F-35 to replace A-10?

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

hornetfinn

Elite 3K

Elite 3K

  • Posts: 3094
  • Joined: 13 Mar 2013, 08:31
  • Location: Finland

Unread post25 Jun 2020, 09:44

marauder2048 wrote: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.


Now you bring up very interesting point. If you do CAS with fixed wing aircraft like A-10 or Su-25, then SEAD is very crucial for survival and successfully accompishing missions in high threat environments. Of course it's also important for helos but they can better use terrain masking to avoid most threatening AD systems. Especially so if they can use their weapons without direct LOS to enemy units. For example AH-64 Apache can use Spike NLOS, Brimstone and possibly JAGM like that. It seems like Israel has been very keen to k

One big problem besides MANPADS for slow and low CAS is that IFVs nowadays have very capable anti-aircraft capabilities with 30-40 mm guns, thermal imaging sights, laser rangefinders and even getting air situation picture from AD sensors on their own screens. They are perfectly capable of shooting down aircraft and helos that come within range and there is usually a lot of them in ground formations. Nowadays Russian and Chinese vehicles are getting these capabilties and they are likely to become more widespread. In that kind of environment, a stealthy high-altitude platform like F-35 with great sensors and targeting systems would definitely be preferred. Especially so if enemy also has heavier AD systems and capable air force.

During Cold War the Soviet Frontal Aviation would definitely have posed a problem for NATO CAS and strike aircraft. But I think that the main threat would've still been the AD systems as the Soviets only had limited number of aircraft with real look-down shoot-down capabilities. Of course for example MiG-23 with rather limited capabilties in that area has shot down helicopters which proves that they would've definitely been a credible threat especially with their 4 IR guided missiles. So it depends on whether NATO was more capable in shooting down enemy aircraft or doing SEAD.
Offline
User avatar

XanderCrews

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 6389
  • Joined: 16 Oct 2012, 19:42

Unread post25 Jun 2020, 20:46

marauder2048 wrote:
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.



yes the A-10 was designed for "Battlefield air Interdiction" BAI. What it would have been doing against IVAN in the Fulda Gap is not what we would term today CAS. And things have changed. For example we trust PGMs more than we do platforms. It seems to go completely unnoticed but one of my friends (no longer with us I'm afraid) was tagging along with American Forces in the early days of the 2001 Special Forces operations and was describing B-52s doing CAS. Thats remarkable, and it seems to have taken place without many civilians noticing what a "sea change" that was. Also cool story he was there to cover the soviets withdrawing over a decade prior.
Choose Crews
Offline

weasel1962

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2249
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 02:41
  • Location: Singapore
  • Warnings: 1

Unread post26 Jun 2020, 02:50

Battlefield networks are down to squad level which means that the location of friendlies are a lot more easily identified. CAS with PGMs can occur much more effectively at the FLOT esp during maneuver warfare. But with RSTA sensor improvements + increased range of weapons, the targets will also be further away from the FLOT. At that distance, Army already has a lot of firepower to deal with those threats from army aviation to arty. With increased engagement distances, I would think more BAI than CAS is needed/useful.

Marauder brings up a good point. Define CAS more narrowly and distinguish it from BAI. F-35s with its sensors execute BAI very well, better (more survivable) than legacy A-10s.
Offline

michaelemouse

Enthusiast

Enthusiast

  • Posts: 74
  • Joined: 12 Sep 2017, 10:29

Unread post01 Jul 2020, 19:32

hornetfinn wrote:Now you bring up very interesting point. If you do CAS with fixed wing aircraft like A-10 or Su-25, then SEAD is very crucial for survival and successfully accompishing missions in high threat environments. Of course it's also important for helos but they can better use terrain masking to avoid most threatening AD systems. Especially so if they can use their weapons without direct LOS to enemy units. For example AH-64 Apache can use Spike NLOS, Brimstone and possibly JAGM like that. It seems like Israel has been very keen to k


Winged vs rotary seems analogous to ballistic vs cruise missiles: Winged/ballistic has higher altitude, time-on-station, speed, range, payload while rotary/cruise has higher stealth thru terrain masking.

Unless someone can find some other major advantage, it's interesting to me that altitude (and therefore one's own sensor range), time-on-station, speed, range, payload are all sacrificed for contextual (terrain-dependent) stealth.
Offline

marauder2048

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1008
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2012, 06:46

Unread post01 Jul 2020, 21:09

michaelemouse wrote:
Unless someone can find some other major advantage, it's interesting to me that altitude (and therefore one's own sensor range), time-on-station, speed, range, payload are all sacrificed for contextual (terrain-dependent) stealth.


Just about all SAMs have altitude minima. There have been several cases where the AH-64s survived MANPADS and
other SAM attacks by staying under the altitude minima.
Offline

michaelemouse

Enthusiast

Enthusiast

  • Posts: 74
  • Joined: 12 Sep 2017, 10:29

Unread post01 Jul 2020, 21:44

marauder2048 wrote:
michaelemouse wrote:
Unless someone can find some other major advantage, it's interesting to me that altitude (and therefore one's own sensor range), time-on-station, speed, range, payload are all sacrificed for contextual (terrain-dependent) stealth.


Just about all SAMs have altitude minima. There have been several cases where the AH-64s survived MANPADS and
other SAM attacks by staying under the altitude minima.


You're right, thanks.

I suppose cruise missiles can also benefit from SAM altitude minima, thus only leaving laser/bullet-based defenses which are short-range, LoS and less amenable to networked warfare.
Offline

weasel1962

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2249
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 02:41
  • Location: Singapore
  • Warnings: 1

Unread post02 Jul 2020, 04:46

Tech has improved. All Russian SAMs' minimum engagement altitudes are generally 10-15m. That includes the S400 and Buk, not just the manpads. Even the Pechora has gone down to 20m. There's even new weapons like Pishal.

Russia now uses mobile small sized radar like the 1L122-1E and dedicated low altitude radars like Kasta 2E2 which together with network sharing means one may not spot an emitter until its ready to engage/within engagement range supplemented by EO detection. Low level air ops is more likely to be prohibitive in most potential battlefields.

The decision to go medium altitude with the F-35 is a sound one. A-10s can do it at medium altitude but they lose their survivability there. The only fallacy is assuming that stealth with speed is sufficient. imho, sead may still be needed.
Offline

marauder2048

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1008
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2012, 06:46

Unread post02 Jul 2020, 08:24

weasel1962 wrote:Tech has improved. All Russian SAMs' minimum engagement altitudes are generally 10-15m. That includes the S400 and Buk, not just the manpads. Even the Pechora has gone down to 20m. There's even new weapons like Pishal.


Doesn't seem problematic given that 10m attack altitudes were not at all unusual for GW1-era Apaches.
And Pave Low IIIs were able to do under 5m in the 90's (albeit under NVG friendly conditions).

How-low-can-you-go in all-weather/all-conditions is where all intensive work on the Degraded Visual Environment +
TF/TA sensors will take us. So that all gets coupled with the route planners which are pretty sophisticated.

weasel1962 wrote:Russia now uses mobile small sized radar like the 1L122-1E and dedicated low altitude radars like Kasta 2E2 which together with network sharing means one may not spot an emitter until its ready to engage/within engagement range supplemented by EO detection. Low level air ops is more likely to be prohibitive in most potential battlefields.


Do you mean visually spot the emitter? I tend to think the greater danger to helicopters is really acoustic sensors;
the AH-64E is supposed to have a real-time acoustic footprint overlay display for this reason.

But definitely passives coupled with the harder to spot ATGM teams and towed AAA will be a big threat.

But that's where your long range fires like PrSM and ER-GMLRS are supposed to come in.
Previous

Return to F-35 versus XYZ

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests