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holzmann
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USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:28 pm

Am reading this press release for next week's Joint Base Andrews 2015 Air Show:

http://www.andrews.af.mil/library/2015jointbaseandrewsairshow.asp

The F-35 will be "performing" next Saturday. Under this blurb, the description of the F-35 reads, "The aircraft will replace the U.S. Air Force's aging fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt II's..."

The F-16 I can understand. But how in a million years can the USAF claim the A-10??? The A-10, with its main gun and tank-light indestructibility, is arguably the most unique and irreplaceable AC in the entire combat inventory. It is...so far...irreplaceable! How does the USAF justify making such a claim?
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Powerslide
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:55 pm

Quoting holzmann (Thread starter):
But how in a million years can the USAF claim the A-10??? The A-10, with its main gun and tank-light indestructibility, is arguably the most unique and irreplaceable AC in the entire combat inventory. It is...so far...irreplaceable! How does the USAF justify making such a claim?

It's a limited aircraft, with a limited role, even in limited wars. Despite the nature of the A-10, its still an aircraft that has to be protected from getting in over its head. Multiple A-10s getting shot down over Iraq had commanders requesting smaller safer operations in 1991. The F-35 can go into the action on day one, you can load the crap out of it with bombs and hard points and it can support ground troops on day 2 and then you can strip it back down to hunt airplanes on day 3 with internal AMRAAMs. That's not getting into the EW and comm/intel capability. A-10's have once specific role and you have to babysit it in any sort of modern battlefield environment. Technology has passed it by.
 
mrg
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:15 pm

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 1):
you have to babysit it in any sort of modern battlefield environment.

Most modern battlefield environments of the last decade have not included contested airspace for any meaningful periods of time.

It is my understanding that the USAF is still considering a dedicated CAS successor to the A-10. No ground target is worth an F-35.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:19 pm

Quoting holzmann (Thread starter):
How does the USAF justify making such a claim?

Primarily because it is a recognised fact that the A-10 wouldn’t be able to successfully operate within a modern IADS. The last 14 years in the Middle Eastern is not a reflection of the threat that the US would face in conflict with a near peer.

The USAF therefore has to make a decision based on threat and funding priority. Do they fund weapons systems that can operate in all threat scenarios or do they fund a fleet where only a portion can operate in all threat with the remainder being restricted to low threat scenarios. Given the fiscal climate, the USAF has to prioritise funding to systems that will allow them to successfully prosecute a near peer conflict. At this point in time that is the F-35 over the A-10. It may result in a small loss of some very specific CAS functions available in lower threat environments but the USAF, in consultation with the US Army and USMC, have accepted that risk.

Quoting mrg (Reply 2):
It is my understanding that the USAF is still considering a dedicated CAS successor to the A-10.

While they may speak some words to that effect, it is highly unlikely we will see any funding go that way. It would be fiscally more responsible, and probably provide better overall capability, to dedicate that funding to CAS focused system improvements for the F-35.

Quoting mrg (Reply 2):
No ground target is worth an F-35.

A poor statement. The F-35 is now cheaper to acquire and more capable than an F-15E variant and will be at cost parity with the F-16 in three years. Should we stop the F-15E from attacking ground targets? Perhaps we should also stop the B-1 and B-2 from attacking ground targets as well. After all they were more expensive than the F-35 and are not in production anymore so any losses cannot be replaced…
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:48 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 3):
Primarily because it is a recognised fact that the A-10 wouldn’t be able to successfully operate within a modern IADS. The last 14 years in the Middle Eastern is not a reflection of the threat that the US would face in conflict with a near peer.

Correct. Witness when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in the 1980's. Once the Mujahadeen were supplied with advanced MANPAD's such as FIM-92 Stinger, it instantly affected how the Soviets operated their ground attack aircraft in theater. No longer were the Soviets flying with almost complete impunity; the Soviets either had to fly real close nap of earth, or attack from medium to high altitudes, reducing accuracy.

Also, consider the A-10's suffered pretty badly in the 1991 Gulf War against the Iraqi's, who are not considered to be a peer or even a near-peer opponent at the time, and were mostly equipped with older systems at the time. 7 A-10's shot down or damaged beyond repair, plus a further 13 damaged. In Operation Allied Force against Serbia in 1999, a pair of A-10's were heavily damaged by Serb air defences. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, against a much more heavily degraded Iraqi military, the only fixed wing aircraft loss that was attributed to enemy fire was an A-10, plus a further 1 or 2 were badly damaged.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 3):
The USAF therefore has to make a decision based on threat and funding priority. Do they fund weapons systems that can operate in all threat scenarios or do they fund a fleet where only a portion can operate in all threat with the remainder being restricted to low threat scenarios. Given the fiscal climate, the USAF has to prioritise funding to systems that will allow them to successfully prosecute a near peer conflict. At this point in time that is the F-35 over the A-10. It may result in a small loss of some very specific CAS functions available in lower threat environments but the USAF, in consultation with the US Army and USMC, have accepted that risk.

Yep. The USAF wants to support the ground support mission. However, the USAF's primary job is global reach and deterrence. Basically, other nations should give immediate pause to consider what the USAF could do to virtually destroying your country, regardless of the capabilities one has to counter. Hence, the deterrence role. Take that job and consider it in the context of the resources available. The USAF will not accept being under powered with regards to deep strike interdiction and air supremacy. As the USAF has to cover a wide spectrum of missions with limited money, the USAF has to shed platforms that do not contribute to the primary mission, especially if the assets that remain can also cover that role as well.

While the A-10 has a major role to play in the current conflicts, do be reminded that the A-10 is doing its mission virtually unopposed. There is a certain level of complacency with some people here thinking we can continue to use the A-10 because the opponents the A-10 is facing today can't retaliate, and haven't been facing any kind of peer or near-peer opponent. We cannot continue to expect to go up against the same opponents we are going up against today.

Where the A-10 will struggle is if we ever faced off against someone that is a peer or near-peer in terms of capabilities, especially if the opponent is armed with anything heavier than a MANPAD (even then, some of the newer MANPAD's can reach out and touch you pretty high up).

The only future role for where the A-10 will continue to excel at would be the SANDY or CSAR missions, flying close protection for the helicopters rescuing pilots. But that's a very limited mission, and would not justify keeping the A-10's and the associated infrastructure around, especially when US AFSOC is being equipped with V-22's, and there has been some major movements in arming V-22's with weapons such as AGM-114 Hellfire, AGM-176 Griffin, SDB II, and APKWS, so in theory, a future armed V-22 could self-escort.
 
mrg
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:52 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 3):
Perhaps we should also stop the B-1 and B-2 from attacking ground targets as well.

Sorry, I wasn't aware that the B-1 and B-2 are used in the CAS role.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 4):
plus a further 1 or 2 were badly damaged.

... and you honestly believe that the F-35 will equal the A-10's ruggedness? OK
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:11 am

The type of plane is not the problem, the big risk is that the new F-35 units will not be CAS centric and so the centres of excellence for CAS, that are the A-10 units, will be lost.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:34 am

Quoting mrg (Reply 5):
... and you honestly believe that the F-35 will equal the A-10's ruggedness? OK

A F-35 will avoid getting shot at in the first place as it has the superior situational awareness so it doesn't have to get into range of small arms and MANPAD's.

Quoting seahawk (Reply 6):
The type of plane is not the problem, the big risk is that the new F-35 units will not be CAS centric and so the centres of excellence for CAS, that are the A-10 units, will be lost.

Not so much the problem today, considering that the F-16 is the primary CAS platform in OEF, OIF, and OIR for the USAF. The F-15E is a close second in OIR.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:40 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 7):
Not so much the problem today, considering that the F-16 is the primary CAS platform in OEF, OIF, and OIR for the USAF. The F-15E is a close second in OIR.

The ground soldiers will disagree. The A-10 pilots are the best when it comes to understanding a situation on the ground and speaking the lingo of the foot soldier. Even allied FACs will agree to that. But that is just a problem of the organisation, I am sure given the same tasking and mission focus, a F-35 unit will do just as well. (the marines show that constantly, that this competence in CAS does to depend on the plane used)
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:43 am

Quoting mrg (Reply 5):
Sorry, I wasn't aware that the B-1 and B-2 are used in the CAS role.

The B-1 certainly is, it was a pivotal aircraft over Afghanistan providing persistent and timely CAS support given its long range, large payload and high speed! As for the B-2, your exact statement was

Quoting mrg (Reply 2):
No ground target is worth an F-35.

Are you changing that to “No CAS ground target is worth an F-35" now?

Quoting mrg (Reply 5):
... and you honestly believe that the F-35 will equal the A-10's ruggedness? OK

Which demonstrates you don't understand the point. The F-35 improves its survivability by keeping the adversary at the find and fix portion of the targeting cycle instead of the engage/assess portion where airframe survivability is the key concern.

It's much easier/better to defeat the weapon before it leaves the rail/barrel than after.

[Edited 2015-09-13 23:46:13]

[Edited 2015-09-13 23:46:47]
 
FSXJunkie
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:06 pm

Quoting holzmann (Thread starter):
The F-16 I can understand. But how in a million years can the USAF claim the A-10??? The A-10, with its main gun and tank-light indestructibility,

The Air Force is run by fighter pilots, they've always hated the A-10. The only reason Air Combat Command operates it was to simultaneously spite the Army and SAC.

The Fighter Mafia's been spending the past 20 years trying to rid themselves of the "uncivilized" attack bird. "fighter's can do it all!" ..and that Bull Manure.

The USAF's philosophy as codified by the 'Great' (...ly despised) Merrill McPeak, is to "do more with less" and have solidly fighter centric combat portfolio. Unfortunately the real world doesn't conform to that, Fighter jock ego is blind to the facts and is stubbornly driven to force their dream circle jerk.

We need a direct Attack bird replacement, another "gun with wings". Why? too many F-16's have slammed into mountains attempting ground attack runs (fighter jock goes too fast, misjudges distances...because he's used to 30,000ft, and doesn't leave himself enough room to pull up.) And that's why you don't send a swept wing to do a straight wing's job.

Fighter mafia math is, 'less mission specific birds = More Fighters!'. Our Bomber force got screwed over because of that logic.

You'd think they'd have learned 'something' from 9/11 (apart from "LeMay was always right") and put solid investment in mission specific roles (dedicated interception and air defense.) But nope, it's 'Jack of all trades, A2A first...anything else is bonus'
 
ulfinator
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:13 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 4):
The only future role for where the A-10 will continue to excel at would be the SANDY or CSAR missions, flying close protection for the helicopters rescuing pilots. But that's a very limited mission, and would not justify keeping the A-10's and the associated infrastructure around, especially when US AFSOC is being equipped with V-22's, and there has been some major movements in arming V-22's with weapons such as AGM-114 Hellfire, AGM-176 Griffin, SDB II, and APKWS, so in theory, a future armed V-22 could self-escort.

I was thinking about this over the weekend. My 6 year old wanted to watch "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag" and I started thinking about this in the scene where they state that they bring in the slow moving A-10 to deal with the hostile helicopters trying to rescue the downed pilot. I just could see the F-35 handling that mission well.

With that said I think the fact is that it is a limited rare mission but I would hate to be the Generals having to explain us not being able to retrieve a pilot that made it safely to the ground because we didn't have the right assets.
 
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Moose135
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:01 pm

Quoting FSXJunkie (Reply 10):
The Air Force is run by fighter pilots, they've always hated the A-10.

The Air Force Chief of Staff, General Mark Welsh, started out as an A-10 pilot after a FAIP tour as a T-37 instructor:

http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographie...4966/general-mark-a-welsh-iii.aspx
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kc135topboom
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:12 pm

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 1):
Despite the nature of the A-10, its still an aircraft that has to be protected from getting in over its head. Multiple A-10s getting shot down over Iraq had commanders requesting smaller safer operations in 1991.
Quoting Powerslide (Reply 1):
A-10's have once specific role and you have to babysit it in any sort of modern battlefield environment.

Where did you get that from?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Republic_A-10_Thunderbolt_II#Gulf_War_and_Balkans

"The A-10 was used in combat for the first time during the Gulf War in 1991, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces.[4] A-10s also shot down two Iraqi helicopters with the GAU-8 cannon. The first of these was shot down by Captain Robert Swain over Kuwait on 6 February 1991, marking the A-10's first air-to-air victory.[76] Four A-10s were shot down during the war, all by surface-to-air missiles. Another three battle-damaged A-10s and OA-10As returned to base but were written off, some sustaining additional damage in crash landings.[77][78] The A-10 had a mission capable rate of 95.7 percent, flew 8,100 sorties, and launched 90 percent of the AGM-65 Maverick missiles fired in the conflict.[79] Shortly after the Gulf War, the Air Force abandoned the idea of replacing the A-10 with a close air support version of the F-16.[80]

An A-10A during Operation Allied Force
U.S. Air Force A-10 aircraft fired approximately 10,000 30 mm rounds in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994–95. Following the seizure of some heavy weapons by Bosnian Serbs from a warehouse in Ilidža, a series of sorties were launched to locate and destroy the captured equipment. On 5 August 1994, two A-10s located and strafed an anti-tank vehicle. Afterward, the Serbs agreed to return remaining heavy weapons.[81] In August 1995, NATO launched an offensive called Operation Deliberate Force. A-10s flew close air support missions, attacking Bosnian Serb artillery and positions. In late September, A-10s began flying patrols again.[82]
A-10s returned to the Balkan region as part of Operation Allied Force in Kosovo beginning in March 1999.[82] In March 1999, A-10s escorted and supported search and rescue helicopters in finding a downed F-117 pilot.[83] The A-10s were deployed to support search and rescue missions, but over time the Warthogs began to receive more ground attack missions. The A-10's first successful attack in Operation Allied Force happened on 6 April 1999; A-10s remained in action until combat ended in late June 1999."

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 1):
The F-35 can go into the action on day one, you can load the crap out of it with bombs and hard points and it can support ground troops on day 2 and then you can strip it back down to hunt airplanes on day 3 with internal AMRAAMs.

ROTFLMAO                No version of the F-35 has demonstrated any of those capabilities.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 7):
A F-35 will avoid getting shot at in the first place as it has the superior situational awareness so it doesn't have to get into range of small arms and MANPAD's.

If you are out of range of small arms and MANPADs, you are out of range for the CAS mission.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 7):
Not so much the problem today, considering that the F-16 is the primary CAS platform in OEF, OIF, and OIR for the USAF. The F-15E is a close second in OIR.

Yes, the F-15E, F-16, B-1B, and AC-130 all provide close air support. The F-15E and F-16 provide one, maybe two passes, then leave to hit the tanker, the B-1B provides one pass (two if they come in low and high speed, drop no weapons and scare the bageebys out of the bad guys. The AC-130 does a great job, but they are overtasked, and few in numbers, so getting one when you need it is near impossible. The A-10 can stay with the grunts. A 250 nm mission (without air refueling) provides 1.9 hours of loiter time in the target areas. The A-10 carries up to 16,000 lbs. of whoop-a$$ on 11 hard-points, and if that isn't enough, it also has 1,175 30mm rounds that will make their day.

The USAF currently has 285 A-10Cs in 7 USAF squadrons (plus one OT&E squadron), 4 ANG squadrons, and 4 AFRC squadrons.

Quoting ulfinator (Reply 11):
I was thinking about this over the weekend. My 6 year old wanted to watch "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag" and I started thinking about this in the scene where they state that they bring in the slow moving A-10 to deal with the hostile helicopters trying to rescue the downed pilot. I just could see the F-35 handling that mission well.

Getting a helicopter kill in a fast jet is a very difficult thing to do. Not impossible, just a lot more difficult. Being slower but still faster than helio speed, it is easier for the A-10. to get the kill, its been done before (see above). The A-10 is not just the perfect airplane for that CAS mission, it is the perfect airplane for the SANDY mission (SAR escort).
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:29 pm

Quoting mrg (Reply 2):
Most modern battlefield environments of the last decade have not included contested airspace for any meaningful periods of time.

Also ignores that it was designed to work *IN* contested airspace, and has proven to be dangerous enough at low altitude to even high performance fighters. Radar guided missiles don't work well near ground clutter, and IR missiles have little to work with the high bypass engines. A-10's turn very very tight meaning they can put the gun on anything that trys to turn with it, and once they put a couple (dozen) 30mm rounds into the other plane...
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:35 pm

Quoting mrg (Reply 2):
Most modern battlefield environments of the last decade have not included contested airspace for any meaningful periods of time.
Quoting Ozair (Reply 3):
The last 14 years in the Middle Eastern is not a reflection of the threat that the US would face in conflict with a near peer.

The A-10s faced the opposing Yugoslavia Air Force, and did very well. The YAF at the time was a modern air force with Mig-21Bis/PMF/M/MF/R, Mig-29B, Soko J-20, J-21, J-22, Soko Gazelle, and Mi-8T/TV/TVK/ PP/SMV.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 4):
attack from medium to high altitudes, reducing accuracy.

Wouldn't this also apply to the F-35?
 
Max Q
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:58 pm

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 1):
A-10's have once specific role and you have to babysit it in any sort of modern battlefield environment.

What BS, if A10's need a 'babysitter' then the F35 should never leave the nursery   
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Cross757
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:14 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 7):
considering that the F-16 is the primary CAS platform in OEF

The F-16 was never the primary CAS platform in OEF (can't speak to the other AOR's, I wasn't there). Up until late 2006, the only fixed-wing USAF fighter aircraft based in Afghanistan was the A-10; the F-15E's arrived once the new runway was built at Bagram. F-16's didn't first arrive at Bagram until I believe mid-to-late 2009. Other fixed-wing fighter aircraft were USN F-18's operating from carriers in the Indian Ocean and coaltion fighters based at Kandahar.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 7):
A F-35 will avoid getting shot at in the first place as it has the superior situational awareness

It's not so much situational awareness as just maintaining an altitude that keeps you out of the effective range of those systems. This is far from a "unique" skill of the F-35. I could stay out of the envelope of most MANPAD's and AAA systems in a Cessna Turbo 210.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 4):
In Operation Allied Force against Serbia in 1999, a pair of A-10's were heavily damaged by Serb air defences

In Allied Force a USAF F-117 (Vega 31) was SHOT DOWN. Proving that stealth and technology does not guarantee survivability.

Quoting mrg (Reply 5):
Sorry, I wasn't aware that the B-1 and B-2 are used in the CAS role

B-1's have flown some very effective CAS missions in OEF.

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 12):
The Air Force Chief of Staff, General Mark Welsh, started out as an A-10 pilot after a FAIP tour as a T-37 instructor:

Indeed he was. And in his own words, on Aug 25th, stated that it was NEVER the intent of the F-35 to replace the A-10; in fact, he even called the notion "silly". In fact, he even suggested research be done on a future "A-X" platform to find a true replacement for the A-10 that specializes in the CAS mission:
http://www.defensenews.com/story/def...-testing--silly-exercise/32292147/
BLUF: The F-35 was never designed or intended to be a CAS platform. Will it be able to perform the CAS mission? Yes, but it won't be the expert at it.
The F-35 is most directly intended to replace the F-16, F-15E, and F-18.
In fact before the current budget crisis hit, the plan was to keep the A-10 flying until 2028, which is after the last F-16's and most if not all F-15E's had been retired (per the ACC combat capabilities "roadshow" circa 2008, while the first A-10's were being upraded through the Precision Enagement (PE) program (a.ka. A-10C).
 
Cross757
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:31 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 4):
so in theory, a future armed V-22 could self-escort

Yes, true in theory, but that only solves about half the problem. The highest vulnerability to the rescue vehicles (RV's), whether they be HH-60's or V-22's, will occur when they reach the objective area and have to enter a hover to affect the rescue, such as in mountainous terrain or a jungle enviroment that makes landing impossible and necessitates a hoist. When a PJ is dangling from a winch cable 50-100 feet below the aircraft, maneuverability drops to zero and vulnerability skyrockets.

A hallmark of the A-10 in the SANDY role has been the abilty to orbit extremely close to the objective area and respond very rapidlly to theats (yes, when the GAU-8 is extremely effective).
Fast jets such as the F-16, F-15E, and indeed the F-35 are less effective as the RESCORT and OSC roles because they burn significantly more fuel at low altitudes and their faster airspeed severely impairs their ability to provide effective cover for the relatively slower RV's, even the V-22.

It will be interesting to see how they crack that nut when the A-10 does eventually go away.
 
bluejuice
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:21 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 4):
Also, consider the A-10's suffered pretty badly in the 1991 Gulf War against the Iraqi's, who are not considered to be a peer or even a near-peer opponent at the time, and were mostly equipped with older systems at the time. 7 A-10's shot down or damaged beyond repair, plus a further 13 damaged. In Operation Allied Force against Serbia in 1999, a pair of A-10's were heavily damaged by Serb air defences. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, against a much more heavily degraded Iraqi military, the only fixed wing aircraft loss that was attributed to enemy fire was an A-10, plus a further 1 or 2 were badly damaged.

As did other aircraft that flew straight into the teeth of active air defenses at low and medium altitudes. The F-16s, one of my favorite jets, also took losses when flying within range of SAMs (particularly IR guided) and AAA. I highly doubt the F-35 would do any better flying the same mission. If anything, it's poor low speed maneuverability will be a huge liability. The A-10 took high losses because they flew the most dangerous missions. Losses for other aircraft would likely have been much higher in the same situation.

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 1):
The F-35 can go into the action on day one, you can load the crap out of it with bombs and hard points and it can support ground troops

And you end up with a less capable A-10 replacement. The F-35 is low observable as long as it's weapons are carried internally. Start hanging metal externally on hardpoints and the aircraft is no longer low observable. Again, the F-35 is a pig at low speed. I personally doubt it will be able to fly down in the dirt to support the boots on the ground. No way it can take the punishment of ZU-23, AK-47, RPD, DShK, or other small arms fire.
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Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:56 am

Quoting FSXJunkie (Reply 10):
We need a direct Attack bird replacement, another "gun with wings". Why? too many F-16's have slammed into mountains attempting ground attack runs (fighter jock goes too fast, misjudges distances...because he's used to 30,000ft, and doesn't leave himself enough room to pull up.) And that's why you don't send a swept wing to do a straight wing's job.

How about backing up that statement with some supporting evidence? Without it your statement is completely baseless and in no way represents actual training or employment.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
Getting a helicopter kill in a fast jet is a very difficult thing to do. Not impossible, just a lot more difficult. Being slower but still faster than helio speed, it is easier for the A-10. to get the kill, its been done before (see above).

.

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 14):
Also ignores that it was designed to work *IN* contested airspace, and has proven to be dangerous enough at low altitude to even high performance fighters. Radar guided missiles don't work well near ground clutter, and IR missiles have little to work with the high bypass engines. A-10's turn very very tight meaning they can put the gun on anything that trys to turn with it, and once they put a couple (dozen) 30mm rounds into the other plane...

Rubbish. An A-10 is in no way more effective at shooting down rotary wing targets. As an example, the F-15 has shot down multiple helicopters, all with missiles. In fact, when F-15s shot down the two US Army Black Hawks both were flying at 200ft or less and were downed by an AIM-120 and AIM-9 respectively.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 15):
The A-10s faced the opposing Yugoslavia Air Force, and did very well. The YAF at the time was a modern air force with Mig-21Bis/PMF/M/MF/R, Mig-29B, Soko J-20, J-21, J-22, Soko Gazelle, and Mi-8T/TV/TVK/ PP/SMV.

So the A-10 never flew without fighter escort, or jamming support and took on the whole Yugoslavian Air Force by themselves...There were 40 A-10s deployed during Operation Allied Force compared to 221 F-16s, 61 F-15E, and even 36 EA-6Bs. I hardly think claiming the A-10 did very well in defeating the YAF is supported by evidence.

The YAF was such a modern air force it had only 14 4th generation aircraft crippled with maintenance issues, compared to over 400 NATO jets, as well as an air force that rarely left the ground and did not shoot down one aircraft in the air.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 17):
Up until late 2006, the only fixed-wing USAF fighter aircraft based in Afghanistan was the A-10;

As you say the runway at Bagram played a significant part in the A-10 operating in AFG pre 2006. It should also be noted that pre 2006 the resistance in AFG was small and disorganised. It was only from 2007 that the conflict really intensified and additional air power was required.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 17):
The F-35 is most directly intended to replace the F-16, F-15E, and F-18.

Not sure why the ACC roadmap stated that, as the F-35 was never intended to replace the F-15E. It was always intended to replace the F-16, F-18 and AV-8B in US service. Budgetary constraints have added the A-10 to that list.

It is quite likely though that 20 years from now an F-35 enhanced or enlarged variant will replace the F-15E, given the F-35 will soon be the only US tactical fighter in production.
 
bluejuice
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:28 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 20):
How about backing up that statement with some supporting evidence? Without it your statement is completely baseless and in no way represents actual training or employment.

Sadly, the pilot died in the crash.
http://www.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123047216
While target fixation was the cause, speed was a contributing factor. His 2nd strafing run with the 20mm cannon led to a CFIT.

Can't say with 100% certainty whether an A-10 or equivalent aircraft designed for CAS would not have crashed in a similar situation but the likelihood would be significantly reduced IMHO. A proper attack aircraft would be designed to fly at low altitude and the pilots would be dedicated to being down in the weeds.

[Edited 2015-09-14 21:31:10]
Not biased against vacuum flush.
 
mrg
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:50 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 9):
Are you changing that to “No CAS ground target is worth an F-35" now?

I was thinking more of the classic CAS Mission like removing wheeled threats and plinking ragheads. A Mission that requires slow loitering persistance.
The F-35s loadout precludes plinking with SDM or similar weapons.

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 14):
Also ignores that it was designed to work *IN* contested airspace, and has proven to be dangerous enough at low altitude to even high performance fighters.

I'm not ignoring that. The A-10 pilot would have a hard time defending himself and attacking ground targets.
In that environment he'll have aircover. Nevertheless, the A-10 is still the best loitering CAS platform out there.

The F-35 fans faith in synthetic vision and netcentricity for this kind of mission is unjustified.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:57 am

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 21):
Can't say with 100% certainty whether an A-10 or equivalent aircraft designed for CAS would not have crashed in a similar situation but the likelihood would be significantly reduced IMHO.

While it is a sad situation one event does not constitute a trend. For all the gun passes that occurred in both OIF and OEF we have one identified event where the pilot miscalculated and crashed the aircraft.

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 21):
A proper attack aircraft would be designed to fly at low altitude and the pilots would be dedicated to being down in the weeds.

More F-16s have been lost recently to mid air collisions than these types of ground events, should we stop the F-16, being an aircraft designed for BFM, from doing BFM given occasionally people screw up? Was the aircraft designed incorrectly because it can crash into another aircraft?

If we look at incidents the A-10 has suffered there are multiple that are attributed to low level training including incidents in 1987,88 and 90.
http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/A...ft_by_Type/A-10_Thunderbolt_II.htm
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:52 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
If you are out of range of small arms and MANPADs, you are out of range for the CAS mission.

No you are not. CAS does not require aircraft to fly low to the ground. JTAC manual says otherwise:

https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp3_09_3.pdf

Page 27 of the PDF:

Quote:
CAS can be conducted at any place and time friendly forces are in close proximity to enemy forces. The word “close” does not imply a specific distance; rather, it is situational. The requirement for detailed integration because of proximity, fires, or movement is the determining factor. At times, CAS may be the best means to exploit tactical opportunities in the offense or defense. CAS provides fires to destroy, disrupt, suppress, fix, harass, neutralize, or delay enemy forces.
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
he A-10 can stay with the grunts.

Yes, with barely 3 hours of endurance. Realistically, A-10's need to start either think about looking for fuel from a tanker, or consider RTB at around 2 hours.

A F-35, burning at around 4,000lbs of fuel an hour will do 4 hours, plus a 30 minute reserve.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
The A-10 carries up to 16,000 lbs. of whoop-a$$ on 11 hard-points, and if that isn't enough, it also has 1,175 30mm rounds that will make their day.

Only 4 positions, hardpoints 4, 5, 7, and 8 can carry smart munitions, as they are the only ones that are MIL-STD-1760 wired. Hardpoints 1 and 11 can realistically only carry AIM-9's, ECM pods, or a MK-82 (more rare). Furthermore, any smart munitions need to be parent mounted, TER's can't handle the communications interfaces for smart munitions. If you need a targeting pod, you also loose a bomb hardpoint as well on an A-10. Hardpoints 2 and 10 are usually reserved for LAU-68/131's, and hardpoints 3 and 9 are the only hardpoints capable of mounting AGM-65's. Hardpoint 6 is never used due to store separation issues as it is too close to hardpoints 5 and 7.

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 14):
IR missiles have little to work with the high bypass engines.

Any IR missile designed after 1977 are all-aspect weapons; they don't need to see the engine exhaust or the engine itself. They directly lock onto the airframe's own heat signature.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 17):
The F-16 was never the primary CAS platform in OEF (can't speak to the other AOR's, I wasn't there). Up until late 2006, the only fixed-wing USAF fighter aircraft based in Afghanistan was the A-10; the F-15E's arrived once the new runway was built at Bagram. F-16's didn't first arrive at Bagram until I believe mid-to-late 2009. Other fixed-wing fighter aircraft were USN F-18's operating from carriers in the Indian Ocean and coaltion fighters based at Kandahar.
http://www.militarytimes.com/article...wmakers-clash-over-future-10-again

Quote:
Air Force figures show that the A-10 has performed 19 percent of CAS operations in Iraq and Afghanistan from the start of 2006 to October of 2013. In contrast, the B-1B has performed 8 percent, the F-15E 12 percent and the F-16 33 percent. The remaining 28 percent has been performed by “other US fixed wing” platforms.
Quoting Cross757 (Reply 17):
In Allied Force a USAF F-117 (Vega 31) was SHOT DOWN. Proving that stealth and technology does not guarantee survivability.

That's because the USAF planner who planned that mission was 5 O'Clock Charlie! Don't fly the same mission using the same route at the same time day in and day out, and NOT expect for the enemy to clue up and put a missile in your path!

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 18):

It will be interesting to see how they crack that nut when the A-10 does eventually go away.

Could have a pair of V-22's flying the mission, one providing top cover and back up while the other goes in for the rescue. Or, attach a AC-130 to the mission, or a helicopter like a Sikorsky S-97 Raider.

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 19):
And you end up with a less capable A-10 replacement. The F-35 is low observable as long as it's weapons are carried internally. Start hanging metal externally on hardpoints and the aircraft is no longer low observable.

A F-35 armed with internal weapons can go into denied airspace. A-10's will just get shot down. That's more capable right then and there.

Once the threat environment has been opened up enough, you can use the external weapons capability of the F-35. That's inherently a more flexible platform.

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 19):
. Again, the F-35 is a pig at low speed. I personally doubt it will be able to fly down in the dirt to support the boots on the ground.

Nope:

http://defensetech.org/2015/07/14/f-...port-missions-in-first-green-flag/

Quote:
During the exercise, the F-35 flew established air support for specific ground maneuvers and also responded to fast-changing ground-battle conditions while in the air.

When asked if the stealthy F-35 was survivable in a close-in fight supporting ground troops, Dadgar said the F-35 was more maneuverable at slow speeds than other jets currently performing the close-air support mission, such as the A-10.
Quoting mrg (Reply 22):
I was thinking more of the classic CAS Mission like removing wheeled threats and plinking ragheads. A Mission that requires slow loitering persistance.

Then use a MQ-9 Reaper! You have 14 hours of endurance with a MQ-9, and the operator just sits in a trailer sipping coffee! If he's tired, he can switch off with someone else and take a nap while the MQ-9 continues to fly!

Quoting mrg (Reply 22):
The F-35s loadout precludes plinking with SDM or similar weapons.
SDB-II changes everything.

Quoting mrg (Reply 22):
The F-35 fans faith in synthetic vision and netcentricity for this kind of mission is unjustified.

A F-35 pilot will see things much further away than any A-10 pilot will, day or night, clear skies or cloud cover.

[Edited 2015-09-14 22:55:21]
 
bluejuice
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:07 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 23):
More F-16s have been lost recently to mid air collisions than these types of ground events, should we stop the F-16, being an aircraft designed for BFM, from doing BFM given occasionally people screw up? Was the aircraft designed incorrectly because it can crash into another aircraft?

If we look at incidents the A-10 has suffered there are multiple that are attributed to low level training including incidents in 1987,88 and 90.

Of course the F-16 should not be precluded from BFM. Midair collisions are a risk when fast planes are in a turning furball. By that logic, the A-10 is the perfect fighter aircraft because they have never collided in a dogfight. As you stated, people screw up for a variety of reasons. A-10s will fly into the ground because they do their work close to the ground. Looking at your link for F-16 incidents, there are indeed many crashes into the ground as FSXJunkie stated although the reason is not always indicated.

Don't get me wrong, I love the F-16 and always will. It was designed to be a fighter with a bonus attack capability added on. Attempts to make it an A-10 replacement never fully matured. Weapons like GAU-13 never fully worked out. Instead it became a "good enough" solution that worked alongside the A-10. Getting back to the discussion at hand, the powers to be have decided they are going all in in an attempt to salvage the F-35. The F-35 is a mediocre fighter, mediocre attack/CAS plane, and mediocre V/STOL craft. To use the cliche, a jack of all trades and master of none. IMHO, it will be worse than the planes it plans on replacing while costing a mint in the process.
Not biased against vacuum flush.
 
Powerslide
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:15 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 16):
What BS, if A10's need a 'babysitter' then the F35 should never leave the nursery

The A-10 is now considered an old POS that needs to be put out into the pasture. Hopefully they'll retire more and more once the F-35 gets through testing. I'm not stuck on the nostalgia of the A-10 because it has cool youtube videos. Only a matter of time before that old bat get put into museums where it belongs.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:24 am

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 25):
By that logic, the A-10 is the perfect fighter aircraft because they have never collided in a dogfight.

My A-10 link has a while bunch of mid air collisions for A-10s as well.

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 25):
As you stated, people screw up for a variety of reasons.

Exactly. Claiming the F-16 is not suitable for CAS is silly. Aircraft do not define CAS, the target set defines CAS and as with most things in military aviation there are multiple ways to accomplish the mission.

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 25):
The F-35 is a mediocre fighter

That remains to be determined but given multiple very well respected air forces are replacing their F-16s or F/A-18s, both credible and well respected fighter aircraft, with the F-35 is a good indication there is more to the F-35 than what a few ill informed and agenda driven critics claim.

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 25):
mediocre attack/CAS plane

Again, while that remains to be determined, the stealth, advanced sensors, advanced EW systems and long endurance of the F-35 all indicate it will be an excellent attack/CAS airframe, certainly an improvement on the F-16, F-18 and AV-8B and better than any current in production aircraft.

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 25):
mediocre V/STOL craft

Now you look foolish. The F-35 eclipses the AV-8B in every metric. It flies further, faster, with a larger payload, more advanced sensors, easier to maintain, is more maneuverable and is significantly easier to fly.

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 25):
To use the cliche, a jack of all trades and master of none.

Being better than the aircraft it is replacing demonstrates that the F-35 does not fit the cliche.

Quoting mrg (Reply 22):

I was thinking more of the classic CAS Mission like removing wheeled threats and plinking ragheads. A Mission that requires slow loitering persistance.

If we look at CAS flown since the end of the Second World War very little of it is "removing wheeled threats and plinking ragheads". CAS stands for Close Air Support. Expected CAS missions against the Soviet bloc did not require slow loitering persistence but rapid discharge of weapons on target before heading back to base to reload. Similar story in Vietnam and Korea.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:05 pm

One item that doesn't seem to have been mentioned are drones. In permissive environments like the ones the US has recently experienced drones have eaten up a lot of the stuff that other aircraft did.

People are mentioning the awesome loiter time of A-10s but are conveniently ignoring the even better loiter times of UCAVs like the Predator. I see mentions of the ability of A-10 pilots to have eyes nice an close but the ability for drone operators to have multiple pairs of eyes evaluating camera footage is ignored. Covering CSAR? UCAVs can do that too, especially the jet powered and more stealthy ones being developed.

More than any other aircraft the UCAV has been taking up the niche that the A-10 found itself in. That's why it's being replaced. It's wearing out and there's no niche that it alone can fill.

It's a lovely and amazing plane and I'll be a bit sad to see it go. But it is time for it to bow out.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:06 pm

Quoting Ozair (Reply 27):
If we look at CAS flown since the end of the Second World War very little of it is "removing wheeled threats and plinking ragheads". CAS stands for Close Air Support. Expected CAS missions against the Soviet bloc did not require slow loitering persistence but rapid discharge of weapons on target before heading back to base to reload. Similar story in Vietnam and Korea.

I dare say that the A-1, A-37 and A-7 disagree with that assessment of the CAS mission in Vietnam.
 
Cross757
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:58 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 24):
No you are not. CAS does not require aircraft to fly low to the ground.

The "manual" doesn't preclude it either.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 24):
Yes, with barely 3 hours of endurance. Realistically, A-10's need to start either think about looking for fuel from a tanker, or consider RTB at around 2 hours

Which is still far better than an F-16 or F-15E.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 24):
A F-35, burning at around 4,000lbs of fuel an hour will do 4 hours, plus a 30 minute reserve

How much internal fuel does the F-35 hold? The 4,000 PPH fuel flow rate you quote most likely applies to high-altitude cruise flight, not a tactical maneuvering situation. 4 hours of on station time? I don't buy it.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 24):
Or, attach a AC-130 to the mission, or a helicopter like a Sikorsky S-97 Raider

AC-130's and helicopters are far more vulnerable than even the A-10. So much so that AC-130 operate almost exclusively at night. They will never be used except in the most permissive environments.


[quote=ThePointblank,reply=24]Nope:

http://defensetech.org/2015/07/14/f-...port-missions-in-first-green-flag/

Quote:
During the exercise, the F-35 flew established air support for specific ground maneuvers and also responded to fast-changing ground-battle conditions while in the air.

"The F-35 accomplished the mission. The mistakes and strengths have a lot more to do with pilots and JTACs and training than they have to do with the hardware,” he added.
Interesting that the article didn't mention that the F-35's were late to their targets most of the time, only flew a very limited number of missions, and were guilty of a fratricide incident (the "mistakes...[that have] to do with the pilots" that is alluded to in the article.
Why was that never reported you ask? Because it's a well established fact that there is a massive public affairs/public relations machine at work that will stop at nothing to paint the F-35 in positive light, even going so far as to falsifying reports and flat our lying to support the narrative that the F-35 is the "savior of the world". Want proof?
Check out this report, in which a Pentagon office takes issue with the way the USMC "operational evaluation" to declare the F-35 had reached IOC was handled.
Spoiler Alert: the whole exercise was rigged essentially; that is to say it did not in any way represent anything close to the actual logistical environment the F-35 should be able to operate in. In short, the USMC declaring that the F-35 has reached IOC is, "...a milestone in name only."

http://www.pogo.org/our-work/straus-...%2F?referrer=http://m.facebook.com

Long story short: take anything you read about how great the F-35 is with a HUGE grain of salt. The troubling thing is will will still have to wait for a very long time to find out if the F-35 can make good on any of its promises, as Gen Welsh himself states the F-35 will not be ready to fly combat missions for the USAF until 2021. Six more years.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:07 am

Quoting seahawk (Reply 29):
I dare say that the A-1, A-37 and A-7 disagree with that assessment of the CAS mission in Vietnam.

So every mission flown by A-1s , A-37s and A-7s involved long loitering over the battlefield? What you will actually find is that for some missions the requirement was for long loiter times. For a whole bunch of others, dumping ordnance on target on time was the priority. The A-37 didn’t have the loiter time or range of some of the fast jets. The A-1 was a superb aircraft for CAS but required changes to tactics as the war progressed to mitigate threats.

Vietnam is also an excellent example of where CAS migrated from typically slower moving airframes flying at lower levels to faster jets operating at higher altitudes in an attempt to avoid significant and accurate ground fire. It also saw FAC migrated away from O-1, O-2 and OV-10s as the platforms were not survivable.

An excellent review of CAS during the Vietnam war can be found here, http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-110323-037.pdf
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:53 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 31):
So every mission flown by A-1s , A-37s and A-7s involved long loitering over the battlefield? What you will actually find is that for some missions the requirement was for long loiter times. For a whole bunch of others, dumping ordnance on target on time was the priority. The A-37 didn’t have the loiter time or range of some of the fast jets. The A-1 was a superb aircraft for CAS but required changes to tactics as the war progressed to mitigate threats.

Imho it is obvious that planes with longer loiter times had a role besides the normal fighter bombers. A F-4 could not do what a A-1 could in some missions (Sandy being one of them) And that is the same with the A-10 versus the F-35. the F-35 is able to do most missions the A-10 does, but it can not do so the low and slow CAS mission, which is still valid in "bush wars" in the same way it was back in Vietnam. And if you look at the budget side there are other frames in the inventory that have higher operating costs and could be withdrawn instead. (Golden Eagles F-15C are the first to come to my mind)
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:17 am

Quoting seahawk (Reply 32):
A F-4 could not do what a A-1 could in some missions (Sandy being one of them)

Just like the A-1 couldn't do what the F-4 could in some missions.

Quoting seahawk (Reply 32):
but it can not do so the low and slow CAS mission, which is still valid in "bush wars" in the same way it was back in Vietnam.

Well it can. The F-35 carries approx 18,000 lbs of fuel. It can fly low and slow for a significant period of time if it needs to. The difference it is doesn't need to be low and slow, it can be high and slow because the sensors are advanced enough to overcome the altitude issues.

But if we are talking bush wars, then why use either? As ZaphodHarkonnen stated if you need persistence then a UCAV has time, the sensors, a slew of light PGMs, typically a stealthy airframe and as already stated above is a lot cheaper to operate than either the F-35 or A-10. Persistent UCAV coverage can also allow fast movers to be directed in on the right targets at the right time.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:35 am

Because a UAV lacks situational awareness. The field of view of the sensor is not the same (at the moment) as the Mk.I Eyeball of a manned plattform. I personally would retire the A-10 and get some Textron Scorpions with a fixed flight hour price instead. Make a wing with 4 Sqn. with SoC and be done.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:16 am

Quoting seahawk (Reply 34):
Because a UAV lacks situational awareness. The field of view of the sensor is not the same (at the moment) as the Mk.I Eyeball of a manned plattform.

The proliferation of UAVs across the globe for the primary purpose of conducting ISR does not match with your assessment. For the purposes of CAS the sensors on current UAVs are more than sufficient, especially when you consider they are being analyzed by a team of trained imagery analysts compared to a single pilot who must balance flying and observing/fighting at the same time.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:09 am

I disagree. The UAV sensors will only cover a certain section of the battlefield, they won´t see the enemy trucks that are 1-2miles away and kicking up dust, when they are busy directing an airstrike against a known enemy position, the manned platform most likely will.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:21 pm

Quoting seahawk (Reply 36):
The UAV sensors will only cover a certain section of the battlefield, they won´t see the enemy trucks that are 1-2miles away and kicking up dust, when they are busy directing an airstrike against a known enemy position, the manned platform most likely will.

You could come up with a raft of scenarios that suit your idea but smart people have already worked out the problems. For example in this instance, an MQ-9 would enable commanders to accomplish this task given it is equipped with two different sensors,

The MQ-9 baseline system carries the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, which has a robust suite of visual sensors for targeting. The MTS-B integrates an infrared sensor, color/monochrome daylight TV camera, image-intensified TV camera, laser designator, and laser illuminator. The full-motion video from each of the imaging sensors can be viewed as separate video streams or fused.

The unit also incorporates a laser range finder/designator, which precisely designates targets for employment of laser-guided munitions, such as the Guided Bomb Unit-12 Paveway II. The Reaper is also equipped with a synthetic aperture radar to enable future GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions targeting.

http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets...24/Article/104470/mq-9-reaper.aspx

Both sensors would allow the MQ-9 to direct the airstrike via optical means while also using the SAR to detect new targets.

Irrespective of above, there are a lot of solutions to the CAS issue and there is certainly not one platform that is capable across every single mission set. It will remain a combination of systems and sensors that mission planners use to accomplish the mission. CAS will also continue to evolve as the capability of platforms evolves and the threat changes.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:09 am

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 30):
The "manual" doesn't preclude it either.

No it doesn't, but if you don't NEED to fly low, why should you? There's no reason to place oneself in small arms/automatic weapons range, or MANPAD range, if its not necessary.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 30):
Which is still far better than an F-16 or F-15E.

That's because the A-10 is slow... the effective range a A-10 is capable of is actually less than what a F-16 or a F-15E can cover. I can cover more ground in an F-16 or a F-15E in the same amount of time compared to a A-10.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 30):
How much internal fuel does the F-35 hold? The 4,000 PPH fuel flow rate you quote most likely applies to high-altitude cruise flight, not a tactical maneuvering situation. 4 hours of on station time? I don't buy it.

18,498 lbs of it internally. And a F-35 is capable of taking on 100% of the internal fuel load AND carry 18,000lbs of munitions at the same time.

Quoting seahawk (Reply 34):
Because a UAV lacks situational awareness. The field of view of the sensor is not the same (at the moment) as the Mk.I Eyeball of a manned plattform

During Gulf War II, 5 pairs of UK-issued Mk.1 eyeballs (3 on a Lynx and 2 on a Gazelle) were nearly at a loss to locate and neutralize a single Iraqi T-55 that was very happily taking potshots at the former, despite flying low and slow outside of Basra. The British Lynx eventually won, but only just.

The entire story, if you are interested, is in the book "Armed Action" by James Newton, DFC. Very good read if one has the time.
 
tommy1808
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:52 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 33):
Well it can. The F-35 carries approx 18,000 lbs of fuel. It can fly low and slow for a significant period of time if it needs to. The difference it is doesn't need to be low and slow, it can be high and slow because the sensors are advanced enough to overcome the altitude issues.

Unless of course when it is cloudy and you don't have FAC on the ground.

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par13del
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:01 pm

Quoting holzmann (Thread starter):
The F-16 I can understand.

So the F-35 is now a fighter, when will that capability reach IOC?

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 1):
The F-35 can go into the action on day one,

...with protection from whom?

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 24):
No you are not. CAS does not require aircraft to fly low to the ground. JTAC manual says otherwise:

So when this manual was written, which a/c was the US Air Force assigning to CAS missions?
In today's world, the mission and therefore the manual has to be tailored to the assets you intend to deploy, the asset determines the response, not the situation on the ground. At least that is the way it seems to me, so if it is better to airlift howitzers to shell the enemy, or deploy special forces with laser targeting devices for F-16's to drop from 10K feet have at it.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:33 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 38):
During Gulf War II, 5 pairs of UK-issued Mk.1 eyeballs (3 on a Lynx and 2 on a Gazelle) were nearly at a loss to locate and neutralize a single Iraqi T-55 that was very happily taking potshots at the former, despite flying low and slow outside of Basra. The British Lynx eventually won, but only just.

The entire story, if you are interested, is in the book "Armed Action" by James Newton, DFC. Very good read if one has the time.

So what? Does not change the fact that the typical optical sensors have a narrow field of view, rarely more then 45° and at best a HDTV resolution. A pilot has a 180° field of view. the situational awareness of the UAV operator depends on the guys on the ground, as they need to tell him were to look. A pilot enhances the situational awareness of the ground troops, as he will see things that they can not see, often without them pointing them out to him. So if the threat level alows low and slow still is the preferable option for CAS.

The fact however is that the threat level needs to be so low, that the A-10 is overkill for it and a 2 person crew would increase the situational awareness even more, with one working the sensor and one flying and keeping the general situation in "view". Imho the Textron Scorpion is the best option for the job.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:14 pm

Quoting tommy1808 (Reply 39):
Unless of course when it is cloudy and you don't have FAC on the ground.

Sure, which is why I said.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 33):
It can fly low and slow for a significant period of time if it needs to.
Quoting seahawk (Reply 41):
A pilot has a 180° field of view. the situational awareness of the UAV operator depends on the guys on the ground, as they need to tell him were to look.

Seahawk, that isn't how it works. The optical sensors on UAVs are capable of large fields of view if the operators require it and what is to stop the operator from conducting a 360 degree sensor sweep every few minutes. These systems have trained imagery analysts viewing the feed compared to the pilot whose primary training is to fly an aircraft. The sensor feed is recorded and can be played back for the imagery analyst who can review it in slow time, compared to a pilot who needs to continually be focused on flying the aircraft and not hitting the ground as well as constantly having to update where friendlies are and where the known bad guys are.

By the way, what happens if it's dark?

These types of procedures have been refined over the last 10 years. The US and other NATO nations are now very familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of conducting CAS with UAVs and clearly UAVs have the advantage. There is a reason the Brits, Italians, Spanish, Dutch and even the French have now ordered or operate MQ-9 Reapers. Have any of these nations acquired any other dedicated CAS aircraft?

Quoting par13del (Reply 40):
So the F-35 is now a fighter, when will that capability reach IOC?

?? The F-35B has already IOC'ed as a fighter aircraft. Missions the USMC conducted on their recent evaluation included offensive and defensive counter air. A LHD now has better air protection than it has ever had before.

Quoting par13del (Reply 40):
...with protection from whom?

Protection by itself. Self-escort strike is a standard mission set for current 4th gen aircraft and the F-35 only increases that capability. If necessary, additional F-35s can fly escort dedicated to A2A.

Quoting par13del (Reply 40):
So when this manual was written, which a/c was the US Air Force assigning to CAS missions?

From PointBlank's link the manual is from 25 Nov 2014. https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp3_09_3.pdf

In that case, the primary aircraft conducting CAS are the same as has been doing it for the last 10 years, fast jets, slow movers and UAVs.

Quoting par13del (Reply 40):
In today's world, the mission and therefore the manual has to be tailored to the assets you intend to deploy, the asset determines the response, not the situation on the ground.

CAS is defined by the target set. From there you assign airframes that are able to meet the mission requirement. The US has extensive Air Operations Centre procedures that plan and match the expected threat and target to the aircraft and weapon.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sat Sep 19, 2015 9:41 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 42):
Seahawk, that isn't how it works. The optical sensors on UAVs are capable of large fields of view if the operators require it and what is to stop the operator from conducting a 360 degree sensor sweep every few minutes. These systems have trained imagery analysts viewing the feed compared to the pilot whose primary training is to fly an aircraft. The sensor feed is recorded and can be played back for the imagery analyst who can review it in slow time, compared to a pilot who needs to continually be focused on flying the aircraft and not hitting the ground as well as constantly having to update where friendlies are and where the known bad guys are.

By the way, what happens if it's dark?

These types of procedures have been refined over the last 10 years. The US and other NATO nations are now very familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of conducting CAS with UAVs and clearly UAVs have the advantage. There is a reason the Brits, Italians, Spanish, Dutch and even the French have now ordered or operate MQ-9 Reapers. Have any of these nations acquired any other dedicated CAS aircraft?

Reapers are not bought for CAS but ISR. And even Reapers only have a 45° field if view, which is obviously compensated by scanning the are systematically for, but in the end there currently is only one optical sensor turret and it can only look in one direction.

Sure you could add a second turret but that doubles your data that needs to be pushed through SATCOM. (which is a problem if your enemy has jammers or even a anti-Sat capability)

And imho the manned option has also sold well in the last years. From the armed Trushs and Air Tractors, over the Cessna 208s up to the Super Tucanos. As most are compatible with NVGs, the situational awareness of those is still better than the situational awareness of a UAV. The drawback is that that the manned platform has shorter times on station and crew fatigue becomes a bigger problem.

That is no argument for the A-10, but an argument for the manned platform in low threat conflicts. And imho Textron got it quite right with economic biz jet engines, 2 man crew, long loiter time, but still the faster than the A-10 and cruising higher than the props.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sat Sep 19, 2015 9:46 pm

Quoting seahawk (Reply 43):
Reapers are not bought for CAS but ISR.

No one buys a Reaper just for ISR... There are a host of cheaper options if all you need is ISR.

Quoting seahawk (Reply 43):
Sure you could add a second turret but that doubles your data that needs to be pushed through SATCOM. (which is a problem if your enemy has jammers or even a anti-Sat capability)

Remember how we got here. Low threat environments allowing CAS aircraft to have long loiter times. Low threat environments are not associated with high power satellite jammers and anti-sat capability.

Quoting seahawk (Reply 43):
but in the end there currently is only one optical sensor turret and it can only look in one direction.

Yet almost all the aircraft you have mentioned, as well as others in the armed reconnaissance category can come equipped with FLIR and other sensor turrets.

For example, the Iomax modified Thrush 710P.

Iomax modifies the aircraft with a two-seat cockpit, six-weapon hardpoints and an L-3 Wescam MX-15Di imaging and targeting turret on a centerline pylon. The MX-15Di incorporates infrared, color and mono daylight cameras and a laser designator, and the Archangel is designed to carry laser-guided bombs, Hellfire missiles and any of the emerging class of laser-guided rockets.

http://aviationweek.com/defense/midd...east-embraces-new-iomax-aircraft-0

The Super Tucano fitted with a Star Safire System.



Why would they have FLIR sensor turrets if the Mk1 eyeball were that much better?

Quoting seahawk (Reply 43):
And imho the manned option has also sold well in the last years. From the armed Thrushs and Air Tractors, over the Cessna 208s up to the Super Tucanos.

Agree they have but my link for the Thrush 710P it states,

The market focus is on border patrol in a permissive environment where there is no anti-air threat.

Quoting seahawk (Reply 43):
As most are compatible with NVGs, the situational awareness of those is still better than the situational awareness of a UAV.

You have never used NVGs if you think that. An example of NVG limitations,

The NVG‘s 40-degree circular FOV is smaller than the normal human binocular visual field of 120 degrees (vertical) by 200 degrees (horizontal). Pilots describe their impression of viewing the outside world through NVGs as looking through a soda straw. To compensate for this reduced FOV, pilots must continuously scan from side to
side, as well as up and down. This is fatiguing, and on long flights, pilots may fail to maintain the scan.


http://www.unlb.org/showbinarydata.a...%FE%E9L%23%92%CA%14%12%92r%E2_%DC

Quoting seahawk (Reply 43):
That is no argument for the A-10, but an argument for the manned platform in low threat conflicts.

I agree there is a market and a requirement for these types of aircraft but we don't see NATO members purchasing them. The need is probably more for those nations with border issues and internal insurgencies.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:38 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 44):
You have never used NVGs if you think that. An example of NVG limitations,

The NVG‘s 40-degree circular FOV is smaller than the normal human binocular visual field of 120 degrees (vertical) by 200 degrees (horizontal). Pilots describe their impression of viewing the outside world through NVGs as looking through a soda straw. To compensate for this reduced FOV, pilots must continuously scan from side to
side, as well as up and down. This is fatiguing, and on long flights, pilots may fail to maintain the scan.

You still have 2 independent optical sensors. Even with NVGs you can look to the left, when the turret is looking right. UAVs will overcome this once they get a 360° or 180° optical sensor in addition to the turrets. UAVs like Reaper are ISR assets with a limited strike option. The weapons load is not enough for CAS, although the on station time and the ability to give instant fire support is invaluable for troops operating outside the reach of ground based fire support assets.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 44):

I agree there is a market and a requirement for these types of aircraft but we don't see NATO members purchasing them. The need is probably more for those nations with border issues and internal insurgencies.

With the budgets today and the need for the UAVs to get the persistent ISR coverage, the money is not there. For the US I think that the Snake Eaters could always use one or two wings of something like the Textron Scorpion. It has the range to deploy, it is faster than the props, while the operating costs should be not much higher than a mid-size biz jet and it integrates into existing ATC set-ups much more easily than the UAV. AFSOC could imho use it, especially as it would make a great partner to the AC-130 with the Scorpion doing daylight missions and the Ghostriders covering the night.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Sep 20, 2015 7:47 am

Quoting seahawk (Reply 45):
For the US I think that the Snake Eaters could always use one or two wings of something like the Textron Scorpion

If you haven't been paying attention recently, Textron's been modifying the Scorpion. And it's not in the direction towards slow and cheap; they are looking to get more speed out of the design by shortening the wings, and bumping the thrust of the engines. Otherwise, the Scorpion as it is in its current form is completely unmarketable; too slow to do the Air Defence mission (If a 737 pilot wants to avoid being intercepted by a Scorpion, all the 737 pilot needs to do is fly faster), and too under-performing overall to perform the advanced trainer mission.

And it's still way too expensive to operate if you want something dirt cheap to run; A Super Tucano is cheaper to run for a light COIN platform.

Quoting seahawk (Reply 45):
With the budgets today and the need for the UAVs to get the persistent ISR coverage

There is a big demand for non-traditional ISR (NTISR), where an existing fighter or bomber with targeting pod hangs around as long as its fuel state allows, piping EO imagery to ground forces to improve their situational awareness. The push for NTISR CAS is due to insufficient quantity of persistent ISR assets in general (UAV and MC-12W's) to fill the need.

These articles explains NTISR a bit better:

http://www.alsa.mil/library/alsb/ALSB%202007-3.pdf
http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA51776
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:27 am

Quoting seahawk (Reply 45):
UAVs like Reaper are ISR assets with a limited strike option. The weapons load is not enough for CAS, although the on station time and the ability to give instant fire support is invaluable for troops operating outside the reach of ground based fire support assets.

Depends on what your comparing it to though. For example, except for the machine guns, the MQ-9 carries the same payload as either the Super Tucano or the AT-6. In reality it actually carries more as the MQ-9 does not carry external fuel whereas the Super Tucano and AT-6 will almost always carry external tanks to improve range. The Scorpion has a greater payload but that should be no surprise given it's size and class.
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:08 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
out of range for the CAS mission.

There is CAS and non-traditional CAS. The latter, which was much more common in places like Afghanistan, includes using even B-52s with certain weapons loads for CAS missions...successfully.

The role and doctrine of CAS has evolved greatly in the last decade. The F-35 is part of that doctrine.
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ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:16 am

Another RFI was issued by the FBO regarding the need to re-wing the re-winged A-10C's (ignore the part about A-10A's; most of them were already upgraded to the C standard or were parted out):

http://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportuni...a492da6a3425016a&tab=core&_cview=0

The RFI is about wing box sets for the A-10 fleet, and my understanding is that the A-10C fleet has cracks showing up in the wing boxes, although they have been through a structural retrofit program already. So, expect another major SLEP for the A-10C fleet coming up soon if the budgetary and political deadlock continues.

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