F-35 to replace A-10?

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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jr1947

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 02:06

SNYPA777 - I can only speak in terms of development assembly and development test procedures, in regards to the hog's engines, the TF-34's.
When we tested them in high heat conditions there never was any issues with their overall performance. As far as height, altitude I don't recall one way or the other. I do know that for their intended purpose, as application to the A-10's they performed outstanding. They were built, along with, or I
should say, "AROUND" the gatling gun, which was also G.E.'s brain child. The whole airframe and engines were developed around that nose gun, and
what a gun it was and is. Any way, that old dinosaur was built, suppose to be buried, re-emerged, re-performed, again, destined to be buried again and "STILL" is alive. Bye the way, for it's size it's surprisingly quiet, that is untill it comes alive breathing fire from it's nose. From what I have read it can also carry a very capable payload. Just recently in a post I read that the muntions from it's nose gun were radioactive, how true that is I have know idea. I cannot honestly see the purpose of that especially watching the effects of what it does when it bursts at a tank. The devastation alone is just that , complete devastation, so why radiation, I have no idea. Well I
guess it's time for me to be hitting the sack. best regards, J.R.
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snypa777

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 06:21

Thanks for that JR 1947! I didn`t think the Hog`s turbofans were wheezers!

The GAU-8 Avenger uses DU ammo. The materials in the 30 mil round (PGU-14/B API) are a U-238 penetrator casing. It uses depleted Uranium which is only slightly less dense than tungsten and is actually quite cheap and easier to machine. This density makes for a very good armour piercing round. In addition, DU expands violently with contact to air, the resultant dust ignites, enhancing incendiary effects. DU tank gun rounds were spectacularly effective in GW1.

The DU in the 30mm rounds is about 50% less radioactive than the Uranium found naturally occurring in ordinary rocks.
Like a lot of high fire rate weapons, you get misfires. I don`t know if the DU dust is exposed when this happens? I would be concerned for the ground crews whom have to clear jams!
Last edited by snypa777 on 17 Apr 2006, 12:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 06:37

snypa777 wrote:Thanks for that JR 1947! I didn`t think the Hog`s turbofans were wheezers!

The GAU-8 Avenger uses DU ammo. The materials in the 30 mil round (PGU-14/B API) are a U-238 penetrator casing. It uses depleted Uranium which is only slightly less dense than tungsten and is actually quite cheap and easier to machine. This density makes for a very good armour piercing round. In addition, DU expands violently with contact to air, the resultant dust ignites, enhancing incendiary effects. DU tank gun rounds were spectacularly effective in GW1.

The DU in the 30mm rounds is about 50% more radioactive than the Uranium found naturally occurring in ordinary rocks.
Like a lot of high fire rate weapons, you get misfires. I don`t know if the DU dust is exposed when this happens? I would be concerned for the ground crews whom have to clear jams!


I think you have this reversed actually. DU is less radioactive than natural occuring uranium. DU is, as you said, U-238 which has an extremely long half life, hence low radioactivity.
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snypa777

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 12:12

Oops, those early morning posts before coffee always get me! Just edited that.
Of equal concern is the fact that DU is a heavy metal and is toxic, just like lead or cadmium.

There is an admission that the very worst place you can be, is in or around enemy vehicles AFTER they have been hit by DU rounds because of the residual dust and toxic by-products.

The navy stopped using DU rounds in the Phalanx CIWS because of operational reasons rather than health reasons. The trouble is they are so damn effective. I believe we should all be using something less dangerous, especially to our own guys in the field.
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Guysmiley

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 15:49

Couple of things-

Vulcan style cannons like the GAU-8 don't jam on a misfire. Fired (and dud) cases are fed into the back end of the ammo drum. An externally powered Vulcan could care less if the round actually fires or not. Hang-fires however (where the round fires but doesn't have enough power to exit the barrel) would cause all sorts of unpleasantness, such as the next round from that barrel exploding.

DU dust is toxic, but so is lead and tungsten. M-1 crews handle DU rounds all the time. The danger is from powdered DU that you can ingest or inhale. Also, solid DU doesn't "expand violently with contact to air". DU dust will ignite in air, but it is not anywhere near as pyrophoric as say, white phosphorous. That the dust will burn is a bonus for high velocity AP rounds.

Another feature of DU for AP is that to a certain extent it is "self sharpening", when deformed DU tends to fracture along the axis perpendicular to the deformation rather than mushrooming into a flat point.
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elp

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 16:23

What you have to consider now is how much armor is really going to be around for an A-10 to engage?

A typical airwar playbook where we attack first-


*Phase one- Achieve air domination by killing off air threats and large SAMs.

*Phase two ( if there are conventional armies of interest and we are going to send in ground troops ) Thinning of the herd. Where heavy equipment ( vehicles, AAA, arty, AFVs, etc etc ) are plinked, using a variety of PGMs by freight train after freight train of every fixed wing jet we have.... where A-10 isn't even needed. B-1, B-52, F-15, 16, 18, etc ) where trashfire, AAA, small SAMs/MANPADs and medium battlefield SAMs can't reach something dropping LGBs, JDAM, CBU-105 (SFW BLU-108B ) etc. I can touch you, but you can't touch me, and we sit there overhead and club baby seals all day.... take our time and then move on to the next unit. We have already proved this. That you can sit there for a day or so and make an enemy mech/armor division nothing but an unorganized mob. If armor tries to move en masse, it becomes even more of an entertaining target to murder at our leisure ( SFW ). So here the A-10 isn't even needed.

The other part of Phase two is other needed interdiction and strategic bombing.

*Phase three ( CAS ) where..... in the case of response CAS... many times when there is a surprise. The GFAC needs support now. So... A B-1 in the JSTARS stack that is 10 minutes away, beats the poky A-10 that might be 20 minutes away..... Response time. As for the A-10 taking punishment...well, it has no choice. It is slow and wanders around and makes for a tasty target. However if the phase two people did their work, There aren't many super battlefield AFV mounted SAMs, or slick new tech AAA around. So that helps. A-10 is useful when you assign it to a specific operation and it is very very near. We don't need to be sending in large amounts of ground troops until fixed wing air has thinned the herd.
Apache has transformed greatly. In small numbers a nice net-centric night killer linked to JSTARs and UAVs for off sensor situational awareness. Impressive stuff. Forget all the crap of sounding "Boots and Saddles" in broad daylight like the morons did with the charge of the light brigade at Karbala '03, getting a whole Apache unit shot up with trashfire for no gain. For large organized enemy conventional units... thin the herd first.
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mark

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 17:23

The A-10 is being configured as we speak to be able to do the PGM mission if its required. I know from talking to grunts on the ground they would MUCH rather have an A-10 doing their CAS than a B-1 (or some other fast mover).
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snypa777

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 18:17

Guysmiley wrote:Couple of things-

Vulcan style cannons like the GAU-8 don't jam on a misfire. Fired (and dud) cases are fed into the back end of the ammo drum. An externally powered Vulcan could care less if the round actually fires or not. Hang-fires however (where the round fires but doesn't have enough power to exit the barrel) would cause all sorts of unpleasantness, such as the next round from that barrel exploding.

DU dust is toxic, but so is lead and tungsten. M-1 crews handle DU rounds all the time. The danger is from powdered DU that you can ingest or inhale. Also, solid DU doesn't "expand violently with contact to air". DU dust will ignite in air, but it is not anywhere near as pyrophoric as say, white phosphorous. That the dust will burn is a bonus for high velocity AP rounds.

Another feature of DU for AP is that to a certain extent it is "self sharpening", when deformed DU tends to fracture along the axis perpendicular to the deformation rather than mushrooming into a flat point.


Hangfire, misfire, well, my concern was for the crew that have the pleasure of sorting that out on the ground! Did I say solid DU ignites with air contact? Sorry, early morning post syndrome! When that high velocity DU penetrator rips through an armoured hull, the SOLID rod will disintegrate into particles, which "explode/ expand, when they come into contact with the interior space/air inside say, a tank.

Uranium, DU dust?? There is no PROVEN safe low level dose for radioactivity, ie, a level at which it will do no damge, so a big no thanks to DU dust for me! Radioactive material is even present on the outside of these rounds before use....in small amounts I have just read.

Anyway, I think the fewer radioactive rounds our armed forces use, the better. I didn`t realise the extent of use of DU. It is used in missile nose cones, all sorts of AP rounds, even radiation shielding...

Back to the topic, from which I digressed! I just think that a fast jet is far more versatile then the A-10, which can only be an attack aircraft. A fast mover can do Strike/CAS/CAP, if needed, be on station quicker, with tanking loiter for just as long, etc...just my two cents.
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elp

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 19:07

mark wrote:The A-10 is being configured as we speak to be able to do the PGM mission if its required. I know from talking to grunts on the ground they would MUCH rather have an A-10 doing their CAS than a B-1 (or some other fast mover).


Which is all well and good if it is there. However the A-10 will never win the response time race when someone is calling for unplanned support now. Anything that shows up with PGMs soon is better than something this slow showing up later, when a firefight is already decided. As for PGM ability being equal after the upgrades: Yes and no. In a low threat environ it isn't as important, but where an F-15, F-16, F-18, B-1, B-52 can drop from 35k~40k ft and hit what the GFAC needs yet not be at risk to medium, small SAMs etc .... the A-10 still will not be able to go high enough carrying a warload to get out of the reach of those threats. It depends on many things.

Where I really like the A-10 is if you just absolutely insist on having a combat jet in a bare base in indian country. I am real curious how wise it is to put an expensive JSF-B at a bare base in indian country in the DUST and lose them to a brown out, at landing or take off, or the logic of putting something this pricey in indian country where a barrage of mortars can take out a bunch of them. We shall see. I don't like jump jets ( safety-attrition ) however if we have a gun to our head and have to buy this gold plated pig, maybe the B model is worth the effort. I don't know. I do agree though that we can keep the A-10 around a very long long time, and it doesn't have an equal for it's niche market. I am more excited about A-10 having more sensor and PGM ability on it so that it can operate at night even better. In a PGM A-10 world I am curious what you will put on the center hardpoint. As all the gun debris/smoke will not be so good for a sensor pod, or even the uncapped sensor of an optical style PGM. Maybe some munitions people can clue us in how a PGM A-10 will be suited up.
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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 20:51

Referring back to the title: F-35 to replace A-10? Probably so, but I don't think the F-35 will perform the A-10s job as effectively. Let's face it, the A-10 is just in a class of its own and it's hard to compare it to other jets, fast-movers to be more specific. It's just something it wasn't designed to do. Therefore, there's no point in delving into its CAP abilities. It just wasn't made to patrol the skies for enemy fighters and using that as ammo against it is quite irrelevent. It's like putting a paraplegic in a ring with Mike Tyson. You've already set up the fight to win. Instead, the focus should be on what it was designed to do from the getgo. I agree with elp in its abilities to be deployed to rugged bases. The A-10 can withstand punishment from enemy fire as well as its surrounding environment. Not too many fighters can do that. We all know it's slow and hopefully, the plans to upgrade the engines will go through, but besides the 2(?) that were actually shot down in ODS, how many actually fell victim to SAMs/AA? And how many made it back safe after being hit? Correct me if I'm wrong, but even supersonic jets are in danger from SAMs and AA. If you take away forward bases, yes, the A-10 might not be as effective, but there is a reason why wars are strategized. The big boys pick and choose strategical locations to implement and take advantage the capabilities of their assets. The A-10 is an integral part of the Air Force with emphasis on the word "part". It's not the chosen one and it ain't gonna wipe out the whole entire insurgency, but it is an important piece to the big picture, especially in CAS. No, I'm not a diehard A-10 fanatic. Just wondering why it gets alot of flak (no pun intended :) ) when, in my opinion, it's done its job superbly throughout its history. Hopefully, the uprgrades will help with the capabilities it lacked.

I know there's no more threat from a mass tank invasion, but...

...you never know when you'll run into some. These photos were taken late last year by my good friend who is an LT and an M1A1 commander in the Army. He was leading his tank group this day when he spotted the ambush up ahead. The insurgents' tanks were dug in and began to attack. The M1s returned fire, but couldn't get close enough to get a good fix as there were foot soldiers waiting with anti-tank weapons, so they called in air support. The A-10s rolled in and, well, these were the results.
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1st_displaced_tank.jpg
2nd_displaced_tank.jpg
3rd_displaced_tank.jpg
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Last edited by goatmilk on 17 Apr 2006, 20:58, edited 1 time in total.
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elp

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 20:58

Great photos.
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swanee

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 22:19

Goat has pretty much hit the nail on the head. I think that the A-10 will be around for a while, doing what it does, nothing more. F-35 and F-16 are multirole, the can do it all really well, but not as well as the A-10, F-15, F-22, F-117, during each specific job. It is obvious that the airforce is looking at more multirole capability than single role, it saves money.

My dad on the A-16 program at the 174th. "I can get there fast (compared to the A-10) and I can drop some bombs, but I only get a couple passes and I can't hang around, and I'm not as accurate when I am going faster."

The global security website has a good summary of the engine upgrade requirements for the A-10. They basically want to be able to fly higher and faster with more payload. It's a 700 million dollar program, which will get about 3 gold plated raptors now, but it will keep the entire stainless steel hog fleet going for years to come. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... -specs.htm

Here is another good site about it to (PDF)
http://www.ngb.army.mil/ll/analysisdocs ... engine.pdf
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snypa777

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 22:59

swanee I had to laugh at the title in your jpegs - Displaced tanks- :lol:
They got beat up pretty bad. The A-10 is a CAS expert, one day we will have to do without it though. Will we see a replacement for the Hog? Ie, a similar aircraft. I doubt it. I have nothing against the Hog, honest.

You got it right by mentioning multi-role is the way it is going. Better weapons and tactics in the future may make fast movers "better" CAS prospects.
As an asset, the F-35 will be more valuable because of it's possible multiple roles.

I don't really hold with the premise that a mud mover can't be used as a fighter, witness the Harrier, a mud mover that performed miracles as a fighter. The Sea Harrier, with the addition of a superb radar (Blue Vixen) and AMRAAM, is a capable air to air machine. Why can`t the same be done with F-35?

Even the Tornado eventually became an excellent interceptor in the twilight of it`s career with ASRAAM/AMRAAM combo datalink, etc.. Most of it's life it sucked in the fighter role. See, you CAN polish a turd!

An F-35 with Meteor/ 9x/ASRAAM combo coupled with AESA and state of the art avionics tools could be player. Not F-22 class but for some nations it could do a job.... 8)
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jr1947

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Unread post17 Apr 2006, 23:22

elp, you hit that nail on the head with the Apache's, especially when it came to the gulf war. I worked on the T-700's and recall the playbacks on t.v. when the Apache squadrons were sitting there very low which was very easy because of the sand/air seperators built onto the jets, basiclly they can eat alot of sand without downing the chopper, anyway, back to them sitting there. when they got the word that eary morning within minutes Sadam's communication sytem was more or less non existant alot due to the roll the Apache's played, among others.

snypa777 - thanks for the info. on the munitions. Iknew the nose gun in the A-10's was extremely devastating but I never understood how it could practially melt the tanks. Now that you explained I can see why there's so much heat and it's effect.

swanee - the A-10's future I agree with you 100%. It may be reconfigured with different engines and obviously airframe transformations but over all that aircraft, I beleive will go down in history to be one of the best investments of all. I know the ground forces like to see them coming, especially when there's tanks around. Later people, chow time at my house. :wink:
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Unread post19 May 2006, 14:45

Granted, the old fighter axiom "Speed is Life" leaves the A-10 wanting but have any of you guys ever been on the ground where A-10's are working? They're silent until they pop up over your ridge and you're had. The A-10 outperforms the viper and every other fast mover in the CAS role because its slow and because its the pilot and his Mk1 Mod0 eyeballs are visual with the guys they are supporting. And yes, the moment for which the Hog was built, Fulda Gap, has been reduced to an academic coulda-been but does not render the A-10 irrelevant. As long as war involves men on the ground there will always be a need for a rugged CAS platform that can loiter over the battlespace.

Lastly, if not the A-10 then who's going to escort the PJ's into a combat rescue. You guys have heard of the Sandy role haven't you. That mission alone is reason to keep the A-10 in service. A ground hugging Pave Hawk ingressing to your location, nestled snugly between two daisy-chaining Hogs is a thing to behold.
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