Called the Warthog by its pilots and ground crews the A-10 is not the prettiest aircraft ever built, but it is extremely good at its job — killing tanks. Designed around a massive 30mm rotary cannon capable of firing up to 4,200 rounds per minute and with large amounts of titanium armor around the cockpit and engines the A-10 is almost a flying tank itself. Design work on the A-10 began in 1967 for an Air Force competition for a close air support aircraft based on experience gained in Vietnam. The prototype for the Thunderbolt first flew in 1972 and Fairchild was awarded a production contract by the end of the year. After further testing the A-10 entered service in 1976. A total of 713 were built between 1975 and 1984. The A-10 first proved its capabilities in the 1990-91 Gulf War by destroying several thousand Iraqi tanks, and other vehicles. The A-10 continues to serve in combat and is likely to remain in service through at least 2022.
355th Tactical Fighter Wing, 358th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, 1992
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