Thunderbolt II – Have Gun Will Travel

I have written previously about the USAF Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II aka “Warthog” and the lethal firepower it can deliver in its close support role. The main armament of the A-10 is a hydraulic powered General Dynamics GAU-8 Avenger 30mm rotary cannon that fires a mix of depleted uranium armour-piercing and high explosive shells at 4,000 rounds per minute with deadly accuracy! That gun is a devastating tank buster and everything yields in its path!

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II at Hill Aerospace Museum Utah
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II at Hill Aerospace Museum
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II at Hill Aerospace Museum
Firepower

Recently I visited the excellent Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base near Ogden, Utah and within the vast collection of the museum in the Lindquist Stewart Gallery was an excellent example of an A-10 in the old style green camouflage pattern (today they sport an all grey scheme). I found it kind of amusing that it had a serial number of 666 on the nose.

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II at Hill Aerospace Museum GUA-8 Avenger 30mm cannon
The combination of the A-10 Thunderbolt II airframe and GAU-8 Avenger 30mm cannon is lethal
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II at Hill Aerospace Museum GUA-8 Avenger 30mm cannon
The A-10 delivers close support at its best

The Devils number kind of seems appropriate when you see the display of the exposed gun barrel of the GAU-8 Avenger underneath the one fitted in the nose of the A-10. That thing is massive and of you come into the sights of the deadly Thunderbolt II it must feel like you are standing at the gates of Hell!

GAU-8 Avenger 30mm rotary cannon A-10
GAU-8 Avenger 30mm rotary cannon
A U.S. Air Force A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II from the 355th Fighter Squadron is surrounded by a cloud of gun smoke as it fires a 30mm GAU-8 Avenger Gatling gun over the Pacific Alaska Range Complex in Alaska on May 29, 2007.  The seven-barrel Gatling gun can  be fired at a rate of 3,900 rounds per minute.  DoD photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Snyder, U.S. Air Force.  (Released)
Unleash the fury! (Photo Source: US Air Force)
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