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!position=left
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.
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.