A Higher-Tech Hog: USAF A-10C Upgraded, Refurbished, Unloved – But More in Demand
February 14/20: Reduction? The US Air Force is looking to reduce its Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II close air support fleet by proposing to cut its non-active force fleet by 46 aircraft, or by 33%, in fiscal year 2021. The USAF, according to its FY 2021 budget request released on February 10, would keep its active force A-10 fleet at 143 aircraft but the service would slash its Air National Guard fleet from 85 aircraft to 46 and also reduce its Air Force Reserve fleet from 55 aircraft to 48. Major General John Pletcher, deputy assistant secretary for financial management and comptroller, told reporters that these aircraft would be the oldest and least-ready aircraft, and that these cuts, combined with planned modernizations, would allow the USAF to have A-10s in seven squadrons flying into the 2030s.
The Precision Engagement modification is the largest single upgrade effort ever undertaken for the USA’s unique A-10 “Warthog” close air support aircraft fleet. While existing A/OA-10 aircraft continue to outperform technology-packed rivals on the battlefield, this set of upgrades is expected to make them more flexible, and help keep the aircraft current until the fleet’s planned phase-out in 2028. When complete, A-10C PE will give USAF A-10s precision strike capability sooner than planned, combining multiple upgrades into 1 time and money-saving program, rather than executing them as standalone projects. Indeed, the USAF accelerated the PE program by 9 months as a result of its experiences in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
This is DID’s FOCUS Article for the PE program, and for other modifications to the A-10 fleet. It covers the A-10’s battlefield performance and advantages, the elements of the PE program, other planned modifications, related refurbishment efforts to keep the fleet in the air, and the contracts that have been issued each step of the way.
A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II: Experiences on the Ground
The A/OA-10 Precision Engagement Modification Program
A-10 PE, Increment 3.2
A-10 PE, Increment 3.3
A-10 Fleet: Other Planned Improvements
Contracts & Key Events
FY 2016 – 2020
FY 2005 – 2006
FY 2004 and earlier
Background: A-10 Platform & Enhancements
News & Views
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