More “warthog” goodness. So last time I covered the amazing gun in the nose; now for some other cool features. Durability was another major design objective on this plane. The engineers knew that while doing low, slow strafing runs on ground targets that the aircraft would be exposed to a lot of small arms fire. Most military aircraft are only in range of small arms (meaning pistols, rifles, truck mounted small machine guns, etc) when they are taking off and landing. The A-10 is designed to fly low the majority of the time, so that was kept in mind. It has over 1200 pounds of titanium armor , some over 1.5 inches thick, surrounding the cockpit alone! It has more located around other key areas. The aircraft also has triple redundant systems. Picture a situation like this: A bullet penetrates the tough armor and rips through a hydraulic line that controls the rudder. No rudder right? Dont panic -a secondary hydraulic line powers up to restore control. Now another bullet rips through that hose also. Fucked? nope- It has a 3rd hose- hence “triple redundancy”. And it is not just the rudder, it is everything. It also has 2 engines, and they are located above the fuselage to shield them from, you guessed it, bullets coming up from the ground. Here is a pic of a warthog that encountered some fire and made it back to base no problem…
It is designed (in a worse case scenario) to still be able to fly with one engine not working, one rudder gone, one elevator missing, and one half of one main wing blown off! Picture that!
The fuel tanks take advantage of technology we invented in WWII- the self sealing tank. They are made of a thick rubber that can have a bullet pass through it and still not leak (the rubber does get penetrated, but is very resilient so it squeezes back on itself).
The designers knew that this aircraft would be used primarily on the front lines of an invasion, and knew that it may have to take off and land from very dirty, under-developed runways and airfields. This would pose a problem for most jets because complicated jet engines don’t like to have rocks, dust, and small arabs sucked through them. A 10 is powered by two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans. They are extremely reliable, and when located high over the fuselage they are also protected from debris. This allows them to stay running while they are re-armed on dusty airfields, and get back into action faster.
I will leave you with a few more cool videos- enjoy.
Low fly by:
Mid air refueling: