Why is the F-35 replacing the A-10?

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XanderCrews

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Unread post25 Jan 2017, 21:07

I'll take complete waste of money on unnecessary test for $1000, Alex
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Gums

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Unread post25 Jan 2017, 22:04

Salute!

Ya gotta luv it.

Been there for three of these drills:

- A-9 vs A-10
-A-10 vs A7D
-YF-16 vs YF-17

The only "rigged" one I saw was the SLUF versus Hog doofer. A few congress folks and die hard USAF and A-1 guys and so forth wanted the Hog very badly. USAF had sold the thing to Congress as cheap and effective. And they were spot on for Viet Nam south of Vinh and lottsa Laos and most of Cambodia back then. Fast forward to April 1972 ( Spring Offensive), and then the early 1975 debacle. I cannot fathom the carnage over the Fulda Gap in 1984, or even the outskirts of Bahgdad in 1991.

Most of us that flew CAS and CSAR until 1975 thot the Hog would have been super in-country and over a lotta Laos/Cambodia. We just wanted some decent Nav gear and such for it. We had flown the SLUF in combat and even went downtown, did a few CSAR missions and helped the Vee and Laotian folks until things ended in Aug of 1973. I even flew the last minute of the war over Laos and crossed the border to Thailand with a few seconds to go.

I am not even sure the Stubbie has TF/TA radar as we had in the SLUF back in '72. We SLUF pukes bitched that the Hog would not have a computed bomb/RX/strafe system, and no projected map or INS. Sheesh. The entire A-7D avionics minus the radar and doppler could have been installed and worked ( no integration problem, as it had already been done) for less than a million bucks. But NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! USAF sold it as cheap and effective with a WW2 gunsight and a big gun. We professional CAS and CSAR guys that had actually done it in combat could not believe the flyoff "rules" and could not believe USAF would not seriously upgrade the avionics for another 15 or 20 years!!!!!!!!!! Oh well, McCain and clueless armchair pilots are in charge of the $$$$. I admire McCain's POW efforts, but he has not a clue about CAS, and I flew prolly 300 more combat CAS missions in two different planes than he ever did. But what do I know?

Oh well.

Gums whines....
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 00:58

Hang in the 'Gums'.
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Unread post27 Jan 2017, 00:38

Salute!

TNX for support, Spaz.

As a kudo to you Scooter has-beens, the last U.S. CAS planes in-country were USMC Scooters at Bien Hoa. Aussie Scooters never showed up, best I can tell. But the Canberra's did. The USMC dudes came in during the 1972 Spring Offensive and were stationed at Bien Hoa along with my beloved A-37's, last dedicated CAS planes from USAF.

We checked them out and the fight was on! Sadly, one orientation pilot got hit in the right seat and went west. The A-37's folded on 1 Oct 1972, and the USMC Scooters left shortly, leaving only some USMC Cobra's. So when I got there in early November to run the refuel/rearm drill for our A-7 deal, nobody was left except the Cobra folks.
++++++++++++++

By the time we had the rigged A-10/A7D flyoff or test, many ROE and USAF/USA doctrine had changed. Nevertheless, the stoopid flyoff went forward and we all knew the result ahead of time. I got my letter of reprimand that fall for pointing out flaws but still got promoted next year. And then the Viper award happened in January of 1975.

++++++++++++++

I agree with all those that hold the postition that CAS is a mission and not an airframe. I did it in two planes in actual combat, and both had their good points and some lacking capabilities.

Oh well, times are changing, threats are changing, budgets are changing and technology is sure as hell changing.

Gums sends...
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Unread post27 Jan 2017, 01:03

Gums, you are correct the A4G did not go to Vietnam. When the first ten of only ten at that time were ordered in 1965, the Oz Gubmint thought they could go to Vietnam. Then it was realized we bought 'fitted for but not fitted with' very basic A-4Fs (no hump) with slight modification for 4 Sidewinders underwing BUT NO RWR equipment or any other (what we regarded as spook stuff - because we did not know) anti missile tech. The USN promised we would get the good bits if we ever needed it. WE could not have gone with USN off their carriers (we had eight single seaters with a training requirement also at NAS Nowra) because of this and not being able to fit in with command/control of USMC (and still no good anti missile gear) the Oz Gubmint decided to send RANFAA Iroquois crews/maintainers to Vietnam in RANHFVs (Helo Flight Vietnam with 135th US ARMY Iroquois).

Some RAN Iroquois helo crews also flew with No.9 Squadron RAAF which flew Iroquois gunships mostly over there. In late 1971 (after I had joined VF-805) we received ten more A4Gs (second hand A-4Fs) but still stripped of any good gear. Our aircraft/missile defence was a good lookout to the rear in 'battle formation' (youse yanks call it different - I forget - 'combat spread'?). The A4G role was fleet defence from probably Indonesian Badgers with anti ship missiles in the late 1960s to early 1970s then that threat went away (Indon Badgers grounded). Most of my time was spent learning how to fly at any altitude as a No.2 or No.4 looking to the rear as I went forward at a great rate of knots. :-) My eyesight was excellent!

The RAAF lost a Canberra crew in Vietnam to a missile it is thought. The pilot Mike Herbert was on my RAAF Basic/Advanced Pilot course back in 1968. Only a few years ago were the remains of the crew discovered, to be repatriated to Australia. Our ground school Navigation instructor at Basic at Point Cook was Al Pinches - he and pilot punched out OK from a Canberra in Vietnam also.

The RAN FAA Fleet Air Arm lost crew in Vietnam: http://www.faaaa.asn.au/ranhfv-roll-of-honour/

The RAAF had other assets such as Bird Dog FACs and Caribous in country - I guess that is another story altogether.

A fellow RANFAA basic/advanced in RAAF pilot Andy Perry was awarded a Silver Star by the US ARMY over there.
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Unread post27 Jan 2017, 02:54

Salute!

The Aussies we dealt with in 1968 era flew Canberras from a base down in IV Corps ( Soc Trang), and the others flew Caribous from Vung Tao and FAC planes in III Corps - Sidewinders, as I recall. One of our A-37 and then A-7D guy married an Aussie sweetie on the "nurse tour". He immigrated to Oz after the war wound down and is still there!

Problem with the Scooter was the low load out. We Dragonflies had about the same and we delivered very low and close. Nevertheless, the Scooters done good in 1972. Good bunch.

Gums recalls......
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Unread post27 Jan 2017, 03:39

Plenty of scooters in Vietnam from USN carriers - did you have any dealings with them 'Gums'?
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Unread post27 Jan 2017, 05:24

Salute!

Only USMC A-4 guys I ran into were leaving Bien Hoa in early Nov of 1972. Never met a Nasal Radiator Scooter dude.

It always fascinated me that the last U.S.A. fighter bombers in-country were Marine A-4's. We were all gone by end of the month and then we had the Christmas blitz. The South Vee were on their own and on my last tour three years later we A-7 folks from the 3rd TFS covered the helo evacuations over Saigon.

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Unread post27 Jan 2017, 08:50

Gums wrote:I am not even sure the Stubbie has TF/TA radar as we had in the SLUF back in '72.


First I have to say thank you for giving us these extremely fascinating real world stories from the past! I always enjoy reading them. :D

I'd say that there is nothing preventing Stubbie having TF/TA capabilities (except if nobody wanted those capabilites or had no money to implement them). Such capabilities would be only matter of software in AESA radar. Many modern radar systems have those capabilities like AN/APG-80 AESA radar for F-16:

http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabili ... fault.aspx

The APG-80 is designed to search continuously for and track multiple targets within the forward hemisphere of the aircraft. As a result of increased operational flexibility, pilots will be able to simultaneously perform air-to-air search-and-track, air-to-ground targeting and aircraft terrain-following.


I found out that the newer NG SABR AESA radar doesn't have TF capability when installed on F-16, but that it's a growth option for it. However, the larger but otherwise similar SABR-GS installed on B-1 does have TF capability. Basically it would be only a matter of software for AN/APG-81 to have TF/TA capabilities. Of course it might well be that it was not deemed necessary to have those as it likely very rarely would fly that low and also has all kinds of systems to safely fly low if necessary (GPS/INS, digital maps, GCAS, EODAS). Of course those systems can not fully replace TF radar when it comes to extended low level flight.

How do you see the usefulness or need for TF/TA radar for F-35?
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Unread post27 Jan 2017, 15:02

hornetfinn wrote:I'd say that there is nothing preventing Stubbie having TF/TA capabilities (except if nobody wanted those capabilites or had no money to implement them). Such capabilities would be only matter of software in AESA radar. Many modern radar systems have those capabilities like AN/APG-80 AESA radar for F-16:

http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabili ... fault.aspx

The APG-80 is designed to search continuously for and track multiple targets within the forward hemisphere of the aircraft. As a result of increased operational flexibility, pilots will be able to simultaneously perform air-to-air search-and-track, air-to-ground targeting and aircraft terrain-following.


I found out that the newer NG SABR AESA radar (APG-83?) doesn't have TF capability when installed on F-16, but that it's a growth option for it. However, the larger but otherwise similar SABR-GS installed on B-1 does have TF capability.
...

HF, I looked at both web pages @ NG for the AN/APG-81 AESA and the APG-83 SABR AESA. I can't tell what the difference is, other than one is newer? Is the APG-83 LPI?

ETA: The best I can find is
The Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) will be a full performance fire control AESA. SABR will offer all the advantages of an active electronically scanned multi-function array, but at significant cost savings. Designed to support next generation weapons and tactics, the SABR ensures the needed combat advantage over the adversary.

Source: http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabili ... s/AESA.pdf

It should be cheaper, require no extra power or cooling, and it supports next generation weapons / tactics. Reading between the lines makes me wonder if that means LPI / EW capabilities.

hornetfinn wrote:How do you see the usefulness or need for TF/TA radar for F-35?

Gums, to piggyback on the HF's question... if you were still driving tacair for a living, would you rather prosecute a target from 20-30,000 ft with your RF invisibility cloak, or from down in the weeds? (ETA: This question was not intended to be snarky / condescending / or sarcastic. Was intended more from a "when might you see the value in TF/TA radar" perspective.)

In the never ending game of development / counter-development, I suppose the F-35 might eventually need the ability to fly low / NOE type missions. But if it doesn't already possess TF/TA capabilities, adding those may not be pressing at the moment.
Last edited by steve2267 on 27 Jan 2017, 16:05, edited 1 time in total.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post27 Jan 2017, 15:41

Guys, it is infinitely easier to play CAS from (relative) sanctuary with a T-pod and pgms than race around in the weeds spitting out bbs. It makes the target location problem easier, it opens up weapons delivery options, and with FMV and a rover station on the ground, the time to kill from the time one checks in with the controller to weapons splash can be dramatically (!) shorter. It also diminishes occurrences of blue-on-blue. That's why the A-10 guys are up there now also.

What about wx? Makes it harder. Best to have an APG-81 (or similar hi-res) mapping capability.

What about trees? Makes it much harder; but that's why God made GPS and digital CAS.

Young Americans have been doing this stuff in far away lands for over a decade. It works (and they're really, really good at it).
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Unread post27 Jan 2017, 15:58

Salute!

@ steve and finn........

To be honest, I do not fully trust the digital land maps to fly covert NOE. Maybe just me. OTOH, it seems a slam dunk that a TF/TA capability with the new AESA radar systems is fairly easy to implement.

I have a feeling that NOE and sneak attacks at low level will still be a capability that pays off when carrying external stores or when the bad guys figure out a way to defeat/degrade the low RCS features of the new planes.

Our simple TF system was really easy to implement and we could choose a "side view" that showed the selected level and the dar returns below or above. Our vertical steering in the HUD and on the big ADI was very easy to use. We had a "cross scan" mode that took the vertical sample and then switched to a fairly hi-res ground map, and then back and so forth. On low level practice when fog was bad or haze was brutal we used the pure TF mode to signal the need to climb if a hill was 4 or 5 miles ahead.

@steve...

I am only a few years junior to our expert in the U.S Senate, so some of my views and preferences are close to his due to the same war environment. I saved many grunts down in the soup, but mostly on decent flying days. OTOH, during Tet of '68, I was one of two USAF CAS flights to reach and bomb at the Hue Citadel in support of USNC folks. Other flight was also A-37's outta Pleiku. WX was about 1500 - 2000 and maybe 3 miles vis. Out east where we let down, it was something like 500 and 2. One day during that first week we had our entire detachment directed to support a U.S. Army outpost in the mountains because nobody else could get in there and maneuver between the hills ior drop as close.

I would not like to fly every mission down low or up in the statosphere. So it kinda depends, but I like seeing the location of the good guys WRT the bad guys using eyeball, electronic sensors and so on.

Gums sends...
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Unread post29 Jan 2017, 07:40

quicksilver wrote:Young Americans have been doing this stuff in far away lands for over a decade. It works (and they're really, really good at it).


Let's not forget that they've been doing so in a COIN environment & that expertise took time to develop. Offensive combat operations are a different game and the results weren't quite as pretty on day 1.
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Unread post29 Jan 2017, 07:47

steve2267 wrote:HF, I looked at both web pages @ NG for the AN/APG-81 AESA and the APG-83 SABR AESA. I can't tell what the difference is, other than one is newer? Is the APG-83 LPI?


NG brochure says "90% software mode commonality with F-35" and "5th generation radar capability for F-16". Not sure what that means.
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Unread post01 Feb 2017, 02:24

For the HISTORY innit the 33 year old A-10 Flight Manual PDF:

Fairchild Republic A-10A Flight Manual TO 1A-10A-1, dated 20 February 1983

http://aviationarchives.blogspot.com.au ... anual.html

PDF 26.3Mb: https://www.filefactory.com/file/658pbm ... Manual.pdf.
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