They would need a hell of a counterweight to remove the gunImagine 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.
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.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.
Agreed - in fact, one could argue that something such as a MQ-9 is even more effective given its persistence.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.
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.The US no longer fights wars or delivers close support the way you appear to think it does.