The complete hater's guide to the Warthog
So, we are back with another complete hater's guide to one of the Air Force's aircraft. Last time, we discussed the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
This time, we will go to the plane that everyone in the Air Force loves...and yet, it keeps ending up on the chopping block. That's right, it's time for us to discuss the Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.
A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron out of Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, takes off from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 10, 2016, during the first combat training mission of RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 17-1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Karen J. Tomasik)
Why it is easy to make fun of the A-10
Let's see, it's slow. It doesn't fly high, if anything, the plane is best flying very low.
As any of its pilots will tell you, it's ugly — but well hung. (U.S. Air Force photo)
It's not going to win any airplane beauty pageants any time soon due to being quite aesthetically-challenged. Also, when it was first designed, it was a daylight-only plane with none of the sensors to drop precision-guided weapons.
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Corey Hook
Why you should hate the A-10
Because it has this cult following that seems to think it can do just about anything and take out any one. Because its pilots think the GAU-8 cannon in the nose is all that — never mind that a number of other planes took bigger guns into the fight — including 75mm guns.
"You have a 30mm gun? Cute. Mine's a 75mm gun." (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)
Because that low, slow, flight profile means it is a big target. Because you'd rather claim that a relative died in a motorcycle accident than admit they fly that ugly plane.
Retired Air Force Gen. Charles Horner had a major role in the air power strategy of the Gulf War of 1990-1991. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)
Because that plane always seems to stick around when the Air Force wants to retire it. Because it is useless in a dogfight.
Representative Martha McSally, pictured in her office during her Air Force career, preparing to distribute BRRRRRT. Helps explain why the A-10 will be around indefinitely. (Photo credit unknown)
Why you should love the A-10
Because this plane can bring its pilot home when the bad guys hit it — just ask "Killer Chick." Because it also has a proven combat record in Desert Storm, the Balkans, and the War on Terror.
Kim Campbell looks at her damaged hog, which she landed at her base after a mission over Baghdad in 2003. (Photo via National Air and Space Museum)
Because it not only has a powerful tank-killing gun, it can carry lots of bombs and missiles to put the hurt on the bad guys.
An A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft takes part in a mission during Operation Desert Storm. The aircraft is armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, and Mark 82 500-pound bombs. (Air Force Photo)
Because while it is designed for close-air support, it also proved to be very good at covering the combat search-and-rescue choppers.
An A-10 Thunderbolt II, from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., approaches the boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., for refueling Sept. 12, 2013, over southern Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Colby L. Hardin)
Because, when it comes right down to it, the A-10, for all its faults, has saved a lot of grunts over the years.