Workers at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex have installed the last of 173 new wings on A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, finalising a project that started in 2011, say the US Air Force.
“The Ogden ALC’s 571st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron swapped wings on 162 A-10s as part of the A-10 Enhanced Wing Assembly replacement program. The remaining 11 were installed at Osan Air Base in South Korea.”
The new wings are expected to last for up to 10,000 equivalent flight hours without a depot inspection. In addition, a better wire harness design was created for easier wing removal and to lessen the chance of damaging the wing during the process.
“From a warfighter point of view, bringing this program to a successful conclusion was a significant accomplishment for the entire enterprise team,” said Stephen Zaiser, 571st AXMS director. in a release
Introduced into the US Air Force in 1976, the A-10 is the only production-built aircraft for close air support in service in America. The aircraft was made to fly close to the ground in support of friendly ground troops, drop heavy loads of weapons, attacks armoured vehicles, tanks and can be called in to attack enemy ground forces.
With heavy stresses put on the wings over the weapon system’s lifetime and with its full-service life still unknown, the US Air Force decided to replace some of the fleet’s wings in order for the weapon system to remain airworthy.
In 2007, Boeing was awarded a $1.1 billion contract to build replacement wings at its Macon, Georgia, plant that will allow the aircraft to continue flying into the late 2030s.