Hobby Master HA1330 USAF Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II Ground Attack Aircraft - 81-0976, 354th Fighter Squadron "Bulldogs", Incirlik AFB, Turkey, April 2017 (1:72 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The A-10 and OA-10 Thunderbolt IIs are the first Air Force aircraft designed specifically for close air support of ground forces. They are simple, effective, and highly survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against all ground targets, especially tanks and other armored vehicles. The first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ., in October 1975.
The aircraft can carry a wide variety of ordnance under its wings and nose, loiter on-station for long periods of time, and fly over a wide combat radius, making it an ideal warrior on today's battlefield. In the Gulf War, A-10s, with a mission capable rate of 95.7 percent, flew 8,100 sorties and launched 90 percent of the AGM-65 Maverick missiles used in-country.
In 2005, the entire fleet of 356 A-10 and OA-10 aircraft began receiving the Precision Engagement upgrades including an improved fire control system (FCS), electronic countermeasures (ECM), and smart bomb targeting. The aircraft receiving this upgrade were redesignated A-10C. The Government Accounting Office in 2007 estimated the cost of upgrading, refurbishing, and service life extension plans for the A-10 force to total $2.25 billion through 2013. In July 2010, the USAF issued Raytheon a contract to integrate a Helmet Mounted Integrated Targeting (HMIT) system into the A-10C. The Air Force Material Command's Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah completed work on its 100th A-10 precision engagement upgrade in January 2008. The final aircraft was upgraded to A-10C configuration in June 2011. The aircraft also received all-weather combat capability, and a Hand-on-Throttle-and-Stick configuration mixing the F-16's flight stick with the F-15's throttle. Other changes included two multifunction displays, a modern communications suite including a Link-16 radio and SATCOM. The LASTE system was replaced with the integrated flight and fire control computer (IFFCC) included in the PE upgrade.
Throughout its life, the platform's software has been upgraded several times, and although these upgrades were due to be stopped as part of plans to retire the A-10 in February 2014, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James ordered that the latest upgrade, designated Suite 8, continue in response to Congressional pressure. Suite 8 software includes IFF Mode 5, which modernizes the ability to identify the A-10 to friendly units. Additionally, the Pave Penny pods and pylons are being removed as their receive-only capability has been replaced by the AN/AAQ-28(V)4 LITENING AT targeting pods or Sniper XR targeting pod, which both have laser designators and laser rangefinders.
In 2012, Air Combat Command requested the testing of a 600-US-gallon (2,300 l; 500 imp gal) external fuel tank which would extend the A-10's loitering time by 45-60 minutes; flight testing of such a tank had been conducted in 1997 but did not involve combat evaluation. Over 30 flight tests were conducted by the 40th Flight Test Squadron to gather data on the aircraft's handling characteristics and performance across different load configurations. It was reported that the tank slightly reduced stability in the yaw axis, but there was no decrease in aircraft tracking performance.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a USAF Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft that was attached to the 354th Fighter Squadron "Bulldogs", then deployed to Incirlik AFB, Turkey, during April 2017.
Release Date: March 2021
Historical Account: "Bulldogs" - The 354th Fighter Squadron (354 FS) is part of the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. It operates A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft conducting close air support missions. The squadron conducts Close Air Support, Air Interdiction, Forward Air Control - Airborne, and Combat Search and rescue for theater commanders worldwide.
It conducted combat crew training from, 1971-1982 and forward air control training since 1991. In February 2015, the squadron was deployed to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. Twelve A-10s and approximately 300 airmen were deployed. The unit will train alongside NATO allies and deploy to locations in Eastern European NATO nations to further enhance interoperability. The A-10s were the first of several theater security package deployments to Europe, U.S. Air Force officials said, adding that rotations generally will last six months, depending on mission and United States European Command requirements.