Air Force details force structure cuts

Air Force details force structure cuts

Air Force leadership laid out Friday afternoon what units will lose missions and which ones will get new ones with the Air National Guard bearing the brunt of the drawdown.

The Air Force will retire or reclassify aircraft in seven squadrons with four being Air National Guard units. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley announced the service will retire 286 aircraft over the next five years with 227 leaving the fleet in 2013.

Read the exact details of what aircraft are going where and what squadrons will receive new missions over the next five years in the white paper issued by the Air Force Friday at 1 p.m. titled “USAF Force Structure Changes: Sustaining Readiness and Modernizing the Total Force.”


Five A-10 squadrons, one F-16 squadron, and one F-15 training squadron will retire or reclassify to new missions. The F-16 Aggressor Squadron that stood up at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, in 2008, the 18th Aggressor Squadron, will transfer to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.

Friday’s announcement also outlined the bases that had been scheduled to receive C-27s before the Air Force cancelled the program. Seven bases from seven states will lose the mobility aircraft.

As expected, the Air National Guard took it on the chin. Donley explained Thursday that it was time the reserve component absorbed the level of cuts the active duty has in past years.

“The track record for the Air Force is that most of the reductions in the past several years actually going back a decade have been in the active force,” he said.

The Guard and Reserves makes up a larger portion of the Air Force than it had two decades ago. The Guard and Reserve make up 35 percent of the Air Force compared to 25 percent in 1990. Guard and Reserve units also own a larger portion of aircraft growing from 23 percent to 28 percent since 1990.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said the service targeted aircraft and units with “niche” missions while protecting multirole aircraft. The A-10 Thunderbolt better known as the “Warthog” was one of those niche aircraft.

Five A-10 squadrons will close or receive new missions as the service plans to retire 102 A-10s — or 29 percent of the service’s total fleet of 348 aircraft. Air Guard squadrons will lose 54 of the 102 A-10 Warthogs, or half the Guard’s fleet, which service officials plan to mothball.

Schwartz defended the decision to target A-10s saying it didn’t match the service’s vision of its future fleet. He also pointed out the service will keep 246 in the Air Force.

The A-10s mission didn’t match the new defense strategy that discourages long term stability operations and celebrates aircraft that can penetrate high tech air defense systems in countries such as China, Iran or North Korea, according to the force structure white paper.

Col. David Augustine, the 122nd Fighter Wing commander, will lose the 163rd Fighter Squadron and its A-10s from his command. He said he and his pilots are disappointed after just transferring from an F-16 to an A-10 squadron.

“I think there are some strong reasons the Air Force should keep the A-10s. It’s a great aircraft,” hes said.

Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell has already vowed “to fight tooth and nail” to keep the F-16 squadron, the 124th Fighter Squadron, targeted for retirement in his state.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., questioned why the Air Force targeted the Air Guard when the service would save more money by cutting active duty infrastructure.

“Instead of taking a prudent and options-open approach to manpower reductions, the Air Force proposes to severely cut the Air National Guard, which would save relatively little and which, once done, cannot be undone,” Leahy said in a statement.

Earlier in the week, Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Harry “Bud” Wyatt questioned Schwartz’s definition of balance implying that certain portions of the service would shoulder an unfair load of the drawdown. On Friday, he released a statement saying he supported the force structure reductions and new missions his units will receive.

“While we embrace this opportunity to transition to new missions best suited to units and the community, it is our intent to ensure the Air Force maintains the skills and experience the Air Guard provides the governors and the Department of Defense. We will work with the units impacted by today’s announcement to ensure that their designated transitions are smooth,” Wyatt said in an e-mail to Military​.com.

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I wonder how many times the USAF is going to resurrect the A-10 for conflicts after it’s been declared unnecessary and ‘niche’ in between them?

So effective close air support is a “niche?”

The Air Force will never learn. Instead they’ll double down on the farce that is the F-35 and have a unimaginably expensive and unbalanced Air Force for the future that severely limits our forces and country. It’s a damn shame.

You are absolutely correct. The Air Force is in a freefall decline. They are flying worn out fighters from the 1980s. They will never get enough JSF, IF it every gets fixed, to make up what they are losing. The A10 should be transferred to the Army and Marines. When we get in another war, which we will, the US will have to rely on the Navy and Marines for airpower.

Oh we can just replace the hogs with drones.…
Keep em in mothballs, they’ll be back

The A10 is the most successful Aircraft of the Air Force but also the Aircraft what the USAF hates at most. To kill the A10 will be a failure why the USA has in their entire history never fight a War how has predicted before this is one of the best comments and one of the least comments what gates had makes and it is absolutely true what he said. But on the other hand the decision to kill the A10 was the lesser evil preferably to the killing of another F15 or F16 why the Air force become from year to year smaller and less capable for real Wars. And so the decision to kill the A10 is conform with the new strategy to refocus the US Military on real treatments (Red China) how are armed with hundreds of modern fighters and High end Air Defense systems.

The Problems is what the Air force has started to think what Multi-role (F35) is the new Golden standard and this thinking will be fatal. Specialized systems like the A10 but also the F22 and the B1, B2 are the platforms for the War times not the multi role platforms like the F35 how can everything but nothing good enough this are weapons for Peace times. So as consequence the USA loses more and more special abilities and starts to think more and more like a small country and not like a Word power. The most interesting point here is what the much larger and specialized Air Force of the late eighties was not only more capable but also cheaper them the far smaller, more Multi Role and weaker Air force today. My conclusion is what it is almost always better too maintain a force of specialized Systems them to make the attempt to create a force how is based on one System (F35) how must satisfy all needs.

An A10 cost around 20 Million and still far superior as Tank Killer and Air support Platform to every other System in compare a F35 cost around 130 Million and is not nearly as good as Tank killer and Air support Platform like the A10 and it will never exist enough F35 to feel the ability gap that the retirement of the A10 will leave and it is the same with the other specialized platforms of the USAF how will leave the service and should to be replaced by the F35. So my criticism is a criticism against the entire concept/idea of the Multi Role Platform this thinking is unworthy for a world power.

Not in AF, but have relative in Air Guard. Guard is getting screwed as usual. The waisted money is in the larger military system, not the Guard. If anything, Air guard ought to be bolstered. If not for strong National Guard, what would we have done in our last two wars.

Everybody keeps saying that the Marines should get the A-10s; where are they going to base them? Can’t put them on the gators. Every dollar that the Corps has to shift into the A-10 is a dollar that’s not going towards the precious F-35B. Seems like something of a non-starter to me.

Any experts here on the aircraft? Are they short take off and landing capable?

How much runway do they need with a full load.

I’m sure the Army and Marine Corp would be happy to take them.

The Marines would incorporate them into their expeditionary forces

While I bet California or Iowa might lose there F-16 squadron Its a guess on what F-15 trainers will be reassigned. I doubt really any F-15Ds will be retired they be reassigned to another F15D squadron. Hope the training unit at Kingsly Field Oregon wont go.

This is a BIG mistake on dumping the F-22 for ”Multirole” fighters the navy want the same way and now have nothing but lousy F-18s for every mission something the A-7 replacement wasn’t made to do. Hope they reverse this idea and get more F-15 upgraded and F-22s in a few years.

You could use an A-10 on any surface without having to worry about “FOD”; and there isn’t another fixed wing aircraft in the inventory that can do it. I guess we don’t have to worry about unimproved runways and taxiways in the 21st century (lol). Not to mention the loss of an aircraft with the GAU-8, and 11 pylons.

The USAF geared up for an intercontinental missile and bomber exchange with the Soviet Union — and we got involved with Vietnam. With close to no capacity for ground support, the Navy did most of the heavy work for ground support. This hasn’t changed for any of the subsequent “wars” either. The USAF has historically planned for the wrong engagement and wound up with their pants down every time. Holding true to form, they’re doing it again.

Maintaining a preference for “high tech air defense systems in countries such as China, Iran or North Korea” just shows that the “glory hog” attitude of the Air Force’s high command hasn’t changed in over fifty years. The U.S. soldier will be the one that “benefits” from this approach as the U.S. continues to engage in low-level conflicts that require airlift capacity and ground support. The USAF will be capable of neither having in the past eschewed movement of troops or equipment in favor of delivering inter-base mail. If the USAF doesn’t want to support their service brethren, they should at least quit compounding the problem by forcing cancellation of the Army or Marine Corps support efforts like they did during Vietnam and all of the way through to the present. Fortunately, the USAF hasn’t managed to get Army’s ballistic missile efforts or the Navy’s missile efforts cancelled just because the USAF has a bunch of Titan missiles sitting in silos armed with warheads we don’t dare use. Perhaps it shouldn’t be “USAF” but “USAWF” — “Under Serious Aggression We’ll Fail”.

I am sure the Army would love to have to have the A10. They have smart kids flying today and it would take a year or two to develop a stable force. USAF experienced pilots would have to transfer to establish a nucli of the squadron but in the end the A10 would be much better served in the Army. At least they would be available when needed not when the USAF gets round to flying them. A 10 guys are good pilots, it is the administration of their use that is the problem.

Yes the USMC can use them too — maybe a combined USMC/Army force. Just because it does not have a tail hook doesn’t mean it cannot be transported with ease using refueling.

I am sick of the USAF bulling — either do the job or get out. And it is about time someone drives that point home.

the basic problem is that the air force never should’ve been separated from the army. Historically speaking the air force is at it’s at it’s awkward teenage years, rebelling against everything and thinking that they are smarter than their parents, but with no experience to back it up, and until the air force grows up, we’ll continue to have these problems.

the only way to get their attention is to take away the keys to the car

The A-10s, AC-130s and C-27Js should all be transferred to the Army. They are platforms that are solely designed and funded to support the Army which is why the Air Force has no interest in them. Congress created this mess and it should fix it by changing the laws and funding to allow the Army to operate these aircraft.

Once again into the breach! The A-10 conceptual design is suitable now only for Low Intensity Conflicts (LICs). With the passing of every sunset, and the ever-increasing proliferation and availability of advanced weapons such as the newer MANPADs–as well as regimes willing to provide and procure them–the “Low” in LIC where the A-10 is survivable gets ever lower.
Even if the combat survivability of the A-10 was sufficient for most conflicts, the actual detailed design and build of the A-10 as it was executed was deficient. Most of them had/have far more, and more serious, structural issues than even what JSF haters might wish for the F-35 in their wildest dreams.
And the kicker…
Even IF the Warthog was still marginally useful in higher intensity envioronments and we WANTED to build replacement A-10s, we couldn’t. Through shaky managment of production by the original ‘Prime’, attrition of the manufacturing base, and part obsolescence, there are knowledge gaps. Gaps so large that there is a thriving multi $M industry just reverse engineering replacement parts to meet the normal A-10 sustainment demands.
BTW: ‘BigRick’ fantasies were debunked in my “CAS Myths” series, especially “Part 2″

ummm.…so all that stuff about tank-busting in higher intensity fights was BS? Good thing they were never ever used that way. Seems like it would have been a disaster, I guess.

“Schwartz defended the decision to target A-10s saying it didn’t match the service’s vision of its future fleet…”

Here’s hoping any pontential future adversaries of the US are willing to adhere to the USAF’s plan as well…

Or perhaps better, maybe US politicians will stop being so eager to play World Police with US ground forces in areas where CAS becomes a necessity…

IIRC the Marines never showed interest in the A-10 back when Republic/Fairchild was offering variants to everybody.

Place it on a hanger until we need it on Iran, N. Korea, Russia, China crises

I know the JAS-39 Grippen that the swedes have is known to take off and land from a standard Highway. Even with a full combat load, the JAS-39 Grippen is capable of Short take off and landing and even from s standard highway.

“BTW: ‘BigRick’ fantasies were debunked in my “CAS Myths” series, especially “Part 2″ WHO IS THIS GUY?

I can hear it now… “Yeah, go see what I posted on the internet proving Air Force doesn’t support CAS”. Yeah ignore 60 years of history; the Air Force blocking the Army’s use of helicopters for decades; Congressional hearings where SENIOR Air Force officials admit they neglected CAS and the whole history of the A10 and how it was forced on the Air Force. Of course I know better and its true because i wrote it! So there! Na na na na na NAH! : P

HILARIOUS!!!

Read more: http://​www​.dodbuzz​.com/​2​0​1​2​/​0​2​/​0​3​/​a​i​r​-​f​o​r​c​e​-​d​e​tai
DoDBuzz​.com

Should have cancelled F-35 buys, but that makes too much sense for the USAF to do it.

With the announcement of divestiture of a serious portion of the USAF’s transport fleet, and the resulting outcome in part being the Army complaining even more that they are having difficulties getting logistics flown in where and when they need them,
I wonder if this could lead in the nearer term of a review and restructuring of that whole Key West accord or agreement or whatever they call that charter.

Bad enough the USAF pushed a so-often-questionable small arms package on the Army (when ground warfare isn’t the USAF’s area of expertise anyway!), that especially in the last decade has raised effectiveness issues, in addition to the “Army can’t have its own fixed wing CAS…”,
Now with any potential of a Sherpa replacement being buried by the USAF, I wonder if the Army is just going to petition enough of the HASC & SASC personnel to initiate a long-overdue review of just why Key West needs upheld: if the USAF doesn’t want to do certain roles, then they should have no jurisdiction or say in the matter over people who would.

Its just a matter of priorities. Getting rid of the A-10s frees up a lot of money to keep funding the brass creep, for general officers, their staff, and their perks, and for the bloated ineffectual bureaucratic organizations supporting them.

Oh man, there it is. Throwing down the gauntlet at the steps of the Temple of the F35! You sir are brassy!

A Men BigRock. Why one would rely on the F35 for close air support is beyond me. As for the F16 the A10 is far superior for CAS. If you haven”t seen it don’t trash it — the A10.

Boy isn’t that the truth.

Yes, it probably would have gotten ugly in the Fulda Gap if the balloon had gone up before the mid-late 80s.
From the Air Force Center for Systems Engineering (AFIT/SY) SE Case Study Report citing the CAS Aircraft Requirement Action Document that would yield the A-10 (Page 18). (and cited in Part 5 of my CAS Myths series) (.)

Although the intended operating scenarios stressed a permissive environment, the CFP was to consider the feasibility of incorporating a limited air-to-air missile capability as a defensive measure. Survivability from ground fire was an essential characteristic for the A-X. Structural and system design would need to provide inherent survivability, to include self sealing fuel tanks and, if power flight controls were used, a manual backup system would be provided. The pilot and critical flight systems would be protected from 14.5mm projectiles (common Soviet Anti-Aircraft shells).

Although during TASVAL’79 we (yes, I was there) developed what would become the core air-to-mud tactics for the A-10 and evolved them to help counter the effectiveness of the ZSU-23-4s (that proliferated after the A-10s requirements document came out) and other systems. It would never had been an easy go of it.

From the same SE Case Study Report on the A-10, page 62. (and also cited in Part 5 of my CAS Myths series)
—-
The A-10 aircraft had an inauspicious beginning for an Air Force that many have suggested only wanted the Air force to keep the Army from ‘taking over’ the CAS mission. The Air Force always believed that a fast multi-role fighter was a better choice for the feared war in Europe, but agreed to procure the A-10 for contingencies and “limited wars” like Vietnam. For its part, the Army seemed to like the A-10 as long as it did not threaten its own development of attack helicopters, and on several occasions the A-10 did appear as a political threat to continued funding for those helicopters. Despite these challenges, the Air Force did embrace development of the A-10 and produced a specialized CAS aircraft that would prove effective in a variety of operations throughout the world (fortunately for mankind in the 20th century, a shooting war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact never erupted, and it never became necessary to prove the A-10’s mettle against the armies and air forces of Eastern Europe).

AC-130 supports spec ops, why should it solely support the Army? Shouldn’t it just go/stay in SOCOM then?

Contrary to what the delightfully named “major.rod” tries to interject, who “THIS GUY” is, isn’t important. What IS important is whether or not “THIS GUY’s” assertions are backed up by credible sources.

It is also of no concern as to ‘why’ the aforementioned ‘major’ is so bereft of reading comprehension skills that he cannot Grok that in the CAS Myths series, AF CAS doctrine is shown to spring wholly from Army doctrine that the AF inherited (with references) . But based upon the aforementioned major’s appalling use of English in the cumulative, I suspect an English course or twelve would do wonders for him. Or perhaps he could post in his native language and someone could translate?

Good Afternoon Folks,

As usual the poster with holds some critical information and none of the butternuts check out the story, on the A-10 wikipedia would have been all you need to know that the writer here was way off base. The A-10 has been operational since 1977 when the ‚military environment was very much different. To be blunt the Russian have scrapped there 22,550 “reserves” everything from T-34–76’s , T-34–85′,s T-54 and 55“s and T-60 and 62’s. in 2009. Their active tank regiments will have 1,500 T-95’s and the reserves will have 1,000 T-72’s. China currently has about 1,000 Type 80 MBT’s, which even by Chinese standards is considered a failed design and is planning on about 1,000 Type 99’s when they figure out what the Type 99 will be.

First off at least 242 A-10 will be around till at least 2040. In 2007 Boeing got the modernization contract called Precision Engagement program. The first reconditions A-10’s came off the line in 2011. I would think with the world wide reduction in tank inventories with the US having the largest by far that 242 will serve our need quite well.

ALLONS,
Byron Skinner

You really need to try a little harder if you’re hoping to convince Dr Feelgood to hire you for Mini-me services at the Lockmartington Institute.

Try SLD — Their standards are low enough that even you and your lame blog might make the grade. And while you’re at it, try reading General Sir Rupert Smith’s, “The Utility of Force”. Maybe it’ll help you to understand why the much maligned ‘Low-Intensity Conflict’ is, and will continue to be, the norm.

lol, I know that! I guess I’m just not satisfied that the F-35 is going to be taking over the A-10’s role when it can’t do the job.

And I’m sure most, if not all, A10 pilots in the USAF would gladly transfer to the Army keep flying the hog. You’re right, it’s the AF brass that’s the problem. Every A10 pilot I’ve ever heard talk about the airplane loves it, and understands the important function they serve. Those guys in A10’s literally save lives when they go out there and deliver CAS.

Try not reading into things that which is not there. Never asserted LIC would not be ‘the norm’. I have no idea if it will be or not. That is an unknown-unknown where an enemy gets a vote. About the only thing I would assert in this vein is that one is far more certain to get the war for which one did not prepare, and that if you have a CAS capability that will survive in a high intensity conflict, it will most surely be just as survivable in a LIC. For clarity, we should not confuse hardware with capability to do a mission. As I’ve noted elsewhere, Fire Support is the ‘Mission’, Air is the ‘Medium’. CAS is the Method of exploiting the Medium to perform the Mission. I would add now that the hardware needed is a produc/outcomest of the techniques required to employ the Method. If one has unlimited resources, one could afford to end up with multiple sets of hardware and multiple techniques and maintain multiple skill sets to provide Fire Support via the Air Medium. No one has enough $, people, or infrastructure for such luxury

What’s so special about the ammunition used on A-10’s that it can only be used on tanks?

It isn’t the ammo itself:
the ammunition is a NATO standard 30x173mm cartridge, and various warhead types are available in that caliber.

What makes the A-10 so… appreciated by all those it’s supported over the years
is the fact that its GAU-8 gun, a 7-barrel gatling cannon, fires those rounds at 3900rpm, or 65 a second at up to a few hundred per burst when needed.
There’s a depleted uranium cored shell that proved very lethal against any armor it hit, during Desert Storm.
The DU actually reacts “pyrophorically” when it impacts steel (iron alloys) armor at high velocity, generating an effect like fireworks and sparklers, very very hot. Typical current loads today are a high explosive blend, because DU isn’t PC anymore, and there’s just no armor threat.

It also has a very distinctly loud ripping grunt when that gun fires like that, which certainly adds to the “warthog” name slung on it (tho moreso for its appearance and overall ruggedness).

Sadly, there’s yet to be a single Hollywood flick with A-10s that ACCURATELY depicts what that gun really does (doubtful the USAF wants that kinda press now anyway…)

There is no firm definition of what qualifies as STOL. The A-10 can operate from shorter and rougher strips than the JAS-39, but the JAS-39 can operate from shorter strips (including highways) than many heavier fighters.

IIRC operations from highways in Germany was something the USAF practiced with a number of aircraft. The USMC has always been a proponent of STOL and STOVL capabilities, hence their purchase

Sorry, the rest of my comment got cut out

Hence their purchase of the original AV-8A/C and their joint development of the AV-8B Harrier II and F-35B.

Something that should be a requirement fpr the Us Military as well. To be able to operate from standard Highway and turn some highways into a emergency military highway.

Here, let me join poking the F35 dragon in the @$$. Who said it’s going to be taking over anything? Last time I read lotsa problems, no IOC anymore, structural flaws and razor thin weight margins, all sounds very very bad to me.

Yes, let’s focus on my name and spelling in this scholarly “publication” vs. the issue. Throw in the racially charged remark being my last name is Rodriguez. Yep, Air Force professionalism and elitism at its best. Next we’ll be hearing some comment about my rank.

So since USAF’s CAS doctrine “supposedly” came from the Army. It’s the Army’s fault CAS is not as responsive as it could be. Yes, let’s pass that buck all the way back to 1948.

Nor does the fact that that the aircraft are not organic to the Army have anything to do with it.

The answer… “It’s all in my blog. Trust me I know better than all the experts, I spellcheck”

Come back when you can argue your grandiose assertion without referring to your pet blog.

What a joke, just a bunch of “band-aid” moves with the inane decision to reduce the number of A-10’s. If the USAF was serious about saving money they would retire 150 Minuteman III’s and shutter FE Warren. Warren is further south than Minot & Malmstrom, giving the missiles reduced range to strategic targets. 300 land based ICBM’s is more than sufficient without cuts to the Trident force, and would also be a starting point for reciprocal strategic moves by Russia. But, we are talking about the USAF brass here, so common sense solutions are in short supply.

… who are you and what have you done with the real STemplar?

Not to minimize the problems that the F-35 is discovering, but.… at least in terms of the technical severity and “inflation adjusted cost” they are not all that different, or at least taken one at a time, more severe than the problems experienced by the F/A-18, F-16, F-15, F-14, F-111, etc. (Taken together, largely because the F-35 program has a very ambitious “three model” approach, at least trippling the potential for “gotchas”, and adding the spectra of “synergistic problems”, it may be a different case!)

Today, we just have the internet on which to harrange and opine. :-) Whether its problems can be solved with the time and money available is of course yet to be seen, but once turbine disk failures in F-14s, stall-stagnation in the F-16 and F-15 P&W engines, and various lesser handling issues with all of them looked pretty scary.

This un-necesary niche has saved the day many times and does a great job. I don’t know another aircraft in our inventory that can take a beating lie the A-10. I have seen them shot to hell and bring the driver home. A-10 Warthog has proven its self over and over again, The Air Force would rather pump it’s budget into the F-35 Lawn Dart! You mark my words they will je just like the F-16 and lose an engine then loose an aircraft. go research and see how many F-16’s have been lost due to engine failure and from bird strikes.

And just how was anyone supposed to know your name was Rodriguez? Your reading skills are so poor and logic so flaccid I would have guessed the ‘major,rod’ handle had sprung from an allusion to some European adolescent’s fascination with a p*rn actor. Interesting that your response devolved so quickly to playing the ‘race’ card. Considering my own family going out no farther than 2nd cousins looks like the freaking UN assembly, it was also hilarious. Perhaps someone could also teach you the difference between race and ethnicity while they are at it.

Others are free to research my sources if they like or find and cite counterinformative sources. Or they can remain as ignorant as a certain minor.tool.

To SMSgt Mac: I sold replenishment spares for Fairchild Republic at the height of the A-10 production program, and the data package deficiencies were well noted, especially as the work was pushed out of the house under pressure from Fairchild Industries, who desperately wanted to shut down the plant and sell off the real estate.

To thankfullyretired: the GAU-8 ammunition used a fin-stabilized dart made of a depleted uranium alloy; I was told that the stuff could have been extracted and improved to weapons grade, which was a factor in the failure of the A-10 make foreign military sales.

The word at the time was that if the A-10 were an Army program, we would have been building 4,000 of them. An excellent aircraft.

You sure about that, Chris,
fin stabilized sabot rounds for the GAU-8?
Not likely in the least: those sabot petals would risk impacting the aircraft and being ingested into the engines.

The AP-cored (DU) shells aren’t sabot rounds, but sabot rounds (tungsten cored APDS and APFSDS) do exist in land-based applications of the 30x173mm ammunition, including the use of the GAU-8 as a naval CIWS in the Dutch Goalkeeper system.

While the actual DU core of the AP round is in fact subcaliber (smaller than the shell’s 30mm diameter), in this case it is not a fin stabilized sabot-type projectile, but is contained throughout its flight inside a lightweight shell body that’s 30mm.
http://​www​.fas​.org/​m​a​n​/​d​o​d​-​1​0​1​/​s​y​s​/​l​a​n​d​/​p​g​u​-​1​4​.hthttp://​www​.globalsecurity​.org/​m​i​l​i​t​a​r​y​/​s​y​s​t​e​m​s​/aihttp://​www​.gd​-ots​.com/​M​C​A​_​3​0​m​m​G​A​U​8​.​h​tml

Back in the day, the gun gas (much less any notional sabots) was enough to cause the engines to sputter a bit. Ended up with a “derich” on the fuel control that was enabled when you pulled the trigger!

OBTW, you are correct about the “ground” and “sea based” 30X173 options, Rheinmetal makes at least one verson of the APFSDS 30mm round. Dont think that a “constant bearing — decreasing range” target, manned or unmanned, airborne or afloat, would fare well in the hailstorm it would receive from the GoalKeeper.

I stand corrected, gentlemen, thank you.

good idea, land based ICBMs are pretty useless anyway, basically just a big money pit

The Chief of Staff for the Air Force said bombers, F-15 and F-16 can fill the A-10 role, who spiked his Kool-aid, show me an F-15E or F-16 that will fly down and dirty (below a 1000 ft) and who’s gun can knock out an enemy tank. They have to use bombs or rockets to do that, which cost money.

Some days I wonder if the Generals have lost sight and are doing this to keep their jobs because they are afraid they might be demoted or retired if they do not go along with the Obama defense structure.

One again the US Military will be come a paper tiiger as it was under Jimmy Boy

I’m as disgusted as you are by the reductions but the Generals have to follow orders just like the grunts do. Their bosses in the service chain of command come under SECDEF and he gives and order that they must obey. Its not like they can just make it up as they want.

Good Afternoon Folks,

One thing not mentioned in all the gushing over the A-10 Thunderbolt II is that along with Apache and the Abram’s Tank the A-10 showed the Russian and Chinese how fruitless their efforts at building tanks that can stand up to the American anti tank efforts were. All of these weapons were forged during the Cold War.

The Gulf War of 90–91 broke the fantasy the Russians and Chinese entertained that the were a peer to the United States in military power. Iraq had the worlds fourth biggest tank/armored force and it literally melted in front of US anti-armor weapons. Desert Storm was the Angicourt for armored warfare.

ALLONS,
Byron Skinner

You seem to ignore the simple, but inconvenient, fact that a major portion of the arsenal of “US anti-armor weapons” that caused the Iraqi mechanized forces to “melt” was in fact the US armored and tank forces. If the Iraqis had been destroyed by a bunch of infantrymen armed solely with Milan, you might have a scoop, and a valid comparision to Agincourt and the yeoman archers vs armored nobles.

Sadly for the Iraqi’s, and your arguement, it was the infantry, M-1s, Bradleys, A-10s, F-111s, F-16s, F-15Es, Apaches, Cobras, Harriers, F/A-18s, MLRS, . .… in other words the total force meatgrinder of “tank busting” toys, all fighting as “COMBINED ARMS” that made such a mess of that “fourth largest mechanized force”.

From the topside, a 20mm Vulcan will create enough damage on most AFVs to end their fighting ability: engine decking and hatches don’t withstand multiple 20mm hits of various types, and sensors and sights on top create weak points also (and a blind, immobilized tank is a liability to most militaries).

Possibly as a whole the US would’ve been better served upping to the 25x137mm GAU-12 (5 barrel 25mm used in USMC Harriers), precursor to the F-35’s GAU-22 (4 barrel).
There a favorable level of armor defeat available in full-caliber (non-saboted) 25mm over the US Vulcan’s 20x102mm, and it would’ve been a pretty good idea to do an across-the-board commonality with every US combat aircraft (minus the A-10) equipped with a gun, the AH-1 Cobra turret can accomodate the recoil of the more precise 25mm M242 (a 3-barrel 30mm was even tested on the YAH-63 competitor to the Apache), US Army and USMC troop vehicles (Bradleys, LAVs) both feature the M242, and a Phalanx upgraded to a 25mm system (at up to 4200rpm in the GAU-12) would’ve given some nice advantage (considering the current Phalanx 1B), moreso when it’s ammo-compatible with those Mk 38 mounts the USN uses.

Just a thought… :-)

Considering the source, I don’t mind you thinking I’m a minor tool.

I’ve been hammering you as the nail you are.

You might want to put a link to your blog. There are a lot of cartoons out there.

Let me know when you want to get back to the issues and stop with the racist, psuedo scholarly and childish personal attacks.

If more and more nations develop these new generations of active protection systems for AFVs,
then aircraft with accurate, high volume gunfire may become more favorable than using expensive missiles. When it becomes necessary to launch multiple missiles to guarantee a target kill, cost-effectiveness starts to suggest a gun.
Might we see future heavy aircraft guns, upwards of 30, 35, even 40mm?

If tanks were the only thing A-10s were used against you might have a point. Seeing as they aren’t used solely against tanks, your entire post is pointless. I won’t even bother with the host of bone-headed inaccuracies. Thanks for wasting everybody’s time.

“It would never had been an easy go of it.”

Welcome to the party. It was assumed the front line Army units in Germany would suffer 75% casualties.

The Russian Army reserve still has large number of T-55 and T-62s and the T-34 and T-60 which where WW2 tanks have been scrapped since the 70s and 80s. There is 800 T-90s in service and 1300 T-80s in service. Yes I do agree the A-10 should stay in service not just for tanks they kick but in Afghanistan.

Must be written by the Air Force where effectiveness is measured by survivability of the air frame and its ability to execute other missions besides ground attack (key causes for the USAF’s distaste for the A10). A criteria never addressed is effectiveness as it applies to lethality to ground targets. Hypocritical since air-to-air platforms are always graded against their potential targets.

I reject the Army seemed to like the A10 because it didn’t threaten attack helos. The Army LOVED it because it was the first aircraft ever designed to execute CAS. No rocket science there.
Furthermore in 1966, the Air Force, suspicious of what appeared to be the development of another tactical air force, negotiated the Johnson-McConnell Agreement, signed by CSA Harold Johnson and CSAF John McConnell. The agreement removed rotary-wing aircraft as an Air Force CAS and tactical mobility platform.

A mark of an educated mind is being able to read various sources, consider their biases/credibility and conduct objective analysis. You flunked.

The F-35 will win the acquisition process because special interests will nearly always defeat logic. Assuming that the future fighter IS the F-35, and what it’s purchase price is and the inability to replace lost aircraft due to unit costs — is there any likelihood that the USAF will actually commit any of these high-value airframes to any mundane combat actions? I doubt it. Any combat that doesn’t require stealth, speed and and electronics capability that would justify the purchase price of the F-35 will be shuffled off to whatever “lesser” aircraft is available to do the job. With a much reduced quantity of “lesser” aircraft to absorb that requirement, the battle may be won by the other side because the upper hierarchy of the USAF, Pentagon and White House will be very reluctant to lose an extremely expensive toy. I suspect that what will show the greatest value in CAS in the coming years will be the AC-130 gunships (something else the Air Force has very, very few of) and CAS configured drones with active links to controllers that know what they’re doing. Too bad the drone approach may be jeopardized by the CIA’s consistently poor record of drone utilization. The best drone to ground controller link isn’t likely to be equal to a manned aircraft such as the A-10. If the A-10 is too long in the tooth to keep active though, let’s hope a suitable CAS dedicated drone evolves — hopefully not entirely under the control of the USAF where it would be cancelled in favor of pink paint jobs on Titan missiles or whatever.

RE: ”Furthermore…“
Gee, if only I was more widely read! I would have written something like:
There was a behind-the-scenes cooperative effort at the highest levels that occurred within this highly politicized environment to resolve — or at least lessen–the ‘CAS’ friction between the Army and Air Force. In the Spring of 1966, the Army Chief of Staff General Harold Johnson and Air Force Chief of Staff General John McConnell “met secretly to resolve air support differences that the Vietnam War had aggravated” (Douglas Campbell, “The Warthog and the Close Air Support Debate”). They arrived at a compromise agreement that changed the criteria for dividing responsibility from aircraft weight to aircraft type. The Army was thus allowed to provide helicopter fire support and the Air force retained the CAS mission. As in all compromises, no one was completely happy.
Oh yeah, I DID…in Part 3 of “CAS Myths”.
Perhaps one should actually read something before one critiques it? Otherwise you will keep finding thy failures most ‘epic’ AND most public.

1. You feel free to critique something without reading it, much less understand it.
2. You tend to project your own faults onto others.
3. You need a neurologist. That ain’t a nail you’ve been hitting. It is your thumb.

You go low road, I go low road. You go high road. I go high road. Your call.

BTW: ‘link’? Use a search engine. Google up “Close Air Support Myths”. Series posts will be among the first links listed.

I’ve read it Mac. That’s why I’m saying it’s not worth the read. Put it here and I’ll take it apart for you.

Only in your small mind was there an epic fail. You quoted the Air Force spin that “the Army seemed to like the A-10 as long as it did not threaten its own development of attack helicopters”.

The A10s were never threatening attack helo programs, entirely different capabilities, systems and funding. The Army had secured all helo proponency in ’66. The A10 RFP wasn’t written until ’70 and the proto didn’t flu until ’72 (4 and 6 YEARS) respectively.

Keep talking. You’re proving my point that your blog isn’t worth reading.

Bryon — no disrespect but

Well A10’s were used in Desert Storm for tanks. There is no tanks in Afganistan So were Apaches who did as much damage. Today’s Apache is a whole different machine

Today is a different game. We are looking for insurgents behind rocks, building, and general support for the infantry. A10 and Apaches are the name of the game today. F16’s / F15’s / F18’s just don’t get down in the weeds. B1’s are a joke. IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT ASK A GRUNT !!!

Same one, never been a fan of the F35 really. Tried to make reasoned arguments with fans, it’s not possible. The C model not being able to land on a carrier after 10 + years of work and I had to listen to the disciples of the F35 tell me how it was no big deal made me realize there is no error in the program at all in their eyes and there is no top end to how much they are willing to see spent on the thing. So no point in being serious about the conversation anymore, so I mock it more or less. I foresee the structural testing being the next big wrench I bet, with so little done, so many problems found, and weight margins razor thin, that’s a recipe for doom.

Of course it’s a problem and nobody is denying that, but to say it cannot be overcome is foolish. Unfortunately most modern fighters take 10+ years of development, and the actual F-35C had its first flight in 2010. Look how long it took the Eurofighter, Rafale, or F-22 to reach IOC.

While there is some degree of commonality the three variants are significantly different once again reflecting the reality (that bureaucrats can’t seem to grasp) that you it is very complicated to build a fighter to fill meet three rather different sets of requirements.

I’d say don’t retire anything, just place it in the hangers. Crises with Iran and N. Korea can still happen.

Why are you required to get into the weeds when we have advanced targeting pods?

In spite of all of the sales pitches, there are some missions that simply can not be done from 18,000 ft AGL. Example: On the advance into Baghdad, the lead column was “pinned down” by a machine gun implacement on the 6th or 7th floor of a highrise. This was intentionally too high for the tank guns, which are typically limited in elevation, and too “complicated” of a target for an artillery mission (collateral damage, etc). For the same reason as the artillery, even precision guided air dropped munitions from 18000 ft would not work. An A-10 was called in. Approached at about the same altitude as the machine gunners, and literally cleaned out the floor with 30mm while not so much as damaging the floors above or below. You also get into “issues” when you deliver explosive ordnance from high altitude against targets in close proximity to your own forces. A 500 lb bomb will throw lethal frags up to about 2500 ft! A 250 lb bomb (like the SDB) will not be a lot better!! What do you use against a target that is 250 yards out from your own trenches?

Well said, any tool that tries to do everything makes too many compromises to be as effective as a specialized tool. Specialize the tool and create multiple tools.

The Eurofighter’s performance is only a small mark above that of the Super Hornet and the reason why it took so long is because it’s made by a combination of nations with very sketchy histories with eachother.

The Rafale still baffles me since the French have very good experience with making jets and their Mirage series of fighters. I have no idea why it took them so long to get the Rafale online.

The F-22 was using brand new technologies so it was bound to take forever to get into production. However, my problem with the F-22 is that it has unnecessary capabilities that increase its price, such as the incorporation of air-to-ground weapons. It should have been just pure air-to-air and on top of that we don’t even have enough of them to do anything useful with them. If we had cancelled the F-35 and put that money into buying F-22s and legacy fighters we would have had the perfect mix.

On top of that it is also worth noting that neither the F-22, EF-2000, or Rafale had their prices increase 5 times their original stated value.

We should never have tried to make a single airframe for all the services because all of their needs are drastically different. The JSF is a bad idea.

My guess is from the highly esteemed Three Joint Stooges, ie; ”‘Larry’ Thompson, ‘Curly’ Laird, and ‘Mo’ Aboulafia…

Good point, the SECDEF should bear the brunt of the ire.

Hopefully newer UAVs can fill the CAS void more and more as more capable UAVs are developed.

C model can’t land on a carrier William.

B model is a fat pig and only has 235lbs. of wiggle room in its weight margin and it’s behind in testing.

Any problem can be overcome if adopt the zealot attitude of the F35 fans that no matter how much it costs they will support it.

Plus who said the F22 wasn’t a boondoggle as well?

You do realize you just discounted information because you don’t like the source, and also attempted to diminish the source while at the same time making unsubstantialed assertions of your own? Assertions BTW that are easily debunked in themselves. The effort that became the A-10 was kicked off in September 1966. Early enough to threaten the Army’s AAFSS (which became the AH-56) and caused the Army to shift their positition on what they felt the AF ‘needed’ in an effort to defend their AAFSS (RAND R-906PR). You probably won’t like that source either, although I’ve slogged through enough poorly-reasoned Army papers that have cherry-picked from it over the years.
And to drive home the point: All that ‘secured helo proponency’ didn’t save the AAFSS though did it? (which is what the AF case study was referring to BTW) It left the AH-1 as the Army’s ‘interim’ attack helo until the AH-64 arrived in numbers in the mid-late 80’s. Not bad for an ‘interim’ system.
Keep up the improvised Argumentum Ad Nauseum. Very revealing.

Not to be a wet blanket but.…

Dates are more or less like this RFPs to operational.

F-14 5.5 years
F-15 6 years
F-16 6 years
F-18 8 years

We are ten and half years into the F-35, we have spent $38 billion and we have dropped the IOC altogether and discovered just now the C couldn’t land on a carrier. Compared to the F-14s and F-18s, the F-35 should have at least been able to land on a carrier 2 to 4.5 years ago, if not actually operational. I don’t think expecting a carrier fighter to be able to land on a carrier in 10 years is a lot to ask of a program.

Byron is so wrong that it hurts my eyes. Once again the completely wrong conclusions being drawn from the Gulf War. No wonder you get so many negative hits on your posts. The Iraqi air defense network was nothing like the Soviet air defense network nor was the Iraqi tank force anything like the Soviet tank armies. The US had a whole generation advantage with regard to tanks and even then the M1s were only recently upgraded to HA and HC standard. To top that off the Coalition had complete air superiority which kinda helps. You wouldnt have that against the Soviets..and besides tanks may now be impervervious to early RPGs across the frontal arc but *no* tank can survive a direct hit from an AGM munition like a Maverick or a Kh-29.

Afghanistan and Iran has shown that UAVS are still a long ways from being useful against anyone with any sort of reasonable tech level — I mean some Taliban managed to hack into a drone with a laptop and cheap software. That is of course unless the new Euro UAV works as they are boasting.

But sure, nice post by retired. I honestly cant see the USAF using their modest and precious F-35s for CAS after the inevitable cut backs.

Not discounted because I didn’t ”like it”, it’s not credible! FAILS the common sense test! A totally subjective comment like, “the Army seemed to like the A-10 as long as it did not threaten its own development of attack helicopters” with no support as to how it came to that conclusion is subjective. HOW was the A10 EVER an Army helo threat? What Army official linked the two? The AF didn’t get a vote on helos after ’66! The funding is from different branches that set their own priorities! Is this news to you? Nevermind. It’s because you only read what the USAF says and don’t THINK about what you are reading.

There is ZERO connection between aircraft and helo programs. Is the USAF paranoia that every Army flying system is a threat to the Air Force too strong to overcome? The Cheyenne was cancelled because it was EXPENSIVE. The tech wasn’t mature. It did help motivate the Air Force to create CASX (which it later tried to back out of when Congress forced the AF to procure the follow on A10). The Army is happy whenever the Air Force does ANYTHING to support its CAS mission because of its institutional neglect.

“All that ‘secured helo proponency’ didn’t save the AAFSS though did it?” Super DUH! The AF has cancelled dozens of programs with sole proponency for aircraft. Can we now credit Army programs for causing the Air Force to ditch planes for whatever reason? OF COURSE NOT! They aren’t related!!! The point of “secured proponency” is for the first time the Army makes independent helo decisions. FINI

“the Army seemed to like the A-10 as long as it did not threaten its own development of attack helicopters” is more ludicrous when one realizes the Air Force didn’t get a vote. Here’s a clue… The Army liked the A10 and LOVES it now because for the first and ONLY time the Air Force built a CAS aircraft!

Your position about the whole “seemed to like quote” makes as much sense as saying “you seemed to like me having a Corvette as long as it doesn’t threaten you buying a golf cart.” That “point” just went through your forehead and is coming out the backside of your head. Get a tourniquet around your neck to stop the bleeding. (You believe everything else you read)

Dont get me started in the evils of the “development cycle”! LOL! THAT is a whole different ball of wax, totally separate from the technical issues with the F-35. I would go so far as to toss in a few more examples,

U-2 (notably one of the most successful, long-lived aircraft designs in HISTORY!) was a significant departure from anything that had flown to that time. On 2 Dec 1954, 12 Lockheed engineers started the detailed design process. The first “official” flight was on 4 Aug 1955.

SR-71 (perhaps still the most bodaceously radical flying machine ever designed and flown) was also a significant departure from the state of the art, an evolutionary step from nothing that had gone before. The A-12 proposal was put on contract on 29 Aug 1959 with a first flight on 26 April 1962.

You must have missed the whole part in the RAND pub about OSD involvement with the A-X and AAFSS issue, redundancy/commonality vs. complementary roles, as well as the involvement/eyeballing of the situation by the Packard Commission. The issue never came to a head ONLY because the Cheyenne failed in the end (costs AND performance).….as I also noted in my CAS Myths series. There appears to be no bottom to the well of that which you do not know. Keep yapping unsubstantiated assertions contrary to documented sources — this thread will drive page counts at my place for years.

See above (OSD and Packard Commission observations in the RAND report). And to carry your poor analogy further, you wanting a Corvette DOES threaten me getting a Golf Cart if Daddy who is paying for it doesn’t want to pay for it and thinks the Corvette is perfectly fine for driving around the links. There’s other gold for me in that analogy, but I have to go to work. I’m sure you’ll give me an opportunity to mine it later.

The A-10 can use a 5,000 foot runway with a full load near sea level. Not quite STOL (usually defined as 3,000 ft or less) and definitely not SSTOL (1,500 ft or less). The Gripen can take off from Swedish highways because Swedish highways are designed with a reinforced 10,000 foot straight run every 10 or 15 miles, which was a really good idea IMO.

You just cant trust those “peace-nik” pacifist Swedes! LOL!

Of course, Finland’s Winter War was just a bit too close for comfort. :-)

You might want to read up on the US Interstate Highway System. You’ll find that this was addressed and accomplished 40 to 50 years ago

How come it’s not being practiced in the US

There isn’t really much practice required.
They get what they need in regular operations/deployments

Perhaps shortsightedly, we do not currently plan on conducting combat flight operations with fighter aircraft, based on Interstate highways of Iowa against targets in Illinois! Sweden and Switzerland (which also has “reserve” runways that look like autobahns), could imagine, in just about any conceivable combat situation, to be operating their fighters either from within their borders or from “expeditionary” airfields maintained by folks like us. :-).

On top of that, imagine I-95S out of DC routinely blocked on Fridays at 5pm for a flight of F-16s to land.… . . :-)

You totally don’t understand the budgeting process or are just willfully ignorant because it doesn’t support your point (like your blog).

Daddy gives us both an allowance, WE each choose what to spend it on. What I decide to spend it on doesn’t impact what you want to buy and vice versa.

“You must have missed the whole part in the RAND pub about OSD involvement with the A-X and AAFSS issue,” No I got it…

Jul 66, Brown (SECAF)made the case to SECDEF that the AH1G/AFSS were primarily for fire support and should compete against USAF A/C for effectiveness. Dep SECDEF Vance replied 27 Aug disagreeing stating “armed helicopters were a useful adjunct to the Army CDR’s forces, providing him with an appropriate mix of ground/air fire power & mobility that he could use to influence the course of the battle. Vance further stated that the concept of armed helo ops was effective and successful and did not create unacceptable interface problems with USAF strike A/C” p34 http://​www​.rand​.org/​p​u​b​s​/​r​e​p​o​r​t​s​/​2​0​0​9​/​R​9​0​6​.​pdf Pretty basically the Air Force tried to get their grubby little paws on the funding for attack helos and SECDEF said “pound sand”.

Of course my comments here will grow your cartoon blog. It’sanother clear example of you cherry picking, misconstruing the data and failing to do analysis to support your ridiculous position. I’m sure some inventive editing and quotes out of context of what I said here will be right in place in your blog.

Why not just transfer the A-10’s and their pilots (those who want to keep their jobs) to the Army. Forget the Key West Agreement. The world has changed in the last 64 years; however, the Air Force is still trying to fight the war it wants to fight, not what is going on in the real world. The Army would welcome the A-10’s.

Heh. First. You DO realize the quote you provide only obliquely relates to the slanderous little ‘funding’ jibe at the end? Others do.

RE: cherry-picking. There you go projecting your faults on others again. You cherry-picked that single step in a series of events covered in a section on the A-X/AAFSS issue that spanned about 7 pages (31–38). I’m comfortable with stating the entire section supports the quote in the SE Case Study as I referenced it and as it was used. I encourage the literate to read it for themselves. Your ramblings are a perfect foil. If it is any consolation I don’t think anyone could possibly be as thick as you pretend to be. I just know it involves more opportunity costs for you to keep this up, and as long as new information supporting my position gets out for others to see it makes things easier for me in the future.

It’s only “slanderous” to you because it proves you don’t know what you are talking about. I’m not dense. You’re a Air Force “uber alles” partisan.

You want to rewrite history about the Air Force’s long term aversion and negligence ref CAS.

Folks can read the source document for themselves and decide but your myth bashing cartoons aren’t worth the time. I’m only a little fish but the tons of scholars have looked at and written on the issue. You aren’t one of them.

Too much sense, never happen.

Was an A-10 crew chief for many years. So easy to maintain and fix to keep in the air to destroy anything in it’s path. Can turn on a dime. Great aircraft. Only problem is getting parts. Also, doesn’t need a lot of runway. No afterburner. Miss it.

Did 25+ years [ANG] doing Close Air Support [CAS] in F-100’s and A-10’s. and we were and are very good at it. The high experience level of the ANG pilots speaks for itself in the results of competitions involving both Active and Reserve components. This was a thorn in the side of Active duty leadership more concerned with haircuts and patches than warfighting capability. In my opinion we are in an era wherein the AC and the RC are competing for missions and equipment, and the ANG is losing out, which is not surprising. As the ANG becomes less relevant, the case will someday be made to dissolve this orgnization or absorb it into the Air Force Reserve. Hope I’m wrong.

Know what makes a good tank killer? PGMs. Not that big, powerful gun. A pair of F-16s with Mavericks or GBUs and targeting pods is just as dangerous, and probably have a better chance of coming home in one piece.

No it wasn’t, either. The Germans and the Swedes have done it, and the US talked about it when the Interstates were notional, but we never implemented it.

Granted that the “so-often-questionable small arms package on the Army” you refer to is the M16 (a rifle I’m not particularly fond of either), you have no business laying that at the feet of the Air Force. That was McNamara’s doing.

Check your facts. The flap about “drone hacking” referred to UAV video feeds being broadcast unencrypted. LIGHT YEARS of difference between receiving an open video signal, and “hacking into” a drone.
The F-35 isn’t going to be used for CAS? They said that about the B-1, the F-15E, and the B-52 at one time or another. Requirements of effects-based operations proved otherwise.

Maybe, I’d like to read the counter argument from the A10 perspective. Probably comparative payloads?’ Then there’s always the point that the enemy or the target might not be a tank.

The problemn is the Air Force will prioritize killing enemy tagets deep vs. providing CAS based on the “efficiency” argument (which is always a great consolation when grunts are engaged in combat).

Araya

I completely agree that the turkey JSF is not nearly as good as Tank killer and Air support Platform like the A-10C. The F-35 JSF’s has a thinned skinned fuselage. Lockheed Martin has done very little with major safety precautions on the Joint Strike Fighter to protect against fire. As an close air support which the F-35 is suppose to be (when it attempts to discriminate tanks, convoys, SAMs and AAAs) its totally incapable, the aircraft will be an very easy target to shoot down, because it’s such a delicate aeroplane which means the aircraft has a huge F135-PW-100 turbofan engine surrounded by fuel wrapped around entirely in the engine and to the fuselage. Very little they can do because the .22 Rifle or any form of gunfire can very easily penetrate the skin on the airframe and causes it to catch on fire like a “blow torch”.

TrustButVerify

A pair of F-16s with Mavericks or GBUs and targeting pods. Supersonic aircraft are only suitable for ground attack role and have a better chance of coming home in one piece. But they can’t do close air support (CAS) duties because their fuselage is not as thick as the A-10 and they are surrounded by fuel wrapped around inside the airframe and to the engine, once they fly at low level to discriminate the targets on the ground, the form of gunfire or the .22 Rifle will penetrate the skin on the aircraft and will cause it catch on fire like a blow torch and kill you, as said to Araya about the JSF can’t perform CAS.

Schwartz is an total idiot of going for the JSFs.

I love the A-10 but the UAV is now the dominant platform going into the future. An MQ-9 Reaper carriers the equivalent weapons payload of an F-16 and can loiter for hours at a fraction of the cost of a manned aircraft. You can make all the arguments you want of why the A-10/F-16/F-15 aircraft are so much better than a Reaper or Pred but it won’t matter to the decision makers in the AF. The UA technology being developed and tested by the Air Force Research Lab at Wright Patt (Edwards etc) is mind boggling. I’m afraid gentlemen that the last fighter pilot has already been born and no amount of teeth gnashing is going to change that fact. It’s called progress and better that we be out front leading on this technology than others.

Haven’t you guys heard? The Air Force is poised to fight our enemies in Space, they don’t have time to fight our enemies on the ground. That’s what the Army is for, except the Army can’t fly the A-10s … that’s an Air Force job … oh wait, that’s not in Space.

Hmmm

When the A10-‘s were manufactured they were less than 2 million a piece. Even at 20 million they are still a bargain. But as so many have pointed out the Air Force brass never liked them. Why is that? simply put they were and continue to be so cost effective there is no money to be made. You see the Air Force like nearly every other branch of the government is a revolving door with corporations that feed off of our tax dollars.
And in order to land those cushy jobs and take those big kick backs you need big budget items with lots of profits. Just look at the decisions made since 1955 in the military. By 1960 the Canadians had developed and put into production a plane that was at least 1 perhaps 2 generations ahead of anything in the US inventory. The US forced Canada to not just stop production, but take the plane out of service, dismantle the production line. They even had the blueprints destroyed to protect us manufacturing interests. Oh and yes National security be damned. Since the mid 50’s it has always been the money first and America second. Nothing has changed except they are a stealing a lot bigger slice of the pie these days.

Didn’t I just read that the anti-ballistic missile defense program is being placed under a Navy admiral? The navy has an effective missile defense system NOW. Maybe we need to break the Air Force up into a transportation command and a bomber command and let the Navy and Marines have the fighters and the Army Navy and Marines the ground support mission.

Within x number of years drones will rule so let us cut our losses with the F35, build about 300 more F22’s and wait for the drone technology to catch up. Another idea…dump the land based ICBM’s and invest in up grade our sea based systems.

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