Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

...the Warthog Ground Attack aircraft, from Pen & Sword

Title: Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II
Author: Peter C. Smith
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-52675-926-9

I still find it hard to believe that the A-10, the 'Warthog', has now been in service for 45 years now. Gone are the days of the Cold War when here in the UK they made up the largest USAF wing, split across the bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge in Suffolk. This new 428-page hardback tells the story of this very specialised aircraft in fascinating detail.
Right from the start, it was designed to meet the need for a Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft to work with the US Army, a replacement for the effective but aging Skyraider. Not as attractive or dare I say 'sexy' as fast jets, the obstacles in the way of the A10 development makes for a really interesting story. Even after all the design work and fly-off to secure the contracts, it still faced further pointless fly-offs against a fast jet (the A-7 Corsair II) thanks to pressure from senators who simply wanted the order to go to factories in their own state. One of the requirements for the CAS role was long loiter time over the target. Flying the same mission profile, the A-10 had a 2-hour loiter time over the battle area, the Corsair just 7 minutes. How did that even get to be considered worth a further fly-off? That is just one example of the detail in the life story of the A-10, there are plenty more. It is split across no less than 40 chapters, going from the origins of the CAS requirement, the design, development and production stages along with their service history in Europe during the Cold War, then combat in the Gulf War and more. Detailed descriptions of the various armament options do of course include the huge 30mm Gatling cannon mounted in the nose, and which proved itself deadly to enemy armour during the Gulf War. Very well illustrated throughout the book with diagrams, data-tables and a large number of excellent colour images there is so much to see which adds to the main text.
This is a fine read and the 'Hog should stay in service for some time yet. If you have any interest in the Fairchild Republic A-10, I think this is set to be something of a standard book on the subject. Excellent and one I am happy to recommend.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.

Robin