VirginFlyer
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The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:47 pm

I am not a military connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, so I am not certain whether this post will make sense to people in this forum, but here goes anyway...

I was watching a documentary on the A-10 the other day, and it got me thinking what a unique aircraft it really is. Although it looks nothing like what you would expect a military jet to be, it seems ideally suited to its purpose. To me, it seems a rare case in engineering where they got it right first time.

Sadly, the A-10 isn't getting any younger. I remember reading a number of years back that they were going to be replaced by F-16s, however I gather this never happened. I can't say I'm surprised - the F-16, as good an aircraft as it is, doesn't have any of the qualities that make the A-10 so perfect for its role (two engines, massive gun, wing optimised for low speed, high ordinance load, redundancy of pertty much everything, etc).

Now with the F-35 on the horizon, I see that it is supposed to replace the A-10. However, like the F-16, it seems rather unsuited to the role, for much the same reasons. While it should work nicely to replace pretty much every other aircraft it is supposed to (provided it can live up to its promises), the A-10 just seems too unique a platform to be replaced by a 'one size fits all' aircraft.

Ignoring the F-35, are there any other aircraft (fixed or rotary wing) on the horizon that could replace the A-10? Surely the role, which seems so important for the armed forces, cannot be left to vanish.

Is the final answer going to be that the only true replacement for an A-10 is another A-10, and that the designs had better be dusted off?

Thanks for any insight that can be given,

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
Kukkudrill
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:19 pm

I suspect the A-10's role will simply be parcelled out to other available aircraft -- Apaches taking over much of its really-close-in ground support/tank-killing mission and fixed-wing strike aircraft (maybe, in future, UCAVs) doing the rest.
Make the most of the available light ... a lesson of photography that applies to life
 
AGM114L
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:42 pm

Quoting VirginFlyer (Thread starter):
Ignoring the F-35, are there any other aircraft (fixed or rotary wing) on the horizon that could replace the A-10?

I think you got it right V/F. The only suitable replacement for the A-10 is another A-10. The AC-130 Spooky and attack helicopters are able provide close air support but lack the A-10's strike capability and no other jet fighter can stay in the fight like the A-10 does. I don't even think the F-35 will be able to do the job as well as the A-10.
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citation501sp
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Sun Jul 10, 2005 10:25 pm

Make no mistake about it the US Air Force has been trying to get rid of the A-10 since the late 70's I know of 3 programs to utilize the F-16 in the CAS role. in 1979 at Hill AFB 2 aircraft where tested complete with a lizard paint. In the 80's a squadron was used at Nellis AFB again all in a lizard paint scheme and in 1990 the 174th FW of the New York ANG was trained on using a 30mm gunpod on the centerline pylon. They also deployed to the pesian gulf durring Operation Desert Storm with the 30mm pod.

However after seeing both the A-10 and the F-16 on the live fire range, Gun and Bomb, I have to say I think the A-10 is far better suited to Close Air Support. The F-16 is a great all around aircraft but the A-10 is specifically designed for the mission. The hog is an endangered species, but should last for several more years. Nothing beats sending a bigger bullet to the target. and the 30mm is an impresive sight to hear and see.


501sp
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CTR
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:35 am

The excuses the US Air Force typically uses to rationalize getting rid of older model aircraft they no longer want are:

1) The mission can be performed more efficiently by a newer aicraft.

2) The maintenance costs of the aircraft are becoming excessive.

3) The aircraft airframes have reached their design fatigue life and are no longer safe to fly.

4) Replacement parts are no longer available.

The problem for the USAF is that none of these reasons can be applied to the A-10 Hog. Up high the F-16 is supreme, but down and dirty is where Hogs were designed to "LIVE".

A brand new Fly-by-Wire F-16 with composite airframe panels will always be more expensive to maintain than even a 20 year old Hog.

Because the A-10 airframe was designed with redundant load paths for ballistic tolerance, they have almost an infinite fatigue life.

And finally, the simple metal construction, mechanical flight controls and lack of complex electronics allow replacement parts to be fabricated at low cost even in small quantities.

So far the only honest reason the USAF has been able to come up with to get rid of the Hog is that it is Ugly. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Aircraft design is just one big compromise,,,
 
Duce50Boom
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:45 am

Quoting VirginFlyer (Thread starter):
Ignoring the F-35, are there any other aircraft (fixed or rotary wing) on the horizon that could replace the A-10?

No. The only way to replace the A-10 would be to design a bird for CAS and only CAS from the ground up, again. What the AF wants to replace the A-10 with (F-35B) reminds me of their shannanigans with the SR-71. You can assign it's mission to other platforms, Apaches, F-35Bs/U-2s, satellites, but you can't replace the aircraft.
 
dl021
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Mon Jul 11, 2005 2:33 am

Simple answer....

No.

Nothing will replace the A-10's abilities and strength. We will hopefully keep them as long as possible, and I really hope that we keep the plans intact, because when they go we are going to be forced to make a bunch of new ones.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
AGM114L
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:00 am

Any one know the stall speed of the A-10?
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GPHOTO
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:03 am

I don't understand why the USAF is trying to turn full circle. The reason they got the A-10 in the first place was because the role it was to perform was previously pushed onto other airframes which had not been designed to do that role from the outset. This gave varying degrees of success depending on the aircraft used, but it was clear that what was needed was a purpose designed aircraft tailored to the role. What was required was something faster than a helicopter, but slower than other jets, with efficient engines for loiter capability, with simple maintenance and ability to absorb damage (reduced downtime, ease and speed of return to service after incidents) and dish it out. They got all this in one airframe and yet they have never seemed to be happy with it. The machine seems to have given the USAF everything it wanted for this role, yet never been fully accepted, even before the Soviet Bloc collapsed.

As CTR says, can it really be that the USAF has a problem operating an aircraft that is not sexy? Or is it an attempt to reduce costs by reducing the number of types the Air Force operates, just like an airline looking for efficiency savings? Maybe it dosesn't feel comfortable with the role this bird performs, which is basically an Army support job (so let the Army operate them)? I have not yet come across an explanation as to why this bird is always under threat - it seems to be a permanent thing - but its proposed replacements seem to offer more disadvantages than the current platform with questionable advantages. The only logical answers seem to be to refurbish the A-10 or produce the A-10 Model 2, with a similar design philosophy but using newer techniques and materials. How much money has already been wasted on F-16 proposals that come to very little or nothing?

I'm very curious about this aircrafts seemingly lowly status and it looks like several other forum members are too. Can anyone offer any reasons why this might be?

Best regards,

Jim
Erm, is this thing on?
 
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N328KF
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:16 am

Quoting GPHOTO (Reply 8):
I'm very curious about this aircrafts seemingly lowly status and it looks like several other forum members are too. Can anyone offer any reasons why this might be?


  • It's subsonic.
  • It's not swept-wing.
  • It isn't meant to attack another aircraft.
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AGM114L
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:21 am

Quoting GPHOTO (Reply 8):
Maybe it dosesn't feel comfortable with the role this bird performs, which is basically an Army support job (so let the Army operate them)?

Supposedly the A-10 was going to go to the Army back in the late 1980s. But the USAF changed their mind after the A-10's success in the first Gulf War. I can't find anything official on this other than ramblings from a bunch crusty army aviators.

What is probably the case is that the US Army and the USAF for some wacky reason have a treaty between them. All fixed-winged aircraft will be operated by the USAF. Leaving the Army with helicopters and a small fleet of VIP and sensor airplanes. Agreed it would make more sense if the A-10 were operated by the Army for training and logistical purposes. But then we get into the slippery slope of the Army then wanting C-130s for their Airborne units and so on.
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AGM114L
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:28 am

Quoting N328KF (Reply 9):
It's subsonic.

It's not swept-wing.

It isn't meant to attack another aircraft.

Most of the USAF aircraft are like that. While I do agree the zoomies are a lot about the image they do know a good thing when they have one.

Where does everyone get this idea that the Air Force doesn't like the A-10? I've seen them work, awesome aircraft. The Hog pilots I know absolutely love them. I even want to fly one.
My Boeing can blow up your Boeing
 
TedTAce
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:35 am

This post was suppoed to go up last night, but ....need I say more?

Quoting Kukkudrill (Reply 1):
UCAVs

This indeed may be the only thing that even MIGHT work as a 'silver' bullet. The only diference I think will be between the two is the canopy as it exists will be gone, and the life support systems will be gone (replaced with remote controls/cameras).
The only way to make the A-10 a 'safer/better' option is to eliminate the crew. Even then if the cameras are arranged PERFECTLY, the chance of a mis-identification is the only thing that will make it more dangerous.

Quoting CTR (Reply 4):
So far the only honest reason the USAF has been able to come up with to get rid of the Hog is that it is Ugly. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

There are two Military planes I 'realistically' want. A T-38 to go where I want to fast, and an A-10 to have fun/mess around with on the days I have nowhere to go to in a hurry.
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echster
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:06 am

The Army vs. Air Force and the A-10s basically boils down to money. The Army essentially pays the Air Force for providing CAS with the A-10s just as it pays for ETACs. The Air Force would lose that money and then have to turn around and spend its own money to provide air cover with F-15s and 16s.
 
Duce50Boom
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:42 am

Quoting GPHOTO (Reply 8):
I don't understand why the USAF is trying to turn full circle. The reason they got the A-10 in the first place was because the role it was to perform was previously pushed onto other airframes which had not been designed to do that role from the outset.

Dude, your thinking is far too logical to have come out of the pentagon. Here's why the AF even agreed to buy the A-10: The plane was force-fed to them by far-sighted politicians and lower ranking, but influential, military officers whose arguments made sense to those politicians. Read a book called "The pentagon wars" and you'll understand. The made for cable movie was based on the second half of that book.

Quoting AGM114L (Reply 11):
Where does everyone get this idea that the Air Force doesn't like the A-10? I've seen them work, awesome aircraft. The Hog pilots I know absolutely love them. I even want to fly one.

Probably by keeping current on the history and goings-on of the aircraft. The only people who don't like the A-10 are, unfortunately, the ones who have power over the fate of the program. Many times, the AF brass has tried to retire the aircraft, transfer it's mission to other airframes (CAS F-16, what a joke), etc, etc. It WAS on the chopping block to the boneyard when Desert storm kicked off. After that they decided to keep most of them, but sent as many as possible to the reserves/guard. Why don't they like it? I don't know. It's not pretty, subsonic, and is specialized for one (now a couple) mission. And that's to support the guys on the ground. In the AF fighter jock run world, BFM/ACM is pretty, interdiction is pretty. Everything else isn't, and like it's appearance the primary missions of the A-10; CAS and CSAR, are not pretty.

Sides, if they retire the A-10 they can afford 2 more F/"a"-22s!
 
SATL382G
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:59 am

Quoting Duce50boom (Reply 14):
In the AF fighter jock run world

...,where the motto is "Speed is Life", the A-10 is the slowest game in town....
"There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed" --Winston Churchill
 
dl021
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:56 am

The A-10 is intended to operate in a high threat environment by working at low level. Todays environment is typically one where it has no enemies other than ground fire, and thus they operate it accordingly.....

The Army was looking at several aircraft for their ground support role, including the Fiat G.91, the A-4 and others, and in doing so forced the AF to agree to build a CAS airplane so they could keep the Key West Agreement in place and their funding would still all be under their control.
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desertjets
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:49 pm

I may be talking out of my hindend here, but what role does the AV-8B Harrier do in CAS for the Marine Corps? And if it is, as I recall, the primary CAS aircraft for the Corps why could it not be used more widely in support of Army operations?
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TedTAce
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 12:18 am

Quoting DesertJets (Reply 17):
why could it not be used more widely in support of Army operations?

TOT/Loiter capability. If the Harrier could loiter around barely sipping gas the way the A-10 does it would START to be considered, right up to the point when someone looks at surviveability with that BIG HOT ENGINE in the fuselage..Harrier is not even close..
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SATL382G
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 12:46 am

Quoting DesertJets (Reply 17):
why could it not be used more widely in support of Army operations?

From a logisticians point of view....

1. It would be difficult for it to self deploy on a global basis. Marines operate it from an amphib or carrier, no problem for them..... A-10 just follows a boomed tanker wherever it needs to go.

2. MX. It needs the intermediate repair capability that Navy has aboard it's carriers and amphibs. Again not a problem for the Marines since they use those ships to deploy it anyhow. With the A-10 you just pull the bad LRU (and they consider wings, stabilizers, etc as LRUs) and replace. New/refurbed LRUs arrive via sustainment flow or deploy with unit. BTW: ever see an engine change on a Harrier? The WING has to come off first........

3. V/STOL. It adds a lot of complexity to the Harrier. The Marines need it to operate from small ships. A-10 units in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown that the A-10 can make do with whatever stretch of concrete happens to be available. Yes I know about JSF....

regards
"There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed" --Winston Churchill
 
ruger11
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:45 am

The AV-8 is expensive, labor intensive, and if you don't take into account the V/Stol Capability, there's a lot of planes that can do more for less $$.

I think the A-10 is perfect for it's role and will be a real @#$%^ to replace. Plain and simple.

I honestly hope for once that we don't go nuts with technology when we do replace it, too, and instead build a reasonably cost efficient, WELL armed, armored and protected aircraft, with equal survivability. There's some times faster and stealthier doesn't always add up to getting the job done.

As a grunt I'll take a Hog over my head before I'd want two F-16's... forced to fly higher due to ground fire or whatever, coming in possibly too fast to positively ID my pos, etc etc etc.

The A-10 is an awesome plane. Good topic.
 
AGM114L
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:59 am

What is the ultimate CAS weapon?

As much as it pains me to say, I vote for the AC-130 Spooky
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VSIVARIES
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 7:02 am

I've always loved the A10. The 'Flying gun' as it's been called.
Has always stood out with some unique statistics like the way the main cannon reduces airspeed by x knots by y amounts of rounds fired/time etc.

Think the problem is that with all of the recent coalition forces work Afghanistan, Iraq etc. there probably aren't that many tanks left in the world that we have the need to kill, for now anyway.

What do we do with the old tank killer?

Keep it! It far to good to retire. Awesome aircraft.
For every action there is always an unequal but mostly similar reaction.
 
dl021
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:02 am

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 19):
1. It would be difficult for it to self deploy on a global basis.

They dragged an entire squadron around the world for the first Gulf War. Done it several times since. They can even use USAF birds with drogue kits.....can't they?

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 19):
. MX. It needs the intermediate repair capability that Navy has aboard it's carriers and amphibs



Quoting SATL382G (Reply 19):
. V/STOL. It adds a lot of complexity to the Harrier. The Marines need it to operate from small ships.

The Marines used a soccer stadium in Saudi to operate Harriers. They can operate pretty much anywhere. But the point about additional complexity is absolutely correct.

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 19):
A-10 units in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown that the A-10 can make do with whatever stretch of concrete happens to be available. Yes I know about JSF....

A-10 will probably prove to be the ultimate CAS weapon. Even over the F-35.

Quoting AGM114L (Reply 21):
What is the ultimate CAS weapon?

As much as it pains me to say, I vote for the AC-130 Spooky

See above. The AC-130 probably comes in second or third.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
SATL382G
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:58 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 23):
They dragged an entire squadron around the world for the first Gulf War. Done it several times since. They can even use USAF birds with drogue kits.....can't they?

My understanding of the doctrine is for them to be operated off ships, at least initially. Then to be supported over the beach from the boat. I see no reason why they couldn't do what you suggest. My personal opinion is though that I won't want to fly it trans pacific/atlantic.
"There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed" --Winston Churchill
 
TedTAce
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 11:36 am

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 24):
My personal opinion is though that I won't want to fly it trans pacific/atlantic.

Nobody in their right mind wants to fly either from what I have come to understand. I'm sure I'm wrong, so I'm asking for the correction up front. I was given the impression that the A-10 (if nothing else initially) doesn't have an autopilot. It's bad enough sitting at my desk with the comforts of home hand flying an extra 300 from KSFB to KGNV(on FS2X), I can't imagine what would be left of me (if anything) after 10+ hours in a hog 'mostly straight and level'.
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SATL382G
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:42 pm

Quoting TedTAce (Reply 25):
Nobody in their right mind wants to fly either from what I have come to understand. I'm sure I'm wrong, so I'm asking for the correction up front.

Poorly written sentence on my part, aside from that I'm not sure what you want. The paragraph was in reference to the Harrier not A-10
"There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed" --Winston Churchill
 
fumanchewd
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:12 pm

Quoting DesertJets (Reply 17):
I may be talking out of my hindend here, but what role does the AV-8B Harrier do in CAS for the Marine Corps?

It's very old. The JSF will have VTOL version for the USMC as well as the Royal Marines. I just talked to a AV8 pilot Major from the 214 the other day and he told me they didn't expect the JSF for another 5 years though. Expect the Harriers to be scratched within that timeframe.

I can't believe nobody knows about the new A10. There is a new one that the AF just bought. I read about it in, I believe, Air Power magazine last month.
http://www.military.com/soldiertech/...14632,Soldiertech_Warthog,,00.html
http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/a-10/
The Precision Engagement upgrade program for the A-10 includes enhanced precision target engagement capabilities, which will allow the deployment of precision weapons such as JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) and Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD), as well as enabling an extension of the aircraft's service life to 2028. Improvements include: two new multifunction cockpit displays, situational awareness datalinks, digital stores management system, Integrated Flight and Fire Control Computer (IFFCC) from BAE Systems Platform Solutions for automated continuously computed weapons delivery, Litening AT or Sniper XR targeting pod for precision-guided weapons and helmet-mounted sighting system. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Oswego is prime contractor for the program. First flight of the upgraded A-10C was in January 2005. Low rate initial production is planned to start in 2005. Up to 125 A-10 aircraft are to be upgraded by 2009. A parallel program will give the A-10 new engine pylons. It is possible that the A-10 engine will also be upgraded if funding is made available.

In other words, the A-10 will replace the A-10.
In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey...
 
SATL382G
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:18 pm

Quoting Fumanchewd (Reply 27):
Up to 125 A-10 aircraft are to be upgraded by 2009. A parallel program will give the A-10 new engine pylons. It is possible that the A-10 engine will also be upgraded if funding is made available.

In other words, the A-10 will replace the A-10.

125 get the upgrade out of the original production run of, what, 700(?). So what replaces the A-10C?  Smile
"There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed" --Winston Churchill
 
fumanchewd
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:28 pm

Quoting SATL382G (Reply 28):
125 get the upgrade out of the original production run of, what, 700(?). So what replaces the A-10C?

Your guess is as good as mine. I thought that they would never take the F22 orders below 300, but what do I know? 
However if your read it says that the aircraft's service life is now 2028. I could swear upon a motherless goat that I read that there was a spanking new contract for A10's in Air Power. Why else would they list a new 22 year service life for an aircraft that is supposedly done? 
How many AH-64 longbows does the Army have now? Quite a few. I'm sure that the military isn't hurting for slow ATG fire platforms but the AF has always liked their own independence and I suspect we will hear an official order soon. I may have misread but perhaps Air Power might have got an early scoop.

[Edited 2005-07-13 14:30:33]
In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey...
 
fumanchewd
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:42 pm

Quoting Duce50boom (Reply 14):
Dude, your thinking is far too logical to have come out of the pentagon. Here's why the AF even agreed to buy the A-10: The plane was force-fed to them by far-sighted politicians and lower ranking, but influential, military officers whose arguments made sense to those politicians.

Read my first link. The A10 is valuable to the AF, who has no attack helicopters. A fixed wing aircraft (especially the bathtub) is far more safe and stable than any roter craft, however. Its as simple as that.
In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey...
 
Duce50Boom
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:07 pm

Quoting Fumanchewd (Reply 30):
Read my first link. The A10 is valuable to the AF, who has no attack helicopters. A fixed wing aircraft (especially the bathtub) is far more safe and stable than any roter craft, however. Its as simple as that

I read your link and I agree with your point, but maybe you should reread that, as well as some of the other links included in it. Here's a brief list of the good ones with the other important links below:

"From the moment it was born"
--Air force doctrine
--never liked close air support
--the brass


"Terminating the A-10 fleet"

From this one the incredible wisdom and arrogance of one Lt. General Bruce Wright is exposed......."In fact if Mr Coram is looking for a story, I would be glad to talk to him and I'll start with some F15E gun camera film from ANACONDA. BTW, our F15s and F16s have been operating well below 10,000' when necessary to attack the enemy since DESERT STORM, and we've got the film to prove it!!" So if someone leaks word to the press that the DoD is about to do something incredibly stupid they're not professionals and have no dedication? What a tool.

And his argument is plain dumb. A mudhen crew kicks ass and provides CAS for a SEAL team during Anaconda (IIRC they were awarded DFCs for their actions, also the first time the 15's gun has been used in ground combat), and this is proof that you don't need a dedicated CAS platform? Sure, 15s and 16s have been below 10K. BUT, that's where the 10 was designed to fly, fight, and live. Those fighters don't stay down there normally guys. The hog does, it thrives down there.

It's apples and oranges: If you want orange juice you don't throw an apple in the blender
 
SATL382G
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:30 am

Quoting Fumanchewd (Reply 29):
spanking new contract for A10's in Air Power.

??? You're not thinking new frames are you?

My point is that the A-10 fleet has suffered some pretty severe attrition over the years. Seems unlikely to me that a 125 ship A-10C fleet will make it to 2028
"There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed" --Winston Churchill
 
MD-90
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Sat Jul 16, 2005 8:20 pm

There's also not a Soviet army poised to plunge through Europe anymore, either. 700 ships surely aren't necessary, although 125 isn't very many.
 
LongbowPilot
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:46 pm

I think everyone is mixing arguments here. The thread is titled A-10 can anything replace it. No nothing can replace the Thunderbolt II, it is the last of a long line of flying tanks. The Air Force has since left the realm of sensible and specific role aircraft and has gone the way of the Super, Fast, Sexy Dual Role Fighters.

Nothing will ever replace the A-10 and its ability to be the baddest fixed wing tank buster ever built. It performs CAS admirably when the Red Hoard is coming over the horizon pinning down our troops.

Now the other discussion in here is which the better CAS aircraft. You have to define the CAS required. If you have a "CLEAR" line between a "organized" enemy and the friendlies than the fixed wing (A-10's and Spectres) would be the best possible choice. If you don't have a clear line between the two than any CAS could help with the fixed wing still being better, but Rotary Wing starts coming into play. If you have no lines, the terrain is not conducive to fast movers (Mountainous and Urban) than get the fixed wing out and let the Apaches, Cobras, and Kiowas have the job.

You can't replace the A-10, its role is very broad from CAS - Deliberate Tank busting ops. In this day and age it will not be replaced by a predecessor. It will retire and the duties will be spread out over the other aircraft in the U.S. inventory.
 
cloudy
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Tue Aug 09, 2005 2:29 pm

The A-10 was concieved in an era before cheap guided munitions. In the first gulf war we had precision munitions but they were expensive. We also did not have the kinds of UAV's we have now, or the capacity to network ground forces, UAV's, and bombers together easily. In these circumstances we had to have a tough, fixed wing close support aircraft. The air force did try to get rid of the A10 many times, but there was a small problem. Whenever it got into combat, it worked very well. Its hard to argue with results.

Now GPS guided bombs are relatively cheap and getting cheaper with time. Our forces are much better networked together than they were before. Now, it is possible that the A-10 will be replaced with....the B-52. Or the B1. Or any aircraft that can linger at high altitude for a long time and carry a lot of bombs. Drop a GPS guided bombs on coordinates recieved from ground troops or UAVs. Supplement this system with armed UAVs and some attack helicopters and we may not need the A10 anymore. We have done this a lot in Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, this system may not survive a better foe. If the enemy can easily shoot down our UAVs or disrupt our communications, then it would be hard to support our troops. The simple, dedicated fixed wing attack aircraft is arguably much more robust then the newer solutions. Fortunatly, it would not be as hard to develop an A10 type aircraft quickly as it would a fighter.
 
ERAUMcDlover
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:08 pm

well i'm here to tell you all there is a replacement that is absoulutely viable!
F/A-10D is what i think it'll be called, it will replace the current engines, with BR-710's in the pods, the gun will be retained, the aircraft will have all targeting systems internal as to free up the pylons, it shall be FBW, and the rest of the airframe will be re-tooled. LGB is open for production isn't it? if we get the ball rolling now we can have new A-10's in 5-7 yrs!
DL, what a classy lady....Mad Dogs...a classy plane.....USA...just the best all around
 
prebennorholm
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:55 am

The A-10 Hog will not be replaced by anything similar to the Hog.

The A-10 was based on 35 years old technology as a relatively "cheap" way to counter a massive tank threat from the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War.

The CAS role of the A-10 will in the future be conducted by a much more sophisticated combination of E-8 JSTARS and F-16 / F/A-18 / later F-35 with new, intelligent weapons.

Sooner than we imagine the fighters may be partially replaced by unmanned combat vehicles controlled directly from the JSTARS.

And who knows, the next generation JSTARS may be a 2, 3, 4 seat derivative of the F-22?

The need to counter 20,000 WAPA tanks by aiming guns close up with countless wings of A-10s is over. And besides that it will be considered a much too dangerous way of warfare in the future.

Close air support will be conducted at greater distance.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
Stoney
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:59 am

If they upgraded the A-10 and give them all lost of new technology, wouldn't the advantage of them still being able to fly even if "half the plane is missing" be lost? The ability to being able to perform even if there are things broken?
Isn't the main advantage the simplicity of the whole airframe, everything being "manual" and not steered by tons of computers?
BAZL - Bundesamt gegen Zivilluftfahrt - royally screwing around with swiss aviation
 
GDB
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Sun Sep 04, 2005 4:55 pm

My understanding is that the programme that eventually led to the A-10, was a SE Asia requirement for basically a A-1 Skyraider replacement in the CAS and CSAR support role.
As that role ran down, it was re-cast as a counter to mass Soviet tank attack in Europe, the GAU-8 cannon being added, then you had the fly off between the A-9 and A-10.

In Desert Storm, USMC AV-8B's forward deployed on land, were by far the quickest reaction force for CAS, they have the sortie rates to prove it.
A role slightly different to the A-10, with it's loiter capability, but one that might be replicated if reports are true that the USAF might buy a couple of hundred F-35B's.
(They'd have been a lot keener of this version a lot sooner if some of those SCUDS launched in 1991 had got lucky, and impacted some of those huge lines of aircraft crowded on Saudi bases).

A-10 replacement will be by default, more attack choppers, as mentioned better networking and smart weapons from loitering large platforms, and where will we be with UCAVS by the 2020's?

I think it's true that without Saddam Hussein, A-10's would have gone a decade or more ago.
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:47 pm

Its very short sighted to think anything "pointy nosed" can replace the A-10. The harrier makes a TERRIBLE A-10. Of course landing an A-10 on anything short of a full fleet carrier is also just as bad of an idea.

Now what can replace it?

If I am being honest the best case is that Boeing has the originally blueprints to start from and just make a second gen A-10. The changes required to re-engine the current ones to remove the underpowered aspect of the current A-10 will require more in depth changes since it looks like the latest and greatest versions are only thousand pounds or more heavier per engine. So by the time you get all the pylons and aerodynamics of the new engines sorted, might as well clean up the wings with better modeling, etc. So in the end you build a whole new plane off the basic frame of the old plane with extensive detail changes. When you are done gasp how this fairly small aircraft suddenly flys for hours longs on the same fuel and carts around as much or more payload. Oh and likely pays for itself over time as a fully integrated design with 0 hour parts is much easier to deal with than several different conversions on airframes that have seen 3 decades of other people running them hard, then trying to keep them running hard.

However you DO NOT get too fancy. No FBW other than maybe the minimum for a modern autopilot. change nothing that reduces the A-10's ablate to fly into hell and come away with a live pilot and a successful mission. More so since from what I've read the A-10 more or less only ended up on the desert floor when hit such that the controls no longer worked, including the manual reversion. This is why you have an A-10. Costs 1/2 as much as a fancy plane, yet takes all kinds of crap that would be fatal to the fancy aircraft and its fancy pilot.

Oh and if you are really budget minded, have the basic plane built anywhere you want, Russia, China, India... where ever. Its a pair of wings with std regional jet engines on the frame. Then convert it somewhere in the US with the basic fancy electronics.
 
Oroka
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:35 am

Some aircraft designs are just perfect already. Look at the B-52, it is going to out live its own replacement, and it's replacements replacement (B-1 & B-2). The basic design is perfect, all you can do is update it to make it better.

Nothing can replace a A-10 other than a new build improved A-10.
 
Arrow
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:18 am

XT6wagon:

Why didn't you start a new topic? I got halfway through this before I realized some of the comments sounded familiar -- the thread was started in the summer of 2005.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
TedTAce
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 4:25 am

Quoting Arrow (Reply 42):
Why didn't you start a new topic?

There was no need to. He was continuing the topic @ hand in an un-archived thread, nothing wrong with that. Now if he had something like a link to the article 'boeing wins re-design/rebuild contract for 300 A-10b's' that would be new thread worthy. But much like the plane, this thread will go on.
This space intentionally left blank
 
KevinSmith
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:42 am

Quoting CTR (Reply 4):
The excuses the US Air Force typically uses to rationalize getting rid of older model aircraft they no longer want are:

1) The mission can be performed more efficiently by a newer aicraft.

2) The maintenance costs of the aircraft are becoming excessive.

3) The aircraft airframes have reached their design fatigue life and are no longer safe to fly.

4) Replacement parts are no longer available.

The problem for the USAF is that none of these reasons can be applied to the A-10 Hog. Up high the F-16 is supreme, but down and dirty is where Hogs were designed to "LIVE".

A brand new Fly-by-Wire F-16 with composite airframe panels will always be more expensive to maintain than even a 20 year old Hog.

Because the A-10 airframe was designed with redundant load paths for ballistic tolerance, they have almost an infinite fatigue life.

And finally, the simple metal construction, mechanical flight controls and lack of complex electronics allow replacement parts to be fabricated at low cost even in small quantities.

So far the only honest reason the USAF has been able to come up with to get rid of the Hog is that it is Ugly. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Roger. You got it right with that post man. The hog is a one time only aircraft,l never to be imitated of repeated. You'll never see anything like it ever come off an assembly line again.

-K
Learning to fly, but I ain't got wings.
 
MCIGuy
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:02 pm

The thing the Hog does best is CAS. No, the F-35 can't do "low and slow" as well as the Hog, but it doesn't need to.  

BTW, this is one awesome pic in the database:



If you look close, you can see one of the 30mm rounds just after exiting the barrel!

Nevermind, for some reason, the farking photo refused to link, and it's right here on a.net. Broken, figures.

[Edited 2007-03-02 12:12:14]
Airliners.net Moderator Team
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:15 pm

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 45):
The thing the Hog does best is CAS. No, the F-35 can't do "low and slow" as well as the Hog, but it doesn't need to.

However thats exactly what the Air Force brass think it CAN DO. That it can and will replace the A-10 as soon as they have enough frames to do so. Of course this ignores operational experience about the CAS role since WWII, but hell whats 60+ years of history and "pointed examples" of what makes a good CAS "fighter". Nah, clearly anything you order for the inventory has to be jammed with top secret technology, be made from exotic materials, and damn well better look COOL when the manufacturer sends you a model to put on your desk or bookshelf to thank you for your support.

Never mind the simple formula of proven civilian high bypass engines + overbuilt airframe with plenty of armor and redundancy + damn good gun + normal air force missiles/bombs = CAS role done right, done cheap.

Oh hell Vietnam should be all the example they need when their best attack aircraft were proven nearly useless in that role in comparison to the Skyraider. You know... the one with the.... *GASP* propeller.
 
Soren-a
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:21 am

I don't think the leaders of the USAF are as keen to replace the A-10 now as it was in the early 90'ties.

Its performance in the first Gulf War, the former Yugoslavia and now in Afghanistan and Iraq has proven that it is a very capable tool for the kind of warfare likely to happen in the future.

That is also why they are now updating the A-10 to the A-10C standard with new electronics, datalink, new weapons and a greatly improved service life time. I don't think the A-10 will leave the USAF for the next 10-15 years.

By that time the airframes will most likely be so old that maintaining them will become to difficult and expensive. We will mostly see another "Tomcat type retirement" where a beloved plane is pulled from service because of old age, while it still has a mission to perform.

Regards
Søren Augustesen
 
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par13del
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:24 am

I'll add my 2 cents to this. First, enjoy the A-10 while you can, the Air Force wanted to kill it, Sadaam revived it, they tried to kill it again, Bush revived it, and since the insurgents don't require its abilities, the air force will finally succeed.
The bigger picture for me, which another poster touched on is the money, mainly, the agreement that was signed after WWII which merged the Army Air Corp into the US Airforce, the airforce gets additional allocations - army money - to provide CAS support, that is the problem, they don't really want to do CAS, they just use it to get more a/c, at least
it seems as if that's the way a lot of the brass think.

A comparison from WWII, the P-51 was the darling fighter, the P-47 the hog equivalent, but in the CAS role, the Thunderbolt reigned supreme, a lot of the P-51 fighter aces were lost doing CAS missions after their escort duties were over, the P-51 was not designed to take that much pounding. The F-16 is no different, when built, it was - correct me if I'm wrong - the first a/c which could do 9G's on a regular basis, one of the most manuverable fighters, yet with one engine, CAS support can not be a good mission for it. I like everyone else, watched them loaded up for bear in the Gulf, and even though the records show that they accomplished their missions, I still believe that a single engine a/c is a bad idea doing CAS support down low. The same applies to the Harrier, its strength however - VSTOL - overcomes the single problem.
 
fridgmus
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RE: The A-10 - Can Anything Replace It?

Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:47 pm

As a former Airborne Grunt, I'm with Ruger11.

I love that bird!  kiss  Sexy, Evil, Wicked, Dirty, Mean and Nasty! Like so many have said, you can only replace the A-10 with another A-10!

It's record speaks for itself.  bigthumbsup 

Cheers,

Marc
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