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.

15 Comments

  1. I was 12 years old when I realized that I’m not really a man at heart, but rather a 19 foot, 10.5 inch long gatling gun strapped onto a 24,959 pound airframe.

    All my life has been a lie but I’m setting that right today. I was designed for the sole purpose of killing tanks and spreading democracy. From now on, call me “Warthog.” That’s my real name.

    I’m having plastic surgeons attach a GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm rotary cannon, 1,200 pounds of titanium armor, and two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines to my body. Lt. Fairchild said I’m fucking stupid and I can’t be a jet, but I’m beautiful and I am a goddamn jet.

    If the Army won’t pay for me to get the surgery, I’m just going to bring in Code Pink and point out that that Manning loser is getting hormones and he’s in prison so why shouldn’t a perfectly well-adjusted and honorably serving soldier have the right to be who they truly are, a metal killing machine?

    I am so sick and tired of being oppressed. Now we A-10’s are on Congress’s chopping block. It’s sickening to see all the white cisgender F-35 shitlords trying to silence us.

    It’s my right to spray 2,100 to 4,200 depleted uranium rounds per minute at soft and hard targets alike, and if you don’t support me and my transformation then you’re an aerialphobe and need to check your weapon platform privilege

    • 3900 rnds per min. No more selective fire. Just the ability to turn on a stability system that makes the plane more stable When the gun fires. Other wise love the post.

  2. Keep the A-10 until they build an A-11. We will need the titanium bathtub with a long loiter capability, flying (relatively) low and slow, until we no longer have boots on the ground. If they can smoke a vehicle like this from above MANPAD range, there is zero argument against it’s suitability to the ‘modern’ battle field. Even is she has to come down under smoke, or weather, no doubt we have counter measures that mean a hit from a MANPAD is not a sure thing.

    • It is if you consider how freaking small a truck is in the HUD. The TGP indicator it’s self and the aiming puppet from the gun cross covers a truck. Unless you get real low, it’s a pretty good shot. Before you same stuff think about. Let’s see how accurate you are fire a gun you are literally sitting on, shoots 70rnds a second, going 280knts, at least 1 mile slant range while watching for threats and deconflicting the airspace.

      • P51 used to be able to hit a 3 foot circle under same conditions. Still love the A10, one of my top 5 favs. Google some of their straifing runs, they can be brutal.

        • I have been on the range with them and been to the test stand down at Eglin when they test ammo. It’s an amazing experience. The P51s guns are a heck of alot different then the GAU-8. Not to mention the GAU is designed to shower it’s target with ammo, not be a laser like stream.

        • The GAU-8 produces about 4.5 tons recoil. This is affecting accuracy a little bit. But 4 rounds are usually enough to destroy a target.

          The MK108 in WW2 needed about the same number of hits on average to destroy a B-17 or B-24 (85g RDX per round).

          • Again, not my point, the A10 is one of my favorites of all time, what I am saying is this claim that 4 out of 100 or whatever is highly accurate . If you went to a range no matter what the distance and you hit the target 4 out of 100 shots, would you say that is highly accurate shooting?

        • Well it’s not a sniper rifle, it kind of showers the target with bullets because it gives you a better chance to hit it, or if it’s say infantry in a tree line and you cant really see them, you can lay down enough murderous fire to get them. If you get in close, closer than combat conditions allow you can get some really tight groups, but the longer the slant range the more they spread out. It’s a trade off, bigger spread means more death over a wider area, get in close and you can harvest more enemy meat per bullet.

  3. It’s a shame the geniuses at the Pentagon have paid absolutely NO attention to the experiences of The War, Korea or even Viet Nam. One of the most feared planes during The War was the JU-87 which could drop up to 250lbs of hurt with pretty good accuracy while also capable of spraying the ground with machine guns and 37mm cannon. The IL-2 Sturmovik was just as if not more deadly in the ground attack role. Then there were the P-47 Jug, P-51 Mustang, A-26 Invader, etc. The A-10 has no equal, especially not the F-35.

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