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XT6Wagon
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:12 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 49):

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):

So, whats your take on the F35 needing structural upgrades before it even enters service? Cause clearly thats ok when its the most expensive airplane in the fleet instead of the cheapest
 
Cross757
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:17 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 38):
That's because the A-10 is slow

No, that's a side effect of saving fuel and therefore increasing loiter time. And the A-10 was never designed to be supersonic in the first place. In a hold over/near a target area, the A-10 in burning about 2000-2500 pounds of fuel per hour total; given an internal fuel capacity of just under 11,000 pounds and allowing for fuel to return home plus reserves, this gives the A-10 two hours of loiter time over the target area. CAS is almost never a "one pass, haul a$$" proposition; especially when providing cover for convoy operations or SOF infiltration/exfill. Best case, the F-16/F-15E's could hang our for 30-60 min before having to go to the tanker, and the F-35 will not be much better than that. The low-bypass turbofan engines of the F-16/-15E/-35 burn more fuel in low to medium altitude environments. Sure, it takes the A-10 longer to reach a target area than the others, but once there it can stay longer.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 38):
AND carry 18,000lbs of munitions at the same time.

Big deal. For any real-world operational situations, that number is almost meaningless. It's academic. The F-35 will never take off with that kind of a weapons load, just as the fighters it is designed to replace don't either.
Why? First of all, the F-35 can't carry that 18,000lbs of weapons all internally, in fact the bulk of that will be externally loaded. What happens then? Parasite and form drag will significantly increase and therefore un-refueled range will significantly decrease (assuming it's all weapons, and not external tanks, but then the extra fuel weight has the same effect anyway). All those external weapons will throw it's radar cross section out the window, negating it's stealth advantage. Might as well be flying a barn door at that point.
If going into a high-threat environment, the weapons load will all be internal to preserve range and low-observability, so instead of 18,000 lbs, try more like 2000-4000.

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 26):
The A-10 is now considered an old POS that needs to be put out into the pasture

Mostly by those arm-chair quarterbacks who have never provided CAS or been on the receiving end of CAS support from one, or any other aircraft for that matter.
People are entitled to their opinions however, no matter how far removed from reality. A-10's are actively flying missions against ISIS in Iraq...the AF leadership must obviously still find them useful. And despite the dire predictions of others in the forum, one hasn't been lost yet.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 42):
CAS is defined by the target set. From there you assign airframes that are able to meet the mission requirement

Per planing doctrine, perhaps. But in OEF, an awful lot of CAS missions were "XCAS" or airborne-alert CAS, because it extremely difficult to predict precisely when and where CAS was going to be needed. The target set was often not known until aircraft arrived on station. The target set could be personnel in the open, bunkers, compounds, cave entrances (especially in mountains of Korengal and Tora Bora), even vehicles. A persistent aircraft with a variety of weapons is a great solution.
 
Powerslide
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 23, 2015 10:25 pm

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 51):
Mostly by those arm-chair quarterbacks

Pot, Kettle.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Sep 23, 2015 10:53 pm

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 51):
Per planing doctrine, perhaps.

Well I come from the camp where the ATO is king. The planning cycle is there for a reason and even in a low intensity/threat conflict like OEF every single XCAS mission occurred only because it was fragged on the ATO.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 51):
The target set was often not known until aircraft arrived on station. The target set could be personnel in the open, bunkers, compounds, cave entrances (especially in mountains of Korengal and Tora Bora), even vehicles. A persistent aircraft with a variety of weapons is a great solution.

And any number of aircraft were able to fulfil that mission set. B-1s, F-15s, F-16s and F-18s all contributed to XCAS as well as A-10s and all brought different strengths and advantages.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 51):
If going into a high-threat environment, the weapons load will all be internal to preserve range and low-observability

Of course it will. No one is claiming it won't. The difference is the F-35 has the ability to operate in that high intensity environment while its competitors essentially don't while also being able to lug around large and heavy loads when low observability is not required.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 51):
try more like 2000-4000.

The current max internal load is 5700 lbs but the practical limit is 4700 lbs based on available weapons (2 x GBU-10 and a pair of AIM-120s).
 
Cross757
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:17 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 53):
The planning cycle is there for a reason and even in a low intensity/threat conflict like OEF every single XCAS mission occurred only because it was fragged on the ATO

Yes, I understand that. I should have clarified, I'm talking about matching the aircraft with the target set. Often the target set is not known until after an aircraft is overhead. Depends on what aircraft the ASOC had available to respond to a TIC support request at that time.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 53):
nd any number of aircraft were able to fulfil that mission set. B-1s, F-15s, F-16s and F-18s all contributed to XCAS as well as A-10s and all brought different strengths and advantages

I agree for the most part; B-1's however are not capable of performing a strafe pass, which was sometimes needed. Then again, if a group of compounds needed to be destroyed simultaneously, the B-1 could handle that wonderfully.

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 52):
Pot, Kettle.

I recently retired with just under 1,400 hours in the A-10A/C (1,372.5 to be exact), and just over 2745 hours total time in military jets. How about you?

Quoting Ozair (Reply 53):
The current max internal load is 5700 lbs but the practical limit is 4700 lbs based on available weapons

Well, I was close!
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:55 am

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 50):
So, whats your take on the F35 needing structural upgrades before it even enters service? Cause clearly thats ok when its the most expensive airplane in the fleet instead of the cheapest

The A-10 also needed major structural work, and that was known when they were building the A-10's in the first place. Of the A-10's built, 2/3 of the fleet were built to a thin wing standard, which was known to be much more susceptible to cracks and fatigue than the later production aircraft, which had thicker lower wing skins.

This change was made because it was discovered during full-scale fatigue testing that the original thinner wing skins would not last the specified 8,000 hours.

In addition, the F-35 is being tested to USN fatigue standards, not USAF, and the differences I have covered in the past:

USN/USMC F/A-18 Corrosion Damage Issues (by ThePointblank Jun 7 2015 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
Furthermore, the USN has a different fatigue standard for aircraft than the USAF. The USN uses fatigue to determine the structural safety of their airplanes. Basically, that means if a structural crack is spotted, the airplane is deemed unsafe and is immediately grounded pending a decision to repair or retire. When the USN designs their aircraft, in the design and development phase, fatigue analysis and ground test is conducted to 4 times the expected airframe life expectancy based upon expected usage. This means for an 8,000 hour airplane, it must pass 32,000 hours without cracking. Due to the extreme variability of fatigue analysis and test and variability in actual usage compared to design usage, the USN allows only 1/4 of ground test lifetime as the rated design life of the airframe.

When any crack appears, a failure is declared, and corrective action is taken on the design, usually beefing up or redesigning the structure(s) involved.

The USAF uses a different and more modern fatigue standard; it's called Fracture Mechanics. Under this standard, crack growth is analyzed, tested, and tracked during service usage. Due to the much higher knowledge base of fracture mechanics, cracks are permitted in flying airframes until they reach a critical length, upon which the airframe is either repaired or replaced. Analysis and ground tests during the design and development phase are conducted to two airplane lifetimes, compared to four in Fatigue criteria.

The point to take home is that USAF airplanes are allowed to fly with safe cracks and the USN airplanes are not. The USN method does add costs because it forces the USN to either retire or conduct service life extensions at a much more frequent rate than the USAF would for a similar design.

It's interesting to note that all variants of the F-35 are being tested to the USN fatigue standards, not the USAF's standards. That's why when you hear about cracks appearing in the F-35, it provokes an immediate redesign and beefing up of structure in the design.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:35 am

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 54):
I should have clarified, I'm talking about matching the aircraft with the target set. Often the target set is not known until after an aircraft is overhead. Depends on what aircraft the ASOC had available to respond to a TIC support request at that time.

Agree, and the ATO should go someway to addressing that by specifying the loadout the aircraft needs to fly with. In the case of XCAS, I would expect the required loadout was reasonably generic to cater for multiple potential target types.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 54):
I agree for the most part; B-1's however are not capable of performing a strafe pass, which was sometimes needed. Then again, if a group of compounds needed to be destroyed simultaneously, the B-1 could handle that wonderfully.

It is a beast! When I read reports like below it emphasises how important the B-1 was to the Coalition over Afghanistan.

The airmen of the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and 9th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit provided more than 25 percent of the total fixed-wing close-air support coverage for coalition ground forces in Afghanistan every day by launching the most B-1 sorties executed on a single deployment in more than 10 years of sustained conflict.

Over the course of the six-plus month deployment, the squadron flew more than 770 combat sorties, encompassing over 9,500 hours, to provide 24 hours of coverage every day.

They also responded to more than 500 troops-in-contact situations, with the enemy as close as 300 meters from friendly forces, and another 700 priority air requests, delivering more than 400 weapons on target.

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2012/08/02/th...es-record-breaking-b-1-deployment/

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 54):
I recently retired with just under 1,400 hours in the A-10A/C

Thanks for your service. There are a whole bunch of guys on the ground that are glad you were there!
 
Cross757
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:58 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 56):
I would expect the required loadout was reasonably generic to cater for multiple potential target types

It was. With the A-10A, typical load was a mix of GBU-12, Mk82 (airburst), 7 x WP rockets, 7 x HE rockets, targeting pod, and of course, a full gun (nominally 1175 rounds of 30-mm HEI). On very rare occasions to support some special missions, a different load was specified, but not often. Made things easier for the weapons folks for sure. With the A-10C of course the Mk82's went away in favor of JDAM.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 56):
Thanks for your service. There are a whole bunch of guys on the ground that are glad you were there!

Thank you. 20+ years went by in a flash. Had the chance to meet and chat with some soldiers from a Stryker brigade at an airshow at McChord AFB/Ft. Lewis once. Turns out they had been in a convoy in OEF near Tarin Kowt that my wingman and I had provided support for. Quite surreal, actually, as we rarely had interaction with the troops we supported. We would land after a mission, go grab lunch (or dinner, or breakfast), then hit the gym, watch a movie, go to bed, get up and do it all over again. The troops on the other hand slept in their vehicles, or patrolled all night, and even when back in the FOB, would receive small arms/mortar/rocket fire all night. I have a ton of respect for them. Told them if they ever visited our squadron bar, drinks were on the house for life!
 
Max Q
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:53 pm

Like to add my thanks and best wishes C757.



Good to see a non 'armchair expert' on here.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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

Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:06 am

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 54):
I recently retired with just under 1,400 hours in the A-10A/C (1,372.5 to be exact), and just over 2745 hours total time in military jets. How about you?

Congrats, but A-10's can't and won't fly forever and newer and better technologies are being developed. The A-10s time is over.
 
dkramer7
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:48 am

So if the USAF doesn't want the A-10, what about giving them to the army?

They fly helicopters for support so why not fixed wing?
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:53 am

Quoting dkramer7 (Reply 60):
So if the USAF doesn't want the A-10, what about giving them to the army?

The US Army doesn't want A-10's, even if they had the budget for it.

Even during the 1980's, when the A-10's were being bought, the Army, in conjunction with the USAF lobbied Congress to curtail A-10 buys as a result of the J-SAK studies, and instead lobbied for more F-16's to be built, along with the retention of the A-7 Corsair's the USAF was flying.

Besides, there's the good old Key West Agreement that divides up allocation of air assets between the Army, Air Force and Navy, so the Army isn't even allowed to operate aircraft like the A-10 anyways.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:59 am

And we know that the Army said so in the 1980ies because they wanted funds for the AH-64.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Oct 01, 2015 4:34 pm

http://www.jqpublicblog.com/congress...sharp-rebuke-bars-a-10-retirement/

Congress just built a big hurdle for the AF when it comes to retiring the A-10
 
Cross757
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:00 pm

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 59):
Congrats, but A-10's can't and won't fly forever and newer and better technologies are being developed

Except in the case of the F-35, these "newer and better technologies" are far over budget and behind schedule. The USAF Chief of Staff himself said that the F-35 will not reach full combat capability until 2021...SIX more years from now.
The truth is that the A-10 remains the most effective (in terms of capability and cost) CAS platform we have right now. Period.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 61):
Even during the 1980's, when the A-10's were being bought, the Army, in conjunction with the USAF lobbied Congress to curtail A-10 buys as a result of the J-SAK studies, and instead lobbied for more F-16's to be built, along with the retention of the A-7 Corsair's the USAF was flying.

That was 30 years ago, and has absolutely ZERO bearing on anything today. The A-10's combat record since and it's value as a CAS/FAC-A/CSAR platform are undeniable, no matter how you try to spin it.
The A-10C of today is far more capable than than the A-10A was of the 1980's. The A-10A started life with just a TACAN and an ADF for navigation; even when I started flying the A-10A in 2004, it had EGI, ILS, TACAN, LASTE, full NVG compatibility, etc. The A-10C added data link, IAM/JDAM capability, etc.
Don't forget the F-16 started life as a simple day-only fighter armed with only a gun and IR missiles; now look at it. Does that mean we should retire the F-16 based on what it was in the 1980's?

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 61):
The US Army doesn't want A-10's

The Army actually quite enjoys having A-10's in theater. Saying they "don't want the A-10" is moot, since they are prohibited from operating fixed-wing combat aircraft anyway.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 24):
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!

That's a convenient scapegoat for why it happened, but that is not what caused it. The SAM operator used an optical engagement mode and guided the missile manually. I guarantee you that every modern tactical SAM has the same capability, meaning even the F-35 could be vulnerable to it.
That's the funny thing about weapons development: just when you think you've created the perfect weapon, your enemy goes and creates something better. This is anecdotal somewhat, but the USAF/CIA had the U-2, but then the Russians fielded the SA-2/SA-3 that could reach up and touch it; we responded by building the A-12/SR-71 because it's speed and altitude capabilities could virtually nullify that threat, but don't you know it, those pesky Russians developed the MiG-25/MiG-31/SA-5, -10, -12, -20, and so on, so that pretty much spelled the end of manned or even air-breathing overflights over their borders.
The F-35 was selected as the winner of the JSF competition in Oct 2001, 14 years ago, and is still several years from being combat ready. I can promise you that during that time our potential adversaries have been diligently working on systems to counter the F-35, and in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they already have detailed plans of the F-35 given the spate of computer network breaches throughout DoD in the last few years.
In short, the downside of this long and drawn-out procurement process is that is has given potential adversaries plenty of time to figure out to defeat it, or at least degrade it. Whatever advantage the F-35 might actually bring to the fight when that actually happens won't last for long.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:24 am

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 64):
The truth is that the A-10 remains the most effective (in terms of capability and cost) CAS platform we have right now. Period.

"Effective" as per your personal opinion in both capabilities (other aircraft can perform CAS effectively, as demonstrated recently), and cost, especially the cost aspect. The A-10 is draining USAF resources, from personnel to maintenance and depot costs that are needed on other more critical missions in a time of a major DoD budget crunch.

As mentioned repeatedly by others here, and by the USAF, the only way to really make any meaningful cut to operating costs is to eliminate weapon systems and their associated infrastructure, than to simply cut numbers. Cutting a fleet size by 50% does not reduce your operating costs by 50%; at most it's closer to 15-20% cost savings.

And before you give me the speech that "The F-35 will bankrupt the USAF and the US military", which I KNOW you will, that argument is patently false. 16% of the US DoD's budget is in procurement, i.e. buying equipment. The bigger line items in the US DoD's budget is personnel costs (i.e. pay, benefits, housing, training, etc) and Operations and maintenance (i.e. fuel, bullets, spare parts, maintenance and overhaul of equipment).

In fact, operations and maintenance eats up 42% of the US Defence budget, and personnel costs eats up another 25%.

The US military as a whole can live and win wars without the A-10 providing CAS. The military will just adapt, and use other platforms and systems to cover the mission.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 64):
That was 30 years ago, and has absolutely ZERO bearing on anything today.

It has plenty of bearing today because even back then, the US Army and USAF recognized that the A-10 wasn't what was needed, and that they needed other platforms to win wars!

The A-10 in a more complex environment OTHER than the what's going on in the Middle East is an absolute sitting duck against someone that has decent air defence capabilities.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 64):
The A-10C of today is far more capable than than the A-10A was of the 1980's. The A-10A started life with just a TACAN and an ADF for navigation; even when I started flying the A-10A in 2004, it had EGI, ILS, TACAN, LASTE, full NVG compatibility, etc. The A-10C added data link, IAM/JDAM capability, etc.

At great costs, and it only brings it to a level of capability that other aircraft had since the early 1990's.

And the fact is, the USAF has conducted studies into how CAS is being executed today, and has noticed that in terms of capabilities and performance, the A-10 is only marginally better than other aircraft and systems already in the inventory. In fact, we could have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq just fine without the A-10.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 64):
Don't forget the F-16 started life as a simple day-only fighter armed with only a gun and IR missiles; now look at it. Does that mean we should retire the F-16 based on what it was in the 1980's?

Because the F-16 was 1: designed to accommodate many of the upgrades and enhancements and 2: Can do more missions, especially critical missions like air superiority and interdiction.

Also, a lot of the older, less capable variants of the F-16 were very quickly retired when more capable airframes became available. Notice how quickly the USAF disposed of its inventory of the early Block 5, 10, and 15 aircraft when the Block 25's became available, which were then displaced by the later Block 30/32's, 40/42's and 50/52's as became available.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 64):
That's a convenient scapegoat for why it happened, but that is not what caused it. The SAM operator used an optical engagement mode and guided the missile manually. I guarantee you that every modern tactical SAM has the same capability, meaning even the F-35 could be vulnerable to it.

That's because the operator knew exactly where to look and when to line up a missile shot. If you read anything regarding that engagement, especially from the Serbian side, the Serbs especially noted that Coalition strike aircraft would fly predictable routes at specific times every day and that the Serbs decided to move a SAM battery underneath one of those routes and just wait for a Coalition aircraft to fly overhead.

The situation was made worst by the fact that the Serbs were to breach NATO communications security (at that time, a lot of Allied aircraft didn't have secure radios, forcing everyone to dumb down if they had more secure radios), and listen in on pilot conversations and communications.

Cardinal rule about combat: Never become predictable. It is a really bad trait of complacency. The enemy is just going to get clued in about your patterns and act accordingly to make your life miserable, be it in air combat, or on the ground. And that's EXACTLY what the USAF and NATO planners had become: predictable and complacent.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 64):
This is anecdotal somewhat, but the USAF/CIA had the U-2, but then the Russians fielded the SA-2/SA-3 that could reach up and touch it

Not really. The U-2 is still and incredibly difficult aircraft to target and shoot down, and it took the Soviets multiple missiles and a number of friendly fire kills before they managed to damage the U-2 enough to be shot down.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 64):
we responded by building the A-12/SR-71 because it's speed and altitude capabilities could virtually nullify that threat, but don't you know it, those pesky Russians developed the MiG-25/MiG-31/SA-5, -10, -12, -20, and so on, so that pretty much spelled the end of manned or even air-breathing overflights over their borders.

There was no need for manned overflights over Soviet territory anyways by the 1960's because technology had advanced to the point where the US built spy satellites instead for the reconnaissance that they originally got from manned overflights, and eventually developed side looking radars that could look into Soviet territory from just outside their airspace.

So, we have a perfect example of technological advances completely eliminating an entire mission altogether.

Quoting Cross757 (Reply 64):
The F-35 was selected as the winner of the JSF competition in Oct 2001, 14 years ago, and is still several years from being combat ready. I can promise you that during that time our potential adversaries have been diligently working on systems to counter the F-35, and in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they already have detailed plans of the F-35 given the spate of computer network breaches throughout DoD in the last few years.
In short, the downside of this long and drawn-out procurement process is that is has given potential adversaries plenty of time to figure out to defeat it, or at least degrade it. Whatever advantage the F-35 might actually bring to the fight when that actually happens won't last for long.

The Russians and the Chinese don't have the technical knowledge or skills to effectively counter the F-35 for some time.

Just because one has the design schematics, or builds something that closely resembles a F-1 racing car or a NASCAR doesn't mean that it is. Also even if it was, doesn't mean they know how to drive it. That is something the US will have such a huge lead when compared to Russia and China.

The US not only knows HOW to build a proper stealth fighter, but also has FAR MORE EXPERIENCE on how to best employ them. If all things were truly equal when it compares to tech and design in 5th gen aircraft, the US will still lead in tactics. And history is rife with instances where when both sides are fairly equal, the one with better tactics will win the fight.
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:52 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 65):
There was no need for manned overflights over Soviet territory anyways by the 1960's because technology had advanced to the point where the US built spy satellites instead for the reconnaissance that they originally got from manned overflights, and eventually developed side looking radars that could look into Soviet territory from just outside their airspace.

So, we have a perfect example of technological advances completely eliminating an entire mission altogether.

Then isn't it funny the A-10 has done recon missions when the U2 failed to provide any usable intel? Gulf 1 proved that high altitude recon is nearly useless at battlefield intel. It took men, putting actual eyeballs on the targets from low altitude to tell the difference between a decoy and a real tank. To tell the difference between a wreck and a live vehicle.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:16 am

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 66):
Then isn't it funny the A-10 has done recon missions when the U2 failed to provide any usable intel? Gulf 1 proved that high altitude recon is nearly useless at battlefield intel. It took men, putting actual eyeballs on the targets from low altitude to tell the difference between a decoy and a real tank. To tell the difference between a wreck and a live vehicle.

For the purposes of the manned overflights, the US was more interested in overall Soviet military capabilities and industrial centres, not exactly how many tanks the Soviets had running around and precisely where.

AFM-1-1 provides guidance regarding what the aims are for the strategic reconnaissance the U-2's and later, SR-71 and spy satellites are tasked to do:

Quote:
Strategic surveillance and reconnaissance operations support our needs for national and strategic intelligence. They also help fill the information requirements of the tactical commanders. Through these strategic operations, we can assess the total capability of a foreign nation to wage war, and can monitor the progress of a war. These operations provide information that is essential to:

- Identify targets for strategic and tactical attack.

- Provide indications and warning of hostile intent and actions. . . .

- Assess damage to enemy and friendly targets.

- Determine force structure.

- Determine our requirements for research and development of warfighting systems.

- Help verify compliance with treaties and agreements.

Tactical surveillance and reconnaissance operations support the theater and the tactical field commander. When these tactical systems are assigned targets, the resulting information may fill both national and strategic intelligence requirements. Tactical systems provide indications of hostile intent, plus information from which intelligence is derived. These surveillance and reconnaissance systems provide information on:

- The disposition, composition, and movement of enemy forces.

- The location of enemy lines of communication, installations, and electronic emissions.

- Post-strike damage.

- Conditions in surface battle areas.

- Weather and terrain.

The use to which the information is put determines the strategic or tactical nature of the collection operation. The operational mission of collecting information is known as surveillance and reconnaissance.
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:02 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 67):
For the purposes of the manned overflights, the US was more interested in overall Soviet military capabilities and industrial centres, not exactly how many tanks the Soviets had running around and precisely where.

You miss the point, The U-2 was doing tactical recon and failed. Repeatedly. The A-10 took over and got it done. Pretty sure the fat cow F-35 isn't going to be as good doing a slow pass over a defended site.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:20 pm

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 68):

You miss the point, The U-2 was doing tactical recon and failed. Repeatedly.

Because it was like using a sledgehammer to hammer in a finishing nail. Totally inappropriate use of hardware.

The U-2 is best used for strategic reconnaissance, not tactical recon. You are better off sending a fighter equipped with the DB-110 pod for tactical reconnaissance, as that combination is designed for the mission.

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 68):
Pretty sure the fat cow F-35 isn't going to be as good doing a slow pass over a defended site.

A F-35 won't need to make a slow pass; it has the sensors onboard to detect and track targets quickly, plus the datalinks to offload the information onto other platforms very quickly, like how a Tornado, F-16 or F-15 would have if it is carrying the Goodrich DB-110 tactical reconnaissance pod.
 
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spudh
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:56 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 31):
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

Fascinating read, thanks for posting.
 
andydtwnwa7
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:32 pm

It appears that, at least for the foreseeable future, the Air Force is putting the A-10 retirement plans on hold.

"Report: A-10 retirement indefinitely delayed"
http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/m...ent-indefinitely-delayed/78747114/
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:31 am

Quoting andydtwnwa7 (Reply 71):
It appears that, at least for the foreseeable future, the Air Force is putting the A-10 retirement plans on hold.

"Report: A-10 retirement indefinitely delayed"
http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/m...ent-indefinitely-delayed/78747114/

Do I need to point out that Congress and the House are both playing politics? Look at which states are throwing the biggest fits; they are the ones that have A-10's stationed there. Coincidence? I think not!

Just about the only thing that keeps the A-10 flying is the pork barrel politics of Congressional districts where they are based.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:10 am

Nice waste of money.
 
andydtwnwa7
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:55 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 72):
Do I need to point out that Congress and the House are both playing politics?

You mean the House and the Senate? At any rate, regardless of where or why the funding exists to keep the A-10, it doesn't sound like the Air Force is too upset about it.

"While the decision ultimately lies with Pentagon leadership, Carlisle said that he believes the retirement of the A-10 could be delayed by a few years to make sure the Air Force has the number of planes it needs — especially since top brass is re-evaluating the number of F-35’s (planes intended to replace the A-10) that the U.S. will purchase."

Makes perfect sense to me. If Congress is voting to fund the A-10, then the AF may as well keep them until more F-35's come on line. 5 years from now, they'll either have enough F-35's to take over for the A-10 as its phased out, or they may decide the F-35 isn't as great a CAS platform as initially thought and decide to go a different route. Either way, if Congress is willing to continue A-10 funding, the Air Force is smart to keep it operational for the next few years.

Sums it up: "If I have them, I’m going to use them because they’re a fantastic airplane, and I’m going to take advantage of them,” Carlisle said. “The pilots are incredibly well-trained and they do incredible work in support of the joint war fight.”
 
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:19 pm

Quoting seahawk (Reply 73):
Nice waste of money.

War is a waste of money. And since these planes are being used in the war against ISIS and Cold War II with Russia, I guess they are a waste of money  

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:44 pm

Quoting andydtwnwa7 (Reply 74):
If Congress is voting to fund the A-10, then the AF may as well keep them until more F-35's come on line.

It's not clear from that article that Congress is voting to fund the A-10. The Air Force is saying they are holding off on retiring it, and will submit a FY2017 budget request. If Congress doesn't give them funding to keep the A-10 plus move forward on their other programs, we're back in the same place, either cut the A-10 or slow down/cancel something else.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 72):
Look at which states are throwing the biggest fits; they are the ones that have A-10's stationed there. Coincidence? I think not!

I wonder what McCain and McSally would say if the Air Force announced they were keeping the A-10, but consolidating all units to a base outside of Arizona, for fiscal reasons?  
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 8:41 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 72):
Do I need to point out that Congress and the House are both playing politics? Look at which states are throwing the biggest fits; they are the ones that have A-10's stationed there. Coincidence? I think not!

To be fair there is an equal if not greater amount of lobbying and political pressure based around F-35 production and basing as well.

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 76):
It's not clear from that article that Congress is voting to fund the A-10. The Air Force is saying they are holding off on retiring it, and will submit a FY2017 budget request. If Congress doesn't give them funding to keep the A-10 plus move forward on their other programs, we're back in the same place, either cut the A-10 or slow down/cancel something else.

I thought they had already identified numerous F-16 units that were being retired early to make way for F-35s. The problem is it doesn't provide the savings that retiring a whole type would.

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 76):
I wonder what McCain and McSally would say if the Air Force announced they were keeping the A-10, but consolidating all units to a base outside of Arizona, for fiscal reasons?

Especially if Luke AFB hadn't been awarded the primary training base for F-35. Luke AFB will remain one of the largest F-35 bases for many many years so its not like Arizona is missing out on Defence basing and money.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:02 pm

Quoting andydtwnwa7 (Reply 74):
Makes perfect sense to me. If Congress is voting to fund the A-10, then the AF may as well keep them until more F-35's come on line. 5 years from now, they'll either have enough F-35's to take over for the A-10 as its phased out, or they may decide the F-35 isn't as great a CAS platform as initially thought and decide to go a different route. Either way, if Congress is willing to continue A-10 funding, the Air Force is smart to keep it operational for the next few years.

The USAF is short personnel. From previous articles, the USAF needs to pull people from A-10, specifically experienced maintainers to support the upcoming F-35 IOC.

Basically, what's going to happen is that F-16 squadrons will get the axe. Other squadrons will loose the ability to deploy. Loosing F-16 squadrons is a much more serious issue than cutting A-10's, as loosing F-16 squadrons cuts at the core of the USAF's core mission, that of securing air superiority for US and Allied Forces. Without air superiority, nothing else can happen. No CAS, no transport, no ISR, no nothing.

In short, this decision by Congress will gut the USAF's combat capabilities.
 
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:32 am

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 75):

War is a waste of money. And since these planes are being used in the war against ISIS and Cold War II with Russia, I guess they are a waste of money

Just that those missions could be flown by F-16 or F-15 or F-18s just as well, allowing the USAF to retire one type (a type with very limited worth on the modern battlefield outside the bush wars) and create the savings to supply the war fighters with the desperately needed high performance F-35.
 
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:28 am

Quoting Ozair (Reply 77):
Especially if Luke AFB hadn't been awarded the primary training base for F-35. Luke AFB will remain one of the largest F-35 bases for many many years so its not like Arizona is missing out on Defence basing and money.

Both are more bleating about Davis-Monthan AFB, which houses the bulk of ACC's and AFRC A-10's. Davis–Monthan's primary flying mission is the A-10, and loosing the A-10 would place Davis–Monthan back on the redundant and easy to close list. Davis–Monthan has been mentioned a few times by a number of people as a potential base to close in a future BRAC, and both McSally and McCain are both heavily against closing Davis-Monthan.
 
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:28 pm

How do you close DM? Relocate AMRAG?
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:28 am

Quoting seahawk (Reply 81):
How do you close DM? Relocate AMRAG?

The closure of Davis-Monthan won't affect AMARG as that requires just a smaller skeleton crew to perform the work. You don't need an entire base operation. It would just be the fighter base that would be affected.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:04 am

But AMARG still needs the runway from DM, so in the end you will keep the base kind of operational. In this situation it makes no sense to remove the active component imho. If you want to save money, you need to close the whole base including all infrastructure. Even keeping DM in kind of a care taker status costs money.

But there is nothing that says, that the active component must be A-10s.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:28 am

Quoting seahawk (Reply 83):
But AMARG still needs the runway from DM, so in the end you will keep the base kind of operational. In this situation it makes no sense to remove the active component imho. If you want to save money, you need to close the whole base including all infrastructure. Even keeping DM in kind of a care taker status costs money.

Don't need an entire wing to do that. Just need the AMARG unit, plus airfield support personnel. Currently, approximately 7,500 military and 1,500 civilian personnel work at Davis-Monthan. The base can still run on a lot less people, and those people can be shared with the Tuscon ANGB nearby.
 
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seahawk
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:45 am

Wrong way of looking at it. If I need the runway and the base any way, it is efficient to have a combat unit there. It does not have to be an active one, could be Reserve or Guard as well. Regardless this is no reason to keep the A-10s.
 
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WingsFan
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:33 pm

Emergence of ISIS may have prolonged the life of A-10 . Multiple reports are citing that USAF may have shelved the plan to phase out A-10. I guess F-35 is not such a magic bullet after all

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/21/politics/air-force-a-10-isis/

Glad to see that USAF brass finally saw the obvious .
 
ThePointblank
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:13 am

Quoting WingsFan (Reply 86):
Emergence of ISIS may have prolonged the life of A-10 . Multiple reports are citing that USAF may have shelved the plan to phase out A-10. I guess F-35 is not such a magic bullet after all

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/21/politics/air-force-a-10-isis/

Glad to see that USAF brass finally saw the obvious .

Not really.

The USAF had no problem with keeping the A-10 till the planned retirement date by 2030 until funding issues cropped up as a result of Sequestration. Then tough choices had to be made in a zero sum fiscal environment. It was either keep A-10's and make massive cuts to the F-16, F-15, and other fleets while slowing down recapitalization, or retire A-10's early and maintain the existing fleet while recapitalizing. The USAF got the money they wanted, so they can do both.
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:35 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 87):
Not really.

The USAF had no problem with keeping the A-10 till the planned retirement date by 2030 until funding issues cropped up as a result of Sequestration. Then tough choices had to be made in a zero sum fiscal environment. It was either keep A-10's and make massive cuts to the F-16, F-15, and other fleets while slowing down recapitalization, or retire A-10's early and maintain the existing fleet while recapitalizing. The USAF got the money they wanted, so they can do both.

Deputy Defence Secretary Bob Work has adding some additional reasoning on the proposed retirement of the A-10 and the new retirement date.

Quote:
Work dismissed the argument that the A-10 is irreplaceable — that its heavy armor, powerful cannon, and low-and-slow flight allow it to support ground troops the way thoroughbred fighters can’t. “Right now, given the demand around the world, a tactical fighter squadron is a tactical fighter squadron is a tactical fighter squadron,” he said. “You need to be able to deliver precision ordinance anywhere.” The critical difference, he added, is that the A-10 is much more likely to get shot down by advanced air defenses than a stealth fighter.

So the issue is simply numbers. War plans require 54 tactical fighter squadrons in the Air Force, Work said. “In 2015 what the Air Force said is… we would like to temporarily go down to 49 tactical fighter squadrons by retiring the A-10, and use that money to accelerate modernization, (specifically) to buy F-35s faster so they could get back up to 54 more capable squadrons.”

“In 2015, it was a totally righteous call,” Work said. “We were expecting to be down to 1,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2016. Russia had not illegally annexed the Crimea.”

“Congress said no in 2015. We asked again in 2016; they said no,” Work said (referring to the budgets being voted on, not the year of the vote). “So now in 2017, we’re saying okay, we have new facts on the ground.”

In this budget plan, “we’re going to stay at 54 (squadrons) because that’s what the demand is saying that we need, folks, for the counter-ISIL fight and in Europe,” Work said. Instead of disbanding Warthog squadrons in the near term and then eventually creating new F-35 squadrons, he said, the Air Force will retain A-10s until F-35s can replace them. (We will) retire them by 2022,” he said, “but we will not retire them until an F-35 squadron can replace it one for one.”
http://breakingdefense.com/2016/02/h...president-bob-work-on-2017-budget/

So it now looks like a phased retirement by 2022 which coincides with significant numbers of F-35s coming out of Full Rate Production. FRP for the F-35A is expected to be between 60 and 80 for the USAF each year from 2020.
 
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:25 am

http://www.fool.com/investing/genera...m_medium=feed&utm_campaign=article
OK trash the writer, but it appears saner heads live in the Pentagon ... To my way of reading this, they are saying why send Fifth Generation expensive aircraft to do the jobs a 4th generation can handle easily.. suspect they are rueing the day the scrapped all the P-38s   
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Sun Feb 14, 2016 6:04 am

Quoting kanban (Reply 89):
OK trash the writer, but it appears saner heads live in the Pentagon ... To my way of reading this, they are saying why send Fifth Generation expensive aircraft to do the jobs a 4th generation can handle easily.. suspect they are rueing the day the scrapped all the P-38s

Did you read my post directly above? It has more info from a more credible source.

Your reading of this is wrong. The USAF wanted to move to 49 squadrons to allow more acquisition budget to purchase F-35. Due to Russia in Crimea and Ukraine and Syria issues they need 54 fighter squadrons to maintain capability. Hence maintaining A-10s.
 
sovietjet
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:26 pm

Quoting Ozair (Reply 90):
Due to Russia in Crimea and Ukraine and Syria issues they need 54 fighter squadrons to maintain capability. Hence maintaining A-10s.

I don't really understand how more A-10s affect anything in Crimea. Nobody cares about Crimea anymore. Do you really think Russia is saying "Oh no, the USA will have some extra A-10 squadrons, better give Crimea back to Ukraine now!!" ?
 
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:49 pm

Quoting sovietjet (Reply 91):

I don't really understand how more A-10s affect anything in Crimea. Nobody cares about Crimea anymore. Do you really think Russia is saying "Oh no, the USA will have some extra A-10 squadrons, better give Crimea back to Ukraine now!!" ?

USAF has a minimum number of squadrons required to undertake current missions, be prepared to conduct a near peer conflict and continue to raise, train and sustain their fighting force. Russian aggression in Crimea and the Ukraine, as well as ISIL in Syria, meant the US wasn't able to draw down to 49 squadrons for the five year period while it stood up five additional F-35 squadrons.

The cost difference between keeping the A-10s or additional F-35s is negligible. In one plan the US spends approx 4 billion to keep the A-10s until 2021, in the other the spend 4 billion to bring five F-35 squadrons online. The difference is bringing new squadrons with new platform online takes more time, hence the desire to drop overall squadron numbers.
 
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:16 pm

Quoting sovietjet (Reply 91):
Nobody cares about Crimea anymore.

The A-10's are in Europe not because of the "little green men" in Crimea. Nor are they there because of the "Russian Volunteers" in Ukraine. They are there because Latvia, Estonia and Lithuanian feels a little safer with them there.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
andydtwnwa7
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:40 pm

Well, looks like the Air Force is considering an A-10 replacement after all, separate from the F-35. While it's still in the very early stages, and budgetary issues could kill it before the ball even starts to roll toward an RFP, it'll be interesting to see what comes of it.

One interesting quote from the article: “I would never look at you and tell you, 'Hey, the replacement, one-for-one, for the A-10 is the F-35,' ” said Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein last month.

Link: http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/m...replacement-general-says/82744324/
 
Ozair
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:41 pm

Quoting andydtwnwa7 (Reply 94):
One interesting quote from the article: “I would never look at you and tell you, 'Hey, the replacement, one-for-one, for the A-10 is the F-35,' ” said Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein last month.

And he is right, no one is claiming that the F-35 can fulfil the exact mission role and profile the A-10 does. Put his statement in context with a recent article about the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron.

Quote:
As a former A-10 pilot, when Sabin was selected to join the 31st TES, he was keen to bring his CAS experience to the F-35. The new jet has been touted as an eventual replacement for legacy airframes, such as the F-16s and A-10s. This plan has spurred several head-to-head comparisons in the media, especially between the A-10 and the F-35. To Sabin, however, that match up is like comparing “apples to chainsaws.”


Maj. Ethan Sabin, who has 10 years experience flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II, is now at the forefront of testing the capabilities of the Air Force’s newest and most technologically advanced fighter: the F-35. As for the perceived feud between proponents of the A-10 and the F-35, he believes the two platforms are not competitors, but are complimentary, with the F-35’s ability to collect battlespace data and share it with legacy aircraft making the entire force more lethal. (U.S. Air Force photo/J.M. Eddins Jr.)
“They are two totally different things that serve totally different purposes,” he explained. “The bottom line is the A-10 does certain things very well. It is very effective as a close air support platform. The F-35 does certain things very well, and when you leverage its capabilities correctly, it can be very effective as a CAS platform.

“I think the important point to note is to find that fine balance between where to use one versus where to use another. I wouldn’t feed myself with a chainsaw. Vice versa, I wouldn’t try to cut down a tree with an apple. They’re just different, and they have different capabilities.”

Even though the two airframes vary in many ways, Sabin believes his new jet can be just as efficient as the A-10 he once flew.

“The biggest thing … is the training of the pilot in the platform,” Sabin said. “We are going to take a lot of the lessons learned that the A-10s have in their close air support experience, apply it to our platform, continue to integrate with those guys on the spectrum of CAS operations, and build our CAS playbook, like they have done for so many years.”
http://airman.dodlive.mil/2016/04/the-perfect-storm/

Adding to the above consider what RAAF SQNLDR Andrew Jackson, currently flying F-35s at Luke AFB, said in a recent interview.

Quote:

There wasn't much difference between a fourth generation and fifth generation aircraft's ability to work with command to drop weapons on targets.

"If you start to add a contested element then it's a very different kettle of fish."

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/31280544/pilot-insists-f-35-jets-arent-lemons/

Right now the A-10 is getting cred because the conflicts it is fighting in are essentially non contested. It would be a very different story were there advanced radar and IR guided SAMS operating in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Finally, we should consider what an A-10 replacement looks like. To the USAF, that airframe almost certainly doesn't have a 30mm cannon and is more focused on reduced per hour operating cost. Evidence for this can be found in the article you linked.

Quote:

Meanwhile, several existing and development aircraft could meet the CAS mission, Holmes said, pointing to light fighters like the A-29 Super Tucano attack plane, the AT-6 trainer aircraft and Textron AirLand’s Scorpion.

The Air Force will also look at potentially re-purposing the T-X advanced trainer airframe for the CAS mission down the road, Holmes said. Although officials do not expect to add new requirements to the plane, which is in the early competition stages, the service will incentivize bidders to include excess power, cooling and space in their proposals to allow for flexibility in future, he said.
 
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SeJoWa
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:49 pm

Quoting sovietjet (Reply 91):
Nobody cares about Crimea anymore.

It may make some people puff up their breasts to destroy imported cheese and be on a continuously antagonistic footing with all their Western neighbors. Even the strongman of Belorussia doesn't trust Putin.

The Crimea could be handed over to UN administration for the next one or two generations, which would be in Russia's interest too, actually. Ukrainians, who should be among Russians' best friends, are not about to forget.

Quote/
EU Says Crimea Return Necessary for Lifting Russia Sanctions
The Moscow TimesFeb. 04 2016
/Unquote, source
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/a...fting-russia-sanctions/558693.html
 
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RE: USAF: F-35 Replaces F-16 & A-10. What?

Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:38 pm

Quoting seahawk (Reply 85):
Glad to see that USAF brass finally saw the obvious .

Which is more thane they ever did in Vietnam.

I just got through reading a book called, "Going Downtown" and they way the Air Force is micromanaging the use of the A-10 reminds me a lot of who badly miss-managed the F-105 was then.

I suppose it is something that McNamara isn't here to screw things up even worse today.
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