The Air Force is offering up a showdown between the A-10 and the F-35. We know which will triumph! The Titanium Bathtub vs the CooCoo Boondoggle
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American twin-engine, straight wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the 1970s. It entered service in 1976, and is the only United States Air Force production-built aircraft designed solely for close air support, i.e. close quarters support of ground troops. This includes attacking tanks, armored vehicles, and other ground targets. The A-10 was effective in Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War. It has also served in combat in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and against the Islamic State in the middle east.
The A-10 was intended to improve on the performance of the A-1 Skyraider and its poor firepower. The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon that is its primary armament. Its airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying. Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines, and its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities. The A-10A single-seat variant was the only version produced, though one A-10A was converted to an A-10B twin-seat version. In 2005, a program was begun to upgrade remaining A-10A aircraft to the A-10C configuration with modern avionics for use of GPS guided weaponry and a Helmet Mounted Cueing System.
The A-10's official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of World War II, a fighter that was particularly effective at close air support. The A-10 is more commonly known by its nicknames "Warthog" or "Hog". Its secondary mission is to provide forward air controller - airborne (FAC-A) support, by directing other aircraft in attacks on ground targets. Aircraft used primarily in this role are designated OA-10. With a variety of upgrades and wing replacements, the A-10's service life may be extended to 2028.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters undergoing final development and testing by the United States. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack and air defense missions. The F-35 has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) variant. On 31 July 2015, the first squadron was declared ready for deployment after intensive testing by the United States.
The F-35 is descended from the X-35, which was the winning design of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin. Other major F-35 industry partners include Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems. The F-35 took its first flight on 15 December 2006. The United States plans to buy 2,457 aircraft. The F-35 variants are intended to provide the bulk of the manned tactical airpower of the U.S. Air Force, Navy and the Marine Corps over the coming decades. Deliveries of the F-35 for the U.S. military are scheduled to be completed in 2037 with a projected service life up to 2070.
The program is the most expensive military weapons system in history, and it has been the object of much criticism from those inside and outside government — in the US and in allied countries. Critics argue that the plane is "plagued with design flaws," with many blaming the procurement process in which Lockheed was allowed "to design, test, and produce the F-35 all at the same time, instead of ... [identifying and fixing] defects before firing up its production line." By 2014, the program was "$163 billion over budget [and] seven years behind schedule." Critics further contend that the program's high sunk costs and political momentum make it "too big to kill."