Kaman Delivers First Wing Sections On The A-10 Aircraft


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Kaman Delivers First Wing Sections On The A-10 Aircraft

By Daniel Baxter

December 20, 2010 - Kaman Aerostructures (“Kaman”) announced that it has delivered the first major A-10 aircraft structural assemblies to Boeing Defense Space & Security (“Boeing”) in support of the A-10 Wing Replacement Program.  

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. The A-10 was designed for a United States Air Force requirement to provide close air support (CAS) for ground forces by attacking tanks, armored vehicles, and other ground targets with a limited air interdiction capability. It is the first U.S. Air Force aircraft designed exclusively for close air support.

The A-10 was designed around the GAU-8 Avenger, a heavy automatic cannon which forms the aircraft's primary armament. The aircraft's hull incorporates over 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of armor and was designed with survivability as a priority, with protective measures in place which enable the aircraft to continue flying even after taking significant damage. 

The A-10's official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of World War II, a fighter that was particularly effective at close air support. The A-10 is more commonly known by its nickname "Warthog" or simply "Hog". As a secondary mission, it provides airborne forward air control, guiding other aircraft against ground targets. A-10s used primarily in this role are designated OA-10. The A-10 is expected to be replaced in 2028 or later. 

These assemblies will now be included in A-10 wing sections and installation kits being assembled by Boeing’s Macon, Georgia facility for future delivery to Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Boeing’s contract with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) covers engineering services and manufacturing for 242 replacement wing sets for the USAF’s A-10 fleet between 2007 and 2018. Kaman’s first shipment is also the first major structures shipment by any Boeing supplier in support of the program. 

“We are proud to be part of the Boeing and USAF program to keep the A-10 aircraft flying for another twenty years in support of United States and allied ground forces,” remarked Gregory Steiner, President of the Kaman Aerospace Group. “Kaman has been instrumental in effectively restarting and modernizing manufacturing operations for A-10 structural assemblies first designed in the 1970’s and last produced for new aircraft in the 1980’s.”


Kaman manufactures wing control surfaces consisting of the inboard and outboard flaps, slats, and deceleron/speed brake assemblies, which include upper and lower speed brakes, trim tabs, and leading edge assemblies. Other Kaman Aerospace companies supporting this program include the Helicopters Division (manufactures bondments) and Brookhouse Holdings Limited (fabricated the assembly and bonding tooling). 

The A-10 has received many upgrades over the years. Aircraft added the Pave Penny laser receiver pod beginning in 1978. It senses reflected laser radiation from a laser designator on a target for faster and more accurate target identification. The A-10 began receiving an inertial navigation system in 1980. Later, the Low-Altitude Safety and Targeting Enhancement (LASTE) upgrade provided computerized weapon-aiming equipment, an autopilot, and a ground-collision warning system.  

The A-10 is now compatible with night vision goggles for low-light operation. In 1999, aircraft began to receive Global Positioning System navigation systems and a new multi-function display. Its LASTE system is being upgraded with the Integrated Flight & Fire Control Computers (IFFCC). In 2005, the entire A-10 fleet also began receiving the Precision Engagement upgrades that include an improved fire control system (FCS), electronic countermeasures (ECM), and the ability to aim smart bombs. The aircraft that receive this upgrade are redesignated A-10C.


The A-10 will receive a service life extension program (SLEP) upgrade with many receiving new wings. A contract to build 242 new A-10 wing sets was awarded to Boeing in June 2007. In July 2010, the USAF issued Raytheon a contract to integrate a Helmet Mounted Integrated Targeting (HMIT) system into A-10Cs.  

The Government Accounting Office in 2007 estimated the cost of upgrading, refurbishing, and service life extension plans for the A-10 force to total $2.25 billion through 2013. Modifications to provide precision weapons capability are well underway. The Air Force Material Command's Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah completed work on its 100th A-10 precision engagement upgrade in January 2008. The C model upgrades are to be completed in 2011.

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