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Author Topic: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.  (Read 38653 times)

Offline aim9xray

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2014, 05:56:08 pm »
He said that a squadron of F/A-16s went to Operation Desert Storm and did so poorly that they were withdrawn within a month.

It is instructive to know why F-16 bombing with the NY and SC ANG squadrons was so inaccurate in Desert Storm. 

It was discovered after the fact that many of the inaccurate attacks were pressed at very high subsonic and transonic speeds (speed is life, remember?).

Unfortunately, the Air Force had only completed (and validated though flight test) the ballistics tables in the (Mission Computer or Stores Management System, I don't recall which) up to .95 Mach.  So, there was no way for the computer to correct for transonic effects above this speed in bomb aiming and release.   And now you know the rest of the story.

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2014, 06:09:58 pm »
 
The A-10 gun is has a large magazine, is well integrated into the aircraft, and the plane flys slowly enough to allow the pilot time to set up his gun pass. The aircraft was designed to be survivable while it was vulnerable attacking.

The A-10ís survivability is only against low level GBAD threats. Itís important to remember that the A-10 was designed for what was effectively a VietNam War requirement (A-X). Where the GBAD threat was 12.7mm HMGs and SA-7s. It has also only been used in combat where the GBAD threat was similar thanks to SEAD/DEAD (ODS, OIF) and fighting more insurgents (OEF). And in both situations there was no appreciable air threat.
 
Against a high level GBAD threat (Soviet Army) and a high level air threat (regiments of MiG-29s) the A-10 is a dead duck. Too fast to hide and too slow to escape. And airframe ruggedness and cockpit armour is not going to save you when they get you hit by these types of weapons.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline Triton

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2014, 07:15:43 pm »
"An A-10 Pilot Could Hope to Last Two Weeks Against the Soviets
Cold War planners expected to lose up to 60 A-10s a day"
[War is Boring]

Source:
https://medium.com/war-is-boring/1ebff9bfa4df

Quote
The U.S. Air Force is planning to retire all 350 of its A-10 attack planes, blaming budget cuts and the slow-flying jet's trouble surviving against the most sophisticated enemy air defenses.

That problem is not new. The A-10 force has performed well in Afghanistan, devastating lightly-armed insurgents and saving scores of American and allied livesóand losing no jets to sporadic enemy fire. (One A-10 was shot down in Iraq.) But even 30 years ago, Air Force planners expected A-10s to suffer heavy casualties in any serious fight.

In the 1980s the Air Force planned to deploy 68 A-10s to each of six Forward Operating Locations in West Germany in the event of war with the Soviets. The twin-engine A-10s, with their 30-millimeter guns and Maverick missiles, were NATOís main tank-killing weapon.

According to Combat Aircraft magazine, the flying branch predicted that, if the A-10s went into action, seven percent of the jets would be lost per 100 sorties. Since each pilot was expected to fly at most four missions per day, each base would in theory generate more than 250 sorties daily. At this pace, a seven-percent loss rate per 100 flights equaled at least 10 A-10s shot down at each FOL every 24 hours ó and thatís being conservative.

At that rate, in less than two weeks the entire A-10 force at the time ó around 700 jets ó would have been destroyed and the pilots killed, injured, captured or, at the least, very shook up.

In the brutal calculation of Cold War planning, it was perhaps worth it to expend an entire warplane fleet and all its pilots ďin pursuit of the destruction of several hard-charging Soviet armored divisions,Ē in the words of University of Kentucky professor Rob Farley.

If the Air Force were to face a high-tech foe today, the math would probably be different. Itís unlikely the Pentagon could justify sacrificing hundreds of pilots against anything short of a truly existential threat. And for that reason Farley says heís ambivalent about the A-10's future.

But in putting the A-10 on the chopping block, the Air Force is assuming it wonít ever fight anything short of a full-scale war against a peer enemy. Do we really believe the era of low-intensity wars has ended?

Offline Triton

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2014, 08:25:59 pm »
The A-10ís survivability is only against low level GBAD threats. Itís important to remember that the A-10 was designed for what was effectively a VietNam War requirement (A-X). Where the GBAD threat was 12.7mm HMGs and SA-7s. It has also only been used in combat where the GBAD threat was similar thanks to SEAD/DEAD (ODS, OIF) and fighting more insurgents (OEF). And in both situations there was no appreciable air threat.
 
Against a high level GBAD threat (Soviet Army) and a high level air threat (regiments of MiG-29s) the A-10 is a dead duck. Too fast to hide and too slow to escape. And airframe ruggedness and cockpit armour is not going to save you when they get you hit by these types of weapons.

Describing the A-10 Thunderbolt II as "survivable" or "the most survivable plane ever built" is not the same as claiming that the aircraft is invincible. The United States Air Force also has strike and air superiority fighters to reduce the risks posed by high-level GBADs and high-level air threats, such as regiments of MiG-29s. It does seem that the United States Air Force's customers for Close Air Support (CAS), the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps, want the A-10 and are skeptical of the claims that the CAS mission can be adequately performed by high-flying, fast jets with precision guided munitions. There is also disagreement within the Air Force over the capability that will be lost with the retirement of the A-10. I also can't discount the forty plus year battle between the United States Air Force and the United States Army over the CAS mission and the A-10 Thunderbolt II in particular.

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2014, 08:33:27 pm »
 
Describing the A-10 Thunderbolt II as "survivable" or "the most survivable plane ever built" is not the same as claiming that the aircraft is invincible. The United States Air Force also has strike and air superiority fighters to reduce the risks posed by high-level GBADs and high-level air threats, such as regiments of MiG-29s.

So how is the A-10 meant to do the CAS mission in the face of high level threats? Those other aircraft are for other missions. Capiche?
 
It does seem that the United States Air Force's customers for Close Air Support (CAS), the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps, want the A-10 and are skeptical of the claims that the CAS mission can be adequately performed by high-flying, fast jets with precision guided munitions.

Who said anything about the A-16 being a high flying jet relying on PGMs? It was to be a low flying jet shooting Mavericks at targets just like the A-10. It was just going to do it at about twice the speed thanks to its vehicle system and Falcon-Eye.
 
There is also disagreement within the Air Force over the capability that will be lost with the retirement of the A-10. I also can't discount the forty plus year battle between the United States Air Force and the United States Army over the CAS mission and the A-10 Thunderbolt II in particular.

The A-10 is great for CAS in a permissive environment. Itís just dead meat doing CAS in a high intensity environment.
 
As to the separate argument about PGMs in CAS please note that the A-10 required an extensive upgrade to bring it up to spec for the contemporary COIN CAS mission. The F-35 will bring sensor and command integration to the table that will make everything previous look as dead as dinosaurs.
"There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Thomas Schelling

Offline kcran567

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2014, 08:49:19 pm »
I don't think what I said deserved an insult Abraham. look at the context of the article. Of course there would be losses of A-10s but the article is heavily slanted anti-A-10.


And you saying I am wrong with how NATO was to deal with a scenario of where they were losing on the ground? Of course they would use tactical nukes as a last resort. You misunderstood my point. Depleted Uranium was also to be a last ditch weapon to be used in a losing scenario because it is radioactive and dangerous to be around when fired (dust particles etc). Now it's used all the time with little concern.

Offline GTX

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2014, 09:44:23 pm »

Against a high level GBAD threat (Soviet Army) and a high level air threat (regiments of MiG-29s) the A-10 is a dead duck.

Very much the same as was the Ju-87 against well flown fighters...sure, when the aerial/anti-air opposition is limited, the platform is second to none.  However, in other situations... ::)
« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 09:58:27 pm by GTX »

Offline GTX

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2014, 09:48:46 pm »
Depleted Uranium was also to be a last ditch weapon to be used in a losing scenario because it is radioactive and dangerous to be around when fired (dust particles etc).


So when did the plan change?  It was obviously used without apparent concern in GWI.

Offline GTX

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2014, 09:56:04 pm »
Just more propaganda to get rid of the A-10 in my opinion.


Maybe some people need to give up their romantic nostalgia for the A-10? ::)


I find this whole argument for the A-10 akin to the arguments in the 1930s when some wanted open cockpit biplanes rather than going to closed cockpit monoplanes. Sure, the earlier generation (be that the biplanes or the A-10) were effective in their day. However, paradigms change. What was done in one era (such as the GAU-8) is no longer the only or even the best way to do the job. People need to move on. In this case, remember the A-10 as a great platform that did a good job (and I am sure there is no-one here who won't argue that it's gun was an awesome piece of equipment), but its day has come and it needs to exit the stage and let newer, better platforms take on the role in new ways.

Offline quellish

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #39 on: May 18, 2014, 12:04:46 am »

And you saying I am wrong with how NATO was to deal with a scenario of where they were losing on the ground? Of course they would use tactical nukes as a last resort. You misunderstood my point. Depleted Uranium was also to be a last ditch weapon to be used in a losing scenario because it is radioactive and dangerous to be around when fired (dust particles etc). Now it's used all the time with little concern.



Depleted uranium is naturally occurring uranium that has had the isotopes useful for weapons removed. At that point it is essentially just another heavy metal like tungsten, and there are certain health hazards that come with handling it improperly. Like tungsten it is very dense, which makes it useful for penetrating armor.
Depleted uranium was never a "last ditch" weapon.

Offline kcran567

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #40 on: May 18, 2014, 12:20:09 am »
Depleted Uranium was also to be a last ditch weapon to be used in a losing scenario because it is radioactive and dangerous to be around when fired (dust particles etc).


So when did the plan change?  It was obviously used without apparent concern in GWI.


Huge amounts of DU would've been used to stop an all out Soviet tank invasion. It is considered hazardous. The decision to use it in conflicts like Iraq was political I guess. But my earlier point that AG criticized was not comparing it to tactical nukes. I was trying to say that all that stuff would've been on the table.


 And to single out A-10s as so vulnerable. Imagine what would have happened to all the AH-64 pilots and Cobra pilots. It was just slanted against the A-10. I'm not nostalgic for the fabric winged biplanes of old I think ( and others) that the A-10 is going continue to be needed. Why is there talk of bringing the OV-10 back? Why would there be customers for the Scorpion?

Offline kcran567

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #41 on: May 18, 2014, 12:26:05 am »

And you saying I am wrong with how NATO was to deal with a scenario of where they were losing on the ground? Of course they would use tactical nukes as a last resort. You misunderstood my point. Depleted Uranium was also to be a last ditch weapon to be used in a losing scenario because it is radioactive and dangerous to be around when fired (dust particles etc). Now it's used all the time with little concern.



Depleted uranium is naturally occurring uranium that has had the isotopes useful for weapons removed. At that point it is essentially just another heavy metal like tungsten, and there are certain health hazards that come with handling it improperly. Like tungsten it is very dense, which makes it useful for penetrating armor.
Depleted uranium was never a "last ditch" weapon.


When it ignites in the barrel or ignites when hitting a target like a tank is where the concern is. There is debate about the health effects.


Offline quellish

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #42 on: May 18, 2014, 12:32:40 am »

When it ignites in the barrel or ignites when hitting a target like a tank is where the concern is. There is debate about the health effects.


Uninformed debate. Again, penetrators are made of dense heavy metals. Heavy metals have health hazards. They are not unique to depleted uranium.


There was no "political" decision wether to use depleted uranium rounds or not.

Offline J.A.W.

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #43 on: May 18, 2014, 12:39:47 am »
Really? Were they used in Europe during the Balkan wars of the `90s?
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Offline kcran567

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Re: F/A-16. A CAS aircraft with some get up and go.
« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2014, 12:55:34 am »

When it ignites in the barrel or ignites when hitting a target like a tank is where the concern is. There is debate about the health effects.


Uninformed debate. Again, penetrators are made of dense heavy metals. Heavy metals have health hazards. They are not unique to depleted uranium.


There was no "political" decision wether to use depleted uranium rounds or not.


The European Parliament is trying to get the EU to support a full ban. (2014) So it is highly political.  the American Navy has removed it from its arsenal, Army wants to keep it. There is some evidence that the DU used in Kosovo and the Gulf may have contained trace Plutonium and other toxic by-products. don't misunderstand me, I am not against DU, just that it was originally to be used against a large scale Soviet armor invasion.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 01:01:55 am by kcran567 »