The US Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted Korean Airlines to provide support for USAF Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) A-10C Thunderbolt IIs stationed in South Korea.
The contract, worth US$213m, will see Korean Airlines Aerospace Division providing depot-level support for A-10Cs assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron 'Assam Draggins’, which is based at Osan Air Base, South Korea.
Korean Airlines is expected to provide support for the A-10s until December 31, 2029 – performing the work in Buson, South Korea. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLC), based at Hill AFB, Utah, contracted the activity.
Introduced into USAF service in 1977, the air arm’s Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet has recently undergone a re-winging process, which gives the dedicated close air support (CAS) aircraft the potential to stay in operational service until the early 2030s. The process was completed in mid-2019 and was covered in September’s issue of Combat Aircraft Journal, which you can read here – A-10 re-wing project is completed.
The A-10 – commonly known as the ‘Warthog' – is armed with the famous General Electric-designed 30mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel rotary Gatling cannon, which the airframe itself is built around. It also has a 16,000lbs (7,260kg) armament capacity, which includes an array of unguided and laser/GPS-guided weapons, AIM-9 air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground rockets – along with targeting pods, drop tanks and additional electronic countermeasures which can be equipped onto the aircraft’s 11 hardpoints.
During the summer of 2019, the Boeing GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) was added, providing the A-10 with that new standoff capability. Another plan is to pull out the central ‘six-pack’ of analog flight instruments in the cockpit and replace this with a single large electronic primary flight display, which will work in conjunction with the two older multifunction colour displays. This will likely be combined with a significant core processor upgrade, which will give the A-10 a huge jump in data speed and storage capacity.