T-Shirt-Shooting A10 Warthog Monster Truck Is Everything Right With America

Illustration for article titled T-Shirt-Shooting A10 Warthog Monster Truck Is Everything Right With America

The Air Force's latest recruiting tool is a Cadillac Escalade-bodied monster truck designed to look like an A10-C Thunderbolt Warthog, complete with a t-shirt-shooting Gatling gun. Wasteful? Yes. Overbuilt? Yes. Awesome? Oh hell yes. God Bless the U.S. Air Force.

The U.S. Air Force outreach project launched earlier this year and, like the Army with its Hummers and climbing walls, involves outreach mostly at sporting events. And in case getting blasted by t-shirts out of the nose of a monster truck wasn't persuasive enough, they're handing out ringtones that sound like the the actual 30-mm gun on the A10. Epic.

And because it's Escalade-bodied, it truly is the Cadillac of monster trucks.

Illustration for article titled T-Shirt-Shooting A10 Warthog Monster Truck Is Everything Right With America

To again paraphrase John Oliver: Could China make a t-shirt-firing, steroidal monster truck? Yeah. But they'd never think to, and that's why America has nothing to worry about it.

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It's good to see the Warthog get some well-deserved attention, but a lot of it is - unfairly - placed on its GAU-8. Now don't get me wrong, the gun is ridiculously awesome, and it alone is the reason that using tanks is pretty much stupid if you're the enemy.

But, the A-10 has far, far, far more to offer than just its 30mm cannon. For instance, it has no fewer than eleven hardpoints, each of which can carry a Maverick Air-to-Ground Missile (AGM), 2x500lb bomb, 1x1,000lb bomb (or JDAM), laser-guided bomb, ECM pod, rockets (19-tube launchers x 11 = 209 rockets!)... the list goes on.

So, even though you'll never really see it for operational reasons, you could most certainly have an A-10 with 22 500lb JDAMs. This is 11,000lbs of ordinance.

The B-17G Flying Fortress had a standard short-mission payload of 8,000lbs. 3,000lbs less than an A-10.

The A-10 has a max combat load of 16,000lbs, half a ton less than the B-17G's max combat overload of 17,000lbs.

On top of this, the A-10's exceptionally fuel-efficient TF34 high-bypass turbofans allow it an extended loiter time at low speeds - 200-300kts, far slower than an F/A-18 or F-15 could manage for any length of time. This allows it to hang over a battlefield for extended amounts of time, directing its go-to-hell-and-die ordinance wherever, and whenever needed.

Of course, the enemy doesn't want them overhead, so they will try to shoot them down. The A-10 will laugh if shot at by an AK-47, as even the most frenzied fusillade will do nothing but dent the A-10. Its gun and cockpit are protected by a titanium tub of armor impervious to anything short of HE 23mm rounds. Its engines are shrouded by its wings, up and out of the way of enemy fire.

The A-10 is perfectly capable of flying on one engine. Every system on it is multiply redundant, even so far as to having a cable backup for its double-redundant hydraulic systems. It is designed to fly with one engine, one tail, one elevator and half a wing torn off, and it will. Its rear landing gear is designed to half-protrude when retracted, so even if the gear doesn't come down, you'll still land on the tires.

In short, the A-10C Thunderbolt is a mean son of a bitch of an aircraft that will fuck you up completely and in every way, even if half of it is missing.

They just don't make 'em like they used to.

I'm an enlisted member of the Navy, but even so, now that the F-14 is gone, the A-10 is my favorite aircraft.