A-10 Thunderbolt II

Northrop Grumman has received two additional task orders from the US Air Force (USAF) to continue support for the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft.

The orders form part of the existing life-cycle programme support (TLPS) indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract.

Under the first $4.4m aircraft structural integrity programme (ASIP) Legacy IV task order, the company will conduct testing and evaluation of the available A-10 flight spectrum data, to specify the aircraft’s service life and inspection cycles.

The second $4.3m ASIP Modernization IV task order covers production of computer-aided design (CAD) solid models of the legacy A-10 thick skin wings.

Northrop Grumman Technical Services A-10 TLPS programme manager, Doug Hamel, said the company has worked closely with the USAF to extend the service life of the A-10 beyond its original design, under the ASIP programme.

"Our ability to capitalise on original equipment manufacturer knowledge and experience from across the corporation coupled with our demonstrated performance on previous ASIP task orders allow us to provide affordable, innovative solutions for these tasks," Hamel added.

The company had completed work under the previous ASIP Modernization II and III task orders, awarded by the USAF in December 2012 and October 2011 respectively.

Powered by two General Electric TF34-GE-100A turbofan engines, the A-10 is a high-survivability straight-wing jet aircraft designed to provide close air support (CAS) for ground forces by defeating tanks, armoured vehicles and other land targets having a limited air defence capability.

Also known as the Warthog, the aircraft was extensively deployed by the USAF during Operation Desert Storm, Nato operations in response to the Kosovo crisis, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Image: A USAF’s A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft conducting missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Photo: courtesy of Master Sgt. William Greer, US Air Force.