Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II

Josh_TN

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I doubt removal is even possible let alone practical. I think that gun and magazine is so built into the design it’s load bearing. :)
 

Josh_TN

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The days of gun runs are over. If you’re not an AC-130 sitting at 15k feet dropping nasty on people who can’t shoot back, no one is using a gun in this day and age. Not even against a non peer.
 

Stovepipe

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It might be over for the USAF and peer air forces, with plenty of guided weapons and the appropriate technology on hand to deliver warheads on foreheads from many miles away, but there are still plenty of air arms using the gun/bomb/rocket combinations in traditional attacks. Even in Ukraine, both sides have carried them out in the absence of guided weapons, either from helicopters or fighters. Combat in Syria, Mali, Tigray and other sandy places have shown that the gun is still viable.
 

iverson

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I suspect that the A-10 or something like it will be needed for a long time yet. The same predictions about its vulnerability in the face of enemy defences were being made while it was under development. Yet the A-10 has consistently proved to be the best close support aircraft available in every war since. Real wars have simply not been fought the way the airplane's detractors predicted.
 

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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.
They would need a hell of a counterweight to remove the gun
 

kaiserd

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I suspect that the A-10 or something like it will be needed for a long time yet. The same predictions about its vulnerability in the face of enemy defences were being made while it was under development. Yet the A-10 has consistently proved to be the best close support aircraft available in every war since. Real wars have simply not been fought the way the airplane's detractors predicted.
With respect the USAF have been using the A-10C primarily as a medium altitude stand-off PGM deliverer (in more or less the same manner as a F-16, F-15Es etc.) for more than a decade.
The US no longer fights wars or delivers close support the way you appear to think it does.
And looking to provide close support against peer or near peer opponents will make the A-10 less , not more, useful and attractive in that role.
The primary argument re: close support is not platform specific (tactical fighters, UCAVs, bombers etc) but re: retaining sufficient currency, focus and a cohort of experienced pilots, FACS etc. as the US’s focus is on peer warfare with greater demands for other tasks other than close support.
 

Josh_TN

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The other strength of A-10 operation is cost, since they cost less to maintain per flying hour than most anything else in inventory. That is of course somewhat offset by the fact that maintaining the type requires a separate parts and training stream from other aircraft types, and as noted its role in modern day CAS is more or less equivalent to an F-16 (or even B-52). Against a peer competitor gun runs and resistance to low altitude AAA/MAMPADS isn't likely to be of benefit. And at medium altitude an A-10 has little more survivability than an F-16 against a medium range/altitude SAM, in fact arguably less.
 

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With respect the USAF have been using the A-10C primarily as a medium altitude stand-off PGM deliverer (in more or less the same manner as a F-16, F-15Es etc.) for more than a decade.
Agreed - in fact, one could argue that something such as a MQ-9 is even more effective given its persistence.
The US no longer fights wars or delivers close support the way you appear to think it does.
Indeed - as has been discussed before, people all too often mistakenly think that the Close in CAS means the platform delivering weapons has to be close to the action - e.g. gun runs. In reality, the Close is in reference to how close the enemy are to the friendly forces. Thus with appropriate precision weapons and targeting data, CAS can be handled by multiple systems including artillery, strategic bombers etc.
 

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