The A-10 was designed specifically for close air support of ground forces. It is named for the famous P-47 Thunderbolt, a fighter often used in a close air support role during World War II. The A-10 is very maneuverable at low speeds and low altitudes to ensure accurate weapon delivery, and it carries the systems and armor needed to survive in this environment. It is intended for use against all ground targets but is particularly effective against tanks and other armored vehicles.
The Thunderbolt II's great endurance gives it a large combat radius and long loiter time in a battle area. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines. The A-10 was developed with a robust but simple design allowing for efficient maintenance at forward bases with limited facilities.
The aircraft on display is painted as it appeared while flying with the 353d Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina in 1991. A combat veteran, it flew 64 missions during OPERATION DESERT STORM from King Fahd International Airport, Saudi Arabia. It was transferred to the museum in November 2012.
Armament: One GAU-8/A 30mm Gatling gun and 16,000 lbs. of mixed ordnance
Engines: Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans of 9,000 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: 517 mph
Range: 2,580 miles with external fuel tanks