Released by 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
12/3/2010 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The last A-10A model aircraft assigned to Osan departed the base Dec. 4, marking the 25th Fighter Squadron's successful transition to the A-10C model.
The new model features improved precision strike capability and enhances the Air Force's ability to provide lethal and precise Close Air Support, said Maj. Andrew Taylor, 51st Operations Group.
The first five A-10Cs arrived at Osan this spring, beginning the transition to the new model. The final A-10A aircraft is being transferred from Osan to the United States for modification and reassignment to the Air National Guard.
Since 2007 - thirty years after the introduction of the A-10 Thunderbolt II - the Air Force has been methodically upgrading its active duty A-10 fleet, said Major Taylor.
"The upgrade to the C-model is unlike any other in the A-10s history," he said. "Notably, the Precision Engagement modification combines a highly survivable airframe and the world's most impressive air-to-ground cannon with state-of-the-art digital sensor and pilot integration."
"In short, the A-10C perfects what was already the world's most respected CAS platform," said the major.
The A-10As that supported both the first and second Gulf Wars were largely the same aircraft designed to protect Europe during the Cold War, said Major Taylor. "In fact, just prior to the first Gulf War, the A-10A was slated for retirement. However, due in large part to its effectiveness in battle, the airframe was saved and its service-life was extended well beyond its original life expectancy."
While many modifications to the A-10A made it the world's premier CAS platform - as evidenced by its performance in Iraq and Afghanistan - it continued to lack the digital sophistication of its more 'pointy-nosed' counterparts, he said.
"The PE modification changes this by greatly enhancing the interoperability of the A-10 and ensuring that the aircraft will be a viable platform throughout its intended service life," said Major Taylor. "To the casual observer, the A-10C appears to be much the same as its predecessor - the true transformation is inside."
"Cockpit modifications include color multi-function displays, hands-on throttle and stick, and cockpit ergonomics that make the busy and often task-saturated life of an attack pilot easier to manage, he said. "Combined with the human factors element, the A-10C adds Situational Awareness Data Link, a digital stores management system, and allows for employment of weapons new to the A-10."
"The upgrades provide attack pilots with a truly integrated suite of sensors, aircraft, and weapons that build situational awareness and facilitate the rapid destruction of targets," said Major Taylor. "This capability will be critical on the massive, rapidly changing battlefield that any potential scenario here would entail."
Capt. Jason Fuhrer, 25th FS pilot, said the new model "brings us into the 21st century as a precision engagement fighter and makes an already-revered close air support platform that much better."
"It's going to provide us a number of new capabilities," he said, "which is going to serve as a platform to strengthen our relationship here on the peninsula, and allow us better fighting capabilities across the world."
Major Taylor said, "With the A-10C's arrival at Osan, the combat capability of the 25th Fighter Squadron's Assam Draggins has reached new heights and ushers in the next chapter in the legacy of American combat airpower."
Editor's Note: Following the Dec. 4 departure, a two-ship formation of A-10A model aircraft returned to Osan for maintenance issues. Once maintenance is finished, the aircraft will again be on their way to the United States for modification and reassignment to the Air National Guard.
An A-10A model aircraft sits on the Osan flightline Oct. 10. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Evelyn Chavez) Full size
Note: It's A-10 651.
A-10A model aircraft fly over Osan AB Oct. 10. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Evelyn Chavez). Full size
Note: The A-10 on top (serial number isn't readable) still lacks unit markings.
One of the last A-10A model aircraft assigned to Osan prepares to depart the base Dec. 4. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Whitecar) Full size
Note: Unfortunately, the aircraft's serial number isn't recognizable.
Associated video (Mustang Television):