The US Army Wants the F-35 for Close Air Support

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usnvo

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Unread post06 Apr 2019, 21:12

hythelday wrote:Remember when A-10As were completely unaffected by Iraqi AAA during Gulf War? Me neither.

By the way: Su-25, which the Russians obviously claim to be superior to A-10 in every possible way has a remarkable achievemnt - it is an aircraft that has been shot down in every conflict where ground troops had a slightest chance to shoot back. Soviets lost Frogfoots in Afghanistan, Iraqis against Iran, Russians in both Chechnian Wars and as recently as last year in Syria (to ground fire, not accident mind you), Azerbaijan durind Karabakh conflict, both sides during 2008 Russo-Georgian War and Ukranians lost several during the short period they flew against "separatist" air defences. Ivory Coast inventory is no more, but that incident is quite uniqe. Internet tells me that Chad and Macedonia also used Su-25s in combat, but those must have been some one-way fights if they haven't lost any.

Low and slow is just not worth it.


But the SU-25 is probably the only plane to have the distinction of attacking the factory where they were produced!
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usnvo

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Unread post06 Apr 2019, 21:17

mixelflick wrote:Back before we had better options, the A-10 was IT. It was designed for NATO for use in the Fulda Gap, and no doubt would have taken losses there. I don't think anyone was under the illusion about this - and heavy losses at that.


Everyone seems to forget that the Germans planned to fly the same close air missions as the A-10, into the same air defenses, but using Alpha Jets.
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usnvo

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Unread post06 Apr 2019, 21:28

kimjongnumbaun wrote:The US Army is making a large push towards fires as being their main support for future combat operations. The general belief in all my field grade courses is now pushing this and working under the assumption that we can no longer count of air dominance within a quick time frame. In part it's due to emerging aerial threats, but also because IADS have become so lethal.


I get the same impression. Organic fires have always been preferred and are generally faster as well. COIN (well actually FID but I have largely given up trying to correct people on that) places a premium on CAS solely as an economy of force effort. What it really sounds to me is that the Army really wants Interdiction behind the Forward Edge of the Battlefield from the USAF as opposed to CAS. That and counter-battery of distant, fleeting targets like long range artillery and rocket launchers. That is something the F-35 will do infinitely better than the A-10.
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wrightwing

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Unread post07 Apr 2019, 02:01

boilermaker wrote:Triangulating for fire is not close air support. If that was, then Joint Stars is an A10...

A better comparison would be the F35 triangulating mission to that of the OV-10.

There will always will be 3 methods of acquisition of a target, the three merged being the best assurance of accuracy and verification: visual, electronic, indirect/deadReckon inertial.

The F35cannot replace the A10for direct fire with , what, 100 rounds of ammo?

While waiting for a platform that can truly do all three, combined arms tactics using both the F35 and A10 together will remain du jour, and it would behove generals to not rewrite battle taskforce strategies to fit the marketing pretenses of Lockheed and DOD bean counters.

It would be more productive if people proposed to replace the A10 with a A-UAV alternative directed by a F-35 or ground forces, for instance.

Close air support is a mission, not a tactic. Neither the A-10 nor the F-35s primary CAS weapon system is the cannon. The F-35 has a larger payload for PGMs than A-10s, as well as the ability to 3rd party target enemy forces with MLRS/HIMARS, ATACMS/Deep Strike, tube artillery, etc....
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mixelflick

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Unread post07 Apr 2019, 13:06

usnvo wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Back before we had better options, the A-10 was IT. It was designed for NATO for use in the Fulda Gap, and no doubt would have taken losses there. I don't think anyone was under the illusion about this - and heavy losses at that.


Everyone seems to forget that the Germans planned to fly the same close air missions as the A-10, into the same air defenses, but using Alpha Jets.


Your point being?
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usnvo

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Unread post07 Apr 2019, 23:34

mixelflick wrote:
usnvo wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Back before we had better options, the A-10 was IT. It was designed for NATO for use in the Fulda Gap, and no doubt would have taken losses there. I don't think anyone was under the illusion about this - and heavy losses at that.


Everyone seems to forget that the Germans planned to fly the same close air missions as the A-10, into the same air defenses, but using Alpha Jets.


Your point being?


Well, given that the Alpha Jet was essentially an armed trainer, it pretty much shows that CAS is a mission, not a platform, and you don't need a heavily armored aircraft to do it. It also demonstrates the relative perceived danger nations expected between a CAS mission being conducted near the forward edge of the battlefield versus an Interdiction mission where you could expect much more robust air defenses. Finally, given that it could only carry a gun pod, and not one like the GPU-5 30mmx173 one but only a 27mm, it shows that guided missiles, specifically the Maverick, was expected to be the real tank killer. Something that has been proved over and over by the A-10.
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Unread post08 Apr 2019, 01:10

In the Iraq war, as most will know. The F-111 was the tank killer. The A-10 was driven out of the battlespace during Kosovo. It really is political with good "shoot em up" videos that keep the A-10 in the air. It is not survivable in a modern battlespace.

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military ... 11-pgw.htm
The F-111F night "tank plinking" strikes using 500 lb. GBU-12 laser-guided bombs were particularly deadly. On February 9, for example, in one night of concentrated air attacks, forty F-111F's destroyed over 100 armored vehicles. Overall, the small 66-plane F-111F force was credited with 1,500 kills of Iraqi tanks and other mechanized vehicles.

144 A-10s 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles
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usnvo

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Unread post08 Apr 2019, 02:44

optimist wrote:In the Iraq war, as most will know. The F-111 was the tank killer. The A-10 was driven out of the battlespace during Kosovo. It really is political with good "shoot em up" videos that keep the A-10 in the air. It is not survivable in a modern battlespace.

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military ... 11-pgw.htm
The F-111F night "tank plinking" strikes using 500 lb. GBU-12 laser-guided bombs were particularly deadly. On February 9, for example, in one night of concentrated air attacks, forty F-111F's destroyed over 100 armored vehicles. Overall, the small 66-plane F-111F force was credited with 1,500 kills of Iraqi tanks and other mechanized vehicles.

144 A-10s 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles


Even then, the vast majority of tanks destroyed by A-10s during the war were done so with Maverick missiles. Even in the most celebrated action of the A-10 in Desert Storm, where 2 A-10s destroyed 23 tanks during three sorties in a day, all were located and virtually all were destroyed with Maverick.
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Unread post08 Apr 2019, 04:21

usnvo wrote:Finally, given that it could only carry a gun pod, and not one like the GPU-5 30mmx173 one but only a 27mm, it shows that guided missiles, specifically the Maverick, was expected to be the real tank killer. Something that has been proved over and over by the A-10.


Indeed. There was a coloring book telling A-10 pilots where to aim with their gun against T-62's : https://imgur.com/gallery/fd4sK

It was only effective against the rear and the sides of the hull (and the gun's barrel should you be lucky enough to hit it). The top is probably vulnerable too, but that would necessitate a pretty steep dive. So already against the T-62, the GAU-8 wasn't effective from all angles, and you can honestly question whether the T-72's and T-80's got better armored sides able to shrug off the 30mm shells. Especially since this paper reports a higher-than-specified dispersion and an estimated penetration of 76mm at 300m : https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... rban_areas
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Unread post08 Apr 2019, 11:21

optimist wrote:In the Iraq war, as most will know. The F-111 was the tank killer. The A-10 was driven out of the battlespace during Kosovo. It really is political with good "shoot em up" videos that keep the A-10 in the air. It is not survivable in a modern battlespace.

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military ... 11-pgw.htm
The F-111F night "tank plinking" strikes using 500 lb. GBU-12 laser-guided bombs were particularly deadly. On February 9, for example, in one night of concentrated air attacks, forty F-111F's destroyed over 100 armored vehicles. Overall, the small 66-plane F-111F force was credited with 1,500 kills of Iraqi tanks and other mechanized vehicles.

144 A-10s 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles


And the F-111 carried... no gun.

One of the most frustrating and ridiculous displays of ignorance was the late Senator John McCain discussing the A-10/CAS with USAF leadership. No matter how hard the USAF tried, McCain would hear nothing of other USAF platforms (with no gun, B-1B, B-52, Predator, Reaper etc) providing effective close air support. Didn't want to hear it. Said something to the effect of, "Don't insult my intelligence" when offered CONCRETE NUMBERS on how these gunless CAS PLATFORMS provided effective CAS. Absolutely refused to listen to cold, hard numbers refuting the fact something (anything) other than the A-10 could do the job.

He's John McCain dammit. Flew A-4 Skyhawks and was shot down over N. VIetnam 60 years ago and was held as a POW for years. So he knows better...
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Unread post08 Apr 2019, 12:14

When you become a powerful politician you can allow your beliefs and biases to become law regardless of facts.
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Unread post08 Apr 2019, 14:13

optimist wrote: The A-10 was driven out of the battlespace during Kosovo.


In combat over Kosovo there were two A-10s damaged and none lost (USAF losses were one F-117 and one F-16C piloted by the now General David Goldfein). There is no evidence A-10s were "driven out of the battlespace".
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Unread post08 Apr 2019, 16:08

Maybe not driven out, but the raison d'être of the A-10, flying low and slow, was basically nonexistent. That's because there was a 15,000ft altitude restriction, later lowered to 5,000ft over Kosovo. And even at 5,000ft, visual identification with the Mk1 eyeball was problematic ; see note 97, p.49 (or p.33 of the PDF) : https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... 65.ch3.pdf

It bears noting here that the highly effective GAU-8 30mm cannon carried by the A-10 saw use only 156 times in Allied Force because of the extreme slant range that was required by the 5,000-ft altitude restriction (comments on an earlier draft by HqUSAFE/SA, April 6, 2001). At that range, the principal problem for today’s A-10 pilots is not hitting the target; it is seeing the target. At a 30-degree dive angle from 5,000 ft, the slant range to target is 10,000 ft.


Since flying at medium altitude basically puts the A-10 out of range of AAA and MANPADS, both of which have a destructive power making the A-10's armor potentially relevant over other aircraft, you'd now have an aircraft not optimized for that kind of flight regime and at a disadvantage against harder hitting SAMs, especially since the threat wasn't completely suppressed as there were SAM shots every night ; see note 98 :

Glenn Burkins, “Serbs Intensify Effort to Down Allied Warplanes,” Wall Street Journal, May 28, 1999. In the second instance, the ABCCC drew on instantly accessible satellite photos and maps maintained in a National Imagery and Mapping Agency computerized database to identify potential obstacles, such as power lines, in order to plot a safe course for the rescue helicopter that recovered the downed pilot. Bill Gertzand Rowan Scarborough, “Inside the Ring,” Washington Times, May 19, 2000. Although there was definitely a pronounced increase in enemy SAM activity during the night of May 27 in an apparent effort to down a NATO pilot at any cost, it bears stressing that there were no nights during Allied Force without at least a few SAM shots, approximately 35 nights with 10 or more shots, and at least 13 nights with 20 or more shots. The highest number of shots observed (significantly higher than the number observed on May 27) was on the night of the F-16 loss. Overall, enemy SAM activity levels tracked closely with allied air attack levels. Low-observable and cruise-missile-only strikes prompted little enemy IADS reaction, whereas trolling for SAMs with F-16CJs and CGs and large conventional attack packages always generated a proportionately large enemy reaction. This trend remained consistent throughout the air war from start to finish. Comments on an earlier draft by Hq USAFE/IN, May 18, 2001
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Unread post08 Apr 2019, 16:09

aussiebloke wrote:
optimist wrote: The A-10 was driven out of the battlespace during Kosovo.
... There is no evidence A-10s were "driven out of the battlespace".


Maybe not published, but this applies ... unless ... an opinion is formed by one who was or knew those who actually managed the strike packages .... among which some posters here are included ...

But I already went down this path over - choosing A-7's over A-10's in Grenada, and that was without value ... so I'll pass...

And you can think what you wish ... "driven out" apparently being a very subjective statement...

MHO,
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Unread post08 Apr 2019, 20:13

blindpilot wrote:
And you can think what you wish ... "driven out" apparently being a very subjective statement...



I assumed "driven out" was used to convey the common meaning of the phrase:

"to cause or force (someone or something) to leave".

If it was intended to have some special meaning that I am unaware of I would appreciate if optomist or blindpilot or someone else 'in the know" would explain it to me please.
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