Skip to content

«BRRRRRRRRRRRRT » : The A-10 Thunderbolt

The mythical A-10 “Warthog” aircraft enjoys a popularity rating that is rarely equaled and often symbolizes, in Pop Culture, the brutal and indestructible American power. We can think of its presence in blockbusters (Terminator, Transformers), but also in many video games (CoD Modern Warfare 3, Ace Combat and even a futuristic version in Arma 3), and even in the simulated attack of the Russian cruiser Kirov in “In pursuit of Red October” by Tom Clancy.


« My gun has a plane »

In the 1970s, the US AIR FORCE was looking to acquire an aircraft capable of destroying the hordes of Soviet tanks that were supposed to be sweeping across the European plains. To do this, it needed a rustic aircraft with an unrivalled strike force.

The solution is therefore not one, but two programs conducted in parallel :

  • The GAU-8/A Avenger rotary canon : the most powerful aerial cannon in history, composed of seven 6-metre tubes weighing 1,830 kilograms, is theoretically capable of delivering more than 4,000 rounds of 30 mm per minute (although, in reality, only six of its depleted uranium anti-armour ammunition can kill a tank) ;


  • The Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II : Built to accommodate the Avenger, the aircraft is not supersonic but durable, inexpensive, and above all particularly robust, so that it can land on makeshift or damaged runways and be repaired easily (most of its parts are “canibalizable” and reversible, which allows a wreck to be used as a stock for other aircraft). Most of the vital systems are also lined and armored, and the pilot is overprotected in an armored cockpit).

The A-10 seems indestructible. Shown here in 2017 with no landing gear or canopy after a serious firing incident.


This combination gives birth to a unique aircraft, since it is the only one to be built around its gun, and not the other way around as it is customary in aeronautics…


A mythic plane

If the Warthog can carry the whole range of modern weaponry, from guided bombs to missiles and rockets, it is the Avenger that makes it famous, with the immensely famous “brrrrrrrrrt”. But behind the myth, there is also a real success, for an aircraft that has never been exported by the US,

Although it never served during the Cold War, it had its first moment of glory in 1991 with the Gulf War, where the A-10s gave themselves an impressive hunting record by destroying more than 1,000 tanks, 2,000 vehicles and 1,200 Iraqi artillery pieces. They were also deployed in the Balkans in the 1990s.

But the second birth of the A-10 came with the wars of the 2000s, in Afghanistan and Iraq, where it became one of the most appreciated Close-Air-Support (CAS) vehicles for ground troops. Its ruggedness allows it to make low-level passes in memorable shows of force, and its cannon delivers precise and destructive fire, even in the absence of a clear target designation. Sometimes, its presence alone is enough to put an end to the fighting…

Over the past 20 years, the A-10 has restored the prestige of CAS, and inspired the new wave of turboprops dedicated to air operations. It has also proven its usefulness, as the US Air Force, after having wanted to replace it with the very expensive (and failing) F-35 for a while, is now trying to imagine the tank killer of the future. In the meantime, the Warthog will be spitting fire until 2040…



Vous voulez continuer la discussion ? Évoquer avec nous la possibilité d'intégrer de nouvelles options de Gameplay ? Valider l'authenticité de votre scenario ? Contactez-nous !

Inscription à la newsletter