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

_Del_

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sferrin said:
_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.

Not an insignificant point. Does that mean we should look to small, less-capable turoprops, or can we also we look for something more capable that has some or most of the qualities of the Reaper we want/need that is manned and not vulnerable to that one specific weakness? Also, does this completely outweigh the fact that you could lose a dozen Reapers in a single day and it would barely make it to the back page, while the first time a Texan/STucano is lost to enemy action it will involve loss of life and/or an effort intensive CSAR diverting assets and be front page news and seen all over the nightly news?

I think you still need human eyes up there. I just don't see much capability (speed, payload, range, endurance) in the smaller turboprops that would justify a purchase given the multitude of other options.
 

marauder2048

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FWIW, the "O" mission via the AERONET datalink that the light attack turboprops were required to
use in the experiment is probably only going to be useful in a fairly benign comms environment.

Actually CSAR is probably one of the areas where the smaller turboprops could have utility.
 

LowObservable

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a Texan is cut short after he expends his loadout.

Them's fightin words in Foat Wuff, son.
 

Jeb

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_Del_ said:
I think you still need human eyes up there. I just don't see much capability (speed, payload, range, endurance) in the smaller turboprops that would justify a purchase given the multitude of other options.

Can you imagine the 60 Minutes expose if a unit of operators was overrun and slaughtered because the USAF had deployed slow, lightly armed PROPELLOR PLANES into a combat theater instead of the supersonic strike fighters that could have reached and protected the boots in time to save their lives? Then it'd be just another round of "the Air Force doesn't care about CAS".
 

_Del_

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And the same wags who constantly harp on our need to cut spending on the military budget will ask why the USAF was determined to start flying propeller planes instead of using stealthy jets.
 

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What kind of special pilots gets to decide to shoot when it is estalished to that it is good and proper to have a giant command staff deliberate every weapons release? Or perhaps that is the point, JTAC gets control because the guys at base can't~

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I do wonder why is it needed to carry the weapon on the airplane for long duration, low intensity overwatch missions assuming the data network is not too jammed and there isn't too much of an artillery threat. Ground launched munitions doesn't burn aircraft fuel, while aircraft can still designate. If needed the ground launchers (can be UGV) can be inserted via air.
 
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Grey Havoc

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aonestudio

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TomS

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This is one of five types selected for the demonstration fly off.


The discussion here has been mostly in the other light attack thread. Probably should be merged somehow.

 

TomcatViP

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Are they still competing with their 1000hp turbine (for an 8000lb plane when fully loaded)?
 

TomS

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Are they still competing with their 1000hp turbine (for an 8000lb plane when fully loaded)?

Max TO weight has crept up to just over 10000 pounds with 950 hp. Similar power:weight to several other types in the competition, like the MC-208 (9000 lbs with 870 hp), AT-802U (16000 lbs with ~1600 hp). The real outliers are the AT-6E (10000 lbs with 1600 hp) and the MC-145 (16000 lbs with 1100 hp).
 

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Thanks for the detailed response @TomS
I can't believe that SoCOM won't factor past experiences in term of weapon capacities at range (yes those kind of situation are important - you don't send Special forces just for point defense).

Given that militants play this card around the world to outmaneuver national and international forces, range matters even for this kind of platforms (combat loaded).
 
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TomS

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Thanks for the detailed response @TomS
I can't believe that SoCOM won't factor past experiences in term of weapon capacities at range (yes those kind of situation are important - you don't send Special forces just for point defense).

Given than militants play this card around the world to outmaneuver national and international forces, range matters even for this kind of platforms (combat loaded).

We really don't know what SOCOM is rating these for, but we do know that they are looking at Armed Overwatch in the context of a particular set of SOF missions, ones that are not well known or understood outside the community.
 

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Not to diminish the work done on the "Bronco II" but I am a bit disappointed to learn it isn't a modernization of the actual OV-10 Bronco. In my opinion the OV-10 remains an extremely well thought out design for that role. I presume Boeing has lost interest in the "OV-10X" concept they offered years ago?

I don't know if the "Bronco II" has any relation to the original OV-10 Bronco design but going off of looks I think "Mini-Bronco" might be a more appropriate name.
 

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Not to diminish the work done on the "Bronco II" but I am a bit disappointed to learn it isn't a modernization of the actual OV-10 Bronco. In my opinion the OV-10 remains an extremely well thought out design for that role. I presume Boeing has lost interest in the "OV-10X" concept they offered years ago?

I don't know if the "Bronco II" has any relation to the original OV-10 Bronco design but going off of looks I think "Mini-Bronco" might be a more appropriate name.
As far as I am aware, the AHRLAC has no links to the OV10.

I too am surprised that there was no follow up to the OV10 trials in Syria/Iraq that appeared to go so well.

Obligatory Warzone articles:


Although, the last one isn't really related to the operational trials.

One of the articles shows a slide keen to make clear that the Broncos were used simply because they were available 'free'.

Here's an article predating all of that stating Boeing would be interested in a New build Bronco with upgraded engines, systems etc.


And, whilst most of us can't read it, the OV-10X was also covered by flight global here:


To me, the OV10 seems like the ideal CAS/Overwatch system. But then, I thought the Piper Enforcer would have done just as well too. So, what do I know.
 
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TomS

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The thing is, the OV-10X would be fundamentally a new aircraft. Sure, it's based on an existing one, but there aren't enough surviving airframes to just convert them, so you'd need new ones. And given that there is likely no extant production tooling or even usable plans (since it was last built nearly 35 years ago), building new airframes means reverse engineering or redesigning the whole aircraft basically from scratch. Either is an expensive undertaking.
 

coanda

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The thing is, the OV-10X would be fundamentally a new aircraft. Sure, it's based on an existing one, but there aren't enough surviving airframes to just convert them, so you'd need new ones. And given that there is likely no extant production tooling or even usable plans (since it was last built nearly 35 years ago), building new airframes means reverse engineering or redesigning the whole aircraft basically from scratch. Either is an expensive undertaking.
No, the drawings exist and there was a project put forward to digitise them. Doesn't mean its an easy build because there's always problems there, but you wouldn't be going back to square one on the design. And if you were, you might do things differently anyway.

TBH none of this is any worse than AHRLAC, and the Bronco offers things that the single engined contenders don't. I would have said that the competition was set up to exclude a Bronco type aircraft (SWAP) but the M28 is in there. There just isn't enough appetite to make it happen. So be it.
 

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What surprises me is that the only really combat proven and highest performance example of this kind of aircraft, the A 29, is not part of the game.
 

TomS

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The thing is, the OV-10X would be fundamentally a new aircraft. Sure, it's based on an existing one, but there aren't enough surviving airframes to just convert them, so you'd need new ones. And given that there is likely no extant production tooling or even usable plans (since it was last built nearly 35 years ago), building new airframes means reverse engineering or redesigning the whole aircraft basically from scratch. Either is an expensive undertaking.
No, the drawings exist and there was a project put forward to digitise them. Doesn't mean its an easy build because there's always problems there, but you wouldn't be going back to square one on the design. And if you were, you might do things differently anyway.

TBH none of this is any worse than AHRLAC, and the Bronco offers things that the single engined contenders don't. I would have said that the competition was set up to exclude a Bronco type aircraft (SWAP) but the M28 is in there. There just isn't enough appetite to make it happen. So be it.

Digitizing a set of paper plans falls under reverse engineering if you ask me. It would have been a huge undertaking to get right.
 

kaiserbill

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Digitizing a set of paper plans falls under reverse engineering if you ask me. It would have been a huge undertaking to get right.

Quite agree.
To use recent examples, the Russians recently have digitised certain designs (aircraft and engines) that were once part of the Soviet Union, but which they want to reinstate in production due to the complete break up of that political entity.
From reading the various reports, it isn't a straightforward, easy, or cheap process, and it takes time.

And I think they are trying hard to prevent the usual massive cost creep/escalations in this programme.
 
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TomcatViP

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It does if you go behind a simple scan. Obviously.
From 2D to 3D isn't that straightforward and can hide nightmarish hours trying to find what's went wrong b/w your manufacturing drawings and the end-results or search for items that were never corrected but done on the line.

But rest assured, it's then cost-effective and save time as parts arriving on the line are then identicals and (given the work has been well done) no more punching, drilling, riveting or metal bending is necessary and a well designed set of new shiny instructions can accommodate the lowest experienced operator you can deal with (not a must but possible).

Then if that digital work was botched (1/2 the time) the nightmare only open on a new episode.
;)
 

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Tom, Kaiser and Tomcat, that hasn't been my experience of projects that have digitised drawings, or updated drawings from very very obsolete CAD systems...depends on what you're presented with and who you get to do it I guess.
 

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Landing gear mishap unlikely to affect Bronco II’s chances in SOCOM competition

The Bronco II prototype has been flying demonstration flights in the United States as part of the Armed Overwatch competition, which could see up to 75 aircraft acquired. After several successful flights, the aircraft was parked on the ground on 9 July when it suffered minor damage to its landing gear, according to a photo obtained by Aviation Week.

A Leidos spokesperson told Aviation Week the aircraft suffered minor damage “during a preventative maintenance action.” It is not clear if human error or a technical problem was responsible, although it could be a combination of both.
 
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It will be exciting to see how Link-16 and SDBs enhance the A-10s performance
I thought that A-10C alrready had Link16?
Nope, just SADL for talking to the ground guys. CUPID F-16s also got it around the same time.
The A-10 will also receive Link 16 data link to complement the existing Situational Awareness Data Link (SADL), introduced with the Precision Engagement upgrade that changed the aircraft designation from A-10A to A-10C.
 

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