A-10 Thunderbolt II Close Air Support Attack Aircraft

Northrop Grumman Wins $186 Million to Support A-10 Thunderbolt II Structural Integrity

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Clearfield, Utah, has been awarded a $185,700,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the A-10 Aircraft Structural Integrity Program Legacy VII. Built by Fairchild Republic Company prior to its acquisition by Northrop, the A-10 aircraft is designed to help USAF perform airborne forward air control and close air support operations. This contract provides for sustaining engineering services of A-10 Thunderbolt II close air support attack aircraft. Work will be performed in Clearfield, Utah, and is expected to be completed Nov. 22, 2030. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. The U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8202-21-D-0001).

The A-10 Thunderbolt II, affectionately nicknamed “The Warthog,” was developed for the United States Air Force by the OEM Team from Fairchild Republic Company, now a part of Northrop Grumman Corporation Aerospace Systems Eastern Region located in Bethpage NY and St. Augustine FL. Following in the footsteps of the legendary P-47 Thunderbolt, the OEM Team was awarded a study contract in the 1960s to define requirements for a new Close Air Support aircraft, rugged and survivable, to protect combat troops on the ground. This initial study was followed up by a prototype development contract for the A-X, and a final flyoff competition resulting in the selection of the A-10 Thunderbolt II. Selection of the A-10 Thunderbolt II for this mission was based on the dramatic low altitude maneuverability and mission capable maintainability designed into the jet by the OEM team.

Three U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs taxi along the flightline July 15, 2017, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The A10s are deployed here from the 74th Fighter Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristan Campbell)

This design features a titanium “bathtub” that protects the pilot from injury, and dually redundant flight control systems that allow the pilot to fly the aircraft out of enemy range, despite severe damage such as complete loss of hydraulic capability. These features have been utilized to great effect in both the Desert Storm conflict of the 1990’s and in the more recent Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Global War on Terror engagements. In 1987, the A-10 OEM Team® and all A-10 assets were acquired by Grumman Corporation from Fairchild Republic Company, and are now part of the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Eastern Region, presently partnered with Lockheed Martin Systems Integration as a member of the A-10 Prime Team. The OEM Team has maintained continuous involvement in the modernization of the jet.

The A-10 Aircraft Structural Integrity Program began with the initial A-10 OEM development contract, with the definition of materials and processes, design analyses, component and full scale testing, and data collection and analysis on an aircraft by aircraft basis, to validate analyses and accurately predict fatigue damage for the optimization of inspection intervals and maximization of aircraft availability. The A-10 OEM Team continues to be a key member of the A-10 ASIP Team, providing loads and structures analysis, performing full scale and component testing, developing structural reinforcements and non-destructive inspection techniques to prevent structural failure, analyzing manufacturing methods for aircraft improvements and providing overall weapons system expertise for the support of the warfighter.

An A10 Thunderbolt II from the 175th Wing, Baltimore, Md., conduct close air support training missions with joint terminal attack controllers on July 28, 2015, during Exercise Northern Strike 2015 at Grayling Air Gunnery Range in Grayling, Mich. Exercise Northern Strike 2015 is a joint multi-national combined arms training exercise conducted in Michigan. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)