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A-X all over again - USAF pushes for A-10 replacement

jsport

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SpudmanWP said:
Now that the A-10 v F-35 "flyoff" happened, the DOT&E (per the FY2017 NDAA) has to report to congress on it and the F-35 post-IOC status in general. No timeline was set in the law however, so the timeline for the report is not known.
Thank you Spudman.

D..m skippy there was flyoff. The F-35 missions are for permissive environments. Don't think so. Near peer competitors are still the focus somewhere. These prop toys are just that.
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-reveals-intentions-to-acquire-light-attack-figh-450940/
 

FighterJock

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I thought that after the accident the USAF were going to cancel the order but keep the prototypes flying, or have they changed their minds since?
 

TomS

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Grey Havoc said:
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-reveals-intentions-to-acquire-light-attack-figh-450940/
This has got protest written all over it, if anyone thinks it's worth the money.
 

jsport

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If there was an real intent, there are AX designs out there instead the AF continues to ignore the ground forces and or a misguided DoD writ large is ignoring ground forces.

https://www.aiaa.org/2017-2018-Winning-Reports/
Close Air Support (replacement A-10)
1st Stealth single engine
2nd High altitude bomber/gunship
3rd Large Wings stores
 

MihoshiK

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jsport said:
If there was an real intent, there are AX designs out there instead the AF continues to ignore the ground forces and or a misguided DoD writ large is ignoring ground forces.

https://www.aiaa.org/2017-2018-Winning-Reports/
Close Air Support (replacement A-10)
1st Stealth single engine
2nd High altitude bomber/gunship
3rd Large Wings stores
These are glorified wish lists.
 

jsport

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MihoshiK said:
jsport said:
If there was an real intent, there are AX designs out there instead the AF continues to ignore the ground forces and or a misguided DoD writ large is ignoring ground forces.

https://www.aiaa.org/2017-2018-Winning-Reports/
Close Air Support (replacement A-10)
1st Stealth single engine
2nd High altitude bomber/gunship
3rd Large Wings stores
These are glorified wish lists.
quite, not sure what such comments contribute.
 

MihoshiK

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jsport said:
MihoshiK said:
jsport said:
If there was an real intent, there are AX designs out there instead the AF continues to ignore the ground forces and or a misguided DoD writ large is ignoring ground forces.

https://www.aiaa.org/2017-2018-Winning-Reports/
Close Air Support (replacement A-10)
1st Stealth single engine
2nd High altitude bomber/gunship
3rd Large Wings stores
These are glorified wish lists.
quite, not sure what such comments contribute.
I'm pointing out that your claim of "there are AX designs out there", and then using the linked as an example, is bogus. Those are, as I said, little more than glorified wishlists of what a particular team would have liked to see on an A-10 replacement. They're napkinwaffe.
If anything, it was your original post that contributed nothing.
 

jsport

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MihoshiK said:
jsport said:
MihoshiK said:
jsport said:
If there was an real intent, there are AX designs out there instead the AF continues to ignore the ground forces and or a misguided DoD writ large is ignoring ground forces.

https://www.aiaa.org/2017-2018-Winning-Reports/
Close Air Support (replacement A-10)
1st Stealth single engine
2nd High altitude bomber/gunship
3rd Large Wings stores
These are glorified wish lists.
quite, not sure what such comments contribute.
I'm pointing out that your claim of "there are AX designs out there", and then using the linked as an example, is bogus. Those are, as I said, little more than glorified wishlists of what a particular team would have liked to see on an A-10 replacement. They're napkinwaffe.
If anything, it was your original post that contributed nothing.
There are extensive design/science behind the proposals which clearly did not even open. So your response is bogus.
 

kaiserd

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jsport said:
MihoshiK said:
jsport said:
MihoshiK said:
jsport said:
If there was an real intent, there are AX designs out there instead the AF continues to ignore the ground forces and or a misguided DoD writ large is ignoring ground forces.

https://www.aiaa.org/2017-2018-Winning-Reports/
Close Air Support (replacement A-10)
1st Stealth single engine
2nd High altitude bomber/gunship
3rd Large Wings stores
These are glorified wish lists.
quite, not sure what such comments contribute.
I'm pointing out that your claim of "there are AX designs out there", and then using the linked as an example, is bogus. Those are, as I said, little more than glorified wishlists of what a particular team would have liked to see on an A-10 replacement. They're napkinwaffe.
If anything, it was your original post that contributed nothing.
There are extensive design/science behind the proposals which clearly did not even open. So your response is bogus.
We are talking about paper concepts by undergraduates; not uninteresting conceptually (fair dues to the undergraduates, not at all looking to knock their work) but to apparently try to pretend these are in any real sense viable and credible “real” designs that US DoD “should be looking at” is beyond the ridiculous and absurd.
Perhaps we can all take a step back and continue with a more sensible discussion.
 

jsport

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kaiserd said:
jsport said:
MihoshiK said:
jsport said:
MihoshiK said:
jsport said:
If there was an real intent, there are AX designs out there instead the AF continues to ignore the ground forces and or a misguided DoD writ large is ignoring ground forces.

https://www.aiaa.org/2017-2018-Winning-Reports/
Close Air Support (replacement A-10)
1st Stealth single engine
2nd High altitude bomber/gunship
3rd Large Wings stores
These are glorified wish lists.
quite, not sure what such comments contribute.
I'm pointing out that your claim of "there are AX designs out there", and then using the linked as an example, is bogus. Those are, as I said, little more than glorified wishlists of what a particular team would have liked to see on an A-10 replacement. They're napkinwaffe.
If anything, it was your original post that contributed nothing.
There are extensive design/science behind the proposals which clearly did not even open. So your response is bogus.
We are talking about paper concepts by undergraduates; not uninteresting conceptually (fair dues to the undergraduates, not at all looking to knock their work) but to apparently try to pretend these are in any real sense viable and credible “real” designs that US DoD “should be looking at” is beyond the ridiculous and absurd.
Perhaps we can all take a step back and continue with a more sensible discussion.
Dont buy ur argument for a second. Biased BS. Ridiculous and absurd.
 

overscan

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Please stop this argument, and try to be be more civil.

I however agree that AIAA student projects do not constitute 'AX designs' being 'out there'. Show me a proposal from a major airframe manufacturer, not student project.
 

marauder2048

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jsport said:
https://www.aiaa.org/2017-2018-Winning-Reports/
Close Air Support (replacement A-10)
1st Stealth single engine
2nd High altitude bomber/gunship
3rd Large Wings stores
I do appreciate the links since there are some real gems.
 

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jsport

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Who is an authority on this forum? Let us see your credentials. One can not be a Neutral arbitrator and be biased.

The DoD is so 'Corporate captured' that the ground forces have been clearly abandoned, as F-35 and its numbers alone will never provide sufficient support. The majors have no intention to even discuss alternatives. Alternatives and discussion a potential real CAS solution seems to be repressed at all avenues.
 

Foo Fighter

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It would seem that the DoD is expecting rotary winged assets to more closely support ground troops. Not everything in the wish list is feasible given the cost of everything now.
 

AeroFranz

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I'm sorry, but i read the student reports and the first place undergrad individual one in particular was just...mediocre. I've seen much higher quality efforts in past years.
Source: wrote three AIAA student design competition reports, plus another three Design Build Fly reports.
 

overscan

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jsport said:
Who is an authority on this forum? Let us see your credentials. One can not be a Neutral arbitrator and be biased.

The DoD is so 'Corporate captured' that the ground forces have been clearly abandoned, as F-35 and its numbers alone will never provide sufficient support. The majors have no intention to even discuss alternatives. Alternatives and discussion a potential real CAS solution seems to be repressed at all avenues.
I'm not an aero engineer (I did a year and a bit of Aeronautical Engineering degree and left) but the student studies linked are pretty generic and high level. To suggest they represent relevant concepts to be pursued for an AX successor ignores the mountain of detail that separates a vague notion from a working aeroplane.

Plenty of concepts by experienced engineers turn out to be duds on closer inspection. This applies even more to students.
 

Colonial-Marine

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The 35mm requirement for the gun caliber is news to me. Is there a stated reason for that?
 

TomS

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Colonial-Marine said:
The 35mm requirement for the gun caliber is news to me. Is there a stated reason for that?
It's just a requirement of the AIAA competition, not the USAF. Competitions like this often have an odd requirement or two to push students to think beyond a straightforward conventional design.
 

jsport

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jsport said:
Who is an authority on this forum? Let us see your credentials. One can not be a Neutral arbitrator and be biased.

The DoD is so 'Corporate captured' that the ground forces have been clearly abandoned, as F-35 and its numbers alone will never provide sufficient support. The majors have no intention to even discuss alternatives. Alternatives and discussion a potential real CAS solution seems to be repressed at all avenues.
This discussion has gotten completely off track. The point was why are there no Analysis of Alternatives AoA for an A-10 replacement?
 

marauder2048

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jsport said:
jsport said:
Who is an authority on this forum? Let us see your credentials. One can not be a Neutral arbitrator and be biased.

The DoD is so 'Corporate captured' that the ground forces have been clearly abandoned, as F-35 and its numbers alone will never provide sufficient support. The majors have no intention to even discuss alternatives. Alternatives and discussion a potential real CAS solution seems to be repressed at all avenues.
This discussion has gotten completely off track. The point was why are there no Analysis of Alternatives AoA for an A-10 replacement?
There was.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1724z1.html
 

jsport

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marauder2048 said:
jsport said:
jsport said:
Who is an authority on this forum? Let us see your credentials. One can not be a Neutral arbitrator and be biased.

The DoD is so 'Corporate captured' that the ground forces have been clearly abandoned, as F-35 and its numbers alone will never provide sufficient support. The majors have no intention to even discuss alternatives. Alternatives and discussion a potential real CAS solution seems to be repressed at all avenues.
This discussion has gotten completely off track. The point was why are there no Analysis of Alternatives AoA for an A-10 replacement?
There was.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1724z1.html
Thank you for finding.

Pretty superficial (Rand is AF = F-35 will do).

'The need to strike a variety of targets creates a need to carry a diverse set of weapons. The need for a wide variety of munitions implies carriage of a large number of weapons, regardless of the number of targets. In highly intense cases, we found that a loadout sufficient to kill two armored targets per sortie was a minimum capability, with a preferred capacity closer to five kills per sortie (is this a joke). Laser-guided rockets with armor-piercing warheads could be a highly effective addition to the force."
 

Foo Fighter

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I suppose a decision will be taken one day, preferably before the replacement is due for, well, replacement.
 

Grey Havoc

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https://breakingdefense.com/2019/01/no-light-attack-planes-any-time-soon-air-force-undersecretary/
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/02/01/the-us-air-force-wants-to-continue-its-light-attack-experiment-will-industry-buy-in/

The USAF has dug (yet another) hole for itself, and no mistake.
 

LowObservable

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Part of the story is here:

https://warontherocks.com/2019/01/rebuilding-the-forge-reshaping-how-the-air-force-trains-fighter-aviators/

A very important reason for a large O/A-X force was to fatten the training pipeline for fresh-out-of-UPT pilots, but ACC's boss has other ideas.
 

DrRansom

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Grey Havoc said:
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/02/01/the-us-air-force-wants-to-continue-its-light-attack-experiment-will-industry-buy-in/

The USAF has dug (yet another) hole for itself, and no mistake.
How hard is it to buy a light attack airplane? It's taken the USAF >10 years from when the need was first identified!
 

MihoshiK

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DrRansom said:
Grey Havoc said:
https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/02/01/the-us-air-force-wants-to-continue-its-light-attack-experiment-will-industry-buy-in/

The USAF has dug (yet another) hole for itself, and no mistake.
How hard is it to buy a light attack airplane? It's taken the USAF >10 years from when the need was first identified!
Really hard as long as the need is there but you don't actually want it.
 

TomS

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It's really unclear whether there is a need for this sort of aircraft -- a slow, small prop plane usable only for COIN in largely permissive environments. The main purpose of the USAF buy seems to have been to make it easier for allies like Iraq and Afghanistan to buy this type of plane, not for the USAF to really operate large numbers themselves (think F-5 for example). Of course, Afghanistan is already buying such aircraft (the A-29 Tucano) without the USAF buying them as well.
 

DrRansom

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TomS said:
It's really unclear whether there is a need for this sort of aircraft -- a slow, small prop plane usable only for COIN in largely permissive environments. The main purpose of the USAF buy seems to have been to make it easier for allies like Iraq and Afghanistan to buy this type of plane, not for the USAF to really operate large numbers themselves (think F-5 for example). Of course, Afghanistan is already buying such aircraft (the A-29 Tucano) without the USAF buying them as well.
How much money and airframe lifespan could the USAF have saved using a prop plane in Afghanistan/Iraq? That's the ultimate need for it, so long as there is COIN operations in the future, the USAF could use something cheap.
 

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Please, don't forget that the money saved should includes the hit you take on logistic. Slower means more base which requires more defense, more support costing way more than the difference in cost per flying hours. Not sure that the trade pays-off.

Similarly, 2000lb of payload (and you're not going to do that often with a Tucano (see operational usage of the Colombian airforce fleet)) calls for more aircraft in the air adding direct supporting cost to your equation.

IMOHO The program makes sens only if seen as a budget structure for tailored time critical acquisition of a panel of aircraft pre-selected and inter-operative (prop, jet, UCAS, micro-UAS, Rotarywinged attack aircraft)... [and coincidentally that's what it is slowly becoming]

See it as a low cost CAS flying hardware basket.

Last but not least, it should be open to foreign nations entry based on the F-35 program. Nations with an airframe that might suits the needs of other and the USAF should be able to register their own systems and airframe. That way a capability that is only needed by a single nation at a given time could quickly be re-used when the threat spreads without burdening prior-years budgets or suffer from obsolescence without any modification.
 

_Del_

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DrRansom said:
TomS said:
It's really unclear whether there is a need for this sort of aircraft -- a slow, small prop plane usable only for COIN in largely permissive environments. The main purpose of the USAF buy seems to have been to make it easier for allies like Iraq and Afghanistan to buy this type of plane, not for the USAF to really operate large numbers themselves (think F-5 for example). Of course, Afghanistan is already buying such aircraft (the A-29 Tucano) without the USAF buying them as well.
How much money and airframe lifespan could the USAF have saved using a prop plane in Afghanistan/Iraq? That's the ultimate need for it, so long as there is COIN operations in the future, the USAF could use something cheap.
Life span numbers are the biggest/best argument for this, imo. If my $70M SHornet is only good for 6000hrs without a SLEP, why am I burning hours off the airframe hauling bombs in Sandistan? Every hour on that sort of mission is $11,667 burned off my initial investment. PLUS the operating costs, which is obviously higher than a less capable truck.

Super Tucano and peers seem too limited to make much sense to me. Might as well simply extend the Reaper or other UCAV programs or give the money to Army aviation for scout/attack.

Something like the Scorpion seems to be a nice compromise on cost/capability. It can also play FAC or ISR roles as needed. With data links could be plugged in as a part of the ABMS/JSTARS replacement. Not sure why this isn't moving forward faster.
 

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I think in part to the initial attack plan that was that there was to be only a single winner.
 

marauder2048

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_Del_ said:
If my $70M SHornet is only good for 6000hrs without a SLEP, why am I burning hours off the airframe hauling bombs in Sandistan?
Because you are a service that didn't buy any of the various CATOBAR armed drones that GA and
others were pitching over like the last 18 years.

On the light-attack turboprops, the US has pitched them at countries where MTCR language or
some other reticence precluded exporting armed drones with payload/range.
 

_Del_

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But you can do the same math for Beagles, F-16's, whatever. I'm not sure drones are completely adequate to the task at this point, though they are certainly useful. We don't see Reapers lugging a bunch of JDAMs, and neither can the turboprops. They don't have adequate throw weight for what is currently being done.

If the answer to the next gen CAS/OA-X mission is turboprops, then, it's a waste. Because a combination of drones and helicopters can absolutely fill whatever role the Super Tucano or Texan can. The fact they are still using much more capable platforms seems to suggest that isn't adequate at the moment. Either the mission needs a combination of payload and endurance we can't get from one or the other platforms, or we should just plug the gap with more UCAVs and Army/Marine rotory-wing forces. Reaper can lug just shy of 4,000lbs for 14 hrs. Neither of the remaining contenders could touch that (I understand they are reevaluating).

So they either need something more capable than a Reaper, or should just expand Reaper operations.
 

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Payload isn't that important. This is the era of APKWS and mini-missiles. Things with large damage radii are to be avoided, and experience is that there is more O than A involved.

Also favoring the small airplane these days is the fact that we can pack a lot of sensors on board. AHRLAC has been seen with a dual Leonardo Osprey AESA radar in the nose.

So the goal is persistence with effective sensors and weapons at much lower operating cost than a jet. Single engine light attack is one way to do this.
 

_Del_

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Even if you load out with APKWS,Brimstones and other small missiles, a higher payload enables you to strike more targets per sortie by carrying more weapons. If endurance is equal between two platforms, an eight-hour patrol by a Texan is cut short after he expends his loadout. Then he spends more time in transit back and forth and off-target. While the Reaper stays on station with extra weapons still on pylons before a Winchester call. It can also take them on station farther away because it has longer legs/endurance. And it barely, if ever makes the news when they lose one. A Texan seems like an unnecessary redundancy.
 

sferrin

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_Del_ said:
Even if you load out with APKWS,Brimstones and other small missiles, a higher payload enables you to strike more targets per sortie by carrying more weapons. If endurance is equal between two platforms, an eight-hour patrol by a Texan is cut short after he expends his loadout. Then he spends more time in transit back and forth and off-target. While the Reaper stays on station with extra weapons still on pylons before a Winchester call. It can also take them on station farther away because it has longer legs/endurance. And it barely, if ever makes the news when they lose one. A Texan seems like an unnecessary redundancy.
The Texan doesn't go TU when the com. link goes down.
 
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