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Author Topic: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?  (Read 106477 times)


Online sferrin

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2013, 11:24:08 am »
If one can only have either a specialist or a generalist the specialist goes.
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Offline TaiidanTomcat

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 11:51:37 am »
"Tough choices" means having to make tough choices. I know a lot of mouth breathers are going to huff and puff and blame the USAF's top 3 priorities for this, but the reality is sequestration means choosing between nice to have and need to have, and the A-10 falls into nice to have. We get more money they can be saved, but if sequestration is here to stay, the A-10 goes.
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Offline Vahe Demirjian

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2013, 12:27:36 pm »
"Tough choices" means having to make tough choices. I know a lot of mouth breathers are going to huff and puff and blame the USAF's top 3 priorities for this, but the reality is sequestration means choosing between nice to have and need to have, and the A-10 falls into nice to have. We get more money they can be saved, but if sequestration is here to stay, the A-10 goes.

No one should be surprised that the A-10 will be one of the two warplanes to be replaced by the F-35A, but if sequestration continues, the question is how many A-10s will be retired. A handful of A-10s that may to too expensive to be maintained could be retired.

Offline F-14D

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2013, 12:37:54 pm »
Of course, this is only what they've been trying to do for over 25 years.

Offline cluttonfred

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2013, 02:41:08 pm »
Reports of the A-10's demise have been greatly exaggerated before.
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Offline beachhead1973

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2013, 02:48:18 pm »
Next mind that specialized ground support has been the majority of the Air Force mission for quite some time now.

I think the truth is simpler, and ahem; call me a mouth breather if you want; it's what comes from humping rucks up hills, I guess. The USAF has a particular self-narrative and the A-10 does not and has never fit it.

As for specialization; I have heard it said it is for insects. Insects have done pretty well in my opinion and most generalists fail to excel at any one role.

Offline TaiidanTomcat

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2013, 03:59:33 pm »

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Next mind that specialized ground support has been the majority of the Air Force mission for quite some time now.

indeed, and look at all the aircraft that have been capable of doing it, while doing other missions as well.

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I think the truth is simpler, and ahem; call me a mouth breather if you want; it's what comes from humping rucks up hills, I guess. The USAF has a particular self-narrative and the A-10 does not and has never fit it.

I disagree. CAS and the JTAC doctrine has basically ensured that whether you are calling in support from a A-10, an F-18E, or an AV-8B the same doctrine and tactics are used. So simply put, all the other aircraft got good at CAS, (and this has been proven over the last twelve years and even B-52s and BONEs have provided CAS --short of strafing of course) and the A-10 never got much better at doing what those aircraft could. CAS now is "plug in and go" essentially A-10s are being treated just like an F-16 in CAS.

It would help the specialist if there was nothing else that could play his role, but A-10s have become interchangable, and frankly we don't use A-10s like A-10s anymore anyway. What happens when a specialist is no longer special? 

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most generalists fail to excel at any one role.

That is the idea.  ;)
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Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2013, 04:58:44 pm »
"Jack of all trades, master of none."  USAF Inc. at its finest.
Although I will acknowledge that with a tight budget the USAF Inc. has to look to its core (priority missions).
I do not agree with Taiidan Tomcat, but hope that he is right about the technology.  Lets just hope the enemy never comes up with things like GPS jammers and laser spoffers....

Online sferrin

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2013, 05:51:12 pm »
Insects have done pretty well in my opinion and most generalists fail to excel at any one role.

That's why they're called generalists.  (And insects are a poor analogy.)  Tell me, when you've kept your A-10 and ditched your generalist are you going to fly those Warthogs out the intercept Bears?   ;D
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Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2013, 06:03:01 pm »
Insects have done pretty well in my opinion and most generalists fail to excel at any one role.

That's why they're called generalists.  (And insects are a poor analogy.)  Tell me, when you've kept your A-10 and ditched your generalist are you going to fly those Warthogs out the intercept Bears?   ;D

Agree with sferrin plus the advent of precision strike means low and slow isn't really needed anymore. A JTAC just won the Silver Star for calling in air strikes in A-Stan from five different platforms, I think the list was B-1, F-18, F-15, F-16 and A-10 in a 12 hour firefight. Body count 300 dead Talibs, 0 allied dead.
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Offline ksimmelink

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2013, 06:08:06 pm »
Having worked on the A-10 in the early years, I regret that this day finally may be here.   The Air Force never liked it, especially when its main role - ripping up as many Russian tanks and apcs as possible as they poured through the Fulda gap in Germany - died along with the Soviet Union and East Germany.  But it was simple, rugged, easy and cheap to maintain, and effective, and cannot be replaced by a fast mover as was proved over and over again in the Gulf conflicts.  I can only hope we don't live to regret this decision, but I do understand the financial realities (even though the A-10 is cheaper to fly and maintain than the other aircraft in the inventory), it just can't do enough to warrant its daily JP-4. 
I think that the advent of UAVs really had a lot to do with this decision.
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Offline TaiidanTomcat

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2013, 07:10:47 pm »

Lets just hope the enemy never comes up with things like GPS jammers and laser spoffers....

Its really more than that. A-10s were limited in libya when rumors of Sa-18s surfaced. That saw restrictions on A-10s, AV-8s and AC-130s. (speaking of which the AC-130 is great, and has commonality with C-130 fleets, so there will be gunships still around) One has to ask what happens when troops in contact call for help behind a SAM Belt, or with Air Threats around, and the proliferation of shoulder fired missiles. Causing the A-10 to battle for its own survival means its too busy to help the grunts in the first place, and its relying on those generalists that can kill enemy planes, radars, etc. One could make the case that fighting an enemy with GPS and Laser Spoofers in the first place would indicate a level of tech that would see the A-10 in trouble anyway. In IADs it would need serious help.

The objective is to help the grunts on the ground, if the A-10 is barred from doing that through orders or through enemy action then thats a serious issue. I know it can take damage but damage means turning back and Aircraft damaged in fast moving conflicts don't usually return to the fight and a few A-10s that have been damaged were never put back into service post war. So on the bright note, the pilot gets back at least but its an attrition kill.  I know an F-22, an F-35, B-2, and the LRS-B won't ever be A-10s, but they will be able to go places A-10s can't and without having to coordinate multiple aircraft types in a strike. Even F-18E/Fs and F-15Es will have more advantages. The ability to "self escort" is huge.
 
Its great for LIC, but of course with LIC you don't need a 30MM super armored warplane to take on IEDs and RPGs. Its been kept around for the conflicts we are fighting for the same reason as the B-52, its original role gone, its found a new niche that would cost more to develop something else. Its "useful because its around, not around because its useful"

Ksimmelink is right about it being on borrowed time post Cold War. Remember the A-10 was going to be fighting on the central front in WWIII, heavy casualties were expected and low level required to be under the SAM belts. When the A-10s went toe to toe with the Republican Guard in Iraq, they lost 2 aircraft 1 pilot killed the other captured, And from there on A-10s were removed and F-16s used for deep battle, remember this is the mission they were designed to do and Horner, and Glosson pulled them back, along with the Squadron Commander requesting targets in Kuwait. Why take casualties when you have other options?:

A-10s vs. F-16s

Q: Did the war have any effect on the Air Force's view of the A-10?

A: No. People misread that. People were saying that airplanes are too sophisticated and that they wouldn't work in the desert, that you didn't need all this high technology, that simple and reliable was better, and all that.

Well, first of all, complex does not mean unreliable. We're finding that out. For example, you have a watch that uses transistors rather than a spring. It's infinitely more reliable than the windup watch that you had years ago. That's what we're finding in the airplanes.

Those people . . . were always championing the A-10. As the A-10 reaches the end of its life cycle-- and it's approaching that now--it's time to replace it, just like we replace every airplane, including, right now, some early versions of the F-16.

Since the line was discontinued, [the A-10's champions] want to build another A-10 of some kind. The point we were making was that we have F-16s that do the same job.

Then you come to people who have their own reasons-good reasons to them, but they don't necessarily compute to me-who want to hang onto the A-10 because of the gun. Well, the gun's an excellent weapon, but you'll find that most of the tank kills by the A-10 were done with Mavericks and bombs. So the idea that the gun is the absolute wonder of the world is not true.

Q: This conflict has shown that?

A: It shows that the gun has a lot of utility, which we always knew, but it isn't the principal tank-killer on the A-IO. The [Imaging Infrared] Maverick is the big hero there. That was used by the A-10s and the F-16s very, very effectively in places like Khafji.

The other problem is that the A-10 is vulnerable to hits because its speed is limited. It's a function of thrust, it's not a function of anything else. We had a lot of A-10s take a lot of ground fire hits. Quite frankly, we pulled the A-10s back from going up around the Republican Guard and kept them on Iraq's [less formidable] front-line units. That's line if you have a force that allows you to do that. In this case, we had F-16s to go after the Republican Guard.

Q: At what point did you do that?

A: I think I had fourteen airplanes sitting on the ramp having battle damage repaired, and I lost two A- 10s in one day [February 15], and I said, "I've had enough of this." It was when we really started to go after the Republican Guard.

http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/1991/June%201991/0691horner.aspx

We can't keep this thing around for a gun that is only used as a last resort as it is.
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Offline sublight is back

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2013, 08:54:19 pm »
You know I love, love, love, the Warthog but since the Marines and the Army are ramping up their orders for these precision hand launched kamikaze munitions, then maybe we don't need low and slow for the dug in and hard to find soft targets any more.

Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2013, 03:40:46 pm »
A good argument Taiidan.  Still while the US would not allow A-10 into Libya, both France and the UK committed attack helicopters to action there, even though the uber-MANPAD (SA-24) was rumored to be operational, not just the SA-18.  They did do more than hover off the coast as well.  Also GPS jammers are not overly "high tech" any more, and some "non-state" actors most likely have them.  As more of the world gains access to information I suspect that ways and means to surmount our technology will be found.
There is another challenge in that the USAF will NOT allow anyone other than a TACP to call in air launched fires.  Just hope every ground unit below battalion has one (hint: they don't).  Also I would say that if you do not stop the enemy from closing with you and you are throwing grenades and curses at each other from shouting distances, a laser guided bomb is of no avail to the ground forces.  A slower aircraft with a cannon might be able to do the job though... it has in the past.  The CAS baton has been handed to the attack helicopter (who can be called in by Army Sargeants or anyone else needing help).
I will defer, as I cannot defend without going into sensitive areas.  Not wanting to hide behind the "that's classified" mantra, I will only say that I hope you are right and future enemies do not figure out how to negate the technologies we have.  I will miss the Hog, having spent much time working with them.  They had our respect because they came down into our dirty world and fought with us.

Offline TaiidanTomcat

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2013, 06:29:09 pm »

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A good argument Taiidan.  Still while the US would not allow A-10 into Libya, both France and the UK committed attack helicopters to action there, even though the uber-MANPAD (SA-24) was rumored to be operational, not just the SA-18.  They did do more than hover off the coast as well.

I don't disagree with this at all, but it also kind of highlights the USAF's hesitation to use/risk the A-10 for its intended role, and would rather assign alternates. This is especially true as the A-10s are flying at medium height, with targeting pods, deploying PGMs-- just like everything else. In that case, why risk them when other stuff will do? As long as the USAF has the option, it will opt to send other things in high threat cases.

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Also GPS jammers are not overly "high tech" any more, and some "non-state" actors most likely have them.  As more of the world gains access to information I suspect that ways and means to surmount our technology will be found.

Thats a fair point, but if we are now talking about deploying dumb bombs from fixed wing assets in close support of troops going against non state actors, its nothing that can't be handled by a helicopter. i would also be curious if an aircraft like say an F-15E would do able to deploy dumb bombs more accurately, with the help of its AESA radar and other avionics. So again, is the A-10 the best option even when everything goes wrong?

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There is another challenge in that the USAF will NOT allow anyone other than a TACP to call in air launched fires.  Just hope every ground unit below battalion has one (hint: they don't). 

yes, but thats not exactly an A-10 issue. its an organizational one.

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Also I would say that if you do not stop the enemy from closing with you and you are throwing grenades and curses at each other from shouting distances, a laser guided bomb is of no avail to the ground forces.

Thats true, but then again I think we both know if we are calling in any kind of fire within grenade tossing distance from a fixed wing asset even an A-10, all bets are off anyway.

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A slower aircraft with a cannon might be able to do the job though... it has in the past.  The CAS baton has been handed to the attack helicopter (who can be called in by Army Sargeants or anyone else needing help).

I agree with this, as nothing gets lower or slower than a helicopter, but all the teen series fighters and harriers have done gun strafing runs in support of troops, and although they couldn't get as slow as an A-10 it didn't seem to affect the quality of the support. (You may know more about this than me though)

The A-10 may have the biggest gun but it certainly doesn't have the only gun. And I would like to point out that the USAF is the only operator of the A-10, somehow other services and other nations have been able to perform CAS without it. Again I don't think the AC-130 is going anywhere either.

At this point the A-10 is more symbolic than anything.  So when it retires it will be the end of the A-10, but not the end of capable platforms (fixed and rotary) providing support for ground forces, and a lot of them have advantage that A-10s don't. I know its going to traumatize much of the internet though.
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Offline quellish

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2013, 07:29:24 pm »
I don't disagree with this at all, but it also kind of highlights the USAF's hesitation to use/risk the A-10 for its intended role, and would rather assign alternates. This is especially true as the A-10s are flying at medium height, with targeting pods, deploying PGMs-- just like everything else. In that case, why risk them when other stuff will do? As long as the USAF has the option, it will opt to send other things in high threat cases.

The A-10 was intended to operate in a permissive threat environment with enhanced survivability against the organic AAA assets of it's targets (i.e. ZSU and small arms accompanying tank regiments). Protection against SAMs relied heavily on chaff, flares, maneuver, armor and redundancy, and tactics to minimize exposure. Again, this was in a permissive threat environment.

The nature of the A-10's mission dictated that it fly low and slow compared to fighters, and that was reflected in the A-X requirements. During DESERT STORM aircraft flying below medium altitude encountered losses that were heavier than expected, and that resulted in a policy for Coalition aircraft to prefer flying at medium altitude.
Interestingly enough, later in the war A-10s in Kuwait were allowed to fly at low altitude again - and this increased their effectiveness.

In Iraq and Afghanistan A-10s are clearly operating at low altitude and using the cannon.

Offline TaiidanTomcat

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2013, 08:35:22 am »
As for specialization; I have heard it said it is for insects. Insects have done pretty well in my opinion and most generalists fail to excel at any one role.

Here is the full quote BTW:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein

Its a giant knock against specialized

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Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2013, 11:38:52 am »
Ha!  I knew it!  Surgeons and lawyers are insects.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2013, 01:16:39 pm »
And probably the United States Air Force would rather break them up than allow the Army to have them. I can't say that I am surprised considering that the Air Force has been trying to get rid of their A-10s for years. And if the Air Force has better platforms to perform the CAS mission, why does the Army covet the A-10? Why does the Army not agree with the Air Force's position on the A-10? A reasonable person would presume that if the A-10s were truly obsolete the Army would not want them either.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 01:36:38 pm by Triton »

Offline mithril

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2013, 08:20:08 am »
why does the army want the A-10?
simple. the A-10, to invert an old airforce saying, has "every pound for air to ground"

it'll never be suddenly retasked to go intercept some enemy fighter. it'll never be reassigned from CAS duties to nursemaid some AWACS. it'll never be told to load up on recon pods and overfly wherethefuckarewe-stan. it'll never need to fly with a large part of its stores dedicated to air to air missions.

it's a pure air to ground specialist. which means that unlike the F-15's, F-16's, and others, it'll never be told to do something else when a non-ground-support mission comes along. while the Airforce would never ignore the CAS duties, the army just wants to know that when they call in for CAS, there will be a plane ready to respond RFN.. and that it'll be able to do the CAS job every time they call for support.

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2013, 08:48:31 am »
The Air Force “has to have a fifth generation force out there” of stealthy, fast and maneuverable aircraft, and the low and slow A-10 just didn’t fit in, Clarke said.
The problem lies in the length of time that will necessarily take place between the moment such a realization is made and the beginning of operational service of that new "stealthy, fast and maneuverable aircraft." You don't just retire an aircraft until there is something better to take its place when it's gone. If the A-10 goes to retirement in the mid-2010s, that means another 20 years, judging from the typical timeline of other defense programs of that scope, and a further 5 years at least to take into account the usual political hassle that plagues most such programs. That means 2040 at best...
Also, by retiring both the F-117A and now A-10A, the USAF will be practically deprived a great amount of ground attack capability, since the Strike Eagle cannot be used in the same type of missions as these two. Makes me wonder why such thinking happens now, when it was obvious even 10 years ago, and probably much before that, that the A-10A would not fit the Air Force's requirements for 21st century CAS anyway.

Offline kcran567

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2013, 06:31:43 pm »
As for specialization; I have heard it said it is for insects. Insects have done pretty well in my opinion and most generalists fail to excel at any one role.

Here is the full quote BTW:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein

Its a giant knock against specialized
Ok then, If you ever win the lottery (or maybe you already can afford) A Ferrarri or other sports car of you're choice, make sure you get one that has a pickup bed in the back to haul around concrete. That way you can haul concrete uphill in you're brand new ferrarri. Or how about this, lets mount a large 20 foot cell phone tower on you're new Ferrarri. According to you specialization is only for insects. Or how about an F-22 that can also carry 6 paratroopers and a drogue refuelling device. No thanks, A dedicated CAS should have certain abilities that other aircraft do not. Specialization is good. Like finding the best person for the job. Do you want a plumber to help deliver you're wife's newborn? I didn't think so.

Offline TaiidanTomcat

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2013, 07:22:22 pm »
And if the Air Force has better platforms to perform the CAS mission, why does the Army covet the A-10? Why does the Army not agree with the Air Force's position on the A-10? A reasonable person would presume that if the A-10s were truly obsolete the Army would not want them either.

It doesn't "covet the A-10" It uses a mix of CAS aircraft from all services up to an including strategic bombers and UAVs. The USMC "coveted" the Iowa-class battleships... what happened?


The problem lies in the length of time that will necessarily take place between the moment such a realization is made and the beginning of operational service of that new "stealthy, fast and maneuverable aircraft." You don't just retire an aircraft until there is something better to take its place when it's gone.

Aircraft are retired without direct replacement all the time. There is no direct replacement for the A-10 and there never will be. There was also no direct replacement for the SR-71.

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If the A-10 goes to retirement in the mid-2010s, that means another 20 years, judging from the typical timeline of other defense programs of that scope, and a further 5 years at least to take into account the usual political hassle that plagues most such programs. That means 2040 at best...

adding to the above. The USAF will never again invest in an attack only manned fighter.

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Also, by retiring both the F-117A and now A-10A, the USAF will be practically deprived a great amount of ground attack capability,

 The USAF has an incredible amount of attack capability and has been showing it off since 1991 and its namely thanks to the emphasis on multi-role aircraft (F-16s have done and continue to do a majority of strike missions for fighter class aircraft, and of course the F-22 which replaced some F-117 squadrons is vastly more capable in more roles than the extremely specialized F-117)

It also still has big bombers:

 
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Tough targets in Serbian territory could only be reached by the B-2 bomber, which made its combat debut by flying directly from its base in Missouri. The B-2 successfully struck heavily defended fixed targets and mobile targets such as an SA-3.

Afghanistan presented another showcase for range and payload. B-1s and B-52Hs ended up dropping about 70 percent of the total tonnage during the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in the fall of 2001.

...

A new appreciation for the bombers emerged during the ongoing operations when B-52Hs and B-1s proved the value of turning range into loiter time, allowing the aircraft to stay overhead with large weapons loads to support varied ground operations.

On missions in 2004 and 2005, it was common for aircraft to drop just one weapon, or none at all. By the fall of 2006, strikes increased as larger formations of Taliban fighters emerged in Afghanistan. One B-1 crew told of releasing eight 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions, plus six 500-pound bombs, on a single mission that fall.

...

There’s another wrinkle. The days of fighters (or bombers, or unmanned systems) operating alone are over. In 21st century scenarios, all these platforms will need to share information and achieve a tactical dependence to get the job done. Heavily defended airspace will present challenges that call for platforms to work together in new ways.


http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2007/November%202007/1107bombers.aspx

And lets not forget the AC-130

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since the Strike Eagle cannot be used in the same type of missions as these two.

The Strike Eagle is perfectly capable of performing A-10 missions, and has done so in combat many times, along with having more speed and Air to Air capability and other helpful things superior avionics and all weather capability. OTOH the A-10 is severely lacking in F-15E capability

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Makes me wonder why such thinking happens now,

budget cuts are forcing the early retirement. the original plan was to have them serving into the 2040s but that is not possible now. So the USAF has to make hard choices. Not surprising it is picking a next generation 21st century multi-role aircraft, an advanced new bomber that will hopefully replace multiple types, and new aerial refuellers, rather than a 1970's era specialized attacker that has seen its job largely supplanted by other types already.

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why does the army want the A-10?
simple. the A-10, to invert an old airforce saying, has "every pound for air to ground"

it'll never be suddenly retasked to go intercept some enemy fighter. it'll never be reassigned from CAS duties to nursemaid some AWACS.

Yep, exactly it can do anything except for tasks that other fighters can also do too. An F-16 can launch a HARM, kill a fighter BVR, and deploy ordnance in support of troops in contact all in one mission, and when the coast is clear, you can send in the A-10. Again an AC-130 is also dedicated to grunt support.

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it'll never be told to load up on recon pods and overfly wherethefuckarewe-stan.

This is actually pretty funny since the A-10s current mission in Afghanistan is using its pods to scan for IEDs and other signs of trouble before troops pass through (from altitude of course), and only deploying ordnance when asked, and only using the gun as a last resort.

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it'll never need to fly with a large part of its stores dedicated to air to air missions.

Dont confuse need with can't Thats part of the problem, what happens when enemy fighters stand between you and the troops you need to help? It may need to fly with AAMs that aren't defensive Sidewinders. It may need to fly into SAM belts, It may need to all of those things in one sortie in fact.

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it's a pure air to ground specialist. which means that unlike the F-15's, F-16's, and others, it'll never be told to do something else when a non-ground-support mission comes along.

Which is funny because it relies on those F-15s and F-16s that might be doing other missions to protect it from enemy radar and aircraft.

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while the Airforce would never ignore the CAS duties, the army just wants to know that when they call in for CAS, there will be a plane ready to respond RFN.. and that it'll be able to do the CAS job every time they call for support.

keeping in mind the US Army has its own fleet of armed helicopters, UAVs, and of course the Marines and Navy who also give help when called.



Ok then, If you ever win the lottery (or maybe you already can afford) A Ferrarri or other sports car of you're choice, make sure you get one that has a pickup bed in the back to haul around concrete. That way you can haul concrete uphill in you're brand new ferrarri. Or how about this, lets mount a large 20 foot cell phone tower on you're new Ferrarri. According to you specialization is only for insects. Or how about an F-22 that can also carry 6 paratroopers and a drogue refuelling device. No thanks, A dedicated CAS should have certain abilities that other aircraft do not. Specialization is good. Like finding the best person for the job. Do you want a plumber to help deliver you're wife's newborn? I didn't think so.


Am I Robert Heinlein? Also I have called the hyperbole police, they are here to arrest your Strawman.

There is a massive public misconception with the USAF, the A-10, and multi-role vs Specialized aircraft. A big part of this is focusing on one small part of the machine, and not the large machine itself. Multi role aircraft are being bashed for providing the safety the A-10 depends on, and if that support isn't available, than neither is the A-10. And don't give me that its armored its invincible crap, because its not, and the Air Force knows it. If its too dangerous, they don't send them. If the A-10 was the ONLY Aircraft that could provide CAS it might be a different story, but the USAF has more CAS capable aircraft than it ever has in its history, and those aircraft can also do other things. So on one side its a 2 way street, and on the A-10s side its a one way street. So no I would not hire a plumber to deliver a baby, however if my doctor could also fix my plumbing and I could only afford to keep one, I would fire my plumber and keep my multi-role Doctor. See my point? I also don't recall ever advocating a transport refueler F-22, but its funny you picked the F-22, which is another aircraft that was considered very specialized and was severely curtailed in favor of (wait for it) a multi role fighter in the F-35

The USN has and will continue to have nothing but Multi role aircraft, as will the US Marines save for the prowler which is being replaced by a multirole aircraft in the F-35.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 08:18:38 pm by TaiidanTomcat »
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Offline GTX

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2013, 07:50:17 pm »
In my opinion people get too enamoured with particular aircraft such as the A-10 and make up all these ridiculous arguments as to why they need to be kept or even conspiracy theories behind their removal.


It's a good thing those in power aren't swayed by them or else our frontline combat aircraft might still be canvas with open cockpits...if we made it into the air at all!

Offline FighterJock

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2013, 09:04:54 am »
What can I add to the debate?  Except that it is an stupid mistake to even think about retiring the A-10. 

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2013, 10:48:32 am »
"Sen. Ayotte To Air Force: Get Me A-10 Answers; Keeps SecAF Nominee Hold"
By Colin Clark   on October 08, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Source:
http://breakingdefense.com/2013/10/08/sen-ayotte-to-air-force-get-me-a-10-answers-keeps-secaf-nominee-hold/

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CAPITOL HILL: While the federal government remains supine and Congress fails to pass appropriations bills, at least one lawmaker is engaged in a classic use of senatorial privilege: placing a hold on the nomination of a senior administration official.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who has made clear her unease with what appears to be the Air Force’s intent to scrap the entire fleet of the beloved and ugly 326 A-10 close air support jets, told the service today she would not let the nomination of Air Force Secretary nominee Debbie Lee James proceed. Why? Answers to questions she posed to the service about the A-10 were “insufficient.” She has sent follow-up questions to the Air Force.

“As Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Senator Ayotte’s central concern is that our troops have the close air support they need to accomplish their missions and return home safely. The A-10 has saved many American lives, and Senator Ayotte is concerned that the Air Force might prematurely eliminate the A-10 before there is a replacement aircraft-creating a dangerous close air support capability gap that could put our troops at risk,” a congressional aide said on background.

This isn’t really about the quality of the Air Force responses, which probably said no final decisions had been reached since the next fiscal year’s budget isn’t final yet. (I bet they even used that fabulous and most hated term that no decent person would ever use — pre-decisional.) This is all about the Air National Guard (which flies almost one third of the A-10 fleet) and deep-seated suspicion that the F-35A, due to replace the A-10 in its close air support role, just isn’t nearly as good as the Warthog at flying low and killing tanks, other military vehicles and even troops on the ground.

Thunder alley

Air Force Times recently ran this compelling account of a recent A-10 sortie:

In July, the A-10’s capabilities were evident when two pilots came to the rescue of 60 soldiers during a convoy ambush in Afghanistan.

The convoy came under attack while patrolling a highway. They became pinned behind their vehicles, facing heavy fire from a close tree line. The group didn’t have a JTAC, but a joint fire observer was able to communicate an estimated location to the A-10s.

“I flew over to provide a show of force while my wingman was looking for gunfire below,” the flight lead said, according to an Air Force release on the mission. “Our goal with the show of force was to break the contact and let the enemy know we were there, but they didn’t stop. I think that day the enemy knew what they were going to do, so they pushed even harder and began moving closer to our ground forces.”

One A-10 fired two rockets to mark the area with smoke. The wingman came in next and pulled the trigger on the Avenger cannon. The enemy moved closer to the friendly forces.

“We train for this, but shooting danger-close is uncomfortable, because now the friendlies are at risk,” the second A-10 pilot said. “We came in for a low-angle strafe, 75 feet above the enemy’s position and used the 30-mm gun — 50 meters parallel to ground forces — ensuring our fire was accurate so we didn’t hurt the friendlies.”

Of course, F-35 advocates would note that the plane possesses stunning sensors (far better than anything the A-10 will ever have) that allow the plane to operate at higher altitudes with excellent precision. They would also point out it can carry a heavier weapons load (18,000 pounds) than can the A-10 (16,000 pounds). Of course, the A-10′s 30 millimeter machine gun is one of the world’s most formidable ground attack weapons, far more potent than the F-35′s 25 mm gun, and the F-35 cannot carry nearly as much ammunition as the A-10 does (180 rounds vs. 1,170 rounds).

Then there’s the indelible impression the A-10 makes on ground troops. The good guys love the fact it flies low and slow. And they adore the impressive sound of the machine gun as it unloads its rounds into the enemy, not to mention the effect of the rounds that spew forth. The enemy hates all of those things.

A-10 pilots are also encased in a titanium tub that protects them from ground fire, allowing them to feel much more confident as they stare down at the enemy. We won’t really know how successful the F-35A is at its ground support role until JTACs guide some in and they have to do the dirty work the A-10 does so well.

The A-10 isn’t alone in facing the axe. The Air Force is considering scrapping its fleet of KC-10 tankers, F-15C fighter jets and the planned $6.8 billion purchase of new combat search-and-rescue helicopters.

The Air Force leadership made clear at last month’s Air Force Association conference that they wanted to cut weapon systems that have only one role, even if those systems perform that role fabulously well. It’s all part of the increasingly desperate push to find big enough savings to either forestall or meet the demands of the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration. The fight over the A-10 will only be one of many come February, when the new budget is rolled out.

Offline John21

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2013, 06:50:02 pm »
I started a thread on this same issue on spacebattles.com. While its sad to see the A-10 go, I can see why they are thinking about doing this.  I figured, why not retire the B-52 instead and give nuclear capability back to a percentage of our B-1B force? The B-1B can do the exact same missions as a B-52 and be quicker and more survivable to boot.

Here's the thread on spacebattles:
http://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/air-force-may-retire-a-10-warthog.270672/

Offline TaiidanTomcat

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2013, 11:26:11 pm »
What can I add to the debate?  Except that it is an stupid mistake to even think about retiring the A-10.

You were right that didn't add anything.
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2013, 09:21:00 am »
Did someone say 2028?

Offline F-14D

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2013, 01:46:17 pm »
I started a thread on this same issue on spacebattles.com. While its sad to see the A-10 go, I can see why they are thinking about doing this.  I figured, why not retire the B-52 instead and give nuclear capability back to a percentage of our B-1B force? The B-1B can do the exact same missions as a B-52 and be quicker and more survivable to boot.

Here's the thread on spacebattles:
http://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/air-force-may-retire-a-10-warthog.270672/

The B-1 also can carry more than a B-52 but costs less to operate.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2013, 02:25:41 pm »
The cynic in me wonders if this isn't a fundraiser by the United States Air Force. Let's announce the retirement of an aircraft that enjoys considerable public and political support and we can get more money in our budget in the amount of $3.7 billion over ten years.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 02:35:38 pm by Triton »

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2013, 03:20:08 pm »
Specific language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014 protects A-10 Thunderbolt II and RQ-4 Global Hawk through the end of fiscal 2014.

"A-10 Supporters Include Protective Language in NDAA"
Dec. 12, 2013 - 02:19PM   | 
By AARON MEHTA   |   Comments   

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20131212/DEFREG02/312120009/A-10-Supporters-Include-Protective-Language-NDAA

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WASHINGTON — Proponents of the A-10 close air support aircraft have inserted language into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that should protect the plane through the end of 2014.

Section 143 of the bill also protects Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV from further cuts, the latest blow to Air Force attempts to divest itself of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform.

The language prohibits that any funds appropriated by the NDAA “or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2014 for the Department of Defense may be obligated or expended to make significant changes to manning levels with respect to covered aircraft or to retire, prepare to retire, or place in storage a covered aircraft.”

In plain terms, that means that if the NDAA passes as is, the Air Force will be unable to spend any money to prepare to divest itself of either the A-10 or the RQ-4 for fiscal 2014. To drive the point home, further language stipulates that the same rule applies to the A-10 through the end of calendar 2014 as well, ensuring that the first three months of fiscal 2015 are covered as well.

There is one exception: A-10s that the service planned to retire as of April 9, 2013 will be allowed to retire. But otherwise, any wholesale attempts to divest the A-10 will be halted by this language.

That’s a potential blow to the Air Force, which has maintained a stance for months that removing entire platforms from the fleet is the only way to achieve savings needed under the sequestered budget.

But the A-10 has become a lightning rod in Congress, most notably with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., holding up the nomination of Deborah Lee James to be Air Force secretary over concerns that the A-10 may be cut.

Speaking Wednesday at the American Enterprise Institute, Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, expressed frustrations with what he called a “strange situation.”

“I find myself arguing to get rid of things that I don’t want to get rid of to pay a bill we’ve been handed, and the people telling me I can’t give up anything to pay it are the people who gave us the bill,” said Welsh, a former A-10 pilot himself. “You can’t continue to defend everything and pay a $1.3 trillion bill. It won’t work.”

While the A-10 may be the most visible platform the Air Force wishes to divest, an older battle over the RQ-4 continues.

In 2012, the service attempted to kill the Global Hawk in favor of its older U-2 platform. But Congress intervened, protecting the unmanned system. It appears poised to do so again.

The same language that protects the A-10 during fiscal 2014 applies to the Global Hawk. The NDAA as written also requires the secretary of defense to file a report on “all high-altitude airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems operated, or planned for future operation” to the Armed Services, Appropriations and Intelligence committees of the House and Senate.

That report, due 180 days after passage of the NDAA, will include details on capabilities, cost-per-flying-hour, and planned upgrades for all high-altitude ISR systems, along with other relevant information.

Offline F-14D

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2013, 03:47:14 pm »
Specific language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014 protects A-10 Thunderbolt II and RQ-4 Global Hawk through the end of fiscal 2014.

"A-10 Supporters Include Protective Language in NDAA"
Dec. 12, 2013 - 02:19PM   | 
By AARON MEHTA   |   Comments   

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20131212/DEFREG02/312120009/A-10-Supporters-Include-Protective-Language-NDAA




...and here's how you get around that.  In the FY13 budget there was similar language saying that the Army couldn't retire its C-23 Sherpas (which USAF wanted gone for years).   A FRAGmentary Order (FRAGO) was issued  that indicated that Army wasn't retiring its Sherpas, but instead,  “...commenced to store its C-23 fleet in a semi-flyable status” until the FY 2013 prohibition expires Sept.30.  After which, “...provided there are no legislative restrictions on the use of 2014 funds to retire C-23 Sherpa aircraft, the Army intends to resume its C-23 divestiture” in the next fiscal year. 

As of Oct. 1, all the C-23s except two operating in Egypt that got a temporary reprieve were gone. 

Substitute "Air Force" for Army, "A-10" for" C-23" and "2014" for "2013". 

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #34 on: January 07, 2014, 05:23:23 pm »
Looks like the United States Air Force will retire 37 A-10s since November 2013 with 283 remaining through fiscal year 2014:

"Additional A-10 retirements on hold until at least end of year"
by Jon Hemmerdinger Washington DC
06:33 3 Jan 2014

Source:
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/additional-a-10-retirements-on-hold-until-at-least-end-of-year-394536/

Quote
The US Air Force’s fleet of Fairchild Republic A-10s has escaped the chopping block again – at least until 2015.

The recently-passed National Defense Authorisation Act for fiscal year 2014 prohibits the service from spending money to retire more of the venerable close air-support aircraft, or from “making significant changes” to A-10 “manning levels” during the fiscal year, which ends on 30 September.

In addition, the bill, which was signed by President Barack Obama on 26 December, prohibits the USAF from retiring or planning to retire additional A-10s between October 2014 and the end of the calendar year.

A joint statement from US congressional committees says the law is intended to “provide breathing space for congress to conduct oversight and to consider what actions to take on any force structure changes the air force may propose in fiscal year 2015.”

The bill does not apply to A-10s that have been approved for retirement in previous fiscal years.

The air force had roughly 320 of the aircraft at the end of November 2013, and is retiring A-10s at a rate of roughly two per month. When those scheduled retirements conclude, the service says it will be left with 283 of the aircraft.

The authorisation bill comes amid discussion in Washington DC and within the air force about the future of the A-10 in the current budget-constrained environment.

In a media briefing on 13 December, air force chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh called the close air-support mission critical to the service, but noted that it is considering “fleet divestitures” as a means of achieving some $12 billion in required budget savings. He added that other aircraft can provide close air support and that the USAF has long planned to replace A-10s with Lockheed Martin’s F-35A, which the air force hopes will have initial operational capability by December 2016.

The air force said in mid-October 2013 that it could save $3.5 billion over five years by cutting its fleet of 326 A-10s, reports suggested. In November, however, A-10 supporters in Washington argued that close air support would suffer with type's retirement.

Pierre Sprey, who worked for US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in the late 1960s and helped lead the air force’s A-10 concept design team, said during a seminar that only several thousand people in the armed services understand close air support.

He said A-10 divestitures would “scatter” those personnel, and the people “who know how to bring air power to bear will be gone”.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2014, 08:07:41 pm »
"Air Combat Command's challenge: Buy new or modernize older aircraft"
Feb. 2, 2014
by Aaron Mehta
Staff writer

Source:
http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140202/NEWS04/302020005/Air-Combat-Command-s-challenge-Buy-new-modernize-older-aircraft

Quote

After a tense budget battle last year, the Air Force is gearing up to defend what service officials have called a series of hard choices about what to keep and what to dump. With finances tight, the biggest fight is over whether to modernize older platforms or risk a capabilities gap while pushing that funding toward recapitalization programs.

Charged with keeping the combat air forces ready to go at a moment’s notice is Gen. Michael Hostage, head of Air Combat Command. He discussed the upcoming budget and challenges the Air Force faces Jan. 27 in a wide-ranging interview.

Q. What should we expect to see for ACC in this coming budget?

A. We made some very hard choices. The only way you save the amount of money that we are being told we have to cut from the budget is to make entire weapon systems go away.

We talked specifically about the A-10, a weapon system I would dearly love to continue in the inventory because there are tactical problems out there that would be perfectly suited for the A-10. I have other ways to solve that tactical problem.

It may not be as elegant as the A-10, but I can still get the job done, but that solution is usable in another level of conflict in which the A-10 is totally useless.

It does not make any sense to cut the other program and cut A-10s if I have to give one up for the other.

I really save the big bucks when I take an entire [platform] and shut it down because I save the squadrons of those airplanes but I also save the logistics infrastructure, the training infrastructure and all of the overhead.

Q. Should we expect to see multiple platforms removed from the budget?

A. Yes. That is the only way to make the numbers meet, the direction we were given. Now, again, whether the politics will let us do those things are another thing. Unfortunately, if I am told, “OK, we understand about the A-10, you can take half the A-10 fleet” — that, sadly, does not leave me in a very good place because now we have to keep all of that infrastructure that supports the A-10. I get to save some portion of money by cutting certain squadrons, but they will save the large dollars that goes with that infrastructure piece, and now I have to go after squadrons of other airplanes so I reduce the overall capability of the Air Force, and I am in a worse place then I would have been if I just cut the whole A-10 fleet.

Q. Do you believe those program cuts can make it through Congress?

A. Your guess is as good as mine. With the budget, we told them what we thought we needed to do, and now it is a matter of the politics of things, whether they will allow us to do it. There is a lot of opposition on the Hill, but that opposition does not come with money saying, “Here. You use this money and keep that fleet.” They are just saying, “No, you cannot get rid of that fleet.”

But they are still cutting the budget so I have to do something, and, unfortunately, the something that is left is worse than cutting the A-10 fleet. It is far worse for the nation if I have to keep the A-10 and cut a bunch of other stuff because they will not give me enough money to keep it all.

Q. ISR is another area that has been politically difficult in the past. Is that impacting your plans?

A. Well, we are being driven by politics to take on a weapon system that is very expensive, the Global Hawk. It appears that I will be told I have to continue to purchase Global Hawks, and given the budget picture that we have, I cannot afford both the U-2 and the Global Hawk. I will likely have to give up the U-2. What that means is that we are going to have to spend buckets of money to get the Global Hawk up to some semblance of capability that the U-2 currently has. It is going to cost a lot of money, and it is going to take time, and as I lose the U-2 fleet, I now have a high-altitude ISR fleet that is not very useful in a contested environment. It will change how I am able to employ that airplane in a high-end fight or a contested domain.

Q. Are there any programs you would fight tooth and nail for in the budget?

A. I am going to fight to the death to protect the F-35 because I truly believe the only way we will make it through the next decade is with a sufficient fleet of F-35s.

If you gave me all the money I needed to refurbish the F-15 and the F-16 fleets, they would still become tactically obsolete by the middle of the next decade. Our adversaries are building fleets that will overmatch our legacy fleet, no matter what I do, by the middle of the next decade.

I have to provide an Air Force that in the middle of the next decade has sufficient fifth-generation capability that whatever residual fourth-generation capability I still have is viable and tactically useful. I am willing to trade the refurbishment of the fourth gen to ensure that I continue to get that fifth-gen capability.

I am fighting to the end, to the death, to keep the F-35 program on track. For me, that means not a single airplane cut from the program, because every time our allies and our partners see the United States Air Force back away, they get weak in the knees.

Q. So you remain committed to the 1,763 figure that has come out?

A. Absolutely. Not one plane less.

Q. What about upgrades to the F-22?

A. The F-22, when it was produced, was flying with computers that were already so out of date you would not find them in a kid’s game console in somebody’s home gaming system. But I was forced to use that because that was the spec that was written by the acquisition process when I was going to buy the F-22.

Then, I have to go through the [service life extension plan] and [cost and assessment program evaluation] efforts with airplanes to try to get modern technology into my legacy fleet. That is why the current upgrade programs to the F-22 I put easily as critical as my F-35 fleet. If I do not keep that F-22 fleet viable, the F-35 fleet frankly will be irrelevant. The F-35 is not built as an air superiority platform. It needs the F-22. Because I got such a pitifully tiny fleet, I’ve got to ensure I will have every single one of those F-22s as capable as it possibly can be.

Q. Has the readiness issue subsided?

A. The bottom line is, despite the budget deal, we are still going to the same spot at the bottom of the cliff that we were going to when they started the sequestration madness. They have shallowed the glide path a little bit over the next two years, but we pay it all back in the out years and we still hit at the same spot at the bottom of the cliff.

We still have an urgent need to be allowed to reshape our force, to resize ourselves to fit within the amount of money the country is putting for defense, and as long as Congress is stopping us from doing that, we are going to have difficulty making readiness.

Q. Given budget constraints, how do you encourage the development of new technology?

A. What I am trying to spark is partnerships between labs and industry to produce capability of this leading edge technology that potentially is out there.

Q. What areas might have the highest probability of payback?

A. Obviously, we are very interested in directed energy. We are very interested in the materials technology that is burgeoning.

Nanotechnology is very exciting and holds some great promise.

There are some interesting technological areas out there, but I am sure not going to give away secrets of what the cool toys are we are looking for next. I want my adversaries to be surprised.


Offline jsport

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #36 on: February 11, 2014, 09:48:16 am »
Wow, thank you Triton for posting this.  some revelations :)

Offline fightingirish

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2014, 05:47:44 am »



Code: [Select]
http://youtu.be/beembhErNro



Code: [Select]
http://youtu.be/rEdy84YGf1k
Interesting news report about the A-10 cut and its politics.
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Offline RyanC

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2014, 08:52:21 am »
Retiring the A-10 so fast is not too bright... because even if the A-10 is no longer survivable in it's intended design role as heavy CAS during a high intensity peer to peer competitor conflict....it's very efficient in the wars we are fighting now.

Yes; the need for the huge GUN and the efficient low(ish) speed delivery of dumb bombs are largely gone now, thanks to JDAM being everywhere and the soon(ish) capability of retargeting JDAMs on the fly via datalinks; making it possible for a F-16 to go to air-ground mode on it's radar, pick out a tank column; and try directing JDAMs (or SDBs) to each individual cluster of tank, sending correction data in real time to the bomb(s), making it almost impossible for the tanks to evade; making a very cheap JDAM or SDB the functional equivalent of a EO/IIR Maverick with regards to moving target capability.

But...in such a conflict such as we're fighting now; your platforms spend a lot of time boring holes in the sky over and over in between bomb drops on insurgents.

So Total Cost Per Flight Hour becomes very important; here's the costs from 2013:

ATTACK:
A-10C: $17,716/hr
AC-130U Spooky Gunship — $45,986

BOMBER
B-1B Lancer Bomber — $57,807
B-2A Spirit Stealth Bomber — $169,313
B-52H Stratofortress Bomber — $69,708


CARGO
C-130J Hercules Cargo Plane — $14,014
C-17 Globemaster Cargo Plane — $23,811

FIGHTER
F-15C Eagle Fighter — $41,921
F-16C Viper Fighter — $22,514
F-22A Raptor Fighter — $68,362


DRONE
MQ-9A Reaper Drone — $4,762

Some takeaways from the data above:

1.) The A-10C has a slight advantage over a F-16C in flight hour costs.

2.) If we could develop a palletized CAS module with operator stations and JDAMs on a deployment rack for the C-130J, we could get really cheap CAS at an awesome cost.

3.) Drones are awesome.

However, there are some factors which need to be taken into account:

1A.) While drones ultimately are going to be the future; particularly as they get ever higher flying and heavier, allowing them to fly above 90% of light AAA/SAM, they have a very expensive support cost to support each "racetrack" -- you need satellite bandwidth -- and placing satellites in GEO is expensive; so it ultimately limits the effectiveness of drones for the next generation, or until the next generation of military commsats is deployed.

2.) While the cost delta between the F-16C and A-10C is pretty slim -- $4,798/hr -- there's another consideration we have to keep in mind -- total flight hours per aircraft type. The A-10C is pretty cheap to repair or re-wing; it was designed deliberately so as a battle damage repair feature. F-16, not quite so.

With truncation of the F-22 production line at 187 production aircraft; and F-35 costs not quite working out; flight hours on the legacy fighter fleet will be important for the future, particularly since we blew a lot of airframe hours over the last 13 years over Iraq and Afghanistan.

If I was in charge, I'd ask the USAF three questions:

Q1: At what point will our satcomm capability reach the point of being able to support "x" number of UCAV orbits over a country about 200,000 square miles (between Iraq and Afghanistan in size) in area?

Q2: At what point will our heavy UCAV inventory reach 200+ airframes? (we want 396~ Reapers).


Q3: How many flight hours will our legacy teen airframes (F-15/16) be able to go before rewinging if they are forced to take up the flight hours of the retired A-10 fleet? How much will said re-winging or reconstruction work cost? What is the crossover margin for this against numbers of A-10s retained for the near future?

Based on the three answers, I'd then integrate a retirement date for the A-10, with a margin of safety (future congresses may cut Reaper procurement or stretch out the schedule for the commsats to support UCAV Orbits).
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 08:56:08 am by RyanCrierie »

Offline sublight is back

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #39 on: February 26, 2014, 09:05:32 am »

Q1: At what point will our satcomm capability reach the point of being able to support "x" number of UCAV orbits over a country about 200,000 square miles (between Iraq and Afghanistan in size) in area?

In regards to the SATCOM bandwidth available, the X-47B is the future of UCAV. You don't fly it, you just command it with a keyboard and mouse. It is going to come back over the comms, present a target, and ask you if you want to kill it. This is way more efficient than a dude sitting in a hot shack somewhere actually flying the thing and eating up many megabytes of bandwidth via full motion video.
 

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #40 on: February 26, 2014, 09:12:07 am »
Retiring the A-10 so fast is not too bright... because even if the A-10 is no longer survivable in it's intended design role as heavy CAS during a high intensity peer to peer competitor conflict....it's very efficient in the wars we are fighting now.


It's not just cost per flight hour that's driving their decision.  To really save money you need to kill an entire type/supply chain which is why they're also looking at the short-sighted notion of killing off the KC-10.  This, while they are in such desperate need of tankers that they're going to protect the KC-46 at all costs.
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Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #41 on: February 26, 2014, 12:16:56 pm »
One thing is for certain, the A-10 won't go quietly.

"A-10 Warthog faces elimination. Will Congress save it again?"
by Peter Grier
Feb. 26, 2014

Source:
http://news.yahoo.com/10-warthog-faces-elimination-congress-save-again-171324585.html;_ylt=A0SO80xaRw5TfwEAN1ZXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTByNDV0ZTJpBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1VJQzFfMQ--

Quote
The A-10 “Warthog” is facing elimination. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is proposing to eliminate funds for the venerable ground support aircraft in the Pentagon’s 2015 budget. The move would save $3.5 billion over the next five years, according to Secretary Hagel – money the Air Force needs to help pay for newer weapons, such as the F-35.

Is this finally the end for the A-10? Maybe – the plane is old, slow, and ungainly. It’s low-tech in a high-tech world, an ancient piece of US iron in an air combat environment vastly different from the one for which it was designed.

But it would be a mistake to write the Warthog off. It is a tough survivor, in both the skies and the halls of Congress. The Department of Defense has tried to kill the aircraft before, and failed.

Look at the reaction of Sen. Carl Levin (D) of Michigan to see why this is so. Senator Levin is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, though he is retiring in the fall. There are 24 A-10s based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in his home state. He also remembers how Congress pushed for the A-10's original production, over some military objections, and has voted to keep the plane alive over the years.

“The A-10 has a vital capability, and we must ensure that we maintain that capability,” said Levin, earlier this week. “Those who propose eliminating the A-10 have a heavy burden of proof. Any such proposal will receive close scrutiny.”

The Republic A-10 is officially named the “Thunderbolt II," after the ungainly ground support Thunderbolt of World War II. Designed in the early 1970s, it is a cross-shaped aircraft built around a 30-mm cannon, the heaviest such weapon in the air. The plane is heavily armored against ground fire. The pilot, for instance, sits in a titanium tub. It’s intended to attack enemy tanks and other armored vehicles.

The Air Force of the era was not enamored of the plane. It was slow and ugly, as opposed to the service’s fast and graceful fighters. Originally, Air Force leaders tolerated its development because they saw it as a way to keep the Army out of the close air support mission, according to a National Defense University student thesis written in 2003. Eventually they discovered that the A-10 “had picked up enough congressional and [Office of the Secretary of Defense] support to resist the dominant ‘high-tech’ USAF culture,” wrote NDU student Arden Dahl.

Fast forward to the 21st century. The A-10 had played a crucial role in the Gulf War, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks and hundreds more military trucks and other vehicles. It provided suppressive gunfire to support troops in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

But it was also 40 years old and increasingly expensive and difficult to maintain. The advent of precision-guided munitions meant that many Air Force aircraft could attack enemy ground forces engaged in combat.

That meant the plane’s time might be up.

However, in recent years Congress has repeatedly pushed back against Pentagon efforts to cut the aircraft and its associated Air National Guard units.

The powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, Levin, has A-10s in his state, which has helped. In 2012, lawmakers rejected a plan to pull A-10s out of Michigan, for instance. The Arizona congressional delegation has also united in support of the aircraft, which is a mainstay at Davis-Monthan Air Base near Tucson.

One of the A-10s' most vociferous defenders is Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) of New Hampshire, whose husband flew the aircraft in the Gulf War. Last September, she blocked the nomination of Deborah Lee James as secretary of the Air Force until the service responded in writing to questions about the A-10’s future. She later relented but has continued to watch warily as the service decided to do away with the program.

She has pledged to fight the forced retirement.

“Instead of cutting its best and least expensive close air support aircraft in an attempt to save money, the Air Force could achieve similar savings elsewhere in its budget without putting our troops at increased risk,” Senator Ayotte said this week.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #42 on: May 13, 2014, 10:42:09 am »
Your mileage may vary...

"A-10 Attack Jets Rack Up Air-to-Air Kills in Louisiana War Game
‘Single-purpose? Single-mission? My ass,’ commander says of Warthogs"
by David Axe in War is Boring

Source:
https://medium.com/war-is-boring/a2299445b2a4

Quote
Two squadrons of A-10 Warthog attack planes scored a military record in Louisiana in March, shooting down unprecedented numbers of “enemy” aircraft during an intensive war game.

Flying low over the forest canopy at Fort Polk’s Joint Readiness Training Center, the twin-engine jets—from Idaho and Louisiana Air National Guard squadrons—simulated attacks on the Opposing Force, the specialized U.S. Army role-players who stand in for enemy troops.

The officer in charge of the semi-annual “Green Flag” exercise praised the 1980s-vintage A-10s. “They unleashed the Hogs,” Air Force Lt. Col. Brett Waring said of the Idaho and Louisiana squadrons.

Waring added a thinly veiled criticism of the Air Force, which wants to retire all 340 of the cheap, rugged Warthogs by 2019 and replace them with flimsy, pricey F-35 stealth fighters.
An Opfor Lakota. Christopher Ebdon photo

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described the A-10 as a “40-year-old, single-purpose airplane originally designed to kill enemy tanks on a Cold War battlefield.”

Waring rejected that assessment. “Single-purpose, single-mission? My ass. That bird out there kicks ass.” The armored A-10 carries missiles and bombs and packs a powerful 30-millimeter cannon. In 1991, a Warthog used its gun to shoot down an Iraqi helicopter. A-10s sank enemy warships during the 2011 international intervention in Libya.

The March 9 to 26 exercise pitted Army units and the supporting Air Force squadrons against JRTC’s highly-trained Opfor. Firing lasers instead of live rounds, the two sides battled on the ground and in the air. Opfor uses Lakota helicopters painted to represent Russian-style gunships.

The Opposing Force quickly gained the advantage. “The Army got it handed to them,” Waring said. “No other way to put it.” Opfor “killed” the entire Army force twice, forcing it to “regenerate”—like getting extra lives in a video game.
A soldier aims a Javelin missile into the sky at JRTC. Army photo

Soldiers at JRTC must defend against “the constant threat of enemy aviation,” according to the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment’s Facebook page. A squadron photo depicts a soldier aiming his Javelin anti-tank missile into the sky. Optimized for killing tanks, in a pinch the Javelin can also bring down low-flying aircraft.

The Army rallied, calling in the A-10s for intensive air strikes that turned the tide of the mock battle. “We had the most kinetic strike operations in the last three years of Green Flag, just in those last few days,” Waring said.

And in the course of their counter-attacks, the Warthogs shot down a record number of Opfor aircraft—presumably the Lakota gunships. The Idaho and Louisiana squadrons “now hold the Green Flag record for the most air-to-air kills,” Waring boasted.

Equally enthusiastic about the fearsome A-10, a coalition of lawmakers is working to save the Warthog, by crafting legislation preventing the planes’ retirement.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #43 on: May 13, 2014, 10:44:39 am »
Posting this story should not be considered my endorsement of such story. Added for discussion purposes.

"Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) refuses to discuss A-10 success (Army failure) at recent exercise..."
May 12, 2014

Source:
http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2014-05-12T16:22:00-05:00&max-results=7

Quote
If you don't then follow the above link, but here's a quick run down.  The US Army sent a unit to JRTC at Ft. Polk, LA and the Red Force proceeded to kick major league ass.  It was so bad that an Air Force Lt. Colonel said the following....

    The Opposing Force quickly gained the advantage. “The Army got it handed to them,” Waring said. “No other way to put it.” Opfor “killed” the entire Army force twice, forcing it to “regenerate”—like getting extra lives in a video game.

I have huge respect for my bro's in the Army (one team, one fight and we all suck mud) so I was surprised to hear that one performed so poorly.

Honestly I was stumped, so I sent an e-mail to JRTC to find out exactly what happened.  Well after dealing with "Big Army" I'm becoming a bit less proud of the way that the Big Green does business.  My request got bounced around a couple of offices until it landed on the desk of Ft. Polk Public Affairs.

This is when sunshine turned to shit.

This is the response I got back...

    Apologies that you had to wait a week for a reply. I am Fort Polk's media relations officer; your email should have been directed to me.
    JRTC rotations are designed for training joint forces to prepare for any challenges that lie ahead. Part of that training consists of after-action reviews so joint forces can learn from their mistakes, if mistakes have been made. That's what makes a JRTC rotation one of the most valuable tools a member of our armed forces can undergo.
    It's not our policy to release specific details of any given rotation.
    You are, of course, welcome to file a Freedom of Information Act request.

 Are you kidding me?

Seriously?

Really?

A USAF Lt. Colonel is out in public basically chest thumping and high five-ing his squadron...while at the same time telling the whole world that without A-10's flying support the US Army is lost and they don't want to get there side of the story out?

I'll jump through the hoop.

I'll fill out the Freedom of Information Request.

I'll get my hands on the After Action Reports to the Units and the Brigade/Division along with the lessons learned.  But this points to something that should worry everyone.  From what we know, the Blue Force ran into a moderately technologically capable force that had helicopters in support.  Facing this threat they were easily defeated.

China is a high tech, mechanized, heavily armored force that has the backing of air assets that would make the Red Force look like Boy Scouts.

Maybe the erosion of conventional warfare capabilities has already taken hold?
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 11:12:16 am by Triton »

Offline GTX

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2014, 11:01:51 am »
Your mileage may vary...

"A-10 Attack Jets Rack Up Air-to-Air Kills in Louisiana War Game

[

Note:  The "Air-to-Air Kills" were simply helicopters. ::)

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #45 on: May 13, 2014, 12:04:21 pm »
Note:  The "Air-to-Air Kills" were simply helicopters. ::)

The article was written to address Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's criticism of the A-10 Thunderbolt II as an obsolete single-purpose tank killing aircraft intended for Cold War battlefields. Neither article claims that the A-10 Thunderbolt II is a fighter. Unfortunately, David Axe couldn't resist criticizing the F-35.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 12:10:00 pm by Triton »

Offline mz

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #46 on: May 13, 2014, 03:02:04 pm »
There has been good discussion on this forum how modern targeting systems (made since the nineties) have made it possible to do accurate ground attack missions with an F-16. So I think it's evidence for not keeping the A-10 around.

There was another thread about why there are no modern propeller ground attack planes. Once you really look at the problem, you realize that a relatively simple jet trainer is more versatile and survivable for that role, because it is so much faster. Somewhat similar reasons.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #47 on: May 13, 2014, 04:56:05 pm »
There has been good discussion on this forum how modern targeting systems (made since the nineties) have made it possible to do accurate ground attack missions with an F-16. So I think it's evidence for not keeping the A-10 around.

There was another thread about why there are no modern propeller ground attack planes. Once you really look at the problem, you realize that a relatively simple jet trainer is more versatile and survivable for that role, because it is so much faster. Somewhat similar reasons.

And yet not everyone agrees that a fast jet can perform the close air support mission, even in the United States Air Force.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 12:17:14 pm by Triton »

Offline kcran567

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #48 on: May 13, 2014, 08:57:01 pm »
There has been good discussion on this forum how modern targeting systems (made since the nineties) have made it possible to do accurate ground attack missions with an F-16. So I think it's evidence for not keeping the A-10 around.

There was another thread about why there are no modern propeller ground attack planes. Once you really look at the problem, you realize that a relatively simple jet trainer is more versatile and survivable for that role, because it is so much faster. Somewhat similar reasons.


Is the A-10 really that slow? It has good subsonic speed and is agile. The A-10 has more loiter time than an F-35 will ever have, sure an f-35 can target something and make one pass at it and then pooof! is gone while the A-10 is still loitering in the area can rapidly pick out new targets. How much armor protection does an F-35 have. There are going to be scenarios (and continue to be) where an A-10 will be much needed. I think its a mistake. Sure it will free up money for other programs. And just because someone is pro A-10 doesn't necessarily mean they are anti F-35 or against newer systems that can do the job.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 09:07:16 pm by kcran567 »

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #49 on: May 13, 2014, 10:09:58 pm »
Meanwhile I imagine that Boeing, and partner Korean Aerospace Industries, are still being paid to deliver 233 new sets of wings for the A-10C. The contract was expected to be completed in 2018 and would extend the life of the A-10C through 2040.

Offline Jeb

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #50 on: May 14, 2014, 06:12:43 am »
There has been good discussion on this forum how modern targeting systems (made since the nineties) have made it possible to do accurate ground attack missions with an F-16. So I think it's evidence for not keeping the A-10 around.

There was another thread about why there are no modern propeller ground attack planes. Once you really look at the problem, you realize that a relatively simple jet trainer is more versatile and survivable for that role, because it is so much faster. Somewhat similar reasons.


Is the A-10 really that slow? It has good subsonic speed and is agile. The A-10 has more loiter time than an F-35 will ever have, sure an f-35 can target something and make one pass at it and then pooof! is gone while the A-10 is still loitering in the area can rapidly pick out new targets. How much armor protection does an F-35 have. There are going to be scenarios (and continue to be) where an A-10 will be much needed. I think its a mistake. Sure it will free up money for other programs. And just because someone is pro A-10 doesn't necessarily mean they are anti F-35 or against newer systems that can do the job.


When the Hog has gotten where it's going, it's great. Loiter away, swoop down for gun runs, then clamber back up to its perch. It's when you need it somewhere else, fast (and that somewhere else always needs it fast), that the speed deficiency....starts....to....make....itself....an....issue. That's a problem unique to the A-10.


On the other hand, anything can perform CAS now. Hogs, UCAVs, rotors, B-52s, B-1s, F-Teens...the sophistication of modern guided munitions and designation tools and the skills and experience of the FAC community have allowed the workload to be spread far and wide. The only reason that the A-10 is still the god of the gun pass is because that's what it's built around and it's probably the most precise weapon that the Hog carries, since I don't think they're hefting Mavericks on the routine in Afghanistan.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #51 on: May 14, 2014, 12:21:58 pm »
"Senators gear up to preserve A-10 in FY15 defense budget"
 By Travis J. Tritten
Stars and Stripes
Published: May 14, 2014

Source:
http://www.stripes.com/news/senators-gear-up-to-preserve-a-10-in-fy15-defense-budget-1.283054


Quote
WASHINGTON — Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Eric Brandenburg says he probably never would have returned from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan if not for the A-10 Warthog.

The Silver Star recipient and former joint terminal attack controller stood beside powerful Senate lawmakers Wednesday and urged the Air Force to back off a proposed retirement of the aircraft, saying it is uniquely capable of providing close air support, saving the lives of American troops on the battlefield.
INTERACTIVE MAP | Where the A-10 bases are in the U.S.

The press conference, which included Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., was the most recent push by lawmakers on Capitol Hill to block the Air Force 2015 budget proposal to phase out the hard-fighting aircraft, known for the belch of its massive Gatling gun and its ability to fly slow and low to support of infantry on the ground.

“If our leaders don’t listen to the troops fighting on the ground, [the troops] are going to fail. Our troops need the A-10,” said Brandenburg, who deployed repeatedly in support of the Army’s 75th Ranger Battalion for eight years after 9/11 and who was awarded five Bronze Stars for combat valor.

McCain said the aircraft is a favorite of infantry soldiers. “We listened very carefully to the U.S. Army,” he said. “They are the ones who need the close air support, they are ones who are in grave danger without it.”

With the A-10’s combat record as a backdrop, a group of 10 senators called the proposed Air Force retirement premature. They want the chamber to save the Warthog from extinction when it marks up its version of the National Defense Authorization Act on Tuesday. The House Armed Services Committee already rejected the A-10 plan in its draft defense budget passed last week.

“I believe and hope the Senate will also act to protect the A-10 for our men and women in uniform,” said Ayotte, who has helped lead the effort to preserve the aircraft.

The Senate coalition, which also includes Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., disagreed with the Department of Defense position that the A-10 is too expensive and dated to keep around. The cost per flying hour is actually less than other aircraft that provide support for ground troops, including the F-15E and F-16 fighter jets, the B-1 bomber, the AC-130 gunship, and the B-52 Stratofortress, they argue.

But the DOD is scraping for savings and has been unhappy with Congress’ refusal so far to support a phase-out of the A-10. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled the proposal earlier this year, saying the retirement of the Air Force fleet of some 300 Warthogs would save the department $3.5 billion over five years.

A Pentagon spokesman said last week that Hagel was “certainly not pleased” — a rare comment on active legislation.

The DOD is under intense pressure to cut costs due to the Budget Control Act of 2011, also known as sequestration, which triggered deep, automatic reductions in the federal spending after a divided Congress could not reach a budget agreement.

Many popular defense programs and equipment could be on the chopping block in the coming year, including subsidies to base supermarkets, health care benefits, pay raises, the A-10 program, the Navy’s littoral combat ship funding, and the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, which needs an expensive nuclear overhaul to stay in operation.

The military’s top brass say the cuts are unwanted — Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said he had personally been saved by A-10 air support — but necessary due to the funding squeeze.

House lawmakers, especially Republicans, have balked at slashing defense spending, saying it could weaken national security and erode trust among servicemembers.

Now, A-10 support is growing in the Senate.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he may vote to keep the aircraft if spending offsets can be found.

“I support preserving the A-10. To accomplish that, we must find a realistic way to pay for it,” he said Tuesday in a statement to Stars and Stripes. “I’m optimistic that when the Senate Armed Services Committee marks up the defense authorization bill next week, we will be able to do so.”

The Senate coalition may just be successful, at least at saving the Warthog in the chamber’s upcoming draft defense budget, said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

“I fully expect they are going to push hard, and they may very well succeed,” Harrison said. “It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Air Force to retire the A-10 even in the Senate.”

With elections looming, lawmakers would not want to vote against the Warthog program and risk military cuts and job losses in a number of communities outside bases where the aircraft is operated, he said.

The A-10 is “almost as important to Moody [Air Force Base] as it is to troops on the ground,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who represents the base along with Chambliss and spoke at the news conference Wednesday.

Davis-Monthan Air Base in Tucson, Ariz. — McCain’s state — is home to about 80 of the aircraft, the largest concentration in the world. Nine U.S. bases and one U.S. base in South Korea have the Warthog.

Many races are already heating up, with this issue being front and center in Tucson.

Rep. Ron Barber, who added an amendment to save the A-10 to the House Armed Services Committee draft defense budget last week, is running against Martha McSally, a former A-10 pilot who is campaigning on defeating the aircraft’s retirement.

The A-10 is the largest mission at Davis-Monthan and the retirement could mean the loss of 2,000 jobs, said Bruce Dusenberry, chairman of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance, a group comprising private-sector leaders who represent military interests in the Tucson area.

“The immediate reaction was, ‘Oh no,’ ” Dusenberry said.

The loss could also affect the other military bases and vast training ranges that dot southern Arizona and are interconnected to the A-10 program, according to Dusenberry.

“It’s hard to know the ripple effect,” he said. “It would be a major impact.”

Offline quellish

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #52 on: May 14, 2014, 07:09:52 pm »
[size=78%]On the other hand, anything can perform CAS now. Hogs, UCAVs, rotors, B-52s, B-1s, F-Teens...the sophistication of modern guided munitions and designation tools and the skills and experience of the FAC community have allowed the workload to be spread far and wide. The only reason that the A-10 is still the god of the gun pass is because that's what it's built around and it's probably the most precise weapon that the Hog carries, since I don't think they're hefting Mavericks on the routine in Afghanistan.[/size]


I would highly recommend reading accounts of the A-10 applied in combat to anyone interested in this thread. "A-10s over Kosovo" in particular does illustrate the differences between the A-10 and other platforms in real world combat (and it's not the gun).

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #53 on: May 17, 2014, 11:06:04 am »
January 22, 2014

"Save the A-10: Give It to the Army"
by Everett Pyatt

Source:
http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2014/01/22/save_the_a-10__give_it_to_the_army_107047.html

Quote
Many articles have been written and speeches made about the exploits and success of the A-10 fleet.  It has been a phenomenal airplane in its close air support role. Support for the A-10 remains so strong that the current National Defense Authorization Act precludes additional retirements. The confirmation of the Air Force Secretary was delayed while the issue was deliberated in Congress.

Despite widespread recognition of this success, the Air Force wants to junk all 340 aircraft by 2020.  In order to achieve significant savings, the Air Force must cut entire fleets, says Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. Retiring the A-10 fleet would achieve a projected $3.7 billion in savings, a decent chunk of the $12 billion the Air Force must cut each year under sequestration.

The Air Force never wanted this aircraft from the start in the 1970s.  It was designed to be a tank killer in Western Europe. Never used in this role, it became a weapon of significance killing armored vehicles in Iraq and providing close air support to ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it has never really been accepted by the Air Force. Modifications to support modern precision ordnance were slow to be installed and pilots had to use the weapon sensors to find targets, rather than cockpit displays.

The A-10’s orphan heritage is further complicated by the split custody of the aircraft between the Air Force’s active, Guard, and Reserve components. Half the A-10 fleet resides within the Air National Guard, for example.

The A-10 fleet is over 30 years old, but does not have many flying hours and will be available for many years. The design is low tech having been designed to operate from unprepared airfields.  This design is still relevant in current military scenarios involving ground forces and assures that many more years of flight hours can be obtained.

Yet current plans call for the Air Force to acquire 1,743 F-35As, about 300 of which would replace the A-10. Significant testing of the F-35 ground support capabilities has yet to occur. But the multi-mission design of the aircraft is likely to reduce ground support emphasis. Pilots have to learn interdiction, air combat and defense suppression before turning to ground support techniques. It has been done with the F-16, but ground troops prefer support from the A-10 or helicopters.

At current projected prices, 300 F-35s will cost about $37 billion, and operate at much higher cost.

One alternative worthy of consideration would be to transfer the A-10 fleet to the Army with sufficient resources to operate and provide logistic support. The Army would then update the A-10 combat system to conform to Army standards. This would allow the Army to integrate the A-10 with existing attack helicopter units and provide a more cohesive close air support capability. That process might allow the Army to make reductions to attack helicopter forces. If this sounds familiar, it should. The Marines operate this way now with a combination of fixed and rotary wing aircraft with great success. 

However, the 1948 Key West Agreement precludes this change. The policy paper approved by President Harry Truman after the passage of the 1947 National Security Act specifically assigned the Air Force to provide “close combat and logistical support” for the Army. Since the Agreement did not contemplate the existence of major helicopter forces, the Army was allowed to successfully pursue the military development of helicopter.

Now is the time for a bigger change that will allow the Defense Secretary to make a more thoughtful assignment of ground support responsibilities to ensure they are conducted in the most supportive manner for ground units.

Giving the Army the A-10 would allow the service to fulfill the close air support mission with a quality aircraft. Retaining the A-10 fleet would cost $3.7 billion, but it would eliminate the need for those 300 F-35As, saving the Pentagon $37 billion.

Such savings would cut about 10% of the Pentagon’s major system cost growth, estimated at $411 billion by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). It would be a first step in managing the issue of cost growth the acquisition system prefers toignore.

Transfer of the A-10 fleet to the Army is a money saving action avoiding early retirement of proven ground support aircraft. The Key West Agreement should not be allowed to prevent a common sense management action.

Everett Pyatt is the Leader of the Project for Defense Management and Acquisition Leadership at the McCain Institute for International Leadership, a part of Arizona State University. He is formerly Assistant Secretary of Navy and Acquisition Executive.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #54 on: May 17, 2014, 11:24:59 am »
"Over the Horizon: The A-10 Battle and Military Turf Wars"
By Robert Farley, Feb. 8, 2012, Column

Source:
http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/11415/over-the-horizon-the-a-10-battle-and-military-turf-wars

Quote
The four-decade-and-counting saga of the A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack aircraft continued last week, when the U.S. Air Force announced that it would cut five A-10 squadrons as part of its effort to reduce costs. The 246 remaining A-10s will, according to the Air Force, continue to perform the close air support (CAS) mission until they are eventually replaced by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Defense wonks met the announcement with a storm of criticism, but little real surprise. The long-running fight over the A-10 represents not so much a disagreement over technology, but rather a bureaucratically driven dispute over the nature of warfare.

The Air Force originally developed the A-10 as a pre-emptive strike against the Army’s planned Cheyenne attack helicopter. The Air Force worried that the Army’s use of advanced attack helicopters for CAS would simultaneously deprive the Air Force of a mission and lend the Army a hand in Congressional procurement wars. Insisting that it could do CAS better than the Army, the USAF sponsored development of the A-10, a plane capable of close anti-armor attack. Once the Cheyenne program was cancelled in development, however, the Air Force did little to hide its lack of enthusiasm for the A-10 and all that it represented. It attempted on numerous occasions to strangle the A-10, first during the procurement process, then after the end of the Cold War and finally in the early part of last decade. Army influence, Congressional pressure and popular enthusiasm for “the Warthog” repeatedly saved the fleet.

For whatever reason, the A-10 has become a people’s favorite. It graces the cover of such popular texts as Charles Gross' “American Military Aviation.” In the 1980s, it served as the inspiration for toys such as the Cobra Rattler and the Transformer Powerglide. Hollywood has also featured its anti-robot capabilities prominently, in “Transformers” and “Terminator: Salvation.”

But the Air Force comes by its contempt for the A-10 honestly, and not just for aesthetic reasons. The Air Force conceives of itself as a strategic institution dedicated to shaping the entirety of a campaign, rather than as an organization that plinks away at enemy tanks in support of ground troops. Not only does the A-10 stand outside of that self-image, it draws resources away from the Air Force’s preferred strategic mission. By contrast, the F-35 allows the Air Force to redistribute resources from what it considers the antiquated mission of close air support to the much more important, from the USAF’s point of view, strategic mission. What’s more, for the Air Force, a successful strategic campaign makes the A-10’s contribution largely irrelevant.

It’s also true that fans of the A-10 can be reluctant to acknowledge its limits. Any plane that flies low and slow over the battlefield will suffer badly against opponents with even mildly sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons. Sure enough, in spite of its heavy armor, the A-10 is extremely vulnerable to ground fire. In the Gulf War, Iraqi fire quickly pushed the A-10 to medium altitudes, at which the differences in capabilities between the A-10 and the F-35 disappear. In a future that may see smaller, ever-more-deadly anti-aircraft weapons, flying at low altitude will pose ever greater risks. As for permissive environments at lower altitudes, such as those often experienced during counterinsurgency campaigns, an Embraer Super Tucano can perform many of the missions currently delegated to the A-10 at a lower cost .

However, the chances that the Air Force would ever spend money for anything other than training purposes on a platform resembling the Super Tucano approach zero. Similarly, the Air Force seems radically unlikely to risk its tremendously expensive F-35s in close air support missions that might result in them getting shot down by enemy infantry. So while proponents of the A-10 recognize that it is a limited platform, they maintain that it is the best CAS aircraft they are going to get. And in all likelihood, they are correct.

The key issue, though, is not with the benefits or drawbacks of a particular technology, but rather with long-term doctrinal disagreements between the Army and the Air Force. The serial battles over the A-10 are the consequence of a basic conflict over the nature of war: The Army believes in the destruction of the fielded forces of the enemy, while the Air Force believes in conducting strategic operations to shape, disrupt and collapse the political and organizational sinews of a target state.

However popular the A-10 might be with the rank and file in the Army, and however much it might be in accord with the Army’s vision of war, there is little if any chance that the fleet could be transferred to Army control. The Army has little interest in developing the capabilities necessary to support a fleet of A-10s, which would involve developing significant basing and maintenance requirements. The Army would also worry about accepting the expense of maintaining and operating the A-10 during a period of defense austerity. Finally, transferring the plane would mean refighting the turf battles between the Army and the Air Force that help define which platforms belong where, a prospect that no one finds appealing.

The fundamental problem exemplified by the A-10 is this: The Warthog performs a mission that sits on the boundary between two services, and boundary conflicts inevitably result in pain for one service or the other. Precisely the same kind of turf war has played out over the course of nearly 90 years in British naval aviation, where the responsibility for carrier aircraft resides with both the navy and the air force. That the A-10 has managed to survive for as long as it has while straddling this boundary is a testament to the effectiveness and quirky beauty of the aircraft. But as long as the United States maintains the current structure of its national security bureaucracy, conflicts like the A-10 battle will recur over future weapons systems, long after the last Warthog is a memory.

Dr. Robert Farley is an assistant professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His interests include national security, military doctrine and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money and Information Dissemination. His weekly WPR column, Over the Horizon, appears every Wednesday.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #55 on: May 17, 2014, 11:55:45 am »
Some interesting thoughts here...

Quote
Pilots Plan Tomorrow’s A-10
What would a next-generation replacement for the legendary attack jet look like?
Dave Majumdar in War is Boring

Short on cash and determined to prioritize new stealth warplanes, the U.S. Air Force is busily trying to rid itself of all 350 of its slow- and low-flying A-10 Warthog attack planes—this despite the heavily-armed twin-engine jet’s impressive combat record stretching back to the 1991 Gulf War.

But the flying branch still needs to support American troops on the ground—the Warthog’s raison d’etre. With that in mind, around 20 highly experienced A-10 pilots and engineers are working on unofficial specifications for a successor to the Warthog.

The group started off with using the original A-X program requirements that resulted in the Warthog starting nearly 50 years ago. Even though technology has advanced since the 1960s, the fundamentals of what is required for the close air support mission have not changed.

“There is a lot that can be made better than the A-10,” says Pierre Sprey, a former Pentagon official and aerospace engineer who originated the Warthog concept. “There is simply no question that we can make it better. The airplane was in a lot of ways a disappointment to me because of where it came out.”

That said, the A-10 is by far the most survivable aircraft for the low-altitude, low speed CAS mission. But almost every aspect of the A-10 can be vastly improved using modern materials and construction techniques, Sprey says.

But be careful! The key to producing a new warplane quickly, on time and to budget is to use the best existing tech rather than trying to invent entirely new hardware and software.


A-10 releasing decoy flares. Air Force photo
Matching the Warthog
The basic requirements for a “Warthog 2.0" are that it retains the Warthog’s current capabilities. “These are the things we hold as the minimum requirements going forward in kind of a follow-on CAS platform,” says one of the two A-10 pilots leading the group behind the prospective Warthog replacement project. “The slow speed and tight turn radius is what allows us to get below the weather and have a rapid rate of re-attack especially with the flexibility of the gun.”

As such, in a next-generation CAS aircraft, the pilot must have good visibility—which is why a round, expansive “bubble” canopy is crucial. “In an air-to-ground mode, being able to look out over your shoulder and behind you—not at threats, but the ground you just attacked or to keep an eye on the friendlies is a critical capability,” the A-10 pilot says.

Because CAS missions often take place at very low altitudes and low airspeeds—anywhere from 150 knots to 300 knots—the aircraft must be able to perform a two-G sustained turn at a rate of five degrees per second with a turn radius of no more than 2,000 feet.

The instantaneous turn rate—that is, how quickly a plane can wheel around in the first few seconds of a maneuver—would have to be better than 20 degrees per second while pulling six Gs. The aircraft must also be able to remain less than one mile from a target between attacks while pulling no more than two Gs—except for the roll-in to the attack and the time its leaving the area.

“The tight turn is important so that we can not only operate in a narrow valley if we need to, but lets says it’s reduced visibility, and we’re kinda poking our way through that visibility, the ability to do that slowly and being able to turn when you see a big hill coming is important,” the pilot says.

But one of the A-10’s major shortcomings is its anemic twin General Electric TF-34 turbofan engines. A follow-on aircraft must have a lot more thrust.

“The number-one problem with the A-10 is that we’re underpowered,” according to the pilot. “We need a way to get our airspeed back quicker and we need the ability to take-off at max gross weight at high-density altitudes.”

The A-10 cannot take off at its maximum weight in Afghanistan and must either off-load weapons or fuel. The next-generation aircraft must be able climb out of a runway at maximum gross weight at a rate of the 4,000 feet per minute at a density altitude of 20,000 feet.

Further, it must be able to operate out of a 3,000-foot runway at sea-level with a full fuel load and an internal gun. Ideally, it should be able to operate out of austere 1,500-foot runways.

A cruise speed of at least 360 knots is desirable, a pilot says. Initially, the group believed that it would be best for a next-gen aircraft to cruise at 480 knots with a dash speed of 540 knots. However, with Sprey’s input, the team came to the conclusion that such a requirement would be aerodynamically incompatible with a tight turn radius at low airspeed.

“What we need and don’t have is the capability to rapidly get airspeed back after an attack,” the pilot says. “Also, while airspeed can help response time, it’s loiter time that really makes response faster because it allows you to be at the battlefield, ready to attack.”

Thus, the prospective aircraft needs to have a minimum combat radius of 150 nautical miles with at least four hours on station time with internal fuel, the pilot explains.


An A-10 fires its gun. Air Force photo
Arming the new plane
The new aircraft would have to be able to make a minimum of 20 attacks on infantry targets or 11 attacks on tanks during a single sortie. With precision-guided rockets, the new aircraft could potentially increase those numbers by an order of magnitude.

Additionally, the Warthog 2.0 would also need to be able to track and kill moving targets from ranges greater than eight nautical miles while flying at altitudes above 20,000 feet.

To accomplish this the new aircraft would need to carry 15,000 pounds of weapons ranging from general purpose unguided bombs to cluster munitions, laser-guided bombs and GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions.

It would also have to be able to fire 2.75-inch rockets—ideally something like the laser-guided Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System—plus at least six anti-tank missiles similar to today’s Maverick.

The aircraft would also need to be able to carry both versions of the 250-pound Small Diameter Bomb and potentially the AIM-9X air-to-air missile for self-defense. Ideally, it could be fitted with the AIM-120 radar-guided air-to-air missile, as well—but that’s not necessarily crucial.

But it is imperative that the aircraft carry a gun similar to the General Electric GAU-8 30-millimeter cannon installed on the A-10.

In terms of avionics, a next-generation aircraft would have to have all of the capabilities found on the modernized A-10C. The upgraded Warthog already has advanced data-links including the Situation Awareness Data Link and Variable Message Format link. It also has a direction finder to zero in on and interrogate pilot survival radios.

The new aircraft should have better terrain avoidance systems and improved displays in the cockpit. It should also be equipped with a better targeting pod, such as a Litening Gen IV or another such system with a video data-link.

The new aircraft would also need to retain a helmet-mounted display capability similar or better than the Thales Genetex Scorpion that is currently mounted on the A-10.

In a perfect world, the Warthog 2.0 would also have a 360-degree infrared sensor capability and a terrain following radar. It would be fitted with a next-gen data-link, the pilot says.

In terms of survivability, any next-generation CAS aircraft must have two engines and multiple redundant systems that can take a number of hits, the pilot points out. The aircraft must be able to withstand impacts from small arms such as 7.62-millimeter and 14.5-millimeter machine guns and even 23-millimeter cannon fire.

It should also be able survive a hit from a man-portable air-defense missile like the SA-18.

The Warthog 2.0 should be equipped with advanced missile warning sensors and the latest digital radio frequency memory jammers to elude the larger and more capable surface-to-air missiles such as the SA-19. “We want to be able to defeat the latest, greatest, common SAMs we might encounter on the battlefield,” the pilot says.

The A-10 pilot cautions that many of the items on the wish list are placeholders. Some of the capabilities might not be compatible with an affordable and effective aircraft design—though the goal would be to field a plane with a unit price of less than $20 million and costing less than $15,000 per flight hour to operate.

Of course, instead of developing a new plane to succeed the A-10, the Air Force could simply keep the Warthogs it’s got.

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/833a05de6fae
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Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #56 on: May 17, 2014, 12:02:35 pm »
I don't foresee the United States Air Force rushing out and buying the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano to replace the remaining Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft in inventory. I wonder if the retirement of the A-10 by the United States Air Force could be good news for the United States Army Aviation Branch and their efforts to acquire compound rotorcraft? Could the Sikorsky S-97 Raider light tactical helicopter also perform the close air support (CAS) missions asked of the A-10 without the Key West Agreement turf battles with the United States Air Force? Compound rotorcraft working in concert with United States Air Force multi-role fighters?

« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 01:26:44 pm by Triton »

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #57 on: May 17, 2014, 01:25:57 pm »
Some interesting thoughts here...
https://medium.com/war-is-boring/833a05de6fae

I am just not sure if the Attack Experimental (A-X) program that gave us the A-10 Thunderbolt II was intended by the United States Air Force to kill the United State Army's Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) program that developed the cancelled AH-56 Cheyenne. It's very difficult to remove the A-10 from the politics of the Key West Agreement of 1948, the Johnson-McConnell agreement of 1966, and the turf battle between the United States Air Force and the United States Army Aviation Branch. I've also read that the A-X program was in response to criticism that the United States Air Force did not take the Close Air Support (CAS) mission seriously. It just makes you wonder if sequestration is just being used as an excuse for the service to rid itself of an aircraft it never really wanted for a mission it doesn't want to perform.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 01:36:13 pm by Triton »

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #58 on: May 17, 2014, 02:24:57 pm »
Does the United States Marine Corps also call on the Air Force A-10 for close air support (CAS)? Or do the Marines rely on the AV-8B Harrier II, the AH-1 Cobra, and the other air assets of Marine Corps Aviation?

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #59 on: May 17, 2014, 02:31:13 pm »
Does the United States Marine Corps also call on the Air Force A-10 for close air support (CAS)? Or do the Marines rely on the AV-8B Harrier II, the AH-1 Cobra, and the other air assets of Marine Corps Aviation?


Marines (and US Army) will call upon what ever is available at the time - be that a helicopter, an artillery round, an A-10, a Harrier or even a B-1B.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #60 on: May 18, 2014, 02:08:53 am »
I am just not sure if the Attack Experimental (A-X) program that gave us the A-10 Thunderbolt II was intended by the United States Air Force to kill the United State Army's Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) program that developed the cancelled AH-56 Cheyenne.

Actually, part of the reason the A-10 (A-X) was developed is that the USAF saw how much money the Cheyenne was going to take out of the defense budget and they didn't like that much of the defense budget going to the Army, because it meant less money for them (The USAF). At least according to the books I have on the Cheyenne. By the same token, the USAF has never really liked the A-10 (AX), because it came from the same group that gave us the F-16 (LWF), because the USAF tends to have the "Not invented here" syndrome, in terms of the brass at the Pentagon.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #61 on: May 18, 2014, 02:10:46 am »
Not more of this USAF hates the A-10 etc crap! :o

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #62 on: May 19, 2014, 11:33:23 am »
Does the United States Marine Corps also call on the Air Force A-10 for close air support (CAS)? Or do the Marines rely on the AV-8B Harrier II, the AH-1 Cobra, and the other air assets of Marine Corps Aviation?


Marines (and US Army) will call upon what ever is available at the time - be that a helicopter, an artillery round, an A-10, a Harrier or even a B-1B.

I wanted to verify considering that we don't seem to hear from the Marine Corps concerning the A-10 debate.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #63 on: May 20, 2014, 12:30:37 pm »
I am just not sure if the Attack Experimental (A-X) program that gave us the A-10 Thunderbolt II was intended by the United States Air Force to kill the United State Army's Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) program that developed the cancelled AH-56 Cheyenne.

Actually, part of the reason the A-10 (A-X) was developed is that the USAF saw how much money the Cheyenne was going to take out of the defense budget and they didn't like that much of the defense budget going to the Army, because it meant less money for them (The USAF). At least according to the books I have on the Cheyenne. By the same token, the USAF has never really liked the A-10 (AX), because it came from the same group that gave us the F-16 (LWF), because the USAF tends to have the "Not invented here" syndrome, in terms of the brass at the Pentagon.

While money is part of it, the big reason USAF pushed the A-10 vigorously was the ol' "roles and missions" bugaboo.  In their view, the proper roles for armed helos were  primarily as escorts for other helicopters and limited engagement of enemy troops.   You'll find that initially USAF treated Cheyenne with profound indifference, as long as it was to operate in its "proper" place.  However, when Army started talking abut how they could use AH-56A for organic CAS, and especially when it was mooted that with the pusher prop in Beta the Cheyenne could dive bomb, AF went ballistic and started lobbying against the craft, saying that that role belonged to USAF and with the upcoming A-10 they had everything the Army should need and so there was no need  for Cheyenne and it should be killed. 

They were caught flatfooted when Army canceled Cheyenne on its own

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #64 on: May 21, 2014, 04:26:45 am »
To my opinion, armies today are more managed like commercial enterprises and to a certain extent
they actually have to be. And looking at the A-10 from a commercial standpoint probably shows
only very few capabilites, that cannot be found with other aircraft and those few may hardly be
worth the additional expenditures ! According to a Time magazine article the prices for a flight hour
of an A-10 are around 18,000,- $, compared to around 23,000,- $ for an F-16C ( http://nation.time.com/2013/04/02/costly-flight-hours/ ) .
Quite a difference on first glance, but not that much if looking at other combat aircraft. It's mentioned,
that those are costs for "ownership, including modifications", so costs for the special infrastructure
needed for a type probably are included. Such infrastructure has its price, even if that type of aircraft
wouldn't fly for a single hour ! And if tasks are taken over by another type, those costs could be shared
by a larger number of aircraft. It's not new, that the "Armed forces managers" dream would be the
"transport fighter", multi-role capable and if possible based on off-the-shelf types.
And to preempt that argument: Nowadays soldier is just another cost factor in the calculations of
those in charge !
About replacing the A-10 by helicopters : AFAIK the costs per flight hour for helicopters were always
much beyond those of fixed wing aircraft, their purchase price higher and their performance lower,
than that of comparable (mainly with regards to payload) aircraft. The only point they naturally
excel is the ability to hover, not really needed for CAS. So replacing the A-10 with, say the S-97
Raider would just mean replacing one exotic species by another, quite probably even more expensive
one, I'm afraid !
It takes a long time, before all mistakes are made ...

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #65 on: May 21, 2014, 11:04:48 am »
An issue with the A-10 debate is that there is no consensus among decision makers and the United States military over what the "real" Close Air Support mission is. Further, there is still disagreement over whether the F-35 can adequately replace the A-10 and if the retirement of the A-10 creates a gap in capability. Does this capability gap increase the burden on other elements in the United States military? With the retirement of the A-10 is the United States Air Force shifting some of the responsibility for the BOT CAS mission to the United States Army Aviation Branch and United States Marine Corps Aviation? Increasing the burden on existing rotary-wing assets? Proponents of the F-35, and the previous A-16 and F/A-16, argue that the A-10 is an obsolete and highly vulnerable aircraft. No gap in capability will exist with the types retirement when the F-35 enters service. The efforts to save the A-10 are sentimental attachment to the aircraft and represent old-fashioned, or incorrect, thinking concerning the CAS mission and a need for the aircraft does not exist? Which is correct?

If the United States Air Force does send the entire A-10 fleet to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, will the aircraft be placed in long-term storage for possible re-activation or will they be dismantled and sold for scrap? Since the entire fleet of A-10 aircraft will be sent to the "Boneyard", I presume the latter will be the fate of the A-10.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 11:11:35 am by Triton »

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #66 on: May 21, 2014, 12:22:00 pm »
To my opinion, armies today are more managed like commercial enterprises and to a certain extent
they actually have to be. And looking at the A-10 from a commercial standpoint probably shows
only very few capabilites, that cannot be found with other aircraft and those few may hardly be
worth the additional expenditures ! According to a Time magazine article the prices for a flight hour
of an A-10 are around 18,000,- $, compared to around 23,000,- $ for an F-16C ( http://nation.time.com/2013/04/02/costly-flight-hours/ ) .
Quite a difference on first glance, but not that much if looking at other combat aircraft. It's mentioned,
that those are costs for "ownership, including modifications", so costs for the special infrastructure
needed for a type probably are included. Such infrastructure has its price, even if that type of aircraft
wouldn't fly for a single hour ! And if tasks are taken over by another type, those costs could be shared
by a larger number of aircraft. It's not new, that the "Armed forces managers" dream would be the
"transport fighter", multi-role capable and if possible based on off-the-shelf types.
And to preempt that argument: Nowadays soldier is just another cost factor in the calculations of
those in charge !
About replacing the A-10 by helicopters : AFAIK the costs per flight hour for helicopters were always
much beyond those of fixed wing aircraft, their purchase price higher and their performance lower,
than that of comparable (mainly with regards to payload) aircraft. The only point they naturally
excel is the ability to hover, not really needed for CAS. So replacing the A-10 with, say the S-97
Raider would just mean replacing one exotic species by another, quite probably even more expensive
one, I'm afraid !

It doesn't seem like losses of personnel and equipment are being factored into these cost per flight hour calculations when comparing the A-10 to the F-16C. By reducing the discussion to cost per flight hour presumes that the A-10 and the F-16C are identical in capability and survivability. Costs of "ownership, including modifications" calculations presume that missions were completed successfully with the return of aircraft and personnel.


Offline Jemiba

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #67 on: May 21, 2014, 12:26:39 pm »
Even if just sent to "long-term storage", this would mean losing the proficiency of the pilots and
mechanics and the job would be done by other aircraft in the meantime. For dropping smart
weapons on demand other aircraft would be more suitable either (no real fighter type aircraft
needed !), and for standard strafing attacks the GAU-8/A quite probably is oversized anyway
and without doubt much more expensive, than the Vulcan or 12.7 mm gun, which in most cases
will be absolutely sufficient. If there really is a wall to shatter, use an SDB instead.
There will be no real "capability gap" due to the retirement of the A-10, as otherwise other aircraft
would have to be decommissioned. It's a decision as recommended to many companies facing financial
difficulties by management consultants. And there's rarely room for nostalgia !
Are there numbers about losses of F-16 and A-10 in the CAS role ?
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 12:28:52 pm by Jemiba »
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Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #68 on: May 21, 2014, 12:49:30 pm »
I keep going back to what quelish said in the other A-10 discussion topic:


The A-16 was intended to operate as a direct replacement for the A-10 for BOT attacks under a variety of controls, and as a FAC(A) replacing the OA-10. During low altitude combat the greatest threat to aircraft surviviability is the terrain. That threat increases with speed. More speed means more room is needed to maneuver, and there is less time for a pilot to react. It also means less time to observe a target and less time to conduct a pass on a target. These factors affected the performance of the Falcon as a direct replacement for the Hog.

The Falcon had a number of techical issues with the gun, avonics, and software - mostly issues that probably could have been resolved within a few years. The aircrews flying them had previous CAS and FAC experience and provided detailed feedback. The Falcon was not a good fit for this role even if the technical problems were resolved. For this and other reasons, DoD dropped the A-16 project.

Today there are again efforts to "replace" the A-10 with another platform similar to the F-16. It seems that daylight BOT and type 1 JTAC/FAC control will be relegated to rotary wing assets, with the "replacement" platform performing BOC at high altitude (in CAS terms, 8k and above is "high") - making it just another bomb truck rather than a replacement for the A-10 or OA-10 in terms of capability. The F/A-16 would have been similar as it was not intended as a *direct* replacement for the A-10.

As far as CAS in contested enviroments, current DoD joint doctrine does specify air superiority (including SEAD) as a condition for effective CAS as well as recommendations for CAS operations in nonpermissive environments (including "don't" and ). Low altitude threats from MANPADs and AAA are discussed separately as post-DESERT STORM these are generally assumed to always be present.
In general CAS is rarely conducted without control of the air, and low level is always presumed to be a high threat environment (though not from radar guided threats).

and this:


Is the current rotary wing fleet capable of adequately performing most BOT CAS missions if the A-10 is retired? Or does this mission require the speed of a fixed wing aircraft?


Depends on who you ask.
When the Army shifted to AirLand Battle doctrine, the Army decided to use rotary wing aircraft for CAS with the Air Force's role being diminished. Instead, the Air Force was going to focus more on "battlefield interdiction" and the more traditional air interdiction.
Air interdiction is the application of air power against enemy military potential before it can be used against friendly ground forces. This can be things like enemy supply depots, other fixed targets, etc.
Battlefield air interdiction is applying air power against enemy forces before they can close with an engage friendly ground forces. For example, hitting the Republican Guard before they find friendly forces.
So the Army would have been using rotary wing forces in the CAS role, while the Air Force would have a more limited CAS role and focus on AI and BAI to hit the enemy before they moved forward to the ground fight.


Today CAS is a mixed bag of different assets across different services. Rotary wing aircraft certainly do a lot of CAS, but they are extremely vulnerable to ground fire ranging from small arms on up. They have limited range, can't in flight refuel, and have limited speed. Removing a CAS asset like the A-10 creates a gap. To fill that gap more rotary wing assets and support would be needed to cover the same battlefield. More helicopters, more FARPs. The BOT mission doesn't *require* speed, but speed gets the asset to the fight faster and lets it cover more ground.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #69 on: May 22, 2014, 11:31:55 am »
"Senate Panel Dodges A-10 Retirement Decision"
By Brendan McGarry Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 2:16 pm

Source:
http://www.dodbuzz.com/2014/05/20/senate-panel-dodges-a-10-retirement-decision/

Quote
A U.S. Senate subcommittee approved its part of the annual defense bill without deciding on the fate of the A-10 attack plane.

The Air Force in its fiscal 2015 budget request proposed retiring its fleet of the Cold War-era planes, known officially as the Thunderbolt II and unofficially as the Warthog. The service estimates it will save about $4.2 billion over five years by divesting the almost 300 A-10s that remain in the inventory.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Sens. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, oppose the idea because, they say, other aircraft as the F-35 fighter jet can’t provide ground troops with the same kind of close air support.

Levin disagrees with counterparts in the House who proposed raiding the Pentagon’s war budget to keep the gunships from being sent to the bone yard. Thus, it’s likely the A-10 will stay in the fleet, at least for now, once lawmakers settle on an appropriate offset in the budget.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Airland Subcommittee, on Tuesday led a vote in approving the panel’s amended version of the Fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act without specifying plans for the Warthog.

The closest he came was when he said the bill would “place temporary restrictions on the disposition of Air Force aircraft.” A spokesman for the subcommittee referred questions about the aircraft to a spokeswoman for the senator, who didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and telephone call requesting comment.

The full Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to begin amending, or marking up, the defense legislation in a closed session on Wednesday.

The panel’s senior Republican, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, said of the process, “There’s still a ways to go to produce a defense budget that is based on our national security interests and the threats to those interests. We face no shortages of challenges with this budget.”

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh have repeatedly pressed the lawmakers to let the service retire the aircraft to better cope with automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

The service considered other options to scale back fleets of other aircraft, including the F-15 and F-16 fighter jets and the B-1 bomber, Welsh said in a speech last month at the National Press Club. But ultimately, it determined that scrapping the almost 300 A-10s would be the least harmful to military operations, he said.

“We came very clearly with the conclusion that of all those horrible options, the least operationally impactful was to divest the A-10,” said Welsh, who previously piloted the aircraft. “That how we got there. It’s not emotional. It’s logical. It’s analytical. It makes imminent sense from a military perspective.”

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #70 on: May 22, 2014, 12:28:37 pm »
"Retiring the A-10 Early Puts Troops' Lives at Risk"
By Senators Kelly Ayotte, John McCain & Saxby Chambliss
April 9, 2014

Source:
http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2014/04/09/the_air_forces_early_retirement_plan_for_the_a-10_puts_troops_lives_at_risk_107180.html

Quote
When we send our troops into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation to ensure they have the very best support possible so they can accomplish their missions and return home safely.

This is certainly true when it comes to close air support (CAS) aircraft, which provide ground troops with the decisive firepower they need when they are engaged in close contact with the enemy.

Ask any soldier which aircraft provides the best CAS, and they’ll tell you it’s the combat-proven A-10.

Last week, the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Ray Odierno, reiterated his belief that the A-10 is “the best close air support aircraft” and confirmed that the Army did not recommend that the Air Force retire the A-10.  He said, “our soldiers are very confident in the system.”

The Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, General John Campbell, calls the A-10 a “game changer.”

The A-10 was certainly a game changer last July in Afghanistan when enemy forces ambushed a convoy.  Enemy forces had injured three soldiers and the rest were pinned down behind vehicles as they received a large amount of fire from nearby trees and surrounding terrain.

At one point during the two hour fire fight, enemy forces were close enough to engage the soldiers with grenades and helicopters could not be called in to evacuate the injured.  When the A-10 arrived on the scene, it flew 75 feet above the enemy position, conducted 15 gun passes within 50 meters of friendly ground forces, and used its famous 30 millimeter nose cannon to fire 2,300 rounds.

The performance of the A-10 that day saved the lives of 60 Americans.

There is no doubt that the Air Force confronts difficult budget decisions.  But cutting the Air Force’s most combat-effective and cost-efficient CAS aircraft is an odd way to save money.   

The A-10 is the most cost efficient CAS aircraft in the Air Force inventory.  According to the Air Force, the operational cost per flying hour for the A-10—which takes into account sustainment costs—is well below the F-15E, F-16, B-1, AC-130, or the B-52.

The Air Force’s response is that it can’t afford to maintain the single mission aircraft.

While the A-10 has other primary missions, it is true that the A-10 and its pilots focus on the CAS mission and this mission may not be as glamorous to some as the air superiority mission.  But, as the 60 soldiers from the engagement in Afghanistan last summer undoubtedly would attest, CAS is a particularly important mission.

The Air Force responds that other aircraft (such as the F-15, F-16, or B-1) can cover the CAS mission for the A-10—emphasizing that these aircraft conduct the majority of CAS missions.

There is no doubt that other aircraft have a role to play. 

But as most soldiers will tell you, there are different kinds of CAS.  Dropping a precision munition from thousands of feet in the air on a stationary target looking at a video display is not the same as conducting strafing runs at 75 feet in bad weather or rough terrain against a moving target that is within a few dozen meters of friendly troops.

The ability to operate low within eyesight of the ground engagement is part of the reason the A-10 has a faster re-attack time compared to other aircraft.  It is also part of the reason why the A-10 is especially good at avoiding fratricide and civilian casualties.

If policymakers confuse these two types of CAS missions, we do so at the peril of our ground troops in future conflicts.

It is important to recognize that the proposal to retire the A-10 fleet is, like the plan to dramatically decrease Army end strength, based upon broader  assumptions regarding the types of conflicts the nation may face in the future – namely, that we will no longer be engaged in protracted land wars.

While we certainly hope that assumption is accurate, as former Defense Secretary Gates warned, “In the 40 years since Vietnam, we have a perfect record in predicting where we will use military force next: We’ve never once gotten it right. If you think about it, from Grenada to Haiti to Somalia to Panama to Iraq twice to Afghanistan to Libya twice, the Balkans and so on – in not one of those cases did we have any hint six months ahead of the start of hostilities that we were going to have military forces in those places.”

In a world that is more unstable and less predictable, the proposal to eliminate the A-10 before an adequate replacement achieves full operational capability is dangerously short-sighted.

Students of history understand that. Perhaps that is one reason why General Odierno has said “Obviously we prefer the A-10” and that multi-role aircraft are “not quite the same as the A-10 with…ground forces.”

We have a responsibility to ensure our ground troops in the next conflict receive the best possible CAS so they can accomplish their missions and return home to their families.

When we fail to fulfill that responsibility, the cost is measured in the lives of our troops.

That is why we will continue to oppose the Air Force’s proposed premature divestment of the A-10 until an equally effective replacement reaches full operational capability.

With the lives of our brave soldiers on the line, we owe them nothing less.

Senators Ayotte, McCain, and Chambliss serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #71 on: May 22, 2014, 01:04:48 pm »
"Critics accuse Air Force of manipulating data to support A-10 retirement"
by Dan Sagalyn  May 22, 2014 at 2:50 PM EDT

Source:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/critics-accuse-air-force-manipulating-data-support-10-retirement/

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Over the past five months, Air Force leaders have pointed to one key fact while advocating for their controversial decision to retire the A-10 Warthog, an aircraft specifically designed to provide support to ground troops. The service’s top leaders say the vast majority of so-called “close air support” missions conducted in Afghanistan since 2006 have been flown by a variety of aircraft that are not A-10s. Specifically, the leaders say that the 80 percent of these missions conducted by aircraft other than the Warthog shows that a variety of aircraft can do the critical mission of reinforcing ground forces with firepower from the air.

However, a number of observers challenge the Air Force’s claim that 80 percent of close air support missions are really conducted by non-A-10 planes. These observers assert that the service has deliberately manipulated the data to support its case.

The plan to retire the A-10 has sparked a firestorm of criticism from members of Congress, A-10 pilots and airmen whose job is to embed with ground forces and call in air strikes.

In fact, Congress is well on the way to rejecting the Air Force’s plans. The House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday, rejecting sending the A-10s to the boneyard. The Senate is expected to do the same.

The Air Force says it can save $4.2 billion over the next five years by retiring the fleet of 350 A-10s. The savings would be plowed into other aircraft that can perform a variety of missions, including close air support.

And, in making the case to retire the A-10, the one number that comes up time and again at congressional hearings is this: 80 percent.

“Eighty percent of what we have done in close air support in Afghanistan has been by aircraft other than A-10,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told the House Armed Services Committee in March.

Building on this statement, Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh has said, “We’ve flown a number of close air support missions with multiple airplanes,” including the B-1 bomber, F-15E, and F-16.

Also included in the 80 percent are FA-18s, Reaper and Predator drones, along with AC-130s gun ships and AV-8Bs.

The PBS NewsHour asked the Air Force about the basis for the 80 percent figure. The NewsHour shared the Air Force answers with A-10 supporters and those who advocate retiring the aircraft. The complete exchange can be viewed in the document linked here.
“This is a classic case of using numbers as propaganda for some bureaucratic position.” “This 80 percent number is a total fabrication,” said Pierre Sprey, one of the key designers of the A-10 in the 1960s and 1970s. Sprey has recently been lobbying Congress to save the aircraft. “This is a classic case of using numbers as propaganda for some bureaucratic position.”

Among the data the Air Force provided was a breakdown of the number close air support sorties flown between 2010 to 1014: 121,653. Also included was the number of sorties with at least one weapon released: 8,691.

Sprey notes that of the 121,653 close air support missions conducted, “93 percent of them never drop a weapon.” Sprey says the Air Force is “counting a whole lot of fluff.”

“The Air Force is counting these missions or these activities in a way that biases strongly against the A-10,” said Winslow Wheeler, a former congressional staffer with more than three decades of experience working for both Democrats and Republicans. Wheeler is now with the Project On Government Oversight, a non-profit watchdog organization.

The Air Force is “not counting sorties where actual munitions delivery actually occurs,” he said. And they are “not distinguishing” between bombing fixed points on the ground from 20,000 feet and supporting troops that are moving while under fire from an enemy in close proximity. Wheeler said it is in situations like this “that really count” and where the A-10 outperforms all other aircraft.
A photo composite shows an A-10 Warthog executing a roll. Photo by Wally Argus/Flickr.

A photo composite shows an A-10 Warthog executing a roll. Photo by Wally Argus/Flickr.

The 80 percent figure was generated by the Air Force’s headquarters in the Middle East, called Air Force Central Command or “AFCENT” for short. The director of public affairs at the command, Lt. Col. Edward Sholtis, wrote in an email to the NewsHour that “AFCENT hasn’t made statements against the A-10, and we aren’t collecting data to make an argument against the A-10.”

The information about the number of missions flown is gathered by Air Force officers in order to help plan operations, the public affairs official wrote.

“The data is collected and used over time to determine how many of what type of aircraft are needed at any given time or place to support the requirements established by joint commanders. AFCENT does not collect or use its data to propose or make changes to the Air Force’s force structure; that is the Air Force’s job,” Sholtis wrote. “If we were selectively collecting or providing data to make an operational case against the A-10, there’s other data (such as response time, loiter time, and total munitions available) that could better make that case. Our collection of data on CAS [close air support] missions flown predates Air Force proposals to divest the A-10 fleet.”

The Air Force spokesman defended his service’s counting of close air support missions flown that did not result in bombs being dropped. Sholtis stressed that having aircraft fly overhead and be available to ground commanders when they were needed was important.

“The purpose of most CAS missions is to have capable forces ready when coalition forces on the ground need airpower,” Sholtis said.

The spokesman also emphasized the positive psychological impact of close air support missions in which no bombs are dropped.

“Measures of kinetic activity alone don’t capture events where aircraft presence was sufficient to deter attackers — which can be the better outcome in COIN [counterinsurgency] operations,” Sholtis explained in an email. “Actions like shows of force or armed overwatch of ground forces are legitimate and effective forms of CAS.” Shows of force are when aircraft fly overhead, making their presence known and signaling to the enemy — sometimes by dropping flares — that they might get bombed.

But counting shows of force is stretching the definition of close air support, according to retired Chief Master Sergeant Russell Carpenter, a 30-year veteran and specialist in leading troops who call in air strikes. When you “look up the definition of close air support, shows of force doesn’t fit in there.” Carpenter said what the Air Force has “done is said there are a variety of ways we achieve air-to-ground effects. But guess what, call that something else. But it is not close air support.”

Another controversial aspect in the way the 80 percent number was generated is the time frame of when close air support missions are counted. According to Air Force data released to the NewsHour, the service counted missions flown between 2006 and October 2013.

The Air Force told the NewsHour “unfortunately we do not have information prior to 2006 available in our AFCENT Combined Air Operations Center database.” Other Air Force officers who asked that their names not be used in this article, because they were not authorized to speak publicly, also told the NewsHour that the Air Force has not maintained records from before 2006.

But critics are skeptical.

“The date 2006 was not picked by accident,” said Sprey, the A-10 aircraft designer.

From March 2002 to December 2006, the only fixed-wing aircraft that could operate from the austere and dilapidated runways in Afghanistan were A-10s, according to the Air Force. Sprey believes counting close air support missions beginning in 2006 is suspect because that time period marks the point when different types of aircraft were beginning to operate out of the newly improved runways in Afghanistan.

“Before 2006, they couldn’t even get fighters into Afghanistan, they couldn’t land anywhere,” Sprey said. “They were totally dependent on the A-10 before and they don’t want to admit that, so they don’t tell you about it before 2006.”

Another basis for the 80 percent number that has come under fire is the manner in which actual missions are counted. Fighter and attack aircraft such as F-15s, F-16s and A-10s take off in pairs, but the two aircraft are only counted as one mission. Oftentimes, A-10s and other planes split up and conduct operations independently of one another.

Meanwhile, B-1 bombers, and Predator and Reaper drones, which always fly by themselves, are also counted as one mission.

Several observers say this methodology undervalues the “double-duty” contributions of A-10s, and overvalues the B-1 bombers and drones when they fly CAS missions.

Defending the counting methodology, the Air Force says if it “counted each aircraft in a two-ship A-10 formation as one CAS mission, you also would be increasing the numbers associated with other fighters that fly as two ships,” such as F-15, F-16 and FA-18s, according to Lt. Col. Sholtis. “So the increase in A-10 numbers as a ratio of total missions flown would not be as dramatic as some might expect.”

“There is no perfect metric for comparing the combat effectiveness of different aircraft,” said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow for Defense Budget Studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “This is not ideal, but on the whole I think it is fair because it treats all fighters the same. Moreover, B-1s should be treated differently because they carry a much larger payload, can stay on station longer, and thus can do the job of more than one fighter. So while missions flown is not a perfect metric, I think it is a relatively fair metric.”

Harrison agreed with the Air Force’s overall argument: that many different types of aircraft can do the close air support missions and that the A-10 should be retired because of budget constraints.

“The supporters of the A-10 have the burden of proof to show what unique CAS capabilities the A-10 has that cannot be provided by any of these other platforms,” he said in an email response to questions. “Moreover, they need to make the case that these unique capabilities are important enough to justify the cost.”

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #72 on: May 23, 2014, 10:50:36 am »
https://medium.com/war-is-boring/e93d0a33f4a6
 
Winslow Wheeler - look how he makes these 'definitive' statements about the F-35. It can't do this, it will cost to much, can't be maintained, etc. I wonder what he is basing this on the 20 years of combat operations of the F-35?
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Offline circle-5

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #73 on: May 23, 2014, 12:20:56 pm »
Well it looks like the A-10 has been spared, along with the U-2. There is apparently some intelligence left in Washington.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #74 on: May 23, 2014, 01:44:43 pm »
There is apparently some intelligence left in Washington.

Such comments aren't helpful in this discussion. It just succeeds in raising the hackles of proponents of the retirement of the A-10 and U-2, name calling, and locked topics.

Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #75 on: May 23, 2014, 03:29:53 pm »
It is very hard not to let angst creep into the discussion.  If Congress were to ask the people that CAS is suppose to support, there would be an 80 % number.  They would tell you the A-10 is THE aircraft for the mission.  Not surprisingly the USAF is not asking them.  Frankly it frost me that they would have the audacity to consider a flyby a CAS sortie.  In fairness using questionable statistics is not the exclusive purview of the USAF in answering to Congress.

I think it is time for the entire mission to be reviewed.  Army Aviation executed FAR more close combat attack missions in the same period no matter what missions you count toward USAF CAS.  If you count 'fly by'  as CAS  then every Apache and Kiowa Warrior sortie meets the criterion.   They at least spend their mission close in  to the fight (< 1000 vice >20,000).   Why use a Mk 82 in close proximity to troops when all you need is 2.75 inch rocket or 30mm cannon.  There are of course times when a large bomb is called for however any soldier can control close combat attack missions.  Not so with CAS.  Close Combat Attack is THE primary mission of Army attack aviation rotorcraft, not a multipurpose component.

So while I hate to see the A-10 go, I see it (as most do in the Army) as an an acknowledgement that it USAF again sees CAS as a secondary mission against other missions.  Maybe it should be.  Just don't rail against someone else trying to fill the gap.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #76 on: May 23, 2014, 04:32:58 pm »
Not an expert, which probably disqualifies my opinion, but...


The A-10 type platform has inherent advantages from its lack of speed and big wings in providing CAS that sticks around and owns the sky. Psychologically I think even if the F-35 does the same job of delivering ordnance on the enemy but from an invisible whizz-bang flyby at 30K, it won't have the same benefit.


What's more comforting in a fight, your buddy on your shoulder or a mobile phone and the same friend in a nearby bar on speed dial?


However, doing CAS the A-10 way in inherently more risky, especially if the enemy has modern air defence equipment. In a real fighting war of equals, the benefits of the A-10 approach may outway the risks. In limited wars, every pilot lost is a potential PR disaster.


 If I was in charge, I'd look at a big wing loitering UCAV approach to CAS, able own the sky over a battlefield without risking a pilot. The right balance of low cost and survivability would be key. Not an easy balance to make.
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Offline Jeb

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #77 on: May 23, 2014, 08:01:53 pm »
I've said it before, the past ten years have done us the disservice of thinking that a visible slow loitering platform over the battlefield is OK and survivable. "Stay around and scare the bad guys" is a poor design strategy to use when looking at force structure for the next twenty years.


The USAF got way more value out of the A-10 than they probably ever expected to.

Offline kcran567

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #78 on: May 23, 2014, 09:25:44 pm »
Not an expert, which probably disqualifies my opinion, but...


However, doing CAS the A-10 way in inherently more risky, especially if the enemy has modern air defence equipment. In a real fighting war of equals, the benefits of the A-10 approach may outway the risks. In limited wars, every pilot lost is a potential PR disaster.


 If I was in charge, I'd look at a big wing loitering UCAV approach to CAS, able own the sky over a battlefield without risking a pilot. The right balance of low cost and survivability would be key. Not an easy balance to make.


I agree Overscan, big wing UCAV might work but...
When UCAV vulnerabilities are exploited (jamming, microwaves, etc) it seems that you still end up needing something like the A-10. It's dangerous and dirty and that's exactly the contingencies it was made for. But for the sake of funding and progress rest assured all A-10 haters you'll get exactly what you want and the consequences that will follow. I see an A-10 follow on in my crystal ball, Pilot optional, Depending on how good the F-35 turns out.

Offline ouroboros

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #79 on: May 24, 2014, 03:20:16 am »
What's more comforting in a fight, your buddy on your shoulder or a mobile phone and the same friend in a nearby bar on speed dial?

 If I was in charge, I'd look at a big wing loitering UCAV approach to CAS, able own the sky over a battlefield without risking a pilot. The right balance of low cost and survivability would be key. Not an easy balance to make.

There's that dichotomy between close enough to scary and close enough to touch. If laser/DEW self defense becomes feasible (as proposed for Predator C?), it might allow an A-10 style platform to reenter the game in a MANPADS/SAM environment, but it won't protect you from AAA/ground fire unless you really up the wattage and heatsink. Which hails back to overlapping mission issues as well. Do infantry want/need something that provides near constant overwatch and tags along, like a UCAV helicopter gunship pet, something more like CAS now with SHTF button on their cellphones to call up some sort of taxi rank UCAV swarm that is generally patrolling near infantry like an aerial netfires, or something way up that's a bigger platform on call like a B-1 stuffed with SDB's.

That AIAA student design called Firefox, with 40mm CTA guns and a guided round 155mm cannon as an optionally manned concept sounds like a possible "show the flag" contender, the cannon rounds trying to be equivalent to bombs. More so now that Sandia has demoed .50 cal laser guided rounds using a chip seeker and MEMS fins, so those 40mm CTA rounds can also become guided. Smaller would be something like an OV-10 bronco with optionally manned gear, SDB's, and the trainable gun turret, preferably with those Sandia rounds. Though by that argument, resurrecting A-10B with SDB's, laser designators and sensors stuffed on the landing gear sponson tips, and using those laser guided rounds might be cheaper in terms of upfront costs if treated as a retrofit.


My pet idea is basically Firefox++, an optionally manned B-1R variant, with a removable high energy laser module in one bay, some sort of trainable flush turret gun that can fit into a bay as a removable module using that Sandia laser guided small round tech in something like 30-40mm, and stuff the last bay with a high density glider SDB rack and hang bigger bombs on outside pylons. This can transit to needed areas quickly, then loiter while waiting for SHTF calls from infantry. Depending on the call, lase the target, or speed up and raise the nose before flinging an SDB or firing a guided round. I'm not so sure about the removable module bits though. Certainly not field removable aside from the internal SDB rack, as the laser and turret would need to remove the bomb bay doors outright to be properly flush and have clear lines of sight. One could make the argument that the laser/gun combo could be a big monolithic module to fit the forward/middle bays. One could also change from a flush turreted gun to a fixed large caliber cannon like the original Firefox concept, as the barrel could intrude into the laser's space if the laser was occupying the forward bay, and you could line up recoil force paths better with the wing spar. One additional recoil mechanism is to emulate the RAVEN semi-recoilless cannon's recoil mitigation vent.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #80 on: May 24, 2014, 11:47:50 am »
I think it is time for the entire mission to be reviewed.

I agree. It seems that there isn't agreement over what the "real" mission is of Close Air Support (CAS) and whether the retirement of the A-10 even represents a gap in capability. Hopefully, this review can be performed by someone who is seen as impartial so that we have some distance from inter-service rivalries, politics, and allegations of cherry picking the data or other sampling bias. The F-35 is still the intended replacement for the A-10, not a new OA-X or AT-X program. So it seems that saving the A-10 now through 2028 or 2040, or whenever the type will be replaced by the F-35, defers the debate.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #81 on: May 24, 2014, 02:08:50 pm »
Not an expert, which probably disqualifies my opinion, but...


The A-10 type platform has inherent advantages from its lack of speed and big wings in providing CAS that sticks around and owns the sky. Psychologically I think even if the F-35 does the same job of delivering ordnance on the enemy but from an invisible whizz-bang flyby at 30K, it won't have the same benefit.


What's more comforting in a fight, your buddy on your shoulder or a mobile phone and the same friend in a nearby bar on speed dial?


However, doing CAS the A-10 way in inherently more risky, especially if the enemy has modern air defence equipment. In a real fighting war of equals, the benefits of the A-10 approach may outway the risks. In limited wars, every pilot lost is a potential PR disaster.


 If I was in charge, I'd look at a big wing loitering UCAV approach to CAS, able own the sky over a battlefield without risking a pilot. The right balance of low cost and survivability would be key. Not an easy balance to make.

If the answer to CAS is not "mudfighter" how is the answer to CAS big wing loitering UCAV "mudfighter"?   Further, the United States Air Force would insist on operating such UCAVs with the whole perpetual "roles and responsibilities" debate rearing its head. The United States Air Force would also insist on stealth.

What if instead the Army Aviation Branch operated helicopter drones such as the X2 VUAS proposed by Sikorsky with FARPs for BOT CAS? 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 02:12:08 pm by Triton »

Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #82 on: May 25, 2014, 11:18:01 am »
Army Aviation has been operating in a MANPAD environment for ten years.  You don't hear about it because the ASE worked.  When it did not in Iraq 2005ish they redeveloped the system in less than a year.  MANPAD misses don't generally get released for public consumption.  Army, Marine and Air Force rotorcraft have been shot at constantly and have taken hits.  They have taken RPG hits as well.  Again, unless the aircraft is shot down with casualties it does not make it out into the general public.  I have no doubt that there is work going on to deal with the improvements in the threat.

I have no doubt that unmanned CAS will continue to grow, but until you can make it impossible for it to be hacked and you give the operator human visual acuity or better I am not sold that it is the best solution.  I am always reminded of the Star Wars movie where the legions of robots are crushing the organics right up to the point their control station blows up.  Here is a thought.  If you are controlling UAS from an airbase at home, does not the enemy not have the right to attack the personnel and equipment associated with the opearion of that system?  Do you attack the base or the controllers when they leave the base to go home?  It is war after all.

The pundits who think that giving an Infantry soldier everything at the push of a button have likely never experienced the terror that is close combat.  Wipping out your tablet and dialing up a bomb from the UAS accuratley is not so simple when people are really trying there best to terminate your existence and everyone around you is yelling orders and curses to expedite.  Computer war seems so clean on television, reality is not.  This of course will not be a problem when we field our drones soldiers to do the war thing for us.  Just remember what was mentioned above.  If they can't get you on the battlefield they may decide to bring the battlefield to you.

In conclusion the A-10 will go away.  F-35 will do the mission brilliantly as demonstrated by USAF Inc. statistics to Congress.  And the PBI will continue to do the dirty work.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 11:26:30 am by yasotay »

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #83 on: May 25, 2014, 04:04:26 pm »
Army Aviation has been operating in a MANPAD environment for ten years.  You don't hear about it because the ASE worked.  When it did not in Iraq 2005ish they redeveloped the system in less than a year.  MANPAD misses don't generally get released for public consumption.  Army, Marine and Air Force rotorcraft have been shot at constantly and have taken hits.  They have taken RPG hits as well.  Again, unless the aircraft is shot down with casualties it does not make it out into the general public.  I have no doubt that there is work going on to deal with the improvements in the threat.

I have no doubt that unmanned CAS will continue to grow, but until you can make it impossible for it to be hacked and you give the operator human visual acuity or better I am not sold that it is the best solution.  I am always reminded of the Star Wars movie where the legions of robots are crushing the organics right up to the point their control station blows up.  Here is a thought.  If you are controlling UAS from an airbase at home, does not the enemy not have the right to attack the personnel and equipment associated with the opearion of that system?  Do you attack the base or the controllers when they leave the base to go home?  It is war after all.

The pundits who think that giving an Infantry soldier everything at the push of a button have likely never experienced the terror that is close combat.  Wipping out your tablet and dialing up a bomb from the UAS accuratley is not so simple when people are really trying there best to terminate your existence and everyone around you is yelling orders and curses to expedite.  Computer war seems so clean on television, reality is not.  This of course will not be a problem when we field our drones soldiers to do the war thing for us.  Just remember what was mentioned above.  If they can't get you on the battlefield they may decide to bring the battlefield to you.

In conclusion the A-10 will go away.  F-35 will do the mission brilliantly as demonstrated by USAF Inc. statistics to Congress.  And the PBI will continue to do the dirty work.

How many C-130 and C-27 gunships will the US have for the low and slow mission?
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Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #84 on: May 25, 2014, 08:41:41 pm »
AFSOC has ~30 or so AC-130 (a guess on my part really) and USSOCOM will have about 10 C-27J gunships I think.  However they only use them at night in all but the most benign environments.  They have been ridiculed for this, but in fairness they operate in a very dangerous part of the ADA umbrella for just about any weapon.  The AC-130. lost in Desert Storm was lost because it did stay to fight after sunrise.  I cannot fault the decision to operate only at night.  Also they operate almost exclusively in support of special operations forces.  They are good at what they do.

You could make a UAS gunship no doubt, but if it operates using the same tactics of driving around in circles at several thousand feet it will suffer the same sort of fate in higher threat environments.  While you would not loose people, someone is going to get testy at the cost after several become smoking holes.  Back in the old days of huge tank armies and massive integrated air defenses I shared ridge lines and valleys with very low flying A-10 that never flew straight and level for more than ten seconds.  Usually when they were making a gun run.  I once got to play target for a Joint Air Attack Team exercise and quickly found out it was not the A-10 you did see that was the one that got you.  Between them the Cobra helicopters on the flanks and the artillery, I was glad I was not an armor officer.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #85 on: May 26, 2014, 03:51:51 am »
Not more of this USAF hates the A-10 etc crap! :o

Really GTX  ???

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #86 on: May 26, 2014, 11:56:41 am »
Interesting comparison:




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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #87 on: May 26, 2014, 12:21:53 pm »
Interesting comparison:

I dont really think thats fair. We arent fighting Stalinist Russia... keeping an outdated aircraft during a world war is a little different than keeping one that has served valiantly, and better than the newest models.

The reality is, the popular kids are killing the science club because they want that money for themselves. Its just reality... they let the wrong people in charge.

Ive met a dozen or so Generals and Admirals personally, including the former head of development for the Marines. The mentality of the new leaders is basically Corporate, which is why they keep having issues with responsibility. Under this particular Marine, even existing successful system was developed. Under several years by his successor... none have been developed that werent started by his predecessor. Not just that, some designs failed because they had 3-4 times the officers reviewing the designs, and couldnt pass simple design requirements. That amphibious tank was one of them... turret bent. How do you screw up so bad that a turret bends without being shot?

I actually saw this while competing against a few engineers... some of them had almost two magnitudes more funding, and could barely pass basic requirements. They ended up getting owned two years in a row by a group from the middle of nowhere, and then a university in Canada. Im talking about top engineers here... MIT, ect.

The whole reason things are so messed up, is because people refuse to be practical. They never learned to be practical because they never had to appreciate anything before.
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #88 on: May 26, 2014, 12:52:58 pm »
Substitute Ju 87 by Ilyushin Il-2, rerun comparison taking into account aircraft as part of something bigger.

After that, consider: times have changed, to what extent are comparisons of aircraft separated by 50 years still valid?
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 01:05:01 pm by Arjen »

Offline Jemiba

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #89 on: May 26, 2014, 09:05:05 pm »
That "comparison" probably was made for presenting the last point only !  ;)
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #90 on: May 26, 2014, 09:41:14 pm »
The 2nd-to-last point listed in the GTX A-10/Ju 87 post is the most cogent..
- if there is a sky swept of enemy air superiority assets, it looks like the 'brown jobs' are gunna do it rough..
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #91 on: May 27, 2014, 02:35:41 am »

I dont really think thats fair. We arent fighting Stalinist Russia... 


After that, consider: times have changed, to what extent are comparisons of aircraft separated by 50 years still valid?


I guess some people can't comprehend the detail of what is being presented.  I ask both of you to point out what is inaccurate with the comparison points.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #92 on: May 27, 2014, 03:14:09 am »
Greg, you call the A-10 obsolete. You stop just short of calling it useless.
 
Perhaps you meant 'less useful'? If so, I think the A-10 has been, and remains, very useful to the USA in the numerous asymmetric conflicts of the past decades. Ditch the A-10, which aircraft is going to take over its duties TODAY?
 
There's a saying in Dutch, 'Don't throw away your old shoes until you have got new ones'.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #93 on: May 27, 2014, 03:29:34 am »
Good say !
 
Modified to match the case of the A-10 maybe a little bit better :
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boots during the summer, too, before you can afford new shoes !"
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Offline GTX

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #94 on: May 27, 2014, 11:13:07 am »
Greg, you call the A-10 obsolete. You stop just short of calling it useless.
 
Perhaps you meant 'less useful'? If so, I think the A-10 has been, and remains, very useful to the USA in the numerous asymmetric conflicts of the past decades. Ditch the A-10, which aircraft is going to take over its duties TODAY?
 
There's a saying in Dutch, 'Don't throw away your old shoes until you have got new ones'.


Nice attempt to try to put words into my mouth or to imply things I did not say.  Where did I say of even imply the A-10 was useless?!  Maybe not the ideal platform for many roles (i.e. too much for low intensity but not enough for high) and certainly not the mythical platform some people seem to think it is.

Moving on though and responding to your question (will you respond to mine I wonder… ::) ):  If the A-10 were retired immediately, what platforms would take over its duties?  Well, the ones that are already doing so!  That is:  The F-16, the F/A-18 (classic and super), the various attack helicopters being used (AH-64, AH-1, Tigre…), UAVs such as MQ-9s, B-1Bs, Harriers, Rafales….should I go on?

BTW, following on from your Dutch saying…here is a photo of a Dutch F-16 operating over Afghanistan in 2008 - I would hazard a guess that it didn't just carry those LGBs for the photo opportunity... ::)


Offline quellish

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #95 on: May 27, 2014, 12:22:33 pm »

Moving on though and responding to your question (will you respond to mine I wonder… ::) ):  If the A-10 were retired immediately, what platforms would take over its duties?  Well, the ones that are already doing so!  That is:  The F-16, the F/A-18 (classic and super), the various attack helicopters being used (AH-64, AH-1, Tigre…), UAVs such as MQ-9s, B-1Bs, Harriers, Rafales….should I go on?



I do not believe that the B-1B, MQ-9, AH-64, AH-1, or Rafale are used for airborne forward air controller duties, nor are their crews trained for such duties.


Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #96 on: May 27, 2014, 12:58:01 pm »
Someone remind me why the A-10 was developed in the first place.
Someone tell me what percentage of the conflicts in the last forty years that the United States has participated in were major combat operations in less than air superiority environments.  How many of the major combat operations did the A-10 not participate in due to air and air defense threats.
Someone tell me how often the US has committed ground forces to offensive operations without first having achieved air superiority first.
We will repeat history.  We will rid ourselves of the unsurvivable and slow A-1 Skyra...(oops) A-10 Thunderbolt.  The Army will develop a capability to deal with the missing component, USAF will feel threatened and (hopefully) develop a capability that works in the dirty confusion that exist in support of ground forces.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #97 on: May 27, 2014, 01:08:57 pm »
What it boils down to is this: the A-10 is to be phased out, not because it has outlived its usefulness. It has to go, because the money to maintain and operate it is needed for other projects.

Offline Jeb

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #98 on: May 27, 2014, 01:09:19 pm »
Someone remind me why the A-10 was developed in the first place.


Because the USAF didn't want the Army to get the Cheyenne.

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #99 on: May 27, 2014, 01:14:21 pm »

Moving on though and responding to your question (will you respond to mine I wonder… ::) ):  If the A-10 were retired immediately, what platforms would take over its duties?  Well, the ones that are already doing so!  That is:  The F-16, the F/A-18 (classic and super), the various attack helicopters being used (AH-64, AH-1, Tigre…), UAVs such as MQ-9s, B-1Bs, Harriers, Rafales….should I go on?



I do not believe that the B-1B, MQ-9, AH-64, AH-1, or Rafale are used for airborne forward air controller duties, nor are their crews trained for such duties.



A FAC won the Silver Star for calling in air support for an Army unit fighting a large Taliban force (I posted this elsewhere) and one of the platforms was the B-1, along with F-15's and F-16's.
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #100 on: May 27, 2014, 01:48:27 pm »
Someone remind me why the A-10 was developed in the first place.


Because the USAF didn't want the Army to get the Cheyenne.

Lame.  The AH-56 cancellation had zero to do with the A-10, nor did the A-10 prevent the US Army from starting up a Cheyenne replacement (AAH) almost immediately. 
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Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #101 on: May 27, 2014, 03:36:30 pm »
Someone remind me why the A-10 was developed in the first place.

To replace the A-1 Skyraider. I agree in principle with you that USAF could do with a dedicated COIN platform. I would think an ideal solution for such a need would be a something like the AIAA gunship competition winner the CalPoly Firefox. Long endurance ISR and CAS/BAI fires. Could replace A-10s, AC-130s, MC-12s, SKAs, etc. But someone has to pony up the money. Which is why we are in a state of tension. No money.
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #102 on: May 27, 2014, 03:37:51 pm »
Your mileage may vary:

"Why No One Is Buying the Air Force’s Argument To Ditch the A-10"
by Dr. Janine Davidson
May 21, 2014

Source:
http://www.defenseone.com/management/2014/05/why-no-one-buying-air-forces-argument-ditch-10/84949/

Quote
One of the most controversial proposals by the Air Force this year is its plan to divest the A-10 jet aircraft.  The “warthog,” as it is known, is a slow moving, low-flying, ear-piercingly loud jet airplane built around a giant “Avenger” Gatling gun, which has provided intimidating fire power for troops in contact on the ground for nearly 40 years.  By divesting an entire fleet, instead of just a few airplanes, the Air Force saves “billions, not millions” across the board in production and maintenance.

That $3.5 billion can then be invested in “multi-mission” aircraft, like the F-35, which, like the F-16, F-15, B1, and other platforms can conduct close air support (CAS), in addition to their other missions.  From an enterprise management perspective, they argue, it is just inefficient to maintain a “niche” airplane like the A-10, when so many other more survivable platforms can also do CAS, in addition to interdiction, air-to-air, and penetrating strike.
 
As a taxpayer, I get the Air Force’s budget argument; but as the wife of a former infantry officer who claims the A-10 has saved real lives in combat, my belief that the A-10 can probably be retired is not really about the money. It’s about my assessment that the Air Force can adequately perform the CAS mission without the A10. The lingering question is, will they?

Soldiers in combat on the ground could not care less about the Air Force’s “enterprise-wide” analysis and the “efficiencies” gained by utilizing operationally oriented “multi-mission platforms.”  Blah. Blah. Blah.  What soldiers (and parents, spouses, and senators) want to know is that the firepower will be there when needed.   Period.  And here, the Air Force is just not getting that message across.

Truth is, the debate is not really about the A10—it is about the Air Force’s reputation and its perceived lack of dedication to the CAS mission.  Divesting the one plane most visible to ground troops and perceived as the most optimized for CAS simply fuels the suspicion that the Air Force’s last priority is supporting the troops on the ground.

The Air Force’s own rhetoric about the need to “take risk” across the inventory and the value of “multi-mission” aircraft, focuses on business, not war, and drowns out the solid facts about how CAS has been and will be conducted in the future.  And it only adds fuel to the fire when Chief of Staff, General Welsh says that various multi-mission platforms can do the mission “…maybe not as well, but reasonably well.”  What, exactly, is “reasonably well?”

Consider a recent heated exchange between Senator John McCain during testimony by the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.  The Senator was incredulous when told by Secretary Deborah James and General Mark Welsh that a variety of aircraft, including the high-altitude B-1 bomber, would be able to fill the gap in the CAS mission:

“That’s a remarkable statement. That doesn’t comport with any experience I’ve ever had, nor anyone I know has ever had,” he said. “You’re throwing in the B-1 bomber as a close air support weapon to replace the A-10. This is the reason why there is … such incredible skepticism here in the Congress.”  When General Welsh broke in to provide some data, Senator McCain cut him off saying,  “General, please don’t insult my intelligence.”

Had the Chief been allowed to elaborate, he might have focused, not on the business case, but on the following facts:

CAS Is a Mission, Not An Airplane

CAS really is a mission, not a particular airplane.  It is not being replaced by the F-35 alone, its holistic mission is being carried out by all sorts of other planes, manned and unmanned.  Changes in tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) along with technological advances have enabled an array of other platforms to conduct the vast majority of CAS over the last decade, and to do so with precision not available when the A-10 was designed in the early 1970’s.

Eighty percent of CAS missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been conducted not by the A-10, but by an array of other aircraft, including AC-130’s, F-15E’s, F-16’s, MQ-1’, B-52’s, and yes, the B-1. As for the B-1, it is not an insult to anyone’s intelligence to point out that 40% of the weapons tonnage dropped in Afghanistan came from the B1, in over 10,000 CAS-oriented sorties—and there is just no way the A-10 could have done this.

CAS Looks Different from the Air

For troops on the ground, the thundering sound of an incoming jet means one of two things, relief or annihilation.  Thanks to the fact that the U.S. Air Force maintains “air superiority” across the entire theater of battle, not just one company’s patch, U.S. and allied infantry welcome that otherwise terrifying noise.  From the air, however, getting that firepower on target, and maintaining control of the skies, requires maintaining a technological edge over an increasingly sophisticated enemy.

The Air Force argues that the best way to protect troops on the ground is to take out the enemy before it even gets in contact with our forces.  This means maintaining theater-wide air dominance with an array of platforms airborne across the battle space, and being able to swing within minutes from point to point. In this environment, the A-10 does not keep up.  As one Air Force strategist explained, relying on the close-in only A-10 instead of these multi-mission platforms, “actually increases risk to our soldiers by reducing the ability to kill the enemy before the Army closes with to destroy the enemy…the less enemy soldiers can actually look our American ground forces in the eye, the better we’ve done our job.”

That said, the A-10 is most valued when then the enemy does get through and airpower is needed in shorter range. But this reliance on the A-10 may be misplaced, as the Air Force claims that the Warthog has increasingly demonstrated limited capabilities compared to other platforms.  Take for instance the case of the 2011 Mackay Trophy winners, Don Cornwell, Dylan Wells, Leigh Larkin, and Nicholas Tsougas, a flight of two F-15Es, call sign “Dude flight,” who responded in conditions unreachable by the A-10:

    With weather below rescue force minimums, Dude flight used Terrain Following Radar to execute five ‘Show of Force’ passes in a valley surrounded by high terrain.  When hostilities escalated, Dude Flight expertly employed six Joint Direct Attack Munitions, helping kill over 80 Taliban fighters who occupied reinforced positions within the town. Their efforts helped save the lives of approximately 30 coalition troops.  There were no civilian casualties.

These aircrew represent a generation of pilots of various aircraft, besides the A-10, who have added CAS to their skill sets in the last decade. For the Air Force to convince skeptics that CAS is a priority as the A-10 comes out of the inventory, the mission will need to remain high on the list of required skill sets for which pilots are trained and that they practice regularly.

The A-10 is Old

The A-10 was designed in a very different era, when, as one Air Force pilot explained, “the only way to deliver precise fires and effects was strafing with a gun.”  Indeed, the A-10 is often thought of as a flying Gatling gun. Today’s precision-guided systems allow F-15Es or B-1s to deliver an array of munitions in greater numbers and with accuracy “unimaginable” when the A-10 was designed. Finally, the Air Force argues that future ground fights will see increasingly sophisticated anti-aircraft surface to air threats, making the A-10 increasingly vulnerable.  Relying on this outdated jet in future fights places airmen and soldiers at greater risk.

These facts mean that even without the budget crunch, this old jet would be due for an upgrade. Even the most skeptical group of senators conceded in their recent letter of protest “We do not believe the A-10 can serve in the inventory forever—it will eventually be replaced.”

The Need for a Joint CAS Picture

Curiously, the Army has not formally objected to the Air Force’s divestment plan; nor have they asked Congress for funding to take over the A-10 system.  Might this reflect an acknowledgment that, as the Air Force claims, the fire power has in fact been there when they needed it in Afghanistan and Iraq—either from an A-10 or from something else they perhaps did not even see?

As the primary “customer” of this Air Force mission, the Army’s voice is needed in the CAS debate. The Pentagon should conduct a joint Army-Air Force study of CAS, looking forward and back.  They should look at the last ten years and get the facts of how well the air power has been delivered – from the air and the ground perspectives.  They should also examine future CAS-oriented scenarios, from a joint perspective, to determine if losing the A-10 will create any “niche” gaps that cannot be covered by the rest of the inventory with existing or adapted TTPs.  This holistic air-ground perspective will illuminate the nature of the risk, if any, being taken in divesting the A-10. It will also get Congress focused on the mission, not the plane.

Recent calls from Congress to delay A-10 divestment until a “capable replacement reaches full operational capability” miss the point of how this mission and the threat have changed and how technology has adapted.   What Congress should be asking, in order to ease everyone’s minds, is how the Air Force intends to conduct the mission to the satisfaction of the Army with an array of twenty-first century platforms; not how it will replace, on a one-for-one basis, a plane originally intended to repel Soviet tank columns in the early 1970s.

Dr. Janine Davidson is senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her areas of expertise include defense strategy and policy, military operations, national security, and civil-military relations.
This post appears courtesy of CFR.org.

Offline quellish

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #103 on: May 27, 2014, 04:17:07 pm »

A FAC won the Silver Star for calling in air support for an Army unit fighting a large Taliban force (I posted this elsewhere) and one of the platforms was the B-1, along with F-15's and F-16's.


I believe the person you are referring to was Sgt Eric Brandenburg, Jr. who was awarded the Silver Star for his actions as a JTAC in Iraq. He was not an airborne FAC, but worked with FAC(A) in A-10s. The B-1s, F-15s, F-16s were deploying weapons on coordinates.

Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #104 on: May 27, 2014, 04:57:17 pm »
Two points from the article.  First the doctor is right that the Army does not trust the Air Force and has not for a long time.  Second the reason the Army is not jumping up and down to get the aircraft is simple.  They can't afford it. 

We will repeat history, again.  The enemy will learn to close with our soldiers very quickly, despite the claims airpower will get them first.  Rules Of Engagement and enemies who cheat airpower by dressing in civilian clothes and hanging out at schools and hospitals and religious shrines will use information age technology to know how to optimize their opportunities to close to a point where JDAM will kill soldiers and enemy combatants alike.  A gun run on one side of the wall while soldiers are hunkered down on the other will be the impossible from 30,000 feet.  They will wait for multiple layers of cloud cover to degrade synthetic targeting.  Combat is the ultimate Darwinian effort.  The enemy will learn quickly, accelerated by global information access.  The Army will invest in further accuracy to the cannon on attack helicopters, ask for a greater portion of the budget to develop more responsive rotorcraft and the USAF Inc. will pull a hat trick.

Anyone around in twenty years that proves me wrong, I'll buy all the beer.

Offline F-14D

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #105 on: May 27, 2014, 05:24:48 pm »
Someone remind me why the A-10 was developed in the first place.


Because the USAF didn't want the Army to get the Cheyenne.

Lame.  The AH-56 cancellation had zero to do with the A-10, nor did the A-10 prevent the US Army from starting up a Cheyenne replacement (AAH) almost immediately.

Must disagree, and support Yasotay.

True, AH-56 cancellation had zero to do with A-10, because Army itself decided that delays/problems with Cheyenne were making it too expensive and politically untenable.   

However, during its development Army noted that in addition to helicopter escort and limited anti-tank (the "approved" roles for attack helos), The Cheyenne could perform recon, Close Air Support and could dive bomb.  When they started talking that, AF went ballistic and upgraded the announced role of the AX/A-10 from a medium priority long loiter A-1 replacement to a "premier" anti-tank vehicle as well as the only CAS vehicle the US would ever need.   They specifically lobbied against the AH-56 citing the A-10 as being what the US really wanted if it was smart, and besides it's their role anyway.   They were quite open about it, and you'll find multiple  references to it in the literature at the time.   The late, great Jeff Ethell  talked about this on camera for one of the programs he worked on for the late, lamented Wings Channel.  USAF was caught flat-footed when Army went and canceled AH-56 on it own.

Regarding AAH, USAF let it alone because Army had "realized", that Cheyenne was "too ambitious", and although low speed agility became a priority, the AAH requirements would not impinge on forbidden territory.  No pusher/reversible props here!  As Lockheed said in its marketing for its AAH proposal: "We're scaling down, not up". 
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 05:46:35 pm by F-14D »

Offline kcran567

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #106 on: May 27, 2014, 05:44:43 pm »
"Why the A-10 is needed now more than ever"

There was an interesting editorial in the newest AW&ST that got it exactly right. An earlier article "Russian Response" which said 100 A-10s deployed in the Ukraine would make the Russians "take note" more than sending 600 troops. Also, that the Russians aren't concerned about F-35 at all when dealing with large numbers of deployed tanks, armor and heavy equipment. Also, NATO members Ukraine and Poland would be first in line and love to be able to help the Air Force out by doing the Air Force a favor by buying up all those useless, ageing and obsolete A-10s.

Offline AeroFranz

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #107 on: May 27, 2014, 06:29:52 pm »
Yeah, it's the second week in a row that people write to AvWeek making similar arguments. Are you talking about selling/gifting A-10 to the Ukraine?
Totally unrealistic, if you ask me. You can't just hand the A-10s over and tell the Ukrainians to operate them for plenty of practical reasons. Not to mention that it would be seen as a very overt provocation towards uncle Vlad (whom admittedly is not known for subtlety himself...).
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Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #108 on: May 27, 2014, 06:39:33 pm »
 
There was an interesting editorial in the newest AW&ST that got it exactly right. An earlier article "Russian Response" which said 100 A-10s deployed in the Ukraine would make the Russians "take note" more than sending 600 troops. Also, that the Russians aren't concerned about F-35 at all when dealing with large numbers of deployed tanks, armor and heavy equipment. Also, NATO members Ukraine and Poland would be first in line and love to be able to help the Air Force out by doing the Air Force a favor by buying up all those useless, ageing and obsolete A-10s.

The US is deploying combat forces to the Ukraine, the Ukraine is a member of NATO, Russians don't think the F-35 is a threat to ground forces and Poland wants to buy the A-10? I don't know if that was in the AW&ST editorial or just embellishment by kcran but whomever originated it ought to lay of the medical marijuana. Some serious hardcore delusion right there.
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Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #109 on: May 27, 2014, 06:41:41 pm »
Yeah, it's the second week in a row that people write to AvWeek making similar arguments. Are you talking about selling/gifting A-10 to the Ukraine?
Totally unrealistic, if you ask me. You can't just hand the A-10s over and tell the Ukrainians to operate them for plenty of practical reasons. Not to mention that it would be seen as a very overt provocation towards uncle Vlad (whom admittedly is not known for subtlety himself...).

The Ukraine inherited 92 Su-25s from the Soviet Union they don't need A-10s. Worst excuse for A-10 retention ever.
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Offline GTX

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #110 on: May 27, 2014, 06:43:06 pm »

There was an interesting editorial in the newest AW&ST that got it exactly right. An earlier article "Russian Response" which said 100 A-10s deployed in the Ukraine would make the Russians "take note" more than sending 600 troops. Also, that the Russians aren't concerned about F-35 at all when dealing with large numbers of deployed tanks, armor and heavy equipment. Also, NATO members Ukraine and Poland would be first in line and love to be able to help the Air Force out by doing the Air Force a favor by buying up all those useless, ageing and obsolete A-10s.

Please provide supporting evidence for all of this.

Offline GTX

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #111 on: May 27, 2014, 06:45:40 pm »
responding to your question (will you respond to mine I wonder… ::)

So I guess the answer to my question is "no"...how surprising... ::)

Offline F-14D

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #112 on: May 27, 2014, 06:46:19 pm »
"Why the A-10 is needed now more than ever"

There was an interesting editorial in the newest AW&ST that got it exactly right. An earlier article "Russian Response" which said 100 A-10s deployed in the Ukraine would make the Russians "take note" more than sending 600 troops. Also, that the Russians aren't concerned about F-35 at all when dealing with large numbers of deployed tanks, armor and heavy equipment. Also, NATO members Ukraine and Poland would be first in line and love to be able to help the Air Force out by doing the Air Force a favor by buying up all those useless, ageing and obsolete A-10s.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and one might remember how warmly the Russians reacted to Georgia's proposed joining NATO.  Putin has said that he would consider Ukraine joining NATO as "direct threat" to his country.  Two months ago, the Ukrainian Prime Minister said (in Russian) that Ukraine was not seeking NATO membership, and President Obama quickly echoed that. 

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #113 on: May 27, 2014, 10:20:12 pm »
... the doctor is right that the Army does not trust the Air Force and has not for a long time.

That's a big problem.

Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #114 on: May 27, 2014, 10:34:01 pm »
Sure, they don't trust the USAF, but the US Army has had a special.. hate.. reserved for the USN/USMC..
..going back centuries..
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Offline F-14D

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #115 on: May 28, 2014, 01:01:05 pm »
Sure, they don't trust the USAF, but the US Army has had a special.. hate.. reserved for the USN/USMC..
..going back centuries..

The rivalry between Army and USN/USMC is the traditional rivalry those types of services worldwide have had for centuries, especially when alcohol has flown freely.  The concern Army  has with USAF is the perception that USAF as an organization (not the aircrew themselves) will do what it wants, rather than what is needed, in supporting ground troops;  will not always come as soon or as low as may be required and that if USAF feels something is its proper role, will work against Army (and to a lesser extent other services) from performing the task, even if it has no intention of doing it itself. 

One of the things that endeared A-10 to Army for CAS so much was that it really couldn't do anything else and that's what its crews trained for.  A-10s were there to support ground troops, period.  Army didn't have to worry that they'd be assigned to do deep strike, attack the "rear echelon", perform battlefield air interdiction or be sent  off looking for enemy planes to shoot down. 

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #116 on: May 28, 2014, 05:59:00 pm »
The rivalry between Army and USN/USMC is the traditional rivalry those types of services worldwide have had for centuries, especially when alcohol has flown freely.  The concern Army  has with USAF is the perception that USAF as an organization (not the aircrew themselves) will do what it wants, rather than what is needed, in supporting ground troops;  will not always come as soon or as low as may be required and that if USAF feels something is its proper role, will work against Army (and to a lesser extent other services) from performing the task, even if it has no intention of doing it itself. 

One of the things that endeared A-10 to Army for CAS so much was that it really couldn't do anything else and that's what its crews trained for.  A-10s were there to support ground troops, period.  Army didn't have to worry that they'd be assigned to do deep strike, attack the "rear echelon", perform battlefield air interdiction or be sent  off looking for enemy planes to shoot down.

Is that belief from way back when the United States Army Air Forces became autonomous from the United States Army by executive order in 1942?

Offline F-14D

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #117 on: May 28, 2014, 08:16:10 pm »
The rivalry between Army and USN/USMC is the traditional rivalry those types of services worldwide have had for centuries, especially when alcohol has flown freely.  The concern Army  has with USAF is the perception that USAF as an organization (not the aircrew themselves) will do what it wants, rather than what is needed, in supporting ground troops;  will not always come as soon or as low as may be required and that if USAF feels something is its proper role, will work against Army (and to a lesser extent other services) from performing the task, even if it has no intention of doing it itself. 

One of the things that endeared A-10 to Army for CAS so much was that it really couldn't do anything else and that's what its crews trained for.  A-10s were there to support ground troops, period.  Army didn't have to worry that they'd be assigned to do deep strike, attack the "rear echelon", perform battlefield air interdiction or be sent  off looking for enemy planes to shoot down.

Is that belief from way back when the United States Army Air Forces became autonomous from the United States Army by executive order in 1942?

Do not want to take this off topic or start a "war", but it's more from actual and historical experience since USAF became an independent service in 1947.   USN and USMC share the view to a certain extent, but they have their own air forces, so it isn't as pronounced.   

Again, this regards overall policy and procedures, not the aircrews themselves.  

Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #118 on: May 28, 2014, 09:04:22 pm »
Sure, they don't trust the USAF, but the US Army has had a special.. hate.. reserved for the USN/USMC..
..going back centuries..

The rivalry between Army and USN/USMC is the traditional rivalry those types of services worldwide have had for centuries, especially when alcohol has flown freely.  The concern Army  has with USAF is the perception that USAF as an organization (not the aircrew themselves) will do what it wants, rather than what is needed, in supporting ground troops;  will not always come as soon or as low as may be required and that if USAF feels something is its proper role, will work against Army (and to a lesser extent other services) from performing the task, even if it has no intention of doing it itself. 

One of the things that endeared A-10 to Army for CAS so much was that it really couldn't do anything else and that's what its crews trained for.  A-10s were there to support ground troops, period.  Army didn't have to worry that they'd be assigned to do deep strike, attack the "rear echelon", perform battlefield air interdiction or be sent  off looking for enemy planes to shoot down.
100% spot on.  For those who hang around folks who have been in the ugly places recently, there has been more than one occasion where USAF left a fight to the Army to deal with on its own.  The distrust is NOT with the men and women in the ranks but with the hyper-PC, risk adverse senior ranks and the professional staff of USAF Inc. 
Especially after twelve years in the mud together the USA and USMC are tight.  The ribbing is traditional and more in tune with sport team taunts.  USMC shakes their heads and says " Glad we got our own air force" over beer.

Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #119 on: May 29, 2014, 12:07:57 am »
To be fair, the US forces rivalry has had a shorter, more scientifically/politically acrimonious history than most..

The USN hated the 'Army' when Billy Mitchell used bomber aircraft in a 'stunt' to destroy warships..
& the USMC have always rated themselves over the lubbers in dirt combat, living off their hand-me-downs or no..

& the USAF really begrudgingly admitted that various USN/USMC A & F type aircraft were better than what they had..

The British 'senior service' (Royal Navy) has, - valid condescension regarding command by merit, rather than by birth,
 or buying - apart.. ..never hesitated to turn up & render landing (& rescue services) to the British army - unstintingly.

The demarcation issues regarding air arms has however been & still is - an ongoing issue, hence this thread..
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 12:33:47 am by J.A.W. »
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Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #120 on: May 29, 2014, 12:59:28 am »
The US Army has spent a enormous sum developing and deploying tube and rocket launched PGMs.
Many of these PGMs can fly significant off-axis trajectories, non-ballistic trajectories and are pretty tolerant of gun laying errors.

What this means in practice is that more batteries are available to engage with greater accuracy and potentially a higher rate of fire against targets close-in to friendly forces.

Deconflicting this very complex airspace to accommodate a fast-moving gunslinger which typically has to fly below the artillery ceiling to do CAS is going to be a major challenge. And I don't see the Army spending much if any money on addressing this challenge from a technical, doctrinal or training standpoint. As always, there are multiple sides involved in solving the Close Support challenge.

Offline jsport

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #121 on: May 29, 2014, 07:24:42 am »
Army Artillery, no matter how precise can not be counted on to replace CAS especially on the increasingly dispersed battlespace which is projected. USMC distributed ops depends on CAS, thus the well accepted argument that there would be no Marines if they did not have their own air.

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #122 on: May 29, 2014, 08:31:51 am »
Army Artillery, no matter how precise can not be counted on to replace CAS especially on the increasingly dispersed battlespace which is projected. USMC distributed ops depends on CAS, thus the well accepted argument that there would be no Marines if they did not have their own air.

IMHO, I think the US military and Army are missing out by not having more robust ground and naval based offensive missile systems up to 1000km ranges (and longer if you abrogate the INF Treaty at least for convention missiles). With short flight times, GPS accuracy and possible loitering submunitions.
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Offline jsport

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #123 on: May 29, 2014, 08:56:56 am »
Army Artillery, no matter how precise can not be counted on to replace CAS especially on the increasingly dispersed battlespace which is projected. USMC distributed ops depends on CAS, thus the well accepted argument that there would be no Marines if they did not have their own air.

IMHO, I think the US military and Army are missing out by not having more robust ground and naval based offensive missile systems up to 1000km ranges (and longer if you abrogate the INF Treaty at least for convention missiles). With short flight times, GPS accuracy and possible loitering submunitions.
sure would be all for that...down to the Fire Tm level USMC and USA sure and when...

Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #124 on: May 29, 2014, 09:00:31 am »
Army Artillery, no matter how precise can not be counted on to replace CAS especially on the increasingly dispersed battlespace which is projected. USMC distributed ops depends on CAS, thus the well accepted argument that there would be no Marines if they did not have their own air.

IMHO, I think the US military and Army are missing out by not having more robust ground and naval based offensive missile systems up to 1000km ranges (and longer if you abrogate the INF Treaty at least for convention missiles). With short flight times, GPS accuracy and possible loitering submunitions.
LOL,  USAF Inc., tried to take control of ATACM at one point (because it could do interdiction).  They also tried to take control of Patriot (because it shot down airplanes). 

Online sferrin

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #125 on: May 29, 2014, 09:16:57 am »
Army Artillery, no matter how precise can not be counted on to replace CAS especially on the increasingly dispersed battlespace which is projected. USMC distributed ops depends on CAS, thus the well accepted argument that there would be no Marines if they did not have their own air.

IMHO, I think the US military and Army are missing out by not having more robust ground and naval based offensive missile systems up to 1000km ranges (and longer if you abrogate the INF Treaty at least for convention missiles). With short flight times, GPS accuracy and possible loitering submunitions.
LOL,  USAF Inc., tried to take control of ATACM at one point (because it could do interdiction).  They also tried to take control of Patriot (because it shot down airplanes).

Given that the US Army had everything from Little John to Pershing II over the years, not to mention Nike Ajax/Hercules, Safeguard, Hawk, etc. why would they bother? 
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #126 on: May 29, 2014, 10:19:16 am »
Army Artillery, no matter how precise can not be counted on to replace CAS especially on the increasingly dispersed battlespace which is projected. USMC distributed ops depends on CAS, thus the well accepted argument that there would be no Marines if they did not have their own air.


How does the Army intend to prosecute operations on a greatly dispersed battlefield without longer range artillery? Air mobile operations!?

I buy the CAS argument for the USMC since their expeditionary nature precludes embarking large amounts of land-based artillery. Still, naval gunfire support is an integral part of USMC doctrine which is why the USN spent colossal sums on ERGM, BTERM and now AGS/LRLAP.

Offline jsport

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #127 on: May 29, 2014, 10:37:27 am »
Army Artillery, no matter how precise can not be counted on to replace CAS especially on the increasingly dispersed battlespace which is projected. USMC distributed ops depends on CAS, thus the well accepted argument that there would be no Marines if they did not have their own air.


How does the Army intend to prosecute operations on a greatly dispersed battlefield without longer range artillery? Air mobile operations!?

I buy the CAS argument for the USMC since their expeditionary nature precludes embarking large amounts of land-based artillery. Still, naval gunfire support is an integral part of USMC doctrine which is why the USN spent colossal sums on ERGM, BTERM and now AGS/LRLAP.
The Army has an Air Assault Div. and all divs execute versions of Air Mob Ops often w/o support.  Every Army ever wants enhanced Air Mob capability depending on the air threat (again requires air.)  Artillery is always subject to counter battery and many ops on Afgh were consistently out of Mortar/arty range..

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #128 on: May 29, 2014, 01:08:14 pm »

The Army has an Air Assault Div. and all divs execute versions of Air Mob Ops often w/o support.  Every Army ever wants enhanced Air Mob capability depending on the air threat (again requires air.)  Artillery is always subject to counter battery and many ops on Afgh were consistently out of Mortar/arty range..

Devil's Advocate Time:

The Army has been infected by the mobility bug and wants to conduct "deep" operations far out of range of supporting organic assets. 
The Army can't sanitize the deep operational areas adequately with Army aviation alone so it wants/needs/demands USAF "CAS" and often in a specific form. In other words, CAS as a crutch.   

I'll leave discussion on the impact of C-RAM on CB fire for later.

Online sferrin

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #129 on: May 29, 2014, 01:19:15 pm »
I'll leave discussion on the impact of C-RAM on CB fire for later.
Something to think about for "later", if your C-RAM can deal with CB fire it can certainly eat an A-10 for lunch.
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Offline jsport

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #130 on: May 29, 2014, 02:18:29 pm »

The Army has an Air Assault Div. and all divs execute versions of Air Mob Ops often w/o support.  Every Army ever wants enhanced Air Mob capability depending on the air threat (again requires air.)  Artillery is always subject to counter battery and many ops on Afgh were consistently out of Mortar/arty range..

Devil's Advocate Time:

The Army has been infected by the mobility bug and wants to conduct "deep" operations far out of range of supporting organic assets. 
The Army can't sanitize the deep operational areas adequately with Army aviation alone so it wants/needs/demands USAF "CAS" and often in a specific form. In other words, CAS as a crutch.   

I'll leave discussion on the impact of C-RAM on CB fire for later.
This now in the realm of the bizarre. Of course any Army wants to "sanitize", regardless of Arty disposition, as deep as opportunity provides, so calling CAS a "crutch" sounds like Service rivalry or a strange statement.


Offline jsport

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #131 on: May 29, 2014, 02:24:11 pm »
I'll leave discussion on the impact of C-RAM on CB fire for later.
Something to think about for "later", if your C-RAM can deal with CB fire it can certainly eat an A-10 for lunch.
until there is a real strategy and budget..CRAM is terminal to close only.. and that is if even that happens.

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #132 on: May 29, 2014, 02:57:00 pm »
I'll leave discussion on the impact of C-RAM on CB fire for later.
Something to think about for "later", if your C-RAM can deal with CB fire it can certainly eat an A-10 for lunch.

I was going to argue that attached C-RAM would reduce the need for friendly arty to displace due to CB fire.
Off-axis trajectories for friendly out-going would also make it much more challenging for hostile fire finder radars to back project
point of origin. 

Also, if you are taking CB shouldn't your CAS assets be tasked to silencing those batteries?


Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #133 on: May 29, 2014, 03:45:28 pm »
This now in the realm of the bizarre. Of course any Army wants to "sanitize", regardless of Arty disposition, as deep as opportunity provides, so calling CAS a "crutch" sounds like Service rivalry or a strange statement.

More a reflection of the doctrinal and budgetary consequences the (IMHO massive) overemphasis on Army aviation and mobility forces has
had on the rest of the Army portfolio, particularly indirect fire which is really the key enabler and sustainer of mobility/maneuver. 

The A-10 plugs a gap in the Army's capabilities that emerged as a result of the Army's own doctrinal and budgetary choices which is why the debate about its retirement is so impassioned often for all the wrong reasons.

Offline jsport

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #134 on: May 29, 2014, 04:02:11 pm »
This now in the realm of the bizarre. Of course any Army wants to "sanitize", regardless of Arty disposition, as deep as opportunity provides, so calling CAS a "crutch" sounds like Service rivalry or a strange statement.

More a reflection of the doctrinal and budgetary consequences the (IMHO massive) overemphasis on Army aviation and mobility forces has
had on the rest of the Army portfolio, particularly indirect fire which is really the key enabler and sustainer of mobility/maneuver. 

The A-10 plugs a gap in the Army's capabilities that emerged as a result of the Army's own doctrinal and budgetary choices which is why the debate about its retirement is so impassioned often for all the wrong reasons.
If one doesn't have effective Army aviation and mobility one will be quick victim of it. One will only need direct fire as one attempts to prevent one from being overrun from one's rear flank. Airland battle is as far as I know, still main Army doctrine and includes the word "Air" not for Army Helicopters, so am not sure what "Army's own doctrinal and budgetary choices" is being refered to here.

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #135 on: May 29, 2014, 05:07:12 pm »
If one doesn't have effective Army aviation and mobility one will be quick victim of it. One will only need direct fire as one attempts to prevent one from being overrun from one's rear flank. Airland battle is as far as I know, still main Army doctrine and includes the word "Air" not for Army Helicopters, so am not sure what "Army's own doctrinal and budgetary choices" is being refered to here.

I'm not quite sure why there needs to be a symmetrical counter to enemy Army aviation and mobility...

AirLand Battle *was* a great doctrine; CAS was to be conducted within the range of corp tube artillery...it got slightly fuzzier when MLRS came along. But in any event it was about conducting the close battle with a combination of weapons systems and platforms. 

The main point is that the Army was careful to ensure that its reach did not exceed its grasp; their prior emphasis on air mobility did not which is where the requirements for A-X (A-10) originated.

Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #136 on: May 29, 2014, 07:00:09 pm »
As I mentioned war is the supreme Darwinian endeavor.  Smart contestants realize playing the American way of war, as has been demonstrated repeatedly over the last seventy years, is an expensive loosing proposition.  Patience and fuzzy warfare where combatant and noncombatant are hard to distinguish has repeatedly demonstrated better results and it is much cheaper.  They prey on the western distaste for collateral damage.  The morality debate over "drone strikes" is purely a western philosophical construct.  They go to great pains to point out when a JDAM gets a wedding party.  It is thought that given that cities are the economic, technical and human centers for most countries, the radical state, non-state and global criminal elements are moving out of the hinterlands and into the "urban jungle".  Conversely many of the major nation states that have the economics to field tank armies and integrated air defenses are so intertwined that major warfare could bankrupt everyone.  Few believe that the probability of major industrial power committing to the potential of economic suicide is small.
My point is not that there is not still a need to be prepared for that sort of war, it is that preparing for that and thinking lesser forms of war are less challenging have been repeatedly proven wrong.  Certainly if you going to have to deal with an integrated air defense then by all means air power should be the order of the day (although I would note that it was AH64s that fired the first shots in Desert Storm to begin the reduction of the Iraqi air defenses). I would also note that the United States Army committed the 101st division to a division level air assault deep into Iraq against a still organized Republican Guard mechanized Corps. My point is that you can do these sort of things against an enemy that warrant the risk.
Airland Battle is long gone.  AirSea battle is now in vogue for folks worried about the Pacific Rim were ground maneuver is logistically problematic.  The Army now talks about Integrated Distributed Operations, recognizing smaller more distributed organizations will deal with multifaceted enemies over larger areas. 
For Air Sea Battle the multifunctional aircraft make perfect sense.  For Integrated Distributed Operations aircraft like A-10 make perfect sense.  Or leave it to precision fires from rotorcraft.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #137 on: May 29, 2014, 07:16:39 pm »
If one doesn't have effective Army aviation and mobility one will be quick victim of it. One will only need direct fire as one attempts to prevent one from being overrun from one's rear flank. Airland battle is as far as I know, still main Army doctrine and includes the word "Air" not for Army Helicopters, so am not sure what "Army's own doctrinal and budgetary choices" is being refered to here.

I'm not quite sure why there needs to be a symmetrical counter to enemy Army aviation and mobility...

AirLand Battle *was* a great doctrine; CAS was to be conducted within the range of corp tube artillery...it got slightly fuzzier when MLRS came along. But in any event it was about conducting the close battle with a combination of weapons systems and platforms. 

The main point is that the Army was careful to ensure that its reach did not exceed its grasp; their prior emphasis on air mobility did not which is where the requirements for A-X (A-10) originated.


anyone not ready to "go deep", as it will certainly be done to them, ought to 'go home".

Certainly this is why the USMC Distributed Ops focused V-22 is so pivotal "AirSea Battle" the latest derivative of "Air Land'. 

 As Yasotay states the US Army does reach. Given the number and capability of helicopters available to High Intensity/Hybrid adversaries,  the bad lessons of bad planning in a certain conflict which gave rise to these grasp vs reach arguments will lead to a bad strategy unable to match adversaries.  Likewise, the future JVL capability enables more depth not less. Logistics for ground maneuver is only a problem for deeper Integrated Distributed Ops when their supporting CAS isn't "dense" enough ie numerous w/ many maximum effect munitions, and available for the longest loiter.

Offline kcran567

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #138 on: May 30, 2014, 12:35:55 am »
Has anyone researched what the Army thinks of no longer having the A-10? Are they satisfied that the A-10 will no longer support them in favor of something newer or whatever?  What is the problem with allowing the Army to have the A-10 since CAS is such a limited mission anyway, the Air Force can pursue more glamorous missions mainly Air and Strike missions against fixed targets. Having an A-10 option seems something the Army would like to have. The exaggerations of the  A-10 being expensive to maintain really is a convenient excuse for the Air Force getting rid of it.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #139 on: May 30, 2014, 12:08:15 pm »
Has anyone researched what the Army thinks of no longer having the A-10? Are they satisfied that the A-10 will no longer support them in favor of something newer or whatever?  What is the problem with allowing the Army to have the A-10 since CAS is such a limited mission anyway, the Air Force can pursue more glamorous missions mainly Air and Strike missions against fixed targets. Having an A-10 option seems something the Army would like to have. The exaggerations of the  A-10 being expensive to maintain really is a convenient excuse for the Air Force getting rid of it.


You don't have to research far to know that the Army is flipping out about it.

Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #140 on: May 30, 2014, 12:21:27 pm »
As mentioned above the Army cannot afford to keep OH-58D any more.  Certainly cannot afford A-10, without the funding line for it from the USAF; which is what the USAF wants to use for other more important programs.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #141 on: May 30, 2014, 12:26:24 pm »
As mentioned above the Army cannot afford to keep OH-58D any more.  Certainly cannot afford A-10, without the funding line for it from the USAF; which is what the USAF wants to use for other more important programs.

Is the Army also retiring the Bell TH-67 Creek?

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #142 on: May 30, 2014, 02:06:46 pm »
Has anyone researched what the Army thinks of no longer having the A-10? Are they satisfied that the A-10 will no longer support them in favor of something newer or whatever?  What is the problem with allowing the Army to have the A-10 since CAS is such a limited mission anyway, the Air Force can pursue more glamorous missions mainly Air and Strike missions against fixed targets. Having an A-10 option seems something the Army would like to have. The exaggerations of the  A-10 being expensive to maintain really is a convenient excuse for the Air Force getting rid of it.

Maybe this is part of a response:

Quote
Curiously, the Army has not formally objected to the Air Force’s divestment plan; nor have they asked Congress for funding to take over the A-10 system.  Might this reflect an acknowledgment that, as the Air Force claims, the fire power has in fact been there when they needed it in Afghanistan and Iraq—either from an A-10 or from something else they perhaps did not even see?
Source: http://www.defenseone.com/management/2014/05/why-no-one-buying-air-forces-argument-ditch-10/84949/


Surely if the A-10 is only aircraft that can do CAS, why on earth would allied air forces send any aircraft?  Why would the US Navy have any squadrons involved what so ever? Why would F-16s, B-1s, F-15Es be sent at all? Why would the Marines utilize their air wing? If the A-10 is the only aircraft that can provide CAS in an environment that is almost exclusively Battlefield air interdiction, CAS, and Recon, why would Afghanistan not be the worlds largest concentration of A-10s on the planet?

The answer to the question is the US Army recognizes and understands that A-10s have not been the only aircraft providing CAS the last 13 years. And with their funding being cut, they understand the USAF's plight. They also don't feel its worth giving anything they have up to get the A-10s. The Chief of Staff of the Army has said he understands and supports the USAFs decision to retire the A-10. A-10s have advantages in CAS over other aircraft but other aircraft have advantages over the A-10 in CAS. For some reason in this great debate only the A-10s advantages get mentioned.

Lastly, The idea that the USAF "hates" the A-10 needs to go. The A-10 has been in service for 40 years now, its not the young upstart upsetting the old guard, it is the old guard. It is the establishment. Even the Chief of Staff of the USAF is a former A-10 pilot. "The brass" is the A-10. Moreover, you would be hard pressed to find many people in the entire US and allied Militaries that served before the A-10 and actually remember a time when it wasn't around.  The old guard who allegedly "hate it" retired a long time ago, and not many of them would actually speak ill of it today anyway. If the USAF could it would hang onto the A-10, its more planes and more pilots and the USAF has always loved more planes and more pilots way more than it ever "hated" the A-10. Post cold war the USAF retired A-7s, F-111s, F-4s, MH-53s and a lot of other things it "loved" while keeping the A-10 it "hates"?? That doesn't make much sense.

The USAF has learned that the only way to really "save" funding is not to reduce numbers but an "all or none" approach. They can't get rid of all the thousands of multi mission work horse F-16s, so its better to get rid of hundreds of less useful aircraft like the A-10. Do you decommission all the KC-10s? or KC-135s? KC-10s are smaller in number so those are on the chopping block. Funding cuts mean cutting. Hard choices mean hard choices.

Offline kcran567

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #143 on: May 30, 2014, 07:26:36 pm »
Thanks for the responses.


Are the A-10s going into desert storage, or is there a chance they could be sold and used by a foreign buyer who might want them? that seems like a good choice with all the focus on funding and money.

Offline GTX

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #144 on: May 30, 2014, 07:40:51 pm »
Whilst there is always a chance someone may buy them, given no-one but the USA has shown any interest in them in 40 odd years, how serious do you think the chances are of someone else wanting them now?

Offline yasotay

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #145 on: May 31, 2014, 06:30:07 am »
With their agility and warload,  I suspect the "fire bomber" idea may get more than a passing look.  So maybe they will go to the US Forestry Service...

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #146 on: June 03, 2014, 11:28:28 am »
Firstly - GTX thanks for the great and informative commentary above.
 
These should help
http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-u-s-air-forces-new-ac-130-gunships-are-really-bomb-1584518199
 
 
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

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Offline Jemiba

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #147 on: June 03, 2014, 12:02:43 pm »
... how serious do you think the chances are of someone else wanting them now?

Judging the kind of operations, the A-10 was built for and the political and military situation,
wouldn't the armed forces of the ROK be one of the most logical customers ?
It takes a long time, before all mistakes are made ...

Offline TomS

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #148 on: June 03, 2014, 12:22:01 pm »
Judging the kind of operations, the A-10 was built for and the political and military situation,
wouldn't the armed forces of the ROK be one of the most logical customers ?

The ROKAF don't seem to think so.  They have ordered CBU-105 Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispensers with BLU-108 Sensor Fuzed Weapon submunitions.  I think this is a pretty clear sign of how they plan to deal with advancing armored forces.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #149 on: June 03, 2014, 07:30:57 pm »
With their agility and warload,  I suspect the "fire bomber" idea may get more than a passing look.  So maybe they will go to the US Forestry Service...

This was proposed back  in the '90s and early 2000s when USAF was dumping A-10s in the desert (no, I don't mean "preserving").   The various proposals all came under the general name of "Firehog".  It didn't go anywhere because it was said that it would be too expensive to pull the gun (which would create a big cg problem), that the armor was too integrated, etc.  Plus a big factor was that although USAF didn't have plans to use them again, they responded to all inquiries by stating that surplus A-10s were "unavailable". 

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #150 on: June 21, 2014, 11:09:50 am »
"House Bucks Appropriators; Forbids A-10 Retirement"
by Colin Clark on June 20, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Source:
http://breakingdefense.com/2014/06/house-bucks-appropriators-forbids-a-10-retirement/

Quote
WASHINGTON: Election fears ruled the day on Capitol Hill when the full House of Representatives voted to stop the Air Force from retiring the venerable and venerated A-10 aircraft in the chamber’s version of the defense appropriations bill.

While we heard little of the backroom chatter and didn’t see the emails that doubtless flew as the bill’s sponsors urged their colleagues to vote against the Air Force’s attempt to save $3.7 billion by retiring the A-10 fleet, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to ascertain why members voted as they did.

While the bill’s principal sponsor Rep. Candice Miller spoke warmly of the A-10 as the best Close Air Support plane on earth, all you had to do to find ground truth was look at the district she represents in Michigan. Miller didn’t exactly vote on the merits of the Air Force’s argument. Instead, as a statement on her website made clear, she’d done this before for what most of her colleague’s would regard as one of the most fundamental reasons to vote for anything — jobs in your district and protection of the role of the National Guard:

“In 2012, Rep. Miller successfully defeated the Administration’s attempt to eliminate and/or reduce the Air National Guard personnel and assets, including the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft, based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.”

Now there are actually very few jobs at stake across the country should the A-10 be retired, as we’ve reported. But a vote for retirement would give any canny opponent considerable ammunition during a campaign. You know: “Candice Miller voted to kill the A-10, the best close air support aircraft in the world and one that means X jobs here.”  But this vote was all about the November elections and the Guard.

A-10 retirement chart

It’s also a very interesting fact that the House overrode its own appropriators, who voted to retire the plane. That may not bode well for the chairman’s authority — or it may just be another indicator that no one wants to hurt a colleague’s chances for reelection.

So, now we’ve got both authorization committees voting against retirement as well as the whole House. It looks like our prediction that retirement won’t happen til next year is on track. The question that remains, as Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James noted at a Defense Writers Group breakfast earlier this week, where is Congress going to find the  money the Air Force must now replace.

As Rep. Pete Visclosky, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee put it simply during the HAC-D markup of the defense spending bill:  “We’ve got to pay for stuff… Staying the course and hoping for some fiscal relief next year is wishful thinking.”

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #151 on: June 21, 2014, 11:12:06 am »
"Is the A-10 Right for Iraq?"
Aaron Mehta / 2 days ago

Source:
http://intercepts.defensenews.com/2014/06/is-the-a-10-about-to-have-its-moment/

Quote
The fight over the A-10 may have been thrown a screwball this week, thanks to the sudden, dramatic surge from ISIL forces as they have overwhelmed whole chunks of Iraqi territory.

The battle over the future of the A-10 has largely centered around the Air Force’s argument that the plane doesn’t match future needs in a contested air environment. Proponents of the “Warthog” dispute that, and point to the types of mission  the plane still performs to protect troops on the ground today – missions they say perfectly fit with battling ISIL forces if President Obama gives the ok for airstrikes.

Many say the Warthog’s finest moment came during the first Gulf War when the plane efficiently ripped Saddam Hussein’s fleet of tanks to shreds. With groups of pickup trucks tearing across the desert and photos showing armored vehicles captured from fleeing Iraqi army forces, supporters of the plane are saying the situation is ideal for the A-10.

“You want to keep in mind [that] this is not exactly a purely military confrontation,” said Pierre Sprey, considered the father of the A-10. “If you want to stop an outfit like these [ISIL] guys with pickup trucks and machine guns, there’s no other airplane anywhere that’s really useful.”

Sprey raises concerns about potential civilian casualties if high-level fast jets come by and cannot distinguish between ISIL forces and innocent locals. In contrast, he argues, the A-10 can go low and slow to scope things out before engaging.

“You can’t tell the farmers’ pickup trucks form the ones with machine guns,” Sprey said. “There aren’t that many targets. You’re not dealing with huge forces, so you really need an airplane that can get down there and tell a watermelon truck from the machine gun truck.”

“Absolutely the only thing we have that can really exert notable, useful power against 800 or 1,000 of these [ISIL] fanatics is the A-10,” he added. “Nothing else will do much but exacerbate the situation.”

While other pilot communities would likely disagree that the A-10 is the only option, no one, even those in favor of its retirement, has said it won’t fit the mission in Iraq.

“I’m sure they can go out and do an effective job,” Rebecca Grant, president of IRIS Research, said, before warning about reading too much into how the plane performs in Iraq when making future force decisions.

“This is still a very permissive airspace,” she said. “They may go out and do an excellent job and we can sing their praises, but what the A-10 does in Iraq right now is not relevant for what it could or could not do in other scenarios down the road. It still doesn’t mean this is the right platform for the future.”

Logistically, turning to the A-10 – a platform already in theater – would make sense for a potential mission.

“We have a variety of assets already over there in the regular order and of course we have others that could be moved within a matter of a fairly short period of time should that be asked of us,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said this week, noting the A-10 was one of those assets<< http://www.defensenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014306180032>>.

Would an anti-ISIL campaign in Iraq constitute a last hurrah for the plane? That’s up to Congress, which seems inclined to protect the machine for at least another year. Keep an eye on CongressWatch and DefenseNews.com in the coming weeks for more.

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #152 on: July 27, 2014, 06:08:25 pm »


Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

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Offline kcran567

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #153 on: July 28, 2014, 12:33:56 am »
"Is the A-10 Right for Iraq?"
Aaron Mehta / 2 days ago

Source:
http://intercepts.defensenews.com/2014/06/is-the-a-10-about-to-have-its-moment/

Quote
The fight over the A-10 may have been thrown a screwball this week, thanks to the sudden, dramatic surge from ISIL forces as they have overwhelmed whole chunks of Iraqi territory.

The battle over the future of the A-10 has largely centered around the Air Force’s argument that the plane doesn’t match future needs in a contested air environment. Proponents of the “Warthog” dispute that, and point to the types of mission  the plane still performs to protect troops on the ground today – missions they say perfectly fit with battling ISIL forces if President Obama gives the ok for airstrikes.

Many say the Warthog’s finest moment came during the first Gulf War when the plane efficiently ripped Saddam Hussein’s fleet of tanks to shreds. With groups of pickup trucks tearing across the desert and photos showing armored vehicles captured from fleeing Iraqi army forces, supporters of the plane are saying the situation is ideal for the A-10.

“You want to keep in mind [that] this is not exactly a purely military confrontation,” said Pierre Sprey, considered the father of the A-10. “If you want to stop an outfit like these [ISIL] guys with pickup trucks and machine guns, there’s no other airplane anywhere that’s really useful.”

Sprey raises concerns about potential civilian casualties if high-level fast jets come by and cannot distinguish between ISIL forces and innocent locals. In contrast, he argues, the A-10 can go low and slow to scope things out before engaging.

“You can’t tell the farmers’ pickup trucks form the ones with machine guns,” Sprey said. “There aren’t that many targets. You’re not dealing with huge forces, so you really need an airplane that can get down there and tell a watermelon truck from the machine gun truck.”

“Absolutely the only thing we have that can really exert notable, useful power against 800 or 1,000 of these [ISIL] fanatics is the A-10,” he added. “Nothing else will do much but exacerbate the situation.”

While other pilot communities would likely disagree that the A-10 is the only option, no one, even those in favor of its retirement, has said it won’t fit the mission in Iraq.

“I’m sure they can go out and do an effective job,” Rebecca Grant, president of IRIS Research, said, before warning about reading too much into how the plane performs in Iraq when making future force decisions.

“This is still a very permissive airspace,” she said. “They may go out and do an excellent job and we can sing their praises, but what the A-10 does in Iraq right now is not relevant for what it could or could not do in other scenarios down the road. It still doesn’t mean this is the right platform for the future.”

Logistically, turning to the A-10 – a platform already in theater – would make sense for a potential mission.

“We have a variety of assets already over there in the regular order and of course we have others that could be moved within a matter of a fairly short period of time should that be asked of us,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said this week, noting the A-10 was one of those assets<< http://www.defensenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014306180032>>.

Would an anti-ISIL campaign in Iraq constitute a last hurrah for the plane? That’s up to Congress, which seems inclined to protect the machine for at least another year. Keep an eye on CongressWatch and DefenseNews.com in the coming weeks for more.




That article really exposes those that want to axe the A-10 and it's still relevant capability. The A-10 would eat Isis alive. The Russians don't seem to be in a hurry to scrap the Frogfoot.


Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #154 on: July 31, 2014, 03:44:34 pm »
"Air Force stands by A-10 retirement"
By Kristina Wong - 07/30/14 04:52 PM ED
"Air Force stands by A-10 retirement"
By Kristina Wong - 07/30/14 04:52 PM EDT

Quote
The Secretary of the Air Force on Wednesday stood by her department’s proposal to retire the A-10 fleet, arguing the United States has plenty of replacements available should the nation land in an armed conflict.

"It's possible we could get into something else where we would need higher levels of close air support in the next year or two or three," Deborah James told Pentagon reporters.

"And if that is the case, we've got it. We've got the F-16. We've got the F-15E," she said, referring to other aircraft that could perform the mission. "So the close air support mission is a sacred mission. And we got it."

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), the Senate's top A-10 supporter, issued a statement after the briefing Wednesday that noted the Iraqi government was currently using a similar aircraft to battle terrorist forces in Iraq.

"It is worth noting that the SU-25 'Frogfoot' — the inferior Russian version of the A-10 — was recently sent to Iraq to battle ISIL forces there," she said.

"Evidently, the Iraqis believe such a [close air support]-focused aircraft can operate effectively against the ISIL forces that are operating in Syria and Iraq," said Ayotte, whose husband was an A-10 pilot.

The Air Force recommended earlier this year that Congress retire the A-10 fleet in 2015 in order to save $4 billion dollars. So far, the House, and both the Senate Armed Services and Senate Appropriations Committees have rejected that plan.

Ayotte argued that in close air support missions where a close air support aircraft must fly slow and low above troops in danger, "there is no aircraft currently in America's arsenal that is more survivable than the A-10."

"I appreciate the difficult budget environment the Air Force confronts, but it's important that the debate going forward be based on facts rather than arguments that do not hold water," she said.

Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force's chief of staff and a former A-10 pilot, said the decision was "not about the A-10."

"It's about balancing an Air Force to provide the spectrum of missions we provide to a combatant commander," he said. "I now have a list of 15 things they'd prefer us to spend the money on."

Welsh added that $20 billion in cuts to the Air Force under sequestration was to blame.

"So if anyone else has got a solution that balances Air Force capabilities across the mission areas we are responsible to the combatant commanders for, we'd love to hear it," he said.

— This story was updated at 6:15 p.m. to clarify the remarks from Sen. Ayotte.

Offline donnage99

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #155 on: November 07, 2014, 10:24:18 pm »
2 years ago the USAF said that the f-35B cannot replace the A-10 because it doesn't generate enough sorties even though the B variant has the highest sorties rate of all 3 variants. 

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #156 on: November 10, 2014, 05:13:11 am »
The sole imperative of a government, once instituted, is to survive.

Offline Moose

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #157 on: November 10, 2014, 01:43:30 pm »
Via MilitaryPhotos.net: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/11/07/sen-john-mccain-vows-to-save-a10-from-retirement.html

It will be interesting to see if this will translate to action.
Since he's not going to add to the Air Froce's topline to afford keeping the A-10, the question becomes what will be force them to cut?

Online sferrin

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #158 on: November 10, 2014, 02:33:40 pm »
Via MilitaryPhotos.net: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/11/07/sen-john-mccain-vows-to-save-a10-from-retirement.html

It will be interesting to see if this will translate to action.
Since he's not going to add to the Air Froce's topline to afford keeping the A-10, the question becomes what will be force them to cut?

If I were the USAF I'd tell him I'd fund the A-10 by shutting down Luke AFB and moving their functions elsewhere.  Then see how serious he is about wanting to keep the A-10.   ;D
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Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #159 on: November 21, 2014, 04:50:01 pm »
"Air Force begs for F-35 to be top priority over A-10 jet"
Thursday , November 20, 2014 - 10:40 AM

Source:
http://www.standard.net/Military/2014/11/19/Air-Force-Keeping-Warthogs-would-delay-Joint-Strike-Fighter.html

Quote
WASHINGTON — The Warthog is not dead yet.

Despite attempts by the Air Force to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt II, nicknamed for its toughness and one of the military’s most beloved airplanes, a scrappy band of lawmakers has put up a fight that has started to yield some results.

But if the A-10 survives, the Air Force warns, the already delayed introduction of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could face another setback.

For months, the Air Force has said it can no longer afford its fleet of A-10s, a decision that came to symbolize the effects of the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration. But recently it has been forced to soften its stance and is now suggesting compromises that would slow down the aircraft’s retirement.

But it has also warned that if Congress does not allow it to retire the fleet, the Air Force won’t be able to transfer hundreds of maintenance workers from the A-10 to the F-35, as originally planned, which could further delay the program just as manufacturer Lockheed Martin is ramping up production.

“We’re really in a crunch now,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said in an interview over the weekend at the Reagan National Defense Forum. “We’re looking at, are we going to delay the Joint Strike Fighter? That would be awful. Are we going to underman the very aircraft that are most needed in this latest fight against” the Islamic State?

Hill Air Force Base now conducts maintenance for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-22, the MQ-1 and MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicles and the C-130. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed five-year Pentagon budget calls for the retirement of the A-10 attack aircraft, which Hill has relied on for years to help broaden its maintenance workload.

The A-10 is a slow-flying aircraft designed to stay close enough to the ground so that pilots can distinguish friend from foe, even with their own eyes. Often called the military’s ugliest aircraft, it is armed with a 30mm cannon that can destroy a tank, and a “titanium bathtub” belly designed to absorb ground fire.

It is beloved by soldiers and airmen alike, who say that it saved countless lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and that its ability to take out the enemy at close range is unparalleled.

A group of former service members who served as joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs), who advise ground commanders on how best to deploy air power in combat, recently wrote in a letter to senior Pentagon leaders that the elimination of the A-10 “will cost American lives.”

“When under enemy fire and about to be overrun, JTACs look over their shoulders and pray an A-10 is there — knowing that nothing reassures and protects friendly forces and scatters and destroys enemy forces like an A-10,” they wrote.

But the Warthog is aged and has only one mission, Air Force officials say: providing close-air support to troops on the ground. Other aircraft can perform that mission — in addition to an variety of others, Air Force officials say. And with the budget cuts, James said the Air Force has no other choice. Retiring the A-10 fleet would save $4.2 billion over five years, she said.

“If you can’t have everything — and we can’t because realistically speaking the budgets won’t allow it — you have to make tough choices,” she said. “We’ve looked at 11 different ways to possibly do this, and there are no good solutions. So we went back to Congress and said, ‘Look, we’re between a rock and a hard place, is there no compromise that we can develop together?‘ “

So far, the reaction from some powerful members of Congress has been a steadfast no.

Both the House and Senate have moved to prevent the Air Force from retiring the A-10 this fiscal year. And the aircraft has received strong support from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who is poised to become chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

In a news conference last week, he vowed to fight the Air Force’s plan to retire the fleet, saying: “This fight is far from over. We all know it’s the best platform. There’s no doubt about that.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., rebutted the Air Force’s assertion that not being able to divest the A-10 would delay the F-35 program, which is scheduled to achieve what’s called initial operating capability in late 2016. Congressional aides have said that the Air Force could use contractors as mechanics or transfer members from the Reserve forces to do the work — but Air Force officials said that was not tenable.

“So now we’re trying to pit the F-35 against the A-10,” Ayotte said. “It’s a false choice. There are other ways we can ensure the F-35 continues and the A-10” as well.

But Air Force officials say it’s simple math. Each F-35 requires a crew of 20 who check the aircraft before and after flights, perform scheduled inspections and maintenance, and make repairs.

The Air Force had expected to be able to transfer experienced aircraft mechanics from the A-10 fleet to the F-35, which is still in the development stages, and other aircraft such as the F-15 and F-16. When Congress would not allow it, the Air Force planned to raid the staffs of other aircraft even though they were already short. But with the air campaign against the Islamic State, the Air Force has been unable to do that, officials said.

As a result, the F-35, the next generation darling of the Air Force that is expected to replace several airframes, is getting short shrift, delaying their use. Last fiscal year, there were 748 maintenance workers assigned to the F-35, or about 70 percent of the needed total. This fiscal year, the figure would be 55 percent, and next year 47 percent if the Air Force is not allowed to retire the Warthog.

“Something’s got to give,” said one senior Air Force official.

Offline Moose

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #160 on: November 22, 2014, 02:21:49 am »
Could always end the Sequester. No, wait, forgot that the #1 geopolitical threat to the Untied States is spending.

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #161 on: January 22, 2015, 08:49:24 am »
The latest news on the controversial A-10 retirement and transfer of the AH-64 to the Army:

"Authorizers Bend A Tad On A-10s; NDAA Heads To Senate"
By Colin Clark on December 02, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Source:
http://breakingdefense.com/2014/12/authorizers-bend-a-tad-on-a-10s-ndaa-heads-to-senate/

However, this latest development is likely to harden stances:

http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/capitol-hill/2015/01/22/james-post-a10-comment-investigation/22155219/
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Offline donnage99

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #162 on: January 22, 2015, 02:56:23 pm »
If I were the USAF I'd tell him I'd fund the A-10 by shutting down Luke AFB and moving their functions elsewhere.  Then see how serious he is about wanting to keep the A-10.   ;D


The money that they save by scrapping an entire fleet of A-10 can buy them 4 f-35.   I would lose 4 f-35 to keep an entire fleet of aircraft not only is relevant, much needed, but has no real replacement.   




Offline GTX

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #163 on: January 23, 2015, 12:17:50 pm »

The money that they save by scrapping an entire fleet of A-10 can buy them 4 f-35.   I would lose 4 f-35 to keep an entire fleet of aircraft not only is relevant, much needed, but has no real replacement.


What's the basis for your calculation?

Offline donnage99

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #164 on: January 23, 2015, 10:29:03 pm »

What's the basis for your calculation?
I was exaggerating.  According to this, it's 30 f-35 that they could buy. 
http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-usafs-rationale-for-retiring-the-a-10-warthog-is-bu-1562789528

Offline tfbjwi

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #165 on: February 04, 2015, 10:25:23 am »
All I know is that my son is a UH-60L Black Hawk pilot in the Army and he said  if the Army was ever given back the job of fixed wing CAS and the A-10's, there would be a stampede of Army pilots volunteering for those slots.

Offline tfbjwi

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #166 on: February 04, 2015, 10:41:29 am »
And, as a grunt in the field with the 82nd and the 10th Mountain Divisions, he related that no other aircraft providing CAS was more welcome, and more effective, by his fellow soldiers than the A-10.  It got the job done the first time and scared the beAllah out of the enemy.  The Apache was the 2nd choice.  Fast CAS was a distant last.

Offline Grey Havoc

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The sole imperative of a government, once instituted, is to survive.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #168 on: February 10, 2015, 09:30:31 pm »
"US Deploys A-10s to Europe Amid Debate to Arm Ukraine"
Feb 10, 2015
by Brendan McGarry

Source:
http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/02/10/us-deploys-a10s-to-europe-amid-debate-to-arm-ukraine.html?ESRC=todayinmil.sm

Quote
The U.S. military has deployed a dozen Cold War-era A-10 attack aircraft to Europe amid the escalating assault from pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine, an official said.

The aircraft, known officially as the Thunderbolt II and unofficially as the Warthog, on Monday departed Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona for Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, according to Lt. Col. Christopher Karns, a spokesman for the Air Force at the Pentagon.

"While in Germany these aircraft will forward-deploy to locations in Eastern European NATO nations," he said in an e-mail. "Units will conduct training alongside our NATO allies to strengthen interoperability and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe."

The deployment comes as President Barack Obama is weighing whether to approve the transfer of weapons in addition to non-lethal assistance to Ukraine.

The top NATO commander, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, last week warned that any action the U.S. or other Western nations take "could trigger a more strident reaction from Russia," even while acknowledging that Russia continues to supply separatists on the border with heavy, state-of-the-art weapons, air defenses and fighters, according to an article by The Associated Press.

The A-10 has flown numerous missions to support U.S. and coalition ground forces in Afghanistan and, more recently, in Iraq, where American troops are helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces battle militants affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

The low, slow-flying gunship's snub-nose packs a seven-barrel GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling gun that fires 30mm rounds designed to shred the armor on tanks, combat vehicles and other targets.

The Air Force has proposed retiring its fleet of almost 300 Warthogs by 2019 to save an estimated $4.2 billion a year and free up maintainers for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a stealthy multi-role fighter jet and the Pentagon's most expensive acquisition program.

Congress rejected the service's request to begin the process of divesting the A-10 this fiscal year and approved $337 million in funding to keep them in the inventory. While lawmakers did allow the Air Force to move up to three dozen of the planes to back-up status, they blocked the service from sending any to the bone yard.

"The Air Force values the A-10 and will continue to use it while it remains in the Air Force inventory," Karns said.

Ashton Carter, the White House's nominee to replace Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, last week signaled a willingness to hear arguments from joint tactical air controllers, or JTACS, for keeping the A-10 in the force.

The U.S. has in recent months deployed both troops and equipment to Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which is designed to reassure NATO allies of Washington's commitment to security in the region in light of Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

The White House last year began targeting Russian officials for economic sanctions in response to Russia's invasion and subsequent annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

American lawmakers have also questioned the Pentagon's reliance on Russian military hardware. Congress in the current fiscal year approved funding to develop a domestic alternative to the Russian RD-180 engine used to launch military and spy satellites.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #169 on: February 11, 2015, 09:02:52 am »
More charges of data manipulation to smear the A-10 Thunderbolt II:

"Group: AF Skewed Data in A-10 ‘Smear Campaign’"

by Brendan McGarry on February 10, 2015

Source:
http://defensetech.org/2015/02/10/group-af-skewed-data-in-a-10-smear-campaign/#ixzz3RSNdm96P

Quote
The U.S. Air Force manipulated casualty data to make the A-10 attack aircraft appear more hazardous than it really is, according to a watchdog group.

The service “cherry-picked” information on civilian casualties and friendly fire deaths in Afghanistan, making it look as though the aging gunship is responsible for killing more American troops and Afghan civilians than any other warplane, according to the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, D.C.

The raw figures, which were the subject of a recent story in USA Today, don’t take into account the frequency with which the aircraft were flown — critical for any kind of comparison, only cover certain years, and leave out a major incident in 2009 involving the B-1 bomber in which nearly 100 civilians were killed, POGO said.

“Those cooked statistics excluded—and kept classified—data that is essential for a basic understanding of the issue,” Mandy Smithberger, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information at POGO, wrote in an analysis.

The flap comes just weeks after Maj. Gen. James Post, vice commander of Air Combat Command, warned officers that praising the A-10 to lawmakers would amount to “treason.”

It may give congressional overseers such as Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, yet more fodder to block the service’s latest proposal to retire the Warthog by 2019 to save an estimated $4.2 billion a year and free up maintainers for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Congress rejected the service’s requests to begin the process of divesting the low, slow-flying aircraft in the current fiscal year and included about $337 million in the budget to keep almost 300 of them in the inventory. While they did allow the Air Force to move as many as 36 of the planes to back-up status, they blocked the service from sending any to the bone yard.

The 30mm, seven-barrel GAU-8/A Avenger in the nose of the Cold War-era Warthog can hold as many as 1,174 rounds designed to shred the armor on tanks, combat vehicles and other targets.

The Air Force data show the A-10 was involved in missions that killed 35 civilians in the five years through 2014 — more than any other aircraft. However, they also show the Warthog flew almost 2,700 combat missions, or kinetic sorties, during that period – far more than any other plane. That translates into 1.3 civilian deaths per 100 missions. (The rate increases to 1.4 when including wounded civilians.)

That’s the second-lowest casualty rate of any of the aircraft, behind the KC-130 cargo plane, according to POGO. Which was the worst offender? The AV-8B Harrier jump-jet, which had 8.4 civilian casualties per 100 missions, according to the group’s analysis:
Platform   Casualties per 100 Kinetic Sorties
KC-130   0.7
A-10   1.4
F-15E   1.6
F-16   2.1
F-18   2.2
B-1   6.6
AV-8   8.4

 

“The table makes it clear that the A-10 is the safest airplane in Afghan combat, except for the KC-130,” it states. “In fact, the A-10 produces nearly five times fewer civilian casualties per firing sortie than the B-1 bomber.”

And that’s taking into account the Air Force’s truncated time period, which excludes the so-called 2009 Granai Massacre in which a B-1 killed between 26 and 147 civilians and wounded even more, according to POGO.

“The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission estimated 97 civilians killed, which the Department of Defense has not disputed,” the analysis states. “Including 2009 would have made the B-1 bomber the worst killer in theater by far.”

The data also show that the A-10 flew sorties that resulted in the deaths of 10 American troops, though the F-15E Strike Eagle was involved in missions that wounded 34 U.S. service members and the F-18 flew sorties that killed 25 coalition members and wounded another 54.

POGO concludes, “Air Force headquarters is engaged in an all-out campaign to use any means possible—including threatening service members and doctoring data for the media—to bolster its failing argument on Capitol Hill to prematurely retire the A-10. Retiring the A-10 gets rid of an Army-supporting mission Air Force generals despise and protects the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program from a combat-proven competitor.”

Lt. Col. Christopher Karns, a spokesman for the Air Force at the Pentagon, said the service wasn’t trying to be selective with data on civilian casualties, or CIVCAS in military parlance. Rather, it only began tracking the incidents in a standardized and consistent manner since 2010, he said.

“In 2010, CIVCAS was tracked by the Air Force using consistent DOD guidance,” he said in an e-mail. “The incidents captured were entered into a data base, validated and met the common definition applied across all the services.”

The point in releasing the information was to respond to a specific media query and highlight how the service’s aircraft — including the A-10, F-15E, F-16 and B-1 – all have relatively low casualty and fratricide rates, and can perform the close air support, or CAS, mission equally well, Karns said.

“The A-10 is an effective platform, there’s no denying that,” he said in a telephone interview. “However, with the fiscal realities of the day, we have to be responsible and take a look at actions that may help us ensure an affordable Air Force in the future.”

He added in the e-mail, “We never take the application of force for granted. From 2001–2014, the incident rate for fratricide for all platforms and services is .0003%. We’re all trying to make this statistic zero.”

Offline Flyaway

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #170 on: February 12, 2015, 10:10:46 am »
Could the USAF finally have decided to develop a replacement for the A-10?

Stealthy Son of A-10?
—JOHN A. TIRPAK2/13/2015
Quote
​The Air Force will consider developing a new dedicated close air support platform capable of operating in contested airspace; a follow-on to the A-10, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle said Thursday. Speaking with reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Carlisle said that such a platform “may be something … we need to look at in the future, depending on what’s happening. Nothing is off the table.” Carlisle said he believes “we’ll have to perform close air support in contested environments” given that adversaries are growing more sophisticated. They “are going to try to figure out how to … not let us do that,” he said, so a new platform may be required. The idea is not a response to critics of USAF’s plan to retire the A-10, Carlisle insisted. USAF has “always been dedicated to the mission of support to the ground component” and takes the mission seriously, he maintained. Airspace denial is already a tough challenge, and the need to “close … gaps and seams” in future capability “I think (is) something we have to be cognizant of.” He added that for the near-term, “there may be something that we can do with legacy platforms to make them better” at delivering CAS. The A-10 is “significantly more vulnerable in a contested environment than other airplanes … and what provides that mission set in the future is something we’ll continue to look at … it’s something that’s got to be in the discussion,” he added.

http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2015/February%202015/February%2013%202015/Stealthy-Son-of-A-10.aspx

Also this A-10 related article.

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/02/air-force-to-hold-close-air-support-summit-may-need-new-weapon/
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 10:19:12 am by Flyaway »

Offline Boxman

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #171 on: February 12, 2015, 12:30:41 pm »
Could the USAF finally have decided to develop a replacement for the A-10?

Stealthy Son of A-10?
—JOHN A. TIRPAK2/13/2015
Quote
​The Air Force will consider developing a new dedicated close air support platform capable of operating in contested airspace; a follow-on to the A-10, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle said Thursday. Speaking with reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Carlisle said that such a platform “may be something … we need to look at in the future, depending on what’s happening. Nothing is off the table.” Carlisle said he believes “we’ll have to perform close air support in contested environments” given that adversaries are growing more sophisticated. They “are going to try to figure out how to … not let us do that,” he said, so a new platform may be required. The idea is not a response to critics of USAF’s plan to retire the A-10, Carlisle insisted. USAF has “always been dedicated to the mission of support to the ground component” and takes the mission seriously, he maintained. Airspace denial is already a tough challenge, and the need to “close … gaps and seams” in future capability “I think (is) something we have to be cognizant of.” He added that for the near-term, “there may be something that we can do with legacy platforms to make them better” at delivering CAS. The A-10 is “significantly more vulnerable in a contested environment than other airplanes … and what provides that mission set in the future is something we’ll continue to look at … it’s something that’s got to be in the discussion,” he added.

http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2015/February%202015/February%2013%202015/Stealthy-Son-of-A-10.aspx

Also this A-10 related article.

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/02/air-force-to-hold-close-air-support-summit-may-need-new-weapon/

Color me cynical. I believe they will make an effort to develop a replacement for the A-10 for just as long as it takes to make sure the A-10 is dead and buried as a platform for the USAF (and no further).  ;)

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #172 on: February 13, 2015, 07:25:58 am »
Could the USAF finally have decided to develop a replacement for the A-10?

Stealthy Son of A-10?
—JOHN A. TIRPAK2/13/2015
Quote
​The Air Force will consider developing a new dedicated close air support platform capable of operating in contested airspace; a follow-on to the A-10, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle said Thursday. Speaking with reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Carlisle said that such a platform “may be something … we need to look at in the future, depending on what’s happening. Nothing is off the table.” Carlisle said he believes “we’ll have to perform close air support in contested environments” given that adversaries are growing more sophisticated. They “are going to try to figure out how to … not let us do that,” he said, so a new platform may be required. The idea is not a response to critics of USAF’s plan to retire the A-10, Carlisle insisted. USAF has “always been dedicated to the mission of support to the ground component” and takes the mission seriously, he maintained. Airspace denial is already a tough challenge, and the need to “close … gaps and seams” in future capability “I think (is) something we have to be cognizant of.” He added that for the near-term, “there may be something that we can do with legacy platforms to make them better” at delivering CAS. The A-10 is “significantly more vulnerable in a contested environment than other airplanes … and what provides that mission set in the future is something we’ll continue to look at … it’s something that’s got to be in the discussion,” he added.

http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2015/February%202015/February%2013%202015/Stealthy-Son-of-A-10.aspx

Also this A-10 related article.

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/02/air-force-to-hold-close-air-support-summit-may-need-new-weapon/

Color me cynical. I believe they will make an effort to develop a replacement for the A-10 for just as long as it takes to make sure the A-10 is dead and buried as a platform for the USAF (and no further).  ;)

Agreed.
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Offline tfbjwi

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #173 on: February 13, 2015, 10:52:06 am »
Could the USAF finally have decided to develop a replacement for the A-10?

Stealthy Son of A-10?
—JOHN A. TIRPAK2/13/2015
Quote
​The Air Force will consider developing a new dedicated close air support platform capable of operating in contested airspace; a follow-on to the A-10, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle said Thursday. Speaking with reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Carlisle said that such a platform “may be something … we need to look at in the future, depending on what’s happening. Nothing is off the table.” Carlisle said he believes “we’ll have to perform close air support in contested environments” given that adversaries are growing more sophisticated. They “are going to try to figure out how to … not let us do that,” he said, so a new platform may be required. The idea is not a response to critics of USAF’s plan to retire the A-10, Carlisle insisted. USAF has “always been dedicated to the mission of support to the ground component” and takes the mission seriously, he maintained. Airspace denial is already a tough challenge, and the need to “close … gaps and seams” in future capability “I think (is) something we have to be cognizant of.” He added that for the near-term, “there may be something that we can do with legacy platforms to make them better” at delivering CAS. The A-10 is “significantly more vulnerable in a contested environment than other airplanes … and what provides that mission set in the future is something we’ll continue to look at … it’s something that’s got to be in the discussion,” he added.

http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2015/February%202015/February%2013%202015/Stealthy-Son-of-A-10.aspx

Also this A-10 related article.

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/02/air-force-to-hold-close-air-support-summit-may-need-new-weapon/

Color me cynical. I believe they will make an effort to develop a replacement for the A-10 for just as long as it takes to make sure the A-10 is dead and buried as a platform for the USAF (and no further).  ;)



You hit the nail right on the head, my good sir.

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #174 on: February 14, 2015, 07:18:39 pm »
"At What Point Does The USAF's War Against The A-10 Become Sabotage?"
by Tyler Rogoway
Feb 12, 2015

Source:
http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/at-what-point-does-the-usafs-war-against-the-a-10-becom-1685239179


Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #175 on: February 16, 2015, 08:09:10 pm »
CAS Futures

—John A. Tirpak2/17/2015

​Explaining the thinking behind calling an all-service close air support summit at Nellis AFB, Nev., in March, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Friday, “We just have to get to a point where all the services understand what the future looks like in this arena.” Speaking to the media at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Welsh said CAS summit will also focus on future CAS-oriented munitions, which may again change the way the mission is performed. These could include “a large number of forward-firing, laser-guided rockets … something that fragments a rocket into a thousand bullets, creating the effect of a “thousand-round burst” instead of the limited burst possible from a gun today. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, also at the press conference, said “the body of thought that comes from this summit would help us re-engage with the Congress to say, is there a different way to get there from here, a different approach? Because, believe me, we want to work this out. We’re looking for a way to achieve the goals I think we all share … We have to be ready today and modern for tomorrow.” Welsh said, “It’s a mission, not a platform. We keep saying it, but it’s absolutely true.”

Keep the Culture

—John A. Tirpak2/17/2015

Air Combat Command “has been focused … for a while” on how it maintains the close air support culture as it transitions from the A-10 to the F-35, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Feb. 13 at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando. Welsh said he’s looking at putting a majority of former A-10 pilots “in some squadrons … so we create places where the CAS culture has a home; the keepers of the flame of this mindset, the attack mentality, which is important to us and has always been important to us.” He insisted the F-35 “will be a good CAS platform,” although it will take a while “to get it to where we want it to be; like it has with every other airplane we’ve ever bought, including the A-10.” The A-10, he said, “is going to go away, eventually,” and can’t serve past 2027-2028. “Beyond that, you’re talking a huge investment to recapitalize that fleet. That makes no sense in today’s environment,” Welsh argued.

Tell it to the Marines

—John A. Tirpak2/17/2015

​Critics of the Air Force's plan to retire the A-10, who say the F-35 is simply not an adequate platform for the close air support mission, are ignoring the Marine Corps' huge endorsement of it, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Friday. At a press conference during AFA's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Welsh said "it's an interesting conversation where everyone's talking about the F-35 not doing close air support when that's all the Marine Corp is buying it for," Welsh said. "This thread of conversation" that USAF doesn't care about the CAS mission "has really become a little ridiculous," he said. "I've got 140,000 data points over the last seven years that prove that's a ridiculous statement," Welsh added, offering the statistics on how many CAS sorties the service has flown during the period. "That's about 20,000 a year. When is there a little bit of credit given for that?" He said his father "thought he flew" CAS in P-40s, P-47s, P-51s, and F-84s, and his father's friends thought they did so in A-1s and A-7s, "long before we had an A-10." They believed they had a "mentality, a culture, and a focus" of giving ground support full attention, Welsh argued. "So why people, all of a sudden, looking backward, (are) saying they didn't is a little beyond my comprehension," he added.
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Offline Flyaway

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #176 on: February 23, 2015, 06:39:07 am »
CAS in Context

—Marc V. Schanz

Feb. 23, 2015: Focusing on airframes is the wrong way to look at the effectiveness of the close air support mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, USAF spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Karns told Air Force Magazine.

His comments came in response to a query regarding a recent news article by USA Today, which cited declassified Air Force statistics and claimed the Air Force's A-10s are responsible for the most civilian casualty deaths in Afghanistan airstrikes since 2010—a disclosure the Project on Government Oversight claims is based on "manipulated data … intended to bolster the Air Force's campaign to retire the A-10 Warthog in favor of the much costlier and unproven F-35 Joint Strike Fighter."

Karns said the data also shows incident-free rates of the A-10, B-1, F-15E, and F-16 are all "relatively comparable" due to the reliance on precision weapons. While the F-15E had the top incident-free rate in the 2010-2014 timeline, cited in the report, each of the four aircraft had an incident-free rate above 99 percent.

Of the 140,000 sorties examined, Karns noted, the newspaper pointed to a total of 45 friendly fire incidents, which comes to an incident rate of 0.0003 percent.

"This speaks to the precision of each aircraft in the hands of highly skilled and trained airmen of all services," Karns noted.

In each instance of fratricide or civilian casualties cited in a recent news report, lessons learned were applied to CAS procedures, he added.

"Incidents are remarkably low because everyone works hard to keep them low," Karns said, adding that the development and refinement of precision-guided munitions over several decades has allowed USAF to "capably perform CAS with a wide variety of platforms, including some not originally designed with the CAS mission as a primary role."

Budget limitations, combined with the need to better operate in a "high-end threat environment," means the Air Force must focus resources on "survivable platforms capable of providing CAS in future conflicts."

The Air Force plans to use the A-10 while it remains in its inventory, Karns noted (as evidenced by recent deployments to both Europe and the Middle East). However, divestment plans will eventually give the service the resources needed to "further support combatant command priorities while still providing [CAS] using multi-role aircraft."

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2015/February%202015/CAS-in-Context.aspx

Offline jjnodice

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #177 on: March 19, 2015, 06:49:05 am »
Eglin has been conducting exercises with the A-10 in the Choctawhatchee Bay versus a flotilla of small commercial fishing boats & speedboats.

Article here:

http://m.nwfdailynews.com/military/top-story/eglin-pilots-test-their-skills-against-flotilla-in-the-bay-w-photos-1.451764


Pictures here:

http://nwfdailynews.emeraldcoastphotoswest.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=1914962&CategoryID=28208&ListSubAlbums=0


Eglin pilots test their skills against flotilla in the bay (w/ PHOTOS) 
By KELLY HUMPHREY
Daily News
Published: Monday, March 16, 2015 at 17:03 PM. 
 
EGLIN AFB — Two fishermen trolling on Choctawhatchee Bay Monday afternoon probably went home with a story to tell.
 
 The boaters got a close-up look at some pretty realistic Air Force training that included 25 to 30 boats and four A-10 aircraft practicing low-level air-to-sea combat operations.
 
 “There are hostile countries that are developing high speed, armed boats that are harassing our fleets at sea and in ports,” said Dennis Beabout, the 96th Test Wing’s Gulf Range Engineer. “This exercise allows our pilots to practice maneuvers and tactics to take on this threat.”
 
 Monday was the first day of the latest round of Eglin’s Maritime WSEP (Weapons Systems Evaluation Program). The exercise will run through Thursday, with live-fire operations over the Gulf of Mexico in the morning, and realistic simulations on Choctawhatchee Bay in the afternoon. Local residents may experience louder than normal noise levels while these exercises are taking place.
During Monday afternoon’s operations on the bay, six squadrons of five boats each (about half of which were private vessels hired from local fishing fleets) took to the water in inverted V, or “Vic” formations. Each squadron was labeled by color. Upon hearing a radio operator call out “Fight’s on,” the boats took off in formation.
Like a play-by-play announcer, the radio operator called out directions to the boat captains.
 
 “Red squadron, clear to jink!” the operator called out, causing the five boats flying red flags to fan out in different directions. Seemingly out of nowhere, four A-10s from Eglin’s 53rd Wing appeared from the west, their trademark whistling roar announcing their presence.
 
 With its huge 30mm Gatling gun sticking out of its nose, the A-10 is known affectionately as the “Warthog.” On Monday afternoon, however, the mighty planes looked more like giant seagulls, swooping down as low as 100 feet above the scrambling boats.
 
 As the boats attempted to maneuver out of the way, one by one they fell victim to the Warthogs.
 
 “If the pilot can lock on electronically and hold it for three seconds, it’s considered a kill, explained Mike "Adrian" Guidry, the general manager of InDyne, the main defense contractor that provides support for the Eglin test range’s missions.
 
 Occasionally, a boat would set off a flare to simulate a surface-to-air missile, but they were a poor match for the A-10 pilots. Within 20 minutes, the first round of attacks was complete.
 
 Final score? Warthogs 30, Pretend Terrorists 0.   

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #178 on: April 26, 2015, 08:10:12 am »
DARPA: Could a Robot Replace the A-10 Warthog?
By Rich Smith
April 26, 2015

Source:
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/04/26/darpa-could-a-robot-replace-the-a-10-warthog.aspx

Quote
The U.S. Air Force wants hit the eject button on the A-10 Warthog and replace it with a modern fighter jet. In furtherance of that goal, USAF has tossed out every possible excuse you can imagine to get rid of America's No. 1 tank-busting aircraft. To date, the Air Force has proposed replacing the A-10 with:

    $100 million-plus F-35 stealth fighter jets from Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) -- whose guns don't shoot.
    Retasked Boeing (NYSE: BA) F-15 fighter jets, and Lockheed F-16s -- designed for air superiority roles but operated by pilots retrained and "dedicated" to a close-air support role.
    Textron's (NYSE: TXT) lightly armed but budget-priced Scorpion light attack fighter.
    And -- in the case of one at least U.S. ally -- by substituting a Brazilian-built prop-driven fighter named after the Froot Loops mascot.

In fact, about the only thing the U.S. Air Force hasn't yet proposed is replacing the A-10 Warthog with a robot.

So DARPA just went ahead and did that.

Domo arigato, Mr. A-10 Roboto
Earlier this month, DARPA -- the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- issued a brief report on its progress testing out a "full prototype" Persistent Close Air Support, or PCAS, system for deployment with the U.S. Marine Corps.

PCAS utilizes two elements:

    A ground-based tablet computer operated by joint terminal attack controllers, or JTACs, to communicate the location of friendly forces and call in airstrikes; and
    A "smart launcher electronics," or SLE, device carried by aerial surveillance and strike aircraft, to spot targets, stream video of their location to the ground, and launch attacks from the air.

Communication between the two devices is designed to ensure aircraft can provide accurate close-air support to troops -- firing on hostile forces in close proximity to friendly forces, without injuring the latter. In essence, the troops on the ground and the "shooter" in the air simultaneously see the same thing, speeding up the conversation between JTACs and supporting aircraft, and eliminating confusion when discussing a target that must be hit.

In the recently completed DARPA test run, dubbed "TALON REACH," JTACs used an Android-based Kinetic Integrated Low-cost SoftWare Integrated Tactical Combat Handheld, or KILSWITCH, tablet to call in an airstrike on a hypothetical hostile target. From 5 miles away, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey then fired a Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) Griffin missile at the target, striking "exactly where directed," says DARPA. In so doing, it demonstrated the Osprey's ability to take out a target from a distance, accurately and without risk to the troops calling in the strike.


PCAS holds the potential to turn even transport aircraft into CAS strike aircraft. Photo: DARPA.

Other tests of PCAS have used unmanned Switchblade drones from AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) in the "PCAS-Air" role. Importantly, DARPA said that in future tests it intends to focus on "transitioning the system to unmanned platforms."

What it means to investors
What this all means for the Pentagon is pretty clear: If even an Osprey transport aircraft or an unmanned drone can be used for close-air support, then the need to send in piloted A-10 Warthogs into harm's way, flying "low-and-slow" to perform their mission, is lessened. As USMC Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lt. Gen. Jon Davis explained, going forward the objective is to "network every one of our aircraft" such that "every aircraft [will be] a sensor, every aircraft a connector, every aircraft an [electronic warfare] node, and every aircraft a shooter.

What's more, with JTACs both calling in and pinpointing their own airstrikes, the need for dedicated close-in support pilots will diminish. Indeed, if PCAS performs as promised, JTACs could get faster, more accurate support from the air, calling in airstrikes via their tablets, than even an A-10 Warthog could provide. In that case opposition to the Air Force's plan to retire the A-10 Warthog could diminish.


PCAS is making CAS video game-simple. Photo: DARPA.

But what does this mean for investors?

Basically, it shakes up the air warfare game significantly, accelerating the switch to drones, whose lower weight and fuel requirements make them both cheaper and more "persistent" close-in support weapons than any piloted aircraft could ever be. Even more so than in years past, investors should focus on the companies that are leading the switch to drones -- players such as Northrop Grumman and AeroVironment, for instance -- and less on traditional piloted-warplane makers such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

As the technology marches on, and is spurred on by DARPA, Boeing's and Lockheed's piloted products are looking more and more like the historical relic that the Air Force claims the A-10 Warthog to be.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2015, 08:12:54 am by Triton »

Offline Sundog

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #179 on: April 26, 2015, 08:44:30 am »
Tell it to the Marines—John A. Tirpak 2/17/2015
​Critics of the Air Force's plan to retire the A-10, who say the F-35 is simply not an adequate platform for the close air support mission, are ignoring the Marine Corps' huge endorsement of it, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Friday. At a press conference during AFA's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Welsh said "it's an interesting conversation where everyone's talking about the F-35 not doing close air support when that's all the Marine Corp is buying it for," Welsh said. "This thread of conversation" that USAF doesn't care about the CAS mission "has really become a little ridiculous," he said. "I've got 140,000 data points over the last seven years that prove that's a ridiculous statement," Welsh added, offering the statistics on how many CAS sorties the service has flown during the period. "That's about 20,000 a year. When is there a little bit of credit given for that?" He said his father "thought he flew" CAS in P-40s, P-47s, P-51s, and F-84s, and his father's friends thought they did so in A-1s and A-7s, "long before we had an A-10." They believed they had a "mentality, a culture, and a focus" of giving ground support full attention, Welsh argued. "So why people, all of a sudden, looking backward, (are) saying they didn't is a little beyond my comprehension," he added.



That comment is absolutely laughable to anyone who followed the development of the JSF. The Marines wanted a STOVL replacement for the Harrier for a number of years and the F-35 isn't anywhere near the ideal of what they wanted. The only reason they were able to get a replacement is they hitched their requirements to the Navy's need to replace the legacy F/A-18 and the USAF's need to replace the F-16. Of course the Marine's are going to be strong advocates of it, since it's the only replacement they're going to get.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2015, 08:46:38 am by Sundog »

Offline AeroFranz

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #180 on: April 27, 2015, 04:42:58 pm »
FWIW, i have been hearing increasing mention of avoidance of 'exquisite' solutions and a push for affordable, attritable UAV solutions in AFRL/DARPA circles. I think that there is a recognition the pendulum has swung too far in one direction. Or, you know, it could be just the usual fad that disappears in a couple of years.
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Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #182 on: May 20, 2015, 11:45:35 am »
Boeing proposes international A-10 Warthog sales.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boeing-proposes-international-a-10-warthog-sales-412606/

Boeing has a contract for 233 new wings sets for the A-10 to be delivered through 2018. I presume that Northrop Grumman would need to be involved in some capacity if the United States government chooses to sell used A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. Grumman acquired all A-10 assets and the "A-10 OEM Team" from Fairchild Republic in 1987.

Offline Flyaway

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #183 on: May 21, 2015, 12:55:43 pm »
I could imagine somewhere like Poland being interested in this considering their strategic position and current active re-armament.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #184 on: May 23, 2015, 10:13:29 pm »
Boeing proposes international A-10 Warthog sales.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boeing-proposes-international-a-10-warthog-sales-412606/

How interesting (and yet how sad an indictment on the last 12+-years of combat experience!)
Wouldn't it be ironic if the likes of Blackwater the United States Government/Pentagon's favoured "contracted security agency" was to acquire a squadron of A-10C's! Then the United States Government/Pentagon contracts Blackwater to employ the given Blackwater A-10 squadron in support of U.S. military operations, to do exactly what the USAF was doing  :o

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Faithfulness and fortitude.
Gentleness and compassion.
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Offline Pioneer

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #185 on: May 23, 2015, 10:19:47 pm »
Quote
“A-10s were limited in libya when rumors of Sa-18s surfaced” (TaiidanTomcat, Reply #12)

Quote
"but it also kind of highlights the USAF's hesitation to use/risk the A-10 for its intended role, and would rather assign alternates."(TaiidanTomcat


Hmm was this a U.S. intelligence assessment?, or is my mind cynical to the history of the USAF head-sheds playing games in their endeavour to be rid of the A-10...Again!!  >:( 

Regards
Pioneer
« Last Edit: May 23, 2015, 10:25:24 pm by Pioneer »
And remember…remember the glory is not the exhortation of war, but the exhortation of man.
Mans nobility, made transcendent in the fiery crucible of war.
Faithfulness and fortitude.
Gentleness and compassion.
I am honored to be your brother.”

— Lt Col Ralph Honner DSO M

Offline Pioneer

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #186 on: May 23, 2015, 10:38:42 pm »
"US Deploys A-10s to Europe Amid Debate to Arm Ukraine"
Feb 10, 2015
by Brendan McGarry

Source:
http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/02/10/us-deploys-a10s-to-europe-amid-debate-to-arm-ukraine.html?ESRC=todayinmil.s

Here's a radical idea......how about allowing the F-35 enter full operational service first!
The USAF, in conjunction with the U.S. Army, along with the Government Auditor General (or what ever their name is  :o) be made to prove and provide actual operational prof that the numerous plagued problems with the F-35 be proven to be fixed!   
The U.S. Army should expect nothing less of the USAF to prove the operational capability of the F-35, before the A-10 is allowed to be replaced!
Then I'd support the prospects of the A-10 being retired.
Call me cynical, but I'm sure the above happens, the Ukrainian crises will probably be finished....Putin would have died of old age and the USAF finally admits that it made a mistake in acquiring the F-35 in the first place  ::)

From a grunts perspective  :P

Regards
Pioneer
And remember…remember the glory is not the exhortation of war, but the exhortation of man.
Mans nobility, made transcendent in the fiery crucible of war.
Faithfulness and fortitude.
Gentleness and compassion.
I am honored to be your brother.”

— Lt Col Ralph Honner DSO M

Offline GTX

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #187 on: May 24, 2015, 02:40:40 am »

 the USAF finally admits that it made a mistake in acquiring the F-35 in the first place  ::)



And what mistake would that be?

Offline Pioneer

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #188 on: May 24, 2015, 06:04:52 am »

 the USAF finally admits that it made a mistake in acquiring the F-35 in the first place  ::)



And what mistake would that be?

That they've put so much time, effort and expectation into the F-35, which is excessively over-priced, excessively over due, unable to fly/perform to its expectations and will undoubtedly become a maintenance hog! But then again, they've (Pentagon) has put so much $, pride, careers and emphasis on the JSF, they can't admit to its failing.

Just my opinion, to which I happy to eat my words if Im wrong  ;)

Regards
Pioneer
And remember…remember the glory is not the exhortation of war, but the exhortation of man.
Mans nobility, made transcendent in the fiery crucible of war.
Faithfulness and fortitude.
Gentleness and compassion.
I am honored to be your brother.”

— Lt Col Ralph Honner DSO M

Offline GTX

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #189 on: May 24, 2015, 10:39:06 am »
the F-35, which is excessively over-priced, excessively over due, unable to fly/perform to its expectations and will undoubtedly become a maintenance hog!


Your opinion only!  Others think differently...including those in the know making decisions...

Offline donnage99

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #190 on: May 24, 2015, 04:59:41 pm »

Your opinion only!  Others think differently...including those in the know making decisions...
Those in the know making decisions on this matter have been proven wrong and wrong and wrong and wrong and wrong again over the life of this program.  The numbers of reports and articles on this subject is as numerous as pictures of miley cyrus's flat behind. 
This is a political battle at this point.  Every branch knows this plane isn't what they wanted it to be.  But they know the moment they raise their voice they might lose the plane and have nothing else in line to take its place.  This is the classic "too big to fail" situation.  The military is basically sticking to dishonest tactics at this point just to get this plane flying, ditching tests to protect schedule milestones, declaring the plane operational even when the plane can still do very little in the air. 


I dont blame them.  Politics is dirty.  You gotta play its rules if you want to get something done.  This plane certainly provides a quantum leap in terms of capabilities over what it replace. And I just want to see it fixed and flying personally.  But for the cost, delays, and compromises, I don't know if it's worth it looking back.  Perhaps we were too wishful when we drawn  the specs.


BTW, nothing he said was just opinion.  If he had said that this plane marks the downfall of American Air Superiority, than that would be an opinion. Because it has yet to happen.  But he mentioned the plane being "excessively over-priced, excessively over due, unable to fly/perform to its expectations and will undoubtedly become a maintenance hogs" are all facts and had widely been reported, even by the people making the decision. 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 05:19:59 pm by donnage99 »

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #191 on: May 24, 2015, 05:20:41 pm »
Boeing proposes international A-10 Warthog sales.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boeing-proposes-international-a-10-warthog-sales-412606/

Boeing has a contract for 233 new wings sets for the A-10 to be delivered through 2018. I presume that Northrop Grumman would need to be involved in some capacity if the United States government chooses to sell used A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. Grumman acquired all A-10 assets and the "A-10 OEM Team" from Fairchild Republic in 1987.

And Lockheed did the avionics upgrade to A-10C standard.  The lack of a clear prime (after the OEM disappeared shortly after the last A-10 rolled on the lines in '84) is a real liability for foreign sales.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #192 on: May 24, 2015, 05:27:21 pm »
Can we let this stay the thread on the relevance of the A-10?



Your opinion only!  Others think differently...including those in the know making decisions...
Those in the know making decisions on this matter have been proven wrong and wrong and wrong and wrong and wrong again over the life of this program.  The numbers of reports and articles on this subject is as numerous as pictures of miley cyrus's flat behind. 
This is a political battle at this point.  Every branch knows this plane isn't what they wanted it to be.  But they know the moment they raise their voice they might lose the plane and have nothing else in line to take its place.  This is the classic "too big to fail" situation.  The military is basically sticking to dishonest tactics at this point just to get this plane flying, ditching tests to protect schedule milestones, declaring the plane operational even when the plane can still do very little in the air. 


I dont blame them.  Politics is dirty.  You gotta play its rules if you want to get something done.  This plane certainly provides a quantum leap in terms of capabilities over what it replace. And I just want to see it fixed and flying personally.  But for the cost, delays, and compromises, I don't know if it's worth it looking back.  Perhaps we were too wishful when we drawn  the specs.


BTW, nothing he said was just opinion.  If he had said that this plane marks the downfall of American Air Superiority, than that would be an opinion. Because it has yet to happen.  But he mentioned the plane being "excessively over-priced, excessively over due, unable to fly/perform to its expectations and will undoubtedly become a maintenance hogs" are all facts and had widely been reported, even by the people making the decision. 
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #193 on: May 24, 2015, 06:02:39 pm »
Just my opinion, to which I happy to eat my words if Im wrong  ;)

Regards
Pioneer

Oh don't worry.  You will.  (You'll have to get in line behind quite a few others though, I'm guessing, they'll just quietly slink back under their rocks and try to pretend they never said anything at all.  Can't wait.)
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #194 on: May 24, 2015, 06:28:17 pm »
You seem to be so emotionally invested in the F-35 being a POS...

Unfortunately, my dear friend, based on the f-a-c-t-s that's a simple and easy bridge to cross. Just saying... And no amount of Lockheed press office and F-16.net fanboy, 'ra-ra' is going to change that. (Hate to be a "basement dweller.") 

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #195 on: May 24, 2015, 06:30:55 pm »
AFAIC, the bigger issue isn't the loss of the A-10 for CAS; there's a huge body of combat CAS experience and expertise that's proliferated throughout the USAF, Navy and USMC and most of the fast jet and A-10 drivers transitioning to F-35 will have the skill set and background to enable it to work well in that role.

The bigger issue is the CSAR/helicopter escort gap that the McConnell report identified way back in 1965 and is just as relevant now;
the V-22 will outrun any of its escorts aside from the A-10.  Ironically, this would seem to be the perfect opportunity for the Army to justify getting the "grandson of Cheyenne" in some form e.g S-97.


Though it really must be said, especially in the light of the way ATACMS has been allowed to atrophy that the Army should have taken
McPeak up on his A-10s for ATACMS offer.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #196 on: May 24, 2015, 06:33:23 pm »
Though it really must be said, especially in the light of the way ATACMS has been allowed to atrophy that the Army should have taken
McPeak up on his A-10s for ATACMS offer.

Could you elaborate on these?   ???
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Offline donnage99

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #197 on: May 24, 2015, 08:30:23 pm »

I think you're confusing "reports" with "opinion".   A hit piece written by some know-nothing blowhard with an axe to grind hardly constitutes a reliable source.  When you see the USAF say, "whoops, this thing sucks" like the USN did with the F-111B, or the US Army did with the AH-56, then you might have a case.  I'm not seeing it.  And I never will.  Those who ACTUALLY know, i.e. not you, love what they're seeing.   Sucks for you I guess.  You seem to be so emotionally invested in the F-35 being a POS, I really hope you don't damage yourself when the taps on the Eurocanards finally shut down.


Let's not turn this into personal attacks.  When did I say that this plane is a POS? I logically assume you got a little too emotionally riled up and didn't finish my entire post, in which toward the end I stated that this plane no doubt will provide quantum leap in term of capabilities over what we currently have (in some regard, f-22 included).  But back to topics, I'm not referring to reports made by the "shut this pigeon down, it sucks" crowd; I'm talking about reports made by the Pentagon, and also just plain history of many performance requirements that have to be abandoned and various deadlines that were consistently not met.  All of which made Pioneer's statement factual. 


He said it's excessively over-priced.  This is correct.  The whole premise behind the f-35 is affordability.  That's why all the 3 branches accept performance trade-offs.  However, this premise is now moot, as the f-35 will not meet its affordability of costing less than a 4th generation aircraft, providing an affordable pathway toward sufficiently replacing the entire fighter fleet.  This was reported by the Pentagon.


He said it's excessively over-dued.  That's fact.  It's a decade behind initial schedule.  So behind, that many of the original equipments are outdated and need upgrades before the aircraft even goes operational, further adding to the delays.  And operation dates are pretty much a political move as this point.  It's public information that this the aircraft will lack core capabilities that make it mission relevant when it's declared operational.  This has also been reported by the government. 


He said it's a maintenance hog.  This is also fact.  The pentagon reported that the initial requirement for maintenance of the aircraft.  It was supposed to cost less than a 4th gen aircraft.  But the Pentagon admitted that it will cost significant more.  In fact, the Marines have to abandon a core requirement of their air power doctrine with the f-35, it will not be able to operate at foward base nor will its fly per hour cost will permit it to provide sufficient support for soldiers on the ground.


I think you have to get pass the emotional sides of things and see the difference between people who think that this plane, as a fighting machine, is a failure and people who see the PROGRAM, not necessarily the plane, as a failure.  The former is unsupported opinion, while the latter is just admitting fact. 






Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #198 on: May 24, 2015, 08:34:21 pm »
Though it really must be said, especially in the light of the way ATACMS has been allowed to atrophy that the Army should have taken
McPeak up on his A-10s for ATACMS offer.

Could you elaborate on these?   ???

ATACMS as a carrier for loitering munitions had the potential to change CAS significantly. There were also many
proposals to give ATACMS capability against moving targets or at the very least the ability to retarget it in flight.
AFAIK, none of those proposals were adopted.

I thought everyone knew about McPeak's offer? It was more than just ATACMS; it was medium and long range air defense as well.
Part of it was that deconflicting the airspace for ATACMS in GWI took more than an hour. My understanding is that it's now down
to a few minutes.

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #199 on: May 24, 2015, 10:47:12 pm »

I think you're confusing "reports" with "opinion".   A hit piece written by some know-nothing blowhard with an axe to grind hardly constitutes a reliable source.  When you see the USAF say, "whoops, this thing sucks" like the USN did with the F-111B, or the US Army did with the AH-56, then you might have a case.  I'm not seeing it.  And I never will.  Those who ACTUALLY know, i.e. not you, love what they're seeing.   Sucks for you I guess.  You seem to be so emotionally invested in the F-35 being a POS, I really hope you don't damage yourself when the taps on the Eurocanards finally shut down.

  So behind, that many of the original equipments are outdated and need upgrades before the aircraft even goes operational, further adding to the delays. 

IOW, the same diminishing manufacturing sources/parts obsolesce issues that have plagued every defense program since
the global defense market share of semiconductor production went from 60% in the 1960's to less than 0.05% (and that's a high estimate) today.

I did read your entire post but couldn't do so with a straight face after this...

Offline donnage99

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #200 on: May 24, 2015, 11:44:44 pm »


I did read your entire post but couldn't do so with a straight face after this...

For the sake of argument, let's say that particular point I made was invalid. Does that make my other points invalid? The line of logic you imply here is flawed. 

Quote
IOW, the same diminishing manufacturing sources/parts obsolesce issues that have plagued every defense program since the global defense market share of semiconductor production went from 60% in the 1960's to less than 0.05% (and that's a high estimate) today.

The question is to what degree.  This argument uses the same pattern as the "cost overrun? Well, what other programs that don't also experience cost overrun" and as such, is similarly flawed. 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 11:47:03 pm by donnage99 »

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #201 on: May 25, 2015, 10:00:37 am »
He said it's excessively over-priced.  This is correct.  The whole premise behind the f-35 is affordability.  That's why all the 3 branches accept performance trade-offs.  However, this premise is now moot, as the f-35 will not meet its affordability of costing less than a 4th generation aircraft, providing an affordable pathway toward sufficiently replacing the entire fighter fleet.  This was reported by the Pentagon.

Excuse me?  The point of commonality is because it would be cheaper than going with three seperate designs.  Show me the reports that indicate that has failed.  As for "costing less than a 4th gen aircraft" show me where that was ever a requirement.


He said it's excessively over-dued.  That's fact.  It's a decade behind initial schedule.

A fighter aircraft behind schedule?  Shocker.  I know, let's cancel it and start over.  That will surely lead to a better aircraft on the ramp at lower price sooner.

So behind, that many of the original equipments are outdated and need upgrades before the aircraft even goes operational, further adding to the delays.

If it had gone into service on time you'd have the exact same problem.  You'd just have more aircraft to upgrade.


And operation dates are pretty much a political move as this point.  It's public information that this the aircraft will lack core capabilities that make it mission relevant when it's declared operational.  This has also been reported by the government. 

You mean like the F-16 did when it went into service (no BVR, no night attack capability, no ability to designate LGBs, etc.) or the F-14 (interim engine)?  Like that?


He said it's a maintenance hog.  This is also fact.  The pentagon reported that the initial requirement for maintenance of the aircraft.  It was supposed to cost less than a 4th gen aircraft.  But the Pentagon admitted that it will cost significant more.

Show me where.

In fact, the Marines have to abandon a core requirement of their air power doctrine with the f-35, it will not be able to operate at foward base nor will its fly per hour cost will permit it to provide sufficient support for soldiers on the ground.

Show me where they said that.  In fact, "Lieutenant General Davis: We must be prepared to go aboard a ship, forward deploy with that ship and then flow those sea base-able assets ashore to operate in an expeditionary location against a powerful first rate adversary.We will need to move – back and forth from our sea base to expeditionary bases ashore.
We will do this to maximize our combat power and ability to support Marine forces ashore – and support them in a fight against and foe in any threat condition."
http://www.sldinfo.com/lieutenant-general-davis-on-the-usmc-and-the-f-35-preparing-for-2015/

"28 April 2014: Flight test missions to certify that F-35B can be used with AM-2 matting began with BF-1 at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. BAE test pilot Peter Wilson performed a series of vertical landings for expeditionary operations for these initial tests. AM-2 matting is a portable metal matting used by the US Marines for rapid deployments of aircraft on rough field conditions. While vertical takeoffs and landings at Patuxent River and other operating locations typically take place on AM-2 matting, these particular tests involve the matting placed on soft soil conditions."


http://www.codeonemagazine.com/t50_gallery_slideshow.html?b2a2e6500aab13c66c659954c36c1c6a=1&gallery_id=190&gallery_style=3

Doesn't sound like they're "giving it up" to me.

I think you have to get pass the emotional sides of things and see the difference between people who think that this plane, as a fighting machine, is a failure and people who see the PROGRAM, not necessarily the plane, as a failure.  The former is unsupported opinion, while the latter is just admitting fact.

The program is not a failure.  That is obvious.  Could it be better?  Sure.  Could it be worse?  Definitely.  Like I said, you seem to be bent on painting some horrifically unique picture here, when the reality is, considering what they're doing (replacing 3 types of aircraft with 3 different takeoff and recovery modes), the scope should surprise absolutely nobody. [/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote]
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 10:09:40 am by sferrin »
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Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #202 on: May 25, 2015, 02:47:19 pm »
I would be very interested in seeing the results of the United States Marine Corps/DARPA Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) program. How the MV-22 Osprey performs as a CAS platform equipped with AGM-176 Griffin missiles with troops equipped with tablet computers.

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #203 on: May 25, 2015, 07:18:53 pm »


I did read your entire post but couldn't do so with a straight face after this...

For the sake of argument, let's say that particular point I made was invalid. Does that make my other points invalid? The line of logic you imply here is flawed. 

Quote
IOW, the same diminishing manufacturing sources/parts obsolesce issues that have plagued every defense program since the global defense market share of semiconductor production went from 60% in the 1960's to less than 0.05% (and that's a high estimate) today.

The question is to what degree.  This argument uses the same pattern as the "cost overrun? Well, what other programs that don't also experience cost overrun" and as such, is similarly flawed. 


Alleging flaws in logic after masterfully using one logical fallacy (a truism) as an implication of another logical fallacy ("weasel words") and then compounding it by invoking a straw man ("cost overrun" which I didn't even mention) is truly breathtaking.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #204 on: May 26, 2015, 06:56:39 am »
In which for some reason a thread about the A-10 turns into yet retread of the F-35 debate.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #205 on: May 26, 2015, 08:20:21 am »
In which for some reason a thread about the A-10 turns into yet retread of the F-35 debate.

You can thank Pioneer. (Post 186.)
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #206 on: May 26, 2015, 08:57:11 am »
In which for some reason a thread about the A-10 turns into yet retread of the F-35 debate.

You can thank Pioneer. (Post 186.)

And when the F-35 is to be the CAS replacement it falls squarely into the 'continuing' relevance part of the debate IMHO.
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #207 on: May 26, 2015, 09:00:52 am »
In which for some reason a thread about the A-10 turns into yet retread of the F-35 debate.

You can thank Pioneer. (Post 186.)

And when the F-35 is to be the CAS replacement it falls squarely into the 'continuing' relevance part of the debate IMHO.

Where is it written that the F-35 will be THE CAS replacement?  F-15s, F-16s, and Hornets are doing CAS right now.  Where is the complaint about that?  Where are all the reports saying what a lousy job of it they're doing?  There aren't any.  Why not?  Hmmmm.
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Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #208 on: May 26, 2015, 09:03:21 am »
In which for some reason a thread about the A-10 turns into yet retread of the F-35 debate.

You can thank Pioneer. (Post 186.)

And when the F-35 is to be the CAS replacement it falls squarely into the 'continuing' relevance part of the debate IMHO.

Where is it written that the F-35 will be THE CAS replacement?  F-15s, F-16s, and Hornets are doing CAS right now.  Where is the complaint about that?  Where are all the reports saying what a lousy job of it they're doing?  There aren't any.  Why not?  Hmmmm.
No I'm in full agreement with you I am just saying that is 'part' of the discussion about the A-10.
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #209 on: May 26, 2015, 09:08:13 am »
In which for some reason a thread about the A-10 turns into yet retread of the F-35 debate.

You can thank Pioneer. (Post 186.)

And when the F-35 is to be the CAS replacement it falls squarely into the 'continuing' relevance part of the debate IMHO.

Where is it written that the F-35 will be THE CAS replacement?  F-15s, F-16s, and Hornets are doing CAS right now.  Where is the complaint about that?  Where are all the reports saying what a lousy job of it they're doing?  There aren't any.  Why not?  Hmmmm.
No I'm in full agreement with you I am just saying that is 'part' of the discussion about the A-10.

Yeah but we both know, as soon as somebody says "F-35", what's going to happen.  (As Pioneer so aptly demonstrated with his post.) 
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Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #210 on: May 28, 2015, 04:28:43 pm »
In which for some reason a thread about the A-10 turns into yet retread of the F-35 debate.

You can thank Pioneer. (Post 186.)

And when the F-35 is to be the CAS replacement it falls squarely into the 'continuing' relevance part of the debate IMHO.

Where is it written that the F-35 will be THE CAS replacement?  F-15s, F-16s, and Hornets are doing CAS right now.  Where is the complaint about that?  Where are all the reports saying what a lousy job of it they're doing?  There aren't any.  Why not?  Hmmmm.
No I'm in full agreement with you I am just saying that is 'part' of the discussion about the A-10.

Yeah but we both know, as soon as somebody says "F-35", what's going to happen.  (As Pioneer so aptly demonstrated with his post.) 

Interesting article makes many point you've made over the years.

http://warontherocks.com/2015/05/the-a-10-the-f-35-and-the-future-of-close-air-support-part-ii/?singlepage=1
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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #211 on: May 29, 2015, 02:11:29 am »
In which for some reason a thread about the A-10 turns into yet retread of the F-35 debate.

You can thank Pioneer. (Post 186.)

And when the F-35 is to be the CAS replacement it falls squarely into the 'continuing' relevance part of the debate IMHO.

Where is it written that the F-35 will be THE CAS replacement?  F-15s, F-16s, and Hornets are doing CAS right now.  Where is the complaint about that?  Where are all the reports saying what a lousy job of it they're doing?  There aren't any.  Why not?  Hmmmm.
No I'm in full agreement with you I am just saying that is 'part' of the discussion about the A-10.

Yeah but we both know, as soon as somebody says "F-35", what's going to happen.  (As Pioneer so aptly demonstrated with his post.)

Probably best therefore to steer a wide margin around it. :-\

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Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #213 on: June 18, 2015, 11:21:20 pm »
http://warontherocks.com/2015/06/the-future-of-close-air-support-is-not-what-the-air-force-thinks/?singlepage=1


From an A-10 pilot on his combat experience against ISIS.

Quote
A-10s pilots are trained to find a target, seek verification and do on-the-fly targeting and strike. While that sounds like a solo operation, Stohler says "the coalition flying up there is enormous and we work as a team."

Targets can be spotted by A-10s or other aircraft, Predator drones, satellites or by "someone with binoculars on the ground," he says. Almost all targets get vetted up to higher command to determine validity. "As you can imagine this is complex," Stohler says.

Various factors dictate which platform is used to strike based on intelligence, available resources and other factors. Even if a Daesh target is verified, the decision might be to delay attack until the situation develops. Some A-10 fly in direct support of Iraqi or other ground forces fighting Daesh. On other missions A-10s "are just told to go look at something and, sure enough, we find bad guys there."

It doesn't sound that some of the main A-10 features that the piece above lauds have much tactical
utility given the ROE that are likely to prevail.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #214 on: June 22, 2015, 03:32:08 am »
In which for some reason a thread about the A-10 turns into yet retread of the F-35 debate.

You can thank Pioneer. (Post 186.)

Gee thanks Flyaway  ;)

And when the F-35 is to be the CAS replacement it falls squarely into the 'continuing' relevance part of the debate IMHO.

Where is it written that the F-35 will be THE CAS replacement?  F-15s, F-16s, and Hornets are doing CAS right now.  Where is the complaint about that?  Where are all the reports saying what a lousy job of it they're doing?  There aren't any.  Why not?  Hmmmm.
No I'm in full agreement with you I am just saying that is 'part' of the discussion about the A-10.

Yeah but we both know, as soon as somebody says "F-35", what's going to happen.  (As Pioneer so aptly demonstrated with his post.)

Probably best therefore to steer a wide margin around it. :-\
And remember…remember the glory is not the exhortation of war, but the exhortation of man.
Mans nobility, made transcendent in the fiery crucible of war.
Faithfulness and fortitude.
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Offline Sundog

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Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #217 on: July 12, 2015, 09:01:57 am »
http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/tech/2015/07/11/marine-pilots-complete-f-35b-first-operational-bomb-runs/29926301/

The aircraft dropped two legacy munitions currently used by F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier pilots: the laser-guided 500-pound Guided Bomb Unit 12 and the GPS-guided 1,000-pound GBU-32. But the new fighter jet far outperformed older aircraft in its ability to deliver GBU-32 munitions in obscured conditions.

"In extreme weather conditions or dirty battlefield conditions, the F-35 still has the ability to target munitions for the guy on the ground with the same warheads legacy aircraft carry today," Trent said.

The key to that new capability is the F-35's synthetic aperture radar, which allows it to paint a three-dimensional map of the ground. That offers pilots enough detail to deliver bombs even in little or no visibility
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Offline GTX

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #218 on: July 12, 2015, 11:18:58 am »
The key to that new capability is the F-35's synthetic aperture radar, which allows it to paint a three-dimensional map of the ground. That offers pilots enough detail to deliver bombs even in little or no visibility


Bah!  Won't beat the ol' Mk1 eyeball... ;)

Offline Sundog

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #219 on: July 12, 2015, 11:55:25 am »
http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/tech/2015/07/11/marine-pilots-complete-f-35b-first-operational-bomb-runs/29926301/

The aircraft dropped two legacy munitions currently used by F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier pilots: the laser-guided 500-pound Guided Bomb Unit 12 and the GPS-guided 1,000-pound GBU-32. But the new fighter jet far outperformed older aircraft in its ability to deliver GBU-32 munitions in obscured conditions.

"In extreme weather conditions or dirty battlefield conditions, the F-35 still has the ability to target munitions for the guy on the ground with the same warheads legacy aircraft carry today," Trent said.

The key to that new capability is the F-35's synthetic aperture radar, which allows it to paint a three-dimensional map of the ground. That offers pilots enough detail to deliver bombs even in little or no visibility


The problem is the capability for the cost. The A-10 costs much less to operate per hour than the F-35 and the idea that it will be able to do what the A-10 does is nonsense. The F-35 can't do what the A-10 can do and the A-10 can't do what the F-35 can do. The problem is, as was posted by I think quellish, there are three different variations of CAS, and supporters and detractors alike keep conflating them.

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #220 on: July 12, 2015, 02:37:22 pm »
http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/tech/2015/07/11/marine-pilots-complete-f-35b-first-operational-bomb-runs/29926301/

The aircraft dropped two legacy munitions currently used by F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier pilots: the laser-guided 500-pound Guided Bomb Unit 12 and the GPS-guided 1,000-pound GBU-32. But the new fighter jet far outperformed older aircraft in its ability to deliver GBU-32 munitions in obscured conditions.

"In extreme weather conditions or dirty battlefield conditions, the F-35 still has the ability to target munitions for the guy on the ground with the same warheads legacy aircraft carry today," Trent said.

The key to that new capability is the F-35's synthetic aperture radar, which allows it to paint a three-dimensional map of the ground. That offers pilots enough detail to deliver bombs even in little or no visibility


The problem is the capability for the cost. The A-10 costs much less to operate per hour than the F-35 and the idea that it will be able to do what the A-10 does is nonsense. The F-35 can't do what the A-10 can do and the A-10 can't do what the F-35 can do. The problem is, as was posted by I think quellish, there are three different variations of CAS, and supporters and detractors alike keep conflating them.
It would be interesting if the bombing surveys in Gulf War I, II and Afghanistan kept track of (I'm guessing they do I've never read one personally) sorties by the A-10 and other aircraft where bombs were not dropped due to the target being obscured by dust, fog, smoke, blowing sand, etc. and analyse how many of these missions could have been fulfilled by the F-35 with the SAR capability. 
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Offline Jeb

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #221 on: July 12, 2015, 04:59:25 pm »
It would be interesting if the bombing surveys in Gulf War I, II and Afghanistan kept track of (I'm guessing they do I've never read one personally) sorties by the A-10 and other aircraft where bombs were not dropped due to the target being obscured by dust, fog, smoke, blowing sand, etc. and analyse how many of these missions could have been fulfilled by the F-35 with the SAR capability.


A-10s Over Kosovo might give you a good picture of that. http://aupress.maxwell.af.mil/digital/pdf/book/b_0090_haave_haun_a10s_over_kosovo.pdf

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #222 on: July 13, 2015, 01:16:30 am »
It would be interesting if the bombing surveys in Gulf War I, II and Afghanistan kept track of (I'm guessing they do I've never read one personally) sorties by the A-10 and other aircraft where bombs were not dropped due to the target being obscured by dust, fog, smoke, blowing sand, etc. and analyse how many of these missions could have been fulfilled by the F-35 with the SAR capability.


A-10s Over Kosovo might give you a good picture of that. http://aupress.maxwell.af.mil/digital/pdf/book/b_0090_haave_haun_a10s_over_kosovo.pdf

Thanks for sharing. It's interesting but marred a bit by the "crimes against humanity" verbiage that was fashionable at the time.
Looks like the A-10s spent most of their time  dropping CBUs, Mk-82s and firing Mavs with the occasional gun run. 

The lack of an air-to-air radar was a real liability though that's hardly news given the number of formation rejoin collisions that have happened over the years.


Offline Flyaway

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #223 on: August 12, 2015, 10:28:53 am »
A-10 replacement? USAF strategy calls for 'future CAS platform

Quote
A new strategy document released by US Air Combat Command points to the development of a future close-air-support platform as the service pushes to retire the long-serving Fairchild Republic A-10 – its primary close-in attack airplane used to protect ground troops.

Here's the article.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/a-10-replacement-usaf-strategy-calls-for-39future-cas-415639/

Here's the document.

http://www.acc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-150810-026.pdf


Offline AeroFranz

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #224 on: August 12, 2015, 10:58:38 am »
Someone more cynical than myself would say that claiming to be developing or even studying a future CAS platform would be a convenient way of shutting down critics and quietly move the A-10 to the boneyard.


But if it's indeed true, i applaud the initiative. I believe there is room for a CAS platform below the F-35 for low-threat scenarios, helped by international orders for countries that don't need/can't afford the F-35.
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Offline Flyaway

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #225 on: August 12, 2015, 11:46:03 am »
I would think with upcoming technology you could incorporate things such as self healing skin or active camouflage, all useful for a CAS platform.

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #226 on: August 12, 2015, 10:01:47 pm »
If the Pentagon were really serious about a relatively low-cost CAS platform, they could do a lot worse than going back to the Vought Blitzfighter concept.

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,9179.0

http://blacktailfa.deviantart.com/art/Vought-VB-100-Blitzfighter-296126107

https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/close-air-support-fighter-proposal/

In a modern context in which tank-killing is not the primary concern, the gun could be reduced from a proposed 4-barrel version of the A-10's GAU-8/A Avenger 30mm monster to something much lighter, say a 3-barrel 20mm gun for general purpose use.  The A-10 gun and a full 1,350 round ammunition load weigh over 2,700 lb, whereas a light gun with less ammunition could weight less than half that.  Add rocket pods and a modest load of dumb and smart munitions and you've got a modern mudfighter.
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Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #227 on: August 14, 2015, 01:22:30 pm »
After all the arguments that have been extended by the Air Force over the years to retire the A-10, it just doesn't make sense that the service would want to develop a next-generation low-threat environment CAS platform. What sort of mission creep will there be in the new A-X wishlist? LO, supersonic, situational awareness, multi-role?
« Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 01:39:45 pm by Triton »

Offline Triton

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #228 on: August 16, 2015, 02:07:40 pm »
"Commentary: How to settle the A-10 retirement standoff"
By John Michael Loh, Special to Military Times 10:20 a.m. EDT August 16, 2015

Source:
http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/opinion/2015/08/16/commentary-how-settle--10-retirement-standoff/31717367/

Quote
The best way to resolve the A-10 retirement debate is to satisfy both sides with a solution that eliminates the operational and economic arguments driving it.

The primary vocal critics of the Air Force decision to retire the A-10 close-support aircraft are Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and freshman Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. All three have strong ties to the A-10. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, is home to the largest A-10 base. Closure of the base would have serious economic impact. Ayotte’s husband is a former A-10 pilot. McSally flew A-10s in the Air Force.

The Air Force has presented strong operational arguments defending the retirement of the A-10: Other aircraft perform the A-10’s close-support mission today with the same effectiveness, and more survivability. The A-10 can only perform close support whereas other aircraft can perform close support and other missions, thus offering more value in a smaller Air Force. And with today’s precision weapons and automation, pilots can train for both close support and other roles without sacrificing effectiveness.

Former A-10 pilots argue from an emotional point of view citing personal experiences. With the strong support of McCain, Ayotte and McSally, they have organized a support group and congressional contingent advocating retention.

But they have been unable to shoot down the rationale the Air Force puts forth in defense of retiring the A-10. Their arguments are laden with shrill, emotional points of view, but are mostly anecdotal and unpersuasive when measured against objective, logical reasoning.

Moreover, this impasse is having adverse impacts on Air Force plans to field the F-35. To continue to operate the fleet of A-10s, it is necessary to forgo building up the maintenance force necessary to field the F-35. This slows the development of proficiency in Air Force F-35 pilots and, consequently, the operational readiness and competence of F-35 squadrons.

It also forces the Air Force to alter its rhythm to balance training, operational readiness and deployment commitments, creating a problem for combatant commanders who depend on having the F-35 in overseas theaters.

But there is a way to resolve this annual fight between the Air Force and A-10 advocates in the Army and Congress.

The Army likes the A-10 not just because of its attack capabilities but even more so because it is totally dedicated to close support of Army forces. The Army fears that without the A-10, and even though other aircraft can perform close support satisfactorily, the Air Force will not be there when needed.

To ensure the Army can depend on Air Force close support, the Air Force and Army should agree to negotiate a formal compact to team Air Force squadrons and controllers with Army brigades. Squadrons of F-16s, B-52s, B-1s and, soon, F-35s would be required to allocate a portion of their training to exercise and deploy with specific Army units. This teaming concept is not new but has not been enforced to the extent of this proposal.

An added benefit would be the close, symbiotic relationship that would bond the units, boosting team esprit and combat effectiveness, potentially more than exists today with the A-10.

To satisfy economic issues motivating opponents, the Air Force needs to ensure that Davis-Monthan — the A-10’s master base with more than 80 A-10s and 4,000 jobs — remains a major Air Force installation and economic engine in Arizona. It must, therefore, replace the A-10s with another operational mission at the base and at smaller Air National Guard A-10 locations.

Because the Air Force will likely retain its existing bombers, it will need at least one other big base with large ramps, a long runway and modern facilities for its new stealth bomber, the Long Range Strike Bomber. Dispersal of bombers, particularly nuclear bombers, is also necessary for nuclear deterrence to work. There is no bomber base in the southwest. Davis-Monthan would be an excellent choice.

Davis-Monthan could also be a home for the KC-46A tanker, or the upcoming T-X trainer. Since Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix is already a new F-35 training base, Arizona would then retain its two large bases with new, important Air Force missions, thus mitigating economic concerns.

For smaller Air National Guard A-10 units, the Air Force can find new missions as it does routinely during drawdowns and equipment changes.

The standoff between the Air Force and congressional opponents has become debilitating. Both sides need to work together for an amicable solution. Teaming Army and Air Force units for close support and replacing A-10s with new aircraft at Davis-Monthan are win-win for both.

Offline Sundog

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Re: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?
« Reply #229 on: August 16, 2015, 04:36:08 pm »
The editorial was load of horse c**p. The idea that not retiring the A-10s is hampering the fielding of the F-35 is such a joke, I can't believe that was considered for an actual editorial. If the small cost savings of retiring the A-10s is preventing the full deployment of the F-35, the Air Force has much larger issues to contend with.


I had to laugh at the whole, "Training with Army Brigades," argument. It completely misses the point. It also neglects that they already train with the Army.


If he was serious about re-negotiations between the US Army and the USAF, it would be in allowing the Army to take over the fixed wing CAS role, along with the budget required to support it. But we know that isn't going to happen.


The fact is, I would like to see what the Army has to say about what it wants for CAS. I haven't seen much regarding that perspective. No, I don't mean the Marines, the Marines want the F-35B to replace the AV-8B, which the Army