report by : Thierry LETELLIER
In October 2011 Globalairpower was lucky enough to get a visit to the 355 Wing in Davis-Monthan AFB and specially the 358 Fighter Squadron with his A-10C. The A-10 Thunderbolt II has excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude, and is a highly accurate and survivable weapons-delivery platform. The aircraft can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time and operate in low ceiling and visibility conditions. The wide combat radius and short takeoff and landing capability permit operations in and out of locations near front lines. Using night vision goggles, A-10 pilots can conduct their missions during darkness.
Thunderbolt IIs have Night Vision Imaging Systems, or NVIS, goggle compatible single-seat cockpits forward of their wings and a large bubble canopy which provides pilots all-around vision. The pilots are protected by titanium armor that also protects parts of the flight-control system. The redundant primary structural sections allow the aircraft to enjoy better survivability during close air support than did previous aircraft . Their self-sealing fuel cells are protected by internal and external foam. Manual systems back up their redundant hydraulic flight-control systems. And, it has a heads-up display to display flight and weapons delivery information.
The Thunderbolt II can employ a wide variety of conventional munitions, including general purpose bombs, cluster bomb units, laser guided bombs, joint direct attack munitions or JDAM, wind corrected munitions dispenser or WCMD, AGM-65 Maverick and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, rockets, illumination flares, and the GAU-8/A 30mm cannon, capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute to defeat a wide variety of targets including tanks.The 3 based squadron can operate tactical flights in very realistic conditions when opering from the many ranges situated in Arizona . For exemple the Barry . M . Goldwater Range .
The Barry M. Goldwater Range is operated by the 56th Fighter Wing Range Office, Airspace and Range Operations office. The Barry M. Goldwater Range (formerly the Luke Air Force Range) is located in southwest Arizona. It serves the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps as an armament and high-hazard testing area; a training area for aerial gunnery, rocketry, electronic warfare, and tactical maneuvering and air support; and a place to develop equipment and tactics. It also serves other defense-related purposes.
Many thanks goes for all members of 358 Fighter Squadron for their great capacity to facilitate the visit and warm welcome .
Technical information source : USAF – Globalsecurity