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The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: A-10A/C Thunderbolt II

The A-10A/C Thunderbolt II aircraft. (Courtesy photo)

The A-10A/C Thunderbolt II aircraft. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --

Manufacturer: Fairchild Republic

Function: Close Air Support, Airborne Forward Air Control

Service Date: 1977

Speed: 517 mph

Crew: One

Production: 713 Inventory: 355

Commentary: The cockpit is protected with a titanium armor “bathtub”, capable of absorbing up to 23 mm rounds. A-10s were first used in combat during Desert Storm in 1991. The A-10 is projected to serve beyond 2028.