Schwartz Shoots Down COIN Plane

Schwartz Shoots Down COIN Plane

The Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, shot down his own idea of a light attack aircraft for irregular wars today, saying existing aircraft can perform any and all close air support missions that a new, light strike fighter could. On top of that, he averred there is no need for a smaller cargo lifter either, he said.

“There is a not a need, in my view, for large numbers of light strike or light lift aircraft in our Air Force to do general purpose force missions,” Schwartz said, speaking at a Center for National Policy sponsored event in Washington, D.C. “With the platforms that we already have in our force structure, and our capabilities, we can service any close air support requirement. It’s as simple as that.” He could not envision replacing existing F-15, F-16 and A-10 aircraft with a light strike aircraft.

Schwartz did identify an existing capability gap: an aircraft that can be used to train nascent foreign air arms. It should be something in the U.S. Air Force inventory, so that foreign pilots become familiar with it and then foreign nations are encouraged to buy the same aircraft in some quantities.

To that end, in 2012, the Air Force will hold a competition to buy 15 light strike and surveillance aircraft, probably propeller driven, he said. But these aircraft would be used as trainers, to build “partner capacity” with foreign air forces, specifically those in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The idea is a modest cost platform, one that can perform the light strike mission or surveillance, as the case may be, and do so that can be readily assimilated and operated within the means of our army air corps counterparts.”

Last summer, the Air Force requested aircraft manufacturers provide designs for a Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) aircraft. Many had speculated this meant the Air Force would be adding a LAAR air wing. Schwartz made clear that is not the case. The LAAR aircraft will be used as trainers, owned and operated by the Air Force, to train foreign pilots in low end missions.

In March, Joint Forces Command’s Gen. James Mattis, told the Senate Armed Services Committee, that the military needs a light fighter for irregular warfare. “Today’s approach of loitering multi-million dollar aircraft and using a system of systems procedure for the approval and employment of airpower is not the most effective use of aviation fires in this irregular fight,” he said.

A recent RAND report, titled “Courses of Action for Enhancing U.S. Air Force Irregular Warfare Capabilities,” said the service should stand up a dedicated COIN air wing equipped with about 100 of the currently undefined “OA-X” light attack aircraft. Such an aircraft would greatly facilitate partnering with Iraqi and Afghan aviators, while lowering the costs and reducing excessive flying hour demands for high-performance aircraft such as the F-16.

Additionally, as “partners are more likely to want aircraft that U.S. forces are flying to great effect,” building and operating a COIN aircraft would simultaneously boost support for ground troops while “whetting the appetite of partners who are prematurely looking to acquire high-performance jet aircraft such as the F-16.”

The U.S. Navy’s new Irregular Warfare office, under its “Imminent Fury” project, has been eyeing the Brazilian Super Tucano turboprop to provide close air support to special operations forces.

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Who’s surprised by this? I guess they prefer to fly their already aging fleet into the ground.

This is absolutely ridiculous. The last tactical mile has been consistently cited as a problem by the Army. We see tactical airlift as an ongoing and continuing to grow need in active theaters. As for a light COIN aircraft the exceptional performance of low/slow prop aircraft in Vietnam should be an indicator. They reduce casualties and have outstanding loiter time. This is budget and mission protectionism at its worst. Fire Schwartz…next war-itis.

Good Morning Drake !,

All this is saying is that the USAF has no intentions of going below 10,000 feet.

Cancel just one of the useless F-35’s and you cold buy a whole Wing of these at about $6 million each.

The War on Terrorists is just not the kind of war the AF wants to fight so it is taking a pass. It is interesting to note how many of the AF who have died in the war zones have been other then in combat. That is DoD media code for suicides.

Byron Skinner

Problem is that he is way off, A10’s and helo gunships are the only close support we ever got, the F15 and 16’s rarely come down low enough to really see who they are hitting and cant hang around long enough to provide real cover support. Plus I dont ever remember reading anything that said they would replace existing aircraft 1 for 1, it has always said it would be a new wing group.

Problem is that he is way off, A10’s and helo gunships are the only close support we ever got, the F15 and 16’s rarely come down low enough to really see who they are hitting and cant hang around long enough to provide real cover support. Plus I dont ever remember reading anything that said they would replace existing aircraft 1 for 1, it has always said it would be a new wing group.

A new ‘foreign’ trainer, following the success of the old A-37 in South America, would be nice. May even help to regain some of the lost influence ‘down south’ and elsewhere.

Let’s face it, F-35 is a higher priority for the USAF and will all the cost over-runs and price increases they don’t know how they will pay for those let alone a new bomber, a 6h gen’ fighter, a Jammer…

In oher words we are so over-extended that we can pay $ to eventually save $.

As much as I would love to see the A-1 Skyraider in the air again — radial engine roaring — the price of an aircraft is only a fraction of the actual cost. We would need logistics, spare parts, training, etc. We have the A-10, let’s use it.

As always, Byron just wants to stop others from conducting a reasoned conversation — claims that the A-10s fly above 10k feet! The AF has the A-10 and UAVs that fly under 10k constantly, and a lot of the F-15Es go well below that level.

Oddly, with the bountiful DoD budget, we can’t afford a COIN aircraft. We are spending too much on UAVs and the F-22/35. We spend on the UAVs because we need them, we spend on the F-22/35 to have the next generation of aircraft (that are restricted to airshows since there are too few of them to risk losing one!).

Well, I am here to trash the military establishment,as usual. This is classic stupidity. Wasting a F15 and F16 for CAS…did this guy smoke crack or what?! Why on earth would you want to expose a multi million dollar high speed jet fighter to throw some bombs on an enemy who hides at the sight and sound of these aircraft?Thats not to mention exposing pilots and weapons systems operators to ground fire. Gee, saving money for that over hyped piece of trash F35 seems to be Gates and his hand picked staff of American troop assassins want to do. We waste billions on UAV’s that can be jammed and made worthless, we waste billions on a fighter program that is already out classed by current generational fighters, and we want to cut this, and not add that. These douche bags need to have their head removed from their arse, because in all their stupidity, they are going to cost mre lives that we will save with all this hi tech crap that the pentagon wants to throw money at.

Who’s surprised by this? I guess they prefer to fly their already aging fleet into the ground.

The problem is this actually is just the emergence of a future of desperate attempts to preserve the rated officer billets that are being supplanted by the incoropration of remote sensing/operations in the present and future development of electronic-centric and pilotless platforms. Just as a non-rated sensor operator can readily be the hero in a combat fire-fight, a rated officer is not necessary to be an effective Air Force Chief of Staff; change the federal statutes to that effect. Example: McPeak bastardized the system and actaully held the position of SecAF in violation of our nation’s constitution, statutes and guiding principles; and not a single rated officer in the entire DoD raised the flag of inpropriety or illegal precedence.

Let’s face it, F-35 is a higher priority for the USAF and will all the cost over-runs and price increases they don’t know how they will pay for those let alone a new bomber, a 6h gen’ fighter, a Jammer…

In oher words we are so over-extended that we can pay $ to eventually save $.

Sounds to me like the Air Force is opting out of the low, slow brawling kind of fight the grunts are engaging in.……I’ll go with General Mattis on this one. He like to brawl.

Semper Fi,

the problem with the chairforce is the fighter-jock mentality. The higher ups actually wanted to equip and F-22 and F-35 with jammers to fly at 500 ft (yes 500ft) to jam IED’s.

Props sicken the jet crowd. Heck give the planes to the Army. We let Warrants fly. We’d actually put radios and sensors to let the grunts TALK to the pilots with out a JTAC.

The air force needs to give up CAS. Let the army have the planes it needs.

Bluntly, Schwartz did not suddenly fall in love with the F-35. He is a transport pilot with a spec ops background so not from the same crowd that gave us “F-22 or bust.” This is the result of two events: 1.) F-35 program going south and Gates telling the Air Force they will be the ones holding the bag not USN or USMC. 2.) OMB telling DoD, “Guess what? Our projections are showing increased deficits. Must be some new entitlement program or something. Well, you need to cut your budget.” So, good bye to the COIN plane and small transport. And from Gates at Navy League: good bye to carriers, Aegis ships, SSBNs and SSNs. He also said good bye to EFV. Army cut NLOS-LS and more Army systems to follow (think JLTV). Under the cover of accountability, we’re getting a budget cut. Would be nice to have the truth because quite frankly I think that Schwartz probably believes in the COIN plane and light transport aircraft.

I would agree with the general consensus and that is let the Army do CAS. I still believe that the A10 or something similar is better than a light weight COIN aircraft. A lightweight aircraft cannot carry the necessary weapons, systems and armor to be useful AND survice anything more than a very, very low threat environment. Being a grunt, I would rather not have to FRAGO from the mission I am outside the wire for to all of a sudden go all Black Hawk Down style because the light weight CAS aircraft could not take a hit. Just my thoughts.

Smart move on his part. Operation: USELESS DIRT wars provide no real defense for the U.S.

And well, if they were not going to include a new-build OV-10 (Boeing idea) then it is a useless exercise. At least the OV-10 can do a whole bunch of things besides being a shooter and has other real value in COIN. A turbo-prop trainer not so much.

Buy the time you load up all of the requirements on the little fighter they wanted… ejection seat — SPS (self protection systems. EO pod… then they will want a LINK 16 etc, you will end up with something gross.… that.… well we already have A-10s.

This is one of those times I hate being right. How in the hell is 100 airplanes a “large number”?

Plain as day, this is really about that ever ballooning F-35 budget. As long as that program is gobbling up AF, Marine, and Navy dollars, the chance of a light mudfighter getting funded are about nil.

Good Evening Folks,

On the subject of the A-10 that Charles Houston is talking about about. I went back to my notes to see how valuable the A-10 is to the Air Force. The numbers were from The USAF Air Power Summary of 13 April 2010. These numbers are for both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On April 13, 2010 a total of 9 fixed wing combat sorties for “Combat Tactical Close Air Support” missions were flown.

5 by F-15E’s
2 by A-10’s
1 by F-18C
1 by MQ-9A

Two things are quite apparent by these numbers. First the USAF doesn’t put a lot of assets into the “Combat Tactical Close Air Support Mission” and they only have a hand full of aircraft in the combat theaters dedicated to that mission. The two by the A-10 was most likely by the same plane and more then likely they were flown by a National Guard pilot. The F-18C was most likely a Marine sortie.

On April 13, 2010 eight pilots at most went up, it was a typical day. The number of active ground combat operations in progress that day is unknown but I think it is a reasonable assumption not many were covered by “eyes and guns” in the sky.

Charles this is reasoned conservation. You are relaying on unfounded assumptions that you wish were correct but are simply not supported by the data. As Sec. Gates himself said the Air Fore is not doing it’s part in these wars. I would suggest that the Air Force chain of command has not yet gotten the word.

Byron Skinner

Can we fire two USAF Chief’s of Staff in a row. This guy is an idiot and has no clue how to fight a war. Next he’ll want to send over the F-22s to strafe in Afghanistan.

BOOMER, Is that from your view point in the back of a tanker? 3 hours of loiter time not enough for a CAS mission? Strafe down to 300 ft not low enough for you? What is real cover support to you? And by the looks of your lack of accurate terminology, I’d make and educated guess you really have no clue what you’re talking about. Do us all a favor and stop implying you have any clue what the factual truth data is about what’s going on over in Afghanistan.

The current Air Force does not want to provide close air support..The only platform in their inventory that can accomplish this mission is the A-10 Wart Hog.. And it is viewed as an unwanted step child. If it were up to their command, they would get rid of this bird..It is incomprehenible that over the last twenty plus years, the Air Force has been unable to define their mission. It is a well known secret that low and slow is not one of them.

The fact that you imply the Army would want to get rid of the JTAC cracks me up. Guess you don’t think you’ve soaked up enough frats to warrant the role of the JTAC.

The AF and CAS has been a rubbing point for a long time. I agree they should either shit or get off the pot.

SOMETHING is going on up top because everyone acting REALLY weird lately…fishing for money from existing projects…cutting off funds without a real review to the operational impact of those cuts. The closest metaphor I can think of is “checking the couch cushions for change to pay the power bill”.

The decisions are crazy…shaking down programs for money, then at the same time making policy changes that will cost a large amount of money (women on submarines).

That’s like not eating for a week in order to eat at a 5 start restaurant, when you could have just bought a bunch of cheap burritos and had something to eat the whole week (and money to spare for a 4 star restaurant).

I’m not going to blame the Pentagon for this…I have the feeling they’re not driving the car anymore.

It’s someone above DoD and that person(s) seems to have the attention span of a gnat, mindless knee jerk reflexes and lacks the strategic planning ability to coordinate and execute a boy scout jamboree nevermind training and equipping America’s fighting forces.

Stand by for more craziness.

“The current Air Force does not want to provide close air support..The only platform in their inventory that can accomplish this mission is the A-10 Wart Hog.”

This statement has no basis in fact. The JTAC provides most of the killing decison. The joint aircraft be that Navy Marine or USAF is just there to provide the weapon. And… The JTAC PGM thing has been doing fine for CAS since the beginning of OUD1 and OUD2.

If a JTAC has a lot of work to do for dirt wars.. a B-1 bomber with a SNIPER-XR pod that has lots of PGMs and gas can show up and not bingo out or winchester, and can hang around until the JTAC is happy. And…for any 911 calls, a B-1 or fast jet gets there a lot quicker for the JTAC where time is lives.

So let me get this straight. First Gates, Schwartz, Conley, and the other assorted clowns kill the F-22 and our best chance of maintaining air dominance for the next 10 years. The justification? The plane is too expensive and can’t help the troops. And oh by the way we have such a better deal with the F-35.

Now a year later with the F-35 going for up to 158 million each, and with our troops in a world of hurt with the Taliban, these same clowns won’t let our military buy COIN aircraft that could actually make a difference to the boots on the ground.


Only thing worse than an idiot reporter is an idiot blogger.


Where do you get your facts? 1 May Airpower summary, 85 CAS sorties, 45 ISR sorties, 168 airlift sorties, 47 refueling sorties, 28 casevac sorties and thousands of airman filling in on the ground doing jobs the Army is supposed to be doing.

Aircraft daily doing low altitude show of forces, strafing and supporting ground troops.

You can bash the AF for a lot of things, but you ought to atleast get your facts straight.

Take a closer look at the Air Power Summary from 13 April and scroll down to the bottom. Global Security has the whole thing (http://​www​.globalsecurity​.org/​m​i​l​i​t​a​r​y​/​l​i​b​r​a​r​y​/​n​e​w​s​/​2​0​1​0​/​0​4​/​m​i​l​-​1​0​0​4​1​4​-​a​f​n​s​0​1​.​htm). A total of 83 CAS sorties were flown that day in Afghanistan alone and an additional 22 in Iraq. ISR sorties in both theaters amounted to 31 and 29 respectively. Mobility aircraft flew 166 sorties. The total comes out to at least 331 combat and combat-support sorties flown by fixed-wing aircraft, most of which are likley USAF assets.

The nine sorties that you count were the nine that public affairs chose to sanitize and include in their release.

Not seeing any change here. General Schwartz has been consistent that the USAF needed a training wing for security assistance work. In other words, to develop the capacity of other countries, not for the USAF. It would fly an armed trainer that could do light attack and ISR as well because that was how many of the countries use their trainers. Wishful thinking or the sky is falling mentality has morphed what he has consistently called for into a full blown CAS aircraft for the USAF.

Simple, let the Army field their own COIN aircraft…like that’s ever gonna happen.

Skyraiders are awesome. A guy owns one not far from here and I see it fly all the time. The only concern I have with a propeller driven aircraft for ground attack is operation at altitude like in Afghanistan. Other than that, I would love to see attack aircraft come full circle.

“The only platform in their inventory that can accomplish this (CAS) mission is the A-10 Wart Hog.“
Counterparts, have you ever heard of the names “Specter” or “Spooky?” Air Force has made AC-130 platforms a priority by dedicating acquisition, sustainment, and manpower resources to these. Additionally, AFSOC has shown unique adaptability by putting precision strike packages on MC-130Ws to support the ground fighter. What’s more, every available gunship is at the beck and call of the JTF commander.

Not to mention the success of the T-37 to F-5 transition for many foreign pilots trained by the USAF.

Make that T-38.


Sorry Champ,

I was directly involved with the Air Force when their obsession was to be the “Missle Masters” of the world. CAS was and still is a a four letter word..

Why do we need a NEW airframe for COIN? Why not bring back the OA-37 Dragonfly. That seems an almost perfect airframe for this type of mission. 7.62 minigun in the nose and lots of hardpoints under the wings and belly. Great for light strike. BRING IT BACK.

the problem within the air force is men , yes men . during Viet Nam or Korea wars slow flying aircraft did an outstanding job with limited losses, but they were manned by real pilots.Today all those folks wanrt to be is no risk flying high “weapon system ” operators, no a combat plane is driven by a motivated “PILOT“
The skyraider, the A 10 are fantastic airplnes and can do the job.
aerospace industry and financing banks don t like them : they are too cheap and that is the point.

> saying existing aircraft can perform any and all close air support missions that a new, light strike fighter could.

it wasn’t that they could do something unique

it was that they could do it CHEAPLY

cheaper planes and much lower fuel usage would enable us to put more bombs on target while preserving our fast mover fleet for ‘real’ missions

So, they dont need a Super Tucano or maybe a KC-390?…well…we have the entire world to sell them.

Maybe they dont liked the fact that we wont buy any Super Hornet…

Err, would you cut down on the jargon a little so we amateurs can get your point.

Counter-insurgency operations and the Air Force in the same sentence. That is humorous.

To me, this is symptomatic of the top-down decision to weaken US capabilities — - not only to fight low intensity wars, but also to defend the US against the growing lomg term threat from China and a resurgent Russia.

When the President can stipulate that our ballistic missile submarines will be “de-mirved,” (removing two of the three warheads from each missile on a SSBN), he has effectively reduced our retaliatory strike capability by two thirds. Nice.

Now, the word comes down, via Gates and the Service Chiefs, that protecting the Nation is no longer a principal national policy.

To many dollars are going to both the Air Farce and Navy for extra superiority that isn’t useful. Squadrons of 5th generation fighters that do nothing for us in the current conflict and 11 carrier groups when no other country has more than one or two? C’mon! Its time we recapitalized on the forces, and support to forces, that are really fighting and winning for the country.

As much as I would like to see the Army get authority for the mission, I doubt they have the funds or the personnel to suddenly stand up the mission any more than the USAF.

Their are concept plans existing for a Tactical Tiltrotor (TTR), a small high-speed tiltrotor, bristling with weapons. It would be perfect for the COIN mission.

Sorry, you just don’t get our chief’s motivations. He is not a next war-itis man — he has consistently challenged the F-22 crowd as well as the gold plating of the acquisition community. It is his insistence on cutting cost that has led to this decision. The AF cannot afford to buy new aircraft that we don’t need right now — and we are not going to be in this war forever. If you want to look at the APUC only of the aircraft you are missing the big picture — programs cost money, not planes and every program has fixed overhead — it is the overhead that is killing us: government + contractor costs. I spent some time with NS this week, and he is feeling the weight of acquisition bloat, not struck with budget protectionism.

Sorry, you just don’t get our chief’s motivations. He is not a next war-itis man — he has consistently challenged the F-22 crowd as well as the gold plating of the acquisition community. It is his insistence on cutting cost that has led to this decision. The AF cannot afford to buy new aircraft that we don’t need right now — and we are not going to be in this war forever. If you want to look at the APUC only of the aircraft you are missing the big picture — programs cost money, not planes and every program has fixed overhead — it is the overhead that is killing us: government + contractor costs. I spent some time with NS this week, and he is feeling the weight of acquisition bloat, not struck with budget protectionism.

Your costs just don’t work out. A SPO costs hundreds of millions — even if your aircraft are cheap. Big Safari could try to do something like this, but you still can’t just take APUC and divide things out.

Your costs just don’t work out. A SPO costs hundreds of millions — even if your aircraft are cheap. Big Safari could try to do something like this, but you still can’t just take APUC and divide things out.

One thing that seemed to be lacking in all of the aircraft proposals was armor. We need something that can take a beating like the old P-47 or A-1.

Yeah, a CAS tiltrotor would be the perfect answer to the requirement for a simple,readily available low cost light attack aircraft. I can just picture the TTR making a strafing pass with those two big ol’ rotors just begging for bullet strikes. After one blade gets damaged, you don’t have symmetrical power for a VL , the pilot has to eject and say goodbye to who knows how many million $ …

Rotor blades aren’t that easy to damage.

Such a tilt-rotor attack aircraft could be a very impressive machine. Yet I highly doubt it could fit the “low-cost” requirement or be developed in a short time. It is something the services should consider for the future however.

I hope the USAF reconsiders the OV-10X offer. That could be a observation aircraft as well as providing light CAS.

JTAC=Joint Tactical Air Controller. Soldier or Airman on the ground who is an expert on calling for fire from everything in the inventory.
PGM=Precision Guided Munition. Laser and Satellite guided bombs.
CAS=Close Air Support
OUD=Operation Useless Dirt. Eric’s own interpretation of OIF and OEF.
Bingo=Flyboy term for out of fuel
Winchester=Flyboy term for out of weapons

In the early 1980’s there were discussions about the Air Force transferring the then-new A-10 to the Army. It would have also picked up the Mohawk’s ISR mission. Nothing ever came of this for whatever reason. If the Air Force wants to be relevant in the current two wars is should be working CAS since it’s’ only other major mission is air transport in Iraq and Afghanistan. Doesn’t mean there won’t be an air superiority mission downstream, but right now the AF is viewed by many as not being all that relevant in the current fight.

Why nor tear up USAF, and divide it between Navy and Army ??

Was this ground hugging plane too economical? A threat to the F35? For once I thought the A.F. would do right by the grunts, but I guess there just wasn’t enough money to be made by the defense industry..

The USAF bashing is getting really tiring.

Why not use the WWII P-51 with a turboprop high output engine for speed, agility, and staying power. We already have the plans and the plane works well and is almost as fast as a fast jet doing slow manuvers but is much faster and agile at those fast slow speeds that the prop plane produces.

If it doesn’t have a pointy nose, fly faster than Mach 1 and shoot down MIGs the zoomie brass isn’t interested in it.

If you want more CAS, give us the money for planes and more importantly PILOTS.

The way it is right now, there is no way the USAF can handle more missions in my opinion. We are cutting personnel, parts, and planes but not maintaining or adding replacements. I believe in doing more with less but how far can you stretch the lifetime of one plane. I like the F-22 and F-35, but I believe if we actually put the money into existing planes as far as maintenance and numbers goes, we would have far more capability than all these next gen aircraft.

All of you who say USAF only cares about high flying speed, you are wrong. There is nothing more that I would rather do than to help protect my brothers in arms.

I might ask you to talk to BG Chuck Yeager as to why he had to go toViet Nam and give a pep talk to the fighter jocks there that were reluctant to fly for fear of getting shot down.

“Why not use the WWII P-51 with a turboprop high output engine for speed, agility, and staying power.”

It was called the Piper Enforcer. It was forced into testing by Congress. Fast, had hard points down the wing. A low cost alternative to the A-10. The USAF brass called it dangerous and canceled it. The Enforcer never got a fair shot. You can see one at the NMUSAF and the other at the museum at Edwards.

Let’s bring back the O2-E’s! They didn’t need a runway and were very versatile with armament as everything was hung on the wings… Only kidding it was an observer plane.
When was the general up in any aircraft in combat or support recently?

Just get the A1H Skyraider back in service.….…..

At this rate; the Pentagon will be pushing to wipe out all jet propelled aircraft in the AF for suicide bombers.

We already have a light attack aircraft in the AT-6A…fits the job at a cheap cost…
The AF has the T6A and the Navy the T6B and other countries have purchased variations including Greece, Canada, Iraq and Israel.
I agree why not use a 6 million dollar aircraft that fits the bill for low attack needs.
Guns, bombs and rockets it does it all.

Well, I guess now we can see that some of the other aircraft in the JPATS competition back in the 90’s would have worked out better. I remember sitting in a couple of them that could, out-of-the-box, carry 5000 lbs of armament. They could be combat-ready, from trainer to fighter, in a day. One of them was capable of doing the job of the T-6, T-38, or CAS without the need for any significant changes. The Navy wanted the turboprop, so that’s what we have. I’m sure it could do the COIN job well (look like that’s what the picture with the article is), but would need a lot of mods.

You are sorta correct as one version sold to a country can be converted almost over night.
The T6 has a HUD, countermeasures and other “neat” things many of which current up to date fighters have.
Having worked on them for 11 years and seeing what they can do from the first one until now the aircraft is very impressive. Not the same aircraft shown.…you would be surprised I am sure.

It is not the same aircraft that won the competition in the 90’s. Many improvements and developments have come along since then.
Having worked on them from the start of the build until two years ago I personally got to see what and why the other countries are buying them including our own the replace the AF and Navy trainers

The last fighter pilot has already been born. The future for the Air Force is UAVs, ICBMs, cargo, and what they can carve out of technology (computers, networks and space). If they are not careful, they will all be out of jobs.

Gates is gutting the military to support POTUS’ social initiatives. Swartz is just plugging along, doing the best he can under the circumstances.

with the cost of new aircraft being so high would it not be cost efficient to retrofit the fleet of T 37s that are in the bone yard into A 37s. the aircraft has low altitude capabilities and good loiter time over targets and carries a large selection of weapons.

AT-6A is the only way to go…

Can’t afford all the stuff anymore. Need to find other ways to get along in this world.

That picture on this article is apparently a turboprop version of a P-51! But what is the trouble with the Warthog?

Staying light years ahead of the rest of the planet takes time and lots of money. As much as people bad mouth the F-35 now; they will bang their chests and yell WHOA later when it kicks a** later. The same goes for the UAVs; money well spent. The bottom line here is budget. DOD does not need to jump on the bandwagon and spend more than they already are. This means hard choices. A CAS wing; be it an improved version ofthe OV-10 or something else, will evlove. In the interium we have alternatives to serve that role. There is no alternative to leading the path into the future of air supremacy. The General has made the right choice right now.

Just in case no one has given thought to the Arizona desert, I suggest; DOD look at the vast array of pickled aircraft available in your boneyard. There is a large choice of close air support platforms at a fraction of the cost available in Az.
If that is too inexpensive then try using turbine powered “crop duster” aircraft. The thrush comes to mind and, has been retrofitted to carry armament etc. all for the paltry sum of around 2 mil.….….…Hello?

The aircraft that they seek is already in the inventory. It is a dual seat trainer already in use by AETC. It is called, drum roll please, T-6A “Texan II”

Please advise the meaning of the : Abbreviates COIN, JPATS, CAS & ETC. Give us a list to go by.

you’re forgetting Gen Schwatrz’s background. He’s an airlifter/ special ops pilot from the C-130 community. He has broken away from the fighter jock mentality that got his predecessor, Gen. Moseley ****canned in the first place. I suspect that this one was budget/ politically motivated. Hell, the AF is so tight on money these days that they’re cutting cadets from the AFROTC program to stay in budget. Plus, the frontrunner plane, the one the Navy selected in a similar study, was made in Brazil, which raised all kinds of hell in Congress.

Nothing new or surprising here. These are just yes men for Mr. Obama as he weakens and hollows out our military. He is refusing to allow the military to have the tools they need. This is the same things that went on before WWII and when Pres. Carter was in the white house. They are already setting the stage to cancel the F-35 as being too expensive and not worth the effort as our existing fleet wears out and our military is reduced to a hollow core.

DOD has lost its tactical/practical balance. Today’s warfare engagements are not against equal minded capable adversaries but rather are far less inferior and sophisticated. Spending $Billions on wish to haves vs. could use today is driving DOD out of business. F-22′, and 35’s can cross Iraq in a blink of eye, too fast, leaving too little damage behind. The Mil mind must think back to WWII and recognize what can be mass produced cheaply, training and battle theater affective. How can anyone think driving a Ferrari Enzo to sonics for a burger every night is cost justifiable.

Gen. Schwatz has a doable concept in the use of the present inventory. Cost in our day and age is the “prick” that always comes to the forefront of any existing and new platforms. I see “down to earth” reasoning with his decision. I don’t see how a concept like this that has a two pronge result could hurt our economy. I believe that it is a benefit for us all.

You bring up a very important point. STOP SPENDING MONEY !!! The first cutback of spending is to get rid of the “AMERICAN AXIS OF EVIL”, namely Pelosi, Reid and wots-his-name.

A World War 2 P-51 with a turbo engine ???? Very interesting. I have flown the P-51 and it is a superior air frame. I have also flown the Cessna Grand Caravan, I can relate to the combination. I would like to see one or two P-51 turbo’s and see what happens. I like the idea. Thank You, someone !!!!

COIN — counterinsurgency
CAS — close air support
JPATS — Joint Primary Aircraft Training System

After reading all of the comments posted on this board I’m confident that 90% of the people writing on this topic have limitied or no military experience, especially with the application of airpower, and furthermore have no real insight into the strategic decisions that must be made by a Chief of Staff of any service. I’m not saying I do either but some of the ideas put forth by these posts are way off — glad we’re not paying all of you to run the DOD or a service. Oh wait, that’s what we pay our military members to do — maybe we should let them do it…

Shame on you. Shame on you. No matter your opinion on the USAF shame on you for dragging many Airman down with your disgraceful comment. While the USAF might not have high numbers of death — Thank God — they are in the fight. Shame on you.

Yeah, keep cutting the military budget. Keep WASTING BILLIONS on social programs that aren’t effective. China is our friend (yeah right), and Russia rearming isn’t a problem (strike two). I have retired from the service with 25 years that started in 75, took a break from 79 until 85, then completed my career. The current butt sniffers in charge are setting us up for a huge defeat. They are too blind to see it coming. I pray that my son (who is serving) doesn’t pay for the short sightedness of our “leaders”. And for the non technical types out there, the F-35 is a dog that was supposed to have a nice sized fleet of F-22’s for top cover.

Useless F-35s eh? Spoken like a guy who’s has never had enemy aircraft dropping iron on his head. The air superiority our AF has provided since forever has you ground-pounding pukes so complacent you don’t even realize what you have. ALl that will change if we don’t get F-22s and 35s in sufficient numbers.

Gates keeps talking about “next war-itis,” when he and so many in this discussion clearly suffer from “this-war-itis”

We are losing it all guys, the Air Force I served in, the country I grew up in. We are being destroyed from within. If we don’t wake up and say “enough is enough we want this to stop we aren’t going to let you destroy us” you will soon be looking around and wonder what happened.


Your right and the question is do they have support parts to make this possible

Vettester: You are correct sir! The new versions T6B and the newer AT6 are in the inventory and the AT is close.
I worked on them after over 25 years in the AF and it flies like a P51 and the new AT has a more robust engine and much armament and capabilities.

JPATS: Joint Primary Aircraft Training System

There are any number of commercially built light aircraft available that can be purchased when needed as needed. Do we really need what is being addressed here? The desert bone yard could offer us an alternative; purchasing a large number of light slow craft is a way to take some of the aging helicopter fleet; the helicopter is being relaxed so the CV22 can show its stuff; over time I believe the Osprey will become the solid relacement for the moving large groups of soldiers to remote hard to get at locations. How could anybody see a need for the COIN aircraft being needed locally; I get the feeling the contract was to build for someone else; easier to borrow/buy to a neighbor for oil and such. I heard all the arguments; they amount to one’s opinion for whatever the reason is except for they are cheaper to fly; big time. This is the only one I agreed with; even the helicopters use much more fuel than the COIN craft.

I have worked on AF aircraft for 30 years now. The AF loves the high tech. stuff. They don’t even like the A10. It is too primitive–but it kicks butt, and works great. So they decided to try to pack it full of high tech. electronics. The pilot’s hate that. Some like to fly by the seat of their pants.
There is a definite need for low flying, propellar driven, hang over the target, infantry close support weapons platforms. Just don’t look to the AF for this anytime soon. The generals don’t respond to the real military needs. They are stuck in their own world, like politicians in DC, and are only interested in the high tech. stuff. Sad!!!

If you knuckle-draging neanderthal Army types were any dumber you’d be real dangerous.

Luckily your just stupid enough to understand.…nothing about the application of air power.

Robin Olds — your posts are an embarrassment to your namesake.

Byron Skinner — “AF doesn’t go below 10,000 feet” — really? If that’s what you think you’re more stupid than I gave you credit for.

Joseph — do you know any A-10 pilots? I do — and NO THEY DON’T HATE HIGH TECH ELECTRONICS. They make the aircraft more effective.

Steve — You’re right. The Army will never field their own COIN aircraft. Oh wait, don’t they already have OVER 25,000 AIRCRAFT?!? If they did try to field one every E-5 and up would have to have their own. Like every O-5 commander who has a driver, an aide, a cook, a staff. All so the AF can deploy Airmen to drive convoys for them.

First of all: T-37s were scrapped because the engines are useless. 20 second spool up time and very little thrust. They had to keep the engines spooled up on landing just to have a chance to go around. So stop with that nonsense.
The air force i am in, which i fly for, needs more CAS platforms. Everyone knows this. But 90% of the pilots I fly with and the missions I fly are CAS. We simply don’t do too much fighting air to air these days. Make that no air to air. But China is there, as is the former Soviet block (who just loves to dish out aircraft to anyone buying) so the threat is real, and it is there. We need to stay on teh forefront of air dominance. It’s simply getting expensive. It’s even harder to do now that my tax dollars are going to pay for helath care for people who shouldn’t have had that last heart attack burger. The money is there, we are still a wealthy nation, but people are so provincial they simply don’t see the big picture. If everyone saying the AF is useless could spend just ONE day in a combat situation, where bombs on target means living soldiers, I think this nation would be singing a different tune. More money for CAS, and something survivable. Rotors of any sort aren’t survivable. Slow mover prop jobs are a little more so but not something I’d bet money on. And you know why we stay above 10000 feet? because then we can put the bombs where they tell us. I can read a license plate from the darn stratosphere, you can bet your boots I can see where I’m putting the bombs. So there’s my nickel in the grass.

Bottom line, only our fancy birds and wings on our chests matter not the mission. The grunts can die on the ground for all that we care, so what if only 10% of F-16s hit their targets in the first Gulf War, CNN still loved us. As long as the public likes out all jet, single cockpit aircraft and the press buys the bill of goods we’ll sell it. I remember when the F-16 replaced the F-4 Wild Weasels and the AF Chief bragged that they were only loosing 25% capability by doing so. All that just to get rid of Navigators. Now instead of trolling for SAMs they get a beep, shot, and run.
I’m an ex-Air Force officer who watched this developed over the past 40 years. All the pilot run AF cares about is careerism and radical Christianity anymore. The mission, and especially the grunt on the ground be damned.


So what happend to the old T-34(D) model. 750 shaft horse, stations all along under the wing, a proven airframe, sold a bunch of them down “South” ???????????

As long as we are looking for a cheap expendable low flying attack aircrat that can be used to replace and train foriegn pilots maybe we should consider the Russian Sukhoi Su 35 Frogfoot, I’m sure with a little fanagling the russians would be willing to sell the plane for $150,000. After all Russia, is desperate to make some real money off anything that is in’t nailed down.

Careerism and radical Christianity? What are you babbling about?

The USAF had to cut many platforms during the post Cold War cuts including the F-4G, F-111, and A-7. I am sure many in the USAF didn’t want to see those platforms go.

The reason F-16s suffered from inaccuracy in bombing runs was due to the fact that pilots were often attacking in a shallow dive with their engines at max. As a result they often reached Mach 1 or a bit faster. The computer assisted bombing sight displayed on the HUD wasn’t programmed to deal with dropping bombs at such speeds.

Dude, you know what you get with a COIN platform that you don’t get vs UAVs? PILOTS at risk! That’s what.

The AT-6L and a reaper even have the same weapons haul ability. (About 3K).

The only way this platform makes sense is if we want to give partners capability while keeping the good stuff (UAVs) for ourselves.


I’m not saying we should try to get along, but we can afford the stuff and should have it regardless.

Sorry I meant to shouldn’t and not should.

Which organization in the world is the biggest terrorist organization? Which organization has killed and murdered most important leaders politicians and others “not wanted” individuals? I suggest you all to listen to former CIA chiefs and what they say happened in the 1960s in a country situated in a muddy river delta? Who supported trained financed and let the so called terrorists built up assets and money from drugs trafficing and even directly trained them in the now so called terrorist activities? The only difference between a terrorist and a “minuteman freedom fighter” is decided by who?

I say like the famous words of a famous Adolf:
–It is very fortunate that people do not think.

About the A-10 capability and understanding what change in its usefulness the upgrades taken after first Gulf war should read the book: Flying the A-10 in the gilf war.

Then you will understand the usefulness of countermeassures positioning and navigation aids on such platform.

hey guys.i flew 51s in korea and a 1s in nam. we did the job well and losst many aircraft to grown fire. we did the job that the fast movers had a penchent for missing the target most of the time and was a in that case a waste. of course that was a long time ago but the effects of the low and slow paid off. now if we could find a way for the currentbolw heads to get the hell out of the way and lets buy some of the [coin] aircraft. as someone said, elininate one [35] and we could have prehaps two or three wings of aircraft that works for the type of contact withthe bad guys that we need. i know from my own experience how those props work. just what do those idots in the pendegonthink these uav,s are powered by that do the most damage. o h well,what the hell?!

…not to mention that we also use AC-130s for CAS as well. just sayin


an AT-6 as a tactical trainer for our allies might actually be beneficial… for them of course. yea, it would be pointless to throw guns on a tiny prop trainer when we have fleets of other platforms that can already do that mission. our allies already send many of their pilots here to train on T-6s, so why not manufacture and sell them an airframe theyre familiar with?

Note: Mind you I’m not a COIN Aircraft expert just a former Infantry type: IMHO having a low and slow platform overhead such as a Super Tacano providing the kind of COIN air support ground elements count on when caught in a tight scenario is gold, believe me I have been there. Any air support would do for most of us on the ground, the simple fact is when you have something loitering above for a long period of time it truly is a force multiplier for the guys on the ground. F15, F16’s, FA18’s, AV8B’s, Tornado’s, Jaguars etc are excellent platforms but the simple fact is that you gotta get down and dirty in a CAS COIN environment. A10’s are excellent platforms but our leadership has downsized our A10 fleet to the bone. Super Tacano’s may be a bit lighter in payload but they can loiter, an expeditionary field closer to the fight would minimize a turnaround time. This would be an excellent platform for Army and Marine Corps COIN CAS believers.…I would imagine a Super Tacano would be easier on our pocket book rather then an advance high tech fast mover like an F15, F16, or F22.

Super Tacano’s are proven platforms another reason why the Navy is seriously looking into acquiring them, Our senior leadership has got to stop compartmentalizing and get their heads out of the box, lives depend on it. A1 Skyraider’s, A37 Dragonfly’s were work horses in Vietnam, ask any old timer grunt from that era counting on their firepower and loiter time over the battle. Mind you this isn’t rocket science, it’s about using the best tool for the job…the AT6 was designed primarily as a trainer, the Super Tacano was designed from the get go as a COIN platform…It has done an excellent job throughout the Southern Americas…So what if it’s not home grown. it’s an excellent COIN workhorse, that’s all that matters.

Note: Our Air Force is by far the most advanced and trained of any, just because air to air scenarios are few and far in between doesn’t mean we don’t need it. Fact is we must have air superiority from a couple feet above the ground way out into the upper atmosphere. We need F22’s, F35’s, and other sophisticated aviation platforms, we also need COIN aircraft capable of loitering over target for a period of time. Air Force, Navy and my guys in the Corps saved our butt’s on many occasions. Just wish we had something that could have stuck around a little longer even after they dropped their ordinance…and old & slow A1 Skyraider would have been nice…I’ll settle for a Super Tacano.

Semper Fi


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