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Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:30 am

Recently, in our local area (FSM) there were rumors that the Pentagon was going to shut down the 188 FW (A-10s) in Fort Smith because of force reductions in the latest budget proposal. Now we find out that the Air Force doesn't actually want to shut them down, but change the mission, again. It would be the second mission change for the 188th in 8 years. They previously operated F-16s. At that time, the Air Force had recommended that the unit would have all of their F-16s removed with no replacement a/c. When the final BRAC directives came out, they were given A-10s.

The new mission, supposedly, is going to be MQ-1 and MQ-9 UAVs, with the actual a/c, stationed somewhere else. This seems to me like it would reduce the manpower of the unit drastically, as there would be no need for a/c maintenance, munitions, etc. to service them at FSM.

I'm just wondering what the experts on here think of this possible reduction (there are a total of 3 ANG A-10 units recommended for closure).

It seems that if they want to save real money, they would close some of the active duty units rather than a very cost effective unit such as this is.


http://swtimes.com/news/article_ae60...c-4edb-11e1-a5e0-0019bb2963f4.html
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Venus6971
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:51 pm

Would be better to leave Guard and reserve units alone and assign active duty to them which would allow the acft to be brought to bear sooner in case of a call up, and a whole lot cheaper. But that would make sense and the USAF doesnt do stuff like that.
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zanl188
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:17 pm

We need Guard and Reserve units.... but...

Trouble is, in USAF anyway, is that Guard and Reserve are difficult to schedule for deployment, they don't deploy as long as active duty units, and they are unable to stay multiple rotations in a deployed location.

I understand A-10 units are in high demand in CENTAF AOR....
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:01 pm

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 2):
We need Guard and Reserve units.... but...

Trouble is, in USAF anyway, is that Guard and Reserve are difficult to schedule for deployment, they don't deploy as long as active duty units, and they are unable to stay multiple rotations in a deployed location.

You could be right, but I think it has more to do with the AF trying to eliminate the A-10's mission, altogether, either active or Guard and Reserve.

The proposal also includes my old Reserve unit at Barksdale, the 917th, being eliminated. Our unit was the first Guard or Reserve unit to receive the A-10, fresh from the factory.
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ebj1248650
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:40 am

My understanding is that the Air Force is doing away with the A-10s to make room for F-35As. Now, whether the Guard and Reserves will get F-35s in the future might well be up in the air.
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:27 am

Quoting ebj1248650 (Reply 4):
My understanding is that the Air Force is doing away with the A-10s to make room for F-35As. Now, whether the Guard and Reserves will get F-35s in the future might well be up in the air.

Considering how much more expensive the F-35 is than the A-10, I find it hard to believe that they would want to use it like they have the Warthog. There's no proof that it's durable enough for the job. Perhaps this is another example of the Air Force wanting a weapons system that is a jack of all trades but master of none.


Taking into account the delays in the F-35 program, particularly for the Air Force, it makes me wonder why they would start to phase out the A-10s so soon. Would make more sense to keep them in the guard and reserve and slowly reduce them in the active service, to be ready for the F-35 when it comes along. I think it will be quite awhile before the guard and reserve see them on their ramps.

[Edited 2012-02-05 20:32:04]
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Venus6971
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:05 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 5):
Perhaps this is another example of the Air Force wanting a weapons system that is a jack of all trades but master of none.

Another way of saying that is an aircraft that is not good at anything.
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:04 pm

Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 6):

Another way of saying that is an aircraft that is not good at anything.

When was the last a/c like that......the F-111? (not the FB-111......that was a pretty good a/c).
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ThePointblank
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:03 am

Quoting mayor (Reply 5):

Considering how much more expensive the F-35 is than the A-10, I find it hard to believe that they would want to use it like they have the Warthog. There's no proof that it's durable enough for the job. Perhaps this is another example of the Air Force wanting a weapons system that is a jack of all trades but master of none.

They won't employ them the same way. Most likely, F-35 will fly from medium altitude, using its sensors to drop dozens of SDB's mounted on the internal racks to destroy pinpoint targets.

The bottom line is, as remarkable as the A-10 is, it isn't the only machine that does close air support. Even the massive B-52 and the B-1 can do CAS.

The increasing speed, reliability and distributed use of data communication (even when the radio spectrum is contested) will provide small units with a dramatic improvement in situational awareness. This information will be available to the local commanders and shared with air assets as needed.

The humble mortar and good ole’ fashion artillery tube will see dramatic increases in accuracy akin to the development of aircraft bombing accuracy, such as the roll out of the Excalibur round on the USMC's M777 gun. In the future, calls for heavy weapons support could be directed to artillery as much as aircraft, and I think we started to see this recently in Afghanistan. Since these changes in ground forces are happening organically and not as a result of a jointness exercise or solely for CAS interoperability they stand a good chance of continuing unchecked. Sending heavily armed aircraft to fly low will occur with ever decreasing frequency.
 
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:13 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 8):
The bottom line is, as remarkable as the A-10 is, it isn't the only machine that does close air support. Even the massive B-52 and the B-1 can do CAS.

I really doubt if you want the B-52 OR the B-1 to loiter around the battlefield as the A-10 can, waiting to be called in.....awful big target.
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:52 am

Quoting mayor (Reply 9):
I really doubt if you want the B-52 OR the B-1 to loiter around the battlefield as the A-10 can, waiting to be called in.....awful big target.

It has happened before; they just fly medium to high altitudes pickling off bombs. The extremely high endurance of the large bombers and the heavy payloads can provide a fairly sustained presence when required.
 
HaveBlue
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:06 am

In regards to the A-10 I seriously doubt we get any better bang for our buck when it comes to CAS missions. Yes you can do some of it with bombers and attack aircraft, but at what expense? The A-10 is super cheap, super efficient and very, very good at what it does. You're not risking severly high priced assets by having some A-10's tear up tanks/armor/etc. and you're not risking a high value target of your own, the thing just sips fuel, but once you make it go away by retiring it it probably would be cost prohibitive to bring it back online in service. You don't even have to waste bombs or expensive missiles taking out tanks... if 12 of those depleted uranium rounds (out of the thousands it can fire per minute) make contact with a tank.. the tank is toast. Inexpensive platform firing (relatively) inexpensive ammo while using less fuel than everything else maybe including the Apache with devastating firepower and accuracy and loiter time.. I hope we never get rid of it! And I'm a fast jet fan, but this plane fills its role perfectly.

[Edited 2012-02-06 21:44:45]
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ebj1248650
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:51 am

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 11):
Inexpensive platform firing (relatively) inexpensive ammo while using less fuel than everything else maybe including the Apache with devastating firepower and accuracy and loiter time.. I hope we never get rid of it! And I'm a fast jet fan, but this plane fills its role perfectly.

Great as the A-10 is, it's interesting that the Air Force has no programs in place to design and produce a replacement specifically to fill the niche the A-10 will one day leave vacant. It appears hi-tech is taking the place of simplicity and reliability.
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:13 pm

Quoting ebj1248650 (Reply 12):
Great as the A-10 is, it's interesting that the Air Force has no programs in place to design and produce a replacement specifically to fill the niche the A-10 will one day leave vacant. It appears hi-tech is taking the place of simplicity and reliability.

I think that's mainly because the Air Force has never liked that role or the A-10, for that matter......they would rather the Army or Marines do it. They don't have a replacement, not because hi tech is taking its place, it's because they don't want the job, anyway.
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HaveBlue
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RE: Question About Air National Guard Force Reduction

Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:44 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 13):
I think that's mainly because the Air Force has never liked that role or the A-10, for that matter......they would rather the Army or Marines do it. They don't have a replacement, not because hi tech is taking its place, it's because they don't want the job, anyway.

They don't want that role, true enough, but they'll be damned if they'll let the Army have a fixed wing to do it either. So stupid. If the USAF doesn't want the A-10 or CAS, give the US Army the A-10 and let them do it.
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