Since the beginning of October, the US Air Force has finished replacing the wings of three A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft. These aircraft are the first to receive these new wings, increasing their life expectancy. In service since 1976, they are highly valued by ground troops and are constantly being upgraded. Earlier this year, the last A-10Cs received the Suite 10, the latest upgrade to this venerable ground support aircraft.
In early November, the US Air Force announced that as of Oct. 11, 2022, its fleet of fighter jets now includes three A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft with new wings. Initially, the procedure was to be carried out at Hill Air Force Base (Utah, United States), where the Ogden Air Logistics Complex is located, in charge of maintaining the A-10 or even F-16 fighter aircraft, but also the B-2 Spirit strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles LGM-30G Minuteman III. However, due to the complexity of the project, and especially due to the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was moved to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (Arizona, USA). However, the unit in charge of the program remains the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), which specializes in technical support for the U.S. Air Force's fleet of aircraft.
"Depot teams consist of multiple different specialties like crew chiefs, electrical and environmental, and avionics who are a little bit more trained on these tasks. [...] The purpose of the wing swap is to extend the life of the A-10 and ultimately uphold the valuable mission it contributes to the Air Force." Tech. Sgt. Bailey, a participant in this project.
With these new wings, the A-10 structure will have an additional 2,500 flight hours. As a reminder, the A-10 has been in service with the U.S. Air Force since 1976, but the aircraft represents a significant amount of support for ground troops. In fact, it has participated in all American interventions, including the Gulf War in 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Moreover, during the first week of the invasion and while the JTACs on the ground could get a wide variety of aircraft in support, it is nearly 80 to 90% of the Close Air Support missions that will be managed by the A-10.
Today, despite numerous attempts to retire these aircraft. In 2005, the Thunderbolt II fleet goes through a big upgrade, upgrading the A-10A to the A-10C. In addition, another upgrade was just recently completed on the latest A-10Cs with the addition of the Suite 10 (more info in this article).
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