Overhauling the A-10's - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Overhauling the A-10's

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May 22, 2007

Moody Air Force Base - The A-10 Thunderbolts have struck fear into the heart of the enemy, from the Cold War to the War on Terror. 

"We had an Iraqi prisoner we were treating at a hospital while I was in Dessert Storm and he heard the sound of the A-10's engine, which is a very distinctive wine and he jumped under the bed and wouldn't come out," says Col Mike O'Dowd, 23rd Fighter Group Deputy Commander.

And it's easy to see why with it's arsenal of missiles and the giant Gatling gun the plane was built around.  "If you were to drop this gun barrel and the ammo drum out of the airplane and put them together, it's about the size of a Volkswagen Beatle."

But now it's getting some new tools in a massive makeover that will add to this plane's already impressive capabilities.

Those modifications include a targeting pod and the ability to drop satellite guided weapons.  "Which will allow us to not only identify targets and guide our weapons on them without getting unnecessarily close to the enemy," says Col O'Dowd.

And a digital cockpit that will simplify the task load for a pilot flying through a combat zone.  "Now the pilot can control virtually everything without letting go of the stick."

The changes will bring the A-10 up to date with the ever changing war scenarios but will also protect the Air Force's most important assets.

All modifications on the A-10 were designed specifically to save lives in the air and on the ground.  "They will save lives and they'll make us more affective which in it of itself will save lives because it will reduce your exposure to the threat."

And having lost no A-10's in air to air combat, they hope these changes will help keep it that way.

The A-10's are currently housed at Pope Air Base in North Carolina and will begin their move to Moody Air Force base at the end of the summer.

While housed at Moody they could undergo more modifications that will keep the historic plane in flight for decades to come.

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