posted on May, 30 2006 @ 08:12 AM
Now I'm just a knuckle draggin' Ammo troop
And it is that attitude which ensures that the people who do the real work, the hard work, the ones who in fact have the /real/ expertise to make a
weapons system _function_. Are in fact getting the pat-pat "So glad you could come to the party, the kitchen's entrance is over there..." lowest
pay grades in a service where the ability to employ a weapons system has nothing to do with a college diploma or some special kind of innate skill.
But is simply a monkey-presses-button 'officer grade' casted abitrary system heirarchy. The sad fact being that we could do an equal job with P-47s
and flying officer ranked enlisted as we are with jets, simply because they have superior loiter and 'appropriate weapons systems' for the kinds of
engagement that the A-10 is being used for. While the act of flying in combat itself does not require any higher intellect than the average arcade
monkey can bring to bear.
Put another way, if we took away the approximatedly EIGHT BILLION A YEAR that is expended on salary and flying hours for the 'core force' of
tactical aviators to retain their nominal 120-200hr/year currencies, we could pay the wrench turners enough to not have to see massive turnovers in
the higher E-grade ranks.
...who worked the Hawg's in the ROK, Pope, and Deseet Strom. The role of CAS(fixed or rotor) is that of force mutliplier.
No it is is not. Because where your FSCL has you out 10-20km in front of the leadning edge of a force (as opposed to searching 'kill boxes' another
50-100km forward or on the flanks because the tasking agency isn't reactive enough to sustain a high rate of cab rank styled shooters) you are not
_supporting_ anyone. At best you are shaping the battle through intimidation, more typically, you are just wasting gas. The 'two prong' system of
OIF is a key example of this. Furthermore, where each contested engagement is potentially a _political loss_ for the POTUS yet the enemy will not
fight a standup battle against main force levels of numbers, even if you use a Marine system or ground agencies to bring the cutoff line in closer,
you are still losing by virtue of allowing the enemy to achieve first shot with suicide/irregular forces or desultory attacks against secondary (HUGE)
CS/CSS elements in the camp-follower 2E. Now add to this a limited time on station and a generally mixed-bag level of competencies, performance
profiles and weapons system capabilities to deliver munition-of-the-moment bombloads and things get really ugly because everything is not only
_reactive_. But _lagged out_ to the extent that you can bring an asset off a tanker and get him into the chute AFTER the _ground elements_ have
contacted the threat. By the time it takes a controlling agency to task, orient, assess and reengage, not just one but multiple platforms (which, in
this case, were on ground alert the better part of 250 miles out.) the enemy is gone and you are, at best, blowing up residual logistics cache` or
covered ambush sites.
Basically, it's flying artillery.
No it is not. Because it has fewer rounds generally able to do a LOT more damage but only limited time availability at much greater radius. And so
unlike artillery which can be talked on through multiple drop or push commands between spotter rounds, with perhaps 4-10 guns able to deliver as many
as 40 rounds per minute and 1,000 rounds total _but has no organic targeting_, you have to make the best use you can of a system which can function as
a SCOUT asset. To kill targets as they move up. Something which an asset with X4 Mk.82 and 700 rounds of 30mm is hardly 'dots on the windscreen'
likely to be skilled at.
Artillery can do achieve a similar mission capability, with highly costly (in the long run) throwaway assets like Silent Eyes and LAAM/SMACM. But in
general, artillery delivered apertures don't have the altitude, endurance or sensor resolution to perform a really useful ISR mission. A drone which
brings it's 2-3 million dollar FLIR+TV+LST+stabilized optics _back_. Can.
i.e. Airpower is NOT 'artillery'. Those who use it as such, especially in a limited threat environment where total engaged numbers are small and
rapidity of deployment to a contested APOD/SPOD is often a precondtion, are fools.
The US Army and USAF may not get along all that well but in the '70 when the A-10 was created they were very open about its capabilities so that the
Warsaw Pact would get the idea if they charged their tanks into Fulda Gap that the combination of A-10's and Nato tanks would turn the area into a
Which is ridiculous because at the time, the A-10 was being represented as a multi-Mk.82 carrying Super COIN type platform in a CAS world about to
change utterly with the arrival of the SA-7. A world which was about to see UH-1's deliver TOW from beyond small arms fire and a world which had
been working on the AAFSS as a _stabilized_ gun platform able to deliver low-slant 30 and 40mm fires from upwards of a mile /with/ TOW (and Hornet) as
i.e. The A-10 was conceptually obsolescent at the time A-X replaced the Cheyenne as the 'latest and greatest' thing.