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A-10 Upgrade Effort Transforms Warthog Capabilities
The venerable, iconic A-10 Warthog – a guardian angel to coalition ground
troops and the bane of ground-bound adversaries – is sharpening its teeth.
By Chris McGee / Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio, Oct. 17, 2006 – The venerable, iconic A-10 Warthog – a guardian angel to coalition ground troops and the bane of ground-bound adversaries – is sharpening its teeth.

Managed by the 642nd Aeronautical Systems Squadron at Aeronautical Systems Center here, the A/OA-10 is in the early stages of a five-year, $168 million upgrade effort, the largest ever for the fleet.    

Known as the Precision Engagement program, the massive modification encompasses multiple enhancements that will provide the aircraft with all-weather capability to detect and strike targets from greater altitudes and distances using precision-guided weapons.

The improvements represent a significant leap in operational capability for the Warthog. 

Under Precision Engagement, the A/OA-10 is being modified to employ the Joint Direct Attack Munition and the Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser.

The program is integrating advanced sensors, a datalink and the LITENING AT and Sniper XR targeting pods onto the aircraft, which will boost pilot situational awareness, targeting capabilities, survivability and communication with other coalition ground and air elements. 

An aircraft modified with the Precision Engagement kit is designated as an A-10C. 

“The A-10C program effectively takes one of the most lethal air-to-ground platforms ever designed and significantly upgrades its ability to precisely detect, identify and destroy targets while increasing situational awareness and standoff capability,” said John M. Boker, A-10 Program Manager with the 642nd Aeronautical Systems Squadron. 

As part of the upgrade effort, the A/OA-10 fleet is receiving advanced integrated cockpit controls and displays, an improved pilot vehicle interface using

two new multifunction color displays and a new central interface control unit with three state-of-the-art computer processors to provide stores management – the control of weapons release and pod employment – and overall avionics systems integration. 

A/OA-10 pilots will enjoy hands-on-stick-and-throttle control of weapons, targeting pods and navigation systems, simplifying their duties considerably.

“Simply put, in the C model, we will have 10 times the information available, from both on- and off-board sources, and the ability to process and act on that information significantly quicker,” Boker noted.

“Even for a simple laser guided bomb delivery, what took roughly 14 cockpit switch changes now takes four with the C model,” he explained. “Just imagine what will happen when we combine machine-to-machine datalink technology with the lethality of the Hawg.” 

To date, 21 aircraft have been modified at Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; 356 total aircraft are to receive the upgrades, constituting the entire fleet, including active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard.

The Air Force awarded the Precision Engagement development contract to Lockheed Martin in 2001.

Lockheed Martin received the production contract in February 2005, with the first production kits delivered to Hill Air Force Base in March of this year. 

Kit production will run to 2008 with kit installation scheduled to go to 2009. 

The Maryland Air National Guard 175th Wing at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Baltimore will be the first unit to convert to the modified aircraft and integrate them into normal operations, underscoring the total force concept.
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