"You can shoot down every MiG the Soviets employ, but if you return to base and the lead Soviet tank commander is eating breakfast in your snack bar, Jack, you've lost the war."
- – Anonymous A-10 Pilot, USAF
Officially called the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the Warthog is a brutal ground attack aircraft used by the US military. The A-10 was designed with one purpose in mind: destroying anything and everything that could possibly stand between the US and total victory. This thing was basically built around the GAU-8 30mm Avenger Gatling Cannon, which fires depleted uranium rounds at up to 4,200 RPM. The recoil from which is so powerful that it basically halves the forward thrust of the two engines while firing. If the seven barrels of GAU-8 weren't enough for you, the A-10 also can mount a staggering amount of ordnance on its wing rails, ranging from the devastating Maverick missile, to CBU-52 cluster bombs, to AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for dealing with Helicopters.
The A-10 is also extraordinarily tough. Almost every system has a back up, and the A-10 is quite capable of flight with only one engine and half its tail. The pilot is protected with a "Titanium Bathtub" that encompasses the cockpit and shields against all but the heaviest ground fire.
In Team Yankee
Whoo boy, this thing is epic, if ludicrously expensive. 5 points each, for something on the board only 50% of the time! The A-10 is the tankiest ground attack aircraft in the game, offset by its extreme cost. The GAU-8 Avenger makes it superior to the SU-25 for marginally more versatility. With a Rate of fire of 4, you can BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR at exposed infantry and APCs like an airborne VADs firing on the move, with pretty strong chances of mass-bailing lightly armoured units to death.. With an AT value of 11, the Avenger Cannon is suitable for destroying cheap tanks like the T-55AM2 from the side; and is simply overkill for transports. Also, since the GAU-8 Avenger doesn't have the HEAT Special rule, BDD armor and Bazooka Skirts don't affect the armor value you are rolling against. Sadly, the mediocre 5+ FP also makes it a rather unreliable choice for killing, but a decent option to force bails. As an added bonus, its also anti-helicopter, so those Hinds the Soviets like to spam are suddenly looking a lot less secure.
For dealing with more robust things like Main battle tanks, the A-10 packs the Maverick missile. An AT 27(!) firepower 2+ tank buster, the Maverick is ridiculously good at tearing armoured vehicles a new one. Its also got the special rule Brutal which means successful unarmoured saves must be re-rolled (sweet). The other two rules, Guided and HEAT are great as shooting at targets with the Maverick basically ignoring the penalties for firing at long range, so you can snipe things from well outside AA range. However, there are some downsides, like the 8-inch dead zone, BDD armour affecting your rolls (wow, side armour 13 sure is tough!), and the fact that it cannot shoot infantry if they're not twiddling their thumbs in slit trenches (but then again, why would you use a Maverick on infantry?).
Speaking of infantry you also get a one-use Template in the form of the CBU-52 cluster bomb, though the range is even shorter than that of the Avenger. With a 6+ Firepower, this bomb will devastate infantry in the open but is next to worthless against entrenched infantry.
The A-10's legendary durability is reflected in-game as its 3+ aircraft save is the strongest of any strike aircraft.
You can buy a Squadron of 2 A-10s for your American army for 10 points, and a squadron of 4 for 20.
Any competitive player wondering why they haven't seen Warthogs being spammed in games despite it being "the best ground attack aircraft"? It is overcosted and has a very specific role: engaging armour with its missiles, or isolated support units like artillery. Much like the Leopard 2, units in Team Yankee become competitive on their cost efficiency and NOT being the 'best'. Your A-10 might be pretty, but a company of mechanized infantry will outperform it every time. While its 3+ save is undeniably its best trait, it cannot make its point cost back if your opponent can simply whittle your ground forces down. Ground-attack aircraft in Team Yankee are typically geared towards the anti-tank role, but the meta favours large infantry blobs, rendering the Frogfoot and A-10 virtually worthless for any form of serious play. Combined with the fact that Warthogs need to be called in on a 4+, and you get a unit which disappears half the time (or every single time you need it).
For the role of sniping or forcing AA to spread, Cobras are the superior choice due to the fact that you control when they engage, not the dice. You could purchase a flight of 4 Cobras for 14 points, with almost the same level of firepower. Should the enemy forget their anti-air or have it wiped, your Cobras' ROF 6 can actually make their points back, unlike the Warthog.
HOWEVER, the Warthog is a key part of an American air-cavalry list spamming helicopters. Used as the tip of the spear to pop enemy air-defence, their durability allows them to trade points for tempo, while your Cobras provide the killing power. Apart from that, it remains rather unusable until expensive tanks re-enter the meta (looking at you, T-80s and M1A1s).
The A-10 was first developed by the US Air Force as a response the US Army's development of the AH 56 Cheyenne. The Army had come to the conclusion that nuclear-armed tactical aircraft aren't all that helpful in a conventional war and had begun to come up with its ground support airframes. The Air Force took one look at the Army's plan and immediately had visions of the Army dominating the close air support niche (and subsequent control of the air support budget), and that would just not do, no sir. When the A-10 was rolled out, the general consensus from the Army was, "This is just what we wanted! That wasn't so hard now was it?" The Air Force then grit its teeth and has since tried to get rid of the A-10 at every opportunity.
The Warthog has served in multiple conflicts, like the Gulf War, the Balkans Conflict, The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most recently in the War on Terror. Originally, there was a plan to retire the A-10 by the year 2022 and replace it with the F-35. But the defense committee in Congress put the kibosh on the USAF's attempts to retire it. They concluded that while the F-35 is nice enough (in theory) in the ground attack role and even though the GAU-8 is no longer the ultimate tank killer gun, there really isn't any substitute for the A-10 in many situations. So the A-10 is now slated to remain a part of the US Inventory "for the foreseeable future." Also, whenever the Air Force tries to retire it the Army casually mentions that it wants to buy and refit them and GEE GOLLY WE CAN'T HAVE THAT!
Ultimately, the reason that the A-10 exists in the first place is because it can loiter around the battlefield for a long time, it is resistant to return fire, can take off from and land on roughly-prepared air strips, and it also has the capability to accurately deliver a lot of ordnance. And while it's not particularly fast the A-10 is highly maneuverable. You can find videos of them training by flying through a forest, nailing targets. Not "flying over", flying through the damn forest, dodging trees. Not that it has to, though. The A-10 was designed to fly with one engine, one stabilizer, and half of one wing GONE. Not any one of those, ALL OF THOSE, at the same time. The engines are reversible, one side being mounted upside down. The hydraulic controls have mechanical backups. The landing gear stick out when retracted so it can belly flop. The cockpit is armored to resist 23 mm autocannon rounds (gee we wonder why).
The A-10 is the source of multiple memes, whether it's the sound it makes (BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT) or the fact that "it's not a plane with a gun strapped to it, it's a gun with a plane strapped to it." Beyond the joke, the latter statement holds a lot of truth as the A-10 would simply tip over onto its tail if the GAU-8 was removed, and the gun is so powerful (it produces 5 tons of recoil where the engines produce 4 tons of thrust each) the forward landing gear had to be specially adapted and put on the side of the gun instead of the plane's centreline because there was less risk of that breaking in the case of a rough landing than the airplane damaging itself if the recoil wasn't perfectly in line with the engine thrust. To conclude, this is not a plane with a big gun strapped to it. It's a big gun with a plane strapped to it. There are some plans to mod them to be remote controlled/optionally piloted drones, which seems like an utter waste.
|US Forces in Team Yankee|
|Tanks:||M1 Abrams - M60 Patton - M551 Sheridan - RDF/LT|
|Transports:||M113 Armored Personnel Carrier - UH-1 Huey - AAVP7 - Bradley Fighting Vehicle|
|Troops:||US Mech Platoon - Marine Rifle Platoon - Huey Rifle Platoon - HMMWV Machine Gun Platoon - Light Motor Infantry Platoon|
|Artillery:||M106 Heavy Mortar Carrier - M109 Howitzer - LAV-M - M270 MLRS|
|Anti-Aircraft:||M163 VADS - M48 Chaparral - M247 Sergeant York - HMMWV SAM|
|Tank Hunters:||M901 ITV - HMMWV-TOW - LAV-AT|
|Recon:||M113 FIST- M113 Scout Section - HMMWV Scout Section - LAV-25 - Bradley Fighting Vehicle|
|Aircraft:||A-10 Warthog - AV-8 Harrier - AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter - AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter|
|Iraqi Forces in Team Yankee|
|Tanks:||T-55 - T-62 - T-72M|
|Transports:||BTR-60 - OT-64 - AMX-10P - BMP-1|
|Troops:||Motor Rifle Company|
|Artillery:||2S1 Carnation - 2S3 Acacia - AMX Auf1 - BM-21 Hail|
|Anti-Aircraft:||ZSU 23-4 Shilka - SA-13 Gopher - SA9 Gaskin - SA-8 Gecko - Roland AA|
|Tank Hunters:||Spandrel - VCR/TH|
|Recon:||BRDM-2 - BTR-60 OP|
|Aircraft:||MI-24 Hind - Gazelle HOT|
|US Support:||A-10 Warthog - AV-8 Harrier|