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02/09/2017

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McThag

About the only solid thing that the A-10C does better than other platforms that I've read about is its epic loiter time without hitting the tanker.

Oh, unless you notice the bombers you mentioned... um...

The thing the A-10 has going for it, for real, is the troops love them and the bad guys are scared of them in a way that they aren't of other platforms. That doesn't make the bombs more accurate, the gun shoot faster, etc... nor does it make the A-10 less vulnerable to the improving anti-air that non-stone age potential opponents are capable of bringing to bear.

We've become kind of spoiled at having complete air supremacy without having to really fight and hold it.

Those bombers carving circles at multi-10k altitudes doing CAS can't do that when we don't own the sky either.

Throughout all the tireless debate about the F-35 I am reminded of what a lemon the M1 Abrams was. At least if you asked the media about them.

It took Desert Storm to FINALLY silence those criticisms. Something about none of its "flaws" coming out and hampering the mission or something...

Jim

M-1, yeah, when the competition has to stop to fire, all you have to do is sit.or zag.
And no armament stoping power? Where will they shoot? All the computer control just nicking a wire will do it. You don't have to just protect the piolet, you have to harden or stay out of the fray.
And I thought airpower started with the army, back against some Mexican outlaw, when the airplane driver shot at poncho. Oh well.

timactual

Sorry, still not convinced.

What are these new devices that allow CAS aircraft to generate situational awareness while zipping along at 400+ knots at low altitude over rough terrain? I am assuming by situational awareness you mean the ability to acquire and designate targets.

The only reason we don't have low and slow FAC aircraft anymore is because the CAS aircraft itself has now assumed that function. That is why the A-10 was specifically designed to go low and relatively slow in a high-threat environment.

There is more to CAS than being able to drop large quantities of PGM. A C-130 can do that. The trick is to drop them on the right target and, as that unfortunate incident in 2014 shows, the B-1 leaves something to be desired in that area.

Then there is the financial cost. Yes, money matters. Particularly in "limited" wars. Price is a measure of resources used. Resources are limited. How many A-10s (or a replacement) can we purchase and operate for the price of one B-1?

Jeff Gauch

"What are these new devices that allow CAS aircraft to generate situational awareness while zipping along at 400+ knots at low altitude over rough terrain? I am assuming by situational awareness you mean the ability to acquire and designate targets."

That's a strike profile, not a CAS profile. CAS involves loitering at mid to high altitudes waiting for a call, zipping over to deliver the bomb, then resuming loitering until time to go home. Situational awareness is provided by the troops on the ground. They have multiple ways to determine the grid coordinates of whatever they need blown up.

"There is more to CAS than being able to drop large quantities of PGM. A C-130 can do that. The trick is to drop them on the right target and, as that unfortunate incident in 2014 shows, the B-1 leaves something to be desired in that area."

Not really. And it's not like the A-10 is without its fair share of fratricide incidents.

"Then there is the financial cost. Yes, money matters. Particularly in "limited" wars. Price is a measure of resources used. Resources are limited. How many A-10s (or a replacement) can we purchase and operate for the price of one B-1?"

How much are you willing to pay for a smoking crater on the battlefield? The simple fact is that Chinese and Russian MANPADS can already bring down an A-10. In the not too distant future those weapons will make their way into the hands of our actual enemies, at which point the A-10 will be utterly useless. Furthermore, how many A-10's can do strategic bombing? So you'll still need the B-1's, which can do the A-10's job. Since the reverse isn't true, the A-10's are the waste of resources, no matter how cheaply they're made.

ron snyder

Hey, I recognize that argument. :)

timactual

"They have multiple ways to determine the grid coordinates"

What are the grid coordinates of a moving target? What are the grid coordinates of a target that is firing at you from behind a hill or otherwise not visible? Suppose your hand little gadget is a casualty (it sometimes happens in combat)? Suppose the gadgeteer is a bit nervous and makes a mistake (not unheard of)?

"zipping over to deliver the bomb"

How is that different from a "strike profile"?

What makes you think an A-10, which was designed with MANPADS in mind, is significantly more vulnerable than an F-35 in the CAS role?

The B-1 is no longer a strategic bomber, since it can only carry conventional weapons. There are only 62 of them, so we had better keep our wars small.

http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/224/Article/104500/b-1b-lancer.aspx

The only reason the B-1 is used for CAS is because their units are bored and want to earn air medals for "combat" missions like all the other AF types. So they use a 95 ton, $317 millon aircraft with a crew of 4 (two pilots) to deliver a 1 ton bomb one at a time.

Chris Green

Some folks discuss tactics.... and now for the logistics.
http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-shows-hourly-cost-of-military-aircraft-2014-12

Note cost per hour to operate. These modified OV-10's currently used for firefighting cost $743 per hour to operate. Undoubtedly the OV-10Z will cost double to operate.

http://fireaviation.com/2015/07/30/an-introduction-to-the-columbia-air-attack-base/

So let's also remember 6 AV-8B Harriers were destroyed on the ground by the Taliban forward deployed in Afghanistan a few years back. So do you think F-35B's will ever be forward deployed at $100 million apiece? With readiness rates now acknowledged at below 50% fleet wide how many are available for CAS anyway?

How about we get a lot of specific built CAS aircraft in case we get into a real shooting war, because they are going to risk the F-35's. Let's be realistic. The USMC only has a finite amount of Cobras to throw at the mission as well, and they will probably bear the brunt of the mission.

Chris Green

No takers? I'm disappointed....

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