The A-10 Thunderbolt II’s retirement is being rethunk. Good news for the groundpounders, for whom air support from the fast movers always was problematic.
I once flagged a passing F-4 Phantom for air support and was shocked to watch it fling a 250-pounder (the smallest bomb it had at the time) farther than desired: right into the outskirts of a friendly village. The Thunderbolt II, whose pilots call it the Warthog, carries only 10-pounder rockets, in addition to its 30mm rotary nose cannon, and is slow enough to be a lot more accurate.
“Air Force maintainers are also preparing to replace the wings of the A-10 fleet, tapping a $2 billion contract originally awarded to Boeing in 2007, which was intended at the time to keep the fleet flying until 2028. Some corrosion of the planes has been seen at the depots, but Pawlikowski says this is to be expected, especially on an aircraft that has been in service since 1977.”
Their wings likely corrode faster because they fly low and (relatively) slow and stir up and collect a lot of dirt, dust and vegetative derbis. The Warthog could do a lot more damage to ISIS than any fast mover. Sure wish we’d had them in Vietnam.