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Warthog Prey by zulumike Warthog Prey by zulumike

The artwork represents an Iraqi T-55 destroyed by an A-10 during Operation Desert Storm.

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" is the only aircraft in United States Air Force (USAF) history designed specifically for the close air support mission. It was designed to survive in an intense anti-aircraft environment including anti-aircraft guns, radar-guided and infrared missiles and absorb battle damage and keep flying. In fact, the A-10 is probably the most difficult plane ever built to shoot down due to its extreme maneuverability, self-sealing fuel tanks, wide separated jet engines on top of the fuselage, twin vertical tails, multiple independent hydraulic systems, manual backup flight control system and redundant wing spars.

A total of 165 of these most recognizable and feared aircraft from 5 different units participated in Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991)

. All units were formalized under the 354th Provisional Wing with 144 aircraft at a time. The remaining aircraft above those 144 were replacements standing by at an off-site location to replace aircraft damaged beyond continued combat status or aircraft destroyed.

Together, these A-10 and OA-10 aircraft conducted 8,624 sorties maintaining a 95.7% mission capable rate, 5% above A-10 peace-time rates, had the highest sortie rate of any USAF aircraft. They achieved:

967 tanks destroyed

1026 pieces of artillery destroyed

1306 trucks destroyed

281 military structures destroyed

53 Scud missiles destroyed

10 aircraft on the ground destroyed

Roughly half the total A-10 force, about 70, supporting Desert Storm suffered some type of damage.

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:icontechnorockstep:
technoRockstep Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
The t55 was a good tank for its time, which was 2 decades before the operation begun
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:iconuncledon:
uncledon Featured By Owner May 30, 2015
Saw a lot of those in '91 while humping north.  Then oddly enough I saw them all between '05 and '09 while working in Kuwait where they'd been dragged off to be lined up in the desert north of the airbase near al Jahrah. Just before I left country they'd started chopping the carcasses up to be sold as scrap. Guess the DU had decayed or blown away enough to interest a buyer.
Warthogs were like that old Timex watch commercial, 'It takes a lickin and keeps on tickin'.
Not many know this but the overall concept was modeled on the Ilushin Il-2 'Stromovik' of WWII fame. Basically a flying tank to kill tanks. Heavily armored to protect the pilot and a big honking gun screaming in at a few hundred km/h.
As always thanks for the great art.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner May 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I would have liked to have one of the those carcasses in my backyard.
They did there job. Thanks for the feedback.
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:iconuncledon:
uncledon Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015
Sadly I must report that they were being chopped and boxed with great vigor and more than half those visible from al Liyah road were already gone the last time I passed that way in 2005. Likely there's little left but the odd chunk of scrap by now. Odd that the Kuwaitis left them there for so long.
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:iconmensjedezeemeermin:
MensjeDeZeemeermin Featured By Owner May 19, 2015
Excellent image, great sense of story, nice use with the provided text, and a feeling of desolation and sudden destruction.  May the Thunderbolt long terrify the enemies of the Republic.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner May 20, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You.
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:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner May 18, 2015   Photographer
Very nice piece. I saw many T-34s and some T-55s in Angola back in the day. Later, I am told there were also T-62s added to the count. I think for its time the T-55 was a good tank, but by this time it was basically obsolete against US firepower!
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You, appreciate it.
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:iconmidway2009:
Midway2009 Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Many Soviet-bloc tanks were lost to the superior firepower of the Abrams, Challenger 1, and to A-10s. :D
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:iconlucan1714:
Lucan1714 Featured By Owner May 17, 2015
It won't be a surprise since the thunderbolt designed for ground attacks
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:iconpaphilly:
PAPhilly Featured By Owner May 17, 2015
Let's see an F-35 do THAT
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:iconlucan1714:
Lucan1714 Featured By Owner May 17, 2015
F-35 is an multirole carrier based aircraft, i'm not sure the F-35 would do like the thunderbolt
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The A-10 was designed and build around the huge GAU-8 Avenger  30mm cannon. Now DoD wants to mount a smaller 25mm cannon to the F -35 ???

Too much politics. 
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:iconlucan1714:
Lucan1714 Featured By Owner May 18, 2015
If the DoD really wants to do that, does the F-35 wont be too heavy?
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner May 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That is probably why DoD is going to a lighter gun to minimize overall weight. I am not sure what the thinking is for the F-35 for a ground attack aircraft. The GAU-8 Avenger is as big as a Volkswagon. The A-10 was designed around this gun. They got it right, and the proof is in puddin.
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:iconferallion:
FeralLion Featured By Owner May 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Unfortunately this just looks like another case of college graduate desk jockeys doing combat theory. These are the same people who said the Abrams and Bradley class AFVs were not needed and would be too complicated for troops. Granted there is the balance of future threat and combat need but it seems like their track record for getting it right is pretty low. 

There is a big push by politicians to keep the A10 in the inventory. Hope they pull it off. 
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner May 20, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The desk jockeys are overpaid and no clue. 
Been there and seen it.
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:iconferallion:
FeralLion Featured By Owner May 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Heh ya =^^=
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:iconpaphilly:
PAPhilly Featured By Owner May 17, 2015
The Air Force is trying to replace the A-10 with them though, which is a TERRIBLE idea in my opinion.
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:iconferallion:
FeralLion Featured By Owner May 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Totally agree. 

It's still viable so use it until it's not. 
 
The F35 cannot take the kind of damage that the A10 can. Even the air force variant isn't that capable. Good design but not for the kind of ground attack role the A10 carries out. 
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:iconpaphilly:
PAPhilly Featured By Owner May 21, 2015
Exactly. The F-35 works very well as a light bomber with limited air to air capability. The problem is that they're trying to make it an air superiority fighter, a ground attack aircraft, a bomber, carrier capable and land capable with specific variants for individual countries. They're TRYING to make it a jack of all trades, and as a result they're making it capable of doing those tasks, but sucking at allbof them; a master of none.
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:iconferallion:
FeralLion Featured By Owner May 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Well as far as a super sonic fighter it can fulfill those rolls because it's part of an old Cold War design concept known as the modular fighter (started in the early 80s I think). Basically the design can be adapted for each service branch and international joint force primary operational requirements.

Navy: Carrier based, reinforced gear, frame, and corrosion protection, supersonic.
Marines/Royal Airforce/Royal Navy: VSTOL capable, supersonic.
Airforce/Israeli Airforce: Supersonic, interdiction. 

For those primary operations requirements the F35 will operate just fine. As far as her mission requirements it'll be able to fulfill those just fine in conjunction with it's gen 4.5 cousins such as Super Hornet, Super Eagle, and if the politicians and military officials succeed in their fight to keep the A10 in service. The F35 would be a great force multiplier in precision strikes and special missions where her advanced stealth, digital, and tactical systems (such as her situational awareness enhancement for the F35 drivers) allow her to penetrate enemy battlespace where gen 4.5's cannot go.
A modular system makes complete sense as you have one airframe that you can adapt for multiple roles. This saves cost and allows designers to fulfill the mission requirements of each branch.

Every piece of equipment in the inventory has been criticised and dismissed. Warthog, Abrams, Bradley, Hornet, Tomcat, Ardvark, SR-71, you name it people have railed against them. The A10 for instance was ridiculed as a relic and something that would never be effective in a modern Cold War conflict. In fact her critics finally got their way and she was being decommissioned just before the outbreak of Gulf War I (Desert Storm). Boy were they wrong. 
Each weapon system must be given a chance to serve and prove itself. Also the critics have to back off during the prototype phase of development when there will accidents and casualties, which the test community accepts as part of the job. The Osprey is still being attacked and it has a better safety record than most other helos (helicopters). 

I am with you though in that I think the airforce brass are not thinking clearly when it comes to using the F35 to replace the A10. Two completely different warbirds with completely different capabilities in the ground attack role. Part of the larger issue are the budget cuts under a left wing government. I'm a fourth generation vet and it's always worse for the military budget under the left. Not being biased but just a noting of a history of fact over many many decades. I really hope they give the 35 a chance since we do need to keep ahead of the future threat and stay in the game regarding gen 5 aircraft =^^=
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:iconanzac-a1:
Anzac-A1 Featured By Owner May 18, 2015
I know. A ground-attack plane doesn't need stealth. It just needs tough armour. The A-10 is also much cheaper and can probably carry more weapons. The problem with the F-35 is is sacrifices external carriage for stealth, and it only has one engine.
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:iconpaphilly:
PAPhilly Featured By Owner May 19, 2015
Yes! The 35 only has 180 rounds in its gun, while the Hog has 1600! And don't expect the 35 to take the damage a Warthog can either; they ran a test and one AK-47 round can take down an F-35, while the A-10 can soak up SAMs even!
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:iconanzac-a1:
Anzac-A1 Featured By Owner May 20, 2015
One AK-47 round into where exactly? The pilot's head? And the A-10 could never take a direct SAM hit, although it flies so low that it's below the minimum engagement altitude of many SAMs. But I suppose they are meant for different roles; the A-10 is more designed for close air support/ground attack while the F-35 is more of a fighter-bomber.
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:iconpaphilly:
PAPhilly Featured By Owner May 20, 2015
Through the fuel tank/engine (it's all the same since the fuel tanks are wrapped around the engine). And the A-10 has taken SAM hits; there's a picture out there of one with its wing blasted to hell, and another with the starboard engine hit. Maybe not a direct hit, but pretty damn close. And you're right about the roles, but the Air Force brass is trying to force the 35 into the A-10s role, which doesn't work out
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:iconanzac-a1:
Anzac-A1 Featured By Owner May 20, 2015
I honestly can't see any A-10 pilots wanting to fly the F-35. I'd wager the A-10 could win in a dogfight between the two.
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(1 Reply)
:iconlucan1714:
Lucan1714 Featured By Owner May 18, 2015
I also thought that unless someone make a new air-to-ground or improve the nighthawk or the warthog
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:icondavincipoppalag:
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Great piece.. and a marvelous aircraft...Bad To The Bone by davincipoppalag
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