In an age of fancy unmanned aerial vehicles and stealth fighters, some of the meat-and-potato warfighting tools in the American arsenal get overlooked, but not today:
The Blaze brings you, the A-10 Warthog.
Officially called the A-10 Thunderbolt, this beast of the sky has proven itself time and again as a Close Air Support (CAS) all-star. It is the only airplane designed for CAS from top to bottom. U.S. soldiers and allies in every theater of war can call this monster in to back them up and they can be confident that the enemy is in big trouble.
The Warthog has often been described as a "gun with an airplane attached," and for good reason. Its General Dynamics GAU-8/A Avenger 30mm cannon can basically destroy anything, from tanks to massed enemy formations.
The cannon's magazine can hold 1,350 rounds of ammunition, with a firing rate of 3900 rounds a minute. Here is a short clip of the 30mm cannon in action on a hillside in Afghanistan:
And here's a clip that shows just a glimpse of the damage it can do:
See the plane soar through the skies:
Then there's the view from the cockpit:
The 30mm cannon -- which makes the clearly identifiable 'ripping' sound that signals a warthog in action-- is only part of the payload package. The A-10 has 11 external pylons that can be outfitted with a vast array of munitions, including maverick and sidewinder missiles.
Beyond its cannon and other offensive armaments, the Warthog airframe is perfectly suited to CAS missions. It flies low and slow, which means it can pound targets over a long period of time, and pilots can make out what is going on at ground level.
Unlike pricier and more modern airframes, the Warthog is built to take hits. Its entire cockpit and essential electronics equipment is encased in a titanium box meant to withstand direct, armor-piercing ground fire. It is a highly survivable aircraft, which means during an intense firefight, it is among the best CAS options out there.
This video gives you a solid overview of the "Hog," a true aerial war machine that will likely see active use in conflict for many years to come (courtesy of The Daily):