That’s the view of Air National Guard Lt. Col. Donald Henry of the “new” A-10C, which he helped bring to fruition as Air Combat Command’s ANG A-10 program element monitor and which he flew in combat in Afghanistan. “The A-10C is the heaviest modernization program the A-10 has ever gone through,” he said and added, “This is what the A-10 was meant to be 30 years ago.” The new avionics, fully integrated targeting pods, and smart weapons, such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition, have produced an “effects-based upgrade” that enhances pilot situational awareness, said Henry. During one close air support mission, Henry said that the C model Hog enabled him to drop a JDAM “right in the middle of the target.” He added: “I could see exactly where the friendlies were, where the enemies were. It would have taken much longer to verify their location, to roll in with dumb bombs. The JDAM made it extremely easy and precise.” USAF has set 2011 as the date by which it will have all Hogs upgraded to C models and has issued a contract for new wing sets to prolong service life. Now, if USAF could just get new Hog engines. (Langley report by SSgt. Thomas Doscher)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.