The Air Force’s entire A-10 Warthog fleet is getting a raft of lethal new upgrades
Fresh off a fraught decade-long rewinging effort, the Air Force’s beloved A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet is poised to keep on BRRRTing in the free world for at least another decade — and the beloved attack aircraft will pick up some tasty new upgrades along the way.
Personnel at Air Combat Command are currently working to integrate the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB I) on all A-10 airframes as part of the Common Fleet Initiative (CFI) that, initiated in August 2018, is designed to bring the decades-old fleet “back to a common baseline” for ongoing operations.
“GBU-39 munitions have proven to be highly-desired weapons in ongoing conflicts, and the addition of this weapon to the A-10’s arsenal will greatly improve the flexibility of ground commanders,” Alexi Worley, an ACC spokesman, told Task & Purpose.
“Adding the GBU-39 will continue efforts to keep the A-10 relevant in ongoing and future conflicts, where versatility in weaponeering is critical to meeting ground commander needs.”
Military aviation magazine Combat Aircraft first reported news of the SDB integration on Sept. 5, noting that a new “multi-target engagement capability” will make the A-10 “theoretically … able to target 18 weapons individually” while hauling four SDBs on a single hardpoint.
First introduced to Air Force inventory back in 1976, the A-10 had earned a reputation as a close air support workhorse among infantry troops for the distinctive roar of its GAU-8/A Avenger gatling gun. And while Worley said that no particular weapons were “expressly covered” in the CFI, the clear focus of the initiative is on enhancing the airframe’s overall lethality.
Those enhancement include a new high-definition cockpit display that will improve the A-10’s ability to find and fix targets from greater distances, jam-resistant GPS, …read more
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