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Thread: A-10 Warthogs Tusks Are Being Sharpened For A High-End Fight

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    A-10 Warthogs Tusks Are Being Sharpened For A High-End Fight

    It looks like the A-10 won in the fight to retire the fleet. It is getting an upgrade for high-end conflict.

    A-10 Warthog’s Tusks Are Being Sharpened For A High-End Fight

    The U.S. Air Force’s greatest minds in the A-10 Thunderbolt II community are combining efforts in order to keep this tank-busting icon relevant for future high-end conflicts. The current work involves a number of different efforts including the integration of new stores and weapons, as well as the development of tactics to enable the A-10 to support modern fifth-generation fighters such as the F-35 during combat in high-threat situations.

    “The big effort we are pushing for in the A-10 today is quick and simple modernization efforts to help the Air Force better posture to fight tomorrow,” says Maj. Kyle “Metric” Adkison, A-10 Division Commander at the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. “As long as the A-10 is in service, we want to develop it to help the Air Force successfully fight however we can. Today that means supporting fifth-gen fighters.” Proponents such as Adkison are keen to emphasize that the A-10 is much more than just an airframe and a 30mm gun. “It has 10 weapons stations, a very long loiter time, and a significant and robust austere capability to operate from highways and dirt strips, plus it doesn’t need lots of support infrastructure — so the overhead for us to affect the battlespace is low. Essentially, we can carry a lot of things that will help others achieve their desired effects.”

    ***

    Central to this A-10 enhancement effort is a plan for the integration of the ADM-160 Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD), and the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), a 250-pound-class precision-guided bomb that can glide dozens of miles to strike its target. Testers are also looking at adding the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) further down the road. “No one wants to spend billions of dollars on the A-10,” Vincent explains, “but if we can find ways to add capability and make platforms more survivable and more effective, then we are going to do this the best we can.”


    Central to this A-10 enhancement effort is a plan for the integration of the ADM-160 Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD), and the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), a 250-pound-class precision-guided bomb that can glide dozens of miles to strike its target. Testers are also looking at adding the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) further down the road. “No one wants to spend billions of dollars on the A-10,” Vincent explains, “but if we can find ways to add capability and make platforms more survivable and more effective, then we are going to do this the best we can.”


    ***
    At least for the next few years or so, the A-10's existence appears to be safe, albeit in potentially dwindling numbers. Meanwhile, those close to the popular Warthog are working in every way possible to maintain the type's close air support legacy and mindset while also preparing it for a high-end fight.











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