By the end of 1996, the U.S. Air Force has almost completely
eliminated the A-10 from its inventory. Almost. The spectacular
performance characteristics of the aircraft, particularly in the
ground support role, uniquely suits the A-10 for the measured
application of force in situations of extreme political sensitivity.
Accordingly, the Air Force has deployed the remaining A-10s into a new
and highly-secret flying unit: the 11th Air Commando Wing
(Provisional)-code name Silent
Thunder. Its specific mission is covert support of vital U.S.
policy objectives for nations or organizations unable to invite or
acknowledge open U.S. involvement.
Unlike all other U.S.A.F. units, Silent Thunder's aircraft
normally operate alone. However, the unit specifically recruits star
pilots chosen for independence (i.e., talented troublemakers like you.
See Personal Briefing: Jack Haggart.) In addition, the unit is heavy
in support elements, like AWACS airborne warning and control aircraft,
satellite imaging systems, and logistical structure. This
unprecedented support capability provides each aircraft commander with
phenomenal real-time theater intelligence, as well as plentiful fuel,
maintenance, and weapons. Accordingly, the strike elements of Silent
Thunder are expected to accomplish missions beyond the scope or
capabilities of conventional units of any size.
Note: The use of the term "Silent Thunder" for the A-10
originated with Iraq's soldiers during the Gulf War. The airplane's
turbofan engines allowed it to approach so quietly that the target's
first awareness of an attack was usually the thunderous impact of the
Of this motley crew, the motliest and most talented is you-Jack
"Loudmouth" Haggart. On the ground, the only orders you will observe
are from a bottle of tequila or a long-stemmed dame. (Several of your
former posts feature a "Loudmouth Haggart Memorial Cell" in their
stockades.) The brass lets it slide, though, because in the air, you
deliver: on target, on time, every time, no matter what. So far, that
is. If you fail in the air, you may not want to return to base.
Despite the most grave misgivings of the command structure, you
face perhaps the heaviest responsibilities ever shouldered by a United
States Air Force pilot. Operating virtually alone in the air, your
actions will decide the fate of millions. Do well, and a grateful
nation will honor you. Do poorly, and you will sink into well-deserved
oblivion. It's up to you, Jack.
ACTUAL GAME PLAY
You may be ordered to destroy bunkers, aircraft hangars, illegal
factories, headquarters buildings, command posts, or other enemy
assets. Be sure to positively identify your target before firing, as
some civilian structures may resemble valid targets. Use GP bombs or
FAEs on conventional structures, and NAPalm against hardened bunkers
or command posts.
On some missions, you may be directed to Bonus Targets by your
supporting forces, or to find valid targets of opportunity on your
own. However, many of the structures and vehicles you spot during your
mission are not combatants. Attacking these targets may diminish your
score, or even cause the loss of an entire scenario.
To use a weapon other than the Avenger, you first must select it,
then get target lock in the HUD, and then fire or drop the weapon
using your [ENTER] key or Joystick Button #2. (To see what weapons you
have available or remaining, check the A-10 Status Screen [S].) You
may select any available weapon by pressing the appropriate key, or
cycle through the weapon types with the [ [ ] and [ ] ] keys:
HUD ID Weapon Name Select Key
MAV Maverick anti-tank missile [H]
MK84 2000 lb. Mk. 84 GP Bomb [J]
MK82 500 lb. Mk. 82 GP Bomb [E]
ROC Rockeye II cluster bomb [K]
CBU52 Anti-personnel cluster bomb [R]
CBU58 Cluster bomb [U]
FAE Fuel Air Explosive [T]
NAP BLU-27 Napalm [L]
LAU LAU Rocket Pod [Y]
SID Sidewinder anti-aircraft missile [;]
If you are out of a selected weapon, "[NONE]" appears next to its
To use the selected weapon, you must have a target lock for it
showing on your HUD. If you have a target lock, the words "lock" or
"release" will appear next to the weapon code on your HUD. To cycle
through the available targets, use the [TAB] key or Joystick Button
#4. Once you have lock, drop or fire the weapon with Joystick Button
#2, or the [ENTER] key.
Flares. [F] key or Joystick Button # 8 (if available). The A-10
is equipped for every mission with 30 flares as a defense against
heat-seeking missiles. Whenever warned of an incoming SAM or
air-to-air IR missile (Infrared Radiation, e.g., heat-seeking), you
should launch several burning flares to confuse the missile while
maneuvering the A-10 abruptly. With luck, the missile will home in on
a flare instead of the A-10's exhaust. (But note - every A-10 downed
in the Gulf War was hit by an IR missile.)
Chaff. [C] key or Joystick Button # 5 (if available). The A-10 is
equipped for every mission with 30 chaff cartridges as a defense
against radar-guided missiles and guns. If you are warned about an
enemy radar locking onto your A-10, launch chaff and maneuver
abruptly. The chaff cartridge sprays out a cloud of foil strips to
reflect enemy radar and blind it for a few seconds, which may allow
you to escape.
When you're about 7 kilometers from the target, slow down to a
throttle setting of  or . This will give you enough time to line
up on the target. Then select the proper weapon:
Tanks: MAVerick, ROCkeye, or Avenger Light Vehicles: Anything but
Sidewinders. Structures: Select Mk 82 bombs for smaller targets. Mk
84s, FAEs for larger ones. Try NAPalm on bunkers and other hardened
installations. Hangars, Grounded Aircraft: FAEs or cluster munitions.
Aircraft: SIDewinders, or the Avenger if desperate. Enemy Columns:
ROCkeyes vs. armor, CBUs or iron bombs against soft targets.
Make sure the correct target is selected (boxed) in the HUD. When
"LOCKED" appears ("RELEASE" for "dumb" weapons), send the weapon on
its way with the [Enter] key, or Joystick Button # 2.
Fly The Training Mission -- In training no one shoots at you, and
you get the opportunity to attack a variety of targets. It's a good
chance to hone your weapons skills. You can also create a custom
loadout and test the effectiveness of different weapons in a safe
Learn Your Weapons -- Different weapons have different
advantages. If all you ever use are Mavericks and Sidewinders, you'll
be missing half of the fun.
Stay Low -- SAM radar can't pick you up through hills or
mountains. The lower you fly, the closer they must be to detect you
and the shorter time they have to fire.
Get Ready -- When making an attack on a target, select your
ordnance in advance; you may not have time when the fur is flying. Use
your Avenger for those quick shots in order to avoid having to change
Sometimes, Slow Is Good -- Slowing down over a target may seem
like asking for trouble, but sometimes going a bit slower may let you
hit all of your targets in one pass and avoid the need to fly back
over the target, actually lowering the time you spend in the enemy's
Don't Be Ashamed To Run -- Helicopters are more maneuverable than
you, but slower. Dashing away can sometimes allow you to reposition
and bring Sidewinders to bear without getting blown out of the sky.