Here is the video from the ride on August 20, 2016!
Early in my Air Force career I was stationed at Keesler AFB in Biloxi Mississippi for my geek technical training. There were also some airplanes there as well; the C-130 cargo aircraft and the A-10 Thunderbolt. While I am sure the C-130 is an outstanding airplane in its own right I learned to loath them because the pilots would sit out at the end of the runway (a couple hundred yards from our dormitories) and run their engines up at all hours of the night. The A-10 pilots on the other hand would fly around the dormitories during the day time, making all these amazing turns and acrobatic maneuvers. That is when I decided that the A-10 Thunderbolt was one BAD ASS BIRD! I have gone to many an airshow and stuck my fat thumb into one of it's gun barrels in awe. It is amongst my all-time favorites. My buddy Clay sent me the email with this information below and reminded me that there is no way around it... It is just a BAD ASS BIRD!
THE A-10 GUN
THE GUN (not just any gun, but "the gun")
This is Unbelievable, I sure agree with the final statement
First there was this gun...
It was developed by General Electric, the "We bring good things to life" people. It's one of the modern-day Gatling guns. It shoots very big bullets. It shoots them very quickly.
Someone said, "Let's put it in an airplane."
Someone else said, "Better still, let's build an airplane around it."
So they did. And "they" were the Fairchild-Republic airplane people.
And they had done such a good job with an airplane they developed back in WWII....
...called the P-47 Thunderbolt, they decided to call it the A-10 Thunderbolt.
They made it so it was very good at flying low and slow and shooting things with that fabulous gun.
But since it did fly low and slow, they made it bulletproof, or almost so. A lot of bad guys have found you can shoot an A10 with anything from a pistol to a 23mm Soviet cannon and it just keeps on flying and shooting.
When they got through, it looked like this....
It's not sleek and sexy like an F18 or the stealthy Raptors and such, but I think it's such a great airplane because it does what it does better than any other plane in the world.
It kills tanks.
Not only tanks, as Sadam Hussein's boys found out to their horror, but armored personnel carriers, radar stations, locomotives, bunkers, fuel depots... Just about anything the bad guys thought was bulletproof turned out to be easy pickings for this beast.
See those engines. One of them alone will fly this puppy. The pilot sits in a very thick titanium alloy "bathtub."
That's typical of the design.
They were smart enough to make every part the same whether mounted on the left side or right side of the plane, like landing gear, for instance.
Because the engines are mounted so high (away from ground debris) and the landing gear uses such low pressure tires, it can operate from a damaged airport, interstate highway, plowed field, or dirt road.
Everything is redundant. They have two of almost everything. Sometimes they have three of something. Like flight controls. There's triple redundancy of those, and even if there is a total failure of the double hydraulic system, there is a set of manual flying controls.
Capt. Kim Campbell sustained this damage over Bagdad and flew for another hour before returning to base. But, back to that gun....
It's so hard to grasp just how powerful it is.
This is the closest I could find to showing you just what this cartridge is all about. What the guy is holding is NOT the 30mm round, but a "little" .50 Browing machinegun round and the 20mm cannon round which has been around for a long time.
The 30mm is MUCH bigger.
Down at the bottom are the .50 BMG and 20x102 Vulcan the fellow was holding. At the bottom right is the bad boy we're discussing.
Let's get some perspective here: The .223 Rem (M16 rifle round) is fast. It shoots a 55 or so grain bullet at about 3300 feet/sec, give or take. It's the fastest of all those rounds shown (except one). When you move up to the .30 caliber rounds, the bullets jump up in weight to 160-200 grains. Speeds run from about 2600 to 3000 fps or so.
The .338 Lapua is the king of the sniper rifles these days and shoots a 350 grain bullet at 2800 fps or so. They kill bad guys at over a mile with that one.
The .50 BMG is really big. Mike Beasley has one on his desk. Everyone who picks it up thinks it's some sort of fake, unless they know big ammo. It's really huge with a bullet that weighs 750 grains and goes as fast the Lapua.
I don't have data on the Vulcan, but hang on to your hat.
The bullet for the 30x173 Avenger has an aluminum jacket around a spent uranium core and weighs 6560 grains (yes, over 100 times as heavy as the M16 bullet, and flies through the air at 3500 fps (which is faster than the M16 as well).
The gun shoots at a rate of 4200 rounds per minute. Yes, four thousand. Pilots typically shoot either one- or two-second burst which set loose 70 to 150 rounds. The system is optimized for shooting at 4,000 feet.
OK, the best for last.
You've got a pretty good idea of how big that cartridge is, but I'll bet you're like me and you don't fully appreciate how big the GA GAU-8 Avenger really is.
Take a look....
Each of those seven barrels is 112" long. That's almost ten feet. The entire gun is 19-1/2 feet long.
Think how impressive it would look set up in your living room.
Oh, by the way, it doesn't eject the empty shells but runs them back into the storage drum. There's just so dang many flying out, they felt it might damage the aircraft.
Oh yeah, I forgot, they can hang those bomb and rocket things on 'em too, just in case. After all, it is an "airplane"!
Like I said, this is a beautiful design.
I'm glad it's ours!!
A person who pledged their very life in defense of the Constitution of the United States
Someone who endured environmental and physical extremes while battling foreign and domestic enemies of the Constitution
A person whose fidelity and loyalty to the Constitution remains ever strong
A person who has gone into the Valley of Death in obedience to lawful orders of the President and of superior officers
A person who voluntarily gave up their Constitutional freedoms and became subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice
A person who asks to give but never to be given
A person who may be a recipient of but never sought a citation for bravery
One who proudly salutes the Anthem and Flag of the United States of America
One who protects the loathsome protestor’s freedom of speech and right to burn the Flag
A person who is blind to human differences and accepts the strength of diversity
A person who never was and is not now a victim
The only one who is capable of truly understanding another Veteran
One who does not ask to be understood but for others to be understanding
That person sitting alone, looking into the past with eyes full of tears, asking the unanswerable, "Why not me?"
With love and respect for my brothers and sisters
Terry S. Bowman,
SMSgt (Ret) USAF
Thanks Fran for sending this to me. I couldn't have said this better myself! Thank you SMSgt Bowman for the inspired words and thank you to all the military members (current and former) who have voluntarily accepted the call to duty and to those who have given the greatest sacrifice for the good of the rest of us!
Great story -- What a lesson for us all!!!
Here is a good history lesson I had never heard before.
Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes. I went into a small gift shop to kill time. In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, "Reflections on Pearl Harbor " by Admiral Chester Nimitz.
Sunday, December 7th, 1941--Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet.
He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat--you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.
On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked. As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, "Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?"
Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice. Admiral Nimitz said, "The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America . Which do you think it was?"
Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, "What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?"
Nimitz explained. Mistake number one: the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk--we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.
Mistake number two: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow everyone of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America . And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.
Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.
That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America .
I've never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredricksburg , Texas -- he was a born optimist. But anyway you look at it -- Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism. President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.
There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.