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Author Topic: Continuing relevance of the A-10 Warthog today and tomorrow?  (Read 106478 times)

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

Quote
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.
 

Offline sferrin

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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. ::)