Boom times for the Boneyard

Boom times for the Boneyard

The Air Force has decided it has “excess capacity,” Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said last week, and as such, many of its airplanes are going away.

The service outlined how many cargo aircraft it would “divest” or retire in the Pentagon’s budget “preview,” but our distinguished colleague Mike Hoffman added to the list Tuesday with a story detailing the fighter squadrons that officials are expected to close. That intra-service food fight people have been expecting between the active and reserve components evidently played out in favor of the active side — so far — as the Air Force’s planned closures targeted mostly Guard and Reserve units.

Specifically, the Air Force’s beloved — by everyone else — A-10 Warthog appears set to bear the brunt of DoD’s cost cutting strategic realignment. Five A-10 squadrons appear set to go away, three Guard, one Reserve and one active duty. The Air Force also plans to decommission one Guard F-16 and one F-15 training squadron, Hoffman wrote.

That will leave the Air Force with many A-10s it can call into service as it wants, but its leadership may consider the floodgates open for good now, especially as U.S. forces plan to transition out of Afghanistan. If we’re all honest with ourselves, the Air Force never really loved the A-10 — perhaps because the ghost of Curtis LeMay wants air power to destroy the enemy’s tank factory, not his individual tanks on the ground; or because the A-10 is essentially just a gun with wings, not an invisible, hypersonic super-jet with a death ray. Whatever the reason, history could show that last Thursday’s announcement was the beginning of the end for the Warthog.

Of course, its death has been announced before, but the A-10 has proven very hard to kill.

As for the other aircraft the Air Force wants to go away, many of them are cargo planes. It plans to get rid of 27 C-5As, 65 C-130s and all of its C-27Js. They’ll probably end up with the A-10s, F-16 and F-15s in the Boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB. Most of those aircraft could soon be harvested for parts, but Schwartz said airmen will protect the C-27s for now.

“Type-1000 storage is essentially recoverable storage,” he said. “You don’t use the airplanes for spare parts.  You don’t pick and choose and cherry– pick, which type-2000 storage allows you to do.  So obviously, type-1000 storage is more expensive.  It requires sort of ongoing surveillance and so on.  So that — the disposition is not final-final, but those are the options.”

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Your eloquence is a tad understated, friend.

All I can say is that at least they are parking the A/C out there all nice an “shrink wrapped”, which is perhaps a bit better than chopping them up for beer cans or sinking them as a fishing reef (as the USN did with the Spru-cans!) And I would have to say that the USAF has had some fair and extensive experience “de-moth balling” A-10s each time someone decides to start shooting anywhere in the world, so… :-)

The A-10 (the CAS specialist) has been here before and all of the A-10C were rebuilt at the“Boneyard”. That being said, the Army induced the AF to “waste their money” on upgrading the WartHog when they started eyeing the A-10s in storage, the last time. The National Security Act of 1947, which created the Air Force, specifically forbids fixed-wing aircraft with forward firing ordnance from being in the Army, thus no A-10s for them, or maybe.….Laws can be changed. The second verse to this song will occur when the army replaces (in kind replacment) some of their <50 wornout Sherpas with the “free” C-27Js in storage. This is where the C-27J story began, the first time.

This just bites the big one! (being as eloquent as I can)

RIP USAF…When the leadership gave in to short stopping the F-22, it was a signal of weakness and irrelevance. The vultures are circling. They are on-track to have half as many jets in 2015 as they did in 2005. The A-10 had a remarkable longevity because the design specifications made it useful in a specific, but controversial, niche. Who knew that niche would exist in the 21st Century, on another continent? The
F-22 niche was deemed useless in 2010. I wonder if we will need it, and where? Well, we will have the F-35 to do it all for 50 years. The trouble is, it looks like we can’t start counting the 50 years until, let me guess, 2018? Maybe we won’t need it. Yes, of course. We won’t need it. Whew! I’ve got my mind right now.

Welp, there goes the Internet’s favorite flying phallic symbol…

This is one “type” away from ship-breaking.… watch out for the call to SMIT.….

This may sound asinine, is there anyway the Marine Corps or Army steps in and takes the A-10?

Marines, very highly doubt it. All USMC tactical aircraft are able to operate from ships. Army, only with a change in the law. And more money from congress.

It does not sound asinine, the Marines should snag it. And attach a bayonet holder to the 30mm. Seriously, that thing has Marine Air Support written all over it.

Resurrect the Firehog plan.

A-10s with Bayonettes! LOL!

Reminds me of some instructions I heard once upon a time, long, long ago.… . “If the bayonette hangs up in the intended target, just fire a round to kick it out.…” (The DI never did explain why the “H”, IF I had a round in the mag, I would be using the bayonette in the first place!!!!) LOL!

Seriously, the next time we send troops out on the ground in an unfriendly location, the AF will be lining up those mothballed ‘Hogs for a quick wash down, paint job, and a full load of fuel and bullets! LOL!

This is what the Democrats have stood for during the last century; reducing us to a nearly helpless giant. In years gone by a country like ours with oceans to protect us could get away with this. But in the 21st century, all this does is reduce our influence all over the globe. Many will try to argue that this doesn’t matter; but the truth is we are already seeing the results of the beginnings of obama’s policies.
In four more years we won’t be able to protect ourselves in any other way then to go nuclear. And what American President is going to do that? None, ever!

The Air Farce doesn’t want A-10’s, C27J’s or the A-29 Super Tucano. Just change the stupid law, scrap the Key West accord and give Army what ot needs and the Air Force does’t want.…. Close Air Support aircraft and intratheater re-supply.

I can’t think of a better reason why the National security act of 1947 needs to be changed now

–the Airforce despises the ground support role
–the Airforce hates the A-10 in every way
–the budget is shrinking and the economy such a bad state that we need to get more efficient with the dollars we have.
–this plan reduces overhead, and put assets in standby mode that don’t need immediate availability. In trade for the aviation assets, the Army will place 1/3 of the armor forces in reserve (2-week call up availability).
–I propose we split the air force into three parts, all ground support (A-10, etc) , transportation (C-5, C-17, etc) will go to the army. We’ll call it Army Aviation Support
–All ‘tactical’ assets such as fighters (F-15,16, 22, 35, etc.) and “tactical” bombers (B-1, B-2) will stay with the Airforce.
–Strategic forces will be given to the guard or the reserves or retired such as the ICBM silos (aren’t survivable anyway). Strategic bombers (those who sole mission to carry nucs, this will be 1/2 of the B-52, 1/2 of the B-1, and a 1/4 of the B-2s) will be given to the guard. This will be called National Guard Strategic Forces. This assets will be kept on a 3-day standby readiness.

What a complete waste. Then again, waste is what Washington is good at.

Please tell me all of the A-10s being retired are the older A-10As and not the newly upgraded A-10Cs.

I beg to differ. That beauty contest belongs to the pride of the US chair force, the Global Hawk drone. The runner-up could be any of the General Atomics drones, should the Global Hawk, for any reason, not be able to perform her duties. You pick.

Seriously, there are no resources. What program do you propose to take from to give to?

Hold it. We still have the Iran’s. North Korea, Russia and China problems.….

Hmmm, let’s see. The B-1 no longer has a nuclear mission and has flown CAS in Iraq & Afghanistan. The heavy lifters do more than support the Army. The idea of Army Aviation Support is not necessarily a bad idea but as stated the Key West Accord of 1947 would need to be amended.

I think most of the 2 deactivated F-16C and F-15D Trainer squadrons that will be deactivated the planes will be divided up with other squadrons and the planes will be spared from being gutted and left for dead at the bone yard. the same isn’t the case for the poor A-10s they are facing almost complete extinction with only two squadrons left flying them. Pity in Iraq and Afghanistan the A-10 was needed far more than the Falcons Eagles and Raptors which weren’t needed in COIN ops for CAS.

Put the A10’s in the Army/Marines. Together with the new Apache and Cobra model we don’t need the USAF around at all except to haul the freight which is managed by FedEx anyway — the contract was just let.. As per the C27 that was just an end run on the Army from using the airplane the way it was supposed to be used. The USAF claimed they can do the job — anyone being in the current conflict knows the real story.

I didn’t know that.…

it’s expensive to fly too

OUCH– “The fuel, repairs and other needs for a 12-hour mission costs $720,000 as of 2010.” ref: http://​www​.brookings​.edu/​o​p​i​n​i​o​n​s​/​2​0​1​0​/​0​7​1​5​_​a​i​rfo

Have the USAF give up the A10s Warthogs, A-29s Super Tucanos, the C27Js and a 50 C-130s. Then Army can share control of C5Ms, C17s and C130s.

Maybe Tac Air should be broken off from USAF and give to the Army. Let Air Force concentrate on nuclear deterrence/strike, NMD, bombers, strategic reconnaissance and space craft, etc. Rebadge the Air Force into the US Space and Air Force.

Makes too much sense.

Again, great sense. It will never happen.

Hmmmm, can the army do that? Great way to get the C27s back.

Anyone know how many A10 squadrons/planes will exist before/after the massacre?

According to wikipedia http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​L​i​s​t​_​o​f​_​a​c​t​i​v​e​_​U​n​ite… there are 343 A-10s (of both A and C models). I count 14 active squadrons (14 x 24 = 336) plus a few planes operated by test & evaluation and weapons squadrons, which fits with the 343 number. Thus, it looks like 5 of the 14 squadrons are being eliminated, leaving about 223 A-10s in service after the cuts.

don’t forget “Cyber Force” LOL

It is an outright lie that the USAF never really loved the A-10! Unfortunately for the A-10, the US military has been under funded since the end of the Cold War & the budget cuts (BOTH in the 1990’s & now) have resulted in reduced force structures so something must go & there is more value in keeping multi-role types like the F-16 than the more limited role A-10. Note that the USAF force structure has been reduced EVERY YEAR since Obama took office but THIS is the FIRST that has included a significant number of A-10s. Prior to this latest series of defense cuts the A-10 was planned to remain in service until 2040.

Another good example that this joke called modern democracy has grown out of its use, and hollow people like Gates or Obama lead the way to irrelevance and servitude. Once they weaken the structure from the inside, somebody from the outside will take advantage of weakened US position in the World, and then God help us! One more Obama term will do it (not that there has been a single good US president since Reagan).

Yep, but did you count how many 500lb JDAMs a B-1 can carry and check out his loiter time? With a JDAM, you can do most CAS missions from 25,000 ft, and each CAS fire mission might only be a pair. :-) The days when CAS was defined by a flight of F-4s or A-1Es laying down a long stick of Napalm are long gone, my friend. (even though some fond memories do remain with the more “mature” of us! LOL!)

Compared to the number of “little fellows” that would need to sortie in order to service the same number of CAS 9-lines, the B-1 MIGHT end up being cheap at the price! :-)

Might be just a little bit excessive, but if the “Steve Canyons” running the AF dont get the message soon, it might just happen! In spite of all of the feather fluffing, the AF does not win wars, short of perhaps that thankfully ephemeral “global thermonuclear war”, until the boots on the ground are in place. The USAF must focus a bit more intently on the willing and timely support needed to put those boots in place or it might find itself relegated to being the “Missile Corp”. (Wait, .… . .cant do that, the acronym “USMC” is already taken, isnt it! LOL!)

Well, firing ‘trons around is a lot more acceptable in some social and political circles to laying in napalm, and can certainly get you more dates in Georgetown, but.… .… :-)

Actually, in the right time and place, “Cyber” attack can be very useful. In some cases, particularly against a technically unsophisticated enemy, “cyber warriors” might as well be throwing dafodils! If history is any lesson, the next few years (decades?) are likely to be replete with unsophisticated enemies with at most one or two tech-savy, and therefore vulnerable, enemies.

The “upper management” in the USAF has been trying to discard the A-10 almost since its IOC. Each time the real-world mission rolls around to supporting the ground forces, the A-10 re-emerges from the notional grave, and like Dracula reincarnated, starts sucking at the jugular of “real fighter” funding.

Im thinking that it will be a VERY long time, well beyond that 2040 date, before the USAF actually is allowed to chop up the “mothballed” A-10s, no matter how much they might want to do so. (And if they manage to start that destruction, the Army and Marine Corps will mount a pre-emptive combined arms assault…. .!) ROTGLMAO!

Australia put its buy of the C-27J on hold pending the USAF decision. They may have their eye of getting practically new cargo planes (plus spares) at fire-sale prices.

it would be an interesting study to fine the cheapest way to “deliver” bombs on target in CAS. I’m thinking that the B-52 might be the cheapest method right now

here’s an idea

how about a blimp loitering up at 30,000ft that could carry a few tons of bombs? It would have persistence, low RCS, low heat signature, and it’ll be hard to see visually, it’ll be out of range of most short range SAM and ground fire.

let’s hope the Air Force is smart about this, we don’t need them to do a huge stupid like the Navy did with the Spruance class destroyers (what a waste).

every single one of the A-10s should be preserved to the fully extent if they are to be put in mothballs (with 1 week availability)

simply put, they are irreplaceable, and when the balloon goes up in the next 5 years (China) we’re going to need every one of these aircraft

the sad reality is that whenever people try to destroy a country from the inside they mistakenly believe that they will be rewarded for their efforts in the end.

but what they don’t get is that no one gets rewarded for suicide

ROTFLMAO! Of COURSE the BUFF is the cheapest way to put offensive tonage into the air over a potential target! AND even cheap to let it hang around with an occasional sip from a tanker! Thats why the B-2 drivers will ride home from DM in a BUFF! LOL!

As for the blimp.… good idea, but it was already tried once, in the Zeppelin offensive against London, circa 1916. The problem is that when you drop one of those “tons of bombs”, the weight decreases by a like amount, but the bouyancy stays the same! Did I say “up you go!”? The problem was somewhat circumvented by the Germans by venting a bit of hydrogen. In todays world we would probaly want to use helium and that stuff is quite expensive, but… it doesnt burn!. Its about $0.75 per cubic ft (at 14.7 PSI) commercially. You would have to vent a LOT of cubic feet to equalize a single JDAM!

as we say here in gubmnt, that would be too much like right.

A sentiment, and a phrase, that I recognize all too well.… .… .

I agree with everyone who wants to give the A-10 to the Army and Marines. Won’t happen, but it should.

You can’t mothball pilots..

The Army would be terrible at holding onto all tactical aviation. They tend to not understand the range and scope of operations tactical and strategic aviation provides. Besides, tactical and strategic aviation are blended a lot more than you would think.

The Army is also the one that controls which of their troops recieve tactical aviation support (CAS). Just search for TAGS/AAGS and you will see the complex structure of air support. You will also notice who gives permission for air support, the Army..

Cheaper? Not by a long shot. Besides, when there are multiple 9-lines geogaphically seperated and only 1 Bone, waiting for it to turn around feels like an eternity (memories of those who are less aged) leading to more unsupported troops.

All of these cut willake us weak. I hate People that cut from our defense. I don’t care what race they are. Down with defense haters.

maybe we could freeze them like Hans Solo and thaw them out when needed lol

Give the A-10’s to Israel or the Border Patrol. They can definately make good use of them.

I was going to say that the Air Force has been trying to sh** can the A-10’s since there inception and hated the very notion of them, but it seems that most everyone on here allready knows this. Thats a good thing since I have been telling people this since the early 80’s and everyone I told acted as though I were nuts. I have a novel idea, sh**can all the F-16’s and F-15’s since they are totally obsolete, use the money saved from them to buy some more F-22’s and forget the F-35 for the air force, the Air force is trying to support to many children and need to get rid of some of the little bastards. Keep only the B-2’s,F-22’s, A-10’s,C-17’s, A Late model C-130’s scrap all the rest and save the money

You do offer a strong argument that cheapest is not the always best! Thanks!Sent from my iPhone

The Army shot itself in the foot for all
time when it gave up the right to have
fixed wing aircraft in 1947. So, no CAS,
and no air transport, unless the USAF feels
like providing it, or unless the Army wants
to contract its’ requirement out to a
commercial carrier (which it has done in the
past). The Army should follow the Marines
example and get back into the CAS and air
transport business ASAP.

Anyone who’s studied history knows this is an old story. The British and many others faced this many times over the course of wars and peace periods only to be caught short as soon as the bad guys see they’d “weakened up”. After that it’s all a mad scramble and excuses — “We didn’t see that threat coming, we ex’d too many ships and planes and now we don’t have enough of anything — oops, need more money to replace all that stuff we trashed.”

It’s stupid.

The A-10 would have been a great aircraft for the Marine Corps. The AirForce never should have gotten the A-10 in the first place. They need to stick with fighter aircraft. The A-10 can take off from Marine Task Force Ships and would be a great investment for the Marine Corps. They would have the AV8 as a fighter and the A-10 to back up thier ground game. In Iraq, the A-10 was feared. Some of these overpaid Generals need to get off thier butts, pull thier heads out and start thinking about using whats already here and stop worrying about spending big bucks on expensive new equipment. Semper-Fi

Unbelievable. Get rid of assets that help us prosecute 21st century warfare. Just goes to show you where the “high speed, low drag” types that populate the Air Force have their heads. I agree with some of the other posts, redo the Key West Accord and send the 130’s, 27’s and A-10’s to the Army and Marines

Very true, but.… it takes a year to make a functional pilot, and perhaps two or three more to make a tactically competant pilot. It seems to take decades to make a servicable aircraft, and that with no promises for the effort expended.

Sending a barely functional, totally inexperienced pilot out to do battle in a freshly repainted A-10 might not be the smartest thing to do, but .… . . if we REALLY cant keep those Warthogs on active duty with trained up aircrews and maintainers, it might be the best of the bad options.

Ya’ think?

Might not have quite the same “sight picture” as a T-72, but I bet the 30mm API would not care in the least! But dont worry, our border patrol ground teams have their Glocks, Remmington shotguns and the occasional M-4 semi-auto to face down these “Mad Max” road warriors:-(

since i joined the air force i have alway loved the A-10. this plane has been a very good plane for its role. i now work on the A-10, this plane is un-killable and feared in the sky. we need the big gun in the sky to strike fear into our enimes. please keep the A-10 fling!!!!

USAF — Then there’s always the giving them to the Army solution…

Army pilots would be killing each other for the privlege to pay for the training. (I’m exaggerating of course)

Wish you had chimed in on this story… http://​www​.military​.com/​n​e​w​s​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​a​f​-​e​y​e​s​-​a​10s

Good info. Thanks for the post. Puts the 30% cut of A10s in perspective.

Maybe DOD needs to rein in the high priced contractors. Stop building oak stairwells and fancy offices for the brass. Build for functionality, not for show. We don’t need to impress the enemy with our shiny facilities. I’m sure I have personally witnessed at least a million of dollars wasted by the Air Force in the 42 years of active/civilian duty I served. Perfectly serviceable furniture replaced. Aircraft parts put into the dumpsters because the inspectors were coming. Offices and facilities refurbished just to spend the allotted money before the end of the fiscal year. Our current leadership is overreacting. We should not do a 180-degree turn and underfund our military to make up for the poor fiduciary responsibility of former DoD leaders.
BTW: Air Force is two words.

Do I get to vote for that solution as well? :-)

Unfortunately there are far too many rice bowls in the way of anything close to such a logical solution.

“There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet an enemy.“
George Washington — January 29, 1780.
The Washington politicians (most) do have a clue.

Oops -
The Washington politicians (most) DON’T have a clue.
Sorry typo.

No suggestions on who gets what toys but I agree the A-10 is a very valuable ground support aircraft. It is also a fine one for flying cover for cargo. Remember when the Hog was flying cover for us, all it need do was point the nose in the general direction of fast moving bogies seeking to terminate our mission, and they broke off before they came in gun range.!!!! Eliminate the dept of education, the EPA, dept. of energy, combine all other agencies with like missions, and save enough money to BEEF UP our military.

Oh, and too; cease donating billions of dollars to the idiots overseas who really don’t give a damn about the good ole USA, EXCEPT for the money we borrow to throw at them. Use that money also for the military.

That is a lie. At some times, some individuals perhaps but the organization as a whole from the Seccretary of the Air Force, through the Chiefs of Staff, through the theater commanders & all the way down to the squadron commanders NEVER tried to discard the A-10.

But again, when budgets cuts & force reductions happen, multi-role aircraft (like the F-16) are more valuable assets to keep than more limited-role aircraft (like the A-10).

No it shouldn’t. Truly pathetic how so many are so ignorant as to the relative roles of the individual services.

Even IF such a stupis idea were to happen, what do you propose the Army &/or the Marines give up in order to get/keep their A-10s?

The USAF is NOT cutting these A-10s because it does not want them but because budget cuts are FORCING force reductions so SOMETHING has to go.

It is a lie!

Then complain to the USMC for never procuring its own A-10s.

It is the USAF which created the requirements which lead to the developement of the A-10. It is the USAF which paid for the developement of the A-10. It is the USAF which procured the A-10. It is the USAF which plans to keep the A-10 in service until 2040.

If you’re going to use a word like “lie,” you had better have your facts solid. As usual, you don’t.

The Air Force brass had absolutely committed themselves to some ground attack version of the F-16 to replace all the A-10s beginning in 1993, and made a recommendation to that effect in Dec 1986. The Office of the SecDef refused, and ordered the AF to study alternatives. This culminated in a Defense Acq. Board, which ruled on Nov 26, 1990 that as a compromise the USAF would retain two wings of A-10s and create four wings of CAS/BAI F-16s. The first F-16s equipped for that mission from the 138th TFS, 174th TFW were deployed to Saudi and served in Desert Storm. Their performance with the 30mm pod was so p*** poor (inaccurate, going too fast to employ) that the pods were removed, and that was the end of that experiment. But that wasn’t the end of the Air Force trying to dump the Warthogs… CSAF McPeak floated a plan to give them all to the Army if the Army gave over the ATACMS and some other goodies. He was outvoted.

See that? Multiple instances of the USAF trying to get rid of the A-10, with dates and names too. So why do you keep lying about it? Or do you just not know what you’re talking about?

Thanks for coming to my defense, but a word of wisdom…. it used to be called “prop wash” and its better to just ignore such things. At least its more peaceful and there is less “white noise” on the channel. :-) Anyway, you will only confuse him with the facts.… LOL!

I went to the party at WPAFB back in the ‘70s celebrating the first operational A-10s, and if I get to go to the “stand down” of the last, they will probably have to roll me in on life support! It may be a “niche” aircraft, but that niche is perhaps one of the most important and enduring in all of the USAF’s niches. Whether the job is to shoot holes in a bunch of T-72s in a German forest or shred a fourth floor machine gun emplacement in Baghdad, the ‘Hog is still a very useful, if not very photogenic or “cool”, tool on the tactical battlefield.

You’re not the sharpest tool in the shed but we appreciate your passion

Yeah, agreed, and you’re most welcome. I just get a little fed up with his one-man disinformation campaign.

What if they just transferred those A-10 squadrons from the Air Guard to the Army Guard ? Would that require a change to federal law ? Seems to me that the A-10 would be an outstanding counterdrug aircraft. :) Would they then autotransfer to Air Force control when they went Title 10 ?

The irony here is that the very same argument was used to take division and corps artillery out of the force structure. Remember that whole “Deep Battle” thing we used to talk about so much in the 80s ? Well, that is now history. Now we somehow believe that we can sling light infantry and Stryker brigades out in the “operational environment” with depths and frontages assigned to Cold War divisions with a third of times the firepower and increasingly, half the mobililty. There is a word the kids use for this sort of thing nowadays — FAIL.

Well, let’s talk flying hours here. What in fact is the floor. Take an A-10 pilot with, say, 5 years active duty time, 10 in the reserves. What is the mix of time in simulators and time in the air you need to keep that guy on flight status ? Or if you want to go the Army way and put the pilot in hock, what do you need to get that pilot back into action ? How long does that take and what does it cost ?

It isn’t a question of roles and missions, it is how those roles contribute to the fight — ONE fight. And it is one fight, irrespective of where one draws the lines down on the ground or up in the air. Most of us of the green suit persuasion have a pretty strong affection for the Hog. The Hog tends to show up, right on time, when the front is broken, and the Cobras are massing, and here comes the Hog to the rescue, just in the nick of time. Steel on target. and then they come in again. And again. And Again. None of this “only one pass and you hang on to your a–” business. No disrespect to the F-16s and F-35s, but you really have to show that these fighter-bombers can do what the Hog does. If you can’t that is capability lost, not money saved.

And I expect holed up in the shed quivering in fear of being invaded is exactly where you are going to find him.

Everyone has to understand that when William C says “it’s a waste” he means that “its a good thing”, and the waste should be compounded and added to in any way.

Well, I remember the USAF fighter “competitions” back in the early ‘80s. They had separate divisions for the different aircraft, but had lumped F-16s and A-7s into the “light attack” group. The A-7s were mostly Guard at the time, and the shiny new F-16s were all from active duty units. For “politically correct” reasons, they ended up splitting the A-7s out into their own group after the bombs were scored to avoid the embarassment. The SLUFFs waxed the Falcons! Flying time is VERY important in acquiring that skill behind the stick and making up for “part time” flying is hard, but… it can be done, as the SLUFF drivers proved out at Nellis! An A-10 is perhaps a simpler aircraft to fly than an A-7, so.… . .

pfcem — I reject your premise that the army or Marines should give up anything. It’s the AIR FORCE’s responsibility to support its CAS mission. Making the customer pay for the privlege is a bit butt backwards.

Just give the A10s to the customers. The Air Force saves their budget and can focus on truly “important” roles (as airpower enthusiasts would like to believe)

The Army doesn’t throw a hissy fit about roles when the Air Force believes it needs armored vehicles to protect its airfield. Why such insecurity?

It was the Army AH54 Cheyenne that forced the Air Force to create a CAS dedicated aircraft program. It was Congress that made the Air Force procure the A10. It was DoD that made the Air Force keep m after Desert Storm.

You got some cheese to go with that whine?

Easy, I worked as the liaison for multiple Brigades, Regiment, Division and Corps level. Bottom line, AF tactical aviation is much different than Army aviation, requiring a different outlook on how to operate. And yes, I do include A-10s, F-16s, F-15C/Es, and B-1Bs to some extent as they all are involved with engaging hostile targets that are in close proximity to friendly forces requiring detailed integration. But even if it is just the A-10s, then it would still be a poor idea due in large part to the ideology/education towards aviation in general. Not saying the Army runs its business is wrong, just different. If you take a look at Army aviation, there is a lot of small AO ownership that does not work with well with current tactical aircraft assets, i.e. number of available aircraft, usage of those aircraft, etc for a particular Brigade CC to own and operate.

Part II

An argument may be to put tactical aircraft at the Division level, etc. However, that is already being done in conjunction with the other services/coalition partners in the current joint force structuring (JP 3–30). Further, Army aviation lacks a dedicated aircraft TTP across the board (as spoken by senior Apache aircrews) decreasing overall force effectiveness in certain situations. Like the TTP of sit and shoot it out had to be returned to shoot on the move so as to not get shot down. But there was no single document of TTPs that allows aviators to review and train to. Each squadron had their own set of TTPs that varied in success (also vocalized by senior Apache aircrews). Additionally, look at the amount of education Army officers receive on tactical aviation.

Part III

It’s poor at best in reality. Many FGOs still do not understand that the Army largely controls the amount of CAS it receives (again JP 3–30). I admit that the Army has more numbers in aircraft, and more flying hours (a poor way of doing business btw), but so what. That truly means nothing in terms of aviation effects management. Besides, fixed wing aviators in the Army are like third class citizens, which would not likely change in Big Army.

Now if the AF wanted to get its stuff together in the current insurgency, then it would invest in COIN aircraft to forward deploy to each Brigade in conjunction with its TACPs, working WITH the Brigade CC to further accomplish the CC’s goals. Unfortunately, that idea is likely to never happen due to an almost infinite amount of reasons.

Elitism has nothing to do with this, just observations and common sense toward maximizing aviation. Now are you getting nervous? Can we not keep this civilized?

From your phrasing, I suspect that you have either just completed your USAF “joint ops” training courses or you have hung out in an AOC. If so.… think Army for a moment. CAS is by definition a time-sensitive target. If the Army has artillery on call, rounds are on target a minute or so after the need is identified… at most! If the Army has to depend on USAF CAS, how long does it realistically take for that call to pass through the AOC TST cell? If that call is to take down the advance of an enemy armored column, how far will that tank column advance until the AF delivers? Now, take into account that the horizon is a bit closer when standing on the ground than when at 25k AGL. The Army must operate on a much tighter “from the horizon to your trench” timeline than the AF, and AF folk just dont typically understand that. An ATO cycle is an infinity if you are being shot at!

By the way, IKnowMoreThanU, you well may know more than me, but saying so doesnt exactly do much to allay the image of AF arrogance that really damages the AF interests in any kind of joint operation and discussion.

As you know, the answer is it depends. Arty can be called in, but at what distance is the enemy? Arty is an area weapon, not precision. Unless you have exact coordinates, Excalibur rounds and other GPS guided munitions are guess work. Though that may be the effects you desire. Timing of air assets will always be determined by location of those assets. I’ve seen from immediate, to much much later as weather precluded a quick reaction.

The Army is looking for effects, but sometimes like to request particular assets like A-10s or an AC-130. Even if A-10s were to become part of the Army, there are certain things an A-10 can and cannot do in particular threat environments.

And I have experience in Army TOCs, etc. Hanging out in an AOC was a whole different adventure. Arrogance goes both ways and destroys any joint operations and discussions as people vie for control.

what an awesome job TJW-you’re a lucky guy

Nervous, LOL. Heck no. The Army shouldn’t have any aircraft more capable than the A10. Those other aircraft all have air superiority missions and that’s clearly out of the Army’s scope. That also cuts down significantly the whole overhead to manage the beast.

“AF tactical aviation is much different than Army aviation, requiring a different outlook on how to operate. “ “But even if it is just the A-10s, then it would still be a poor idea due in large part to the ideology/education towards aviation in general.” You’ll have to do better than that. Specifics would help? I would refer to the Marine MAGTF model. Just saying “the problems are too big for the Army to understand” is an excellent example of that Air Force elitism I was speaking of.

“I admit that the Army has more numbers in aircraft, and more flying hours (a poor way of doing business btw), but so what. That truly means nothing in terms of aviation effects management.” Again, more Air Force elitism. Why is that a poor way of doing business? I’m interested in how you are going to make “more flight hours” a bad thing. The Air Force centrally controls its aircraft. It’s not by default the best way. The Air Force made the “we can do it more efficiently” bogart move with UAVs totally ignoring the the advantages of decentralized UAV ops. They lost that argument.

Aircraft TTP (specifically attack and scout helos) might be in different places specific to the current threat which is a new animal. We weren’t planning on using AH64s as convoy security, QRF or counter sniper before the current threat. When it comes to engaging a conventional force the manual has been written and the standards trained to. We are an Army in flux just returning to a focus that looks beyond OIF/OEF. I doubt “tank plinking” is in the Air Force manuals so let’s have some evenhandedness.

“Additionally, look at the amount of education Army officers receive on tactical aviation. “ The Air Force elitism bit is getting soooooooo old. Army officers come in a lot of flavors. The service support guys are going to be short. Not so for the combat arms and pro tng can fix it. I’m sure you learned a thing or two about Army Ops. I know we did a lot of OJT for our ALO back in the day. It’s not that hard unless you assume you only can understand it if you have a blue uniform.

“Besides, fixed wing aviators in the Army are like third class citizens, which would not likely change in Big Army” Ugh! Enough with elistist crap huh? Fixed wing aviation in the Army is HIGHLY specialized with almost a laser focus on utility type tasks. Future Army A10 pilots will be in the same category as Attack, Scout and Tactical Lift type pilots and MANY have gone on to command divisions and corps.

“Elitism has nothing to do with this, just observations and common sense toward maximizing aviation.” Go back and reread your comments, thought process and tone. This is ALL about Air Force elitism.

ExUSAF — Thanks for putting it in AirForce-ese.

Would appreciate your comments to mine above.

LOL! Just read an article last week that the was a precision guided 88mm mortar round in the works! Artillery, at least in the basic barrage form that has been around in force since the French 75 came into favor, is changing into a “one shot kill” with the precision guided rounds emerging even down to the level of the company”s 88mm mortars! Even saw an article on a prototype for a precision guided rifle bullet!!

As for the “tool for the task” issue, the Army folk would be pretty offbase if they requested an AC-130 to take on an advancing armored column with indigenous AAA now wouldnt they? I would have to ask the age-old question as to why the USMC seems to do such a good job of coordinating artillery and air fire support with ground forces? Just because you walk in the mud does NOT mean that you cant “think air” or vice versa. But then the USMC has that “Semper Fi” mentality that will NEVER come about as long as there is a USAF/US Army rivalry going on.

I would suggest that the “elitism” is not confined to an AF vs Army issue. As a “non pilot” AF officer, I continually saw the same kind of “flyers” vs “shoe salesmen” mentality.

There is just enough truth to some of the issues of technical competencies that the rest of the junk seems to carry through. I think that the best model is the USMC’s approach where pilot types are rotated into infantry roles and are at sent to the Marine “basic training”. (A good friend, Marine aviator and test pilot ended up commanding an LAV unit on the coast of Kuwait in DS!) Just a little bit of “contact” between the specialities causes a major “transfusion” of knowledge and understanding.

If I think about it a while, I can almost think that some of the USAF bravado and “elitism” might be almost an over-compensation for some feelings of insecurity when the more knowledgeable look at the roles and contributions of the USAF in the last few years of our war in comparison to the roles and sacrifices of the “guys on the ground”. Toss into it the somewhat inadequate “traditions” of a service that has existed for only the last 50+ years vs the traditions of the armies that have existed for the last 5000 years.… .

The Mexican police have had to fight RPGs and LAWs with pistols and rifles, so the problem is not limited to us :( .…

“And I have experience in Army TOCs, etc. Hanging out in an AOC was a whole different adventure. Arrogance goes both ways and destroys any joint operations and discussions as people vie for control.”

Oh MY GOD! You are a “guy in green”! Did you drink the water (koolaid?) in the CAOC? LOL!

Spent some time in AOCs both “back in the day” (grease boards and writing backwards!) and more recently in the “computerized” AOC and was appalled at the level of bureaucracy imposed on what was supposed to be a “tactical operations control center”! In the “bad old days” we were going to be controlling four or five times the daily sortie rate with one quarter of the staff! And the computers are “labor saving”! LOL!

Very true! And the people using those RPGs and LAWS (and AKs) are perhaps the most ruthless that the world has seen for a very long time, killing and mutilating anyone who even seems to oppose them. Luckily, those “war wagons” I mentioned and the heavy ordnance has mostly stayed south of the border.… . for now. But then keep an eye open for the gruesome executions and beheadings to move into the cities north of the border, then.… who knows, a “hot” A-10 sortie to the border might not be all that shocking.

Of course the USAF isn’t the sole repository for elitiism? The subject could get its own article but it’s just never an adequate answer to the question of CAS which we are addressing here.

It’s just immensely frustrating when someone says, “They (the Army) tend to not understand the range and scope of operations tactical and strategic aviation provides.” What range and scope issues doesn’t the Army get specifically? Does America’s largest branch that does everything from humanitarian ops, all spectrums of combat and nation building all over the globe just not smart enough to understand planes go farther/faster, carry more ordnance, are more expensive and as such have some slightly “different” considerations?

It would be like the Army arguing the Marines shouldn’t have tanks because they don’t understand “the range and scope of operations tactical and strategic “armor” provides”. How unbelievably ARROGANT!!!

Oh and what the heck is “strategic” about CAS?

It’s not necessary for a pilot to be a grunt to understand but it sure would help. That’s one thing the Marines get right and the Air Force should also. In the Army there was a fundamental difference between coordinating with attack helo pilots and lift pilots. The attack pilots were much more attuned to the ground plan and invested in supporting it. I attributed it to the slightly different cultures.

All said and done the single most important factor in the Marines equation is the Marines own the air. That feature always ensures air will do what the ground commander wants. When the ground commander does not have organic control there will always be “issues”.

Your traditions point is interesting. I would be more inclined to believe the Air Force is out of touch with the costs of war and pride and pettiness have actual costs. If the Air Force suffered a fraction of the casualties it did in WWII or the Army does now it would not be so quick to give away their key asset in CAS.

FYI, tank plinking is in our manuals

Range and scope is a very big part of it, particularly if you roll the “time dimension” into the equation. An AF planner might say that he could take down the whole tank regiment with an interdiction strike against the train hauling the tracks up to the front and he can do that 1000km behind the front and three days before they arrive at the railhead. Good stuff… right?

On the other hand, the Army company commander might want one specific tank, i.e, the one that is 1000 meters in front of his bunker and advancing cautiously, taken down and he needs it to be a done deed in the next 45 seconds!

When one service, or person, INSISTS on its/his point of view to the exclusion of the other end of the “range and scope” spectrum , in terms of the tactics and urgency, it all falls apart. When it falls apart you start hearing wining from both sides of the fence about how the Army cant appreciate the long reach and heavy impact of the AF, and the AF cant appreciate the need for responsiveness that the captain in the bunker knows explicitly!

Excellent Post.

Thanks TGR. How many years after Desert Storm did it get introduced and was there a war going on?

I’m hoping you are getting my larger point.

Perhaps that CAS done improperly invalidates most strategies?

I think not. Poor tactics rarely make for losing strategies though poor strategy is never saved by excellent tactics.

Guess we will just have to disagree on this one. Strategy and tactics are just two sides of the same coin. Fail with either and the conflict become an exercise for debate as to which led to the defeat! The end result does not change! :-)Sent from my iPhone

I imagine since ’91. And the AF has been at war since then too.

The levels of war follow a hierarchial a protocol in military thought. Generally, “tactical” applies to the battle/physical engagement. “Operational” refers to mov’t to battle and strategic refers to decisions about who the enemy is, how the whole force is generated and distro of resources among the force.

The three terms generally represent a scale of decision consequences. Solid strategy can survive an operational error, sound operational art can survive some failed tactics but the reverse is rarely true-the best tactics can rarely survive poor operational decisions and the best operational plans cannot survive an invalid strategy. (parphrased from my friend’s book “Winning Insurgent War” by Demarest)
E.G. unit tactics in Nam were sound but the strategy of attrition was doomed to failure. While in WWII we could afford to use inferior tank tactics but overwhelm the enemy with a strategy of out producing the enemy.
Just being happy in victory or defeat without analysis just dooms us to make the same mistakes in the future.

TGR — It wasn’t in the manual in ’91 since that’s the year it was discovered that FLIR allowed F111 pilots to ID tanks because they cooled slower than the sand around them. What resulted was a tactic of hitting tank heavy target areas just after nightfall w/FLIR equipped aircraft to go “tank plinking”.

Since you didn’t know what “tank plinking” was it’s doubtful that you know if its in the manual or when it was thus included.

My point was and remains it takes time for new tactics discovered against an innovative enemy or because of unknown equipment capabilities to get in the manual.

The AF does have this thing called weapons papers. A place where TTPs begin before entered into AFTTPs. While your point is true, those papers allow for a shortcut for waiting on a new AFTTP so aircrews can rain hate on the enemy easier.

It is a continuum from the “global strategic” to the “infantry squad tactical”, and the strategic certainly has an immediate impact on the broadest possible scope, but the tactical, if universally imployed, can have the same end result and perhaps even more immediate impact. For example, if the “tactical answer” is to form a circle and fire at attacking aircraft with your rifle (by-the-book, standard USMC infantry tactics prior to WW-II!) and everyone employs those tactics, it might not matter how sound your long range strategy (or mid range operational plan) might be. And… you have already given one of the most stirling examples of good tactics and bad strategy!

This guy usually hits the nail on the head, actually giving answers to these issues in depth. This is no different, check out his site, but moreso check out this piece about this exact article. I agree completley

@ itfunk

I agree, when everyone thinks when both pfcem & William C say “it’s a waste” which means “its a good thing”, especially keep putting more eggs into the failed F-35 program basket, which will ruin any air force and navy etc.

Yes, we in the Army have the CALL program and each branch school pulls lessons learned from the field and include them in training often before the doctrine or manuals are changed. Funny, we’ve been rewriting our manuals based on lessons learned for 200+ yrs.

Again, “My point was and remains it takes time for new tactics discovered against an innovative enemy or because of unknown equipment capabilities to get in the manual.”

Which was a counter to “IknowMore” position that the Army can’t handle aviation tactics because there isn’t one manual with everything in it today. The Air Force suffers from the same situation refernce documenting tactics. That doesn’t mean it’s not qualified to conduct air ops. It was a hypocritical standard and elitist point.

The High and Mighty Chief of Spam has this ass backwards.We should recapiltize our Fighter base with newer and better Fighters.Boneyard he was talking about Himself and maybe a few pepole on Capital hill.

All you need to do is look at the combat record the a-10 had in GW-1 to know the airforce is full of shit. A-10 were the cheapest aircraft the Airforce fielded as well as undeniably the most effective. A-10 accounted for more than 50% of all iraqi assets destroyed with a loss of only 7 aircraft… The overall readiness rate of the a-10a 130+ plane fleet during this conflict was over 95% even though a-10s took 25% of the casualties of all coalition aircraft. I’d argue that it is the most cost effective piece of military kit seen in the past 50 years.

With the upgrade to the a-10c the a-10 has become even more effective than in GW1. With greatly increased situational awareness, increased firing accuracy, reduced pilot workload, and increase night time effectiveness by utilizing the first cockpit designed from the ground up with night vision goggle usage in mind the aircraft will easily stay world class in the CAS role for the next 20 years. The next step which is currently not funded by congress would be the much needed upgrade from the GE-tf34-400a engine to the GE-tf34-101. This modest upgrade would address a large number of the aircraft current deficiencies. This upgrade would increase thrust by close to 30%, increase engine temps while also adding digital fan control greatly improving engine component lifetime and reducing maintenance cost. Time to climb, take off distance, sustained turning radius, and high altitude performance (very important in aerial refueling which the a-10 currently sucks at) would all be greatly increased for a cost to effectiveness ratio unimaginable compared to other military projects.

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