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USAF considering O/A-10 CAS replacement

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USAF considering O/A-10 CAS replacement

Old 17th Feb 2015, 08:23
  #21 (permalink)  

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GK121, out of curiosity, did you read Martins link above? That seems to discredit the theory that the A-10 was the worst offender in this regard.

(Not picking a fight, or taking sides. Genuine question from a simple Civvy that admires the A-10....as only a Civvy could, perhaps)
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Old 17th Feb 2015, 09:41
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Hi GreenKnight,
I'm not sure that anybody is saying the A10 is infallible, it certainly has built a following, but from those that have served, I'm pretty sure that belief in what it can do is entirely justfied. For at least one of those "friendly fire" ( a terrible phrase) it came down to the man in the loop, ie, insufficient training of not being able to recognise your own coalition forces (without over simplification). Not sure you could level that criticism at the airframe, but certainly I agree, if you put the aircraft in the position where it could make a mistake, guess what, it may just happen.
Just as an aside, speaking to guys that have been on the receiving end of a blue on blue, in the main, they recognise that mistakes happen, and that actually the amount of times CAS aircraft have got them out of the sh!it, they wouldn't trade them for anything, I include the AH in this.
And just for accuracy, out of respect, it was Royal Regiment of Fusiliers not Marines in that Warrior.
That said I respect that there are different points of view.
Kind regards RTL
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Old 17th Feb 2015, 11:30
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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As with much military equipment of the late cold war the A-10 never had the chance to prove its capabilities until the 1991 Gulf War. I believe the plan to replace it with an 'A-16' variant of the Fighting Falcon had been underway before then, but after it showed what it could do in Iraq its place in the inventory was assured. I also think that had it still been in production at that point it may well be flying under other nations' colours today.

The USAF's argument that it would not survive in airspace where enemy fighters would be present is an odd one, as the same argument applies surely to the B-52, B-1 and AC-130, none of which are on the endangered list.
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Old 17th Feb 2015, 13:18
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Bill Hicks:
The mission is sometimes called SARCAP or SAR CAP and you are invited to look it up in order to educate yourself. (Smilie noted).

To all: I love the A-10. Just to think outside of your fixed wing boxes ... you also get a thing a lot like CAS from attack helicopters. There's more than one way to peel an onion. All in all, I would rather see the A-10 stick around. Why? It works.
From Martin's linked article: cynical, but with a ring of truth.
The truth is that the A-10's greatest flaw is that it is comparatively slow and ugly, and that it was so cheap to build, upgrade and sustain over the years. No major defense contractor made made windfall profits on it time and time again and we do not need to buy more of them, we simply need to maintain and upgrade the force we have already paid for. In other words, the Warthog is not a jobs program or a cutting edge technology for generals to hang their career on and they won't make any really good friends in the defense industrial complex wanting to pay them a big six figure salary once they hang up your uniform for defending it. It is not a sexy machine, it has no flames coming out of its tail and it is not meant to heroically shoot down other aircraft under high g-forces. What it is is an inexpensive, already owned and brutally effective tool at keeping our guys on the ground alive while making sure the other guy's troops end up dead.

Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 17th Feb 2015 at 13:32.
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Old 17th Feb 2015, 13:36
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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I suspect that the "A10 replacement" USAF is looking at will turn out to be...The F35A.

The study will be full of "jointness", "data fusion" and "integration"; it will also be full of self serving bollocks to explain that the F35 is a perfect CAS platform.
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Old 17th Feb 2015, 13:50
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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LW50,

I thought the "buzzword" was ResCAP these days?

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Old 17th Feb 2015, 16:11
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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It has many names Bill, surprised given LW's background he didn't acronym you up with TRAP as well.
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Old 17th Feb 2015, 17:07
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Bill:
Crap, is my jargon manual edition out of date, yet again?
I suppose that happens when one has been out of the business for a while.
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 03:57
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Buster, that article (which itself has issues) and I are talking about two different things.

I am talking about the number of separate incidents involving friendly military personnel - they are talking about "total numbers killed" including civilians (which the B-1 has primarily due to one 97-fatality incident) and "civilian fatalities per 100 missions".

Neither addresses my point - which was to reply to PN's claim that the A-10 had no record of "friendly fire" incidents.

In respect to "blue-on-blue" incidents involving allied military forces on the ground (NOT civilians) the A-10 does have the greatest number of separate incidents.
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 05:48
  #30 (permalink)  

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I am talking about the number of separate incidents involving friendly military personnel
Ok, understood.
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 05:52
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Not that it would or should happen but what is your opinion if A-10 assets would be deployed to fight separatists in Ukraine? What impact would it have on the outcome? Just being curious...
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 13:34
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Apologies, but I just don't get the argument that the A-10 should be retired because it has the highest 'blue on blue' kill rate.

Assuming this is correct (and reading around the subject I'm not sure that it is), surely the fault lies with the pilots and the procedures rather than with the airframe, no?

If you assigned an F-15C to do the A-10's role, with the same pilot training regimen and operating procedures in place then I'd imagine it would have at least a high 'blue on blue' rate, if not higher.

What am I missing?
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 14:15
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Melmoth,

You are not missing anything at all.

It is a false argument and those "deploying" it know fine well.

It is the equivalent of Pro-Gun supporters arguing that people are killed by cars so lets leave everything as is after each spree killing that could have been avoided.
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 15:05
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Surely this is becoming an argument about statistics?

The A-10 may well have the highest number of "blue on blue" incidents, but if it flies the major proportion of CAS sorties then this is almost inevitable!

If you're going to look at the number of "incidents" rather than "numbers killed" then a valid comparison between different airframes would be in terms of "incidents" vs sortie numbers, maybe incidents per 100 sorties, or incidents per 1,000 sorties.
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 15:07
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Out of interest, how does the A10 BoB as a percentage compare with anything else used in the CAS task?

Yes, the actual number of incidents may be high, but if it's the vehicle doing 90% of the work then that wouldn't be unexpected. As has been pointed out, BoB is surely a factor or personnel/procedures more than airframe qualities or performance issues.
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 15:32
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Analysis

So, the USAF has been operating the A-10 for over 30 years. It has done an exceptional job. They want to replace it. Does anyone really think the USAF would want to do so if it was not the best course of action, considering future viability and cost. Come on guys, start being a bit more rigorous in your arguments. You may think your knowledge is up to date, but perhaps it isn't!
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 16:40
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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but isn't a like-for-like replacement -

it's likely to be a several hundred zillion dollar a copy F-35 which is supposed to be invisible to radar with the endurance of a political promise

What the guys in the front line want is something that can haul a load of ordnance around for hours and is slow enough and well protected enough to give them more than 5 minutes cover

and it has to be as cheap as possible as you're going to want a lot of them
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 18:14
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by theonewhoknows View Post
They want to replace it. Does anyone really think the USAF would want to do so if it was not the best course of action, considering future viability and cost.
Your trust in others whose motivation you can't really know for sure (LW's excellent cited somewhat cynical paragraph should give you a clue, though) is amazing.

Can I sell you my used car?
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 18:59
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Does anyone really think the USAF would want to do so if it was not the best course of action, considering future viability and cost
The USAF was trying to dump the A-10 when Operation Desert Storm arose. Your presumptions about "what the US Air Force" collectively feels or thinks seem to not match what's actually happened.

The USAF like the Army (who recently had to bin the Kiowa Warrior because something had to go, budget constraints) is reviewing all of the kit that it can keep and what it can't, and then balance that against what budget money they think they'll have to work with in the near and mid term.

I don't doubt that "something has to go" is a truth. So, as they did before Desert Storm, they decided that the "something" is the A-10. If they close out that type model series completely, everyone in the logistic, training and operation chain can either be reassigned elsewhere or the billets closed out and a manpower reduction realized. (Another thing USAF has to deal with, like the other services).

As I noted elsewhere, CAS and airborne fires in general are not only delivered by A-10's. They come from a variety of platforms, attack helicopters being one of them. The A-10 is a unique platform that won't be replaced, as it can't be. Nothing does or will do quite what it does.

Does that matter to the Joint Force?
Well, there are enough differing opinions on that to where it very much depends whom is asked that question.

From a strictly functional point of view (which IRL isn't the only consideration) your bang per buck for an A-10 is hard to match.
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Old 18th Feb 2015, 18:59
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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If the plan is for F-35 style CAS to orbit at height and plink with precision guided munitions, then Reaper must surely by a better alternative for delivering effect on target.
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