The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. The only United States Air Force aircraft designed solely for close air support of ground forces, the A-10 was built to attack tanks, armored vehicles, and other ground targets with limited air defenses. It also has a secondary mission, where it provides airborne forward air control, guiding other aircraft against ground targets. Aircraft used primarily in this role are designated OA-10. With a variety of upgrades and wing replacements, the A-10′s service life has been extended to 2040.
The A-10 was designed around the GAU-8 Avenger, a rotary cannon that is the airplane’s primary armament and the heaviest such cannon mounted on an aircraft. The A-10′s airframe was designed for survivability, with protective measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of armor to enable the aircraft to continue flying after taking damage. The A-10′s official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of World War II, a fighter that was particularly effective at close air support. The A-10 is more commonly known by its nicknames “Warthog” or “Hog”.