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Marine Corps & A-10?

Tue Aug 24, 2004 6:02 am

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.

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RE: Marine Corps & A-10?

Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:29 am

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.
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RE: Marine Corps & A-10?

Tue Aug 24, 2004 12:40 pm

You can get that if there were a cat-capable version of the A-10, the Marines would have it.
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RE: Marine Corps & A-10?

Tue Aug 24, 2004 1:31 pm

Thinking about it, the only combat aircraft I can think of that the Marines have flown and wasn't naval/carrier capable was the OV-10 Bronco.

And even that aircraft I belive had contigencies for flight off carriers because of it's stol performance.
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RE: Marine Corps & A-10?

Wed Aug 25, 2004 7:14 am

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.
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RE: Marine Corps & A-10?

Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:09 pm


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.

At worst, you screw up and die.
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RE: Marine Corps & A-10?

Sat Aug 28, 2004 12:45 am

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 !
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RE: Marine Corps & A-10?

Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:41 am

Yes the A-10 Warthog! Simply the best anti Tank/Anti personal Machine around to the A-10 people thanks for flying them I miss seeing them in the Skys over Suffolk/Norfolk in England.

As we used to have twin Bases Woodbridge and Benwaters filled with those Great machines long may they continue to fly!

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