"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Friday, April 05, 2013

A-10 WARTHOG ... baaaaaaaaaaaad to the bone

One of my best friends and an Air Force buddy forwarded to me ...

  I thought you might be interested in this.

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WOW!!!

A-10 WARTHOG ... baaaaaaaaaaaad to the bone

"One shot will knock a turret off a tank. You cannot fly the airplane without the gun because of center of gravity being off too far".

----- First, there was this gun ...

It was developed by General Electric, the "We bring good things to life" people.

It's one of the modern-day Gatling guns.

It shoots very big bullets...

It shoots them very quickly...

Someone said, "Let's put it in an airplane."

Someone else said, "Better still, let's build an airplane around it."

So they did. And "they" were the Fairchild Republic airplane people.

And they had done such a good job with an airplane they developed back in WWII .....called the P-47 Thunderbolt!

They decided to call it the A10 Thunderbolt II ... AKA the Warthog

They made it so it was very good at flying low and slow and shooting things with that fabulous gun.

But since it did fly low and slow, they made it bulletproof, or almost so.

A lot of bad guys have found you can shoot an A10 with anything from a pistol to a 23mm Soviet cannon and it just keeps on flying and shooting.

When they got through, it looked like this.

It's not sleek and sexy like an F18 or the stealthy Raptors and such, but I think it's such a great airplane because it does what it does better than any other plane in the world.

It kills tanks.

Not only tanks, as Sadam Hussein's boys found out to their horror, but armored personnel carriers, radar stations, locomotives, bunkers, fuel depots... just about anything the bad guys thought was bulletproof turned out to be easy pickings for this beast.

See those engines. One of them alone will fly this plane.

The pilot sits in a very thick titanium alloy "bathtub."

That's typical of the design.

They were smart enough to make every part the same whether mounted on the left side or right side of the plane, like landing gear, for instance.

Because the engines are mounted so high (away from ground debris) and the landing gear uses such low pressure tires, it can operate from a damaged airport, interstate highway, plowed field, or dirt road.

Everything is redundant.

They have two of almost everything.

Sometimes they have three of something.

Like flight controls, there's triple redundancy of those,

and even if there is a total failure of the double hydraulic system, there is a set of manual flying controls.

Capt. Kim Campbell sustained this damage over Baghdad and flew for another hour before returning to base.

But, back to that gun.

It's so hard to grasp just how powerful it is.

This is the closest I could find to showing you just what this cartridge is all about.

What the guy is holding is NOT the 30mm round, but a "little" 50 Browning machine gun round and the 20mm cannon round which has been around for a long time.

The 30mm is MUCH bigger.

Down at the bottom are the .50 BMG and 20x102 Vulcan the fellow was holding.

At the bottom right is the bad boy we're discussing.

Let's get some perspective here: The .223 Rem (M16 rifle round) is fast.

It shoots a 55 or so grain bullet at about 3300 feet/sec, give or take.

It's the fastest of all those rounds shown (except one).

When you move up to the .30 caliber rounds, the bullets jump up in weight to 160-200 grains. Speeds run from about 2600 to 3000 fps or so.

The .338 Lapua is the king of the sniper rifles these days and shoots a 350 grain bullet at 2800 fps or so.

They kill bad guys at over a mile with that one.

The 50 BMG is really big.

Everyone who picks it up thinks it's some sort of fake, unless they know big ammo.

It's really huge with a bullet that weighs 750 grains and goes as fast the Lapua.

I don't have data on the Vulcan, but hang on to your hat.

The bullet for the 30x173 Avenger has an aluminum jacket around a spent uranium core and weighs 6560 grains (yes, over 100 times as heavy as the M16 bullet, and flies through the air at 3500 fps (which is faster than the M16 as well).

The gun shoots at a rate of 4200 rounds per minute. Yes, four thousand.

Pilots typically shoot either one- or two-second burst which set loose 70 to 150 rounds.

The system is optimized for shooting at 4,000 feet

OK, the best for last.

You've got a pretty good idea of how big that cartridge is, but I'll bet you're like me and you don't fully appreciate how big the GE GAU-8 Avenger really is.

Take a look.

Each of those seven barrels is 112" long.

That's almost ten feet.

The entire gun is 19-1/2 feet long.

Think how impressive it would look set up in your living room.

Oh, by the way, it doesn't eject the empty shells but runs them back into the storage drum. There's just so dang many flying out, they felt it might damage the aircraft.

Oh yeah, I forgot, they can hang those bomb and rocket things on 'em too, just in case.

After all, it is an "airplane"!

Like I said, this is a beautiful design.
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That's the email, which has been making the rounds with a number of people.

Feeling that it would make a wonderful post, I sent this to whom I thought to be the originator ...

Mr. ******:

****** thought (correctly) that I would be interested in this.

I'd like very much to have your permission to use this as a blog post, giving you full credit.

Beware, though. It is not great fame you will acquire. My blog (see link in my sig below) does not have a large following; probably only a few hundred people will ever see that post.


He replied ...

Mr. Gordon,

Thanks for the above message. I'm a retired Air Force fighter pilot. E-mails such as this one are frequently passed among us- and those friends that are felt to be interested in military aviation and new equipment - such as ******.

This one on the Wart Hog is not of a classified nature. As a matter of fact, nothing such as this that is classified is sent over the Internet. Don't know who originated this one so no credit or acknowledgement should be mentioned.

My airborne roles over the years were of air-to-air and air-to ground in nature. The guys driving these A-10 Wart Hogs were always doing a great job at being "down and dirty" in support of the ground troops.

This "Improved" version is just great for getting the job done with improved safety for the pilots as well. Your displaying this on your Blog Site will perhaps inform the unknowing of one of the things their Air Force has at their disposal for protecting this nation of ours.

If any questions, please feel free to ask.

Regards, **

Ok. I only hope I've done this justice.  I wish I had originated it. (Of course, when someone else has done your work for you, it's so much easier. :-)

BTW, there's another advantage to the engine location besides being "away from ground debris".  If you are an enemy combatant and trying to take a shot at an A-10 with a shoulder-fired heat-seeking missile, you're probably aiming from below and behind. From that position, you'll find the exhaust from the engines obscured by the horizontal tailplane and the twin rudders, making it difficult for the heat seeker in the missile to get a good lock on the target. That is not an accident.
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