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Baloogan Campaign Forum • View topic - A-10 and the future of US CAS

A-10 and the future of US CAS

Moderators: Dandin384, Kushan, JanMasterson

A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:24 pm

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby LigerFangz » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:37 pm

"In over 8 000 daytime missions in Gulf War One, A10 suffered 3 losses to IR missiles – in other three cases, plane was hit but returned to base safely. Meanwhile, 83 % of A10s that were hit made a safe landing. In Gulf War and Kosovo campaigns, A10s flew 12 400 sorties while suffering 4 losses – a one loss per 3100 sorties, far less than F117, which had 1 loss per 1300 sorties.

In Afghanistan in 2001, 4-man US special ops team leading 26 ANA troops was ambushed by 800 Taliban. B1B bomber, sent to do “close support”, failed to achieve any effect. Team leader, sgt. Osmon, asked for A10s. Two A10s were sent – after A10s opened fire with their cannons, Taliban ceased attack and dispersed. A10s escorted team during entirety of next 6 hours, a trip that would have normally taken 2 hours.

This incident only serves to prove that F35 has no capacity whatsoever to perform Close Air Support missions – it is too vulnerable, so it cannot fly as low and as slow as CAS missions require it to fly; it does not have a required loiter time – inefficient aerodynamics, small wing and large weight necessitate both high speed and high fuel consumption for it to stay in the air; and it lacks armament required to perform such missions, such as specialized cannon like GAU-8 A-10 is equipped with. A10 is also slow enough, survivable enough and maneuverable enough to enable pilots to use binoculars and night vision googles to find and identify targets, often coupled with simple radio link to troops on ground, in keeping with KISS principle."


Not mine.
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby bostonmyk » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:44 pm

Very nice analysis CK.

Ok so COIN the A-29 will do just as well and cheaper. Got it. Now how does the A-29 or any other aircraft do against armor (its original specialized role)? This would be the gap I'd be concerned with.

Thanks!

Mike
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:57 pm

Last edited by ckfinite on Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:58 pm

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby bostonmyk » Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:15 pm

Agree on the COIN just see the A-10's tank busting capabilities as something that is still a requirement. (Syria, Ukraine, Korea etc.)

A-29 seems to be spec'd to carry Hellfire, LGB etc. but doesn't seem as survivable as the A-10. Neither will be good against the newer threats but the A-10 is a little more robust.

Looking forward to your F-35 post tomorrow.

M
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:20 pm

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby bostonmyk » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:52 am

USAF never stopped using the A-10 during ODS because of the losses which tells me what they were doing was worth the risk and loss. I don't know where and at what percentage that changes with a greater threat but I do know losses were expected to be much higher during a German Plain WWIII conflict yet they were willing to field and retain the aircraft. That supports my conclusion.

On to high and fast.

How do you deal with the active defense systems tanks are starting to field such as Arena or Trophy. This will mean more munitions or smarter which normally is not a characteristic of high/fast and more expensive. The A-10's gun or admittedly something similar would not be impacted by these systems.

The A-10 was designed to operate forward from rough fields with a high sortie rate/low maintenance requirement. Can any of the aircraft you have in mind do the same?

Ah one last point. If high and fast is the way to go. Why are the Russians updating the SU-25 instead of replacing?

Mike
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:59 am

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby bostonmyk » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:13 pm

Can you give me a source on A-10's not being assigned to hit Republic Guard units. This is the first time I've ever heard this and I've read a lot on air operations in the Gulf War.

Would be great if you could dig up that source on the 30mm ammo being useless against newer tanks. This is more of a CMANO concern.

Thanks!

Mike
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby poaw » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:40 pm

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:46 pm

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby bostonmyk » Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:14 pm

Ah thanks very interesting that they were held back.

Thanks

Mike
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:31 pm

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby bostonmyk » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:48 pm

Ok so no change.

What does any replacement have that can compare to this capability? Or is it worth the loss?

Thanks

Mike
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:24 pm

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby bostonmyk » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:20 am

If the balloon goes up in a high threat environment I think the Maverick shooters are just as vulnerable. Key though will be using those assets for what they're good at (AAW, SEAD etc) to pave the way for the A-10 and any other speciality aircraft to do its thing. I would also argue that the existing A-10 pilot community has much more experienced at doing and surviving their jobs at this point as they've had several wars to learn how to stay out the envelope of defenses as much as possible.

I honestly don't like measuring effectiveness of any platform based purely on stats because it doesn't tell the entire story. I look at the impact the aircraft had (or didn't have) in the campaigns they were involved in by the people that used them, fought them or were supported by them. By all accounts the A-10 is highly regarded. Let me know if you need a cite on this.

Playing devil's advocate I think the best argument you could make is wear and tear on the fleet will lead to a natural end of life regardless. The A-10 was given an extension with the C upgrade but all of them have a ton of miles on them and they spend a lot of time on line. The more these aircraft grind on the more the good qualities about them are diminished and at the end of the day physics does provide a practical out of service date.

Why not a drone with many of same characteristics? You're not risking a pilot and situational awareness is getting better. Would that be a better investment?

Mike
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:15 am

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby bostonmyk » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:44 pm

Jeebus good thing I have a sense of humor about you.

I agree with the drone replacement but still need an aircraft over the battle zone that has good situational awareness in the sense that its not looking through a straw but a wide area lens and can react as quickly as a human with human intuition. This may just mean a human back at the control center. Perhaps all those A-10 pilots you just fired CK:)

Mike
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:13 pm

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby Chaffers » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:26 pm

"In my view of the issue, the fundamental problem with the entire role of the A-10 is that it forces you to get very close to the ground and approach enemy forces directly."

Explicitly no, that is the strength of the A10. Eyes on target rather than sensors on target allows discrimination and judgement to be used. Your argument in favour of high or medium altitude CAS falls apart on a simple question of airmanship. Can you positively identify the target?

Zoom with sensors of whatever nature or resolution does not give you situational awareness, nor does a ground operator using the delivery platform as a remtoe contol. Even forgetting bandwidth concerns this is a political expedient rather than a combat solution. You are also conflating two issues, the use of standoff weapons such as the Maverick and the use of guns. Neither has a simple envelope or ROE but it is the guns which provide a unique capability due to the A10's ability to withstand AAA fire. Dissimilar aircraft cannot perform the same role as their low speed handling does not allow them to remain eyes on whilst manouvreing.

The A10 is frankly, a sub optimal platform. Whilst relatively cheap in US terms it simply is not fast enough, or more explicitly does not provide the acceleration or dash speed necessary or it's role. Standard practise was to run engines at max with boards out to rectify this, though this knackered the airframes. It is not explicitly a CAS aircraft but a tank buster designed for Western Europe . Very few missions in the modern timeframe would envisage confronting armoured columns close to the FEBA , though interestingly this is one of the key design parameters of the F-35.

A-10 losses in combat were practically insignificant even compared to peacetime rates. It proved itself, if anything, to be almost impervious to AAA and manpads in a third world scenario. Loss rates of over 5% are historically unsustainable, less than a tenth of 1% a pointless discussion.

The airframes deficiencies are a lack of dash speed and acceleration, the big gun almost irrelevant against anything other than serious armour. Frankly a minigun armed A37 Tweet could perform 99% of the niche missions more effectively and at less cost in maintenance and basing. F-35, EOTS, SDB and any other medium altitude solution however is in no way a replacement for the A-10 with it's emphasis on pilot skill rather than technology. Medium altitude may sound enticing to rid yourself of the ground menace, but try hiring a cessna and climbing to medium altitude to see what the world looks like and you'd soon change your tune if you picture yourself on the ground facing small arms fire at 100yds range.

The A-29 is another avenue to this but one which suffers the same dash and acceleration issues as the A-10. You don't need a super-cruising hi-tech multirole to perform cas but replacing a 360 knt A10 with a 280 knt A29 is not a solution. Design something which can transition at 500knts+, take some damage ( not proofed against 23mm, 50 cal would suffice) , wield a medium calibre gun with a high rate of fire and double as a bomb truck with a low Ir signature and you have a solution of sorts.

Frankly carefree handling, visibility, low stall speed, MTBF and endurance are far more important than any issues you have rasied. You'd be better off asking an infantryman what he wants than gesticulating in the dark about future technology which is more likely to get them killed than help them.
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:25 pm

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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby Chaffers » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:54 am

"perilously close to your "unsustainable" percentage."

Nowhere near. 5% is per mission not per campaign. I have no idea why you decided to manipulate the figures in such a way.
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Re: A-10 and the future of US CAS

Postby ckfinite » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:11 pm

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