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Air Force considering A-10 replacement

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posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:12 PM
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At the Air Force Association conference in Florida, the Air Force announced that a replacement for the A-10 that they're desperately trying to retire is potentially in the works. The Air Force has been trying for several years now to retire the A-10s, and has said repeatedly that the F-35 would take over the mission. Recent complaints from Congress, and warfighters has led them to realize that a replacement dedicated CAS platform may be required.

The current A-10s have years left in them, especially after the C model upgrades, but they're more vulnerable to contested airspace than other platforms. A replacement platform would be designed to survive in that airspace. Personally, I don't think this will go anywhere, because the Air Force has been fighting the A-10 for years now. At one point they even talked about giving them to the Army. They say all the right things, but unless they're pushed, I don't see them changing their attitude and building something like this.


Even as the US Air Force is still banking on saving billions by retiring the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, the service is considering building a brand new aircraft to take over the close air support (CAS) role.

Speaking at the Air Force Association’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida, air force Gen Hawk Carlisle, chief of Air Combat Command (ACC), says a follow-on weapon system for the A-10 is on the table.

Carlisle also announces an upcoming focus meeting with the army, navy and marine corps to solicit input from the services about the CAS mission in future conflicts. Though the air force wants to retire the A-10 in a plan to save $4.2 billion for other programmes, the service will still be required to provide CAS, Carlisle says.

“We have always, throughout our history, been dedicated to defense of the ground force from the air,” he says. The A-10 was designed to fly low and slow and provide cover fire for ground troops with its nose-mounted 30mm cannon. The air force has said it cannot afford to continue operating what officials consider a single-mission aircraft.

However, “another weapons system programme may be something we need to consider as we look at the gaps and seams for the future” of the CAS mission, Carlisle says.

www.flightglobal.com...




posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:17 PM
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Instead of reinventing the CAS wheel, why can't they just continue to build new ones and part out or sell off the used A-10. There's always room for improvement. Heck, if the Army or Marines could utilize it, why be greedy?



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:24 PM
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The military has been saying that for years, the good old A-10 is great at what it does and the soldiers love em - the enemy fear them.

I dont know if this is true, but for the money, the A-10 seems like its great value - i cannot see a F35 adaptation being as effective and trusted overall as the A-10. If they really are serious about retiring the A-10 they really need to take the A-10 back to the drawing board and build a new one up using the same ideals that made it in the first place, using new tech.

Some times i think putting computers in everything makes it easier to blame when things go wrong, but unlike trained pilots a computer that works can be build as many times as they want unlike a good pilot.

I think the men on the ground would rather a man behind the sights of a total screaming death cannon who cares for his boys on the ground, with the ripping thunder sound terrifying enemy's, a more reassuring weapon system than a missile with a smart computer on it - how often does a phone or laptop need fixing? They dont have explosives strapped to them.

A dumb bomb is hugely effected by wind, a GPS guided missile can have faulty sensors or co-ordinates, a smart missile's computers can crash - something about pointing the business end of a gun at a target and pulling a trigger just seems so much safer.
edit on b2525751 by Biigs because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:27 PM
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a reply to: 38181

The A-10 wouldn't survive long in a modern combat theater. It works great once the threat is reduced, and we have air superiority, but it's vulnerable to modern defenses. You'd have to completely redesign the aircraft from the ground up building in defenses against them. At that point you might as well just build a new platform.



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:28 PM
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a reply to: Biigs

We say that because it's absolutely true. CAS is a lovely sound in the thick of things. CAS being delivered by a 'Hog driver? That, to me, is the sound of freedom.

To the OP: say it ain't so, Joe.



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:29 PM
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a reply to: Shamrock6

If they build it, and if they build it right, you'll have a dedicated platform as good if not better than the A-10, and able to survive against modern defenses.



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:32 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

But...but...it's just such a beautiful platform.

They better make something as ugly/beautiful as the hog. Otherwise I'll never call for CAS, not even if there's a fire!


(Note: I'm no longer in, but absolutely love love love the A-10)



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:33 PM
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I we could dream up a new CAS platform...what would it look like?



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:38 PM
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If a replacement is needed so desperately, start at the beginning - make a new GAU-8 - make it fire much much further, make it lighter, reduce recoil, improve rounds (rocket assisted to reduce falloff or somthing) -- THEN build the plane around it.

The A-10 is nothing more than a nimble, bullet resistant airframe.

We MUST be able to make a better GAU-8 gatling cannon, that techs 40+ years old.


edit on b3939616 by Biigs because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:41 PM
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a reply to: MystikMushroom

Start with 3 engines and 2 cannons a pilot and a weapons jockey. Vertical takeoff and land

Sounds reasonable

Would WI-Fi make em happy






posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:49 PM
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a reply to: mikell

It's gotta have Bluetooth and an app...because...well doesn't having BT and an app improve everything?!
edit on 13-2-2015 by MystikMushroom because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:53 PM
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Personally I take a step back from the A 10 issues and determine if CAS, Close Air Support, is really something possible now and in the future.

I don't think a plane can be built that can provide CAS in contested air space first off. Flying that low and slow simply is too dangerous I believe. After the main anti-air batteries are taken out then you 'only' have to contend with mobile systems. Even those are so good now in 1st Tier armies that low and slow flying simply won't work. Possibly there are defensive systems I'm not aware of.

I think the Airforce is 'politely' trying to help the Army understand that the CAS role simply isn't safe to do anymore. The Army should be considering different ways of providing heavy weapons support. One I think that has potential is the Railgun which can pump out cheap lead projectiles at an incredible speed and accuracy. Providing the power to run a big enough Railgun setup with the mobility the Army demands will be a challenge, but the gun itself is pretty much developed now.

Of course the A 10 has been a great support system, but I don't think dumping billions into a replacement system when the fundamental role can't be done safely is a good use of limited budget dollars. IMO



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:53 PM
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a reply to: Shamrock6

I think you'll find that all the features of the A-10 that made it so effective will still be effective in a new platform.



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 06:57 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: 38181

The A-10 wouldn't survive long in a modern combat theater. It works great once the threat is reduced, and we have air superiority, but it's vulnerable to modern defenses. You'd have to completely redesign the aircraft from the ground up building in defenses against them. At that point you might as well just build a new platform.


Seems like an empty argument Zaphod. Should they dump the Apache, Osprey and all rotary wing assets because they are low and slow also?

The Warthog has proved it's worth and just because it may not survive in contested airspace doesn't mean it can't perform in other arenas effectively. One just has to look at Iraq and the 'stan to see how effective it can be when the risk is moderate.

I'm no air combat/CAS geek so it's just this Joe's .02



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 07:06 PM
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a reply to: Kukri

Rotary wing is a totally different ballgame, and is comparing apples and steak. They can hide behind hills and trees, and use mast mounted sites to lase targets without ever being exposed to antiaircraft fire. The A-10 has to be exposed to do its job properly. Fast air is more vulnerable because it has to operate at higher altitudes, and it has to keep moving at certain speeds to remain airborne. They can hide somewhat, but at some point, to hit their targets they're going to be exposed to everything that can see over that radar shadow they were hiding behind. That means that the A-10 is going to be hammered, while a rotary wing platform is going to be safe behind the hills, with just a ball at the top of the rotor sticking up. The Osprey is in the same boat, since it can rotate the engines and hover.

The problem is that until the risk is moderate, the A-10 is grounded. That means that it can't perform its primary mission of anti-tank warfare. If they keep mobile air defenses with the tanks, the A-10 is now useless. Yes, it can provide some CAS for guys on the ground, but it was designed to fight tanks. In a modern battle, against an on par opponent that mission is going to be vital.
edit on 2/13/2015 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 07:09 PM
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Paint it Barbie Pink it's not like you see it before you experience it.




posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 07:21 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: 38181

The A-10 wouldn't survive long in a modern combat theater. It works great once the threat is reduced, and we have air superiority, but it's vulnerable to modern defenses. You'd have to completely redesign the aircraft from the ground up building in defenses against them. At that point you might as well just build a new platform.


The A-10 is a tank though.

It can take quite a lot of damage and just keep on flying.

It is a very powerful CAS weapon.

It doesn't been to be able to fight air combat, that is what the F-22 F-15 F-16 ....etc..are for.

If they don't have sonthing more capable I say keep it.

Listen to the guys on the ground, not accountant s and paper pushers.

The guys on the ground know what works and what they need to get the mission done.


edit on 13-2-2015 by infinityorder because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 07:24 PM
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a reply to: infinityorder

I'm not talking about air to air threats, I'm talking about the newest SAM systems, although the newer air to air threats are just as bad for it. Other aircraft are vulnerable too, but the A-10 works low and slow, making it more vulnerable than F-15s or F-16s, or F-22s.



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 07:24 PM
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“We have always, throughout our history, been dedicated to defense of the ground force from the air,”


Well that is utter crap.

The assets to provide CAS should belong to the army / marines.

The air-force has always been interested in fighters, bombers and nukes.

That is why they want to retire the A-10. They do not give a pork chop for the grunts on the ground. They never have.

Just look at what the army had to go through to arm choppers in the first place.

P



posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 07:24 PM
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originally posted by: Biigs
If a replacement is needed so desperately, start at the beginning - make a new GAU-8 - make it fire much much further, make it lighter, reduce recoil, improve rounds (rocket assisted to reduce falloff or somthing) -- THEN build the plane around it.

The A-10 is nothing more than a nimble, bullet resistant airframe.

We MUST be able to make a better GAU-8 gatling cannon, that techs 40+ years old.



Agreed, the worlds largest Gatling gun is not to be trifled with.

That thing spits pure death out it barrels, with armor shattering power.

It is what makes the A-10 so good at what it does.



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