The plane is not much less and not much more capable than most of the planes concocted by the American defense industry back in the 1970s. In the most recent configuration the U.S. Air Force (USAF) is flying, the A-10C Thunderbolt II, it is powered by a pair of General Electric turbofan engines each capable of delivering 9,065 pounds of thrust. Unlike most other military or civilian aircraft in use today, this one does not have the engines hidden inside the fuselage or attached to the wings, but wears them proudly aft of the wings, attached in nacelles directly on the main fuselage.
Speaking of wings, they span for a total of 57 feet and 6 inches (17.42 meters) and they are of the cantilever low-wing monoplane variety, shooting out from the body at almost a straight angle. Sitting just in front of the wings is the cockpit of the plane, capable of holding just the pilot. It rises up abruptly, only to drop down again as the eyes move forward to the blunt nose of the beast.
It’s this blunt nose that holds one of the weapons that made the Thunderbolt such a fearsome fighting machine: the 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun, capable of shooting hundreds of rounds at a time, from 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) in the air, and straight down within an area just 40 feet (12 meters) across.
Then, at the rear, we get no vertical stabilizer as we know them from civilian aircraft and most military aircraft. Instead, we’re treated to a couple of large ones mounted at the very tips of the horizontal stabilizers.
All of the above contribute to making the A-10 an aircraft like no other currently flying, and we are left in awe by the sight of this thing any time the USAF releases pics of this aircraft.
One of their most recent such releases shows an A-10 sitting on the flight line of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona back in October 2022. It’s a plane deployed with the 924th Fighter Group, “the only unit-equipped formal training unit in Air Force Reserve Command” fielding these planes (28 of them at the time of writing). Captured on film right as the Sun was setting over the base, and with the star obscured by the plane’s strange body, the A-10 looks like it was once a regular airplane, melted into its peculiar self by scorching heat. A perfect fit for a start-of-the-year Photo of the Day feature, woudln't you say?