Boeing will help keep the iconic aircraft flying into the 2030s.

Boeing will continue its A-10 Thunderbolt II sustainment work under an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract award from the U.S. Air Force (USAF), with a maximum ceiling value of $999 million.

Under the contract, which was competitively awarded, Boeing will be responsible for managing the production of a maximum of 112 wing sets and spare kits. The USAF ordered 27 wing sets immediately at contract award.

“Boeing is honored to be selected to continue as the A-10 Thunderbolt II wing kit contractor,” said Pam Valdez, vice president of Air Force Services for Boeing Global Services.

“Our established supply base, experience with the A-10 structures, and our in-depth knowledge of the U.S. Air Force’s requirements will help us deliver high-quality wings to meet the customer’s critical need.”  

Boeing will team with Korean Aerospace Industries and other key suppliers to deliver the first wing sets to Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah.

Under a previous contract, Boeing delivered 173 enhanced wing assemblies.

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Expat
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Expat

This is an aircraft that does what it says on the tin. Don’t know how they thought the F35 could replace it.

MattW
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MattW

I’m pretty sure Id rather have that overhead doing ground support than an F35 any day!

Steve R
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Steve R

Mostly because the A-10 is only useful in a permissive air environment like Iraq or Afghanistan, where the coalition had 100% total air supremacy. In an environment where the airspace is contested, the F35 works a lot better than the A-10 as the F35 can defend itself against enemy aircraft. I think that’s where the future is looking now; back to combat against other states: Iran, North Korea, potentially Russia or China: in any of those cases if you’re an infantry unit fighting, you’d want air support that isn’t going to be shot down itself whilst trying to support you.… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

The comment is valid, but another way to look at it is when was the last time the US or the UK acted in a really contested air space (i’m thinking vietnam, as even the falklands the Argentine air force was more focused on the ships)? Even in Iraq 1 when it was semi contested, the A10 was able to operate and be highly effective. In a realistic war situation, i assume day 1 attacks would take out the key air defence / radar sites using tomahawk or similar, leaving day 2 (not strictly day 2 but phase 2 which… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

failing that invest in some guided rocket pods for the typhoon/f35, to provide a more low end / high numbers capability.

Steve R
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Steve R

I think we’d have been better off just not retiring the Harrier. The Harrier did an excellent job as our own CAS platform and in a contested airspace the Harrier would probably survive much better than the A-10 against, for example, Russian fighters.

You make a fair point about the need for such an aircraft and its place within the battlefield. We should have kept the Harrier for this.

Also, I’d count the Falklands War as a contested airspace – just wasn’t much of a contest :-p

Steve
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Steve

Too late for the harriers, they have already gone.

It is not however too late to fix the problems around CAS and the over reliance on the US providing it to our own troops.

Steve R
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Steve R

Not sure I’d want the A10 though, they’re very old. How much life is left in those airframes? If we could get some nice shiny new ones then sure, but they dont build them any more sadly.

I think CAS will end up being a role for cheaper drone aircraft like Protector.

Steve
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Steve

The problem with protectors is they don’t have the carry weight for a sustained support. Firing off a brimstone to take out a machine gun nest is all fine and good, but if the troops on the ground are under sustained attack it would rapidly run out of missiles, ignoring the costs involved. Yeah A10 is not the option now, but it is a simple aircraft (none of the super advanced tech needed to keep modern fighters flying that also require huge amount of cost), and so i can’t imagine it would be overly difficult to build an updated version,… Read more »

Expat
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Expat

I agree the A10!would not last long in contested airspace but I believe the only time the US would send troops in is when they have completely suppressed air defences. That’s certainly be the approach since the 90s. The A10 was supposed to be retired yet the US are extending its life so They clearly see it has benefits over the F35. I think the US would be desperate if they had to send ground forces in without having won the air war first. If the US hadn’t been able to suppress air defences and ground an opposing airforce it… Read more »

Dean. H
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Dean. H

As I recollect, a senior USAF general stated the F35 would require F22 top-cover. Understandable when you consider it may be RF stealthy from the frontal aspect but of course once it turns way from it’s target(s) it announces its presence with the hot engine efflux. As to defending itself, there are a number of aircraft types that can outperform it in a dog fight.

Geoff
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Geoff

Gotta love The Hog…

Geoff
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Geoff

Gotta love The Hog

Herodotus
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So good, you had to say it twice! But I am surprised as I thought that the USAF wanted to phase it out!

Rokuth
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Rokuth

It’s a “Love/Hate” relationship. The USAF has been trying to replace the A-10 ever since the F-16 came into service. However, with several different trials, competitions, et al for it’s replacement, nothing has come quite close. Chances are that it will have as long a service history as the venerable B-52.

Steve
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Steve

From what i read its not so much that the USAF wants it phased out, its more that they want the money released to invest elsewhere. Their budget might be insanely high compared to any other nation, but it is still limited.