The A-10 Warthog (nicknamed the "devil's cross" by people it was coming after) has just received a major upgrade that should extend the operational life of the venerable ground attack aircraft until the 2020s or beyond. Even though the A-10 never did the job it was designed for – killing Soviet tanks – it has adapted to many other tasks through the years. Now, it will be a very precise weapon.
11/30/2006 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFPN) – The A-10C Thunderbolt II made its official roll-out debut here Nov. 29, revealing its transformation and its enhanced capabilities under the Precision Engagement program.
The Precision Engagement program will offer the A-10 the most significant modifications it has ever received in its 30-year history, making it a more capable and survivable attack fighter, according to Maj. Dan Walls, 355th Training Squadron director of conversion training unit operations.
"Precision Engagement increases the lethality, survivability and standoff of one of the most respected and recognized attack aircraft in the world and ushers in a new era in the A-10 story," Major Walls said.
Under this program, the A-10 will receive numerous enhancements including the full integration of sensors, including data link and a targeting pod, allowing the A-10C to identify and strike targets from higher altitudes and greater distances without sacrificing accuracy. This integration also will enhance the aircraft's communication capabilities.
The cockpit will undergo modifications under the program with the introduction of two new multi-functional color displays and a new hands-on-throttle-and-stick interface. These enhancements translate into increased situational awareness for the pilot and the ability to perform most tasks without removing his or her hands from the throttle or stick.
As a result of this upgrade, the A-10C is projected to remain operational into the end of the 2020s, well beyond its initial expected lifespan, Major Walls said.