September 25, 2006—The “Hog-up” program is well under way at the Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah, where 18 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, better known as “Warthogs,” have completed the Precision Engagement Upgrade.
The entire fleet of Air Force A-10s—356 to be exact—will undergo the precision engagement program to keep the Warthogs flying well into the 2020s. The PE upgrade will allow the A-10s to carry and use advanced targeting pods and laser and satellite guided bombs to more precisely find and attack enemy targets. It will give A-10 pilots all weather combat capability using “advanced integrated cockpit controls and display,” and a situational data link to shorten the kill chain, according to Aeronautical Systems Center, which oversees the upgrade. The improvements also will allow the Warthog to operate at much higher altitudes, protecting it from most surface-to-air missiles.
A large portion of the fleet also will undergo structural refurbishment as a result of wing-box cracks—an expensive problem that almost nixed the PE upgrades altogether. Air Combat Command said it plans to completely re-wing 210 Warthogs.
Gen. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff has said that the A-10 “now will be a significantly different airplane than it was before.” The upgraded cockpit controls and displays will give pilots five-by-five multifunction color displays and hands-on-throttle and stick grips. A Lockheed Martin digital stores management system (DSMS) will replace the old analog system, allowing the aircraft to have Sniper and Litening targeting pods for the A-10's close air support mission. DSMS also automates weapons control functions and provides weapons laser guidance. An upgraded power system and expanded avionics data bus add to the high-tech upgrade.
The complete PE program also outfits the Warthogs with a new wiring harness, smart weapons capable pylons, state-of-the-art computer processors for DSMS, digital moving map capabilities, and a modified glare shield.
The ALC currently has kit installation scheduled for 2006 to 2009, with completion of the entire upgrades package slated for 2010.
Maryland Air National Guard’s 175th Wing will be the first unit to receive the PE modified A-10, which will carry the C model designation. Air Force active duty, ANG, and Air Force Reserve Command units will receive the upgraded Warthogs.
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