F-35 to replace A-10?

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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jr1947

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Unread post07 Apr 2006, 04:31

hello Pat1, jr1947 here, I just happened to catch your post dated Nov. 05th. 2004 and I immediately thought of the two different aircraft. The question that's I've been pondering is unless they completely revamped the airframe there is no way they could fit a g.e. f-136 or a pratt f-135 into the a-10. It was built to hold one engine and that engine was a g.e. tf-34. the f-135's and the f-136's compared to the a-10's tf-34 are not even a close match by any stretch of the imagination. I have the feeling that the "wart hog", a-10 is about to be laid to rest. I know in the past they have tried to retire that plane and it's come back a couple of times to fly up out of the ashes to say, " I'm still here" but unless there is some radical changes in the airframe to except the f-35's engines, weither it be g.e.'s or pratts's I suspect it's life expediency is comming to and end.. To bad though because it's proven itself many times over again. And that Gatling gun in it's nose spoke for it self period. I know the Iraq tanks weren't especially happy when that bird was "passing by". Well Pat, I'm off to snooze land now, it was a pleasure posting to you. best regards, J.R. :)
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swanee

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Unread post14 Apr 2006, 04:47

jr1947 wrote:hello Pat1, jr1947 here, I just happened to catch your post dated Nov. 05th. 2004 and I immediately thought of the two different aircraft. The question that's I've been pondering is unless they completely revamped the airframe there is no way they could fit a g.e. f-136 or a pratt f-135 into the a-10. It was built to hold one engine and that engine was a g.e. tf-34. the f-135's and the f-136's compared to the a-10's tf-34 are not even a close match by any stretch of the imagination. I have the feeling that the "wart hog", a-10 is about to be laid to rest. I know in the past they have tried to retire that plane and it's come back a couple of times to fly up out of the ashes to say, " I'm still here" but unless there is some radical changes in the airframe to except the f-35's engines, weither it be g.e.'s or pratts's I suspect it's life expediency is comming to and end.. To bad though because it's proven itself many times over again. And that Gatling gun in it's nose spoke for it self period. I know the Iraq tanks weren't especially happy when that bird was "passing by". Well Pat, I'm off to snooze land now, it was a pleasure posting to you. best regards, J.R. :)



I've said this many times before, and I shall say it again. A program to re-engine the A-10 exists, it just keeps getting cut because of lack of funding. The limiting factor is not the airframe, but the engines... You just can't get it above 400kts with the thrusties that it has.

That being said, the A-10 will be around until they all fall apart, simply because as soon as the AF retires them, the Army will buy them and use them. The AF won't let that happen.
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LordOfBunnies

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Unread post14 Apr 2006, 05:25

Um, the A-10 IS falling apart. The AF is having to remake wings for the airplanes. I think they've run out of retired A-10s in AMARC and they are having to fabricate parts. I only know this because my dad works with people who do this stuff. What I want to see is the F-35 with the GAU-8 :twisted: :twisted: . Anyone with photoshop want a laugh? Stealth? Who needs stealth when you're this well hung. I don't think anything can ever truly replace the A-10 in effectiveness. The potential number of targets hit by an A-10 is much greater than that possible with an *insert fighter/attack aircraft here*. The gun will chew through tanks, not to mention the thing carries bombs as well. Its low and slow, but that can be an advantage when doing CAS (long loiter over important area). Not to mention the high bypass turbofans should be more efficient than the engines on most fighters (low bypass turbofans).
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Unread post14 Apr 2006, 14:10

Thanks for the post J.R.

I can't say I'm clear about what will happen with the A-10
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Unread post14 Apr 2006, 14:48

LordOfBunnies wrote:Um, the A-10 IS falling apart. The AF is having to remake wings for the airplanes. I think they've run out of retired A-10s in AMARC and they are having to fabricate parts. I only know this because my dad works with people who do this stuff. What I want to see is the F-35 with the GAU-8 :twisted: :twisted: . Anyone with photoshop want a laugh? Stealth? Who needs stealth when you're this well hung. I don't think anything can ever truly replace the A-10 in effectiveness. The potential number of targets hit by an A-10 is much greater than that possible with an *insert fighter/attack aircraft here*. The gun will chew through tanks, not to mention the thing carries bombs as well. Its low and slow, but that can be an advantage when doing CAS (long loiter over important area). Not to mention the high bypass turbofans should be more efficient than the engines on most fighters (low bypass turbofans).


Someone correct me. The rewing has already been stated by experts to give the aircraft 25 years more of life. The re-engine thing is more of a reliability-(new engines)- combined with performance that gives it the ability to carry payloads with less effort ( hot and/or high environs etc ). This is all cheap money and a good investment in an airframe that while no longer the ultimate tank killer ( hello cheap PGMs I-can-touch-you-but-you-can't-touch-me, etc .... dropped from high alts the A-10 can't reach.... ) it is still a useful aircraft to have around.
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Unread post14 Apr 2006, 19:54

NVGdude wrote:
FDiron wrote:A-10 has a bad record with friendly fire incidents. Plus it fires radioactive ammunition. Right now there are hundreds of radioactive tanks in Iraq, which the civilians are selling the metal from.


I wouldn't really call DU radioactive, certainly not to the point anyone should worry about it. On the other hand uranium is a toxic heavy metal, and breathing the dust is about as bad as breathing any other heavy metal (Lead etc.) dust, and should be avoided.

-MArk


That had me floored :!: If you mean DU rounds, intact, before use don`t present a hazard..I see your point. They are certainly NOT safe after firng!. DU ammo has been around for a LONG time and people have always been worried by it.

It`s a really small world. In OIF, one Challenger tank had it`s turret knocked off at night by another Challenger tank from the same squadron. There were two fatalities. Of the surviving crew, one of the troopers caught some fragments from the DU round. He had radioactive particles swimming about in him afterwards. Doctors said it would take years off his life, he is only 21 years old.
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Anyway, the F-35 with SDB, PGMs, better sensors and battlefield datalinks, in view of some posts I have read from those in the know... could do a LOT of stuff the A-10 cannot. We will have to wait and see. Cutting down on killing friendly forces would be an improvement!
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LWF

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Unread post14 Apr 2006, 22:06

I have one question. What happens if for some reason any F-35s in the area can't drop any precision munitions from on high. That leaves it two options, go down low, where it is highly vulnerable to small arms fire (as it is not heavily armored) which the AF won't allow given the expense, or it can run away with out helping. And what happens if a few PGMs aren't enough, it can only strafe a little, and not for very long, and must go low or risk hitting friendlies. Whereas the A-10 can loiter for a long period of time, beyond when it has run out of ordnance on the wings, because it has the Avenger with lots of ammo and plenty of stopping power.
Now, the F-35 has a maximum combat radius of 620 nautical miles (at less than maximum speed, and payload), and a max payload of somewhere between 13,000 lbs. (Marine) or 17,000 lbs. (Navy), but would most likely not operate very often with a maximum payload because it compromises stealth. It like the F-16 in Desert Storm would most likely be restricted to heights that preclude CAS work, because of the danger of visually targeted ground fire. It only carries 180 rounds for its internal gun, meaning less strafing can be done than the A-10, which carries 1,350 rounds. And as its turning circle is larger than the A-10's, CAS will be sporadic, as it comes in quickly but can't come back as quickly. And it must operate from airfields further in the rear because it cannot operate from unprepared airstrips, consuming what little loiter time it has because it expends much fuel flying at higher speeds.
Whereas the A-10 has a combat radius of 695 nautical miles (at 300 kp/h), and a max payload of 16,000 lbs. and usually operates at this. It operates as low as 1,000 ft. and sometimes lower, and can take large amounts of ground fire (only five were downed in Desert Storm, most by ZSU-23 Shilkas) Large SAMs are usually not a problem for the A-10 as these have a minimum altitude the target must be operating at. It carries 1,350 rounds for its gun (usually 4:1 AP, HEI mix) allowing quite a bit of strafing. It is quite maneuverable at low speeds and altitudes, allowing it to avoid some ground fire and attack many targets, sooner and with more accuracy. PGMs won't be needed as strafing is far less expensive. It can loiter on one engine for 1.88 hours in or near the combat area, allowing constant air support. And it operates mainly from forward airstrips, that other planes cannot operate from, allowing reduced time to target and extending loiter time.
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Unread post15 Apr 2006, 12:16

LWF, I used to share the same opinion as yourself about the F-35--A-10 in CAS. You said yourself that 5 A-10s were shot down in the Gulf war. I don`t think many F-35s would have been lost under the SAME circumstances. Principally because of the altitude the F-35 will operate at. Loiter ability may not be a problem with tanking available. Strafing? Dropping a 500 or 250lb PGM directly onto a fortified position is more effective than strafing it I would think? Safer for the friendlies on the ground as cannon rounds go where they want to! The GAU Avenger really gets the guys on the ground running for cover, ours and the enemy. Where the frontline is blurred, accuracy is king.( As long as the right buttons are pressed).

If you need something "down low", well that is what Apache/Cobra is for I guess! As you suggest, the A-10 is useful in a number of tasks and has it`s advantages. If you use fast jets instead, you need new weapons and tactics, that`s what the USAF has acquired. You employ your Vipers and Strike Eagles accordingly. The A-10 is a good aircraft, even though the guys who fly them need some vehicle recognition lessons..... :(

There are other ways to do CAS other than A-10 though...
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Unread post15 Apr 2006, 19:55

snypa777 wrote:LWF, I used to share the same opinion as yourself about the F-35--A-10 in CAS. You said yourself that 5 A-10s were shot down in the Gulf war. I don`t think many F-35s would have been lost under the SAME circumstances. Principally because of the altitude the F-35 will operate at. Loiter ability may not be a problem with tanking available. Strafing? Dropping a 500 or 250lb PGM directly onto a fortified position is more effective than strafing it I would think? Safer for the friendlies on the ground as cannon rounds go where they want to! The GAU Avenger really gets the guys on the ground running for cover, ours and the enemy. Where the frontline is blurred, accuracy is king.( As long as the right buttons are pressed).

If you need something "down low", well that is what Apache/Cobra is for I guess! As you suggest, the A-10 is useful in a number of tasks and has it`s advantages. If you use fast jets instead, you need new weapons and tactics, that`s what the USAF has acquired. You employ your Vipers and Strike Eagles accordingly. The A-10 is a good aircraft, even though the guys who fly them need some vehicle recognition lessons..... :(

There are other ways to do CAS other than A-10 though...



Look up the damage that A-10s took in Desert Storm... As to the f-16 (and other fast movers) for CAS... reference one of my previous on page 2 of this thread about that. The comment about the guys who fly them is double edged. You also have to look at the FACs and ETACs on the ground directing CAS. Right now there are combat ID programs in development to get rid of friendly fire. THe technology is developing rapidly. However, they won't replace the MK1 eyeball. Apaches and cobras are gas hogs and the supply lines that are required to keep them running would be 10 fold longer than any airforce base line. Remember, you can fly stuff into an air force base, but you have to truck it to an FOL for apaches/cobras. The active duty Army doesn't fly cobras anymore either. They are strictly a guard/reserve airframe. (not to say the guard/reserves suck, on the contrary, Guard is the only way to go)

The with the A-10c upgrades, they have the ability to carry those PGMs. So more PGMs, more gun ammo, more loiter time, more combat radius, more armor... and with some new engines more payload and more performance... The only thing the f-35 has on the a-10 is speed and stealth. Stealth for CAS? I don't see the neccessity. Speed for CAS? Take it from my old man, fast doesn't work. (again, reference my earlier posting i believe on page 2 or 3)
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Unread post15 Apr 2006, 20:50

Apaches and Cobras are awfully vulnerable to ground fire, and besides, in tests they found A-10s and helicopters work a lot better when used together.

You also conveniently ignore that the only way for the F-35 to approach the payload of the A-10 is to sacrifice stealth, so what's the point in making it stealthy when it's going to do close air support, in sight of every idiot with an AK-47. And just out of curiosity, how can you destroy say, a tank column with PGMs when you can only target one at a time, and what happens when the software or hardware or some other complex piece of F-35 stops working, suddenly you have to run on home.

I hold up for example Operation Anaconda, the last major operation of our war in Afghanistan. The only effective CAS came from AC-130s, A-10s, and attack helicopters. And then attack helicopters were heavily damaged, the AC-130s could only attack at night, and there weren't enough A-10s in theater. The F-15Es and the F-16s, and all the fast movers were useless most of the time, because they couldn't hit accurately enough, with enough force, or often enough to have much of an effect.
The whole operation would have worked better if there had been landbased artillery, and more A-10s and attack helicopters.
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Unread post15 Apr 2006, 21:53

Exactly! What is the point of buying a stealth aircraft that is only stealthy when basically unloaded. Kinda like buying a new ZO6 Corvette and pulling four spark plugs when you go to the track. It just don't make sense!
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Unread post15 Apr 2006, 23:38

hello Swanee, Pat10,Elp,&Lwf, jr1947. I've just read the recent posts about the A-10 with new engines, the A-10 vaersious the f-35's, the A-10's age and the AF's wanting it alive. Along with the allitude of the F-35's in comparision to the A-10's. All in all everyone has very good points. The only question/statement I had and have is if they go with and engine such
as Pratts F-135 or G.E.'s F-136 either engine is a completely different animal in comparrision to the Tf-34's with which it now has. The both versions of the F-35 are, in size, not anything like the Tf-34's, which are large bulky engines. Thrust wise the opposite is in play the TF-34's cannot compare with the new F-35's. The plane it self was built for close air to ground support. It can take some pretty heavy hits and still get you home. I'm just curious how their going to fit a round peg in a square hole. Chances are though one way or the other that Wart hog may still have life left in in yet. It's been a pleasure talking with all of you, hope to hear from all of you again. best regars, jr1947 :)
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Unread post15 Apr 2006, 23:53

The A-10 is not getting new engines per se. IF it happens.....they will be getting new cores based on the CF-34 engine (civilian use). They will not be getting a new style or a new type of engine. Its just too cost prohibitive to fund a new engine much less the engineering nightmare of installing a new type of enigne on the jet, it aint gonna happen. The TF-34 just needs a little help producing more thrust. A couple thousand pounds total between both engines would be a huge increase. btw jr1947 the TF-34 is not a rather bulky enigine, actually its quite small, it just has a generous fan section (but then it IS a high bypass engine).
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Unread post16 Apr 2006, 06:23

Hello Mark, I've been retired now for appx. 10 yrs. and Prior to my retirement the largest engine being built, in size, that we worked on in development and later in production was both the TF-34 which is military and the CF-34, which is exactly as you stated (a commercial engine). I worked on a few engines in my 25 yrs. with G.E. such as the F-404, F-414, T-700, Ct-7, T-64, J-85 but I have to say, not in thrust, but strictly size, the
34's, military or commercial compared to the other engines, were the largest engines, in bulk size. I can only hope that I'm not misunderstood in what it is that I'm trying to say. What I'm saying is in the plant I had times seen all the engines I spoke of lined up and the two engines that stood out that didn't appear to fit the over all style were the 34's. They allways remined me of draft horses in comparrison to the other engines. I enjoyed working on them with the exception of going on a test call. I watched a 34 fan once literally walk around a test cell walls all most 360 degrees. I was working in development at the time and the test was on the fan casing to see just how much contanment it would withstand. The engine was intentionally built with the #1 lock nut not torqued. It didn't take very much time before the rotor decided to take a walk. The casing held up surprising well, for a while anyway, but cintrifical force and, I guess the law of physics prevailed, and the results were a site to see, which I did. Ever since then I had a whole new outlook any time we went on a cell call, "FOR ANY ENGINE"! As far as the A-10's I can't think of any other aircraft that can pull it's weight as far as close ground support and the hits it can take an still get the piolt home. Well Mark it's been a pleasure. best regards, J.R.
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Unread post16 Apr 2006, 12:14

Swanee, good pointer there on the Apache/cobra usefulness in theatre and the fuel issue, thanks for that. Don`t the Marines still use the Cobra/Super cobra??? I can see how easy it is to make mistakes under pressure in combat, friendly fire is a heartbreaker.

I remember seeing a doc` about Apache`s in GW1 shooting Hellfires at a UK column where all the technology available was telling the crew NOT to shoot. One (senior) pilot was on his first and last live operation and couldn`t keep his finger off the trigger. They showed actual camera footage and voice recordings from the cockpit. The errors made were criminal. You would have to have seen the show to know what I mean, his crewmate advised him NOT to shoot but got overruled.
As technology improves, there is always the idiot factor within some of us that surfaces...thankfully those instances are few and far between but get a lot of publicity. The vast majority of the crews I would like to think are real pro`s.

LWF, I guess the way to attack a tank column en-mass is to use a weapon like the RAF`s Brimstone that uses up to 12 anti tank rounds carried on one aircraft. It is based on the Hellfire missile and is available for export!!!

Stealth is no deterrent to heat seeking manpads by the way! Or AK-47s...I don`t think stealth is the be all and end all when performing CAS sorties. The enemy knows you have CAS at hand when your ground forces are shooting at them! CAS won`t be the only mission for the JSF, so it will be stealthy when it needs to be, mission dependent.

I wonder how the Hog performed in "hot and high" conditions? i know certain aircraft have struggled up "high" in Afghanistan...
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