A-10C Tactics and Strategy

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Weapon employment


The GAU-8 is a 30mm autocannon that fires about 4,000 rounds per minute. It can be loaded with HE rounds for use against infantry, or with CM (Combat Mix) for use against vehicles, structures and infantry.

To engage a target with the GAU-8 you should visually acquire the target and fly towards the target from about 3-5 miles out. Put the reticle over the target and hold PAC-1 (P on keyboard) wait for aircraft to stablize and for the two dots in the circle to close (if in GUNS mode). The upper dot represents where the AP rounds will land while the lower one represents the heavier HE rounds. At about 1.5 - 2 miles from the target squeeze the trigger for 2 seconds. Once you've finished firing turn away from the target. Never overfly your target.


The GBU-10 and GBU-12 are LGB's, Laser Guided Bomb. The GBU-10 is a 2000lb bomb, while the GBU-12 is a 500lb bomb. These can be dropped in CCIP or CCRP mode. Although it is best used in CCRP mode as this guarantees the highest accuracy. The A-10C has the ability to auto-lase at a set time from point impact. This can be set up by selecting the GBU-10 or GBU-12 weapon profile and selecting PROF, followed by CHG SET. Then activate auto-lase by changing the option from NO to YES and input a lase time. 11 seconds is the optimum lase time.


The GBU-38 JDAM is a 500lb GPS guided bomb. JDAM stands for Joint Direct Attack Munition. It can only be used in CCRP mode. It is arguably the simplest bomb to operate. Designate a point on the ground as the SPI using the either the Targeting Pod or the HUD. Fly towards the target and release the bomb on cue.

CBU Employment

There are 4 types of CBU's, Cluster Bomb Units, that the A-10C carries. The CBU-87, 97, 103 and 105. These can be separated into two groups, wind corrected and non wind corrected. The CBU-103 and 105 are wind corrected, the 87 and 97 are not. The CBU-87 and CBU-103 are exactly the same bar the 103 has a guidance system. The CBU-97 and CBU-105 are exactly the same bar the guidance system.

The CBU-87 and CBU-103 are for use against infantry and soft targets; jeeps, trucks and early model BMP's.

The CBU-97 and CBU-105 are for use against tanks and other armored vehicles but can be used against the same targets as above.

Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD)

It is not the role of an A-10 to carry out SEAD but should you chose to try it you should use the AGM-65 Maverick missiles. These will give you greatest range.

SEAD is best performed by the Su-25T carrying the ELINT pod and Kh-58U missiles.

Missile Avoidance

IR SAM's (SA-13, Igla etc)

Usually a burst of 4 flares will break the guidance of the missile. Countermeasure program M reprogrammed to 4x Flares, 0.5s interval x1 works a treat. Do not run your CMS in Auto with this program. It will dump your flares at an insane rate and you'll have nothing left.

Upon receiving a launch notification you should;

  • Visually acquire the missile
  • Pump out some flares
  • Make a course change (a turn about 30° left or right will be enough)
  • Once the missile is defeated try to visually acquire the launch site
  • Get to a safe range and lock the site with an AGM-65D as these have the longest range

Radar SAM's (SA-8, SA-11, SA-15 etc)

Defeating radar guided SAM missiles comes down to where you put the aircraft more than the countermeasures you deploy. Releasing chaff while being tracked will increase the time it takes for the site to get a 'solid lock' but not by much. The safest way to fight a SAM site like these is at the maximum range of your AGM-65's - standoff range. The A-10C cannot fly high enough to drop bombs onto a Radar AA.

Depending on your altitude there's two methods to defending against an incoming missile.

If you're flying at low altitude (<1000ft) you should;

  • Visually acquire the missile
  • Get your aircraft as low as possible to the terrain
  • Turn your aircraft away from the AA site, or if you're feeling lucky fly 90° to the site and beam the missile.

If you're at medium to high altitude you should;

  • Visually acquire the missile
  • Turn away from the launch site and initiate a 45° dive
  • Deploy chaff during the dive
  • You can add slight jinks during your dive by banking left and then right and then left and then right and so forth. This might help expend some of the missiles energy.

Air launched missiles (AIM-120, AIM-9, R-77, R-73 etc)

Defeating air launched missiles is significantly more difficult as they will be flying faster thus giving you less time to react. Also visually acquiring the missile and the hostile aircraft can be challenging. You should avoid dogfights at all costs when flying an A-10C. Your speed and weight puts you at a significant disadvantage, add to that the lack of radar and that makes you an easy target. Try to drag hostile aircraft down low into the terrain, use mountains and valleys for cover. Air superiority fighters will attempt to use their speed down low which will mean using afterburners, an inexperienced pilot may inadvertently use up all his fuel through over use of afterburners at low altitude. Use this to your advantage.

Defeating heat seeking missiles

  • Deploy flares immediately (a burst of 4 should be sufficient)
  • Change course and attempt to visually acquire the missile and hostile aircraft
  • Engage Air to Air master mode. M on keyboard.

Defeating Semi-Active Radar Homing missiles (SARH)

  • Deploy chaff immediately and activate your jammer
  • Visually acquire the missile and the hostile aircraft
  • Turn 90° to the target (and missile if possible) and begin beaming the enemy radar.
  • Engage Air to Air master mode. M on keyboard.

Air to Air Refueling (AAR)

Dogfights/Air-to-Air combat

When flying the Hog, air-to-air combat is to be avoided. It's not a fighter and has limited air-to-air weaponry, as well as no on-board radar. This can make an offensive role in the A-10 difficult in the scenario. However, the aircraft does have a few tricks up its sleeve and it can be possible to at least manoeuvre your way out of a fight.

Though no dogfighter, the Warthog is still fairly nimble and can be thrown around the sky quite easily for the purposes of defeating enemy missiles. Your primary aim should be to get low - it'll make it harder for the enemy to spot you, and they'll find it hard to engage you at lower altitudes, where the Warthog excels. You don't have the power to climb out of a fight or to defeat missiles - use your CMs and positioning. If available, head toward friendly AAA - this should deter most enemy pilots from pursuing you.

If the enemy comes in closer, you can use his or her advantages against them! More than once has this author had an enemy shoot straight past his A-10 and into his AIM-9's detection cone! If this fails, you have a short amount of time in which to either try and lose yourself in the terrain, and thus baffle the hostile pilot, or direct an allied aircraft into an attack. If you have the latter option, try not to lose the hostile pilot! Your aircraft is survivable and can take a lot of punishment - use this to your advantage, but don't get sloppy: always be alert for missile trails and be prepared to hit the flares. And at all times, keep an eye out for your enemy's wingmen!


Hearing funny words and confused? See a list here on the standard codes.


The Wikipedia article will provide you with almost everything you need to know but here are the essentials;

  • Rifle - used when firing an AGM-65
  • Fox 2 - used when firing an AIM-9
  • Pickle - used when releasing a bomb
  • Guns Guns - used when firing the GAU-8

The most important call out is "Rifle" when firing an AGM-65 Maverick. Firing a maverick will cause friendly A-10C's MAWS (Missile Approach Warning System) to detect a missile launch. Failure to call out your launch may lead to friendly aircraft believing they are being engaged.

Third Party Programs

The TacView interface

TacView - TacView is a third party program that records and displays data from the previous missions. TacView can be very useful in analyzing missions outcomes and attack profiles.