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A-10 Warthog Grins and Stares as It’s About to Feed Mid-Air

Look all you want in the arsenal of the world’s militaries, and you’ll not find an airplane as ugly and fearsome as the A-10 Thunderbolt. The thing is so ugly that it’s even earned itself the Warthog nickname, but it apparently wasn’t fearsome enough for some of the pilots flying it, and that’s how most of them got those nasty nose tattoos that look like grinning teeth.
A-10 Warthog refueling over California 13 photos
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Born all the way back in 1975 as a platform for close air support of ground forces, the A-10 Thunderbolt II by its full name will remain a pillar of America’s air power over the coming years. This plane, together with the F-35, F-15EX, F-16, and the future Next Generation Air Dominance, will be on the list of planes the U.S. Air Force (USAF) will rely on in the near future (2030s), with all others to be more or less sent to the history books.

At the time of writing, the USAF says there are some 281 Thunderbolts in service, and only America has such beasts in its inventory. All of them pack a pair of General Electric turbofan engines capable of 9,065 pounds of thrust each, and giving the plane a top speed of 420 mph (676 kph). 

Generally, a Warthog can fly for about 800 miles (1,287 km), but its aerial refueling capabilities allow it to increase that considerably. It is in exactly such an instance that we get to see this Thunderbolt here, deployed from the Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. At the time it was caught on camera, at the end of June, it was flying somewhere over California, as part of Exercise Green Flag-West 22-08.

Those nose tattoos we were discussing earlier, backed by a set of painted eyes, are clearly visible as the plane approaches the boom of a KC-10 Extender for a refueling mission.

Now, this thing looks positively vicious now, while not on combat, but imagine seeing it rushing for the ground, its seven-barrel Gatling firing like crazy…

Editor's note: Gallery also shows other A-10s in action.

 
 
 
 
 

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