M61.


The GAU-8/A Avenger is more than a scaled-up M61. Such a weapon could have been designed and built but would have been unacceptably heavy. The first of many design differences is that the heavier weapon has seven barrels, instead of six. The maximum firing rate is lower (4,200rds/min versus 6,000), and the firing rate per barrel is lower again; each GAU-8/A barrel fires a maximum of 10rds/sec, while the M61 barrel fires nearly 17. Essentially, maximum firing rate has been traded for a heavier, more accurate and more lethal round; each shell is far heavier than the M50 round fired by the older weapon, and the more modest firing rate per barrel is necessary to ensure a long barrel life. The USAF specified a minimum 21,000-round life for each set of barrels. The GAU-8/A also has an improved and more compact bolt design that reduces the overall length and weight of the gun. The GAU8/A is relatively compact, being only fractionally larger in diameter than the much less powerful M61.1024px-GAU-10_Drawing.jpg

The basic GAU-8/A gun closely follows the philosophy of Richard Gatling’s original. Each of the seven 30mm barrels is a simple non-repeating rifle, with its own breech and bolt; the cocking and firing mechanism is built into the bolt. The bolt rams the shell into the breech and locks into position; a cocking pin compresses the firing spring, and a trigger releases it. The bolt is unlocked, and slides back to withdraw the empty cartridge case.

RAR2009_-_GAU-8A_Gatling_Cannon.jpgImage @esacademic.com

None of the barrels, though, can fire without some force to move and lock the bolt, and cock and release the trigger. The genius of the original Gatling concept is that all these operations are carried out and synchronized through the movement of a single component: the multiple barrels, built into one rotating assembly (which GE calls the ‘rotor’) and revolving on a common axis inside the gun casing. The firing mechanisms for each individual barrel are located on the outside of the rotor, and engage fixed cam tracks on the inside of the casing. As the rotor spins, the curving cam tracks engage and move the bolt, the locking mechanism and the firing pin, and take the barrel through a complete, perfectly synchronized firing sequence for each revolution of the rotor. This, essentially, is what happens in all the GE weapons.


Each GAU-8/A barrel is some 80 calibers in length. The muzzle velocity of the GAU-8/A is about the same as that of the M61, but the heavier, more advanced ammunition is not only more destructive but has better ballistic properties. It decelerates much less rapidly after leaving the barrel, so that its time of flight to 4,000ft (1,200m) is 30 percent less than that of an M61 round, and the projectile drops a negligible distance – barely 10ft (3m) – in the process. The accuracy of the GAU-8/A, installed in the A-10, is rated at ‘5mil, 80 percent’, meaning that 80 percent of rounds fired at 4,000ft (1,800m) will hit within a circle of 20ft (6.1m) radius; the M61 is rated at 8mil.


A very important innovation in the design of the GAU-8/A shells is the use of aluminum alloy cases in place of the traditional steel or brass. This alone adds 30 per cent to ammunition capacity for a given weight. The shells also have plastic driving bands to improve barrel life. They are imposing to examine and handle, measuring 11.4in (290mm) in length and weighing 1.531b (694g) or more. There are four types in service. Two are common to most aircraft cannon: a practice round and a general-purpose shell loaded with high-explosive/incendiary (HEI) compound. Specially developed for the A-10, however, are two armor piercing incendiary (API) rounds. The USAF chose two companies, Aerojet and Honeywell, to develop and produce API shells for the A-10 under its ‘second source’ philosophy: when items are acquired in large quantities, the USAF buys them from two organizations, and lets them bid competitively for each year’s order.


General characteristics
Type Aircraft seven barrel cannon(air-to-surface)
Caliber 30mm
Feed Left-hand linkless
Barrel length 90.5 in 2,299 mm
Length 19 ft 10.5 in 5.06 m
Weight 620 lb 281.2 kg
Weight complete weapon 4,0291b 1,830kg
Recoil force 9,000 lb 40 kN
Muzzle velocity API 3,240 ft/s 988 m/s
HEI 3,400-3,450 ft/s 1,036-1,052 m/s
Rate of fire one engine 2,100/min
two engines 4,200/min
Range 0.76–1 mile 1,235-1,609 m
Aircraft A-10 Thunderbolt II
Magazine capacity 1,174
“The A-10 has 11 stores pylons, providing an external load capacity of 7,260kg.”

Using the cannon, the A-10 is capable of disabling a main battle tank from a range of over 6,500m. The cannon can fire a range of ammunition, including armour-piercing incendiary rounds (API) weighing up to 0.75kg, or uranium-depleted 0.43kg API rounds.

The magazine can hold 1,350 rounds of ammunition. The pilot can select a firing rate of 2,100 or 4,200 rounds a minute.




Manufacturer: General Electric Co.
Thrust: TF34-GE-100: 9,065 pounds; TF34-GE-400: 9,275 pounds
Overall Pressure Ratio at Maximum Power: 21
Thrust-to-Weight Ratio: F34-GE-100: 6.29; TF34-GE-400: 6.28
Compressor: Two spool, axial flow, single-stage fan
LP-HP Compressor Stages: 0-14
HP-LP Turbine Stages: 2-4
Combustor Type: Annular
Length: 100 in (2.54 m)
Diameter: TF34-GE-100: 49 in (124 cm); TF34-GE-400: 52 in (132 cm)
Dry Weight: TF34-GE-100: 1,440 lbs (653 kg); TF34-GE-400: 1,478 lbs (670 kg)
Applications: TF34-GE-100: A-10 Thunderbolt II; TF34-GE-400: S-3A/B Viking

Source bga-aeroweb.com

The two non-afterburning turbo fan engines, TF34-GE-100, supplied by General Electric, each supply 9,065lb thrust. The location of the engines, high on the fuselage, allows the pilot to fly the aircraft fairly easily with one engine inoperable


A-10 Thunderbolt II Specifications

A-10 Thunderbolt IIImage @avioesdecombate.com.bra16362c502f6a6206a7ef7bff0796d90

Primary Function: A-10 — close air support, OA-10 – airborne forward air control

Contractor: Fairchild Republic Co. (FRC acquired in 1987, now part of Northrop Grumman ISER)

Power Plant: Two General Electric TF34-GE-1 00 turbofans

Thrust: 9,065 pounds each engine

Wingspan: 57 feet, 6 inches (17.42 meters)

Length: 53 feet, 4 inches (16.16 meters)

Height: 14 feet, 8 inches (4.42 meters)

Weight: 29,000 pounds (13,154 kilograms)

Maximum Takeoff Weight: 51,000 pounds (22,950 kilograms)

Fuel Capacity: 11,000 pounds (7,257 kilograms)

Payload: 16,000 pounds (7,257 kilograms)

Speed: 420 miles per hour (Mach 0.56)

Range: 800 miles (695 nautical miles)

Ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,636 meters)

Armament: One 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun; up to 16,000 pounds (7,200 kilograms) of mixed ordnance on eight under-wing and three under-fuselage pylon stations, including 500 pound (225 kilograms) Mk-82 and 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) Mk-84 series low/high drag bombs, incendiary cluster bombs, combined effects munitions, mine dispensing munitions, AGM-65 Maverick missiles and laser-guided/electro-optically guided bombs; infrared countermeasure flares; electronic countermeasure chaff; jammer pods; 2.75-inch (6.99 centimeters) rockets; illumination flares and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

Crew: One

Initial operating capability: A-10A, 1977; A-10C, 2007

Inventory: Active force, A-10, 143 and OA-10, 70; Reserve, A-10, 46 and OA-10, 6; ANG, A-10, 84 and OA-10, 18

Specification northropgrumman.com


aircrafts_military_schematic_a-10_thunderbolt_ii_desktop_992x717_wallpaper-438763.jpgImage @squarespace.com

Main material source airforce-technology.com

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