Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

Nicknamed the “Warthog”, the A10 Thunderbolt II was the first US Air Force jet aircraft designed for close air
support of ground forces.
Certainly, il packed a mighty punch with its integrated Gatling gun. One of the most powerful aircraft cannons ever flown, it weighed as much as a Volkswagen Beetle and fired large, depleted uranium armour-piercing shells at a rate of about 3,900 rounds per minute, making short work of tanks and other ground targets.
The formidable A-10 was unleashed in response to the high number of aircraft shot down by ground air defences during the Vietnam War. An ability to withstand battle damage was vital, and the A-10 was famously capable of flying with one engine and half a wing torn off.
Moreover, the pilot was enclosed in a titanium-armour “bathyub”, and the engine nacelles on either side of the rear fuselage were separated to minimize the chance of both suffering damage at the same time. The first operational unit received “Warthogs” in 1977 and they have since proved their worth in various wars.
Production ceased in 1983, but the OA-10 Forward Air Control variant was developed to direct jets attacking ground targets. Thunderbolt IIs are still providing valuable service in Afghanistan.