The first production A-10 Warthog was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in October 1975. Specifically designed for close air support, its combination of large and varied ordnance load, long loiter time, accurate weapons delivery, austere field capability, and survivability has proven invaluable to the United States and its allies. The aircraft has participated in operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Provide Comfort, Desert Fox, Noble Anvil, Deny Flight, Deliberate Guard, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve.
The Warthog can employ a wide variety of conventional munitions, including general purpose bombs, cluster bomb units, laser guided bombs, joint direct attack munitions or JDAM, wind corrected munitions dispenser or WCMD, AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, rockets, illumination flares, and the GAU-8/A Avenger 30mm cannon, capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute to defeat a wide variety of targets including tanks.
The contracted specifications directed the gun be capable of destroying a wide variety of targets expected to be encountered during a close air support mission: light, medium and heavy tanks, armored personnel carriers, and fixed or mobile artillery. The specifications also called for the Avenger to be capable of destroying hardened targets like bunkers and equipment within revetments.
Something almost nobody knows is that because of the GAU-8A the A-10 has a window wash system.
‘Yes, seriously,’ says “Charlie Alpha,” A-10 Pilot at U.S. Air Force (1999-present), on Quora.
‘When we would fire the GAU-8/A cannon on the Hawg, it would produce prodigious amounts of burnt gunpowder residue. So much so that the front window would, after a few gun runs, become noticeably dirty/hazy because of the sheer amount of gunsmoke residue.
‘The A-10 was a brilliantly designed purpose-built aircraft, and for me the cherry on top was the window wash system. Simply push a button in the cockpit and window wash fluid would be dispensed from nozzles at the base of the front windscreen allowing the slipstream to carry it up and wash the residue away.
‘Something else not generally known is that when the gun is fired, the igniters in the engines will also engage so long as the trigger is held and for 10 seconds afterwards,’ Charlie Alpha adds. ‘This helps to keep the motors running in case they ingest a large amount of smoke/residue during the gun run. Should the gun gas ingestion cause a momentary flame out, the ignitors provide the spark to keep the flame lit until the gun is turned off.’
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force
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