Out of Print.
New old stock.
It seems generous to call the Fairchild Republic A-10 a fighter, at least by modern standards: whilst most modern fighters are capable of performing an air-to-air mission, the A-10 is limited to the glamourless close air support role. The A-10 does not carry a radar, it cannot rely on high speed for pursuit or escape, and it cannot climb high into the stratosphere beyond the range of ground-based weapons. The A-10 seems to be better classed with the medium bombers of the Second World War such as the North American B-25 Mitchell!
In fact, specifications for the A-10 closely parallel those of the Mitchell: wing span, length and height are almost identical. The A-10's empty weight is only 700lb greater, but with a maximum load the A-10 weighs almost six tons more than the B-25H's eighteen tons. At those weights, the A-10 carries 16,000lb of ordnance compared with the B-25H's 3,2001b. (Much of the B-25's maximum weight was accounted for by five additional crew members and defensive armaments, though there may well be times that an A-10 driver would wish for a tail gunner.) Both aircraft are known for large cannon. The B-25H's 75mm gun was slow-firing and inaccurate and soon discarded in combat use, but the 30mm cannon of the A-10 is a powerful and accurate weapon. With a top speed in the same class as the Mustang or Spitfire, it would seem that the A-10 would have been quite a contender forty years ago!
Since the Second World War, many in the US Air Force have been calling for an aircraft with just these capabilities, and now there is no other aircraft able accurately to deliver as much ordnance to the front lines as can the A-10 Expecting to take hits, it is designed to survive and fly, to be easily repaired, and to fight again. As for defending itself, an F-14 pilot once told me about trying to make gun passes on an A-10: as he moved in, the A-10 pilot turned and reversed. The Navy pilot still seemed amazed as he recounted the story: 'As I flashed by, I could see him turn with me. That big old gun was pointed right at my helmet all the way!'
The majority of the photographs in this book have come from the USAF and Fairchild Republic (with my old friend Theron Rinehart, now retired).