Why is the F-35 replacing the A-10?

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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uclass

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Unread post28 Aug 2013, 23:41

I was talking about the bombs themselves not the actual plane with respect to weapon trajectory and fall time. The Caucasus are also very different to the Afghan Mountains from what I've seen. They seem steeper with more narrow valleys.

SEAD can only clear out so much. It won't get rid of things like ZSU-2-23 positions. The A-10 made a useful stepping stone between fast jets and helicopters and was often used in support of heli missions in the Balkans.

I'm not really sure you'd be sending in troops while the enemy still had its SAM batteries at play. MANPADS wouldn't be susceptible to HARM so I'm not sure where that point was going, although HARM could be qualified for the A-10, just as the Su-25T has ARMs. If an F-35 does have to get low, does it have surviveability against MANPADS?

Usually I'd think that some EA-18Gs would sanitize things first with CAP cover (F-22s/F-15s).

There just isn't a whole lot that A-10s can do that other things can't, but the other things do other stuff really well too.

Well that's why I think some people would rather the other things be doing other stuff. There is the actual weapons load itself to look at. The A-10 can carry more than most.

I agree that if I had to pick just one of the two it would be the F-35 but I'd rather have both and cut elsewhere.
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lookieloo

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Unread post28 Aug 2013, 23:50

uclass wrote:There is the cost aspect to this equation though. An AC-130J is great but they cost a 'bit' more than A-10s...
You're completely missing the point. Harvest HAWK isn't a specialized aircraft like the AC-130; it's a kit that can be rolled on and off of a regular KC-130 to provide loitering CAS capability in a low-threat environment when it's required without the need to maintain a separate aircraft/training infrastructure ALL THE TIME. When not needed, it can be stored in a shed while the KC-130s continue to be useful doing their normal thing.

Likewise, the USAF should think about shunting the A-10's COIN job onto a similar system, preferably one that would work on multiple types of aircraft.
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lookieloo

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Unread post28 Aug 2013, 23:59

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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 00:03

lookieloo wrote:
uclass wrote:There is the cost aspect to this equation though. An AC-130J is great but they cost a 'bit' more than A-10s...
You're completely missing the point. Harvest HAWK isn't a specialized aircraft like the AC-130; it's a kit that can be rolled on and off of a regular KC-130 to provide loitering CAS capability in a low-threat environment when it's required without the need to maintain a separate aircraft/training infrastructure ALL THE TIME. When not needed, it can be stored in a shed while the KC-130s continue to be useful doing their normal thing.

Likewise, the USAF should think about shunting the A-10's COIN job onto a similar system, preferably one that would work on multiple types of aircraft.

Say, a V-22. :twisted:
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aaam

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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 02:14

uclass wrote:There is the cost aspect to this equation though. An AC-130J is great but they cost a 'bit' more than A-10s, as do F-35s. Attacking from higher altitudes also has time-related problems in a moving fight and whilst an F-35/F-18 is conducting CAS, there's something else that they could have been doing instead.

To emphasize the point another way. Do we still need AH-64s or could the AC-130 and F-35 be used instead?


Neither the AC-130 nor he F-35 will really be an effective replacement for attack helos. Plus, you have the problem of daytime operations where USAF will pull the AC-130s out (ask the folks stuck on Roberts Ridge).
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aaam

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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 02:27

Something else to keep in mind:

AF never really wanted the A-10, tried to get rid of it until reality intruded in the form of Gulf War I, and hasn't been completely sure of what to do with it ever since (the re-engining program always seemed to get moved below the line) I wouldn't doubt that bureaucracy would not be that sorry to see it go. In any case, it' getting long in the tooth, so we're going to have to do something.
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lookieloo

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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 02:41

aaam wrote:AF never really wanted the A-10, tried to get rid of it until reality intruded in the form of Gulf War I...
... and now reality is intruding on sentimentalists in the form of smaller, cheaper, more-advanced PGMs that don't need to be delivered via low-'n-slow flying tanks.
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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 02:42

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XanderCrews

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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 03:39

I was talking about the bombs themselves not the actual plane with respect to weapon trajectory and fall time. The Caucasus are also very different to the Afghan Mountains from what I've seen. They seem steeper with more narrow valleys.


Thats neat, but its not enough to keep the A-10 in service.

SEAD can only clear out so much. It won't get rid of things like ZSU-2-23 positions.


It won't. which is why A-10s are encourage not to go low level.

The A-10 made a useful stepping stone between fast jets and helicopters and was often used in support of heli missions in the Balkans.


So its a useful helicopter escort?

I'm not really sure you'd be sending in troops while the enemy still had its SAM batteries at play.


Now one man can be a SAM. With increasing lethal mobile SAMs with more range, its not hard to have friendly troops miles from the SAMs but still be within their firing envelope. IADs is no joke.

MANPADS wouldn't be susceptible to HARM so I'm not sure where that point was going,


my point was low and slow was peachy when you only had to worry about AAA over europe, and casualties weren't a concern. now dumb grunts have missiles that can reach out and touch A-10s far more easily--and without the altitude to react to them and the speed to get away from them they are far more vulnerable to MANPADs. Which is why the USAF has changed tactics.

In Libya rumors of SA-18 Missiles put restrictions on A-10 operations (along with AC-130. and AV-8B) F-15Es F-16s, F-18s were still unrestricted. The best CAS aircraft in the world doesn't mean much when you can't fly it where the action is. Its a limited aircraft, with a limited role, even in limited wars.

Despite the rough and tumble nature of the A-10, its still an aircraft that has to be protected from getting in over its head. And it has before, multiple A-10s getting shot down over Iraq had commanders requesting smaller safer operations in 1991.

An F-35 can go downtown on day one, and you can load the bejuses out of it with bombs and hard points and it can support grunts on day 2, and then you can strip it back down to hunt airplanes on day 3 with internal AMRAAMs. And thats not getting into the EW and comm/intel capability.

although HARM could be qualified for the A-10, just as the Su-25T has ARMs. If an F-35 does have to get low, does it have surviveability against MANPADS?


It will be able to accelerate and break 400 knots, so yes.

Usually I'd think that some EA-18Gs would sanitize things first with CAP cover (F-22s/F-15s).Well that's why I think some people would rather the other things be doing other stuff.


like not babysitting A-10s?

There is the actual weapons load itself to look at. The A-10 can carry more than most.


Enough to justify it?

I agree that if I had to pick just one of the two it would be the F-35 but I'd rather have both and cut elsewhere.


The person in the know who I talked to said the F-35 could probably be canceled tomorrow and they would still retire the A-10. The money is that tight.

and its not so much a matter of the USAF "liking" or disliking the A-10. Technology has passed it by. I'm sure we can think of scenarios where an Iowa-Class battleship would be perfect as well.
Last edited by XanderCrews on 29 Aug 2013, 06:20, edited 1 time in total.
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smsgtmac

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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 04:17

disconnectedradical wrote:...I don't think the F-35 can perform CAS nearly as well as an A-10 would. This is no knock on the F-35, since an F-16 or F/A-18 also isn't nearly as good at CAS. I'd imagine that jets like F-16, F/A-18, and F-35 lack the loiter time of the A-10.


I categorically reject any assertion that the F-35 can't 'do' CAS as well as an A-10. It will do it <b> differently</b>. Loiter time is only needed if you don't kill the bad guys the first time you try or you don't have enough aircraft to begin with.

And because I got tired of addressing it every time anyone suggested retiring the A-10. I wrote it all down so I could just point to it in the future. If interested, start here: (http://elementsofpower.blogspot.com/201 ... -part.html)
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haavarla

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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 07:50

uclass wrote:I was talking about the bombs themselves not the actual plane with respect to weapon trajectory and fall time. The Caucasus are also very different to the Afghan Mountains from what I've seen. They seem steeper with more narrow valleys.

SEAD can only clear out so much. It won't get rid of things like ZSU-2-23 positions. The A-10 made a useful stepping stone between fast jets and helicopters and was often used in support of heli missions in the Balkans.

I'm not really sure you'd be sending in troops while the enemy still had its SAM batteries at play. MANPADS wouldn't be susceptible to HARM so I'm not sure where that point was going, although HARM could be qualified for the A-10, just as the Su-25T has ARMs. If an F-35 does have to get low, does it have surviveability against MANPADS?

Usually I'd think that some EA-18Gs would sanitize things first with CAP cover (F-22s/F-15s).

There just isn't a whole lot that A-10s can do that other things can't, but the other things do other stuff really well too.

Well that's why I think some people would rather the other things be doing other stuff. There is the actual weapons load itself to look at. The A-10 can carry more than most.

I agree that if I had to pick just one of the two it would be the F-35 but I'd rather have both and cut elsewhere.


The Threath enviroment just got a tad worse.
Russia has launched a New S-350E Vityaz Air defense system into the fray. Imagine this being exportet along all the other double digit missile defence systems.

It is basicly a medium missile range system, designed to work on the same network With the larger S-400 systems.

Hense, why i would pick the F-35 long before A-10.

http://vitalykuzmin.net/?q=node/513
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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 09:57

XanderCrews wrote:

The person in the know who I talked to said the F-35 could probably be canceled tomorrow and they would still retire the A-10. The money is that tight.


The former CSAF was very clear, to achieve significant cost reductions, reducing the size of the fleet isn't enough. You have to retire the entire fleet and it's entire logistical support infrastructure. Given the choice between retiring the B-1 or the A-10, I think retaining the former makes sense in the A2/AD world. Who knows? Maybe both will be canned.
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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 09:58

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uclass

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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 11:27

lookieloo wrote:
aaam wrote:AF never really wanted the A-10, tried to get rid of it until reality intruded in the form of Gulf War I...
... and now reality is intruding on sentimentalists in the form of smaller, cheaper, more-advanced PGMs that don't need to be delivered via low-'n-slow flying tanks.

There's no question that PGMs can do the job but $100k for some fool on a camel with an AK has questionable cost effectiveness.

Anyway I guess we'll only know the answer to this after the next 15 years. Not trying to pick a fight, just exploring the answers.
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Unread post29 Aug 2013, 11:46

uclass wrote:
lookieloo wrote:
aaam wrote:AF never really wanted the A-10, tried to get rid of it until reality intruded in the form of Gulf War I...
... and now reality is intruding on sentimentalists in the form of smaller, cheaper, more-advanced PGMs that don't need to be delivered via low-'n-slow flying tanks.
There's no question that PGMs can do the job but $100k for some fool on a camel with an AK has questionable cost effectiveness.
You know better than that. Unguided ordnance is rarely used downrange; and in a serious conflict, no one's going low enough to strafe.
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