Lol...get defensive?! Which part of, "To spare you have having to read..." sounds like getting defensive? I was trying to do you a favor. If I had said, "Go back and read all of the posts yourself...", now that would be getting defensive.
Not at all, so to clarify even though I thought it was already clear, I was responding to your sentence of:
|Quoting Scruffer (Reply 207):|
They don't just appear out of thin air to initiate their ambushs.
...which I assure you, they do. And these "logistics supply chains" you hear about are far more elusive and less "traditional" than you can imagine. It's not like our enemies there are diving down the road in big marked trucks from "Insurgency Depot".
|Quoting Scruffer (Reply 211):|
Since you have experience in the plane, what percentage of the troops in contact missions you supported could have been carried out by another asset as efficiently as the A-10 if it had been there and you were not, be it drone, another piloted plane, artillery, helicopter?
An easier way for me to answer that question is what percentage of TIC"s do I feel could NOT have been supported by anything but an A-10. Difficult to answer because there are so many variables involved in a TIC, but I could look at the number of times that the GAU
-8 was the only real option available to help the friendlies break contact with the enemy due to the extremely close proximity of one to the other, and that would be roughly 20-25%.
But what you need to understand is the other great (I would argue) strengths the A-10 has that lends itself extremely well to a CAS
fight and makes the A-10 so efficient at it. It's not about arriving on station, dropping a few bombs, and leaving 10 minutes later. The great loiter time of the A-10 is one. Coming off the tanker, I easily had 2 hours of "playtime" to be overhead before I even had to think about looking for another tanker; from experience, most F-16's I worked with had about 30 min, F-15E's maybe an hour. That's two hours of an A-10 being able to orbit overhead and build a comprehensive "picture" of what was going on down on the ground: location of friendlies, potential/probably enemy COA's and locations, terrain, threats, etc. The low speed which allowed us to fly in a relatively tight circle overhead meant that we could keep continuous sensor and eyeball coverage at all times, not just sensors. If a TIC suddenly broke out, I didn't have to always wait for a full 9-line, I could roll in and have 30-mm rounds on target within 15-20 seconds with my wingman just a few seconds behind that with the JTAC providing Type 1 control/clearance on final by looking at the nose position of my jet and knowing that my aim was on target. The ability to instantly react is a major strength, thanks to having my eyeballs on the target area as well. Or if I could fire a few WP
rockets to mark an area, get corrections from the JTAC, and have my wingman once again correct his aim from there, within 10-15 seconds.
There were even a few times when I had to operate under an overcast layer of clouds in the Korengal Valley, constantly turning to avoid the mountains, which visually employing the gun. You won't see a B-1 or a B-52 doing that, which of course is not their fault, just a limitation because of their lack of maneuverability.
Most every other fixed-wing CAS
platform is heavily dependent on their sensors, they have no visual employment option. When the weather or other environmental factors neutralize the effectiveness of those sensors, they now become dependent solely on what the JTAC can provide. That may be a digital 9-line that can be addressed using a JDAM, but what if it isn't? What if the threat to the friendlies is on the rooftop of a compound 20-30 meters across the road form them? What weapon do they have that can be used without an extremely high risk of fratricide? Not many. The GAU
-8 can and has been used effectively with minimal (compared to other choices) risks to the friendlies...I know because I've done it. Is that always the case? Of course not. But is sure great to have the option if it in needed.
Some will make you think that the "gun is dead" and "not really used that much anymore" because there are smart weapons now. Funny, because we used the gun just about more than anything else from my experience. While smart weapons are indeed useful and are certainly changing the game, sometimes things just have to be solved with a gun.
can not be neatly packaged and generalized like other missions such as DCA
or air-refueling. I cringe when I read posts form people with zero combat CAS
experience talk about how they think CAS
works based on reading a document or something they found online. They will still inevitably offer up something that sounds like fact, or as if they know better than everyone else how CAS
is done these days, but at the end of the day it will be nothing more than an opinion masquerading as doctrine. It sounds official, maybe will even contain quotes and references to official documents, but it still is not the whole truth. You have to be there and see it to understand it. Just like someone may be able to read an anatomy and physiology textbook and memorize it cover to cover, but that doesn't mean I would let that person perform open heart surgery on me, you know?
I understand the force has to modernize. There is no denying it. I just see little sense in retiring an aircraft from a mission it was designed to perform and has done a remarkable job of in order to preserve a mission that as of now, is not needed, and will be addressed by F-35, when it does become operational.