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Air Force considering A-10 replacement

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posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 01:19 AM
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I think I have a technology solution for the A-10 to keep it from becoming obsolete for a while. I am borrowing in this case from tanks on the ground that have been upgraded so that they would not be obsolete due to modern Man Portable Anti-Tank Weapons.

Reactive Armor for the A-10

In the same way that reactive armor has extended the useful life of ground tanks shouldn't the USA tank in the air also have its useful life extended with a reactive armor like system? If the engines are modernized and the air frame lightened with more modern composites why not add some sort of reactive smart armor to the old Warthog.

We could rename it the Armadillo.




posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 01:27 AM
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a reply to: machineintelligence

I love your thinking but that kind of a retrofit would cost as much as a clean sheet design. Adding this type of weight to an already laden aircraft would make it even more vulnerable frankly. And once a single airframe is lost that entire investment goes down the tubes.

The A-10 was designed for a war that won't happen. We need to update the AT and CAS mission requirements to counter modern opponents.



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 02:34 AM
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a reply to: aholic

I had a stroke of deranged genius today when I imagined an A-10 successor aircraft. Instead of compromising with the "jet-sturmovik" tank-killer-as-cas A-10 design philosophy to make it fit today's wars, I came up with something radically different.

What I envisioned was a tandem-wing aircraft about the size of a C-130, think an armored Proteus on steroids with an (optional!) Crew of 3-4. Emphasize short airfield capabilities and loitering time.

Now here's where it gets crazy...

My idea was to arm it with one (or two!) GAU-8, but In a Goalkeeper-style swivel mount with each gun controlled by the crew, with laser designation and anti-SAM (think flying CIWS) capabilities built into each turret. This would allow the aircraft to do the tank killing thing if necessary, but would also allow it to become the "AC-130 from hell" by loitering over hot zones, dealing death by way of DU shells, paveways/JDAMS, and missiles.

It'd be positively Blomkampian, but it could be simple, versatile, and damned effective.
edit on 18-2-2015 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)

edit on 18-2-2015 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 04:07 AM
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Would definitely look badass, but each Goalkeeper system weighs around 10000kg, two of them 20t. If you carry that much weight with you, you migh as well carry 400 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles (49kg each). How badass is that?


Firing GAU 8 rounds might be a bit cheaper, but GAU8 range is only 1200m tops, while Hellfire range is up to 8km (5 mi).



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 05:49 AM
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In my opinion they could just resurrect the ARES with a derivative craft, put DIRCM with 360° cover on it, a neural network just to play safe in case of battle damage and other techs developed during DARPA's Persistent Close Air Support program and call it a day.

Low costs, highly survivable and with off the shelf technology.

But i'm pretty sure this is way too logical to be put into reality, meh...



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 10:49 AM
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a reply to: Barnalby

That sounds like a modern day flying fortress philosophy. And I personally would love to see that concept drawn up if not for reality for the next big action flic. Instead of enormous heavy gatling guns I can absolutely see directed energy making it's wayiinto the CAS role. The close target ranges gets around the atmospheric problems and a laser has hardly any collateral damage risk. General Atomics has said recently that they can mount one on a Predator.

It can be used both defensively and offensively. It's also complete quite, perfect for SOCOM. On a stealth platform with a little bit of visual camouflage it could be devastating. Also tank armor does nothing to combat DE. Hit the engine/fuel compartment and the whole things a mess.

What do you think of the VARIOUS concept. A platform like this, sensor fused and swarm enabled, with a pair of GBUs and an active array DE laser might be the 6th gen of close in ground attack and air support.
edit on 18-2-2015 by aholic because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 03:00 PM
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originally posted by: aholic
a reply to: machineintelligence

I love your thinking but that kind of a retrofit would cost as much as a clean sheet design. Adding this type of weight to an already laden aircraft would make it even more vulnerable frankly. And once a single airframe is lost that entire investment goes down the tubes.

The A-10 was designed for a war that won't happen. We need to update the AT and CAS mission requirements to counter modern opponents.


Which ones? There are two scenarios: lots more war like Iraq & Afghanistan. Almost a certainty this will continue. Is the chance of the next war more likely in Yemen or Poland? Obviously Poland would be far more serious and destructive but the chance is much less than Yemen.

Then, any peer or near-peer would be Russia or China. China---close air support of any form doesn't matter, it's missiles & subs. And F-35 is probably not too useful here too as it's too short range and the carriers would be deterred sufficiently far away.

And yes, NATO fighting Russia in Europe, A-10 is obsolete. But so what? That's not the only kind of conflict. In the actual war that we HAVE, it's very useful! A B-52 is also obsolete for fighting Russia in Europe too.

If it were a question of choosing one unused capability vs another unused capability that's one thing---but when it's something tremendously successful for an active war which shows no signs of stopping, why give it up? Don't you think Jordan might really want to have some now?



edit on 18-2-2015 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)

edit on 18-2-2015 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)

edit on 18-2-2015 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 03:46 PM
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a reply to: aholic

Yeah, that was my thought process, try to approximate an A-20 or some of the heavier B-25 variants with 21st century technology. As much as directed-energy is maturing though, I still think a couple bushmaster/GAU-8/GAU-25's in lightweight AH-64-style swivel mounts is the way to go. All that lead won't weigh any more than the powerplant to drive a laser of decent power, and it'll be a lot easier to field-service alongside the AH-64's etc.

As an aside about directed-energy. It seems like a great suite of new technologies that're making some incredible advances lately, but I'll put it this way: There's a reason why the Navy is so interested in making the Polywell concept work, and it's the same reason why LM was making noise about small-scale 100mw electrostatic/magnetic confinement fusion systems as well. To mature directed-energy from being a defensive platform with infrequent firings, etc to something that's useful offensively (kills quickly and you can fire it at will), those energy needs aren't ever going to go away.

Optionally manned seems to be the way to go though to gain serious flexibility. Keep a manned crew for offensives and high-stakes situations, while also allowing the platform to loiter unmanned above trouble zones to quickly respond with hellfires, the guns, etc against any activity that might pop up.



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 03:57 PM
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a reply to: mbkennel

The B-52 has matured into the "arsenal ship" concept that the USN was trying so hard to make work, just like it's cold-war counterpart the Ohio Class SSBN's. Like the Ohio, it's a big (emphasis here) versatile platform that's been fairly easy to adapt to a whole manner of new uses.

Now I love the A-10 to death, and I think they need to hold on to them until a true fixed-wing CAS successor is flying, but I won't say they aren't flawed either. The A-10 was designed with one very specific mission in mind: killing Soviet tanks as they cross into the Fulda Gap.

That entire "Fulda Gap land war" scenario was utterly ridiculous, as any major conflict directly between the USSR and a principal NATO state would have escalated to full-on nuclear war before you can say "push the red button". And yet, our military has been burdened with a whole host of flawed systems designed around this farcical notion of a non-nuclear US vs USSR conflict. The Humvee for example, expensive, with incredible off-road capabilities that would be perfect for scooting back and forth between forward and rear West German battle lines. Armor? What armor? That's what the M1A1's on the front line are for... We all know how that turned out once we realized just how "useful" our $100k Jeeps were in any sort of hostile situation.

The same thing goes for the A-10, though it, like it's rotorwinged counterpart the Apache, was a much less flawed platform to begin with. But look at stuff like it's lack of a dedicated gunner or the lack of a steerable mount for it's cannon. No issue when all the pilot needs to do is point the nose at the T-72 and pull the trigger, but for something to serve as a CAS vehicle against technicals/light APCs in the chaotic theatre of urban counter-insurgency warfare? It could be better for sure.



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 03:58 PM
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a reply to: mbkennel

There's quite a bit that you are neglecting and wrong about in your post.

More wars like Iraq and Afghanistan are not almost certain to occur. What the US military is turning to is a low key special ops presence in many places around the world hunting down bad guys and kill/capturing them before they turn their little group into anything significant. Just look at Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Philippines, and South America.

CAS doesn't matter in a peer state war? Tell that to the ground pounders who are going to be required to win it. It's been proven that you can't completely win a strategic war without any ground forces. What will happen when a line of tanks and APCs roll up on your line of troops? I'll give you a hint: 5.56mm of freedom isn't going to cut it. The Air Force picked apart the Iraqi Army and industrial complex yet still had to send in ground forces in Desert Storm. And that was against Iraq, no where near being a peer state to the US.

The F-35 wouldn't be useful against China or Russia? What? I'll give you the point about the short range and deterrence of support assets, but that's why strategic assets such as bombers and cruise missiles kick the door down and clear the way- establishing a safe zone for tactical assets like the F-35 and their support assets to set up and launch/refuel/rearm from.

The BUFF is far from obsolete. If you're trying to put warheads on foreheads as a part of a leading strike package on night one, then yeah, it's obsolete. But it's one of the deadliest stand off platforms around, and it's anti-ship and mining capabilities are lethal as well. The airplane is only getting better.


edit on 18-2-2015 by justwanttofly because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 04:18 PM
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All the emphasis on the role of tank killer for the A-10 isn't much realistic.

A couple DU 30mm rounds on a T-72 would have a difficult time piercing its armor. But, as an aside, i'd like to remind that every tank needs to be refueled and rearmed, otherwise, it's just a big piece of scrap metal sitting out somewhere.

And this is where, together with CAS for the personnel on the ground, an A-10 can make the difference.

BTW, here is an intereting article about the A-10 Cold War Coloring Book Taught A-10 Pilots to Kill Soviet Tanks



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 06:34 PM
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a reply to: mbkennel

So that Jordanian pilots can be shot down using them instead of our own?

I should've said it was designed for a war that didn't happen. We won't be having an Afghanistan again anytime soon either. Congressional budget and troop levels has made sure of this. The modern counter insurgency/counter terrorism war we now find ourselves in OR a near peer conflict are both no places for the tiresome platform.

The B-52's mission today resembles nothing of what it was designed to do. It has been kept relevant through massive internal upgrades and huge changes in those external mission parameters. The A-10 hasn't done either. Either change the mission or change the aircraft and as you said, the mission isn't going anywhere.



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 06:56 PM
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One thing I like about the F-35b is going to be it's high tempo sorties. When supporting troops in contact this is the most important aspect of aerial support. Flight op tempo. A-10s can hang around a bit longer than other aircraft but they have to come from unspoiled airstrips. One reason why F-18s saw so much CAS action in Afghanistan and Iraq was due to their high level of persistence from a carrier flight deck. This is something that the Lightning has designed into it and why it will find itself right at home with the Navy and Corps CAS objectives.

In terms of long loiter, persistent aerial support I really like Lockheed's VARIOUS concept as a 6th gen CAS platform. It could literally be tasked with escorting a ground unit, providing surveillance for that unit and getting involved in the fight when needed.

www.lockheedmartin.com...



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 07:33 PM
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a reply to: aholic

Oh look, it has a gatling gun-turret. Great minds DO think alike...

Though I still wonder whether you couldn't get the same or better results from a larger ground-based CAS platform that could stay on-station for longer lengths of time didn't have to waste its payload on VTOL systems. Then again, given the USAF's well-proven "love" for promoting the development of dedicated CAS platforms, it's no wonder why the military-industrial complex might be pitching their concepts at the Navy/USMC instead. Although that being the case, I could still see a C-2 Greyhound-sized carrier based CAS platform making sense, though you'd have a hard time deploying them in meaningful numbers given the size issue (unless the F-35C gets cancelled and leaves the carriers with some extra real estate


It's moments like this when I feel like I totally ended up in the wrong industry...

Also, every time I see a stealth fan-driven VTOL concept with hidden rotors I wonder whether or not senior citizen or something like it ever actually flew...



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 07:45 PM
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originally posted by: Forensick

originally posted by: boomer135

originally posted by: Forensick


originally posted by: TXRabbit

There's a really good article on the A-10 insanity over at FoxtrotAlpha.



At What Point Does The USAF's War Against The A-10 Become Sabotage?




I don't know anything about FA, but it seems to resonate in the last paragraph about not making money for the big Defence contractors and not getting those in high up positions 6 figure salaries. Very very sad state of affairs where the very few get rich at the expense of the poor (literally) grunt at the end of the line.



Similar to Rumsfeld pushing Blackwater getting paid more than the soldiers defending their bases.



It's just so morally wrong in a democracy.



I lose hope everyday that I can change anything, am just a slave.




I know Tyler Rogoway personally from FA and that guy is really good at his job. He used to run aviationintel.com until he got that gig. So i would reccommend his website to everyone.


Well thats even sadder, that its likely true....



whats sad about this?



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 07:45 PM
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Anyone who thinks that the A-10 should be kept around for the sole purpose of fighting in low threat/intensity wars like Afghanistan should look into the botched Light Air Support(LAS) contract. Someone had the bright idea to buy a bunch of deadly little airplanes that would operate at a fraction of the cost of the A-10, carry an equivalent level of firepower, and still survive in a low threat environment but it was eventually pissed away.

What remains of that brilliant idea is a small handful of airplanes that are just now starting to get delivered, in which the US will train Afghani pilots and then give the planes to the Afghanis full time.



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 08:53 PM
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Just wanna say this is a big topic here in Tucson, as Davis-Monthan AFB is the A-10's main pad and they have been a looming presence in my life since a tyke... even saw the big crash near the University in ...oh 1980? where the Warthog had a catastrophic failure and the pilot aimed at a street and bailed... and it came down on a car full of...wait for it... nuns... and a block away from a full middle school... but to their credit, the crashes are veeeeery rare.

A really great, strong airplane with a whole lot of boom... an ugly, clunky look and who can't love the shark mouth painted on the front?

Yeah, they're dated... yeah, they're ugly... but really, why change a good thing? They're loved by our ground troops and hated by theirs for a reason.



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 09:49 PM
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a reply to: Baddogma

I've got love for them too. Back when I was young there were five bases in the NE that had active A-10 squads. Saw them training all the time. Love that bird, but I don't want to see any of them lost either.



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 10:09 PM
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a reply to: CiTrus90

They actually did a test once upon a time, using a T-62 I think it was. It took seven rounds to at least disable it. And four were found buried under the tank. There's a reason they attack from above, and not just because they're airplanes.



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 11:09 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

That makes sense, I always imagined that the inspiration for the GAU-8 in the A-10 and YA-9 to be something along the line of "it's not a quality of hit from single 105mm HEAT/HESH/APFSDS round, but at 4200 rounds per minute, quantity becomes a quality all its own"



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