A Higher-Tech Hog: USAF A-10C Upgraded, Refurbished, Unloved – But More in Demand
February 4/16: The life of the A-10 attack jet will be extended until 2022 after it was announced in Secretary for Defense Ash Carter’s 2017 defense budget preview on Tuesday. Lawmakers including former A-10 pilot Rep. Martha McSally and Sen. John McCain who supported the plane’s continuation were pleased with the announcement. The close-air support aircraft will continue to see service in the operations against the Islamic State in the Middle East where it has been supporting ground troops. The deferral of the A-10’s retirement comes as continued delays seem likely for the F-35, which is due to replace the A-10 once it comes into active service. The A-10’s ability to swoop in to heights of 50 feet above ground and engage enemies has been held up as an advantage against the F-35 by supporters.
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 2005 – 2006
FY 2004 and earlier
Background: A-10 Platform & Enhancements
News & Views
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