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So Much Warthog: Watch TAC Putting the A-10 Through the Wringer

When the Hog Was Brand New the Air Force Decided to Throw Some Serious Sorties At It

Official US Air Force photograph

Produced by the United States Air Force (USAF) during 1977, the film “A-10 Capabilities and Sortie Surge 1977” stars the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II and documents an exercise conducted during February of 1977 to investigate the capabilities of the new (at the time) aircraft and her crews and maintainers. The exercise, conducted at the Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field near Gila Bend in Arizona, is both revealing and entertaining- especially to today’s Warthog fans. The film was uploaded to YouTube by PeriscopeFilm.  Enjoy!

Official US Air Force photograph

Starring in the film are the crews and maintainers of the Davis-Monthan AFB-based 355th Tactical Fighter Training Wing (TFTW) consisting of the 354th Fighter Squadron (FS) Bulldogs, the 357th FS Dragons, and the 358th FS Lobos. In today’s 355th Fighter Wing (FW) the Lobos have been inactivated. Also starring in the film is the primary weapon employed by the Warthog– the General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger 30 millimeter Gatling gun. Also described in the film is the Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick imaging infrared (IIR) air-to-surface missile and its impressive capabilities.

Official US Air Force photograph

The sortie surge test was overseen by Tactical Air Command (TAC) who owned the A-10s, and by Air Force Test and Evaluation Center (AFTEC) who were doing the evaluation of the weapons system. Impressive turnaround times were achieved using procedures representing real-world surge conditions. Of course the Warthog still serves in the close air support (CAS) and forward air controller (FAC) roles. There has been plenty of talk about replacing the Hog, but they still haven’t found a suitable replacement for the aging but still-spry veteran yet.

Official US Air Force photograph

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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