Golden Age Weaponsmiths A-10 Thunderbolt II:

In many ways, the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a legendary aircraft. It is renowned for being incredibly tough and well armored. Sometimes people will call it a fighter but it is really more of a ground attack aircraft. Part of the aircraft legend comes from its tank busting abilities. Often called "Warthog" by its pilots, it is armed with an incredibly powerful 30 mm Vulcan Cannon and many consider the aircraft to be built around the cannon. Many in the high command of the United States Air Force were dismissive of the aircraft, preferring fighters. Many pilots also preferred to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon over the Thunderbolt. Still, its ground support abilities made it much beloved in the army.

Even a great plate is eventually retired. When the revolution in super strong materials occurred, the Thunderbolt was due for retirement. In case they would ever been needed again, these aircraft were carefully mothballed, alongside F-16 fighters, in various Air National Guard Armories. The plan appears to have been that if they were ever needed, they would be refitted with new armor and put back into service. It was in these widely scatted bases that some of these aircraft managed to survive. Due to their age, they were even often ignored by looters.

Eventually Golden Age Weaponsmiths, along with other adventurers, began poking their noses into old Pre-Rifts Air National Guard Armories. There they found these A-10 Thunderbolt II forgotten alongside F-16 Fighting Falcons. At first, the value of refitting these aircraft was considered questionable. They were comparatively slow and had primitive sensor systems. Still, the 30 mm cannon and ability to carry a huge amount of ordnance caught the engineers interest. In the end it was decided that they would be worth refitting.

It was amazing how popular the aircraft was. While the Coalition did not show any interest, several independents showed immediate interest including both mercenary companies and small kingdoms. Even though it does not deal well with fighters, it is quite capable of dealing with helicopters and is far better armed than a sky cycle. Its ability to devastate ground is its chief feature. Many consider it to be more effective in the ground attack role than the much more expensive Iron Heart Armament Grey Falcon fighter. In addition, the A-10 Thunderbolt can operate from primitive air fields makes it extremely flexible. Golden Age Weaponsmiths is having trouble keeping up with demands for the aircraft, attempting to scour old air fields for these aircraft. As a result, the company is considering copying the design and producing a “New” version of the attack aircraft. Other aircraft being considered are the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-15E Strike Eagle, and the F/A-18 Hornet fighters.

Even though extremely well armored for its time, the old A-10 Thunderbolt were not armored to withstand the modern weapons which entered service after the aircraft were retired. In order to sold this, the aircraft were reinforced and the original titanium armor was replaced by high strength alloys and composites. This greatly increased the aircraft's survivability although still nowhere near as tough as a modern aircraft would probably be.

Compared to most fighter engines, the TF34-GE-100 engines in the A-10 Thunderbolt II are comparatively simple and easy to maintain. They are also surprisingly fuel efficient. Still, the engines needed to be completely rebuilt in most cases. They already were certified for bio-fuels so there were no troubles with conversion. Their thrust to weight ratio is comparatively low compared to fighter engines and the aircraft is designed for flight at relatively low airspeeds. If a new construction version, a further simplified and improved version of the engine would most likely be developed

Even compared to the fighters than Golden Age Weaponsmiths has refitted, the electronics of the A-10 Thunderbolt II are comparatively simple. Even so, they are adequate for the role that the aircraft is designed to perform. The aircraft does not have a long range radar system although does have nigh vision equipment. A smaller version of the nigh vision sensors are fitted into the A-10 which have been refitted by Golden Age Weaponsmiths.

Main weapon of the A-10 Thunderbolt is the GAU-8/A 30 mm Avenger Gatling Cannon with 1,174 rounds. As with Golden Age Weaponsmith refitted aircraft armed with the M61A1 20 mm Vulcan Cannon, the 30 mm ammunition was replaced by armor piercing ramjet ammunition produced by Wellington Industries. Using this ammunition, the 30 mm Gatling Cannon inflicts greater damage than most rail guns although payload is considered limited due to high ammunition consumption.

There is a total of eleven hard points with three under the fuselage and four under each wing. The weapon systems that the hard points were originally designed for have been long retired. As a result, the hard points are modified to carry standard ordinance available after the coming of the Rifts. These including missiles, bombs, mini-missile pods, jamming pods, and even towed decoys. For longer range missions, fuel tanks can also be carried to extend the range of the attack aircraft.

Model Number: A-10
Vehicle Type: Ground Attack Aircraft.
Crew: One

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Wings (2):80 each
[2] Elevators (2):40 each
[2] Rudders (2):40 each
[3] Engines (2):120 each
Landing Gear (3):10 each
[4] Main Body:280

[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash
[2] Destruction of rudders or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but the fighter has a penalty of -10 to dodge, and a -30% penalty to all piloting rolls. Destruction of both of the elevators will leave the plane uncontrollable and pilot must eject to survive.
[3] The destruction of one engine will reduce the fighter’s top speed by half and give the pilot a -2 penalty to dodge as well as giving a 10% penalty to piloting. Destruction of both engines will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot can choose to eject.
[4] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the aircraft down completely, rendering it useless and causing it to crash if in flight

Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Only possible for take offs and landings as well as for parking and storage. Speed is 40 mph (64 kph) when traveling and not on take off or landing. Aircraft can land and take off from primitive runways.
Flying: The Thunderbolt can reach a top speed of 420 mph (365 knots /676 kph). Top speed is reduced by about 10% when fully loaded. The aircraft does not have an afterburner and the fighter’s normal cruise speed is 345 mph (300 knots /556 kph) but varies on the situation. The Thunderbolt has a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet (13,636 meters.)
Range: Has a cruise range of 1,554 miles (1,350 nautical miles /2,500 km) with no ordnance load. The aircraft can carry up to three external fuel tanks that each contains 600 gallons of fuel and adds 300 miles (260 nautical miles /480 km) to the aircraft's range. Reduce aircraft's range by 15% if partially loaded (more than 50% of capacity) and by 25% if fully loaded. The Thunderbolt can fly a mission to a target that is 288 (250 nautical miles /463.5 km) away while being three quarters loaded with ordnance and the aircraft can loiter at the target for 1 hour and 45 minutes. The A-10 Thunderbolt II can be refueled in the air

Statistical Data:
Height: 14 feet 8 inches (4.4 meters)
Wingspan: 57 feet (17.4 meters)
Length: 53 feet 4 inches (16.16 meters)
Weight: 24,959 pounds (11,321 kilograms) empty and 51,000 pounds (22,950 kilograms) fully loaded.
Power System: Conventional, Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines (9,065 lbs thrust each - no afterburner), uses aviation fuel.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment) in cockpit, does not include hard points.
Black Market Cost: 3.3 million credits (Can sometimes sell for double that price.)

Weapon Systems:

  1. One GAU-8/A 30 mm Avenger Gatling Gun: This is the original Pre-Rifts cannon mounted in the nose of the aircraft (although takes up much of the length of the aircraft.) They have replaced the standard ammo with mega damage, armor piercing ramjet ammunition produced by Wellington Industries which allows the aircraft to hold it own and surpass other Rifts aircraft in firepower. The 30 mm cannon inflicts incredible damage although payload is limited.
    Maximum Effective Range: 6,000 feet (1,830 meters.)
    Mega Damage: 2D6x10 for a short burst of 20 round, 4D6x10 for a long burst of 40 rounds, and 3D6 for each round. Both bursts count as one attack.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 1180 rounds (59 short bursts / 29 long burst)
  2. Eleven (11) Ordnance Hard Points: The aircraft has a total of eleven hard points. Three of the hard points are on the body of the aircraft and there are four hard points on each wing. The hard points can be used to carry missiles, bombs, mini-missile packs, towed decoys, and jamming pods. The aircraft can also carry fuel tanks on the three hard points on the main body. The outer hard points often carry medium range missiles for air to air combat.
    1. Bombs and Missiles: The only restriction is that each hard point must carry all the same type of missile and missile. Both unguided and guided bombs can be carried on the aircraft.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies by missile type for missile and varies by altitude bombs are dropped at (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies by missile or bomb type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired and bombs can be dropped one at a time per hard point. Multiple hard points can be linked as one attack but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley.)
      Payload: Four (4) short range missile or light bombs, two (2) medium range missiles or medium bombs, or one (1) long range missile or heavy bomb (all ordnance on a hard point must be the same size and type of ordnance) each hard point.
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. These pods are not carried on the body of the aircraft but are only carried on the wings. The aircraft normally carries missile pods for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies with mini-missile types (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Each pod can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16 - all.) and can be linked with other mini missile pods for greater number of missiles (Counts as one attack no matter how many missiles in volley.)
      Payload: Each pod carries sixteen (16) mini-missiles.
      c. Active Jamming Pod: A pod takes place of all ordnance on the hard point. Causes -25% to detection but when it is active, other vehicles/ bases can detect that it is jamming, and some missiles will home in on jamming signals. Jamming also causes a -4 penalty to all radar guided weapons. The jamming pod is only mounted on outer wing hard points.
    3. Towed Decoys (4): The pod takes place of all ordnance on the Hard Point. The aircraft can carry a special pod that carries four advanced towed decoy drones. These drones are dragged about 328 feet (100 meters) behind the aircraft on a thin cable. Each is a specially designed radar lure that creates a radar image to mimic the aircraft. If decoys are not destroyed, they can be recovered and repaired. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World weapons due to technological difference.
      M.D.C.: 5 each
      Effects: The decoy has an 65% chance of fooling ordinary non military radars and non smart guided missiles, the decoy has a 35% chance of fooling military level radars (like those of the Coalition), and the decoy has a 10% chance of fooling advanced military radars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart missiles.
      Range: Not Applicable although the decoy is deployed 328 feet (100 meters) from the aircraft
      Rate of fire: One can be deployed at a time and requires 15 seconds to deploy (Reel Out) another decoy
      Payload: Four (4) Decoys each pod.
  3. One (1) Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser: Use the same effects as the TRIAX model. However, each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.
      51-75 Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      76-00 No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Also note that the chaff cloud will also blind flying monsters that fly through cloud. They will suffer the following penalties: reduce melee attacks/actions, combat bonuses, and speed by half. Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.
    Payload: 20 chaff, 40 flares. Each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares.

Special Equipment:
The equipment of the fighter has been upgraded but many of the original systems are still on the fighter. Consider the fighter to carry all standard equipment that robot vehicles carry (not including loudspeaker and microphone) plus the following extra systems:

Combat Bonuses:

[ Altarain TM, Bandito Arms TM, Brodkil TM, Chipwell Armaments TM, Coalition States TM, Cyber-Knight TM, Federation of Magic TM, Free Quebec TM, Golden Age Weaponsmiths TM, Horune TM, Iron Heart Armaments TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani TM, Kydian TM, Larsen’s Brigade TM, M.D.C. TM, Mechanoids TM, Mega-Damage TM, Megaversal Legion TM, Millennium Tree TM, Mutants in Orbit TM, Naruni Enterprises TM, Naut’Yll, New Navy TM, New Sovietskiy TM, NGR TM, Nog Heng TM, Northern Gun TM, Phase World TM, Psyscape TM, Rifter TM, SAMAS TM, S.D.C. TM, Shemarrian TM, Splugorth TM, Stormspire TM, Sunaj TM, Tolkeen TM, Triax TM, Wellington Industries TM, Wilk’s Laser Technologies TM, Xiticix TM, and Zaayr TM are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

[ Beyond the Supernatural®, Heroes Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Ninjas & Superspies®, Palladium Fantasy®, and Rifts® are registered trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

Image drawn and copyrighted by Lou Drendel (

More of his artwork at Artwork by Lou Drendel

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 1998, 2001, & 2011, Kitsune. All rights reserved.