Boeing, in partnership with Korean Aerospace Industries and other key suppliers, has delivered the first new wing set for the A-10 Warthog fleet to the US Air Force (USAF). The wing set arrived earlier this month to Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, where the Air Force has started aircraft integration.
“Boeing is working diligently to deliver greatly needed new wings for the A-10 fleet,” said Lt. Col. Jaclyn Melton, materiel leader for A-10 Programs in the A-10 System Program Office at Hill Air Force Base.
Boeing was awarded the contract in August 2019 and is currently working to provide the Air Force with 50 wing sets. Each wing set consists of outer wing assemblies, center wing assembly, control surfaces and the fuselage integration kit. The upgraded wings are more durable, efficient, and easier to maintain, extending A-10 flying life to 10,000 hours.
“The A-10 serves a critical role for the Air Force and Boeing is proud to extend our legacy of supporting the Thunderbolt and its mission,” said Dan Gillian, vice president of US Government Services for Boeing Global Services, in a company news release. “In partnership with the Air Force and our established supply base, we have started full rate production and are actively supporting the customer’s installation schedule.”
Pentagon had previously marked for the A-10 retirement. In its fiscal 2015 budget, the USAF had estimated that retiring the A-10 fleet would let the service save $4.2 billion over five years.
However, military campaigns in the Middle East put the A-10 back to work.
Introduced into the USAF aircraft inventory in 1976, the venerable A-10 is the only production-built aircraft for close air support (CAS). The aircraft was made to fly close to the ground in support of friendly ground troops, drop heavy loads of weapons, attacks armored vehicles and tanks, and can be called in to attack enemy ground forces. In fact, thanks to its capabilities the Warthog proved to be the perfect aircraft to provide air support to ground troops seeking to defeat ISIS militants in the Middle East.
The A-10 wing program was previously a dry line, with tools and equipment housed in long-term storage. Boeing Global Services revived the tooling and activated the supply base within 12 months of contract award. The company’s previous experience with the A-10 includes delivering 173 enhanced A-10 wing assemblies under a separate contract.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force
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