FAIRCHILD REPUBLIC A-10 'WARTHOG'21,50€
The A-10 ‘Warthog’ owed its birth to two influences - the inadequacies of the Close Air Support aircraft used in Vietnam, and the need to counter Soviet armoured might in Europe. During the Vietnam War the Air Force regarded CAS as their domain but was hard pressed to find an aircraft with both the range and loiter capacity to fulfil this need. They did obtain quantities of the old but excellent piston-powered Douglas A-1 Skyraider originally developed for the Navy, which soon earned the appreciation of the ground-pounders by its ability to carry a huge warload, dish out and take punishment, and remain on station for an extended period of time. Late in the war the USAF shifted the CAS mission to the jet-powered A-7 Corsair II, which had been developed for a US Navy requirement for a carrier-based strike fighter to replace the A-4 Skyhawk. The Corsair was an excellent aircraft, but it was designed for the strike-interdiction role, not for the battlefield CAS mission. The USAF therefore began to put together an AX - ‘Attack Experimental’ program to develop a dedicated CAS aircraft that could do the job far better than the Corsair, match the Skyraider in warload and endurance, but be substantially faster while being extremely maneuverable. The aircraft would also need to be highly survivable through the use of armour and redundant systems, include twin engines and be armed with a fast-firing Gatling-type gun.