F-35 to replace A-10?

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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Pat1

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Unread post05 Nov 2004, 19:11

Hi everyone,

Just curious to hear what people think about F-35 replacing the A-10. My impression is that the F-35 is a more suitable replacement for the F-16, but just as the F-16 and A-10 are two different aircraft, I don’t think the F-35 will have the amazing qualities the A-10 has in its element (low speed/low altitude regime).

Is this due to changing tactics that have made A-10’s obsolete or am I wrong about the performance qualities of the F-35?

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elp

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Unread post16 Nov 2004, 20:37

I have ranted on this already here............ so one more time won't hurt :lol:

( the old crew on the forum will now begin heckling and throwing stuff like beer bottles ( empty ) etc ) :lol:

-The A-10 is useful. Just less so. Maybe even a lot less so.

- Because it requires the Mk 1 eyeball so much, its frat recored from Desert Storm to OIF was little or no different. ( the only thing that scares Marines is when you tell them an A-10 is going to fill their job request :? ) Less of a problem recently by adding a LITENING pod to it to do some precision work. But if I am going to do that kind of work, I don't need a slow A-10. One of the big things in CAS is response time. 2 F-16's coming out of the stack to fill a CAS request will be there much faster than the pokey A-10. And oh by the way, they will be full NVG capable and have a pod that slews to the other sensors.

-The A-10 can take lots of damage and keep going. Hmmmm.. It got all that damage because it can't go very high with a full load of weps ( yeah that artwork on the plastic model box sure looks impressive ). and the weps it does have, like the gun and dumb iron and a few mavs requires going down and STAYING in a environment full of trashfire, AAA and small SAMS/MANPADS. All while an F-16 can drop a wep in near any weather from 30K and much higher and hit with a sub 4 meter CEP by request of the ground FAC or what ever. The A-10 mean while orbits slowly around at low level and gets shot to pieces by weps that can't touch the F-16 as described. If I am going to get up close and personal with a slow gun platform, I would prefer the AH-64 which, oh btw is now netcentric and can have target cues feed to its display by things like JSTARs before it even arrives and watch video from UAVs...and is a great night killer. Oh yeah, one more thing: When an F-16 comes down to strafe ( still needed these days ) it doesnt stick around, down fast --- gun --- up fast back on its purch out of ground threat range ( all my ranting here assumes large SAMS have been killed for the most part ). The A-10 doesnt have this option. More times than not, it is always in threat range from the usual suspects I mention. More: Because of its poor altitude performance, it aint going to be laser bombing from high like the other fixed wings. It is still in engagement range or near engagement range of stuff it has limited ability to avoid.

-The A-10 is a great tank killer. In its day yes, but at a cost ( re: the desert storm A-10s that were broken down and buried in the desert because they were so shot up ). Great for its day, but that day was a day where quanities of reliable PGMs and PGM shooters was limited. Today.... again without engaging trashfire, AAA, small SAMs/MANPADs, if there is a formation of tanks on the move, CBU-105 WCMD / SFW BLU-108b will kill off tanks by the bushel dropped from 30-40k and miles away. ( combat proven ). Tanks in fixed positions. Again, out of engagement of threats the A-10 has no option but to drive through.... tanks can now be plinked in near any weather from again..... 30-40k.

-A-10 by todays standards is over-rated. It is useful to get in and out of garbage fields in "Indian Country" ( I question the idea of basing them in an area where in one mortar attack, they can all get taken out in one roll of the dice a la Ben Hoa AB in Vietnam where in one night, we lost most of our night interdiction abilty, when a gaggle of B-57 night bombers got taken out on the base ) Plus all the supplies you have to fly in or worse....convoy in to make the unit of A-10s run. ( think about this all you follow_the_air_force_times_off_a_cliff_theologians who want to put the ultra expensive jump JSF in indian territory. ) We will see I suppose. COIN ops needs to be much thiner than we are running it anyway and I don't believe in dieing for dirt we dont intend to keep ( a complete dif subject :) )

-Well anyway, the A-10 is payed for. And if some good netcentric add ons are put on it where it can be yet another bandwidth eater :lol: to pass and recieve info in the netcentric world so it can aquire and kill better, I am all for it. Keep the jet and use it for our manned "indian country" bare base ops. Working with the AH-64, AC-130 gunship, UAVs / UCAVs, and fixed wing air with smaller and better PGMs, we are in spite of my endless annoying drone, on the right track more days than we are off.

-The goal shouldn't be to try and find a mission for JSF. The goal should be to cancel it outright. The money can best be used elsewhere.
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Unread post16 Nov 2004, 21:44

Thanks elp, I guess there is no need for A-10s in between the apaches and falcons for firepower. Looks like nowadays the A-10's survivability is to protect it from its own deficiencies. Too bad... I love that plane
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Unread post16 Nov 2004, 21:57

Well as usual I am harsh. We have them. Go ahead and fund the program healthy that gives it all weather precision weapons and I am sure it will be useful.
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Unread post16 Nov 2004, 23:35

Hey Elp, about that Marines CAS requirement.

Heres a D model Hornet from the Bats flying high level CAS over Fallujah. Swing Loaded for maximum flexability. You'll recognize the pod.
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Unread post17 Nov 2004, 17:39

Squints...... Not from that distance lol. I did read some stuff that they were looking at LITENING sometime back.... is that one??

Oh yeah, I forgot. And any F-18 is way more useful than an A-10 also. :D

Thats a nice verstile Fallujah load out he has there: 1 JDAM-38 ( 500lb ) , 2 GBU-12s and a Mav of some sort. WTG !
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Unread post17 Nov 2004, 17:53

That load is impressive. It would do the job of a full strategic night and day attack during WWII all on its own.
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Unread post17 Nov 2004, 20:04

Yeah Lightning II mounted centerline instead of in the intake rail like Nighthawk and ATFLIR. With all the ATFLIR going to the E/F groups the Legacy drivers made sure they had something better then Nighthawk to fill the time being. Its actually performing better then ATFLIR since it has the benefits of the kinks worked out already. Also the double Rack GBU-12 next to the GBU-38 was just a recent thing.
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Unread post17 Nov 2004, 20:56

The F-16 is a great airplane, but the A-10 still has a useful spot in the Air Forces order of battle. Everybody complains that its slow and flys to low, well thats what it was designed for. The A-10 can take huge amount of battle damage that would bring down a F-16/18 it was designed to get shot up and brought home. With all the high tech pods and pgms the F-16 outclasses the A-10 in the high altitude game. But if you read Combat Aircraft Vol 6 #2 a article about the A-10 said the Air Force is going to update its whole A-10 fleet up to a new A-10C version. A A-10 can operate from dirt roads or crumbleing runways, it was A-10s that set up FOLs in Iraq after Iraqi airfields were overrun to cut flying time over the battlefield a F-16/18 cannt do that. The F-16 didnt get into Iraq until the runways and taxi ways were repaired. The days of fighting huge tank units are over, but the A-10 is a low tech option to fight a low tech enemy hiding in caves or running around mountain tops. A-10s are stationed in Afganistan close to any fighting, F-16s have to fly in from outside the battle area. Im not trying to trash the F-16/18 Im just trying to say the A-10 is still valuable in todays Air Force, as for the F-35 replaceing the A-10 I dont think thats going to work.
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Unread post17 Nov 2004, 20:58

With Lawman's picture in mind I don't think the A-10 is the threshold to beat, but rather C/D models of the Hornet, or should I say the "Busy Bee"... oh, perhaps that is what the F-35 should be called?
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Unread post18 Nov 2004, 07:04

Am I mistaken, or can the A-10 loiter longer than most aircraft without refueling? I'd think that would be useful in itself. When combined with that wonderful cannon in the nose and some good hardware out on all those hard points, it seems like it would be a great Fast FAC and can still kill anything out there on the ground. Oh yeah, it's cheap, too!
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Lawman

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Unread post18 Nov 2004, 07:55

parrothead wrote:Am I mistaken, or can the A-10 loiter longer than most aircraft without refueling? I'd think that would be useful in itself. When combined with that wonderful cannon in the nose and some good hardware out on all those hard points, it seems like it would be a great Fast FAC and can still kill anything out there on the ground. Oh yeah, it's cheap, too!


It would make a lousy Fast Fac, for the simple reason that its not fast enough to be a fast FAC. Loaded an A-10 is going to be lucky to see the low 400's peaked out, and thats at altitude. Take away its forward remote bases and it is no longer an effective tool because by the time its in the fight, the Hornets, Vipers, and Beagles have already been up and down the area with better weapons.
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Unread post18 Nov 2004, 08:51

cheap shoulder-mounted SAMs would probably make you think twice before having a-10s loiter around battle. I know many have survived direct hits but how useful are those?
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Unread post18 Nov 2004, 16:44

Ground threats that can engage the A-10:

-Large SAMs
-Small Arms Fire ( trashfire )
-AAA ( anti-aircraft artillery )
-Small vehicle mounted SAMs like Roland, Rapier, SA-8, etc etc
-MANPADs SA-7s, and even more of a threat newer Ilgas and Chinese jobs.


Threats that can engage the F-14-18,* & **, B-52 etc when dropping near all weather PGMs like , JDAM, CBU-105 etc. and visual PGMs like the GBU-12:

Large SAMs


Now, once the enemy airpower is killed, and large SAMs beaten down. Its party time. As for loiter time, I'll take a B-52 with a LITENING pod, a handful of GBU-12s, JDAM, CBU-105, and in the near future when the whole bomb bay is smart bused, more of what I just mentioned. Plus in the future, Bundles of SDB, all dropped from 35k + through a 100mph jet stream and hitting the target within 4 meters or so in near any weather #. You see, A GFAC on the ground doesn't really give a sh!t what fills there job request, just as long as it gets killed. In order for an A-10 to be truely effective, it has to be on a very short leash. Waiting 15-20 minutes for one of those poky things to show up and the party could be long over already. In the future, UCAVs like the A-45 and A-47 ( oh yeah btw A-45 and A-47 are far more along in their abilty to fly and drop bombs than the J$F is ). Will provide even more sustained support of a GFAC. Interesting times we live in.

Having said all that. The A-10 needs to be around. It isnt the ultimate tool. It is just one of many useful tools in the bag. I like the idea of improving it, but to make it a uphigh laser bomber I dont think is too useful, especially when other fast fixed wings do that so much better. IMHO, I think if funds are ever put down for the JCM ( joint common missile ). A tri-sensor Maverick replacement that is smaller yet more capable. That a small dual sensor bomb kit ( both LGB /and GPS INS ) ( paveway IV or JDAM/Boeing is talking this up ) combined with JCM and you would have something that would make the Hog super great for its niche market. Any smart bomb stuff with the Hog now IMHO demands that ALL of the hardpoints are smart bused or why bother? The LITENING cant be on the centerline because of gun gas/debris so right now it takes up space. And again as mentioned, you start talking altitude and this thing can't haul big weight up high. And "high for it isn't much over 15k with a combat load. ( still in some of the engagement range of the usual suspects list of ground threats ). I don't know. I just wish people would keep the A-10 "real" and not over-hype it, while at the same time, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


*all of the threats above if strafing, but the fast movers don't hang around, they fly back up out of the engagement zone of most of the ground threats.

**Once you even spot visually, an F-14-18 making a dumb iron style CCIP , drop, the weapon is almost always already on its way, and the the jet is pulling off target.

#weather / bad vis, JDAM and SDB still hit the target.


A-10 frats
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Unread post27 Nov 2004, 04:17

I would think, that, the A-10's greatest enemies are the SA-16 Igla, the Strela(SA-9?), and ZSU-23 Shilka. I don't think the A-10 can accuratly find and engage any MANPAD, because it's like a Needle in the Haystack until it's shot at you. The A-10 may be tough but it doesn't mean a pilot can count on taking a certain number of SA-7s or SA-16s :lol: The Strela is Vehicle mounted, and thus, more vulnerable. I assume A-10 pilots use their AGM-65s on these. I'm sure one missile from the Strela means a burning A-10 heading to the ground. And the Shilka, if not noticed, will tear the A-10 to shreds. It has 4 23mm Cannons and is radar guided. It doesn't matter how tough the A-10 is, one good burst from it and we no longer have an A-10, but swiss cheese.

Large Sams I wouldn't think are much of a Threat, as the BUFFs silence those, do they not? Stuff like S-300(SA-10?) and the like. Small Arms as well, I dont think anything smaller than .50 cal would do much to the hog.

But still the A-10 pilot needs to be very careful not to get within range of those threats if possible. Also not to hit friendlies. The A-10 pilot also has his Maverick Seekerheads, not just Mk1 Eyeball...

Still, it's loiter time is a great asset, which means a ground commander can put them where needed, and later use the same aircraft again exactly where they need them. Close Air Support means Close, dropping an LGB from 10000+ is different...
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