F-35 to replace A-10?

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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ricnunes

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Unread post18 Jun 2020, 13:04

hornetfinn wrote:And Israel also has huge number of artillery pieces (tube and rocket artillery) to support ground troops. Given the very small size of the area and ground fights being very close to home, helos, UAVs and artillery are great tools for supporting troops. Not much need for CAS aircraft in that environment.


marauder2048 wrote:To which I would add some sort of tube or rocket delivered version of SDB FLM.


Indeed!

And to add an example to the above (artillery) there are also guided rounds such as the GPS-guided Excalibur round which can be fired from a 155mm howitzer and which provides high precision support fire to the ground troops.
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Unread post18 Jun 2020, 19:30

hornetfinn wrote:
ricnunes wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:The Israelis, for example, do not view CAS as a particularly effective use of air power when compared
to say battlefield interdiction and when they do perform CAS it looks different:


The Israelis use armed helicopters, namely the Apache for CAS. Other nations such as UK, Netherlands and many others also use such assets (armed/gunship helicopters) for CAS.

IMHO, it's far better to have attack/gunship helicopters like the Apache than A-10s (or other similar aircraft) this for a myriad of reasons.

And then there's also armed UAVs...

So those and again IMO are more than enough reasons why no other countries select/purchase the A-10 or other similar aircraft.


And Israel also has huge number of artillery pieces (tube and rocket artillery) to support ground troops. Given the very small size of the area and ground fights being very close to home, helos, UAVs and artillery are great tools for supporting troops. Not much need for CAS aircraft in that environment.


They had nothing like GMLRS, PGK or Excalibur in their inventory until very recently.
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Unread post19 Jun 2020, 01:37

Accular from 2003. Extra from 2013. Topgun fuzes from 2017.
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marauder2048

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Unread post19 Jun 2020, 02:48

weasel1962 wrote:Accular from 2003. Extra from 2013. Topgun fuzes from 2017.


Accular was DPICM only and therefore completely unsuited to close support.
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Unread post20 Jun 2020, 19:06

Per attached.
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marauder2048

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Unread post22 Jun 2020, 02:01

weasel1962 wrote:Per attached.


Note the use of "was" in my statement. Accular* didn't gain a unitary warhead until comparatively recently
and wasn't in IDF service until after 2009.

* Confusingly there were two Accular rockets. The 160mm course-corrected via RF uplink non-GPS version
is the one that IOC'ed in 2003 and was subsequently abandoned for the one you posted.
The 2003 version only had SFM and DPICM.

So precision guided tube artillery and large caliber rockets were not a major feature of Israeli close
support fires until the last decade.
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Unread post22 Jun 2020, 10:59

marauder2048 wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:And Israel also has huge number of artillery pieces (tube and rocket artillery) to support ground troops. Given the very small size of the area and ground fights being very close to home, helos, UAVs and artillery are great tools for supporting troops. Not much need for CAS aircraft in that environment.


They had nothing like GMLRS, PGK or Excalibur in their inventory until very recently.


Sure but they have used attack helos since 1970s for precision attacks in ground support. They have also had long range (25 km) precision guided anti-tank/anti-fortification missile Spike NLOS since early 1980s. Another system they've had for about as long is 20-36 km range Nimrod missile which also has similar missions in mind. They've also had smaller and shorter ranged LAHAT and MAPATS for similar work. Of course they also employed their non-precision guided artillery for close support when extreme precision was not needed. Another system they have used for a long time is Delilah loitering munition. Early versions were used for SEAD/DEAD but later versions have been multi-purpose systems capable of attacking many kinds of targets.

Basically they made a close support system which was tailored for their spesific environment with very small land area, short distances and high population density. It would not be good for US military for example which has to cover the whole world. Their potential enemies also have had very dense anti-aircraft defences and CAS aircraft would have hard time surviving. And they have had the ability to do close air support with precision guided bombs and missiles from multi-role fighter aircraft like F-16 and F-15I (and now F-35 also) for a long time also. I think in their environment F-35 will be excellent CAS platform also but would likely have other priorities in all-out war.
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Unread post22 Jun 2020, 18:53

hornetfinn wrote:Sure but they have used attack helos since 1970s for precision attacks in ground support. They have also had long range (25 km) precision guided anti-tank/anti-fortification missile Spike NLOS since early 1980s. Another system they've had for about as long is 20-36 km range Nimrod missile which also has similar missions in mind. They've also had smaller and shorter ranged LAHAT and MAPATS for similar work. Of course they also employed their non-precision guided artillery for close support when extreme precision was not needed. Another system they have used for a long time is Delilah loitering munition. Early versions were used for SEAD/DEAD but later versions have been multi-purpose systems capable of attacking many kinds of targets.


So all of that is EO/IR or laser guided i.e. confused by obscurants/dust/weather.
Most of it is slow relative to tube or rocket artillery.
Most of it is anti-vehicle or anti-fortification (no programmable airburst).

So I don't see any evidence that Israeli doctrine relied on tube or rocket artillery for close support prior
to the mid-2010s.

hornetfinn wrote:Basically they made a close support system which was tailored for their spesific environment with very small land area, short distances and high population density. It would not be good for US military for example which has to cover the whole world.


A good chunk of US close support precision tube and rocket artillery came from
experience fighting in Iraq (both 1991 and 2003) and Afghanistan.

Are you suggesting those environments are dissimilar to environments in which Israel operates?

The minimum engagement ranges for all of the US tube and rocket precision stuff is well within engagement
envelopes for anything but the shortest range direct fire weapons you listed above.


hornetfinn wrote:Their potential enemies also have had very dense anti-aircraft defences and CAS aircraft would have hard time surviving. And they have had the ability to do close air support with precision guided bombs and missiles from multi-role fighter aircraft like F-16 and F-15I (and now F-35 also) for a long time also. I think in their environment F-35 will be excellent CAS platform also but would likely have other priorities in all-out war.


Like I said: the IAF did not regard CAS as good use of fixed-wing air power because battlefield interdiction is
generally easier and more effective in the Middle East. And the fact that the Israelis, historically, made extensive
use of captured equipment.
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Unread post23 Jun 2020, 12:24

marauder2048 wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Sure but they have used attack helos since 1970s for precision attacks in ground support. They have also had long range (25 km) precision guided anti-tank/anti-fortification missile Spike NLOS since early 1980s. Another system they've had for about as long is 20-36 km range Nimrod missile which also has similar missions in mind. They've also had smaller and shorter ranged LAHAT and MAPATS for similar work. Of course they also employed their non-precision guided artillery for close support when extreme precision was not needed. Another system they have used for a long time is Delilah loitering munition. Early versions were used for SEAD/DEAD but later versions have been multi-purpose systems capable of attacking many kinds of targets.


So all of that is EO/IR or laser guided i.e. confused by obscurants/dust/weather.
Most of it is slow relative to tube or rocket artillery.
Most of it is anti-vehicle or anti-fortification (no programmable airburst).


Sure optical systems have some limitations when it comes to obscurants/dust/weather but they need to be pretty tough conditions to make them inoperable. Precision weapons usually are meant against vehicles and fortifications and similar targets.

marauder2048 wrote:So I don't see any evidence that Israeli doctrine relied on tube or rocket artillery for close support prior
to the mid-2010s.


They didn't rely on only those. Like I said, they have used a lot of tube and rocket artillery for area targets and guided missiles and bombs against vehicles, fortifications and other pinpoint targets. They used mostly helicopters and ground launchers to launch missiles in close support because the ranges involved have been usually very short and there has been not much need for fixed wing CAS.

marauder2048 wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Basically they made a close support system which was tailored for their spesific environment with very small land area, short distances and high population density. It would not be good for US military for example which has to cover the whole world.


A good chunk of US close support precision tube and rocket artillery came from
experience fighting in Iraq (both 1991 and 2003) and Afghanistan.

Are you suggesting those environments are dissimilar to environments in which Israel operates?

The minimum engagement ranges for all of the US tube and rocket precision stuff is well within engagement
envelopes for anything but the shortest range direct fire weapons you listed above.


Iraq has land area that is over 20 times larger than Israel. My point was that Israel has so small land area that fixed wing CAS aircraft like A-10 were really not needed in their environment. Another difference is that Israel can't be certain that they will always have total air superiority like USA can. USAF/USN/USMC have so much more aircraft and most advanced aircraft that will decimate any opponent very quickly. IAF is very powerful air force with very advanced equipment, but neighboring countries also have pretty advanced equipment and a lot of it.

Of course Israel is also a small country with much more limited resources and have to choose more carefully what brings them most bang for the shekel. Nowadays they also have all kinds of precision stuff for tube and rocket artillery and multi-mode seekers for their missiles and bombs.

marauder2048 wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Their potential enemies also have had very dense anti-aircraft defences and CAS aircraft would have hard time surviving. And they have had the ability to do close air support with precision guided bombs and missiles from multi-role fighter aircraft like F-16 and F-15I (and now F-35 also) for a long time also. I think in their environment F-35 will be excellent CAS platform also but would likely have other priorities in all-out war.


Like I said: the IAF did not regard CAS as good use of fixed-wing air power because battlefield interdiction is
generally easier and more effective in the Middle East. And the fact that the Israelis, historically, made extensive
use of captured equipment.


I definitely agree with that. Most air forces around the world do that as there are so many other ways to provide support for ground troops that dedicated CAS aircraft are not necessary. Especially so with modern munitions and targeting systems.
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Unread post23 Jun 2020, 14:28

hornetfinn wrote:And Israel also has huge number of artillery pieces (tube and rocket artillery) to support ground troops. Given the very small size of the area and ground fights being very close to home, helos, UAVs and artillery are great tools for supporting troops. Not much need for CAS aircraft in that environment.


The Israelis probably figure they can use their multipurpose fighters as good enough CAS if it's required. Whether we're talking about machineguns, rifles, armored vehicles or airplanes, the trend has been towards multipurpose tools rather than specialized ones e.g.: The HMG and LMG turned into the GPMG, battle rifle + SMG = assault rifle, infantry tank + cruiser tank + tank destroyer = MBT. The same is holding true for warplanes; Roles like night fighter, attack, EW, recon, air superiority, interceptor, interdictor, strike, bomber are being fused into a small number of broad purpose aircraft types.

I've read and watched some amount about the 6 Day War but haven't been able to find out what the Israeli fighter jets that took out radars/command centers/airfields did afterward. I'm guessing the Israelis didn't leave them sitting around after the early strategic strikes. Does anyone know what the fighter pilots did after they were done patting themselves on the back for bombing airfields?

Also, given that CAS usually involves hanging around the enemy while flying low and slow, I'm guessing the Israelis heavily favor using drones for CAS. You don't need a big gun for that anymore; Isn't it true that the A-10 itself relies on guided munitions more than its gun?

I mean, I like the 30mm BRRRRT gun as much as anyone but maybe it's going the same way as battleships' 16-inch guns.
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Unread post24 Jun 2020, 08:52

Generally A2G sorties out of ~3300 sorties in total (Author cited below being Kenneth Pollack). Pretty good sortie rate for a 200+ fleet. But 67 is not really a good citation for CAS considering the effectiveness of the aircraft back then. A single sqn of A-10s in that turkey shoot would do a lot more damage than the entire IAF did in 67.
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Unread post24 Jun 2020, 12:55

weasel1962 wrote:Generally A2G sorties out of ~3300 sorties in total (Author cited below being Kenneth Pollack). Pretty good sortie rate for a 200+ fleet. But 67 is not really a good citation for CAS considering the effectiveness of the aircraft back then. A single sqn of A-10s in that turkey shoot would do a lot more damage than the entire IAF did in 67.


Aircraft involved in 1967 war were definitely not very well suited to CAS and A-10 would've done great there as the air defences were very poor then (only SA-2 and ZSU-57-2 for dedicated systems). Of course A-10 entered service a decade later and even Yom Kippur war would've already been much tougher with SA-7, ZSU-23-4 and SA-6. Naturally that was still pretty much the kind of threat environment where A-10 was envisioned to be used and likely would've done pretty well but taken losses like it did in Desert Storm against those same systems. Of course Iraqis also had newer MANPADS (SA-14/16/18) along with SA-9 and SA-13, all of which proved dangerous especially against A-10s.

I think nowadays A-10 is perfect for use in Iraq and Afghanistan where there the threat level is very low and land area large. So A-10 has a lot of advantages compared to helos with longer reach/endurance and faster response time against long distance targets.
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Unread post24 Jun 2020, 13:23

hornetfinn wrote:I think nowadays A-10 is perfect for use in Iraq and Afghanistan where there the threat level is very low and land area large. So A-10 has a lot of advantages compared to helos with longer reach/endurance and faster response time against long distance targets.


While I agree with everything else you said, I don't quite or fully agree with the paragraph above.
Well, it's true that the A-10's have longer reach/endurance, that's a fact. But I believe that you're forgetting that in counterinsurgency scenarios such as Iraq and Afghanistan (and basically in all other similar scenarios) there's always lots of 'Firebases' (this was a term used in Vietnam, I'm not sure if it's used nowadays), FARPs and other similar bases dispersed across the theater of operations and helicopters due to their nature (they don't need runways) can and do operate from such bases which means that in practical terms helicopters will likely have faster response times most of the times since these bases are much closer to the troops in need of CAS compared to any base or airbase with a runway or resuming, this IMO offsets the A-10 speed advantage over helicopters.
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Unread post24 Jun 2020, 19:08

hornetfinn wrote:
weasel1962 wrote:Generally A2G sorties out of ~3300 sorties in total (Author cited below being Kenneth Pollack). Pretty good sortie rate for a 200+ fleet. But 67 is not really a good citation for CAS considering the effectiveness of the aircraft back then. A single sqn of A-10s in that turkey shoot would do a lot more damage than the entire IAF did in 67.


Aircraft involved in 1967 war were definitely not very well suited to CAS and A-10 would've done great there as the air defences were very poor then (only SA-2 and ZSU-57-2 for dedicated systems). Of course A-10 entered service a decade later and even Yom Kippur war would've already been much tougher with SA-7, ZSU-23-4 and SA-6. Naturally that was still pretty much the kind of threat environment where A-10 was envisioned to be used and likely would've done pretty well but taken losses like it did in Desert Storm against those same systems. Of course Iraqis also had newer MANPADS (SA-14/16/18) along with SA-9 and SA-13, all of which proved dangerous especially against A-10s.

I think nowadays A-10 is perfect for use in Iraq and Afghanistan where there the threat level is very low and land area large. So A-10 has a lot of advantages compared to helos with longer reach/endurance and faster response time against long distance targets.


When we talk about CAS are we talking about close support for armor or close support for (dismounted) infantry?

The crucial difference is that the US Army, with the arrival of the A-10 completely changed the way it was going to engage Soviet armor. The target priority list for tank hunting teams (including Army aviation) changed to focus
on the "funnies" i.e. air defense elements and battery command vehicles.

Things like Copperhead were developed to focus on those high value targets and a lot of the
anti-armor weapons were going to be initially focused on SEAD. The scheme was going to eventually include
mortar delivered IR screening/obscurants against Soviet MANPADS positions.

In this sort of CAS, opposing forces are separated by kilometers so things like "danger close" (<= 200 m)
for supporting infantry are less relevant.

Post-2003 Iraq and Afghanistan have featured dismounted infantry-on-infantry battles which drove
the need for precision artillery and things like SDB FLM. And have featured aerial cannon more extensively.

For the Soviet threat the big concern was less local air defense units and more Soviet Frontal
Aviation leakers with look-down-shoot-down.
Last edited by marauder2048 on 24 Jun 2020, 19:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post24 Jun 2020, 19:21

weasel1962 wrote: But 67 is not really a good citation for CAS considering the effectiveness of the aircraft back then


"Not really a good citation" is rather an understatement since the number of air-to-ground sorties tells
you nothing about CAS beyond an absolute upper bound.

Example: a large chunk of the missions in GWI coded as "CAS" really weren't;
the opposing armored forces weren't even in contact.
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