The legendary American attack aircraft A-10 Thunderbolt II will undergo another global upgrade, which will allow it to be in service until at least 2035. This was announced by the US Air Force command, writes The Drive.
Almost ready for decommissioning in 2014, the Warthog will continue to upgrade and remain in service with the US Air Force for many years to come, the Air Force said. An attempt to replace the legendary attack aircraft with the fifth-generation F-35A Lightning II fighter failed, the new aircraft was not adapted to operate in conditions of saturated air defense.
Under these conditions, the American Air Force is launching another program to modernize the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft. Following the program of equipping aircraft with new wings, the aircraft will be re-equipped with new weapons.
In 2019, it was reported that a new modernization program called "A-10 Common Fleet Initiative" was adopted, which involves equipping the "Warthog" with new GBU-39 bombs. Also, changes will affect avionics and helmet-mounted target designation systems. It is planned to install new radars, anti-jamming GPS and replace radio communications with more modern models. In addition, the modernized attack aircraft will get rid of analog instruments, which will be replaced by digital displays.
The modernization will not affect the aircraft's engines, but a major overhaul of the power plant will be carried out with the restoration of "the original thrust of General Electric TF34 engines".
The updated attack aircraft will be able to carry up to 18 winged mini-bombs weighing 113 kg each, capable of striking stationary equipment at a distance of 110 km and moving at a distance of 70 km from the drop point. This will make it possible not to enter the area of operation of the enemy's mobile air defense installations. It is also reported that the use of guided bombs GBU-39 is much cheaper than the use of guided missiles with the same capabilities.
The US Air Force currently operates 281 A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft. The military budget for 2021 provides for the reduction of three A-10 squadrons, in fact, we are talking about 44 aircraft. The rest of the "Warthogs" park will be modernized, work is already underway.