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Posted: 9/22/2004 6:01:33 AM EST
Issue Date: September 27, 2004

Ready, set, jump!
Air Force to buy hundreds of STOVL JSF variants

By Laura M. Colarusso
Times staff writer

As if the Raptor wasn’t cool enough, Air Force pilots in coming years also will get the chance to fly a jump jet of their own.

The Air Force will buy hundreds of the short-takeoff-vertical-landing, or STOVL, variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper announced Sept. 13 at the Air Force Association conference in Washington. The purchase is intended to modernize the fleet of close-air-support jets.

Jumper declined to pinpoint exactly how many the Air Force would procure and when because those issues still are being studied, but said that number would be in the hundreds.

“The dedicated close-air support capability that we will need for the future … will be done with STOVL aircraft,” he said.

Before you can jump into that jump jet, however, the aircraft has to lose some weight — about 4,000 pounds, program officials said.

Rear Adm. Steven Enewold, JSF program executive officer, said engineers have shaved about 2,700 pounds from the STOVL aircraft. Some weight was cut by shrinking the bomb bay and downsizing the vertical tail.

Another 1,200 pounds of weight savings have been found. Engineers have improved the engine so it puts out 600 pounds of more thrust, which is a trade-off that allows the airplane to be heavier. The more thrust there is, the more the aircraft can weigh but still perform within parameters.

Plus, the Joint Strike Fighter has gotten waivers so it can operate under different ground rules. The new procedures allow the aircraft to weigh 600 pounds more, but still meet key requirements.

The weight issue will not significantly set back F-35 development efforts because the outer mold of the aircraft will not be drastically changed, said Tom Burbage, Joint Strike Fighter vice president for prime contractor Lockheed Martin. Further wind tunnel testing will not be necessary even though the tails have been clipped, he said.

Thanks to the work done to pare down the STOVL, the conventional and carrier F-35 variants also will shed about 1,500 pounds, according to the admiral.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we will get there,” Enewold said. “I think our challenge now is to prove it.”

Cost questions remain

The number of STOVL aircraft the Air Force buys likely will eat into its planned purchase of more than 1,700 conventional F-35s.

However, questions remain whether the Air Force will need that number of the stealthy, multirole jets to replace the F-16 and A-10. Industry sources and defense experts say the Joint Strike Fighter program will sustain cuts in the future much like the F/A-22 Raptor program.

“For the last couple of years, we have been doing trade-off studies to see how many airplanes we’re going to need,” Air Force Secretary James Roche said. “It turns out that we can do more with fewer planes.”

A reduction would affect the unit price for each aircraft, a side-effect that could spell disaster for a program that bills itself as affordable. The average cost of the conventional jet is $45 million, and the carrier and short-take-off variants cost between $55 million and $60 million, Lockheed Martin officials said.

The Navy and Marine Corps already have truncated their Joint Strike Fighter program, announcing last year they would purchase 409 fewer than the 1,089 originally planned.

Cuts are imminent

Downsizing was a theme discussed by many high-ranking Air Force officials throughout the three-day symposium.

During a press conference at the convention, Jumper and Roche both acknowledged that cuts to aircraft inventory are imminent. The pair argued that new platforms such as Raptor will be more capable than their predecessors, providing the opportunity to trim the size of the Air Force.

“We used to buy airplanes based on the fact that it took several — in many cases several dozens — of airplanes to take nonprecision munitions in there and kill one target,” Jumper said, adding that a single aircraft today can strike multiple targets. “When we say smaller, more lethality, it’s based on the precision that’s being built into these weapon systems we have.”

Industry analysts expect a mix of factors — ranging from the bloating national deficit and the struggling economy to the increasing cost of complex weapon systems — will force the Defense Department to pare down spending.

The rising cost of health care for those in uniform, military retirees and their families is adding to the financial crunch. Tricare saw a 7 percent increase in new users last year even though the number of people in uniform remained relatively flat. The 2005 budget request for military health programs is more than $17 billion, about 13 percent higher than 2004.

These fiscal pressures have caused the Navy to cut its end strength by 60,000 sailors to help pay for new equipment.

But, Jumper and Roche downplayed the impact of financial pressures on the decision to economize.

“I don’t look at it as something we’re doing out of fiscal necessity,” Jumper said. “To me, it’s good sense.”

“This is not, “.‘Oh my gosh, we don’t have the money,’.” Roche said.

Initial results from operational testing have proven the Raptor is at least twice as capable as the strike version of the F-15, Roche said. The Air Force plans to replace its 750 F-15 fighters with close to 400 Raptors, the secretary added, though a congressional cost cap has limited the program buy to about 250 aircraft.

Pentagon planners are playing out virtual war scenarios to understand what capabilities will be needed to defeat future threats. One of the main issues being discussed is the number of conflicts the Air Force might be simultaneously involved in, which will determine in part the quantity of aircraft needed.

“How many places do you think you’re going to have to be?” Jumper asked. “How many 24-hour orbits do you think you’re going to have to be able to sustain over a battle area and how many of those battle areas [are there] at one time?”

Jumper would not give specific numbers, but he said the Air Force will reduce the number of its fighter and attack aircraft as it did with the B-1 bombers. The money saved by retiring older F-A-10s, F-15s and F-16s, which are costing more and more to maintain, would be funneled back into modifications and upgrades to those that remain in the fleet.

Air Force and industry sources have suggested that service leaders will slash about one-fourth of the Air Force’s fighter inventory over the coming decade. This translates into a reduction of about 600 aircraft, the brunt of which would be felt by the F-16 Falcon community. The Air Force has about 1,200 of the multirole fighters. A handful of F-15C Eagles would be retired as well, these sources said.

Expensive aircraft are not the only target of the Air Force’s downsizing. Reductions in personnel may also be in the service’s future, the analysts said.

“Part of the solution is almost certainly” to cut airmen, said Stephen Kosiak, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a think tank based in Washington. The effort could go beyond the service’s endeavor to cut 20,000 airmen to get within its congressionally mandated manpower ceiling, though Air Force officials have not announced any plans to do so.

At the same time senior leaders are looking at reductions, the Air Force’s commitments are growing.

“It turns out the fall of the Soviet Union has caused us to really have a proliferation of military requirements and not a lack of them,” said Gen. Hal Hornburg, commander of Air Combat Command. “Iraq has not gone away. Afghanistan is on the map now and … we’re having to kind of fight a multiheaded hydra here.”
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:11:20 AM EST
Sigh

Every time a problem comes up anymore, the automatic solution is to further downsize. I don't give a rat's ass what the capability of the aircraft is, you can only operate in so many theaters of battle if you don't have sufficient numbers.

And this aircraft is in no way better for the mission of CAS than the A-10. None. In fact, I see it as a step back. All of that stealth and fancy gadgetry doesn't mean shit when you have to get low and slow over a battlefield. The A-10 is much better potected, tougher and about $30 million less per plane to build.

I believe in using these stealthy, technologically advanced aircraft. But I see them best used in roles outside CAS. The F-35 will never be the equal of the A-10 in terms of effect. The F-16, as fine a plane as it is, couldn't root the A-10 outta the way. The A-10 by design is a pure low-level mudmover that gets in close, can take abuse and delivers the fear of God to the heart of every enemy it has faced. An F-35 flying at 15,000 feet just won't have the same effect. It's as much psychological as technological when it comes to a CAS platform. Just the sight of an A-10 coming toward you is enough to scare the shit out of you.

Just once I wish these gadget wizards would listen to the troops in the field. They WANT the A-10.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:16:13 AM EST

Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
Sigh

Every time a problem comes up anymore, the automatic solution is to further downsize. I don't give a rat's ass what the capability of the aircraft is, you can only operate in so many theaters of battle if you don't have sufficient numbers.

And this aircraft is in no way better for the mission of CAS than the A-10. None. In fact, I see it as a step back. All of that stealth and fancy gadgetry doesn't mean shit when you have to get low and slow over a battlefield. The A-10 is much better potected, tougher and about $30 million less per plane to build.

I believe in using these stealthy, technologically advanced aircraft. But I see them best used in roles outside CAS. The F-35 will never be the equal of the A-10 in terms of effect. The F-16, as fine a plane as it is, couldn't root the A-10 outta the way. The A-10 by design is a pure low-level mudmover that gets in close, can take abuse and delivers the fear of God to the heart of every enemy it has faced. An F-35 flying at 15,000 feet just won't have the same effect. It's as much psychological as technological when it comes to a CAS platform. Just the sight of an A-10 coming toward you is enough to scare the shit out of you.

Just once I wish these gadget wizards would listen to the troops in the field. They WANT the A-10.





ABSOFUKINLUTLY!!!!
­


Typicaly I hold no sentement tward military equipment, I want the best for our guys, but this is one case where the A-10 is un beatable, I would love to see the A-10 redesigned from the ground up but still be an A10.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:19:57 AM EST
Nothing beats an A10 for close air support. Big mistake getting rid of them; I'd like to see what happens to these new fancy-pants harrier knockoffs when half a wing gets shot off.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:22:35 AM EST
The A-10 NEVER flew in an environment where enemy combat aircraft were a threat. If it had, there'd be a lot of A-10 carcasses littering the desert/countryside. "Low and Slow" is not a good thing. The term is only used because the A-10 is ONLY slow and MUST fly at low altitudes to avoid even rudimenatry air defenses like the SA-7.

In a high-threat environment, speed is life. A faster aircraft that's able to engage multiple ground targets with minimal risk to itself is preferred. The standard F-35A, without VSTOL, should be equipped with multiple tank-busting smart munitions. Something like the Hellfire or a smaller Maverick would do the trick. The gun on the A-10 is cool, but lineing up for a strafing run that brings you very close to the target is suicide against targets that can still shoot back. That's why the US focuses on air superiority as the first objective.

The VSTOL F-35 doesn't have the range (loiter time) or the armenment to meet the CAS/BAI challenge. The standard F-35A might fit the role if the munitions were right. The F-16 and the F/A-18 are decent in the combined role (much better than the VSTOL Harrier), so future aircraft should only improve upon those traits.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:24:13 AM EST
Wait, seems I recall the Army talking about picking up the A-10 and using it themselves if the USAF abandoned it for something else. In fact, I think such talk forced the air force into hanging on to it for a bit longer. I am sure the AF guys don't want the army flying anything but helicopters.

So the A-10 might just live on anyway.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:31:47 AM EST
Give the A10 to the Corps. Put a tail hook on it so it can see carrier duty. Problem solved.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:35:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The A-10 NEVER flew in an environment where enemy combat aircraft were a threat. If it had, there'd be a lot of A-10 carcasses littering the desert/countryside. "Low and Slow" is not a good thing. The term is only used because the A-10 is ONLY slow and MUST fly at low altitudes to avoid even rudimenatry air defenses like the SA-7.

In a high-threat environment, speed is life. A faster aircraft that's able to engage multiple ground targets with minimal risk to itself is preferred. The standard F-35A, without VSTOL, should be equipped with multiple tank-busting smart munitions. Something like the Hellfire or a smaller Maverick would do the trick. The gun on the A-10 is cool, but lineing up for a strafing run that brings you very close to the target is suicide against targets that can still shoot back. That's why the US focuses on air superiority as the first objective.

The VSTOL F-35 doesn't have the range (loiter time) or the armenment to meet the CAS/BAI challenge. The standard F-35A might fit the role if the munitions were right. The F-16 and the F/A-18 are decent in the combined role (much better than the VSTOL Harrier), so future aircraft should only improve upon those traits.



This would be a valid argument if it wasn't for the fact that most of the wars we face are not against enemies who pose a serious threat to us. Think about the more recent wars we have fought. Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, GW1, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The A-10 would work (and has worked) well in conflicts such as those.

Besides, the fancy stuff like the F-22 and F-35 can keep the skies free of enemy planes while the mudmovers do their thing below. But the simple fact remains that for the majority of CAS needs, other aircraft simply aren't as effective as the A-10. I recall a story from some airborne guys in A-Stan. A B-1B at altitude was saturating enemy positions that the troopers were engaged with. Yet the B-1 just wasn't having that much of a psycholigal impact on the enemy. They finally got on the horn and asked for some A-10's to be sent to their AO. When the A-10's arrived on station, the enemy beat feat immediately. The troopers took no more fire. That's why the A-10 is effective. An aircraft orbiting at 20,000 feet just doesn't have the same impact on enemy troops as a plane that looks like wicked beast that comes in at 50 feet and pounds them at point blank range.

We are highly unlikely to face an enemy anytime soon with the sort of capabilities that would render the A-10 obsolete. Our conflicts will continue to be against enemies in shitty third world nations and the conflicts will be low intensity. That's teh perfect mission for the A-10 and AC-130. Therefore we should not give up an aircraft that better suited to 95% of the conflicts we face to get one that would only be better in about 2% of the circumstances.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:37:30 AM EST
The Air Force tried, several times, to give the A-10s to the Army so that the AF could focus on fighters, bombers and transports. The Army, at the time, was looking at the next generation of attack helo, then the AH-56 Cheyenne, so they declined. With the Apache fielded, the Army has no intention to divert helo assets to fixed wings. The Army prefers to rely on the AF for the CAS role, and the Air Force now wants to keep this role, only with a better/newer aircraft.

I'll restate my position: The A-10 has worked well when it hasn't had to worry about enemy aircraft or significant air defenses. The day it does (say, in a war against a larger, more modern enemy than Iraq), the A-10 will become OBSOLETE. The AF is correct in looking for an F-16 replacement that can fill that role, but the VSTOL/STOVL version isn't it.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:42:14 AM EST

Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The A-10 NEVER flew in an environment where enemy combat aircraft were a threat. If it had, there'd be a lot of A-10 carcasses littering the desert/countryside. "Low and Slow" is not a good thing. The term is only used because the A-10 is ONLY slow and MUST fly at low altitudes to avoid even rudimenatry air defenses like the SA-7.

In a high-threat environment, speed is life. A faster aircraft that's able to engage multiple ground targets with minimal risk to itself is preferred. The standard F-35A, without VSTOL, should be equipped with multiple tank-busting smart munitions. Something like the Hellfire or a smaller Maverick would do the trick. The gun on the A-10 is cool, but lineing up for a strafing run that brings you very close to the target is suicide against targets that can still shoot back. That's why the US focuses on air superiority as the first objective.

The VSTOL F-35 doesn't have the range (loiter time) or the armenment to meet the CAS/BAI challenge. The standard F-35A might fit the role if the munitions were right. The F-16 and the F/A-18 are decent in the combined role (much better than the VSTOL Harrier), so future aircraft should only improve upon those traits.



This would be a valid argument if it wasn't for the fact that most of the wars we face are not against enemies who pose a serious threat to us. Think about the more recent wars we have fought. Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, GW1, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The A-10 would work (and has worked) well in conflicts such as those.

Besides, the fancy stuff like the F-22 and F-35 can keep the skies free of enemy planes while the mudmovers do their thing below. But the simple fact remains that for the majority of CAS needs, other aircraft simply aren't as effective as the A-10. I recall a story from some airborne guys in A-Stan. A B-1B at altitude was saturating enemy positions that the troopers were engaged with. Yet the B-1 just wasn't having that much of a psycholigal impact on the enemy. They finally got on the horn and asked for some A-10's to be sent to their AO. When the A-10's arrived on station, the enemy beat feat immediately. The troopers took no more fire. That's why the A-10 is effective. An aircraft orbiting at 20,000 feet just doesn't have the same impact on enemy troops as a plane that looks like wicked beast that comes in at 50 feet and pounds them at point blank range.

We are highly unlikely to face an enemy anytime soon with the sort of capabilities that would render the A-10 obsolete. Our conflicts will continue to be against enemies in shitty third world nations and the conflicts will be low intensity. That's teh perfect mission for the A-10 and AC-130. Therefore we should not give up an aircraft that better suited to 95% of the conflicts we face to get one that would only be better in about 2% of the circumstances.



Against unsophisticated enemies, the A-10 has proven its worth. But you can't depend upon the US fighting ONLY turd-world nations. When the time comes, the USAF, USN and USMC better have an aircraft that can a) get to the target with range and loiter time, b) get there quickly and c) survive against modern equipment. The time to build and procure that equipment is NOW.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:44:50 AM EST
I really thought we saw the last of the "jump jets". Kind of like the swing-wing phenomenon, wasn't worth the extra size, weight and complexity.

Has the AV8B ever taken off vertically in combat? We've fought a few wars with it now.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:46:51 AM EST
The A10 is an invaluable asset to the US military. The Harrier, for all it technical fascination, has significant flaws as far as operating expense and vunerability to battle damage. This JSF is a mistake. It will not perform to expectations, especially on the CAS role. I felt it should have been cancelled with its funding devoted to upgrading the current inventory and accellerating development of drones and UAVs.

Unfortunately, the A10 looks to be the last in the line of CAS dedicated aircraft, starting with the Stuka, through the Typhoon, the Corsair (Korea/Vietnam/Algeria service), and the Skyraider (Vietnam). Every one of those aircraft were considered obsolete or failures but in their time they performed invaluable service.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 6:51:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/22/2004 6:52:25 AM EST by Dave_A]
CH:

Think of it this way....

WHEN, not IF, WHEN we fight a real enemy - one with ground-based air defenses beyond SA-7s and the occasional AA tank...

The A-10 will be useless...

The reason that the AF doesn't want them is they are suicide against any modern force with decent air defenses. That the Iraqis & Afghanis do not have such defenses is a sidenote...

The fact is that the A-10 cannot survive in a present-day missile threat environment. It was designed to resist 1960s-era AAA, not modern-day small mobile SAM units...

The Iraqi's air defenses were so degraded that they didn't even turn on their radars or use their guidance systems, so the A-10s lived (in one case 'barely', as a manually aimed AAA weapon chopped it up pretty good)...

Vs a more advanced opponent, they're a deathtrap.

The AF wants a plane that has the speed & maneuverability to survive. Originally, they plugged the F-16 in that spot. Now, the F-16's replacement, the F-35 is going to get it...

A-10 was a cool design, but it's just not viable anymore, kind of like the B-52...
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 7:03:24 AM EST
nooooooooooooo

More A10's ..........
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 7:13:26 AM EST

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The Air Force tried, several times, to give the A-10s to the Army so that the AF could focus on fighters, bombers and transports. The Army, at the time, was looking at the next generation of attack helo, then the AH-56 Cheyenne, so they declined. With the Apache fielded, the Army has no intention to divert helo assets to fixed wings. The Army prefers to rely on the AF for the CAS role, and the Air Force now wants to keep this role, only with a better/newer aircraft.

I'll restate my position: The A-10 has worked well when it hasn't had to worry about enemy aircraft or significant air defenses. The day it does (say, in a war against a larger, more modern enemy than Iraq), the A-10 will become OBSOLETE. The AF is correct in looking for an F-16 replacement that can fill that role, but the VSTOL/STOVL version isn't it.




You could use that same train of thought for the AC-130 Gunships. I gaurantee niether the A-10 or the Gunship will go away soon. They both have their time and place, and that's now!
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 7:22:58 AM EST

Originally Posted By mac130:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The Air Force tried, several times, to give the A-10s to the Army so that the AF could focus on fighters, bombers and transports. The Army, at the time, was looking at the next generation of attack helo, then the AH-56 Cheyenne, so they declined. With the Apache fielded, the Army has no intention to divert helo assets to fixed wings. The Army prefers to rely on the AF for the CAS role, and the Air Force now wants to keep this role, only with a better/newer aircraft.

I'll restate my position: The A-10 has worked well when it hasn't had to worry about enemy aircraft or significant air defenses. The day it does (say, in a war against a larger, more modern enemy than Iraq), the A-10 will become OBSOLETE. The AF is correct in looking for an F-16 replacement that can fill that role, but the VSTOL/STOVL version isn't it.




You could use that same train of thought for the AC-130 Gunships. I gaurantee niether the A-10 or the Gunship will go away soon. They both have their time and place, and that's now!



Exactly. But, go ahead and try to fly an AC-130 in a capable hostile environment. They did that in ODS and the AC130 went down, with all crew lost, at the hands of a measley SA-7 Grail. It's another weapon that's good against a certain target, but is dead meat against anything remotely modern.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 7:33:00 AM EST
Depends on who you believe...
The AC-130 stayed on station too long, the crew didn't leave after they had been warned to leave.
They lost the cover of darkness.

Or

They were sent on an early morning raid to cover some Marines and got nailed by the missile.

In the end though, you are right.


Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
Exactly. But, go ahead and try to fly an AC-130 in a capable hostile environment. They did that in ODS and the AC130 went down, with all crew lost, at the hands of a measley SA-7 Grail. It's another weapon that's good against a certain target, but is dead meat against anything remotely modern.

Link Posted: 9/22/2004 7:34:45 AM EST

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Originally Posted By mac130:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The Air Force tried, several times, to give the A-10s to the Army so that the AF could focus on fighters, bombers and transports. The Army, at the time, was looking at the next generation of attack helo, then the AH-56 Cheyenne, so they declined. With the Apache fielded, the Army has no intention to divert helo assets to fixed wings. The Army prefers to rely on the AF for the CAS role, and the Air Force now wants to keep this role, only with a better/newer aircraft.

I'll restate my position: The A-10 has worked well when it hasn't had to worry about enemy aircraft or significant air defenses. The day it does (say, in a war against a larger, more modern enemy than Iraq), the A-10 will become OBSOLETE. The AF is correct in looking for an F-16 replacement that can fill that role, but the VSTOL/STOVL version isn't it.




You could use that same train of thought for the AC-130 Gunships. I gaurantee niether the A-10 or the Gunship will go away soon. They both have their time and place, and that's now!



Exactly. But, go ahead and try to fly an AC-130 in a capable hostile environment. They did that in ODS and the AC130 went down, with all crew lost, at the hands of a measley SA-7 Grail. It's another weapon that's good against a certain target, but is dead meat against anything remotely modern.



I don't dispute what you are saying, in fact I agree. My point is there are far more AOR's that are perfect for these platforms than are not. As far as the War on Terrorism, thay are perfect.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 7:38:50 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/22/2004 7:39:51 AM EST by COLE-CARBINE]
The A-10 is an awesome plane but it can't survive modern threats. I think the Air force is right in getting away from the low and slow and going to more of a sniper mentality(ie) using standoff precision weapons and superior sensors to see your enemy, hit him, and he doesn't even know your there. Why take a punch if you can dodge it or better yet, hit your enemy first? The F-35 will have some awesome electro-optical sensors that will allow it to see and identify an enemy or confirm what the soldier on the ground is seeing and plaster it with a precision munition, again long before an enemy knows it's there. Who would have dreamed that we are using heavy bombers like the B-52 and B-1 in a CAS role? We are using these for close air and they are very effective. Are these bombers flying low and slow? Hell no, that would be suicide, they stay out of threat range and drop their bombs.
The F-35 will do the same. I agree that the jump version may not have the payload and loiter time to be as effective but I think the Air Force is thinking that the STVOL F-35 will stay close to the battle at FOB's and be able to get there quickly, take care of business, land ,refuel, get back in the fight. Rinse and repeat. So to get the persistence over the battlefield they are going with being positioned closer to the fight. The Marines seem to love the Harrier and I think the AF is stealing a page from their book. The best thing about this to me is the AF seems like it's truly showing interest in the CAS mission. Time will tell.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 7:43:30 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/22/2004 7:44:01 AM EST by mac130]

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
The A-10 is an awesome plane but it can't survive modern threats. I think the Air force is right in getting away from the low and slow and going to more of a sniper mentality(ie) using standoff precision weapons and superior sensors to see your enemy, hit him, and he doesn't even know your there. Why take a punch if you can dodge it or better yet, hit your enemy first? The F-35 will have some awesome electro-optical sensors that will allow it to see and identify an enemy or confirm what the soldier on the ground is seeing and plaster it with a precision munition, again long before an enemy knows it's there. Who would have dreamed that we are using heavy bombers like the B-52 and B-1 in a CAS role? We are using these for close air and they are very effective. Are these bombers flying low and slow? Hell no, that would be suicide, they stay out of threat range and drop their bombs.
The F-35 will do the same. I agree that the jump version may not have the payload and loiter time to be as effective but I think the Air Force is thinking that the STVOL F-35 will stay close to the battle at FOB's and be able to get there quickly, take care of business, land ,refuel, get back in the fight. Rinse and repeat. So to get the persistence over the battlefield they are going with being positioned closer to the fight. The Marines seem to love the Harrier and I think the AF is stealing a page from their book. The best thing about this to me is the AF seems like it's truly showing interest in the CAS mission. Time will tell.



You have some good ideas, but the A-10 is a proven war fighter, why waste money on a newer more expensive toy? They will only cut manning even further to pay for it.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 7:47:48 AM EST

Originally Posted By mac130:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Originally Posted By mac130:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The Air Force tried, several times, to give the A-10s to the Army so that the AF could focus on fighters, bombers and transports. The Army, at the time, was looking at the next generation of attack helo, then the AH-56 Cheyenne, so they declined. With the Apache fielded, the Army has no intention to divert helo assets to fixed wings. The Army prefers to rely on the AF for the CAS role, and the Air Force now wants to keep this role, only with a better/newer aircraft.

I'll restate my position: The A-10 has worked well when it hasn't had to worry about enemy aircraft or significant air defenses. The day it does (say, in a war against a larger, more modern enemy than Iraq), the A-10 will become OBSOLETE. The AF is correct in looking for an F-16 replacement that can fill that role, but the VSTOL/STOVL version isn't it.




You could use that same train of thought for the AC-130 Gunships. I gaurantee niether the A-10 or the Gunship will go away soon. They both have their time and place, and that's now!



Exactly. But, go ahead and try to fly an AC-130 in a capable hostile environment. They did that in ODS and the AC130 went down, with all crew lost, at the hands of a measley SA-7 Grail. It's another weapon that's good against a certain target, but is dead meat against anything remotely modern.



I don't dispute what you are saying, in fact I agree. My point is there are far more AOR's that are perfect for these platforms than are not. As far as the War on Terrorism, thay are perfect.



Yes. We should keep SOME of the A-10s and all the AC-130s for those uses. I don't advocate throwing them out. But, for the modern CAS role, both aircraft have severe liabilities that we need to improve upon.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:02:07 AM EST



Yes. We should keep SOME of the A-10s and all the AC-130s for those uses. I don't advocate throwing them out. But, for the modern CAS role, both aircraft have severe liabilities that we need to improve upon.



The problem I have with the Air Force right now is they should be regressing and not spending big bucks toward progressing. The weapons platforms we have right now are more than capable of handling any threats out there.
I love the new toys out there as much as anyone, but I would rather have 100 new A-10's over my head then 10 F-35's. The price is not worth the cost in numbers or manpower.
Who do you see as a threat great enough to warrent the cost of these new weapons?
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:17:21 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/22/2004 8:23:24 AM EST by Garand_Shooter]
Sigh...........

The Army needs to buy its own fleet of C-17's & a few C-130's and then go tell the USAF to go fuck itself.

More and more, they are dropping the ball when it comes to support of the warfighters on the ground, and this is yet another example. CAS aircraft don't make good dogfighters, thats true, but they shouldn't have to be thats why fighter cover should be provided by those that are.

This aircraft and the mentality of run and hide from anything that can hurt a pilot will lead to more incidents of friendly fire coming from the AF. Fast planes staying far away don't make for good target verification. The AF seems to forget the C in CAS stands for CLOSE, and forgets the lessons learned in every previous conflict...... CAS is best provided by aircraft that can fly low, slow, and put the ordnance on target while not hitting the friendlies. Why do you thing troops in Vietnam often requested close air support from prop driven aircraft, and pissed the AF brass off by doing it.

Add to that the fact that this aircraft will have nowhere near the loiter time and will carry nowhere near the ordnance and you have a a plane that will make the fighter jock crowd wet themsleves but do little if any good for the guys on the ground.

And for all the whining about the A-10 being vulnerable, Army Aviation will still operate in those areas where evidently the AF is scared to go. Thank God we at least kept the helicopters and didn't let the AF get control of them!
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:20:59 AM EST
Mac130, I agree we should keep A-10's around but We have to look to the future wars, no the ones we've fought. I don't think the tooling even exists to restart production of the A-10 so new one's are probably out of the question. The A-10 still even with upgrades has a finite life on it's airframe and it takes a long time to develop new planes. The F-35 may not be a 100% answer but it will problaby be 80% and will have to do. Our enemies are not sitting on their asses waiting for us to keep legacy systems going, we have a tech. edge and we need to keep it. If I were president we'd be spending at least a trillion on defense and we'd not sacrifice anything but as my boss tells me there are only so many pieces of the pie.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:23:43 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/22/2004 9:22:05 AM EST by vito113]
IIRC the USAF has upped the airframe life of the A-10 dramatically and is going to re-engine them and fit new avionics to make a 'Super A-10"… posted a while back.


www.airforce-technology.com/projects/a-10/

Andy
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:26:30 AM EST

Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:
Sigh...........

The Army needs to buy its own fleet of C-17's & a few C-130's and then go tell the USAF to go fuck itself.

More and more, they are dropping the ball when it comes to support of the warfighters on the ground, and this is yet another example. CAS aircraft don't make good dogfighters, thats true, but they shouldn't have to be thats why fighter cover should be provided by those that are.

This aircraft and the mentality of run and hide from anything that can hurt a pilot will lead to more incidents of friendly fire coming from the AF. Fast planes staying far away don't make for good target verification. The AF seems to forget the C in CAS stands for CLOSE, and forgets the lessons learned in every previous conflict...... CAS is best provided by aircraft that can fly low, slow, and put the ordnance on target while not hitting the friendlies. Why do you thing troops in Vietnam often requested close air support from prop driven aircraft, and pissed the AF brass off by doing it.

Add to that the fact that this aircraft will have nowhere near the loiter time and will carry nowhere near the ordnance and you have a a plane that will make the fighter jock crowd wet themsleves but do little if any good for the guys on the ground.

And for all the whining about the A-10 being vulnerable, Army Aviation will still operate in those areas where evidently the AF is scared to go. Thank God we at least kept the helicopters and didn't let the AF get control of them!



Ok SJSAMPLE, screw it, I'm on your side now, fuck the Army. The Apache work out great didn't it? Please.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:28:25 AM EST
Garand, I think the idea is to use sensors that have better range and can see at night instead of using the Mark I eyeball which requires a pilot to get close and go slow. Even the heli's you mention use targeting systems. The new AH-1Z cobra uses a new Hawkeye system that allows the Cobra to hit a target at max range of it's hellfire. It's all about standoff now. Don't think I'm slamming the Warthog, but time marches on and weapons evolve, The P-38 was a great plane but we don't field them now. The same is happening to the A-10.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:37:12 AM EST
Yup.

I guess if we're worried about aircraft being shot down by missiles or advanced AAA then we had better hurry up and get rid of all our helicopters too. Nothing is slower and flies lower than them, and nothing is more vulnerable.


The AF has never liked the CAS mission. They like to fly fast new fighters with many bells and whistles on them. The Marines, on the other hand, make much better CAS pilots because every Marine is a rifleman too. They understand the importance of the CAS role.

Yes, the A-10 is an old bird and one day it will need to be retired. However, instead of replacing it with a delicate doily of a plane, how about a new generation of A-10 be designed and built, keeping true to the original in terms of triple redundancy, survivability, and very low cost. I won't hold my breath though, the services are too busy designing and implementing their own unique uniforms to make all their respective members feel special instead of investing that time and money into things we actually need and could use. Good job guys!
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:38:11 AM EST

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Against unsophisticated enemies, the A-10 has proven its worth. But you can't depend upon the US fighting ONLY turd-world nations. When the time comes, the USAF, USN and USMC better have an aircraft that can a) get to the target with range and loiter time, b) get there quickly and c) survive against modern equipment. The time to build and procure that equipment is NOW.



So how would an F-35 be any better against a capable opponent?

In order to perform CAS, it must ID targets............. Since it uses the same weapons as an A-10, minus the 30mm cannon, how would it ID, and engage those targets? Low and slow?

The same vulnerabilities show up, because it would be engaging targets in a smilar fashion.

As far as "threat environment", I doubt F-35's for CAS would be available, any sooner than A-10's would be doing the same mssion. Planes doing other missions, air superiority, ADA destruction, etc would have to go in first, and neutralize those threats.

I know A-10's have gotten hit by ZSU-23 type guns, and survived. What would happen if an F-35 got hit in the same fashion?
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:40:32 AM EST

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
Garand, I think the idea is to use sensors that have better range and can see at night instead of using the Mark I eyeball which requires a pilot to get close and go slow. Even the heli's you mention use targeting systems. The new AH-1Z cobra uses a new Hawkeye system that allows the Cobra to hit a target at max range of it's hellfire. It's all about standoff now. Don't think I'm slamming the Warthog, but time marches on and weapons evolve, The P-38 was a great plane but we don't field them now. The same is happening to the A-10.



Yes, the helos can use standoff options, but they are just that, options, they still can go in close when needed. They can still verify targets.

Standoff won't do you crap in a battle on congested urban terrain.

How fast will this thing be screaming across the battlefield trying to verify who is who?

Weapons evlove true, but the AF is evolving CAS to not be CAS. That is a step in the wrong direcction. It may save a few pilots from having to get into dangerous situations, but the trade off will be fewer targets destroyed per mission, less availabilty of aircraft when needed due to shorter loitering time, increased friendly fire incidents, and in the end more soldiers in body bags...... all so the AF guys don't have to take risks and get to have a plane thats sexier than one that would actually meet the needs of the very people its whole existance is supposed to be to support.

Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:41:24 AM EST

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Against unsophisticated enemies, the A-10 has proven its worth. But you can't depend upon the US fighting ONLY turd-world nations. When the time comes, the USAF, USN and USMC better have an aircraft that can a) get to the target with range and loiter time, b) get there quickly and c) survive against modern equipment. The time to build and procure that equipment is NOW.





I know A-10's have gotten hit by ZSU-23 type guns, and survived. What would happen if an F-35 got hit in the same fashion?



GAME OVER INSERT COIN
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:43:03 AM EST

Originally Posted By Planerench:

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Against unsophisticated enemies, the A-10 has proven its worth. But you can't depend upon the US fighting ONLY turd-world nations. When the time comes, the USAF, USN and USMC better have an aircraft that can a) get to the target with range and loiter time, b) get there quickly and c) survive against modern equipment. The time to build and procure that equipment is NOW.





I know A-10's have gotten hit by ZSU-23 type guns, and survived. What would happen if an F-35 got hit in the same fashion?



GAME OVER INSERT COIN



Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:44:15 AM EST
"Fighter" aircraft that are designed to do air superiority, precision strike, and CAS, won't do any of those as well as aircraft purpose designed to do just one of those tasks.

Having multi-role planes is great, until they have to fight a plane designed simply to kill other aircraft. If we are SO worried about "threat environment", we should be worried about how capable enemy fighters can be.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:47:59 AM EST
Great!

Let's trade our only real airborne tank in for a stressed fiber, flimsy, death trap.


There are reasons that the Harrier doesn't do real close in cas stuff. the same logic will apply to the F35.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:49:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:

Originally Posted By COLE-CARBINE:
Garand, I think the idea is to use sensors that have better range and can see at night instead of using the Mark I eyeball which requires a pilot to get close and go slow. Even the heli's you mention use targeting systems. The new AH-1Z cobra uses a new Hawkeye system that allows the Cobra to hit a target at max range of it's hellfire. It's all about standoff now. Don't think I'm slamming the Warthog, but time marches on and weapons evolve, The P-38 was a great plane but we don't field them now. The same is happening to the A-10.



Yes, the helos can use standoff options, but they are just that, options, they still can go in close when needed. They can still verify targets.

Standoff won't do you crap in a battle on congested urban terrain.

How fast will this thing be screaming across the battlefield trying to verify who is who?

Weapons evlove true, but the AF is evolving CAS to not be CAS. That is a step in the wrong direcction. It may save a few pilots from having to get into dangerous situations, but the trade off will be fewer targets destroyed per mission, less availabilty of aircraft when needed due to shorter loitering time, increased friendly fire incidents, and in the end more soldiers in body bags...... all so the AF guys don't have to take risks and get to have a plane thats sexier than one that would actually meet the needs of the very people its whole existance is supposed to be to support.




A-10's carry AGM-65 Maverick missiles 8-16 km range for attacking armored vehicles. The IR versions have 6X seeker heads which show up on a multi-function display in the cockpit. An A-10 can carry up to 8 IR Mavericks, or 10 TV Mavericks, 3X TV display IIRC. There are also laser guided mavericks.

Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:52:43 AM EST
So long as we keep an adequate number of A-10's in the inventory, I have no problem with developing this version of the F-35. But to say the F-35 is a worthy replacement for the A-10 is ludicrous.

Sure, threats evolve and we must adjust. I have no problem with using more sophisticated aircraft in high threat environments. So build some and have them ready. But don't toss the A-10 into the boneyard either. It will still be capable of doing CAS missions in most of the current environments. And in those it can't, simple, don't use it.

But to simply dismiss the A-10 as worthless is foolish. If the A-10 can't operate in hostile environments, then I suppose we should dump all of our helicopters too. If a well built, sturdy plane with an armored tub built around the pilot can't survive, then a fragile, delicate helicopter is surely obsolete!

I just don't buy it.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:01:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By mac130:

Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:
Sigh...........

The Army needs to buy its own fleet of C-17's & a few C-130's and then go tell the USAF to go fuck itself.

More and more, they are dropping the ball when it comes to support of the warfighters on the ground, and this is yet another example. CAS aircraft don't make good dogfighters, thats true, but they shouldn't have to be thats why fighter cover should be provided by those that are.

This aircraft and the mentality of run and hide from anything that can hurt a pilot will lead to more incidents of friendly fire coming from the AF. Fast planes staying far away don't make for good target verification. The AF seems to forget the C in CAS stands for CLOSE, and forgets the lessons learned in every previous conflict...... CAS is best provided by aircraft that can fly low, slow, and put the ordnance on target while not hitting the friendlies. Why do you thing troops in Vietnam often requested close air support from prop driven aircraft, and pissed the AF brass off by doing it.

Add to that the fact that this aircraft will have nowhere near the loiter time and will carry nowhere near the ordnance and you have a a plane that will make the fighter jock crowd wet themsleves but do little if any good for the guys on the ground.

And for all the whining about the A-10 being vulnerable, Army Aviation will still operate in those areas where evidently the AF is scared to go. Thank God we at least kept the helicopters and didn't let the AF get control of them!



Ok SJSAMPLE, screw it, I'm on your side now, fuck the Army. The Apache work out great didn't it? Please.



Actually, yes. The Apache is the most efficient tank-killing aircraft out there. Remember, the Apache only ran into combat problems when it was sent against a large volume of small arms fire. Every one of those Apache's made it back. But, it's a helicopter and helicopter's have to fly, so armor is not an unlimited option. In ODS, it was the Apache's that flew the first missions, taking out enemy ADA and radar so that the fixed-wing aircraft could make the deeper strikes.

The above is not my post, but I will point this out: The "close" in CAS means that the munitions are dropped close to friendly troops (as opposed to Battlefield Air Interdiction, where you engage the enemy in their undeployed formations), not "close" as in getting your aircraft really close to the enemy. The A-10 lacks the sensors to accurately identify (ask the Marines about that) friend or foe and it relies largely upon the Mark 1 Mod 0 eyeball. Hell, the pilot has to use the IR sensors on the Maverick to find a target and identify it.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:06:30 AM EST
www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/agm-114.htm

Looks like Hellfire's have a max real range of 7 Km.

www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/agm-65.htm

Maverick's range is 27 km, from a med height launch.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:09:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Against unsophisticated enemies, the A-10 has proven its worth. But you can't depend upon the US fighting ONLY turd-world nations. When the time comes, the USAF, USN and USMC better have an aircraft that can a) get to the target with range and loiter time, b) get there quickly and c) survive against modern equipment. The time to build and procure that equipment is NOW.



So how would an F-35 be any better against a capable opponent?

In order to perform CAS, it must ID targets............. Since it uses the same weapons as an A-10, minus the 30mm cannon, how would it ID, and engage those targets? Low and slow?

The same vulnerabilities show up, because it would be engaging targets in a smilar fashion.

As far as "threat environment", I doubt F-35's for CAS would be available, any sooner than A-10's would be doing the same mssion. Planes doing other missions, air superiority, ADA destruction, etc would have to go in first, and neutralize those threats.

I know A-10's have gotten hit by ZSU-23 type guns, and survived. What would happen if an F-35 got hit in the same fashion?



1. Even the F-16 has the LANTIRN pod. The same pod or even a newer version (not capable on the A-10) would give the F-35 significant target identification and targeting capabilities.

2. LOW AND SLOW is a liability based upon limitations, not a tactic. The F-35 will be capable of making high speed attacks, just like the F-16 and F/A-18 (only stealthier and faster). That means higher altitude and greater target visibility/detection.

3. The F-35 isn't an air superiority fighter and won't be used as such. It's a complement to the F-22, much the same way the F-16 is to the F-15. There were no (relative, cuz you can never have enough) shortage of F-16s for air strikes and CAS, were there?

4. You just made my point. An A-10 was hit by the ZSU-23-4. That's an archaic system that's reserved for helicopters in the open. It wouldn't even see, let alone TOUCH a faster, higher aircraft like the F-35.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:09:57 AM EST
I agree with Charging_handle.

Multirole aircraft do none of their "multiple" roles as well as a single role aircraft does it's single role. The F-16 in a CAS role is a perfect example of this.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the A-10. It is rugged, reliable, deadly, and best of all....PAID FOR. But it is ugly and not glamorous enough for any self respecting fighter pilot to fly, especially in a NON-FIGHTER PILOT role like CAS. AND those of us who have served in the Air Force know who runs the Air Force (the fighter jocks).

This is total fucking BS. If I was a congressman, I would be spitting tacks right now. I would threaten to take away the CAS role (and funding) from the AF and give it and all the A-10s to the Army. Once the AF backtracked, and it will, I would then start looking for a two or three star ex A-10 pilot to "groom" to be the next AFCOS.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:10:50 AM EST

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Actually, yes. The Apache is the most efficient tank-killing aircraft out there. Remember, the Apache only ran into combat problems when it was sent against a large volume of small arms fire. Every one of those Apache's made it back. But, it's a helicopter and helicopter's have to fly, so armor is not an unlimited option. In ODS, it was the Apache's that flew the first missions, taking out enemy ADA and radar so that the fixed-wing aircraft could make the deeper strikes.

The above is not my post, but I will point this out: The "close" in CAS means that the munitions are dropped close to friendly troops (as opposed to Battlefield Air Interdiction, where you engage the enemy in their undeployed formations), not "close" as in getting your aircraft really close to the enemy. The A-10 lacks the sensors to accurately identify (ask the Marines about that) friend or foe and it relies largely upon the Mark 1 Mod 0 eyeball. Hell, the pilot has to use the IR sensors on the Maverick to find a target and identify it.



I seem to remeber an Apache strike that resulted in a plane being shot down by small arms fire, and 2 captured Army aviators, which were freed with the survivors of the 507th.

How is it different having IR sensors built into the plane, vs using IR sensors on the weapons the plane carries? Asside from less sensor maint. on the system using the weapon seeker?

First USMC M1 knocked out, was knocked out by a Cobra.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:13:29 AM EST

Originally Posted By Planerench:

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Against unsophisticated enemies, the A-10 has proven its worth. But you can't depend upon the US fighting ONLY turd-world nations. When the time comes, the USAF, USN and USMC better have an aircraft that can a) get to the target with range and loiter time, b) get there quickly and c) survive against modern equipment. The time to build and procure that equipment is NOW.





I know A-10's have gotten hit by ZSU-23 type guns, and survived. What would happen if an F-35 got hit in the same fashion?



GAME OVER INSERT COIN



So an A-10 gets hit with one of the oldest fielded ADA weapons and you think that's a bonus? The ZSU-23-4 is considered INEFFECTIVE against anything other than ground troops and helicopters and it can hit the "low and slow" A-10? It wouldn't even touch the F-35 or any other combat strike fighter. The only thing taking down F-16s, F-18s and Harriers during ODS were modern missiles, not archaic ADA cannons. The A-10 never had to face any of the modern systems because the Apache's and high-performance aircraft had already removed them.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:18:27 AM EST

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Actually, yes. The Apache is the most efficient tank-killing aircraft out there. Remember, the Apache only ran into combat problems when it was sent against a large volume of small arms fire. Every one of those Apache's made it back. But, it's a helicopter and helicopter's have to fly, so armor is not an unlimited option. In ODS, it was the Apache's that flew the first missions, taking out enemy ADA and radar so that the fixed-wing aircraft could make the deeper strikes.

The above is not my post, but I will point this out: The "close" in CAS means that the munitions are dropped close to friendly troops (as opposed to Battlefield Air Interdiction, where you engage the enemy in their undeployed formations), not "close" as in getting your aircraft really close to the enemy. The A-10 lacks the sensors to accurately identify (ask the Marines about that) friend or foe and it relies largely upon the Mark 1 Mod 0 eyeball. Hell, the pilot has to use the IR sensors on the Maverick to find a target and identify it.



I seem to remeber an Apache strike that resulted in a plane being shot down by small arms fire, and 2 captured Army aviators, which were freed with the survivors of the 507th.

How is it different having IR sensors built into the plane, vs using IR sensors on the weapons the plane carries? Asside from less sensor maint. on the system using the weapon seeker?

First USMC M1 knocked out, was knocked out by a Cobra.



The Maverick seeker can be slewed by advanced targeting systems (AG radar in the F16) which can look far beyond the human eyeball or even the seeker's ability to detaect and magnify. In the A-10, the pilot has on other aid than the magnified video or IR image of the Maverick. This greatly limits its ability to meet its maximum range. No A-10 pilot is firing Mavericks 27km out, but the F-16 pilots can. That means the F-16 doesn't have to come close to the target or enemy ADA, but the A-10 has to.

In ODS, the first USMC combat casualties were caused by an A-10 pilot's inability to distinguish a LAV from an Iraqi vehicle. Why? Cuz he's using his unmagnified eyes.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:21:48 AM EST

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

1. Even the F-16 has the LANTIRN pod. The same pod or even a newer version (not capable on the A-10) would give the F-35 significant target identification and targeting capabilities.

2. LOW AND SLOW is a liability based upon limitations, not a tactic. The F-35 will be capable of making high speed attacks, just like the F-16 and F/A-18 (only stealthier and faster). That means higher altitude and greater target visibility/detection.

3. The F-35 isn't an air superiority fighter and won't be used as such. It's a complement to the F-22, much the same way the F-16 is to the F-15. There were no (relative, cuz you can never have enough) shortage of F-16s for air strikes and CAS, were there?

4. You just made my point. An A-10 was hit by the ZSU-23-4. That's an archaic system that's reserved for helicopters in the open. It wouldn't even see, let alone TOUCH a faster, higher aircraft like the F-35.



1) even when the A-10 was new, the AF was trying to kill it off, reasoning that the F-16 was better. They publicized tests that they ran. Well the A-10 pilits got a hold of the tests and publicized them.

F-16 vs armored column, in a column formation, 1 pass about 40% kills. A-10 vs same number of vehicles, NOT in a column becuase a "low and slow" will give enemy time to disperse. 1 pass +80% kills.

2) What fast means, is one pass to ID, while everyone on the ground gets ready to fire AAA, and another to engage. NOE flying, with 1 pass is more difficult to detect, than med-high flying, with the MK-I eyeball/ear sensor system, or any techno system.

3) So the F-35 can't defend itself against other planes...................... It needs cover from F-22, or F-15, that is better than an A-10 how?

4) Yeah, just like AAA in Vietnam never shot down any aircraft, or other than A-10's getting hit, no US planes were shot down in DS or OIF? Again, what weapons will the F-35 have that an A-10 doesn't? Those weapons will also decide the attack range an altitude, if A-10's are vulnerable employing those weapons so will an F-35, and an F-35 is far less likely to survive hits that an A-10 will. PS a F-117A was shot down over Bosnia, so was an F-16, both by ground based weapons, and I thought the F-117 was taken down by gun artillery....................
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:23:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The Air Force tried, several times, to give the A-10s to the Army so that the AF could focus on fighters, bombers and transports. The Army, at the time, was looking at the next generation of attack helo, then the AH-56 Cheyenne, so they declined. With the Apache fielded, the Army has no intention to divert helo assets to fixed wings. The Army prefers to rely on the AF for the CAS role, and the Air Force now wants to keep this role, only with a better/newer aircraft.

I'll restate my position: The A-10 has worked well when it hasn't had to worry about enemy aircraft or significant air defenses. The day it does (say, in a war against a larger, more modern enemy than Iraq), the A-10 will become OBSOLETE. The AF is correct in looking for an F-16 replacement that can fill that role, but the VSTOL/STOVL version isn't it.



Newer is not always better.

The AF used that excuse all through the cold war to get funding to upgrade to newer better aircraft to keep up with the Russians. The Russians are gone now and like charging_handle stated, our current enemies seem to be quasi third world countries with little or no airpower anyway. Also, the AF was always big on touting its better trained pilots.

Sending an A-10 into an area where we haven't established air superiority would be stupid and the AF wouldn't do it. No more than they would send an AC-130 or KC-10 into an unsafe area or without CAP cover.

Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:24:49 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:26:56 AM EST
www.aeronautics.ru/f117down.htm

My bad SA-6's took down the F-117, they were put in service in 1967.............................
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:31:31 AM EST

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:
The A-10 NEVER flew in an environment where enemy combat aircraft were a threat. If it had, there'd be a lot of A-10 carcasses littering the desert/countryside. "Low and Slow" is not a good thing. The term is only used because the A-10 is ONLY slow and MUST fly at low altitudes to avoid even rudimenatry air defenses like the SA-7.



um thats why they are called the Air Force and have 15's and 16's to provide Air superiority.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:37:45 AM EST

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Originally Posted By Planerench:

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:

Originally Posted By SJSAMPLE:

Against unsophisticated enemies, the A-10 has proven its worth. But you can't depend upon the US fighting ONLY turd-world nations. When the time comes, the USAF, USN and USMC better have an aircraft that can a) get to the target with range and loiter time, b) get there quickly and c) survive against modern equipment. The time to build and procure that equipment is NOW.





I know A-10's have gotten hit by ZSU-23 type guns, and survived. What would happen if an F-35 got hit in the same fashion?



GAME OVER INSERT COIN



So an A-10 gets hit with one of the oldest fielded ADA weapons and you think that's a bonus? The ZSU-23-4 is considered INEFFECTIVE against anything other than ground troops and helicopters and it can hit the "low and slow" A-10? It wouldn't even touch the F-35 or any other combat strike fighter. The only thing taking down F-16s, F-18s and Harriers during ODS were modern missiles, not archaic ADA cannons. The A-10 never had to face any of the modern systems because the Apache's and high-performance aircraft had already removed them.



There were 100 Lantirn Pods designated for use by the Air Force A-10 fleet. I do not know how many are actually in use. Using them or not is not the same as saying the type is not Lantirn capable. Also, the max range of the ZSU 23 is 16,732' vertical, 7,655Yards horizontal. Guided by radar. I don't know where your grudge is but the Apache is a piece of crap as an individual component. It only becomes effective and truely dangerous as a member of a guided task force. You want to talk slow! Max level speed under 200knts! Payload is laughable next to a Hog.

The A-10's biggest drawback is the Airforce itself not the aircraft. It can take 10X the pounding the Apache can and you know it. CAS aircraft don't get any better than the A-10. A strike/traditional attack (ala F-111 or A-6) aircraft it is not and was not designed to be. Get off it. That the Airforce would rather let the Army fight for its own is not the fault of the A-10 or it's crews. Planerench out.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:41:42 AM EST

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:
www.aeronautics.ru/f117down.htm

My bad SA-6's took down the F-117, they were put in service in 1967.............................



Don't get him all riled up. He is still cuttling his GI Joe Apache attack helicopter he got from Santa last Christmas! Planerench out.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:43:40 AM EST
Wasn't the A10 designed to operate in Central Europe in a very hostile Anti Aircraft environment against Wasaw Pact Armoured columns defended by bucket loads of mobile AAA and everything from Hand held SAM's to mobile SA-6 and the very deadly SA-8 'Gecko' SAM launchers?

Judging by some of the comments here , it seems they would all have been shot down the first time they went into action…

Andy
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