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.
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.
They did there job. Thanks for the feedback.
Too much politics.
There is a big push by politicians to keep the A10 in the inventory. Hope they pull it off.
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.
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 =^^=