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A-1 Legacy and the A-X Program

The US Air Force learned many lessons regarding SAR and CAS from its A-1 Skyraider experience in Southeast Asia.

As early as 1966, the USAF anticipated the need for a specialized close air support aircraft and these lessons shaped the request for proposals sent to industry under the new A-X program.

As the US withdrawal in Southeast Asia progressed, the USAF transferred its remaining A-1s to the South Vietnamese Air Force in late 1972. In the interim, the LTV A-7D Corsair II, another modified US Navy aircraft, assumed the A-1’s SAR and CAS missions.

In 1973, Fairchild Republic’s prototype YA-10A proved to be an inexpensive design. Selected for production over the other A-X proposals, it nearly doubled the capabilities of the A-1.

A fitting successor, the A-10’s design echoes the Skyraider with its straight, low-slung wings, armored cockpit, exceptional radio suite, and multiple weapon pylons.

The USAF accepted the first A-10A Thunderbolt II in 1976, with many Skyraider pilots transitioning to it. The A-10 is still in service today, providing unmatched CAS and fulfilling the legacy of RESCORT as part of the world’s greatest combat rescue force.

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