Z-Car

A-10 Thunderbolt II by Fairchild

Great shot of an A-10 over Afghanistan.  In this picture, Capt. Andrew Quinn flies his OA/A-10 Thunderbolt II observation/attack aircraft to a refueling position behind a KC-135 Stratotanker.  This picture was taken  on Sunday, March 26, 2006 by U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Lance Cheung.  Captain Quinn is currently deployed to the 355th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.   The A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft designed to provide close air support (CAS) of ground forces.

It was the first U.S. Air Force aircraft, designed in the 1970’s, exclusively for close air support . The A-10’s official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of World War II, a fighter that was particularly effective at close air support. The A-10 is more commonly known by its nickname “Warthog” or simply “Hog”.


North American P-51 Mustang

U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) fighter aircraft manufactured by North American Aviation, Inc., between 1942 and 1945. In its role as a long-range bomber escort in the European Theater of Operations during World War II, the P-51 exhibited its greatest influence and is credited by many as the airplane that shifted the European airwar in favor of the allied forces.

This P-51 was used by the USAFF, USAF and various U.S. Air National Guard units during and after World War II, performing a variety of missions, including interception of enemy aircraft, long-range bomber escort, armament support for land and sea forces, photographic reconnaissance and flight training.

The P-51 performed at levels surpassing other single-engine, propeller driven fighter aircraft during World War II.  The wingspan of 44-73287 is 37.03 feet and has a wing area of 236 square feet. The plane’s two-section, semimonocoque fuselage is constructed entirely of aluminum alloy and is 32 feet and 2 5/8 inches in length.

Laminar flow airfoil was used during World War II in the design of the wings for the North American P-51 Mustang, as well as some other aircraft. Operationally, the wing did not enhance performance as dramatically as tunnel tests suggested. For the best performance, manufacturing tolerances had to be perfect and maintenance of wing surfaces needed to be thorough. The rush of mass production during the war and the tasks of meticulous maintenance in combat zones never met the standards of NACA laboratories. Still, the work on the laminar flow wing pointed the way to a new family of successful high-speed airfoils. These and other NACA wing sections became the patterns for aircraft around the world.

P-51 Mustang


Fabrica Militar de Aviones IA 58 Pucará

FMA IA 58 Pucará
The FMA IA 58 Pucará (Quechua: Fortress) is a two-seat light attack aircraft powered by two turboprop engines. It was designed for the COIN (counterinsurgency) and CAS (close air support) roles for the Argentine Air Force. A low-wing monoplane of all-metal construction, with a retractable landing gear, it was manufactured by the Fabrica Militar de Aviones. It has narrow fuselage and tail section and a tandem seat cockpit with a steep sloping nose. Although heavily armed the weapons are unguided and visually aimed by the crew. The IA 58 only needs a minimum of ground support to operate; it is able to operate from unprepared rough terrains.

Named after a form of South American stone hill fortress, the Pucara’s origins can be traced back to the mid-1960’s when Argentina’s Fabrica Militar de Aviones ( Military Aircraft Factory ) was requested to develop a new combat aircraft capable of performing COIN, CAS and reconnaissance missions. The first flight of the prototype AX-2 Delfin, powered by a pair of Garrett TPE331-U-303 turbo props, took place on 20 August 1969. Subsequent prototypes were re-engined with French Turbom Eca Astazou XVIG turboprops.

The Pucara was designed to operate from rough field and unprepared sites with the minimum of ground support – a point it proved to good effect during the Falklands War of 1982. Operations are possible by night, but not in adverse weather conditions, and weapons aiming is achieved visually by the pilot making full use of the excellent forward visibility over the Pucara’s downward sloping nose.

The IA 58A is the main production variant of the Pucará design. About 108 aircraft were built for Argentina of which 6 were sold to Uruguay. About 3 aircraft were captured by the United Kingdom during the Falkland War, they are now preserved by the RAF. The production standard IA 58A first flew on 8 November 1974, with deliveries to the Argentinean Air Force commencing just over a year later.

The IA 58B is basically a IA 58A with 30mm cannons in place of the 20mm cannons present in the A model. Although a prototype has been developed, none were produced.

The IA 58C is a multi-role single-seat version of the Pucará. The changes included the addition of a Head-up Display, IFF (identification friend of foe), 30-mm DEFA 553 cannons in the nose, two extra hard points for Magic 2 Air-to-Air missiles and additional weapons capability, including Martin Pescador anti-ship missiles.

The IA 66 prototype was a IA 58A model fitted with 1,000-shp Garrett TPE331-11-601W turboprops, none were produced.

However, overall production figures have been modest at best, with exports to Uruguay, Sri Lanka and Colombia accounting for less than 20 aircraft in total

Specifications
Country of Origin Argentina
Wing Span 14.5m ( 47 ft 7 in )
Length 15.25 m ( 46ft 9in)
Height 5.36m ( 17ft 7 in )
Weight empty, equipped 4,037 kg ( 8,900 lb );
MTOW 6,800 kg ( 14,991 lb )
Engine two 988 shp Turbomeca Astazou XVIG turboprops
Maximum speed 500 km/h ( 311 mph ) at 3,000 m ( 9,840 ft )
Cruising speed 430 km/h ( 267 mph )
Service Ceiling 9,700 m ( 31, 825 ft )
Armament two Hispano HS804 20mm cannon each with 270 rpg, four FN Browning 7.62 mm cannon with 900 rpg; up to 1500 kg ( 3,307lb ) of free fall bombs, napalm tanks, 70 mm ( 2.75 in ) rockets, cannon pods, two auxiliary fuel tanks.
Role: counter insurgency, close air support, light attack
Builder: Fabrica Militar de Aviones (FMA)
Variants: IA 58A, IA 58B, IA 58C, IA66
Operators: Argentina, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Uruguay

Click the picture for even more great Pucará pictures!
FMA IA 58 Pucará


Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II “WartHog”

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is also known as the Warthog, the Flying Gun and the Tankbuster. The A-10 and OA-10 Thunderbolt IIs are the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. They are simple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles. The primary mission of the A-10 is to provide day and night close air combat support for friendly land forces and to act as forward air controller (FAC) to coordinate and direct friendly air forces in support of land forces. The A-10 has a secondary mission of supporting search and rescue and Special Forces operations. It also possesses a limited capability to perform certain types of interdiction. All of these missions may take place in a high or low threat environment


The A/OA-10 aircraft was specifically developed as a close air support aircraft with reliability and maintainability as major design considerations. The Air Force requirements documents emphasized payload, low altitude flying capability, range and loiter capability, low speed maneuverability and weapons delivery accuracy. The A-10 is slow enough to be an observation plane. This greatly increases the A-10’s effectiveness at protecting ground troops. The aircraft is suitable for operation from forward air bases, with short take-off and landing capability. The aircraft has a long range (800 miles) and endurance and can loiter in the battle area.

The A/OA-10 is a single place, pressurized, low wing and tail aircraft with two General Electric TF-34-100/A turbo-fan engines, each with a sea level static thrust rating of approximately 9000 pounds. The engines are installed in nacelles mounted on pylons extending from the fuselage just aft of and above the wing. Two vertical stabilizers are located at the outboard tips of the horizontal stabilizers. The forward retracting tricycle landing gear incorporates short struts and a wide tread. The nose wheel retracts fully into the fuselage nose. The main gear retracts into streamlined fairing on the wing with the lower portion of the wheel protruding to facilitate emergency gear-up landings.

The A-10’s survivability in the close air support arena greatly exceeds that of previous Air Force aircraft. The A-10 is designed to survive even the most disastrous damage and finish the mission by landing on an unimproved airfield. Specific survivability features include titanium armor plated cockpit, redundant flight control system separated by fuel tanks, manual reversion mode for flight controls, foam filled fuel tanks, ballistic foam void fillers, and a redundant primary structure providing “get home” capability after being hit.
All of the A-10’s glass is bulletproof and the cockpit itself is surrounded by a heavy tub of titanium. Titanium armor protects both the pilot and critical areas of the flight control system. This titanium “bathtub” can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 37mm in size. The front windscreen can withstand up to a 23mm projectile. Fire retardant foam protects the fuel cells which are also self sealing in the event of puncture.

The redundant primary structural sections allow the aircraft to enjoy better survivability during close air support than did previous aircraft. Designers separated all of the crucial battle and flight systems. Manual systems back up their redundant hydraulic flight-control systems. This permits pilots to fly and land when hydraulic power is lost. The wheels can roll in their pods, which lets the plane perform belly landings without significant damage to the aircraft. Dual engines are mounted away from the Warthog’s fuselage; if one is destroyed, the other can propel the craft to safety. Dual vertical stabilizers shield the hot exhaust from Russian-designed heat seeking missiles. The A-10 has two hydraulic flight control systems, backed up by a manual flight control system. This redundancy allows the pilot to control a battle damaged aircraft, even after losing all hydraulic power. Furthermore, redundant primary structural and control surfaces enhance survivability. Lastly, the long low-set wings are designed to allow flight, even if half a wing is completely blown off. No other modern aircraft can survive such punishment. The wings themselves are set low to allow for more weaponry to fit beneath the aircraft.

The General Electric Aircraft Armament Subsystem A/A49E-6 (30 millimeter Gun System) is located in the forward nose section of the fuselage. The gun system consists of the 30mm Gatling gun mechanism, double-ended link-less ammunition feed, storage assembly and hydraulic drive system. The General Electric GAU-8/A 30mm seven barrel cannon, specifically designed for the A-10, provides unmatched tank killing capability. The gun fires armor-piercing depleted uranium projectiles capable of penetrating heavy armor. It also fires a high explosive incendiary round, which is extremely effective against soft skinned targets like trucks. The cannon fires at a rate of 4,200 rounds per minute.

The A-10/OA-10 have excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude, and are highly accurate weapons-delivery platforms. The A-10 has half the turning radius of the Air Force’s other primary CAS aircraft, the F-16. After initially leaving a target, the A-10 can turn around and hit the same target again, all in around 7 seconds. Due to its large combat radius, the Thunderbolt II can loiter for extended periods of time, allowing for the coordination required to employ within yards of friendly forces. They can operate under 1,000-foot ceilings (300 meters) with 1.5-mile (2.4 kilometers) visibility. Using night vision goggles, A-10/ OA-10 pilots can conduct their missions during darkness. The A-10s highly accurate weapons delivery system makes it effective against all ground targets including tanks and other armored vehicles.

The Thunderbolt II can employ a wide variety of conventional munitions, including general purpose bombs, cluster bomb units, laser guided bombs, joint direct attack munitions or JDAM), wind corrected munitions dispenser or WCMD, AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, rockets, illumination flares, and the GAU-8/A 30mm cannon, capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute to defeat a wide variety of targets including tanks.

The first flight of the A-10 was in May 1972, and a total of 707 aircraft have since been produced. Originally manufactured by Fairchild, since 1987 the prime contractor for the A-10 has been Northrop Grumman, which carries out support and structural upgrade programmes from the Integrated Systems and Aerostructures Divisions at Bethpage, New York and at St Augustine in Florida.

The first production A-10A was delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in October 1975. It was designed especially for the close air support mission and had the ability to combine large military loads, long loiter and wide combat radius, which proved to be vital assets to America and its allies during Operation Desert Storm. 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. The Thunderbolt II has also participated in operations Southern Watch, Provide Comfort, Desert Fox, Noble Anvil, Deny Flight, Deliberate Guard, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

The upgraded A-10C reached initial operation capability in September 2007. Specifically designed for close air support, its combination of large and varied ordnance load, long loiter time, accurate weapons delivery, austere field capability, and survivability has proven invaluable to the United States and its allies.Over 350 A-10 aircraft are in service with the US Air Force, Air Combat Command, the US Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard.

Specifications
Primary Function: A-10 — close air support, OA-10 – airborne forward air control
Contractor: Fairchild Republic Co.
Power Plant: Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans
Thrust: 9,065 pounds each engine
Wingspan: 57 feet, 6 inches (17.42 meters)
Length: 53 feet, 4 inches (16.16 meters)
Height: 14 feet, 8 inches (4.42 meters)
Weight: 29,000 pounds (13,154 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 51,000 pounds (22,950 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: 11,000 pounds (7,257 kilograms)
Payload: 16,000 pounds (7,257 kilograms)
Speed: 420 miles per hour (Mach 0.56)
Range: 800 miles (695 nautical miles)
Ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,636 meters)
Armament: One 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun; up to 16,000 pounds (7,200 kilograms) of mixed ordnance on eight under-wing and three under-fuselage pylon stations, including 500 pound (225 kilograms) Mk-82 and 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) Mk-84 series low/high drag bombs, incendiary cluster bombs, combined effects munitions, mine dispensing munitions, AGM-65 Maverick missiles and laser-guided/electro-optically guided bombs; infrared countermeasure flares; electronic countermeasure chaff; jammer pods; 2.75-inch (6.99 centimeters) rockets; illumination flares and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
Crew: One
Unit Cost: Not available
Initial operating capability: A-10A, 1977; A-10C, 2007
Inventory: Active force, A-10, 143 and OA-10, 70; Reserve, A-10, 46 and OA-10, 6; ANG, A-10, 84 and OA-10, 18


Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

The F-22A Raptor is a next-generation fighter/attack aircraft that features the latest stealth technology to reduce detection by radar. Using more advanced engines and avionics than the current F-15 Eagle, the F-22A is intended to maintain U.S. Air Force capabilities against more sophisticated enemy aircraft and air defenses in the 21st century.


The Raptor combines stealth, maneuverability and the ability to fly long distances at supersonic speeds — or “super cruise” — in performance of air superiority and air-to-ground missions. Furthermore, it requires less maintenance than older fighters. These capabilities represent an exponential leap in war fighting capabilities.

In 1981 the U.S. Air Force needed a new air superiority fighter that would take advantage of new technologies in fighter design including composite materials, lightweight alloys, advanced flight control systems, higher power propulsion systems and stealth technology. Lockheed Martin’s F-22 won the design competition in April 1991, and the rollout ceremony for the first F-22 Raptor occurred in April 1997.

The Raptor successfully completed its initial operational and test evaluation in 2004, and the program received approval for full rate production. In December 2005 operational aircraft were designated F-22As.

Production of the F-22A is a partnership between Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney. Boeing builds the Raptor’s wings and aft-fuselage; the engines come from Pratt & Whitney, and Lockheed Martin builds the forward fuselage and assembles the subsections in Marietta, Ga.

On May 12, 2005, the Raptor program achieved a historic milestone with the delivery of the first combat-capable Raptor to the 27th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing, at Langley Air Force Base, Va. In January 2006 the 27th Fighter Squadron flew the first operational mission with the F-22 in support of Operation Noble Eagle (the official name given to the defense of U.S. borders).

A combination of sensor capability, integrated avionics, situational awareness, and weapons provides first-kill opportunity against threats. The F-22A possesses a sophisticated sensor suite allowing the pilot to track, identify, shoot and kill air-to-air threats before being detected. Significant advances in cockpit design and sensor fusion improve the pilot’s situational awareness. In the air-to-air configuration the Raptor carries six AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two AIM-9 Sidewinders.

The F-22A has a significant capability to attack surface targets. In the air-to-ground configuration the aircraft can carry two 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions internally and will use on-board avionics for navigation and weapons delivery support. In the future air-to-ground capability will be enhanced with the addition of an upgraded radar and up to eight small diameter bombs. The Raptor will also carry two AIM-120s and two AIM-9s in the air-to-ground configuration.

Advances in low-observable technologies provide significantly improved survivability and lethality against air-to-air and surface-to-air threats. The F-22A brings stealth into the day, enabling it not only to protect itself but other assets.

The F-22A engines produce more thrust than any current fighter engine. The combination of sleek aerodynamic design and increased thrust allows the F-22A to cruise at supersonic airspeeds (greater than 1.5 Mach) without using afterburner — a characteristic known as super cruise. Super cruise greatly expands the F-22A ‘s operating envelope in both speed and range over current fighters, which must use fuel-consuming afterburner to operate at supersonic speeds.

The sophisticated F-22A aero design, advanced flight controls, thrust vectoring, and high thrust-to-weight ratio provide the capability to outmaneuver all current and projected aircraft. The F-22A design has been extensively tested and refined aerodynamically during the development process.

From the very beginning, the F-22A exceeded the USAF’s expectations, and during exercises and deployments, it proved to be more than a match for any fighter opposing it.

During the highly realistic Exercise Northern Edge 2006, the F-22 proved itself against as many as 40 “enemy aircraft” during simulated battles. The Raptor pilots achieved a 108-to-zero “kill” ratio against the best F-15, F-16 and F-18 “adversaries.” The stealthy F-22A also proved that it could avoid and destroy enemy surface to air missiles, and recorded an impressive 97 percent mission capability rate.

Specifically noting the Raptor’s performance at Northern Edge, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) awarded its 2006 Robert J. Collier Trophy, considered America’s most prestigious award for aeronautical and space development, to the Lockheed Martin Corp.-led F-22 Raptor aircraft team “for designing, testing and operating” the Raptor. Team members included Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and BAE Systems. This amazing aircraft was described as “the most efficient and effective fighter in history, through exceptional performance and outstanding safety features.”

The F-22A will have better reliability and maintainability than any fighter aircraft in history. Increased F-22A reliability and maintainability pays off in less manpower required to fix the aircraft and the ability to operate more efficiently.

Specifications
Primary Function: Air dominance, multi-role fighter
Contractor: Lockheed-Martin, Boeing
Power Plant: Two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines with afterburners and two-dimensional thrust vectoring nozzles.
Thrust: 35,000-pound class (each engine)
Wingspan: 44 feet, 6 inches (13.6 meters)
Length: 62 feet, 1 inch (18.9 meters)
Height: 16 feet, 8 inches (5.1 meters)
Weight: 43,340 pounds (19,700 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 83,500 pounds (38,000 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: Internal: 18,000 pounds (8,200 kilograms); with 2 external wing fuel tanks: 26,000 pounds (11,900 kilograms)
Payload: Same as armament air-to-air or air-to-ground load outs; with or without 2 external wing fuel tanks.
Speed: Mach 2 class with super cruise capability
Range: More than 1,850 miles ferry range with 2 external wing fuel tanks (1,600 nautical miles)
Ceiling: Above 50,000 feet (15 kilometers)
Armament: One M61A2 20-millimeter cannon with 480 rounds, internal side weapon bays carriage of two AIM-9 infrared (heat seeking) air-to-air missiles and internal main weapon bays carriage of six AIM-120 radar-guided air-to-air missiles (air-to-air load out) or two 1,000-pound GBU-32 JDAMs and two AIM-120 radar-guided air-to-air missiles (air-to-ground load out)
Crew: One
Unit Cost: $142 million
Initial operating capability: December 2005
Inventory: Total force, 91