JMV From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 241 posts, RR: 1 Posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 17666 times:
For the life of me I've wondered why the Marine Corps has never adopted the A-10 Warthog. The A-10 seems to me to be ideally suited for close air support of ground troops, a tactic the Marines have been perfecting since WWII.
Sure, the Corps has the Harrier, but I've heard that it is underpowered, and very difficult to fly.
I would be interested in theories and facts as to why the Corps didn't turn to the A-10 for close air support.
CannibalZ3 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 392 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 17076 times:
I don't know the actual answer, but here's a semi-educated guess. Due to the nature of their service, I should think marine aircraft have to be capable of operation from an aircraft carrier. However cool the A-10 might be, it doesn't have the equipment to operate from a ship. Note that the Marine Corps operate the F/A-18 and AV-8B, both of which CAN operate from ships. They have some land-based aircraft, but I believe that they are exclusively for transport and refuling purposes.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13445 posts, RR: 77
Reply 4, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 16023 times:
The USMC picked the Harrier in 1968, as no other aircraft could do the job it promised, they did not care much about max speed (hardly needed in CAS) or a heavy weapon load or loiter, they saw a platform capable of very rapid deployment from helicopter carriers, that could later be deployed from very makeshift facilities ashore, and quickly.
Being relatively simple to maintain helped too, though the AV-8A was simpler avionically than the RAF Harriers, with their dedicated central Europe low level role.
They had to fight long and hard against an ingrained Not Invented Here syndrome in Congress and the Pentagon, but they were happy to make savings to buy the Harriers by canceling some Phantom F-4Js.
The point is, this coincided with the USAF competition to produce a new close support aircraft, eventually with a competion between the Northrop A-9 and Fairchild A-10, the USMC clearly were not interested, as they had a different requirement in mind, that only the Harrier could satisfy.
So, they ended up buying just over 100 AV-8As from Hawkers at Kingston in the UK.
Later of course they led the development of the AV-8B with MDD, with improvements in payload/range, again with much opposition, Congress would have preferred that USMC would just stick to F-18s.
F-18s that needed either a concrete runway or large aircraft carrier, the detractors were missing the point again, or just not listening.
USMC should be commended for holding out for what they required against much opposition.
In the 1991 Gulf War, USMC AV-8Bs clocked up an enviable sortie rate, they were the fastest reacting strike assets in theatre then as well as last year in Iraq, but the continuing anti Harrier lobby don't want to hear that.
The RAF found the Harrier not to have a significantly higher attrition rate compared to other types regular use in the low level strike/attack role, (in until the early 90's the RAF did more low level than USMC).
However at the start, the RAF only put very experienced types through the Harrier conversion course, they also included some helicopter training as part of the course.
Advice the USMC apparently did not heed in the early days.
The Harrier is underpowered in the same way the F-18 is short on range, both are still highly effective in their respective roles.
A-10 was a Vietnam era requirement for close support, that with the addition of the GAU-8 cannon, became a very effective close support aircraft, especially in the Cold War anti tank role.
It's another unique type somewhat unloved by the top brass, but A-10 is not capable of being deployed from small flat tops and still needs a concrete runway, even an austere one.
PPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 15358 times:
The USMC picked the Harrier in 1968...
That hits it right of the head, the Harrier was picked before Nicholos-Goldwater guaranteed cooperation between the services, something that didn't happen as often as it should have during that era.
During most conflicts the Harriers remain tasked with the Corps simply because their combat range of about 200nm makes them unless for any other role.
While an aircraft like the A-10 can be used as both CAS, and longer ranged attacks.
The A-10 is unloved by the Brass because it's not an air to air fighter, lately it seems like that's the only thing that the fighter mafia has been approving. But because it does it job so well for so cheap it's hard to kill.
AGM100 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 5407 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 15054 times:
Just so all you A-10 lovers know the fight operations here in Tucson are still in full effect!. Lots of training missions including night operations . Last night I was running the riverwalk and counted 9 A-10's circling DM at one time!. To all the Guys and Gals @ DM we love it and keep em flying!
You dig the hole .. I fill the hole . 100% employment !