You have seen it in some movies: Terminator Salvation and Transformers 1. The A10 is a tank killer. One of the war machines made famous by the 1991 Gulf War against Saddam but few people did not know that the same plane was for retirement. After the fall of Communism, the allies were cutting cost of maintaining arsenals. The threat of en mass tanks advancing in European forest will never happen and that is the purpose of the A10.
The A10 is a low tech, highly armoured plane, tough to withstand any defense net of missiles and heavy flak its enemy can throw at it. I remember the caricature of the plane with the ZSU 23-4 anti-aircraft tracked vehicle and mixture of Air to air missile being fired at the A10 with its system crying all of the horrible lock tones with the quote “another day in the office”. The US Air Force brass stressed it can fly with only one wing. And its main weapon, the GAU-30mm “Avenger” which is the size of the Volks Beetle with depleted uranium ammunition the size of infant feeding bottles only this one crying on spilled milk surely not for babies. Phase out is imminent.
The Persian Gulf have other plans. Saddam invaded Kuwait and worst, the US supplied Iraq with US hardware against Iran. In short, the war ended without the promise of the end of all wars. Then out of the blue the A10 appear to land with one of its wings torn almost half and manage to land safely. The plane was indeed tough.
No retirement for this tough plane. As they say, whats the problem with the A10, a flight of two A10s.