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A-10 may get combat drop tank

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posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 03:13 PM
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Well folks, it's only been 35 years since the A-10 was introduced, and ten years or so of continuous combat, but the A-10 Warthog may finally received a combat rated external fuel tank. They currently carry the Sargent Fletcher 600 gallon external fuel tank on the centerline station, but the tank was never rated for combat.

If they get clearance to carry the SF tank, that would add between 45 and 60 minutes to their overhead loiter time (an eternity when you're being shot at on the ground). So far 30 flight tests have been undertaken, starting with baseline readings, working up to higher airspeeds (which for an A-10 is probably all the way up to 300 knots
), in both symmetrical and asymmetrical maneuvers. The only problem found was that the tank causes a slight wobble in the yaw axis, but there was no change to the tracking ability of the aircraft.

Once the report is turned in, then the AFSO will determine if they are cleared to fly in combat with the tank If they approve it then the flight clearance will be updated and the ground pounders will start to see their favorite aircraft overhead for longer.


EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The dreaded fuel light, either blinking or glowing red indicating low on gas, becomes a constant reminder that a stoppage of the drive, trip or mission is imminent. The A-10 section of the 40th Flight Test Squadron is testing the expansion of the Thunderbolt II's fuel capability to prolong its flight time, remain in the fight and keep that fuel light off a while longer.

In 2012, Air Combat Command requested testing, via the Air Force Seek Eagle Office here, to possibly expand the A-10 carriage limits of its 600-gallon fuel tank with all existing fuel tank configurations such as various weapon loads.

"Currently, the A-10 doesn't carry an external fuel store into combat," said Maj. Olivia Elliott, the test pilot for the expansion. "The present flight limitations on the Sargent Fletcher tank restrict it from being flown in a combat environment."

www.dvidshub.net...




posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 03:59 PM
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Just as the Afghan war draws down... how bloody weird is this?



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 04:02 PM
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reply to post by Astr0
 


I can't believe that in 35 years they've never combat certified a tank for the thing. That really blows my mind.



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 04:08 PM
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I used to play A-10 Attack! back in the day!


Man, figuring out how to take off on one one's own without a manual took forever!

Zaph, doesn't the A-10 take a lot of fire? Is it safe to add an external tank like that to a plane that typically flies in hot zones at low air speeds?
edit on 27-8-2013 by MystikMushroom because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 04:18 PM
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reply to post by MystikMushroom
 


When you're flying with externals, you usually feed off the externals first. So by the time they get to the combat zone, the tank is empty, and they can just jettison it before the shooting starts. Or they can come up with a way to make it safer, such as putting a "self sealing" rubber bladder into the tank, so when a round goes through the rubber seals up behind it.



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 04:26 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


I never would have thought of that, but yeah -- that makes sense!

What about those "gel" fuel tanks that some demolition derby and off-road vehicles use? Would that have any practical application for aviation?



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by MystikMushroom
 


Yeah, depending on the weight that it adds. The military has been using rubber bladders in tanks on planes since WWII and it works really well. But there's always room to improve and take advantage of new technologies.



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 04:30 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 



300 knots? Hell maybe in a descent, half loaded with fuel and arms, after a deployment when they just crossed the pond! They couldn't hit 300 knots if they tried. Our a/r speed was 220 knots and we had to fly in a 300 feet per minute descent just so they could stay on the boom!

Oh man, I do not miss taking those guys across the Atlantic. Only thing worse is c-130s.



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 04:31 PM
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reply to post by boomer135
 


Well they said they were maneuvering with the tank on, so I assume they were doing combat dives with it. That would get them up to 300 knots.



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 04:32 PM
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That's a beastie of a load out.
edit on 27-8-2013 by Astr0 because: (no reason given)



Errrrr pic didn't show, bigger close up on ATS link.
edit on 27-8-2013 by Astr0 because: (no reason given)
edit on 27-8-2013 by Astr0 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 04:40 PM
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reply to post by Astr0
 


That looks like one of them in testing with the tank. The testing is going on at Eglin, with the A-10C.



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 05:11 PM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but, don't drop tanks have slosh baffels in them? So that the fuel doesn't move around and throw off the center of gravity in the event of turbulence.



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 05:13 PM
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reply to post by JIMC5499
 


Yeah they do. Since they can drop them (hence the name "drop tank") they didn't put the bladder in them, and went with a baffle system.



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 05:27 PM
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The A-10 is simply one of my favorite airplanes. It looks mean and it IS mean. I remember watching some footage of it in action, and I was highly impressed.

I know I'd feel a lot safer having one of those bad boys circling overhead for close air support if I was being shot at!



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 05:33 PM
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reply to post by MystikMushroom
 


There was a recent story about two A-10s that stayed overhead of a force in contact in Afghanistan. They stayed overhead for a long time, dropped all the bombs they were carrying, and both fired off all 1200 rounds they were carrying before the end of the battle. By the end of it there were two or three minor injuries on the American side, and 18 dead insurgents.



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 09:04 PM
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I've been able to see only a couple foreign F-16s drop their tanks before. It was over Afghanistan about a year after the war kicked off. They were flying cap missions and left station to come to the tanker. As soon as the first one was about full they got a call from the TACP on the ground for air support. The full F-16 backed off the tanker about 200 feet, dropped its tanks, banked off and went afterburner.

After that, we turned toward the general location of the airstrike carrying the second one on the boom. He was breathing so damn hard on the boom interphone! Almost like he was so excited to drop something. He backed up, dropped tanks (which we couldn't understand why after just tanking) and started in the direction of his lead, in afterburner.

AWACS calls us on the radio and vectors us to the strike area and we begin circling right on top of them. I stayed in the boom pod just to have a view of the bombs dropping! It was quite a sight. Anyway they would fly and drop bombs for an hour, come right up and tank, then drop some more. After their relief got on station, we ferried them back to Qatar, where we got to watch the footage of the strikes from their recordings over a couple rounds.

Got one of my air medals for that combat mission (put in for the distinguished flying cross but didn't make it). It just goes to show what an air force can do with tankers in the inventory.



posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 10:57 PM
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that's a dino plane that should have been sold off or shelved long ago. It's as bad as the harrier



posted on Aug, 28 2013 @ 12:35 AM
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Originally posted by MystikMushroom
The A-10 is simply one of my favorite airplanes. It looks mean and it IS mean. I remember watching some footage of it in action, and I was highly impressed.

I know I'd feel a lot safer having one of those bad boys circling overhead for close air support if I was being shot at!


I wonder if these guys felt safer after an a-10 Gatling gun run .. Warning video does contain the odd swear word
m.youtube.com...



posted on Aug, 28 2013 @ 12:40 AM
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reply to post by boomer135
 


Nice little insight of your work there boomed all I can say is you are one lucky guy to have your oppotunity at seeing things the way you got to see them



posted on Aug, 28 2013 @ 12:53 AM
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Best CAS on the planet,with the SPECTRE coming in at #2






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