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7. A-10 THUNDERBOLT (WARTHOG) The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American twin-engine; straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. The only United States Air Force aircraft designed solely for close air support of ground forces; the A-10 was built to attack tanks; armored vehicles; and other ground targets with limited air defenses.The A-10 was designed around the GAU-8 Avenger; a 30 mm rotary cannon that is the airplane's primary armament and the heaviest such automatic cannon mounted on an aircraft. The A-10's airframe was designed for survivability; with measures such as 1; 200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor for protection of the cockpit and aircraft systems that enables the aircraft to continue flying after taking significant damage. The A-10A single-seat variant was the only version built; though one A-10A was converted to the A-10B twin-seat version. In 2005; a program was begun to upgrade A-10A aircraft to the A-10C configuration.The A-10's official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of World War II; a fighter that was particularly effective at close air support. The A-10 is more commonly known by its nicknames "Warthog" or "Hog". It also has a secondary mission; where it provides airborne forward air control; directing other aircraft in attacks on ground targets. Aircraft used primarily in this role are designated OA-10. With a variety of upgrades and wing replacements; the A-10's service life may be extended to 2028.376th Air Expeditionary Wing; AFCENT; Airmen; Kyrgyz Republic; Kyrgyzstan; Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett; Transient; Transit Center at Manas; U.S. Air Force; United States
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