Watch an A-10 Thunderbolt II Put Four Cannon Rounds on Target with Amazing Precision

Video Shows One Reason Proponents Say A-10’s Heavy Gun Still Remains Relevant.

Arguments about weapons systems tend to be circular and hard to win. The discussion about close air support, the retirement of the aging A-10 Thunderbolt II and the entry of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter along with the relevance of the recent Light Attack Experiment continue to swirl. But one thing that cannot be argued is the lethality and spectacle of the A-10’s GAU-8 Avenger 30mm, seven-barrel  Gatling-type cannon

This video was released on January 24, 2018 from the U.S. Air Force Central Command Public Affairs office. It is credited to the 94th Airlift Wing which, oddly enough, is primarily an airlift wing. The Defense Video Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) gave no reason why this video was released through an airlift wing, but it is likely due to logistics.

The video, shot from an unknown camera platform, shows an Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II conducting a strike on a Taliban vehicle fleeing the scene of an attack in Kandahar province on January 24, 2018. The insurgents in the vehicle were armed with a DShK 12.7 mm heavy machine gun, which had been used moments earlier during the attack on Afghans.

The video is relevant to the close air support discussion for a number of reasons. Firstly, it showcases the accuracy of the GAU-8 weapons system, at least in this single instance. You can see that two 30mm rounds penetrate the hood of the vehicle, then one penetrates the roof of the driver’s compartment and a fourth round goes through the roof of the passenger area of the vehicle. Considering the speed of the vehicle and that the A-10 was, of course, moving also, this is a noteworthy degree of accuracy.

Needless to say more than rounds left the cannon, and there appears to be two separate firing passes shown in the video.

The video also suggests an interesting scenario where, if the A-10 attacked from above 5,000 feet or even much higher (especially if required to remain outside the envelope of anti-aircraft systems like MANPADS), this imagery may have been collected from another aircraft, not the A-10 conducting the strike. A likely candidate would be a remotely piloted aircraft providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and then maybe even target designation for the attacking aircraft. While we do not know if this was the case with this video, it is a common enough practice to suggest in this instance.

A 30mm round from a GAU-8 cannon used on a U.S. A-10 as seen at Davis-Monthan AFB. (Photo: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist)

While it’s unlikely proponents on either side of the “Save the A-10” movement will be swayed by videos like this one, and these videos date back to the A-10s first operational deployment of the A-10 in 1991, they remain compelling. During its first operational deployment in the Gulf War the A-10 was credited with destroying approximately 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 non-armored military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces according to a 1993 report.

A-10 pilot celebrates (Photo: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist)

 

About Tom Demerly 512 Articles
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.

23 Comments

  1. A-10 shoots up to 50 bullets and hits 4.. SOOOO ACCURATE, lol.

    Funny how they did not show a closeup after the 2nd pass, guess it was not that impressive.

    • With the plane and car moving, and the projectiles being unguided, I’d say good enough! Granted it’s no SDB-II, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper.

      • SDB II hasn’t proved it can do this in combat conditions and why waste something that expensive on a truck. The best weapon for this is a AKPWS.

        • Operational test and development of the SDB-2 has shown that the SDB-2 is exceptionally accurate against moving targets.

          Saying “hasn’t been used in combat yet” always seems like a bit of a cop-out response to me. I dont have to take my car to the Nurburgring to know that I have a good car.

          Yes I agree that using guided rockets would have been a better option.

          • The reason SDB II may not work in these situations is time of fall. Some times targets like this appear with little time for attacking Aircraft to react before the target enters an area where ROE says no shot. That is why APKWS or gun runs are useful tools. SDB II can hit this, easily at Eglin or Edwards, but in actual battlefield circumstances it may be a poor choice given how long it takes to set up the drop and time of fall. SDB II is great in the standoff role and perfect for hitting targets that defended.

          • Also to be fare, SDB-II is a great weapon, wish A-10 had it. But we cant give it a lot of shove, so it wouldn’t be as effective.

    • Buy DCS A-10C (a very realistic combat flight simulator of A-10C) and try to hit a moving vehicle with the GAU-8!, you will see is not easy! What I watch in the video was really an amazing good target!

        • Mate, you are really annoying (and lack of imagination), have you ever tried any flight simulator in your life? if the answer is NO (as I think it is), shut your damn mouth and dont talk what you dont know

          • “shut your damn mouth and dont talk what you dont know”

            > so you think playing a simulator gives you a view of authority on the subject?

            https://youtu.be/uuL6cJPz3Nk

            I have a racing simulator on my computer. Steering wheel, pedals, and even a shifter… Does that mean I can speak of with authority when it comes to race cars?
            NO… because I’m not a race car driver.
            You play a flight simulator. Does that mean you can speak with authority when it comes to fighter or attack aircraft?
            NO… because you’re not a fighter pilot.

            • Nissan actively promotes gamers who do well on Gran Turismo to its racing division.

              DCS is widely known to be one of the most accurate recreations of flight possible, down to switchology and checklists.

              DoD and civilian pilots use video games to train personnel, including (gasp) flight simulators.

              I believe what the OP (Pepe Le Cox) was trying to show was how difficult it is to shoot a moving target from an A-10 and achieve that kind of accuracy. Considering a computer screen is likely more detailed (since you can zoom in using systems like TrackIR), that makes it even more impressive that one can hit a moving target from such a distance while juggling multiple tasks.

              In short, he was trying to demonstrate the skill of the pilot. All you did was demonstrate your skill of ignorance.

              • Here is the thing, simulators are used as a form of TRAINING and for the most part FAMILIARIZATION. You can be as familiar with switches and screens and everything else but it is NOT the real thing. There is a reason why the FINAL TEST AND QUALIFICATION for operators is THE REAL THING. Until they do THE REAL THING all they can say is… I’m familiar with the system/concept. Unless Pepe is fully qualified and certified on the actual platform and systems… his opinion on the matter has as much merit as mine.

                Unless he has doned on a G suit, sweated in a tank for a week, did some field craft in a 72 hour Op, took a car around a track and hit an apex at a 50mph… I can careless what a simulator tells him.

                • You might perhaps be taking this a bit too seriously.

                  I think he was just trying to illustrate the difficulty of the task at hand by using footage from a flight sim.

                  I agree that’s not the same thing, but it does illustrate the difficulty of the task.

                  His point might not have been elegantly made, but I think we’re being pedantic at this point.

  2. Amazing precision indeed.
    Four hits out of what,a hundred rounds?Looks like three-second burst to me.
    There is nothing wrong with the round,but gun itself…

    • Beats the hell out of the Su-25’s GSh-30-2 with only 250 rounds!!! The gun pods are only 23mm with 250 rounds apiece (2 wing hard-points). Total ammo for Frogfoot – 750 rounds. Total for the A-10 is 1174 X 30mm. The Hog is the CAS platform of choice. A much better plane than the Su-25.

  3. Forget it, there is nothing similar to the BRRRRRRRR of the A10’s GAU-8, it’s like a explosive laser beam!

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