The Air Force loathed everything about the A-X, which soon would be known as the A-10. Jokes were made that it was so slow it suffered bird strikes–from the rear–and that instead of carrying a clock, the cockpit had a calendar. The aircraft was so ugly it was called the “Warthog”. Many in the Air Force said no airplane could perform or survive in combat as this airplane was supposed to perform. It would be almost twenty years before the A-10 had the chance to demonstrate how wrong its detractors were.
–Robert Corham in Boyd: The Fighter Pilot who Changed the Art of War
Pierre Sprey’s brainchild would become a legend. The “plane built around a gun” would destroy nearly 4,000 pieces of military equipment in Desert Storm, and survive hundreds of rounds of small-arms fire and flak during Iraqi Freedom. The A-10 has even scored more air to air kills than the F/A-18 Hornet, downing two Iraqi helicopters with its GAU-8 30mm “Avenger” cannon during the First Gulf War.
USS MOUNT WHITNEY, At Sea (NNS) — A U.S. Navy P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft and guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52), engaged Libyan Coast Guard vessel Vittoria and two smaller crafts March 28.
The vessels were engaged after confirmed reports that Vittoria and accompanying crafts were firing indiscriminately at merchant vessels in the port of Misrata, Libya.
The P-3C fired at Vittoria with AGM-65F Maverick missiles, rendering the 12-meter patrol vessel ineffective and forcing it to be beached after multiple explosions were observed in the vicinity of the port.
Two smaller Libyan crafts were fired upon by the A-10 using its 30mm GAU-8/ Avenger cannon, destroying one and forcing the other to be abandoned.
Well, yeah…in a legendary chapter in Red Storm Rising.