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New Legistlation to Block Retirement of the A-10

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posted on Jan, 8 2014 @ 08:55 AM
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reply to post by dlbott
 


Thanks for the confirmation and it's what I really figured about this. It scares the hell out of me to see the current thinking by all our leaders in America. It's hubris taken to heights the Romans would have been stunned by. I mean, we've been almost undefeatable in war for over half a century because we built our military in layered approaches. Get through our strategic weapons somehow? Cool.... Enjoy the ocean of armor. Overcome mech forces somehow? Okie... We have over 500,000 men under arms (or have most of the past) that don't need a stinkin' hummer to get from point a to point b in a pinch.

Enter the A-10..and like someone else mentioned? AFTER Air Superiority is established, there is still a whole war left to fight and no high tech toys will ever change that. Populations will fight and rarely, if ever surrender..no matter how shocking or awesome we think we are...

So we scrap the work horses for the high tech toys in the hope we can be SO super-duper, we never need worry about mere mortal combat again, but win entirely by toys alone. ....despite the fact that never, once, in human history has that played out well ..despite being tried and believed many many times.

We seem to be the next in a long line of world powers before us ...to fall from pure hubris.




posted on Jan, 8 2014 @ 09:11 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Sorry to say


But the A-10 replaced another tried and true work horse and many of the same arguments were probably said during that transition too. If they had been listened to we'd never of had the A-10.


The Douglas A-1 Skyraider (formerly AD) was an American single-seat attack aircraft that saw service between the late 1940s and early 1980s. It became a piston-powered, propeller-driven anachronism in the jet age, and was nicknamed "Spad", after the French World War I fighter.[2] The Skyraider had a remarkably long and successful career, even inspiring its straight-winged, slow-flying, jet-powered successor, the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

It was operated by the United States Navy (USN), the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and the United States Air Force (USAF), and also saw service with the British Royal Navy, the French Air Force, the Air Force of the Republic of Vietnam (VNAF), and others.



edit on 8-1-2014 by SLAYER69 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 8 2014 @ 01:38 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Fair enough..and progress must come. The new replaces the old ...

So what replaces the A-10 in the same class?



posted on Jan, 8 2014 @ 02:22 PM
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So what replaces the A-10 in the same class?


Exactly...nothing currently envisioned will replace the A10. The AF will try to make a Swiss army knife (F-35) do the same tasks as Crocodile Dundee's Bowie knife (A10).....we will have to see how that works out. The A10 may be around a lot longer than anyone anticipates.



posted on Jan, 8 2014 @ 05:32 PM
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Wrabbit2000
reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Fair enough..and progress must come. The new replaces the old ...

So what replaces the A-10 in the same class?


The thing that has been replacing it. Drones with loiter capability and guided munitions, and F-15SE and F-35. Remember there are a number of undisclosed drone projects---people here have indicated their existence. It's fairly reasonable to assume the A-10 retirement is known in light of these.

The A-10 was meant to bust massive quantities of Soviet main battle tanks. That isn't a battle which will need to be fought.

Guided missiles are now good at A2G.

SAM capabilities are also getting much better too, so why expose A-10 pilots to the danger?
edit on 8-1-2014 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)
edit on 8-1-2014 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 8 2014 @ 05:39 PM
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NavyDoc
This. Remember when the "wiz kids" of the government said that dogfighting was obsolete in modern fighter jets with high tech missiles and thus took guns off all fighter jets. Then Vietnam comes along, fighters are doing old fashioned turn and burn dogfights, and they retrofit them all with...you guessed it...guns and started the Top Gun fighter school.


And now? A2A missiles are extremely good and dangerous because of the information processing capabilities of the seekers & system integration. You still need serious pilot training of course.

Suppose you had drones with optical stealth which could carry hundreds of very small precision guided munitions?

Remember, in the real world there is a budgetary constraint. Keeping some system on-line and personnel trained means other things will not be done.
edit on 8-1-2014 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)
edit on 8-1-2014 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)
edit on 8-1-2014 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 8 2014 @ 05:42 PM
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Astr0
Remember a while back, the USAF stated that all of its F-35 fleet would have to take on the air to air mission as their primary role? yeah I do too... so whats going to replace all the mud movers?


The last time the USAF wanted to retire the A-10, the Marines stood up and said that they would gladly take the old birds off their hands (CAS is the primary role of USMC aviation) and the USAF balked. Heck, if another service was begging for them, they must still be useful, right? Then came the wars and the A-10 proved her worth in real battle.



posted on Jan, 8 2014 @ 07:51 PM
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reply to post by mbkennel
 


That's where the future of war planes are going, and if it means less casualties in a war then it's a good thing.

If they can come up with a way to stop the lag time you get with a UAV then they would probably develop an unmanned air to air fighter.



posted on Jan, 8 2014 @ 11:04 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Slayer... to be fair.

A-10 pilots themselves will tell you that they are at a distinct disadvantage in spotting and shooting up targets in some situations over the old skyraiders and broncos and the like. Why? Because the faster you're going through the air the harder it is to identify and then hit targets on the ground especially people.

And even worse!

There is a phenomenon known as target fixation which has resulted in a shocking number of crashes over the early decades of high performance aircraft performing ground attack maneuvers. This phenomenon has been known to cause pilots to fixate on the target to the exclusion of pulling up in time to avoid slamming into the ground. The faster an aircraft is moving the more prevalent, dangerous, and deadly this phenomena becomes (they think mostly because of greatly reduced reaction times to realize it's happening and still be at an altitude that allows you to pull out of it and not hit the ground without tearing the wings off in a high G maneuver or blacking out trying to pull out of the dive!)

That being said The A-10 is a superb aircraft which the Air force has hated since the day they got them! It went 40 years before it's first full upgrade! To see how unusual that is look at how many upgrades the air force c-130 fleet has went through in the same time!

Beyond that with some upgrades that comparatively would not have the crazy price tag of other projects in the works right now. In addition some of the proposed upgrades could quite literally greatly reduce the cost per flight hour, maintenance load, fuel consumption, and a number of other benefits! And that's just ONE proposed upgrade of one system! Add in 2 seat variants and maybe even delete the gun out of some of them and you could end up with a very superb aircraft that's extraordinarily relevant even today!

Would there be stuff that could pretty easily kill it? Yup! War is an extreme sport there's always something that can get any system! Hell Predator drones have a hard time staying in the air half the time and we still buy them!

The reality is this isn't about an obsolete or no longer useful system being justifiably put out to pasture. This is entirely about having an Air Force that does not and has NEVER wanted to be a team player! And unfortunately for the A-10 it's very much meant to be operated as part of a team not as the star of the show.



posted on Jan, 9 2014 @ 12:14 AM
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reply to post by mbkennel
 



The thing that has been replacing it. Drones with loiter capability and guided munitions, and F-15SE and F-35. Remember there are a number of undisclosed drone projects---people here have indicated their existence. It's fairly reasonable to assume the A-10 retirement is known in light of these.

The A-10 was meant to bust massive quantities of Soviet main battle tanks. That isn't a battle which will need to be fought.


Indeed.. That is what I've been following and was afraid of... In fact, that very approach is what really scares me for our chances in the next major war.

In terms of what won't be fought? The rest of the world didn't get that Memo, I'm afraid. Putin as just one of a few leaders expanding military and not reducing it, is completely revamping ground forces, air forces, naval forces and strategic forces....and not to the billion dollar per copy crap we're getting.

There is a problem and it's a BIG one when our aircraft are almost too precious to lose in value and ARE too precious to lose in numbers. Our adversary nations aren't falling into that same trap for gizmos over building forces with depth.



posted on Jan, 9 2014 @ 10:14 AM
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Rabbit I share your antipathy towards the flattening of our force structure. The entire military strategy, such as it can even be called that at this point, of the US military revolves around some very dubious assumptions. For one air superiority...

Well it turns out that what used to be referred to as the AA-12 Amraamski *russian designation archer* is actually a fundamentally more sound missile than the amraam. Even worse than that though, is the fact that the Russians WILL have a working AESA seeker head for the AA-12 in a couple years at worst. Then another huge leg of our "air superiority assumption" is being hung on VLO and semi VLO aircraft like the F-35. Unfortunately for us the Russians use more than just X band radars which is the primary bandwidth f 35 is stealthed to. Also f 35 is really only stealth in it's frontal aspect... Now if you look at a nice world atlas you'll see why that's most likely going to be a problem. *for those of you that don't know if you put a BIG DAMN RADAR on a large aircraft and fly it real high you can detect other aircraft for incredibly long distances* In an increasingly complex world where it takes us billions of dollars in military aid just to secure a route for our supply trucks to move through to keep afghanistan going... how likely do you think it is that someone is going to like the package the russkies offer more than our package and say sure you can let your AWAC type aircraft loiter in our airspace.

We are really in a very complex situation made much worse by the merger fever that took the western world's defense industry from thirty or forty discreet individual companies in any given specialty... to at most 2 companies that can or will compete for a given contract. Even worse though is that shenanigans, dirty dealing, and too big to fail procurement deals (f 35 I'm looking at you as you single handedly suck the life out of a formerly vibrant and thriving western defense establishment!) I mean look at the fact that if boeing doesn't pick up an order in the next year or two they will be OUT of the high performance combat aircraft business probably permanently! (This is bad kids because lockheed martin couldn't come in on time and on budget in a bid for a bolt you could ordinarily buy at FRIGGIN HOME DEPOT)

Then again I don't actually blame Lockheed Martin for this turn of events... do you know why? Because realistically when you've had it drilled into your head that you can in fact drastically underbid to secure the contract knowing there's no way you can do it at that price or on that schedule. You can then run the contract out to 1.5 times it's normal length and double it's original cost and, even then, deliver a product that kind of works but falls short of most of the originally promised capabilities. Once this has happened Congress and the Pentagon will then get together and decide they can't live with only 30% of the capabilities and performance your company originally promised. So their big fix for this? They give you ANOTHER EVEN LARGER CONTRACT to fix the plane or other piece of equipment you already went astronomically over budget for which you can then use said money to actually make the piece of equipment do what you promised it would be able to do in the first place! Even then... half the time these fixit contracts at best offer bandaids and just make it so the system isn't a TOTAL liability to the poor airman or soldier using it, but don't come anywhere close to adding in the capabilities they were supposed to.

When this is the cycle you KNOW FOR A FACT will go down if you just play your cards right. You would be a Terrible business person and failing your shareholders if you were to deliver something on time and on budget and 100% up to or beyond the specifications agreed to! Now another part of this though... is when the other companies are bidding in this manner, what do you think happens if you submit an HONEST bid?



posted on Jan, 9 2014 @ 07:40 PM
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mbkennel

The thing that has been replacing it. Drones with loiter capability and guided munitions, and F-15SE and F-35. Remember there are a number of undisclosed drone projects---people here have indicated their existence. It's fairly reasonable to assume the A-10 retirement is known in light of these.

The A-10 was meant to bust massive quantities of Soviet main battle tanks. That isn't a battle which will need to be fought.

Guided missiles are now good at A2G.

SAM capabilities are also getting much better too, so why expose A-10 pilots to the danger?


Exactly. The problem is that in a non-permissive environment, the A-10 is very much at risk. For all the talk about how rugged it is, even in relatively low-threat environments we find ourselves in right now, when there is a threat of MANPADS about, the A-10 is restricted from the area. In fact, most everything shiny is held out of that airspace. A-10's were restricted in Libya for example. The CAS mission still was provided, but it was provided without the Warthog. In the first Gulf War, the A-10 was withheld after heavy damage and losses from operating over the front line Republican Guard units. They used F-16's, F-15's and B-1's and B-52's at high- and medium-altitude to great effect.

The use of GPS and FAC's means you don't have to put someone in danger low and slow. If you need to fly low and slow, there are enough UAV's to go around. If it's a permissive environment, you can use rotary-wing or even the AC-130's in that role.

The A-10 is a fantastic CAS platform in a permissive environment. It's original (anti-tank) mission doesn't exist anymore. And as it reach the end of its life cycle, the costs to keep it operational increase a great deal. It just isn't worth it anymore, which is a shame. There is no direct replacement for it. But the mission is still amply provided for. I love that plane, but the end is near.

It costs about as much as an F-16 to operate and it doesn't hold nearly the same flexibility. It's an easy choice. If the Marines want to pay to keep them in the air, great.



posted on Jan, 11 2014 @ 07:29 AM
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Del,

I think the point many of us trying to make, especially those of us who have been watching the A-10 saga for awhile now, is that if the Air Farce didn't hate the A-10 so much there are things that could be done to make the A-10 pretty good for Low and Medium Intensity Combat and even some FEBA type CAS jobs against select near peer opponents.

Interestingly many of these same modifications would however put them in direct competition with things like predator, reaper, and the like!

For example the only reason A-10 cannot loiter at higher altitudes and serve as a loitering PGM delivery system is because it took the air force 4 DECADES of service to give it it's FIRST AND ONLY major upgrade! The reality is when it comes to dollars and cents you could pretty easily retrofit much of the capability needed to the several hundred airframes we already have, most of which Air Farce has abandoned in the desert, at a pretty small fraction of the cost of what it takes to run new build preds or reapers off the line! Not only that but with this mod alone you'd already be pretty competitive in total cost per flight hour to keep them in the air.

Now where A-10 starts to pull ahead is if you modify say one wing of them (preferably one we just park at rammstein or even in saudi) by dusting off and LIGHTLY updating the original Republic Night Adverse Weather 2 seat modification to the aircraft. Now notice I say LIGHTLY update them! This is important! We'd need to ruthlessly prevent mission creep and only install what we need to make these versions a PGM slinging beast! (hell what i'm about to propose is sacrilege but we could even rip out the gun and pack the empty space with ISR gear and jammers to make it better at it's job!)

Just to put the A-10 firmly in the lead and also to shrink the logistic burden of keeping them in theater we could also go with one of the many proposals over the years to use a semi ruggedized High Bypass Turbofan to replace their current engines. The A-10 engines weren't really state of the art when the first one came off the production line, and now, quite frankly they're hideously inefficient compared to what we could have. This would also let us somewhat tap into economies of scale on certain replacement parts for the engines, not to mention the GIANT fuel savings! This giant fuel savings would give you one other huge benefit though. PERSISTENCE... That's right we could have a MANNED persistent asset capable of throwing the long bombs from 30 thousand feet or higher that doesn't require satellite uplinks, unnamed classified assets, and a little bit of prayer to maintain an uplink and contact with it's operator!

Many of us think this would be an EXTREMELY good idea in light of the fact that while we love the persistence of the UAV, we do not love the way several of our peer competitors (who are known to sell weapons to ANYONE with the right amount of cash and further give sanitized versions to ANYONE who they believe strongly enough will use them to annoy us and keep us occupied) are developing things like ASAT and spoofing, hacking, and other techniques specifically to neutralize our drone fleets in a given theater of operations! There's several indicators that they are doing a pretty damn good job so far too!

Overall it just doesn't make sense to go all in on programs that have so many single points of failure that our peers and near peers have already stated loudly and proudly they are working OVERTIME to exploit! Why is the Air Farce so afraid of hedging it's bets with a couple wings of upgraded A-10's that can go in and still do the job the old dirty dull and dangerous way if we ever get into a situation where the electronic spectrum of the battlespace is so degraded that flying drones in asia from conexes at Creech is no longer an option?

It's stuff like this that result in calls to disband the Air Force! Between the Air force's seeming unwillingness to commit fully to providing the resources needed to do the logistics mission in any way but the way THEY want to do it (and even then really only buying enough birds to get themselves their gear and a pittance of other people's gear into an area without doing an all hands evolution GLOBAL shutdown of the rest of their aerial cargo delivery duties to deliver assets to an area). Along with their total unwillingness to devote much in the way of resources to CAS/support of ground troops (yes I'm aware that they do this mission if FORCED to now, but I'm saying they could do it BETTER and with much less whining crying and screaming I hate you we're not friends anymore).

The biggest problem I see that contributes to threads like this time and time again is that the Air force wants to believe (and be funded as though we should believe it too) that they can win wars on their own! All this despite an unbroken chain of proof to the contrary going back to the firebombing of german redoubt cities. The reality is for awhile this was cute and endearing and really not that much of a problem because we had such a commanding technological and actually workable current generation airframe lead. But this will NOT be the case shortly! The reality is combined arms evolutions win wars! it's not sexy, it's not precision, it doesn't make for good tv, but it is true!

So while we have 5 separate services that are willing to not just cut the throat of their brother and sister services but also sometimes to CUT THEIR OWN THROAT and play the martyr to make one of the other services look bad! Our enemies are working at building military force structures and equipment that eliminates single points of failure and leverages every dirty trick they can think of to help them fight well above their weight!

This Cannot Go On if we want to be able to intervene in situations before they turn into true humanitarian crises in the future! Hell this Cannot Go On if we want to be able to keep some of our allies from getting hit and genuinely getting hurt in the resulting fracas.



posted on Jan, 11 2014 @ 01:06 PM
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The Air Force, institutionally, really isn't all that interested in the CAS mission. I'm not sure it ever will be. That is a separate problem, I think. I agree they view it as an undesirable job.


roguetechie The reality is when it comes to dollars and cents you could pretty easily retrofit much of the capability needed to the several hundred airframes we already have, most of which Air Farce has abandoned in the desert, at a pretty small fraction of the cost of what it takes to run new build preds or reapers off the line! Not only that but with this mod alone you'd already be pretty competitive in total cost per flight hour to keep them in the air.


It's not even close, really. If you can get four hours of flight time out of a Reaper or one hour of flight time from an A-10 for the same money, it starts looking like an easy decision. Especially since the Reaper has much, much higher endurance. Generally half of the two hour endurance of the A-10 is going to be to and from the station, while the Reaper is spending 10 hours on station at a time.

The Reaper has a unit cost of only 12 Million. Rebuilding an A-10 would cost more than that per airframe when it was all said and done. New engines alone would cost half or more of that. Six million or more for new engines, and then strengthening the airframe to take the heavier larger engines and the wings to extend the service life. You want to add sensor capability; that's a big ticket item (and probably better suited to the two-seaters which they should have made more of). That's not counting development costs.

The Reaper is going to be hanging out at a height that is beyond the reach of small arms; it is essentially invisible to the naked eye and isn't putting out anything like the IR emissions that the A-10 down in the weeds is doing. While providing functional ISR capability to commanders on the ground. The A-10 cannot do that. The cost to make it do that would be prohibitive.

If it's not a low-threat environment, the last place I'd want to be is in an A-10 at medium altitude providing ISR or "throwing long bombs". I'm not sure why you think that's viable. If you want ISR at altitude, we already have airframes for that. Manned and unmanned. Same for carrying ordinance. In a medium- or high threat environment, we have other assets. That's why we have precision munitions so that we don't have to get low and slow to hit even small targets like tanks. It doesn't need to be a UAV -- there are plenty of fast-movers capable of carrying precision munitions. You don't fly much CAS in that environment anyway. You fly SEAD missions until CAS is possible. We have assets that can do both and don't have to sit on the ground until it's safe to get low and slow. If you're a bean counter looking at where to spend dollars under a tightening budget environment, it's an easy choice.

The only scenario in the near future where I can see we would really want the Hog back would be if the North Koreans started rolling armor across the DMZ. Even then, we'd have other assets to rely on. Would we be better with the A-10, yes. Is it worth paying for that capability long-term just in case? I'm not so sure.

Airframes have been reduced 13% by the Air Force because of budget cuts. All other things being equal, I'm sure they'd keep the A-10 or they wouldn't have poured money into the update. But the money isn't equal anymore. The budget is being squeezed.

I love the A-10. Some of my fondest memories involve A-10's overhead. I think with current capabilities, while we're making reductions in force structure, it is a smart cut. In the weeds, fighting tanks, it is without peer. But that mission doesn't really exist anymore, and when it does pop up, we have rotary-wing forces, UAVs, Spectres/Harvest Hawk, JSOWs, etc to undertake that mission.
edit on 11-1-2014 by _Del_ because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 11 2014 @ 01:10 PM
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I think the A-10 is effective and relatively cheap and easy to maintain with a ton of firepower.

It makes too much sense to keep a weapon like this when we can spend billions developing a replacement that may or may not every come to fruition, yet line the pockets of contractors and the military industrial complex. In short...keeping the A-10 doesn't make anyone any money.



posted on Jan, 11 2014 @ 02:45 PM
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People,I think it's time the Cav got a fixed air wing.



posted on Jan, 12 2014 @ 02:10 AM
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F35 or JSF from Day 1 was set to replace A-10 and Harrier and numerous others. Well people, in service day 1 is coming so the fleet is set to be upgraded and craft need to be retired.

I dont go into all this shock and awe - yeah, listening to the Hog "Moo" at you may sent enemy combatants running, but the silence of a sniper can have equally morale busting psy ops. It is the drones that have defeated Al Quaeda - not the B52s.

You can take the gun for me and load 6+ SDBs on a couple of JSF and have them in the air, perhaps with the lasers and FAC you will get a whole new textbook on danger close.

I dont know who suggested the Marines take them - Harrier is their CAS tool soon to be replaced by F-35.

As previously mentioned, there has been a request by the US to bid on making the A-10 unmanned - I worked on the bid and guess what - the current UAV fleet and its development tree won that battle.

A10 goes the way of the Tomcat - I loved the F-14, but the F/A18 was better and the F35 will be better still.



posted on Jan, 12 2014 @ 05:12 PM
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reply to post by IamSirDrinksalot
 

A critical airframe like the JSF would never be a dedicated CAS bird like a '10 it couldn't survive after 1 strafe,what the hell good is that?
Korea kicks off,BOOM back to a conventional fight and we need them again.When you can take that Avenger and stick it in a survivable platform with an equivalent or better payload and optics suite, UAV or otherwise,THEN change it out. There is NOTHING romantic like your illustration of the Tomcat. It is a BLARING hole in the forward battle area that fast movers can't plug if theres lots of armor.
Like I said give US the A10s and While you're at it we'll take the AC130s too,we'll also take the CAS budget.


Cav needs it's own branch again anyway.
edit on 12-1-2014 by cavtrooper7 because: Missed a word






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