Like a cat, the USAF’s A-10 continues to demonstrate additional lives after repeated efforts by the fighter generals to bury the ungainly but potent airplane.
Lockheed Martin Systems Integration (Owego, NY) expects its first production contract in March for the A-10 Precision Engagement (PE) Program, which will give the A-10 – redesignated the A-10C once modified -- a precision-weapons capability, with several more production contracts to follow. In February 2004, Lockheed Martin was awarded an initial systems integration contract. The goal is to equip all 356 USAF A-10s with the upgrade by 2009. Lockheed Martin began the upgrade program under a 2001 $74 million development contract. The new contract will be to modify 13 aircraft, including the test bed airplane. The Precision Engagement program upgrades include installation of the Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-28(V) Litening AT and the Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-33 Sniper XR targeting pods, as well as a new databus and digital stores management system. The enhanced targeting capability is also expected to reduce friendly fire accidents inherent in close combat support operations. Once upgraded, the A-10C will be able to carry the Joint Direct Attack Munition, the Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispenser, and laser-guided weapons designated by the pilot (as opposed to ordnance that must be illuminated by a third party). This will add the ability to drop such weapons as Paveway.
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