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

Abraham Gubler

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TomS said:
GD-OTS lists goalkeeper as a joint effort withThales Nederland. As far as I Know, the actual guns are still supplied from the US.

Of course, it's very unlikely that a clean sheet CAS design developed today would carry a 30mm Gatling. A 25mm would offer more than enough terminal effect -- actual tanks can be dealt with in many other ways.
Dont introduce such logic into a discussion about the A- 10.

Rockwell (NAA) and Boeing have all done post stealth studies into a CAS/BAI aircract that have been made public. Both were high subsonic speed flying wings with lots of fuel and big weapons bays. Loitering, hard to spot birds with great eyes able to swoop in fast and agile to hit hard and be tough enough to take anything in return. Kind of a cross between an A-10 and an F-111.
 

donnage99

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Abraham Gubler said:
Rockwell (NAA) and Boeing have all done post stealth studies into a CAS/BAI aircract that have been made public. Both were high subsonic speed flying wings with lots of fuel and big weapons bays. Loitering, hard to spot birds with great eyes able to swoop in fast and agile to hit hard and be tough enough to take anything in return. Kind of a cross between an A-10 and an F-111.
You talking about this project?
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5569.0.html
 

sferrin

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Abraham Gubler said:
TomS said:
GD-OTS lists goalkeeper as a joint effort withThales Nederland. As far as I Know, the actual guns are still supplied from the US.

Of course, it's very unlikely that a clean sheet CAS design developed today would carry a 30mm Gatling. A 25mm would offer more than enough terminal effect -- actual tanks can be dealt with in many other ways.
Dont introduce such logic into a discussion about the A- 10.

Rockwell (NAA) and Boeing have all done post stealth studies into a CAS/BAI aircract that have been made public. Both were high subsonic speed flying wings with lots of fuel and big weapons bays. Loitering, hard to spot birds with great eyes able to swoop in fast and agile to hit hard and be tough enough to take anything in return. Kind of a cross between an A-10 and an F-111.
The main mission the A-10 was designed for seems to me a bit suicidal to attempt with a gun against anybody possessing even average air defenses. My main concern was that we'd lost the ability to produce that type of gun.
 

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muttbutt said:
I have the feeling this may just be the USAF shining on the US-Army with a "look we're doing something" so the US-A won't make a push for a fixed wing CAS aircraft themselves.

I don't think this will ever see the light of day. :-[
"Nomen omen"

A-X
 

Abraham Gubler

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donnage99 said:
You talking about this project?
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5569.0.html
Nope. Page 224 of Living in the Future. The 1982 Rockwell CAS-X based on their operational analysis of how to replace the A-10 but making it survivable and able to oprate in the Middle East.
 

Abraham Gubler

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My main concern was that we'd lost the ability to produce that type of gun.
As TomS said you can just use the 25m gun. If high rate of fire 30mm was super crucial then you can just zero hour the GAU-8 or the four barrel gunpod version. But the marines brought the 300-400 stock of these weapons from USAF in the 90s with eye gleam dreams of sticking them on LCACs. Im sure theyll still have them in a warehouse somewhere. Bigger caliber like 35mm or 40mm will give better accuracy at long range. Enabling high altitude (10 000') standoff fires like a gunship...
 

kaiserd

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Abraham Gubler said:
My main concern was that we'd lost the ability to produce that type of gun.
As TomS said you can just use the 25m gun. If high rate of fire 30mm was super crucial then you can just zero hour the GAU-8 or the four barrel gunpod version. But the marines brought the 300-400 stock of these weapons from USAF in the 90s with eye gleam dreams of sticking them on LCACs. Im sure theyll still have them in a warehouse somewhere. Bigger caliber like 35mm or 40mm will give better accuracy at long range. Enabling high altitude (10 000') standoff fires like a gunship...
Appears American's gun obsession strikes again....
You heard about the invention of precision stand-off weapons right?
And the likely air defense environment an A-10 follow on would have to be able to operate in?
A gun to our range SAMs?

A small enough number of niche aircraft to operate against opponents with little to no effective air defense systems. Spend billions to end up with something only marginally more effective or survivable than (for example) a Super Tucano or (Textron) Scorpion at many times the price.
A great idea that will die soon enough.
 

Abraham Gubler

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kaiserd said:
Abraham Gubler said:
My main concern was that we'd lost the ability to produce that type of gun.
As TomS said you can just use the 25m gun. If high rate of fire 30mm was super crucial then you can just zero hour the GAU-8 or the four barrel gunpod version. But the marines brought the 300-400 stock of these weapons from USAF in the 90s with eye gleam dreams of sticking them on LCACs. Im sure theyll still have them in a warehouse somewhere. Bigger caliber like 35mm or 40mm will give better accuracy at long range. Enabling high altitude (10 000') standoff fires like a gunship...
Appears American's gun obsession strikes again....
You heard about the invention of precision stand-off weapons right?
And the likely air defense environment an A-10 follow on would have to be able to operate in?
A gun to our range SAMs?
Welcome to my ignore list.
 

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As for GAU-8 gun production: a quick Wiki search says that Korea for one is still building ships with Goalkeeper, which suggests that the gun is available. Thales doesn't make guns so unless they subbed and licensed the gun to Oto Melara, Rheinmetall or Nexter (which I have never heard of) the guns come out of Burlington. Which in itself is not impractical since the USAF needs replacement parts.

That said, nobody needs the GAU-8. It was a viable weapon against a moving tank in 1970, when LGBs were exotic and Maverick was unproven. Brimstone and guided 70-mm. are available today, and if you want a gun, with laser rangefinding you can get away with a short burst length.

The trouble with stealth CAS is that you have to be out of sight and earshot. This starts to be problematic for laser designation and weapon flight time - JTACs hate it when they get to "thousand-and-43" before something goes bang.
 

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if there is a dedicated next gen CAS plane, and if it is stealthy, it would most probably not be flying so low that the pilot uses his eyes for targeting and identification.

medium altitudes seem better suited, even if that means no-show for low cloud cover situations. (or it can go low in such situations and risk getting shot, if the risk is worth it) Today's tech could make the plane very, very quite at such altitudes. RF stealth is a given but it might need even better IR stealth than B2.

25mm non gatling gun is a given, more than enough for the mission.

The plane itself would probably be larger than A10 with the need for internal weapon bay. Modular one, mind you, so in 20 years time they can put a laser inside it for certain missions.
 

sferrin

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totoro said:
medium altitudes seem better suited, even if that means no-show for low cloud cover situations. (or it can go low in such situations and risk getting shot, if the risk is worth it) Today's tech could make the plane very, very quite at such altitudes. RF stealth is a given but it might need even better IR stealth than B2.

25mm non gatling gun is a given, more than enough for the mission.
Shooting at at the ground from medium altitude with a 25mm gun? Okay. . .
 

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LowObservable said:
That said, nobody needs the GAU-8.
The ability to lay down one hell of a smackdown with one hell of a gun remains a useful ability. Not every target is a single discrete target appropriate for a LGB or a missile; sometimes you want to make a mess of a highway full of trucks or turn a building into Swiss cheese or put a whole lot of big bullets into a bunch of bushes at the request of some soldiers under fire.

Viet Nam showed that reliance upon missiles can jump up and bite you.
 

sferrin

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Orionblamblam said:
LowObservable said:
That said, nobody needs the GAU-8.
The ability to lay down one hell of a smackdown with one hell of a gun remains a useful ability. Not every target is a single discrete target appropriate for a LGB or a missile; sometimes you want to make a mess of a highway full of trucks or turn a building into Swiss cheese or put a whole lot of big bullets into a bunch of bushes at the request of some soldiers under fire.

Viet Nam showed that reliance upon missiles can jump up and bite you.
The funniest part is some of those saying the next CAS aircraft doesn't need a gun would be screaming blue murder if the F-35 didn't have one. ;)
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
That said, nobody needs the GAU-8. It was a viable weapon against a moving tank in 1970, when LGBs were exotic and Maverick was unproven. Brimstone and guided 70-mm. are available today, and if you want a gun, with laser rangefinding you can get away with a short burst length.

The trouble with stealth CAS is that you have to be out of sight and earshot. This starts to be problematic for laser designation and weapon flight time - JTACs hate it when they get to "thousand-and-43" before something goes bang.
The impression I get is that the GAU-8 in the A-10 is being used more like an aimable cluster bomb. One where you can vary the number of bomblets you "drop". Maybe guided 70mm and Zunis with bomblets could fill that role?
 

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sferrin said:
Shooting at at the ground from medium altitude with a 25mm gun? Okay. . .
that is not what the post said. most of the missions would be flown at medium altitude. no gun needed or used. some missions might feature low flight, and those missions might require a gun. hence why the gun is included at all. it is also plausible that the gun is to be carried as a pod, and not have it integrated into the platform. Then again, if we are talking about plane that's larger than a-10, there might be enough real estate for an integrated gun.
 

sferrin

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totoro said:
sferrin said:
Shooting at at the ground from medium altitude with a 25mm gun? Okay. . .
that is not what the post said. most of the missions would be flown at medium altitude. no gun needed or used. some missions might feature low flight, and those missions might require a gun. hence why the gun is included at all. it is also plausible that the gun is to be carried as a pod, and not have it integrated into the platform. Then again, if we are talking about plane that's larger than a-10, there might be enough real estate for an integrated gun.
So pretty much the way the F-35B is going to operate with the USMC then right?
 

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yep. which plays into the hand of those that fear/hope the project itself won't ever come to fruition.

if it does get into active service, it would have to carry sufficently more payload and have sufficently more loiter time/range over f-35 to make it worthwhile. Which, being subsonic and tasked with just one mission type while being a decade or two more modern - might not be so unrealistic.
 

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kaiserd said:
Appears American's gun obsession strikes again....
You heard about the invention of precision stand-off weapons right?
The a-10's gun is cleared to fire much closer to friendly force than any other precision stand-off weapons. Those rounds saved lives.
 

sferrin

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donnage99 said:
kaiserd said:
Appears American's gun obsession strikes again....
You heard about the invention of precision stand-off weapons right?
The a-10's gun is cleared to fire much closer to friendly force than any other precision stand-off weapons. Those rounds saved lives.
Do you think a laser guided 70mm rocket with bomblets might do as well? I think at least part of the reason the gun can go closer is there isn't so much *BOOM* at the end.
 

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The funniest part is some of those saying the next CAS aircraft doesn't need a gun would be screaming blue murder if the F-35 didn't have one.

If you have no other way to hit a moving target (other than an LGB, which can hit slow movers but is a blunt instrument) then you need a gun for CAS.

Maybe you still do in addition to guided weapons, but the automatic "the gun is cheapest" may not be clear-cut on the LCC level. Guns need regular training on a live-fire range, with all that entails. Gun rounds are cheaper than rockets, but you don't fire >100 rockets every time you pull the trigger. If it's an internal gun you carry it all the time, whether you need it that day or not... and so on.
 

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More knowledgeable people may be able to put me straight on this one but I thought there was a programme of re-winging the A-10s? If that's the case, that rather implies they're going to keep them going a while longer..?
 

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Re - Gun CAS issue:

Wouldn't it make more sense to have a modular design? Mount the gun in an externally podded mobile mount (like the SPPU-6) or in a module replacing the weapon bay with sensors and turret (e.g. YOG gunship style)!

That way you have persistent close support as an option in permissive environments, but you can allocate the extra weight to fuel and other weapons in a less permissive environment...

Of course, if a guided round can be created in a 40mm weapon (without too much loss to exploding charge) - then the extra standoff and lethality might still be worth building an aircraft around a gun. It wouldn't be useful for suppressive effect, and it wouldn't be that much more cost effective (i.e. fewer but more expensive rounds are expended) - but it might keep the aircraft out of MANPAD range and still give a higher PK. I suppose the main benefit compared to using small guided weapons is that you could carry more 40mm rounds than 70mm rockets (although I suspect the overall cost and weight of the gun system might still end up being higher)!
 

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What I find a bit more interesting is the overall debate regarding the requirements. There are different ways to do CAS:
1. A high speed platform that can respond quickly and makes a precision strike assisted by forward air controllers (most survivable)
2. A manoeuvring platform that persists for multiple runs over the target (low cost examples being the Pucara, whereas a high cost example would be the Su-25 - with higher cost designs generally being much more survivable)
3. A high altitude loitering platform capable of remaining on station and making multiple attacks (e.g. MQ-9, AC-130)
4. A V/STOL design capable of being stationed close to the front lines, allowing for faster response times (e.g. AH-64, AHRLAC)
 

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Avimimus said:
What I find a bit more interesting is the overall debate regarding the requirements. There are different ways to do CAS:
1. A high speed platform that can respond quickly and makes a precision strike assisted by forward air controllers (most survivable)
2. A manoeuvring platform that persists for multiple runs over the target (low cost examples being the Pucara, whereas a high cost example would be the Su-25 - with higher cost designs generally being much more survivable)
3. A high altitude loitering platform capable of remaining on station and making multiple attacks (e.g. MQ-9, AC-130)
4. A V/STOL design capable of being stationed close to the front lines, allowing for faster response times (e.g. AH-64, AHRLAC)
So... basically... the offspring of a 'Tomcat' and a 'Harrier' that's the size of a 'Hercules'.. or, perhaps, better yet a 'Globemaster'?

Seems easy enough to design. ;D

Sorry for the poor attempt at levity.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Avimimus said:
What I find a bit more interesting is the overall debate regarding the requirements. There are different ways to do CAS:
1. A high speed platform that can respond quickly and makes a precision strike assisted by forward air controllers (most survivable)
2. A manoeuvring platform that persists for multiple runs over the target (low cost examples being the Pucara, whereas a high cost example would be the Su-25 - with higher cost designs generally being much more survivable)
3. A high altitude loitering platform capable of remaining on station and making multiple attacks (e.g. MQ-9, AC-130)
4. A V/STOL design capable of being stationed close to the front lines, allowing for faster response times (e.g. AH-64, AHRLAC)
Combine 1, 2 and 3 for the win.

Guns provide a low cost means of target defeat. A gunship uses its 40mm Bofors to knock out mobile trucks, tanks, etc from a nice standoff range. Giving them great dominance of large ground areas over long times. Just they are not survivable in the face of GBAD. As in ODS. But a purpose designed platform can provide that survivability. Mount a 35mm or 40mm gun in a retractable turret under a stealthy A-12 sized aircraft and you can provide plenty of CAS in a high intensity conflict. See the CalPoly Firefox study for a good unclass cost-benefit analysis of contemporary weapon types.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
Avimimus said:
What I find a bit more interesting is the overall debate regarding the requirements. There are different ways to do CAS:
1. A high speed platform that can respond quickly and makes a precision strike assisted by forward air controllers (most survivable)
2. A manoeuvring platform that persists for multiple runs over the target (low cost examples being the Pucara, whereas a high cost example would be the Su-25 - with higher cost designs generally being much more survivable)
3. A high altitude loitering platform capable of remaining on station and making multiple attacks (e.g. MQ-9, AC-130)
4. A V/STOL design capable of being stationed close to the front lines, allowing for faster response times (e.g. AH-64, AHRLAC)
Combine 1, 2 and 3 for the win.

Guns provide a low cost means of target defeat. A gunship uses its 40mm Bofors to knock out mobile trucks, tanks, etc from a nice standoff range. Giving them great dominance of large ground areas over long times. Just they are not survivable in the face of GBAD. As in ODS. But a purpose designed platform can provide that survivability. Mount a 35mm or 40mm gun in a retractable turret under a stealthy A-12 sized aircraft and you can provide plenty of CAS in a high intensity conflict. See the CalPoly Firefox study for a good unclass cost-benefit analysis of contemporary weapon types.
Any idea how the Millennium gun compares to a GAU-8 in the recoil dept?
 

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Turreted guns are a bad idea, they won't have the accuracy or power required for close range CAS. See the A-16 program for examples there.

What I don't get is the idea that a AWPKS could replace the GAU-8. The GAU-8 is used because it's danger close range is ~40m. No other precision weapon gets that close. What in the AWPKS could replace that short range danger close capability? Using AWPKS to replace GAU-8 does not make sense when AWPKS will have a larger danger close that GAU-8.

The A-10's gun is accurate and can punch through light cover. It gives the A-10 it's most unique CAS capability. I don't know why a replacement A-X aircraft wouldn't have that.
 

Abraham Gubler

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DrRansom said:
Turreted guns are a bad idea, they won't have the accuracy or power required for close range CAS. See the A-16 program for examples there.
Gun accuracy is a relationship between dispersion and range. There is nothing inherently wrong with turreted guns and dispersion. The F-16 with 30mm exercise (no actual A-16s were built and GDFW had a plan to avoid the F-16 problem) in inaccuracy was thanks to attaching a gun pod to a blow off drop tank pylon. Using a turret enables gun fire from the following: above 10,000 feet, at moving targets, response without changing flight vector, across a wide area, etc. It also alows danger close with very little displacement just from low altitude.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
Abraham Gubler said:
Avimimus said:
What I find a bit more interesting is the overall debate regarding the requirements. There are different ways to do CAS:
1. A high speed platform that can respond quickly and makes a precision strike assisted by forward air controllers (most survivable)
2. A manoeuvring platform that persists for multiple runs over the target (low cost examples being the Pucara, whereas a high cost example would be the Su-25 - with higher cost designs generally being much more survivable)
3. A high altitude loitering platform capable of remaining on station and making multiple attacks (e.g. MQ-9, AC-130)
4. A V/STOL design capable of being stationed close to the front lines, allowing for faster response times (e.g. AH-64, AHRLAC)
Combine 1, 2 and 3 for the win.

Guns provide a low cost means of target defeat. A gunship uses its 40mm Bofors to knock out mobile trucks, tanks, etc from a nice standoff range. Giving them great dominance of large ground areas over long times. Just they are not survivable in the face of GBAD. As in ODS. But a purpose designed platform can provide that survivability. Mount a 35mm or 40mm gun in a retractable turret under a stealthy A-12 sized aircraft and you can provide plenty of CAS in a high intensity conflict. See the CalPoly Firefox study for a good unclass cost-benefit analysis of contemporary weapon types.
Any idea how the Millennium gun compares to a GAU-8 in the recoil dept?
Each 35mm AHEAD round produces 1.85 times the recoil potential as the 30mm PGU-13 round of the A-10. Since the A-10 shoots at ~4000rpm and the MG at ~1000rpm you should get about half the potential recoil from a burst of the same length. Vibration should be a lot less without the rotating barrels.
 

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Wouldn't the availability and use of low collateral precision weapons like the laser guided rockets (APKWS) and UK Brimstone result in less reliance on/ relax the associated specifications for a CAS platforms gun or guns?

http://www.baesystems.com/en/product/apkws-laser-guided-rocket

http://www.raf.mod.uk/equipment/brimstone.cfm

And I would query the affordability and realism of fielding a very "stealthy" (apologies for the use of this glib broad term) dedicated CAS playform given the clear overlap/ duplication versus the F35 and limited US defense budgets.

If a true new A-X was to emerge far more likely to be something along the lines of a composite A-10 crossed with a Reaper - low cost in development and operation trumping any ambitions for deep penetration survivability.
Not likely to be anything like as ambitious as a A-12 Avenger.....
 

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I'd ditch the whole LO concept for a CAS aircraft. A juiced up DIRCM on it's belly though. . .
 

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sferrin said:
I'd ditch the whole LO concept for a CAS aircraft. A juiced up DIRCM on it's belly though. . .
If the plane will have to operate under the weather and/or at low altitudes, LO doesn't make any sense. CAS doctrinally only occurs after local SEAD, so the radar threats should be reduced.

DIRCM will be a must for any ground attack aircraft.

KaiserD - the problem with AWPKS is there is no reason to suspect it's danger close radius to be substantially smaller than any other precision weapon. The GAU-8 has a Danger Close of ~40m, until a precision missile gets that range, it won't be useful for CAS for firefights.

Abraham - turreted weapons don't make sense for an A-X. One mission of the A-X will be to conduct CAS below the weather. In those situations, a turreted gun adds nothing of value to the A-X, as the A-X won't spend it's time orbiting and waiting for targets.

In a contested environment with MANPADs, A-X can use terrain masking to reduce exposure window. A plane cruising at 10k ft will be exposed to everybody on the ground.
 

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The number I've seen for APKWS is 95m. But the Marines have been looking at alternative warheads to reduce danger close distances. With precision weapons, danger close mostly depends on warhead size. Viper Strike (2.3-lb warhead) is cleared to 50 meters. No reason an APKWS warhead couldn't get down to about that as well. A pure kinetic warhead (like the flechette antitank round in the CRV-7PG) might do even better.
 

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Vought's HVM that was being developed for the A-10 sure would be nice to have, a-x or f-35! That was a fantastic weapon and I was surprised that it was never fielded. As much as I loathe the 35, with 8 internal HVMs and a flight of linked 35s, that would be impressive against an armored group. Are guns a little out dated for using against armor? Anti personal,yeah, still needed and you can get away with something smaller and lighter than the 10s 30mm.

Edit: actually I take back all I said about the 35 and HVM. I think the HVMs range was about 3500 yards, which means the 35 might be too fast to fire and keep the targets illuminated before overflying. The HVM was not fire and forget which is why/how they were keeping the costs low per round.
 

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DrRansom said:
If the plane will have to operate under the weather and/or at low altitudes, LO doesn't make any sense. CAS doctrinally only occurs after local SEAD, so the radar threats should be reduced.
Doctrine is the result of capabilities fitted into need. If you have a survivable ground attack platform then you can use it for CAS in the face of GBAD and don't need to wait for SEAD/DEAD (which is certainly the need of the ground forces being CASed). Also you will want your A-X to fly BAI as well as CAS. Or CAS close and CAS distant or whatever the new names for CAS and BAI are these days.

DrRansom said:
Abraham - turreted weapons don't make sense for an A-X. One mission of the A-X will be to conduct CAS below the weather. In those situations, a turreted gun adds nothing of value to the A-X, as the A-X won't spend it's time orbiting and waiting for targets.
So in all those other missions where the is no weather ceiling and you can fly the A-X above the trash fire line it also doesn't add value? Ahh nope. And even in weather with ISAR radars and networked capability and a high intensity warfare safety threshold flying high and shooting through the weather is more than feasible. A turreted gun can do everything a fixed gun can do and more. The penalty is the weight of the turret but being able to provide gunship capability (AC-130, AC-27) everywhere should be more than worth it.

DrRansom said:
In a contested environment with MANPADs, A-X can use terrain masking to reduce exposure window. A plane cruising at 10k ft will be exposed to everybody on the ground.
Which is why it is designed to be survivable by using LO. Flying at >10 000 feet also gives you the opportunity to counter those threats that manage to get through the outer layers of the survivability onion. Which you can't do while terrain masking. That is if you at low level and you happen to fly over a MANPADS then you're dead. But if you are at 10 000 feet and you happen to fly over a MANPADS then you have the time it takes to get from 0 to 10 000 feet to counter it with DIRCM, decoys, agility, etc.
 

bobbymike

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http://warontherocks.com/2016/05/its-not-about-the-airplane-envisioning-the-a-x2/
 

jsport

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"The assertion that the A-10 or A-X2 can survive and operate in such an environment is wishful thinking. There may be a way to operate effectively in that environment (I suggest precision rocket artillery), but neither the A-10 nor the A-X2 is it."

seems to be a unfounded presumptuous statement. the sequester is what needs fixing.
 

marauder2048

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jsport said:
"The assertion that the A-10 or A-X2 can survive and operate in such an environment is wishful thinking. There may be a way to operate effectively in that environment (I suggest precision rocket artillery), but neither the A-10 nor the A-X2 is it."

seems to be a unfounded presumptuous statement. the sequester is what needs fixing.
At least it provokes some discussion on doctrinal issues particularly the Army's commitment to SEAD. In GW1, ATACMS was used in the SEAD role and many of the
Army's anti-tank teams in the 80's reprioritized their target list to focus on the "funnies" i.e. the SPAAGs/SPADS which would leave the air defense denuded
heavy armor for the A-10s and other aerial assets.

With the Army looking at long-range precision fires again, it's a good time to revisit some of these issues especially in light of the proposed combat radius for
FVL medium. At 229-450nm, that radius puts it mostly beyond the currently INF-constrained range of Army rockets/missiles.
 

bobbymike

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http://breakingdefense.com/2016/06/flying-coke-machine-would-replace-a-10-if-we-had-air-force-chief-welsh/
 

bobbymike

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Call the CAS Doctors

—Will Skowronski

6/17/2016


​​Continuing the long-running debate, Air Force Chief of Staff nominee Gen. David Goldfein told the Senate Armed Services Committee the service should not retire the A-10 “in the near term.” But Goldfein, who currently serves as the vice chief of staff, told lawmakers during his nomination hearing on Thursday he is just as concerned about the A-10 community as he is about the platform itself when it comes to replacing the close air support fighter. “The A-10 community is actually our PhD force when it comes to close air support, and they set the bar for not only the joint team, but for the coalition team,” he said. “So my focus is going to be on ensuring that I go back to the doctors of CAS—the A-10 fleet and the A-10 operators, and say, ‘What is the future of close air support?’.” Goldfein seemed to throw out ideas of his own for capabilities that should be included in a replacement platform: an ability to fire 10 minutes’ worth of 30-mm rounds :eek:, the use of precision-guided rounds, and technology to help pilots distinguish between friend and foe and perform collateral damage assessments. Goldfein, a 1983 Air Force Academy graduate, led Air Forces Central Command from August 2011 to July 2013 and has flown combat missions in Iraq, the Balkans, and Afghanistan. In April, sources told Air Force Magazine Defense Secretary Ash Carter wanted the next service chief to be a combat veteran capable of leading the Air Force during the ongoing air war against ISIS
 
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