Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

GTX

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The insistence on some to keep old platforms in service (the A-10 is getting on for 40yrs old) is tiresome. A good thing for the USAF they didn't have the same attitude in the 40s/50s lest the USAF might sill be equipped with P-51s and P-80s...
 

jsport

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Ground troop protection is paramount and frankly many are tired of hearing excuses why there seems to be no viable concept let alone replacement aircraft even presented to replace the A-10. This is not a matter of opinion it is just fact. Anyone arguing there is a real plan to provide the level of Close Air Support necessary is either lying to themselves or lying to others or both.
 

GTX

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Ground troop protection is paramount and frankly many are tired of hearing excuses why there seems to be no viable concept let alone replacement aircraft even presented to replace the A-10. This is not a matter of opinion it is just fact. Anyone arguing there is a real plan to provide the level of Close Air Support necessary is either lying to themselves or lying to others or both.
What exactly do you consider a viable concept? The CAS function is able to be conducted by multiple systems these days.
 

jsport

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As stated numerous times before the 35 will be too few, flys too fast and too high, carries too little. The F-35 would fall out of the sky (AF own assessment) if were required to carry the weight at the A-10 low altit. The AF isnt interested in using the few to dedicate to ground troops. The pilot career culture is dead set on the death of US infantry. ACs are even more sparse and dedicated to SOF. This is a tired and pointless argument.....Corporate capture also plays a role :}
 

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You seem to fall into the all too often mistake of thinking there is only one way to provide such close support support to troops. In the days of precision guided weapons and using networked effects based approaches there are multiple ways of achieving the desired outcome.
 

Colonial-Marine

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The A-10 provides a very nice set of capabilities to have for COIN and low-end conflicts but against a near-tier opponent they would be swatted out of the sky by all of the SHORAD the Russians and Chinese have available. Even a new A-10 replacement would largely be limited to lobbing PGMs from a distance. Doing cannon and unguided rockets runs simply isn't viable against that level of air defense.

Is the value of the A-10 enough to justify the a replacement aircraft? Maybe but military procurement is so mismanaged that I think it's rather low on the list of concerns for the Air Force.
 

jsport

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You seem to fall into the all too often mistake of thinking there is only one way to provide such close support support to troops. In the days of precision guided weapons and using networked effects based approaches there are multiple ways of achieving the desired outcome.
We are beyond belief now. Large bombs are and will continue be the needed in demand across the battlefield. Kamikaze drones will gone in 30mins and provide grenade like effects. Artillery always ends up being (General support). If the pounders dont have as many options as they can ..bad outcomes when one least expects it. Pretty sure you are not as informed as you claim to be... Again this argument is going nowhere.
 

jsport

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The A-10 provides a very nice set of capabilities to have for COIN and low-end conflicts but against a near-tier opponent they would be swatted out of the sky by all of the SHORAD the Russians and Chinese have available. Even a new A-10 replacement would largely be limited to lobbing PGMs from a distance. Doing cannon and unguided rockets runs simply isn't viable against that level of air defense.

Is the value of the A-10 enough to justify the a replacement aircraft? Maybe but military procurement is so mismanaged that I think it's rather low on the list of concerns for the Air Force.
An A-10 replacement would just lob PGMs from a distance...lots of wing space for all those PGMS..yes.. the point, so where is it. Oh, and A-10 can do that. When enough forward IADS are suppressed the cannon would still be the final sweeper.. On dispersed battlefields a sector can be cleaned of SHORADS and then penetration maneuver can occur. Direct bombing is still required. Did anyone play attention to Patton or the Germans and how ground forces advanced?
 

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If the USAF have extra money to deal with the small scale ground issue after containing China, the platform I'd look for is stuffing an hard kill Air defense laser on an AC-130. Self defense to defeat sneaky missiles is nice of course.

But instant sensor neutralization for anything within range (weather permitting) can have decisive effect faster than anything else. The huge "ammo" reserves means speculative and suppressive fires can be applied liberally if ROE allows.

At hard kill power levels and with surgical control, very interesting precision applications can be used, like sniping individuals or parts of structures or vehicles. (or even specific part of humans, if conditions allows)

Those would be step change in anti-to ground attack capability.

Being an AC-130 base, it can also keep bomb racks and projectile guns for suitable situations.
 
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US Air Force did launch a program for an AC-130 fitted with a weaponized laser.

As noted by @Grey Havoc here
 
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isayyo2

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A little digging into 2019 budgets show the "Common Fleet Initiative" CFI entering service in late 2022 and wrapping up in 2024, though that may have been delayed with covid/supply chain issues.

This program, P-3A Mod 9834, A-10 High Resolution Display System (HRDS), is a new start.
The A-10 High Resolution Display System is a technology enabler providing a platform for enhanced tactical applications which will function as a Primary Flight Display and provide Hi Resolution video from Advanced Targeting Pods. The A-10 HRDS is a true next-gen digital interface that will replace legacy analog flight instruments and provide higher resolution video signals to improve the pilot's ability to find, fix, track, target and engage ground targets and threats while reducing pilot workload.
Requirements: AF Form 1067 approved 11 May 2016 to equip ARC aircraft; ACC A-10 HRDS 1067 in development RFP: 2Q FY19; Award: 1Q FY20; Integration Phase: 1Q FY20 - 4Q FY22; Fielding: 4Q FY22 - 4Q FY24
Conversion Fuel Tanks (CFT) procurement - The Conversion Fuel Tank (CFT) program's intent is to convert excess F-15 external fuel tanks for utilization as A-10 external fuel tanks. These tanks, once converted, enhance combat operations.

Also interesting to note that Link 16 and SBD integration had been intended since 2005. This was in addition to the "Propulsion Upgrade Plan" PUP with TF34-GE-101 engines that was cancelled sometime in 2007 I believe.
PRECISION ENGAGEMENT
The PE program is a spiral development program providing increased tactical effectiveness (more targets destroyed), greater survivability, and decreased risk of fratricide. These modifications are mandatory for the A/OA-10 to adhere to the regional CINC's requirement for a CAS and FAC platform.
Spiral #1 of the PE modification integrates: MIL-STD 1760 Bus, Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD), LITENING and SNIPER targeting pods, Digital Stores Management System (DSMS), and DC power upgrade. The DSMS replaces the current Armament Control Panel (ACP) (television monitor) and the Interstation Control Unit (ICU) with Multi-Function Color Displays (MFCD) and replaces the current stick and throttle with improved Hands on Throttle and Stick Capable controls reducing 'heads down' time in the cockpit. During spiral #1, the ICU will be replaced with a new processor: the Central Interface Control Unit (CICU). This program does not purchase JDAM/WCMD munitions, targeting pods or their associated support equipment. After Spiral 1, the A/OA-10A will be designated as an A/OA-10C.

Spiral #2 of the PE modification integrates, tests, and fields an integrated battlefield air picture, an integrated ground picture, and legacy waveforms. The modification includes the Multi-Functional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) radio set with the Link-16 Waveform, the Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS) waveform, and 2 other waveforms to be determined under the Digital Data Link (DDL) MN-37120 as directed by OSD. Funding Control for DDL was transferred from the A-10 Program Office to the Tactical Datalinks, Gateways, and Network Management (TGN) program office at Hanscom AFB MA, but it is still part of the PE modification. The Link-16, EPLRS, and other waveforms provide connectivity to the digital battlefield to ensure joint forces communication, reduce fratricide, and interoperability via forward command and control platform centers. Installation of Group A and B kits for Digital Datalink (MN-37120) will be paid for as part of this modification. The PE program may pursue other alternative data link technologies to avoid schedule delays if the currently projected MIDS JTRS terminals prove to be unavailable.

Spiral #3 and subsequent spirals of the A-10 modernization program may include: a moving map, BRU-57 Smart Pack, Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), and additional data link waveforms. Improvements will enhance situational awareness, enable the A-10 to carry two smart weapons on a single parent station, and expand combat data link capability. Through a spiral development approach, the PE program will ultimately improve survivability and tactical affectivity, decrease fratricide, and continue to play a major role as one of the USAF's primary Close Air Support and Forward Air Control weapon systems.
 

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More information (sourced from LinkedIn) :

Today, a century later, our next generation of "Doolittle's" are now cadets at the United States Air Force Academy. A good example of their readiness to solve the engineering challenges of the future fight is the recent successful demonstration of the A-10 "Bomb Truck." On 9 Feb 22, the 40 FLTS tested an A-10C configured with BRU-61 bomb racks loaded with 16(!) GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs. Lt Jess Beyer & Lt Ross Patterson, both USAFA Class of 2021, had evaluated the drag and stability effects of this particular configuration for the A-10 SPO in USAFA's subsonic wind tunnel. Their research provided the key engineering data to support a critical field need, not unlike Jimmy Doolittle answering Gen Hap Arnold's request to solve the problem of striking Japan.

1650272024253.jpeg

1650272013460.jpeg
 

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More information (sourced from LinkedIn) :

Today, a century later, our next generation of "Doolittle's" are now cadets at the United States Air Force Academy. A good example of their readiness to solve the engineering challenges of the future fight is the recent successful demonstration of the A-10 "Bomb Truck." On 9 Feb 22, the 40 FLTS tested an A-10C configured with BRU-61 bomb racks loaded with 16(!) GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs. Lt Jess Beyer & Lt Ross Patterson, both USAFA Class of 2021, had evaluated the drag and stability effects of this particular configuration for the A-10 SPO in USAFA's subsonic wind tunnel. Their research provided the key engineering data to support a critical field need, not unlike Jimmy Doolittle answering Gen Hap Arnold's request to solve the problem of striking Japan.

View attachment 677061

View attachment 677062

16 Small Diameter Bombs onto the A-10C? I cannot wait to see footage of them dropping them during tests.
 

isayyo2

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Interesting article on the A-10's vs tanks with ERA


Each test mission included a two-ship of A-10Cs employing armor piercing incendiary rounds against two surrogate main battle tanks equipped with ERA. The pilots varied attack parameters and direction in order to evaluate weapons effects against the up-armored targets.
In addition to 30mm gun rounds, the test also collected data on AGM-65L Maverick and AGR-20E Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System effectiveness against armored vehicles.

“This has been an ongoing test effort since the idea originated in 2020,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Earle, 59th TES A-10C operations test analyst. “Now that it’s come to fruition and proven successful, we will work towards testing other types of anti-armor munitions in the Air Force inventory against ERA and collect more data.”
 

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Interesting article on the A-10's vs tanks with ERA


Each test mission included a two-ship of A-10Cs employing armor piercing incendiary rounds against two surrogate main battle tanks equipped with ERA. The pilots varied attack parameters and direction in order to evaluate weapons effects against the up-armored targets.
In addition to 30mm gun rounds, the test also collected data on AGM-65L Maverick and AGR-20E Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System effectiveness against armored vehicles.

“This has been an ongoing test effort since the idea originated in 2020,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Earle, 59th TES A-10C operations test analyst. “Now that it’s come to fruition and proven successful, we will work towards testing other types of anti-armor munitions in the Air Force inventory against ERA and collect more data.”

Hopefully that should persuade the powers that be in the USAF that the A-10 is still relevant today as it always has been, and stop making threats about it’s future.
 

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The position of the Biden administration seems to be that direct transfer of fighter jets is a no-go, for various reasons. Probably that Ukraine would have to buy them for that to happen. There is nothing in that plane that can be argued by the Russian regime as providing an unfair advantage for Ukraine without their people having fun with them. But, obviously, as the USAF is the single user of the type and regenerated a/c being a lengthy process, if that has to happen, it will obviously look awkward.
 

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Probably relevant for Ukraine as it is today. Would that be so difficult for Ukrainian pilots to convert to the type?

So why is the USAF not fielding any A-10’s in Eastern Europe at this time then?
I think it's because the USAF expected the A-10 to die en masse against anything resembling the Russian IADS.... That we now know to be just as much of a shambolic mess as the rest of their army.
 

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Pilots and maintainers and the whole spare parts and ordnance supply chains (since none of it is the same as Ukraine's current aircraft).

And it's worth noting that both the Russian and Ukrainian air forces seems to be sticking to low level for tactical ops. Everyone still seems to fear S-300/400. But USAFE surely plans to kill those ASAP if they have to. Difference between Russian and US air ops doctrines it seems.
 

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Ground troop protection is paramount and frankly many are tired of hearing excuses why there seems to be no viable concept let alone replacement aircraft even presented to replace the A-10. This is not a matter of opinion it is just fact. Anyone arguing there is a real plan to provide the level of Close Air Support necessary is either lying to themselves or lying to others or both.
There's no replacement because operating a manned aircraft below 10k feet is suicidal in any remotely peer competitive environment. The sandbox wars kept the A-10 useful in a permissive environment. CAS can easily be provided by most any aircraft that can fling a GPS guided bomb, which in Astan often included strategic bombers.
 

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Ground troop protection is paramount and frankly many are tired of hearing excuses why there seems to be no viable concept let alone replacement aircraft even presented to replace the A-10. This is not a matter of opinion it is just fact. Anyone arguing there is a real plan to provide the level of Close Air Support necessary is either lying to themselves or lying to others or both.
There's no replacement because operating a manned aircraft below 10k feet is suicidal in any remotely peer competitive environment. The sandbox wars kept the A-10 useful in a permissive environment. CAS can easily be provided by most any aircraft that can fling a GPS guided bomb, which in Astan often included strategic bombers.

fotnhzeagaiykxg-jpeg.676417
;)
 

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Ukraine also happens to have Su-25s, which (minus the big gun) is a perfect match for any A-10... for obvious historical reasons.
 

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The survivability issue matters in the case of the A10. How many of those that were hit and made it home, were refitted and reused. I think 6 were struck off out of 10, two of the rest being rebuilt from the bits of the stricken aircraft. In GW 1. Same with a flight of Apaches; they were hit with 23mm and mixed 12.7 and 14.5mm machine guns and those that survived to fly home required extensive repair to fly again.
 

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Ukraine also happens to have Su-25s, which (minus the big gun) is a perfect match for any A-10... for obvious historical reasons.

Except not a match for any modern A-10. Neither Ukraine nor Russia appear to use JDAM equivalents from their Su-25s, much less something like Stormbreaker. I don't even know if they have a Sniper pod equivalent. It feels very 1980s in the tactical air campaign right now.

Everyone still seems to fear S-300/400

And seems to forget about the more modern SAM systems like the S-500.

I don't think S-500 is relevant here, since it's much more an ATBM system like THAAD. In any case, ten production batteries were ordered a couple of years ago, of which quite possibly none have been delivered yet. Even TASS was only saying "first half of 2022" for the first deliveries in 2021. And when they do show up, you know Battery #1 will be stationed just outside Moscow and Battery #2 near Putin's dacha. So not really a factor in Ukraine.
 

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Ukraine also happens to have Su-25s, which (minus the big gun) is a perfect match for any A-10... for obvious historical reasons.

Except not a match for any modern A-10. Neither Ukraine nor Russia appear to use JDAM equivalents from their Su-25s, much less something like Stormbreaker. I don't even know if they have a Sniper pod equivalent. It feels very 1980s in the tactical air campaign right now.

Everyone still seems to fear S-300/400

And seems to forget about the more modern SAM systems like the S-500.

I don't think S-500 is relevant here, since it's much more an ATBM system like THAAD. In any case, ten production batteries were ordered a couple of years ago, of which quite possibly none have been delivered yet. Even TASS was only saying "first half of 2022" for the first deliveries in 2021. And when they do show up, you know Battery #1 will be stationed just outside Moscow and Battery #2 near Putin's dacha. So not really a factor in Ukraine.

So S-500 is not a SAM in the traditional sense, I wonder what will replace the older SAMS that are still around if S-500 is more like THAAD?
 

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Of course lots those systems are now compromised electronically, with people already updating their jamming pods like the AN/ALQ-149 or whatever its current replacement slash counterpart is with information pull from actual systems Ukraine tossed to Nato.

Which includes Several Tors, Buk M3s, Pansier, and other SHORAD systems with three different Countermeasure UNITs and other fun toys that each alone is like getting the Enigma machine in WW2. Here we are getting the entire factory and Books on how the Germans will change the thing. Like the only thing we havent gotten is the S-series long Range SAMS.

Which will make those short range SAM operators lives... FUN.

At least until Russia literally rebuilds their EWAR arm. Which is a Decade job at the best of times cause Russia basically has to start from ZERO and make up an entire new style of EWAR tactics.
 

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was the A.10 Thunderbolt ever pitched to the UK. for the RAF. ?
I understand Australia and W. Germany were interested in the type for possible procurement, it would be interesting as to any other interested countries ? I understand Iran ? Israel ?
As was Turkey at one stage TsrJoe


Regards
Pioneer
 

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I think part of the USAF wish to get rid of the A10, in certain quarters, is a bias against the GAU-8 gun and to go to a smaller, more conventional gun (limited capacity, modern caseless rounds and so on) and to let the helicopters do the "slow" CAS work for the Army and Fighters do fast CAS/standoff as required.
 

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I think part of the USAF wish to get rid of the A10, in certain quarters, is a bias against the GAU-8 gun and to go to a smaller, more conventional gun (limited capacity, modern caseless rounds and so on) and to let the helicopters do the "slow" CAS work for the Army and Fighters do fast CAS/standoff as required.

Not bias in favor of different gun, recognition that guns in general are of very limited value for CAS, and that is declining as PGMs get cheaper and smaller.

There really is not much push for more advanced gun tech from the USAF, certainly not caseless. There is some push for better gun aiming, and definite interest in guided projectiles.
 

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Imagine if the Airforce find that removing the 30mm gun from the A-10 could solve a lot of the known maintenance problems, postponing scheduled work on engine etc...
Install a 20 or 25mm for self defense and asymmetrical warfare, fit the old gun ammunition space with extra computing power and fuel and fly them as the UAS's MUM-T platform equivalent of the NGAD but for CAS.

I wonder how the public would react.
 

FighterJock

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Imagine if the Airforce find that removing the 30mm gun from the A-10 could solve a lot of the known maintenance problems, postponing scheduled work on engine etc...
Install a 20 or 25mm for self defense and asymmetrical warfare, fit the old gun ammunition space with extra computing power and fuel and fly them as the UAS's MUM-T platform equivalent of the NGAD but for CAS.

I wonder how the public would react.

Probably with anger TomcatViP. That is if they were serious about removing the gun from the A-10.
 

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