The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II known to one and all as the Warthog is a single-seat, twin-engine plane designed to kill things on the ground with extreme prejudice. Its basic mission is to support ground troops coming under enemy fire by destroying the source of that enemy fire. This requires the A-10 to fly low and slow, which is why its pilot is protected by a so-called titanium bathtub. The first Air Force plane expressly designed to protect soldiers on the ground, which explains its popularity inside the U.S. Army. The Hog's key weapon is its GAU-8 Avenger cannon, capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute.
For the inside story on America's military operations around the world, check out Mark Thompson's blog, Battleland: Where military intelligence is not a contradiction in terms.