LightningZ71
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:37 pm

The DOD still needs something that can conduct CAS for less money per flight hour than what they are currently using. They have effectively shit canned the current project. The only place to go from here is a MINOR revision of the T-X that adds the ability to mount the external cannon of the F-35 B/C in a nonstealth shell with an expanded capacity ammo store. Aside from the avionics changes, it shouldn't need much else to essentially be a modern A4. Since it was designed to have low cost per flight hour, it's already ahead of the game, though it'll still be much more expensive to operate than the crop dusters.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:31 am

keesje wrote:
Ozair wrote:
keesje wrote:

I don't think 2030 EIS is ok.. Still I can understand Air Forces preferring jets. Helicopters and Turbo props are noisy, giving the adversaries time to get out of their caves and pull the nets of their DShK's.

You are always good for a laugh Keesje, a DShK tops out at about 4,000 ft so plenty of air above for the RW and turboprops. The USAF will still have plenty of jet aircraft left to deploy to areas where it suits and leave OA-X to those areas it suits.


The CAS mission requires you to come down to do the job, also for aircraft that can fly much higher and faster.

Image
A10

Having two engine redundancy, speed and being more quiet dramatically improves survival of your crew, or their willingness to get in. The DShK might not be the ideal weapon for AA, massive quantity & availability compensates a lot, apparently.


No, it doesn't; see JP 3-09.3:
https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp3_09_3.pdf

2. Close Air Support Overview
a. CAS is air action by fixed-wing (FW) and rotary-wing (RW) aircraft against hostile targets that are in close proximity to friendly forces and requires detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of those forces. All fires should support the joint force commander’s (JFC’s) objectives, guidance, and priorities.
b. CAS is planned and executed to support ground tactical units. CAS execution is tightly integrated at the tactical level with the fire and maneuver of supported ground forces. The air apportionment and allocation process for CAS occurs at the operational level. CAS planning focuses on providing timely and accurate fires in support of friendly forces in close proximity to the enemy.
c. 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.
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:38 am

ThePointblank wrote:

No, it doesn't; see JP 3-09.3:
https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp3_09_3.pdf

Ha, beat me to it. As the doctrine clearly states, CAS is an effect that can be accomplished by a host of different aircraft. The issue is not the platform that delivers the weapon but the effect the weapon creates on the ground to the supported unit.

CAS experiences in Vietnam also showed how the presence of ground based air defence pushed the aircraft up above 10k ft but CAS still continued. Today the many and varied small air launched precision weapons allow CAS to be done from all altitudes and from many different platforms.
 
Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:07 am

Ozair wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:

No, it doesn't; see JP 3-09.3:
https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp3_09_3.pdf

Ha, beat me to it. As the doctrine clearly states, CAS is an effect that can be accomplished by a host of different aircraft. The issue is not the platform that delivers the weapon but the effect the weapon creates on the ground to the supported unit.

CAS experiences in Vietnam also showed how the presence of ground based air defence pushed the aircraft up above 10k ft but CAS still continued. Today the many and varied small air launched precision weapons allow CAS to be done from all altitudes and from many different platforms.


Precisely, the layered system works well depending on enemy assets. You apply the most effective weapon system based on the enemy's capabilities. If you can, you use low and slow as they can be the most cost effective and lethal as far as effectiveness of their relative target.
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:29 am

Reddevil556 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:

No, it doesn't; see JP 3-09.3:
https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp3_09_3.pdf

Ha, beat me to it. As the doctrine clearly states, CAS is an effect that can be accomplished by a host of different aircraft. The issue is not the platform that delivers the weapon but the effect the weapon creates on the ground to the supported unit.

CAS experiences in Vietnam also showed how the presence of ground based air defence pushed the aircraft up above 10k ft but CAS still continued. Today the many and varied small air launched precision weapons allow CAS to be done from all altitudes and from many different platforms.


Precisely, the layered system works well depending on enemy assets. You apply the most effective weapon system based on the enemy's capabilities. If you can, you use low and slow as they can be the most cost effective and lethal as far as effectiveness of their relative target.


If you can't beat them, confuse them? The low tech, low level environment where these light attack aircraft operate in, makes them vulnerable for ground fire air of many kinds in many places. Doing surveillance, finding targets, firing machine guns isn't done from 10k ft.

Image
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:55 pm

It does make them vulnerable, but that is warfare. At some point you have to be willing to take risks. 20th century warfare shows us the myth that AirPower alone isn’t effective in disuading an enemy force. At some point in time you need boots on the ground to direct the attacks and make direct contact with the enemy. It’s risky, but the historical evidence speaks for itself.
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Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:59 pm

keesje wrote:
Reddevil556 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Ha, beat me to it. As the doctrine clearly states, CAS is an effect that can be accomplished by a host of different aircraft. The issue is not the platform that delivers the weapon but the effect the weapon creates on the ground to the supported unit.

CAS experiences in Vietnam also showed how the presence of ground based air defence pushed the aircraft up above 10k ft but CAS still continued. Today the many and varied small air launched precision weapons allow CAS to be done from all altitudes and from many different platforms.


Precisely, the layered system works well depending on enemy assets. You apply the most effective weapon system based on the enemy's capabilities. If you can, you use low and slow as they can be the most cost effective and lethal as far as effectiveness of their relative target.



keesje wrote:
If you can't beat them, confuse them?

Keesje the only one confused here is you. You keep changing the scenario you have in mind while maintaining an inaccurate understanding of what CAS actually is.

keesje wrote:
The low tech, low level environment where these light attack aircraft operate in, makes them vulnerable for ground fire air of many kinds in many places. Doing surveillance, finding targets, firing machine guns isn't done from 10k ft.

So Keesje which is it? Are we talking a low tech low threat environment such as Afghanistan, where the air threat for CAS aircraft was generally regarded as low. In those scenarios a light attack aircraft, ala AT-6, is sufficient and obviously the CAS assets don’t have to remain above 10k ft.

The 10k ft reference was to Vietnam, as you can clearly read in the post you quoted. The Vietnam scenario saw air threat increased to the point that in 1972 slow CAS fixed wing and RW couldn’t operate below 10,000 ft due to the threat.

In case you need the reference again it is found in AFD 110323-037 and has the following quote,
To make matters worse, the North Vietnamese brought in many sophisticated AA weapons, including multiple-barrel 37mm and twin-barrel 57mm guns, plus SA-7 strella surface-to-air missiles. This array of firepower compelled the low-flying AC-ll9K's and Army cobra helicopter gunships to move out. Forward air controllers in the slow-moving ov-10's and 0-2Ars likewise found low-altitude work too risky. They went to above 10,000 feet AGL where the strellas and AA fire lost their punch.

Jet strike pilots found the shoulder-fired strellas less of a problem than the heavy concentrations of AA fire around An Loc. To evade the SA-7, the pilot kept airspeed beyond 450 knots and pulled 4 Gs in a tight climbing turn to above 10,000 feet AGL. On the other hand, the mass fire from 37mm, 57mm, and 85mm guns often required him to release his bombs from 6,500-7,000 feet. This somewhat diminished accuracy.


Note the diminished accuracy is much less of a problem now for Western CAS that is dominated by precision guided munitions and better integration between ground and air units.
 
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:28 am

Ozair wrote:
keesje wrote:
Reddevil556 wrote:

Precisely, the layered system works well depending on enemy assets. You apply the most effective weapon system based on the enemy's capabilities. If you can, you use low and slow as they can be the most cost effective and lethal as far as effectiveness of their relative target.



keesje wrote:
If you can't beat them, confuse them?

Keesje the only one confused here is you. You keep changing the scenario you have in mind while maintaining an inaccurate understanding of what CAS actually is.

keesje wrote:
The low tech, low level environment where these light attack aircraft operate in, makes them vulnerable for ground fire air of many kinds in many places. Doing surveillance, finding targets, firing machine guns isn't done from 10k ft.

So Keesje which is it? Are we talking a low tech low threat environment such as Afghanistan, where the air threat for CAS aircraft was generally regarded as low. In those scenarios a light attack aircraft, ala AT-6, is sufficient and obviously the CAS assets don’t have to remain above 10k ft.

The 10k ft reference was to Vietnam, as you can clearly read in the post you quoted. The Vietnam scenario saw air threat increased to the point that in 1972 slow CAS fixed wing and RW couldn’t operate below 10,000 ft due to the threat.

In case you need the reference again it is found in AFD 110323-037 and has the following quote,
To make matters worse, the North Vietnamese brought in many sophisticated AA weapons, including multiple-barrel 37mm and twin-barrel 57mm guns, plus SA-7 strella surface-to-air missiles. This array of firepower compelled the low-flying AC-ll9K's and Army cobra helicopter gunships to move out. Forward air controllers in the slow-moving ov-10's and 0-2Ars likewise found low-altitude work too risky. They went to above 10,000 feet AGL where the strellas and AA fire lost their punch.

Jet strike pilots found the shoulder-fired strellas less of a problem than the heavy concentrations of AA fire around An Loc. To evade the SA-7, the pilot kept airspeed beyond 450 knots and pulled 4 Gs in a tight climbing turn to above 10,000 feet AGL. On the other hand, the mass fire from 37mm, 57mm, and 85mm guns often required him to release his bombs from 6,500-7,000 feet. This somewhat diminished accuracy.


Note the diminished accuracy is much less of a problem now for Western CAS that is dominated by precision guided munitions and better integration between ground and air units.


Amazingly you make it sounds like there´s different specified doctrines to choose from and the environment will adjust to flight specifics, while it is the other way around. If you are faster and quieter and have engine redundancy, it enlarges the number of situations you can operate more safely. Vietnam saw slow, low moving aircraft and helicopters shot down by the thousands. Mostly due to unsophisticated anti aircraft guns. Today losses are a lot harder to deny, the videos are online before you can say it is unknown or technical.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_losses_of_the_Vietnam_War
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:18 am

It is still a balance of risk and effectiveness. CAS in general is best when it’s low and slow. High and fast isn’t really CAS, it becomes tactical bombing. But CAS has been needed in every war since WWI and as long as nations are willing to us military force, they will be taking the risks of using CAS.
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Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:12 am

keesje wrote:
Amazingly you make it sounds like there´s different specified doctrines to choose from and the environment will adjust to flight specifics, while it is the other way around.

Keesje, again you are missing the point. The threat defines how the CAS aircraft operates but the point of CAS is not what aircraft delivers the load from what altitude, it is all about the effect the CAS has on the ground situation.

keesje wrote:
If you are faster and quieter and have engine redundancy, it enlarges the number of situations you can operate more safely.

So? The USAF didn’t want that in this competition, they specifically down selected the AT-6 and the A-29 for a reason. While they apparently have reassessed what they want out of OA-X it is primarily driven by budget constraints.

keesje wrote:
Vietnam saw slow, low moving aircraft and helicopters shot down by the thousands. Mostly due to unsophisticated anti aircraft guns. Today losses are a lot harder to deny, the videos are online before you can say it is unknown or technical.

Keesle linking to a wiki page on Vietnam losses is completely irrelevant. How many of those were involved in CAS missions at the time? That is the discussion we are having, not about aircraft overall kill rates in Vietnam. There is a distinct difference that you need to grasp. As for the stats, I have posted them many times on this forum and if you actually took the time to read the above quoted report which is titled “The Air Force In South East Asia: Tactics and Techniques for Close Air Support Operations 1961- 1973” you would see how CAS changed as the threat changed.
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:31 am

Reddevil556 wrote:
It is still a balance of risk and effectiveness. CAS in general is best when it’s low and slow. High and fast isn’t really CAS, it becomes tactical bombing. But CAS has been needed in every war since WWI and as long as nations are willing to us military force, they will be taking the risks of using CAS.

The doctrine is very clear that CAS is support to ground forces who are in proximity to enemy forces that requires coordination. It doesn’t matter where that support comes from, be it B-52 or MQ-9, for it to be CAS when the goal and situation is the above.

You could define CAS as a subset of tactical bombing with the other main type being Air Interdiction. Essentially the proximity and the requirement for ground air coordination is the distinction between the two.
Air interdiction (AI) is defined as “air operations conducted to divert, disrupt, delay, or destroy the enemy’s military potential before it can be brought to bear effectively against friendly forces, or to otherwise achieve objectives that are conducted at such distance from friendly forces that detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of friendly forces is not required.

https://www.doctrine.af.mil/Portals/61/ ... on-Fun.pdf
 
RJMAZ
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:20 am

This program is a complete waste of money.

It results in excessive capability overlap between the existing drones and manned jets. The F-35 and existing drones can perform any mission this aircraft could do.

Excessive capability overlap is great in high threat environments as it gives you options. However this manned aircraft could never operate in a high threat environment.

In a low threat environment you do not need excessive capability overlap. If the drone took an extra 10 seconds to ID a target that is no big deal in a low intensity conflict.

This manned CAS aircraft does not save money in a low intensity conflict. For example if 24 hour CAS was required in a 1000x1000km combat area you might require 20 of these manned CAS aircraft. 10 Reapers could cover the same area for less cost as they have greater endurance. With the money saved you could have a single F-35 fueled and armed with a pilot on alert and probably still be cheaper than the 20 manned CAS aircraft. The existing drones and F-35.

The 1000kg Predator, 5000kg Reaper and 9000kg semi-stealthy Avenger provide an excellent low-medium-high mix.

In the highest threat environment you could have 50 Predators, 20 Reapers, 5 Avengers and 2 F-35's in the air 24 hours a day dedicated to CAS, recon and tactical bombing. You can get eyes in the sky within minutes and the available weapons capability increases as the larger platforms arrive on scene.
 
Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:03 pm

Ozair wrote:
Reddevil556 wrote:
It is still a balance of risk and effectiveness. CAS in general is best when it’s low and slow. High and fast isn’t really CAS, it becomes tactical bombing. But CAS has been needed in every war since WWI and as long as nations are willing to us military force, they will be taking the risks of using CAS.

The doctrine is very clear that CAS is support to ground forces who are in proximity to enemy forces that requires coordination. It doesn’t matter where that support comes from, be it B-52 or MQ-9, for it to be CAS when the goal and situation is the above.

You could define CAS as a subset of tactical bombing with the other main type being Air Interdiction. Essentially the proximity and the requirement for ground air coordination is the distinction between the two.
Air interdiction (AI) is defined as “air operations conducted to divert, disrupt, delay, or destroy the enemy’s military potential before it can be brought to bear effectively against friendly forces, or to otherwise achieve objectives that are conducted at such distance from friendly forces that detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of friendly forces is not required.

https://www.doctrine.af.mil/Portals/61/ ... on-Fun.pdf


I agree in the doctrine, but I am speaking more from personal experience. Hence why the A10 has lasted so long.
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Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:07 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
This program is a complete waste of money.

It results in excessive capability overlap between the existing drones and manned jets. The F-35 and existing drones can perform any mission this aircraft could do.

Excessive capability overlap is great in high threat environments as it gives you options. However this manned aircraft could never operate in a high threat environment.

In a low threat environment you do not need excessive capability overlap. If the drone took an extra 10 seconds to ID a target that is no big deal in a low intensity conflict.

This manned CAS aircraft does not save money in a low intensity conflict. For example if 24 hour CAS was required in a 1000x1000km combat area you might require 20 of these manned CAS aircraft. 10 Reapers could cover the same area for less cost as they have greater endurance. With the money saved you could have a single F-35 fueled and armed with a pilot on alert and probably still be cheaper than the 20 manned CAS aircraft. The existing drones and F-35.

The 1000kg Predator, 5000kg Reaper and 9000kg semi-stealthy Avenger provide an excellent low-medium-high mix.

In the highest threat environment you could have 50 Predators, 20 Reapers, 5 Avengers and 2 F-35's in the air 24 hours a day dedicated to CAS, recon and tactical bombing. You can get eyes in the sky within minutes and the available weapons capability increases as the larger platforms arrive on scene.


Simple answer is this. Afghanistan and Syria taught us drones alone aren’t ready to remove pilots yet. They are coming along rapidly and may be exclusively in that role in 20 years. But for now the need remains for humans pilots in the CAS role.
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smithbs
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:56 pm

CAS for Afghanistan is unique in that:
1. The anti-aircraft threat is currently low (although an out-of-state actor could change this for the paltry sum of a couple million $$),
2. The Afghan Air Force can't operate anything remotely complicated, which rules out most if not all current Western platforms.
3. They are not as loss-averse as Western air forces.

In their case, an armed turboprop is probably the only way to get CAS in a sustainable fashion. But if any of those three points changes, then they'll have to park them and do something else. Such is the danger of a niche application: the risk of being parked because the delicate formula changed.

A CAS platform needs to be able, while being coached by a FAC, to do the following:
1. Precisely deliver the right munition to the right place.
2. Observe the tactical situation.

From the beginning of aviation until just recently, you had to be low and slow in order to do this for both accuracy and to be able to see with the Mk 1 eyeball. This includes everything from P-47 to A-10. But today, if you can afford a LITENING pod, a F-16 and some JDAMs or SDBs, then you don't need to be so low and slow.
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:56 pm

Reddevil556 wrote:

I agree in the doctrine, but I am speaking more from personal experience. Hence why the A10 has lasted so long.

Those two points are not logically linked. The A-10 has lasted so long only because the USAF invested in it. Had it not received the C upgrade and the new wings it would have been retired years ago for both fatigue and capability/interoperability issues. While the A-10 is a good CAS aircraft it operated only a subset of all CAS missions over Afghanistan, other platforms provided just as effective CAS support. For me the best feature of the A-10 is actually the rough field capability which sets it apart from other USAF fighter/attack aircraft.
 
Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:51 pm

Ozair wrote:
Reddevil556 wrote:

I agree in the doctrine, but I am speaking more from personal experience. Hence why the A10 has lasted so long.

Those two points are not logically linked. The A-10 has lasted so long only because the USAF invested in it. Had it not received the C upgrade and the new wings it would have been retired years ago for both fatigue and capability/interoperability issues. While the A-10 is a good CAS aircraft it operated only a subset of all CAS missions over Afghanistan, other platforms provided just as effective CAS support. For me the best feature of the A-10 is actually the rough field capability which sets it apart from other USAF fighter/attack aircraft.


Sorry my post was a bit scattered, it made sense in my head. My train of thought was the brass makes the doctrine historically and there has been a general trend to make CAS more high tech. There have been several moments the AF was on the verge of canning the aircraft. However the plane has endured and has been very effective in the battlefield that past 17 years. While aircraft like the F16 and other multirole aircraft can do CAS well, there still is a need for the low and slow based off of operational mission sets.
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Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:41 pm

The on again off again Light Attack program has moved on with the expected acquisition of a few more aircraft to continue the assessment. Looks like they have some funds remaining from the program that they can use to continue the experimentation.

The aircraft will be split between Nellis and Hurlburt with the clear intent to get feedback from Special Forces and Air Force FAC although I’m a little confused on why they need that. I would have though there was sufficient experience operating with light attack platforms that this wasn’t necessary but I guess it continues to kick the can along.

Air Force to buy handful of light-attack planes, but will a bigger program follow?

The U.S. Air Force will procure a handful of A-29 Super Tucano planes from Sierra Nevada Corp. and AT-6 Wolverines from Textron to continue light-attack demonstrations, the service’s top general said Wednesday.

That purchase provides a modest, but much-needed show of confidence for the two companies, which have invested internal funding over the past two years on the Air Force’s light-attack experiment and are still hoping the service moves forward with a bigger buy of light-attack aircraft.

The Air Force plans to place small detachments of AT-6 and A-29 turboprop planes at Nellis Air Force Base — the Nevada-based installation that hosts Red Flag and other training exercises — and Hurlburt Field, Florida, where Air Force Special Operations Command is based, Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Defense News that the service would likely buy two or three of each aircraft, but Goldfein told lawmakers at the hearing that the exact numbers would be dependent on the price tag of the planes.

“The United States Marine Corps has already said they’re joining us,” Goldfein said. “We’re going to invite allies and partners, and with the authorities you’ve given us now that we own those prototypes, we will continue to experiment to build the interoperable network that we’ve already advanced.”

Funding for the AT-6 and A-29 will come from leftover money from previous years’ budgets. Congress has appropriated about $200 million for the experimentation campaign so far, Stefanek said. Of that, about $60 million in fiscal 2018 research and development funds and $100 million in fiscal 2019 procurement funds still remain, and will be used by the service to finance the AT-6 and A-29 buy.

Although most of the light-attack experiment centered around turboprop planes, the Air Force is interested in expanding the exercise to include drones, rotorcraft and turbojet planes.

The FY20 budget request calls for $35 million to continue the light-attack experiment. Part of those funds would go toward a market analysis of global demand for light-attack platforms, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said.

Then the service would go through a similar process as it did with earlier portions of the experiment, soliciting companies to offer off-the-shelf technologies and using special, congressionally approved authorities to partner with them for demonstrations.

The idea is that the Air Force will have solidified exactly what light-attack capabilities it needs sometime around 2022 through 2024, when it plans to procure such assets, Goldfein said.

However, some lawmakers criticized Air Force leadership for what they perceived as its sluggishness in moving to the procurement phase of the experiment.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said that when he saw a recent report by the Pentagon’s weapons testing agency that cited a plan for the Air Force to buy upward of 300 light-attack aircraft, he considered it as proof that the rapid acquisition process was working. However, recent statements by Air Force leaders on the future of the program made him concerned that the service was abandoning light-attack aircraft procurement, he noted.

“It seems to me that there is a schizophrenia in the Air Force about light attack. The messages are mixed,” Moran said.

Goldfein responded that the service simply didn’t have enough information to commit to a program of record at this point, and wanted to do more work exploring the requirements of partner nations and establishing an interoperable network with them before making a final decision.

“When you compare what we’ve done compared to a normal timeline for acquisition that would take five to 10 years, we’re two years into this,” he said.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/federal ... am-follow/
 
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seahawk
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:07 am

Waste of money.
 
ELBOB
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:57 am

smithbs wrote:
But today, if you can afford a LITENING pod, a F-16 and some JDAMs or SDBs, then you don't need to be so low and slow.


So long as there isn't cloud cover and your target conveniently stays in one location and you have a FAC assigned to every unit.

In the 1980s, A-10 pilots assigned to USAFE had to be retrained in-theatre to operate below 1,000ft cloud ceiling and 1 mile visibility; these conditions occurred more than 80% of the time.
 
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:42 am

Ozair wrote:

keesje wrote:
If you are faster and quieter and have engine redundancy, it enlarges the number of situations you can operate more safely.

So? The USAF didn’t want that in this competition, they specifically down selected the AT-6 and the A-29 for a reason. While they apparently have reassessed what they want out of OA-X it is primarily driven by budget constraints.


Well they changed their mind :smile:

The Air Force started evaluating light-attack plane offerings in 2017 and was set to release a request for proposals in December 2018 to potentially lead to a program of record. But the service is not ready to commit to a program just yet, and wants to continue the experimentation phase, Under Secretary of the Air Force Matt Donovan told reporters after an Air Force Association event.

"We're going to broaden the scope a little bit,” he said, potentially alluding for the possibility of new aircraft types to enter the competition.

If the Air Force is considering alternative aircraft, it’s unclear what requirements are driving that search or whether a new entrant has caught the service’s eye.

Some foreign companies, namely South Africa’s Paramount Group and Czech aerospace firm Aero Vodochody, have expressed interest in competing for U.S. light-attack aircraft contracts. And it’s possible the T-X trainer jet, for which the Air Force chose Boeing to build, could be modified for a light-attack role.

But for the last six months, Air Force acquisition officials have firmly suggested the A-29 or AT-6 would be the only options under consideration going forward.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/01/18/the-air-forces-plans-to-begin-a-light-attack-aircraft-competition-are-now-deferred-indefinitely/

:arrow: IMO higher speed, engines redundancy & less noise are back in now, to reduce risk. The "doctrine" seems kind of side lined.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/federal-budget/2019/03/12/air-force-puts-35-million-in-new-budget-for-light-attack-experiment/?utm_source=clavis
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:50 pm

The acquisition of 4 to 6 light attack aircraft is now formally going ahead. The USAF has approx US$160 million left in its budget it can spend and will do so with the intent to keep experimenting with these aircraft. Not sure I see the value of acquiring both aircraft in small numbers given how close the capabilities of the two airframes are.

US Air Force officially buying light-attack planes

The U.S. Air Force is officially putting down its money to buy two different models of light-attack aircraft.

The service will purchase two to three aircraft each of the Textron Aviation AT-6 and Sierra Nevada Corporation/Embraer Defense & Security A-29 aircraft. The handful of planes will be used to support “allies and partner capacity, capability and interoperability via training and experimentation,” according to an Air Force announcement.

The A-29 Super Tucano contract should be awarded before the end of the year, with the AT-6 Wolverine contract coming in early 2020.

The plan to buy a handful of planes was previewed earlier this year by Air Force officials, but the companies will likely breathe a sigh of relief now that the deal is done. The purchase provides a much-needed show of confidence in the project. The two companies have invested internal funds on the Air Force’s light-attack experiment over the past two years and remain hopeful the service moves forward with a bigger buy of light-attack aircraft in the future.


...

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/10 ... ck-planes/

The two aircraft will be used in different locations for different intents...

The missions and basing for the planes will be different.

The AT-6s will go to Air Combat Command at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for “continued testing and development of operational tactics and standards for exportable, tactical networks that improve interoperability with international partners,” according to the Air Force announcement. The A-29s will go to Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and will be used to “develop an instructor pilot program for the Combat Aviation Advisory mission, to meet increased partner nation requests for light attack assistance,” per the release.
 
rlwynn
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sat Oct 26, 2019 12:01 am

They are buying them to create a users manual for whatever country they donate more of the types to.
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JayinKitsap
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:16 am

DOD is doing more 'cook offs' recently. Having a dozen amphib vehicles each from 2 visitors for 2 years of trial service kind of thing, then pick (or not) the one to go with. It's a great way to find out reliability and usefulness.

Personally, I would prefer a new version of the A-10, but it would need to be renamed to the Hard Attack, because it isn't Light.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:28 pm

ELBOB wrote:
smithbs wrote:
But today, if you can afford a LITENING pod, a F-16 and some JDAMs or SDBs, then you don't need to be so low and slow.


So long as there isn't cloud cover and your target conveniently stays in one location and you have a FAC assigned to every unit.

In the 1980s, A-10 pilots assigned to USAFE had to be retrained in-theatre to operate below 1,000ft cloud ceiling and 1 mile visibility; these conditions occurred more than 80% of the time.


In the 80s, A-10s had zero all-weather attack capability—strictly visual. We had a primitive HUD gunsight, no guided munitions, no night vision. It wasn’t much different from the F-100, just slower and more maneuverable. All that’s changed.

GF
 
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keesje
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:30 pm

A CAS platform needs to be able, while being coached by a FAC, to do the following:
1. Precisely deliver the right munition to the right place.
2. Observe the tactical situation.


I guess that #2 task has changed considerably with the broad availability of cheap & capable UAV's, drones.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
lazyme
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:35 pm

The question is how will a light attack aircraft operate in a hostile environment ?

In my view, loitering at high altitude - and drop smart bombs with laser designation from ground, or standoff weapons - outside of Manpads and light AAA range would be the way to go (not unsimlar to what heavy drones does, as someone already pointed out).

If that is true you don't need jet speed, just loitering time, and fast turnaround time, boots on the ground wants to have CAS 24/7 ontop.

Shorter runways closer to front line instead of paved longer runways will get the time over target required.


If you need to get low and dirty you need other assets - fast, more durable, and with flares and maybe even electronic warfare boxes,
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:07 pm

lazyme wrote:
The question is how will a light attack aircraft operate in a hostile environment ?

In my view, loitering at high altitude - and drop smart bombs with laser designation from ground, or standoff weapons - outside of Manpads and light AAA range would be the way to go (not unsimlar to what heavy drones does, as someone already pointed out).

If that is true you don't need jet speed, just loitering time, and fast turnaround time, boots on the ground wants to have CAS 24/7 on top.

Agree most of the work can be done at an altitude that presents less risk from certainly AAA. MANPADs will push you higher I think than the AT-6 and A-27 would effectively operate.

An important aspect of CAS though is response to a TIC. The airframe will generally not reside directly over the battlespace in question but have to either launch from the ground to support that TIC or transit from a designated holding location to the TIC location. In that context fast jet speeds are vital and one of the reasons the B-1 did so well above Afghanistan, because it could both loiter and then transit rapidly to the required locations.

A weapons and sensor equipped AT-6/A-27 is limited to around .6 Mach while most of the fast jets can, if necessary, push above Mach one with weapons and sensors attached. That is close to double the response time.

lazyme wrote:
Shorter runways closer to front line instead of paved longer runways will get the time over target required.

That is threat dependant though. Yes the aircraft can operate from closer locations but only if the threat allows it to do so. Being able to operate closer is pointless if the aircraft is exposed to effective attack while on the ground, through direct or indirect fire. Plenty of locations in Iraq and Afghanistan came under indirect fire from rockets and mortars and that forward basing then puts not only the aircraft but the more important air and ground crew in contact.

It’s also worth not forgetting the USMC AV-8Bs that were attacked and destroyed at Bastion in 2012.


lazyme wrote:
If you need to get low and dirty you need other assets - fast, more durable, and with flares and maybe even electronic warfare boxes,

Both the AT-6 and A-27 can be equipped with flares and EW systems (a basic EW self protection pod could likely be fitted) if the combat situation required it but I would say that flares would be sufficient. If radar guided SAMs and AAA are in the vicinity then the threat is likely too high for this type of aircraft to operate in.

rlwynn wrote:
They are buying them to create a users manual for whatever country they donate more of the types to.

Agree that is one of the intents but I’m not sure it is necessary at this point. Perhaps the better description is for the host country to operate these platforms in support of US/Western Special Forces units operating in country. Most A-27 operates have used the aircraft for light attack duties while the AT-6 is very much a new capability for light attack.

I could see the rationale behind pushing the AT-6 given it is manufactured in the US but can’t see that for the A-27, which is very much a Brazilian product, noting both use a P&W Canada engine.
 
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smithbs
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:31 pm

lazyme wrote:
If you need to get low and dirty you need other assets - fast, more durable, and with flares and maybe even electronic warfare boxes,


As I learned from the Army when I had to train with them (USAF->Army support attachment): "Rule #1 of armor: Don't trust your armor." Flares carry no guarantee of warding off a MANPADS attack - it just gives the pilot a chance if they get into a situation they didn't expect. Based on current doctrine, a combat turbo pilot would never be told to fly specifically in a known MANPADS threat area.

Frankly, it's been amazing that OEF, OIF and Syria have gone as long as they have with as little MANPADS activity and impact as we've seen so far. It's hard to see how future regional conflicts could maintain that, though - it would be so easy for a regional actor to flood the ground with MANPADS if they wanted to.

Ozair wrote:
That is threat dependant though. Yes the aircraft can operate from closer locations but only if the threat allows it to do so. Being able to operate closer is pointless if the aircraft is exposed to effective attack while on the ground, through direct or indirect fire. Plenty of locations in Iraq and Afghanistan came under indirect fire from rockets and mortars and that forward basing then puts not only the aircraft but the more important air and ground crew in contact.

It’s also worth not forgetting the USMC AV-8Bs that were attacked and destroyed at Bastion in 2012.


Yep. When I was in Afghanistan, we had the CH-47 that got mortared on the ground and killed a bunch of ANA, the chairman of the joint chief's C-17 got peppered with a mortar, and there was that Khandahar attack you mentioned. I flew with that Marine squadron a few months later in one of their King Airs - they had lost one of their senior officers in that one (note to self - don't use a King Air as a fighting position). The Taliban worked harder than usual to put points on the board with that one, and it would have been far worse if we had a more competent and effective enemy with any sort of artillery.

Bases in theater are valuable, but they are also magnets for enemy attention. If you leave a tempting target in front of even a caveman for long enough, they'll figure out how to get it.
 
Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:48 am

It’s all about operational environment. It depends on what the environment is when choosing assets to deploy there. The light attack aircraft are best suited in an assymetric battlefield. In a conventional battlefield, no so much. There is no magic formula for determining where the next conflict will be and who the participants will be.

From the “boots on the ground” perspective, the light attack platform in an environment like Afghanistan or Iraq is ideal. There will always be a threat, but if that’s the main concern then we should only use cruise missiles. Of course that’s not realistic, military decision making process, is about calculated risks. The al-Baghdadi demonstrates the point that boots on the ground and low/slow aircraft still are effective on the battlefield
Jumped out of: C130H, C130J, C17A, C212, CH47, and UH60. Bucket list: C160, A400, C2
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:23 pm

Light attack moves along glacially but it looks like Congress is getting tired of the USAF slow movement and will hand the funding for aircraft directly to SOCOM if things don’t start to move faster.

Congress Wants USAF, SOCOM to Work Together on Light Attack

Congressional authorizers are urging the Air Force to find common ground between its regular and special-operations forces as the service experiments with light attack aircraft.

Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett should coordinate with US Special Operations Command boss Gen. Richard Clarke on the search for a lightweight, potentially turboprop aircraft that can support SOCOM’s mission to train foreign militaries.

“It is the sense of the Congress that … the Secretary of the Air Force should coordinate with the commander of [SOCOM] to assess how general-purpose forces and special-operations forces can leverage the light attack aircraft phase three experimentation activities of the Air Force,” lawmakers wrote in the joint agreement on the fiscal 2020 defense policy bill that was released Dec. 9.

For more than two years, the Air Force has considered using light attack planes to train and advise foreign militaries, and to provide a cheaper option for counterinsurgency missions than jets like the F-22 and F-35.

It currently wants to buy fewer than five each of Textron’s AT-6 and Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer’s A-29, and use them to test out a new communications system and to train foreign militaries under Air Force Special Operations Command, respectively.


...


https://www.airforcemag.com/congress-wa ... ht-attack/
 
TObound
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:16 am

I'm curious how this benefits Socom over gunships. No light aircraft is going to have the loiter time or firepower of an AC130 or even an AC27.
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:15 am

TObound wrote:
I'm curious how this benefits Socom over gunships. No light aircraft is going to have the loiter time or firepower of an AC130 or even an AC27.


The OA-X isn’t viewed as a replacement for the AC130/27 gunships but in the same vein as the higher cost of using an F-16 to prosecute a target in a permissive air environment an AT-6 etc is going to be cheaper to operate than an AC130/27 with of course reduced capability.

As was indicated further up the thread the intent for this has really ended up being about the US being a facilitator and trainer for this capability with friendly nations and ensuring that these nations can work with specifically SOCOM when operating in their nation.
 
Nean1
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:32 pm

TObound wrote:
I'm curious how this benefits Socom over gunships. No light aircraft is going to have the loiter time or firepower of an AC130 or even an AC27.


What is the crew size of an AC130? What is the chance of being hit in combat? When hit, how likely is the crew to survive?

The two chosen planes can be piloted by only 1 pilot and have ejectable seats ...
 
TObound
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:27 pm

Nean1 wrote:
TObound wrote:
I'm curious how this benefits Socom over gunships. No light aircraft is going to have the loiter time or firepower of an AC130 or even an AC27.


What is the crew size of an AC130? What is the chance of being hit in combat? When hit, how likely is the crew to survive?

The two chosen planes can be piloted by only 1 pilot and have ejectable seats ...


Any environment where an AC130 is likely to be hit is one where the OAX is likely to be targetted too. As for crew survival, air forces don't care as much about that. Especially in combat.
 
Nean1
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Dec 13, 2019 1:12 pm

TObound wrote:
Nean1 wrote:
TObound wrote:
I'm curious how this benefits Socom over gunships. No light aircraft is going to have the loiter time or firepower of an AC130 or even an AC27.


What is the crew size of an AC130? What is the chance of being hit in combat? When hit, how likely is the crew to survive?

The two chosen planes can be piloted by only 1 pilot and have ejectable seats ...


Any environment where an AC130 is likely to be hit is one where the OAX is likely to be targetted too. As for crew survival, air forces don't care as much about that. Especially in combat.


This comment is particularly astonishing. I have always thought that the aim of war is to inflict casualties on the enemy and to show their vulnerability.
 
TObound
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Fri Dec 13, 2019 2:35 pm

Nean1 wrote:
TObound wrote:
Nean1 wrote:

What is the crew size of an AC130? What is the chance of being hit in combat? When hit, how likely is the crew to survive?

The two chosen planes can be piloted by only 1 pilot and have ejectable seats ...


Any environment where an AC130 is likely to be hit is one where the OAX is likely to be targetted too. As for crew survival, air forces don't care as much about that. Especially in combat.


This comment is particularly astonishing. I have always thought that the aim of war is to inflict casualties on the enemy and to show their vulnerability.


The aim of war is to win. Not just randomly inflict casualties on the enemy. And occasionally to do that, you will have to accept risk.

Here's the thing, the OA-X and AC130 are pretty close to the same susceptibility to a missile strike. The AC130 could actually be less susceptible because it could loiter higher.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:08 am

.Seven gunships have been shot down in combat plus one in an airborne gun mishap off Africa.

Gf
 
ThePointblank
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:15 am

TObound wrote:
Nean1 wrote:
TObound wrote:

Any environment where an AC130 is likely to be hit is one where the OAX is likely to be targetted too. As for crew survival, air forces don't care as much about that. Especially in combat.


This comment is particularly astonishing. I have always thought that the aim of war is to inflict casualties on the enemy and to show their vulnerability.


The aim of war is to win. Not just randomly inflict casualties on the enemy. And occasionally to do that, you will have to accept risk.

Here's the thing, the OA-X and AC130 are pretty close to the same susceptibility to a missile strike. The AC130 could actually be less susceptible because it could loiter higher.

There's also the USMC's Harvest HAWK kit for their fleet of KC-130J's; basically gives USMC KC-130J's the precision strike capability, and the ability to support helicopters and other aircraft in the field with in-flight refuelling.
 
TObound
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:45 pm

I guess I don't see what the OA-X brings beyond a few cents saved.

Gunships bring firepower, precision and persistence. MALE UAVs bring a little less firepower but more persistence and less susceptibility. Attack helicopters bring close forward operating abilities.

At least an A-10 is truly designed to bring the pilot home. Separated engines and tailplanes. Armor. Redundant flight controls. It could possibly take a MANPADS hit and come home. Could operate from a dirt runway too. No light aircraft will do all that.

If the USAF was a third world air force that couldn't afford more I'd agree. But they can. Dunno why they can't simply run a project to field a real A-10 replacement with operating cost as a major project consideration. A dedicated air interdiction platform with more endurance and rough field capabilities. But maybe less payload and lower operating costs. It doesn't need a gun to pierce armor anymore. Just enough to shred troops on the ground and light buildings. And a missile loadout better than a Predator. Maybe dual-crew.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:10 pm

TObound wrote:
I guess I don't see what the OA-X brings beyond a few cents saved.

Gunships bring firepower, precision and persistence. MALE UAVs bring a little less firepower but more persistence and less susceptibility. Attack helicopters bring close forward operating abilities.

At least an A-10 is truly designed to bring the pilot home. Separated engines and tailplanes. Armor. Redundant flight controls. It could possibly take a MANPADS hit and come home. Could operate from a dirt runway too. No light aircraft will do all that.

If the USAF was a third world air force that couldn't afford more I'd agree. But they can. Dunno why they can't simply run a project to field a real A-10 replacement with operating cost as a major project consideration. A dedicated air interdiction platform with more endurance and rough field capabilities. But maybe less payload and lower operating costs. It doesn't need a gun to pierce armor anymore. Just enough to shred troops on the ground and light buildings. And a missile loadout better than a Predator. Maybe dual-crew.


:checkmark: don't understand that either. The A-10 is perfect for its mission.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:27 pm

TObound wrote:
I guess I don't see what the OA-X brings beyond a few cents saved.

Gunships bring firepower, precision and persistence. MALE UAVs bring a little less firepower but more persistence and less susceptibility. Attack helicopters bring close forward operating abilities.

There were initial suggestions of 200+ OA-X aircraft operated by the USAF but as already stated above that intent has disappeared. Hence it has now become a program for the US to train third world nations on tactical use of airpower that is able to work with US Special Forces.

TObound wrote:
If the USAF was a third world air force that couldn't afford more I'd agree. But they can. Dunno why they can't simply run a project to field a real A-10 replacement with operating cost as a major project consideration. A dedicated air interdiction platform with more endurance and rough field capabilities. But maybe less payload and lower operating costs. It doesn't need a gun to pierce armor anymore. Just enough to shred troops on the ground and light buildings. And a missile loadout better than a Predator. Maybe dual-crew.

The US is moving their focus from permissive air campaigns to near peer scenarios. In that context the aircraft you’re suggesting above just isn’t survivable in a high threat environment just as the A-10 isn’t today. I don’t believe the future of Air Interdiction is a manned asset but, in high threat scenarios, the use of loyal wingmen by 5th/6th gen assets that can control their effect, or even better hand over that asset temporarily to ground based units (JTAC), to achieve the desired effect.

In future permissive air threat environments emerging loyal wingmen and UCAVs should be sufficient to maintain the advantage currently enjoyed by western powers using airpower in support of ground operations.
 
TObound
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:28 pm

Ozair wrote:
The US is moving their focus from permissive air campaigns to near peer scenarios. In that context the aircraft you’re suggesting above just isn’t survivable in a high threat environment just as the A-10 isn’t today.


And yet the OA-X as currently designed (single engine turboprop) is the least survivable of the pack in such an environment (near-peer). This is why it doesn't make sense to me.
 
Ozair
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:27 pm

TObound wrote:
Ozair wrote:
The US is moving their focus from permissive air campaigns to near peer scenarios. In that context the aircraft you’re suggesting above just isn’t survivable in a high threat environment just as the A-10 isn’t today.


And yet the OA-X as currently designed (single engine turboprop) is the least survivable of the pack in such an environment (near-peer). This is why it doesn't make sense to me.

??? We know that, hence why I said above multiple times the OA-X is not about near-peer environments, it is all about a permissive air environment. No one operating an AT-6 or A-27 operates in a high threat environment today and there is no expectation they would seek to. The USAF and SOCOM are no different.

The USAF isn’t convinced they will even get a permissive air environment in the future while academia is leaning towards more OA-X type aircraft for permissive air environment conflicts.

USAF Gen Carlisle
“The idea of a low-end CAS platform that’s being discussed inside the air force, it’s one that I’m struggling with a little bit,” Carlisle says. “Given the evolving threat environment, I sometimes wonder what permissive in the future is going to look like or if there’s going to be any such thing with the proliferation of potential adversaries out there and the threats.”

https://www.flightglobal.com/usaf-air-c ... 10.article

Robert Farley - Academic
Robert Farley, a professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky, refutes the idea that light-attack aircraft will not be viable in a future fight. He argues the Taliban in Afghanistan would need clear, state-sponsored funding to procure an anti-air capability and would not be able to secure enough of those weapons on the black market. Farley also notes the USAF is delivering and training Super Tucanos to the Afghan Air Force today.

“The US is supplying Afghanistan with Super Tucanos because we know how useful they’re going to be,” he said. “But it’s not surprising for that to come out with the air force, because the air force thinks that resources spent on CAS are fundamentally misspent [and] that national priorities tend to favour high tech machines like F-35 and Long Range Strike Bomber.”
 
rlwynn
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:21 am

TObound wrote:
Here's the thing, the OA-X and AC130 are pretty close to the same susceptibility to a missile strike. The AC130 could actually be less susceptible because it could loiter higher.


The Super Tucano loiters at 26,000 and a ceiling of 35,000ft. Higher than the AC-130.
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Nean1
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:08 am

It is interesting to understand why someone argues that a much bigger and less manuvable 4 engine aircraft, loitering in lower level with no ejectable seats could be a better solution. I will seat down camly and learn.
 
TObound
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:21 pm

Ozair wrote:
??? We know that, hence why I said above multiple times the OA-X is not about near-peer environments, it is all about a permissive air environment. No one operating an AT-6 or A-27 operates in a high threat environment today and there is no expectation they would seek to. The USAF and SOCOM are no different.

The USAF isn’t convinced they will even get a permissive air environment in the future while academia is leaning towards more OA-X type aircraft for permissive air environment conflicts.


The thing is in a permissive air environment though, I wonder what it's bringing to the fight that UAVs or gunships or attack helos don't already provide. What I really struggle with is how vulnerable these aircraft are compared to an A-10. So either they are operating with zero SAFIRE threat or we're willing to accept a much higher risk for crews. And that's okay, but I wish they'd be honest about it.

Also, on one hand we talk about permissive air environments and on the other we have comments like this:

Nean1 wrote:
It is interesting to understand why someone argues that a much bigger and less manuvable 4 engine aircraft, loitering in lower level with no ejectable seats could be a better solution. I will seat down camly and learn.


rlwynn wrote:
TObound wrote:
Here's the thing, the OA-X and AC130 are pretty close to the same susceptibility to a missile strike. The AC130 could actually be less susceptible because it could loiter higher.


The Super Tucano loiters at 26,000 and a ceiling of 35,000ft. Higher than the AC-130.


When I say loiter I mean while firing. An AC130 can provide fire support from a higher altitude while orbiting there. What exactly can a Super Tucano do from 26 000 ft that an AC130 cant?
 
rlwynn
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:21 pm

Drop precision ordinance targeted by it's modern sensors.
I can drive faster than you
 
Reddevil556
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:54 pm

TObound wrote:
Ozair wrote:
??? We know that, hence why I said above multiple times the OA-X is not about near-peer environments, it is all about a permissive air environment. No one operating an AT-6 or A-27 operates in a high threat environment today and there is no expectation they would seek to. The USAF and SOCOM are no different.

The USAF isn’t convinced they will even get a permissive air environment in the future while academia is leaning towards more OA-X type aircraft for permissive air environment conflicts.


The thing is in a permissive air environment though, I wonder what it's bringing to the fight that UAVs or gunships or attack helos don't already provide. What I really struggle with is how vulnerable these aircraft are compared to an A-10. So either they are operating with zero SAFIRE threat or we're willing to accept a much higher risk for crews. And that's okay, but I wish they'd be honest about it.

Also, on one hand we talk about permissive air environments and on the other we have comments like this:

Nean1 wrote:
It is interesting to understand why someone argues that a much bigger and less manuvable 4 engine aircraft, loitering in lower level with no ejectable seats could be a better solution. I will seat down camly and learn.


rlwynn wrote:
TObound wrote:
Here's the thing, the OA-X and AC130 are pretty close to the same susceptibility to a missile strike. The AC130 could actually be less susceptible because it could loiter higher.


The Super Tucano loiters at 26,000 and a ceiling of 35,000ft. Higher than the AC-130.


When I say loiter I mean while firing. An AC130 can provide fire support from a higher altitude while orbiting there. What exactly can a Super Tucano do from 26 000 ft that an AC130 cant?


Fit on smaller airfields, deploy with less profile. It’s SOCOM platform, not BIG AIR FORCE. Exactly why conventional leaders hate it.
Jumped out of: C130H, C130J, C17A, C212, CH47, and UH60. Bucket list: C160, A400, C2
 
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Re: News on Air Force Light Attack Experiment (OA-X)

Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:36 pm

TObound wrote:

The thing is in a permissive air environment though, I wonder what it's bringing to the fight that UAVs or gunships or attack helos don't already provide.

Beside the smaller runway suggested by Reddevil the cost to acquire and the cost of ownership of an AT-6/A-29 is a lot less than a UCAV/Gunship or attack helo. It is easier to train and maintain competency, easier to maintain serviceability etc. A UCAV comes with additional capabilities but also larger burdens such as a larger pool of aircrew, imagery analysts, communications, no current machine gun/cannon armament, larger basing etc. A gunship/attack helo is just bigger and costs more and you would expect the third world nations operating and expected to operate this capability to favour more OA-X over a single gunship/attack helo capability.

TObound wrote:
What I really struggle with is how vulnerable these aircraft are compared to an A-10. So either they are operating with zero SAFIRE threat or we're willing to accept a much higher risk for crews. And that's okay, but I wish they'd be honest about it.

From a SAFIRE perspective there are two main threats to OA-X. First is AAA which is essentially negated, or massively risk reduced, above 5000ft. The only other threat then is MANPADs which are probably valid up to approx. 20kft. Both OA-X aircraft can be equipped with a MAWS, RWR and chaff/flares. Other than general operational awareness there isn’t much more that can be done to negate that MANPADS threat than operating high and the point of these airframes will be lower level delivery of cheaper munitions and bullets/shells so probably a risk they are expected to take.

TObound wrote:
Also, on one hand we talk about permissive air environments and on the other we have comments like this:

Nean1 wrote:
It is interesting to understand why someone argues that a much bigger and less manuvable 4 engine aircraft, loitering in lower level with no ejectable seats could be a better solution. I will seat down camly and learn.


I would ignore those comments, Nean1 sees single solutions to problems without understanding the operational concepts/environments/threats to which they are expected to operate in.

TObound wrote:
rlwynn wrote:
TObound wrote:
Here's the thing, the OA-X and AC130 are pretty close to the same susceptibility to a missile strike. The AC130 could actually be less susceptible because it could loiter higher.


The Super Tucano loiters at 26,000 and a ceiling of 35,000ft. Higher than the AC-130.


When I say loiter I mean while firing. An AC130 can provide fire support from a higher altitude while orbiting there. What exactly can a Super Tucano do from 26 000 ft that an AC130 cant?

I expect the service ceiling of a Super Tucano with a standard A2G mission load is significantly less than 35kft.

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