In March 1979, the first preproduction A-10A
(S/N 73-1664) was returned to the Republic factory for conversion to a prototype two-place variant of the A-10. The modifications took about three months and when complete, the aircraft was re-designated Night/Adverse Weather A-10. As the name suggests, the A-10 N/AW was designed to operate at night and during weather conditions unsuitable for the A-10A.
The modification work consisted of rebuilding the forward airframe to accommodate a second cockpit equipped with dual controls for the Electronic Warfare Officer. The canopy was changed from the clamshell type to a side-opening type divided between the cockpits by an "A-frame" structure. The A-10 N/AW was equipped with ACES-II type ejection seats designed to fire "thru-the-canopy." A large cockpit fairing was added to house additional avionics components. The Head-Up Display system was upgraded. A Forward Looking InfraRed system was added as well as a Low Light Level Television. Additional components added to support the night/adverse weather mission included a laser ranging device, terrain following radar, inertial navigation system, radar altimeter and an electronic moving map display. The FLIR and laser ranger were housed in an external pod mounted on pylon six (the center fuselage station). The terrain following radar was also housed in an external pod, in this case hung from station four (center wing closest to the left main landing gear). The LLLTV replaced the Pave Penny pod. The vertical stabilizers were rebuilt with a 20-inch extension added to the top. The aircraft retained the GAU-8/A 30mm Gatling Gun
, but had a smaller ammunition drum with a capacity of 750 rounds.
Flight testing of the A-10 N/AW, serial number 73-1664, began on Oct. 23, 1979, at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. During the Air Force Preliminary Flight Evaluation, which ended on Dec. 4, 1979, the aircraft was flown for a total of 48.6 hours during 28 missions. About one-third of the missions were conducted at night. Although the A-10 N/AW test program was successful, the program was canceled because of advancements in night attack equipment (i.e. LANTIRN
). The A-10 N/AW was redesignated the YA-10B in the early 1980s.
Besides the A-10 N/AW, the USAF investigated the conversion of a limited number of A-10As into two-place trainer aircraft. These trainers were to be designated A-10B, but the program was canceled before any aircraft were modified.
||A-X CAS prototype
||Night/Adverse Weather prototype
||A-10A two-seat conversion (73-1664)
One GAU-8/A 30mm Gatling Gun and 16,000 lbs. of mixed ordnance (including the FLIR and Terrain Following Radar Pods on pylons 4 and 6)
Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans of 9,065 lbs. thrust each
Mach .44 at 24,000 ft. (best range)
Approx. 40,000 ft.
57 ft. 6 in.
53 ft. 4 in.
15 ft. 7 in.
40,000 lbs. normal takeoff weight (approx. 49,500 lbs. maximum)
(YA-10) 71-1369 and 71-1370; (A-10A) 73-1664 to 73-1669 (73-1670 to 73-1673 canceled); 75-258 to 75-309; 76-512 to 76-554; 77-177 to 77-276; 78-582 to 78-725; 79-082 to 78-225 (79-226 to 79-243 canceled); 80-140 to 80-283; 81-939 to 81-998; 82-646 to 82-665 (82-692 to 82-705 canceled); 73-1664 to 73-1669 were development, test and evaluation aircraft; 73-1664 later converted to the A-10B Night/All Weather two-place A-10 (and later redesignated the YA-10B)
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