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RJMAZ
Posts: 2508
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:54 am

Re: How useful are light fighters?

Wed Feb 03, 2021 2:46 am

kitplane01 wrote:
What mission do you see the A-10 performing that the M346 cannot?

The M346 could perform all of the same missions if you are happy with them getting shot down on a regular basis and you don't mind additional soldiers dieing due to inferior air support.

The military sets a level of risk they are willing to accept for every operation. The M346 would be performing any given CAS and COIN mission at a higher risk level. All missions would have to be performed at medium altitude due to the risk of small arms fire. As soon as the enemy has MANPADS the M346 will no longer be able to operate likewise with the Super Tucano.

The A-10 with its widely spaced engines and tail layout gives it a very low heat signature. When employing flares the missile will nearly always detonate behind the aircraft. Combined with the avionic redundancy it can operate within a MANPAD environment with much lower risk. The A-10 can also perform low altitude CAS. Using a targeting pod at medium altitude is like looking down a straw and is far from ideal. The F-35 manages this due it's sensor fusion combining multiple sensors.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3860
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: How useful are light fighters?

Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:00 am

RJMAZ wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
What mission do you see the A-10 performing that the M346 cannot?

The M346 could perform all of the same missions if you are happy with them getting shot down on a regular basis and you don't mind additional soldiers dieing due to inferior air support.

The military sets a level of risk they are willing to accept for every operation. The M346 would be performing any given CAS and COIN mission at a higher risk level. All missions would have to be performed at medium altitude due to the risk of small arms fire. As soon as the enemy has MANPADS the M346 will no longer be able to operate likewise with the Super Tucano.

The A-10 with its widely spaced engines and tail layout gives it a very low heat signature. When employing flares the missile will nearly always detonate behind the aircraft. Combined with the avionic redundancy it can operate within a MANPAD environment with much lower risk. The A-10 can also perform low altitude CAS. Using a targeting pod at medium altitude is like looking down a straw and is far from ideal. The F-35 manages this due it's sensor fusion combining multiple sensors.

That only makes sense with the first gen MANPADS, which are tail chase only. The newer all-aspect weapons are a different story, and are sensitive enough for frontal and side engagements. Plus they have fairly advanced anti-flare detection capabilities for the missiles that are IR seeking... there are missiles out there that are laser and optically guided, such as the Swedish RBS 70 and the British Blowpipe, Javelin, or Starstreak missiles, which aren't fooled by IR countermeasures.
 
RJMAZ
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Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:54 am

Re: How useful are light fighters?

Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:22 am

ThePointblank wrote:
That only makes sense with the first gen MANPADS, which are tail chase only. The newer all-aspect weapons are a different story, and are sensitive enough for frontal and side engagements. Plus they have fairly advanced anti-flare detection capabilities for the missiles that are IR seeking... there are missiles out there that are laser and optically guided, such as the Swedish RBS 70 and the British Blowpipe, Javelin, or Starstreak missiles, which aren't fooled by IR countermeasures.

The A-10 has never been shot down by a MANPAD. To remain man portable the missile must sacrifice warhead size to get the required speed and range. The RBS 70 for example could hit the A-10 and it will make it home 99% of the time. The same missile could hit the M346 and the aircraft will be shot down 99% of the time with a significant chance of crew loss. That is a big difference.

The A-10 has only been shot down by heavier surface to air missiles systems during high end conflicts. Mostly mobile vehicle mounted systems. These larger systems are less numerous and would be taken out by the F-35. The MANPAD threat can never be eliminated so the M346 has no mission in most conflicts.
 
Ozair
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Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: How useful are light fighters?

Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:51 am

RJMAZ wrote:
The A-10 has never been shot down by a MANPAD. To remain man portable the missile must sacrifice warhead size to get the required speed and range.

Are you sure...?
February 2 1991– An A-10A Thunderbolt II (Serial Number : 80-0248)[38] was shot down by an Igla-1 (SA-16) surface-to-air missile. The pilot (Captain Richard Dale Storr) [39] was captured. He was released on March 6.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... ietnam_War
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:19 am

Ozair wrote:
Are you sure...?

I'm sure. Don't believe everything on Wikipedia. Most of the low altitude kills have the words "Thought to have been engaged by"
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3860
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: How useful are light fighters?

Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:25 am

RJMAZ wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
That only makes sense with the first gen MANPADS, which are tail chase only. The newer all-aspect weapons are a different story, and are sensitive enough for frontal and side engagements. Plus they have fairly advanced anti-flare detection capabilities for the missiles that are IR seeking... there are missiles out there that are laser and optically guided, such as the Swedish RBS 70 and the British Blowpipe, Javelin, or Starstreak missiles, which aren't fooled by IR countermeasures.

The A-10 has never been shot down by a MANPAD. To remain man portable the missile must sacrifice warhead size to get the required speed and range. The RBS 70 for example could hit the A-10 and it will make it home 99% of the time. The same missile could hit the M346 and the aircraft will be shot down 99% of the time with a significant chance of crew loss. That is a big difference.

The A-10 has only been shot down by heavier surface to air missiles systems during high end conflicts. Mostly mobile vehicle mounted systems. These larger systems are less numerous and would be taken out by the F-35. The MANPAD threat can never be eliminated so the M346 has no mission in most conflicts.

A number have been shot down by IR SAMs, such as the SA-9 and SA-13.

And the US CENTAF, Chuck Horner pulled A-10's off the high end Iraqi targets because they were getting shot up way too much, and moved them onto the lower end Iraqi targets. He allocated F-16's to strike at the higher end Iraqi ground targets:

https://www.airforcemag.com/article/0691horner/

A-10s vs. F-16s

Q: Did the war have any effect on the Air Force’s view of the A-10

A: No. People misread that. People were saying that airplanes are too sophisticated and that they wouldn’t work in the desert, that you didn’t need all this high technology, that simple and reliable was better, and all that.

Well, first of all, complex does not mean unreliable. We’re finding that out. For example, you have a watch that uses transistors rather than a spring. It’s infinitely more reliable than the windup watch that you had years ago. That’s what we’re finding in the airplanes.

Those people . . . were always championing the A-10. As the A-10 reaches the end of its life cycle– and it’s approaching that now–it’s time to replace it, just like we replace every airplane, including, right now, some early versions of the F-16.

Since the line was discontinued, [the A-10’s champions] want to build another A-10 of some kind. The point we were making was that we have F-16s that do the same job.

Then you come to people who have their own reasons-good reasons to them, but they don’t necessarily compute to me-who want to hang onto the A-10 because of the gun. Well, the gun’s an excellent weapon, but you’ll find that most of the tank kills by the A-10 were done with Mavericks and bombs. So the idea that the gun is the absolute wonder of the world is not true.

Q: This conflict has shown that

A: It shows that the gun has a lot of utility, which we always knew, but it isn’t the principal tank-killer on the A-IO. The [Imaging Infrared] Maverick is the big hero there. That was used by the A-10s and the F-16s very, very effectively in places like Khafji.

The other problem is that the A-10 is vulnerable to hits because its speed is limited. It’s a function of thrust, it’s not a function of anything else. We had a lot of A-10s take a lot of ground fire hits. Quite frankly, we pulled the A-10s back from going up around the Republican Guard and kept them on Iraq’s [less formidable] front-line units. That’s line if you have a force that allows you to do that. In this case, we had F-16s to go after the Republican Guard.

Q: At what point did you do that

A: I think I had fourteen airplanes sitting on the ramp having battle damage repaired, and I lost two A- 10s in one day [February 15], and I said, “I’ve had enough of this.” It was when we really started to go after the Republican Guard.

Initially, much of the air assets were devoted to strategic targets, to make sure we got those down, while we were also hitting the frontline forces. As we killed off the research and development stuff-storage, those kinds of targets-we brought more and more assets into the Kuwait Theater of Operation. We really started heating the battle up in the KTO.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:21 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
A number have been shot down by IR SAMs, such as the SA-9 and SA-13.

And the US CENTAF, Chuck Horner pulled A-10's off the high end Iraqi targets because they were getting shot up way too much, and moved them onto the lower end Iraqi targets. He allocated F-16's to strike at the higher end Iraqi ground targets:

This confirms what I have been saying.

The SA-9 and SA-13 aren't MANPADS these larger systems would be mainly found in high threat environments. While the A-10 took hits from AAA and MANPAD they could often continue to perform their mission and return to base for repairs.

The F-35 and A-10 high/low combination would see the F-35 taking all highly defended ground targets in a high threat environment. Just like how the F-16 took the high threat ground forces in the Gulf War. The A-10 would be kept to low and medium threat environments. The A-10 would then free up a large number F-35 aircraft for high end threats. As the A-10 costs a fraction of the price of the F-35 to operate it results in a massive overall increase in capability.

The M346 would only be able to operate in a low threat environment where helicopters can also operate. This would not free up many F-35 aircraft.
 
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seahawk
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Wed Feb 03, 2021 4:09 pm

A plane like the M346 makes no sense for an Air Force as big as the USAF. Even a smaller sub fleet like the A-10C is still larger than most Air Forces. The USAF can afford to get specialised planes for special missions.
 
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kitplane01
Topic Author
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:19 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
That only makes sense with the first gen MANPADS, which are tail chase only. The newer all-aspect weapons are a different story, and are sensitive enough for frontal and side engagements. Plus they have fairly advanced anti-flare detection capabilities for the missiles that are IR seeking... there are missiles out there that are laser and optically guided, such as the Swedish RBS 70 and the British Blowpipe, Javelin, or Starstreak missiles, which aren't fooled by IR countermeasures.

The A-10 has never been shot down by a MANPAD. To remain man portable the missile must sacrifice warhead size to get the required speed and range. The RBS 70 for example could hit the A-10 and it will make it home 99% of the time. The same missile could hit the M346 and the aircraft will be shot down 99% of the time with a significant chance of crew loss. That is a big difference.

The A-10 has only been shot down by heavier surface to air missiles systems during high end conflicts. Mostly mobile vehicle mounted systems. These larger systems are less numerous and would be taken out by the F-35. The MANPAD threat can never be eliminated so the M346 has no mission in most conflicts.

A number have been shot down by IR SAMs, such as the SA-9 and SA-13.

And the US CENTAF, Chuck Horner pulled A-10's off the high end Iraqi targets because they were getting shot up way too much, and moved them onto the lower end Iraqi targets. He allocated F-16's to strike at the higher end Iraqi ground targets:

https://www.airforcemag.com/article/0691horner/

A-10s vs. F-16s

Q: Did the war have any effect on the Air Force’s view of the A-10

A: No. People misread that. People were saying that airplanes are too sophisticated and that they wouldn’t work in the desert, that you didn’t need all this high technology, that simple and reliable was better, and all that.

Well, first of all, complex does not mean unreliable. We’re finding that out. For example, you have a watch that uses transistors rather than a spring. It’s infinitely more reliable than the windup watch that you had years ago. That’s what we’re finding in the airplanes.

Those people . . . were always championing the A-10. As the A-10 reaches the end of its life cycle– and it’s approaching that now–it’s time to replace it, just like we replace every airplane, including, right now, some early versions of the F-16.

Since the line was discontinued, [the A-10’s champions] want to build another A-10 of some kind. The point we were making was that we have F-16s that do the same job.

Then you come to people who have their own reasons-good reasons to them, but they don’t necessarily compute to me-who want to hang onto the A-10 because of the gun. Well, the gun’s an excellent weapon, but you’ll find that most of the tank kills by the A-10 were done with Mavericks and bombs. So the idea that the gun is the absolute wonder of the world is not true.

Q: This conflict has shown that

A: It shows that the gun has a lot of utility, which we always knew, but it isn’t the principal tank-killer on the A-IO. The [Imaging Infrared] Maverick is the big hero there. That was used by the A-10s and the F-16s very, very effectively in places like Khafji.

The other problem is that the A-10 is vulnerable to hits because its speed is limited. It’s a function of thrust, it’s not a function of anything else. We had a lot of A-10s take a lot of ground fire hits. Quite frankly, we pulled the A-10s back from going up around the Republican Guard and kept them on Iraq’s [less formidable] front-line units. That’s line if you have a force that allows you to do that. In this case, we had F-16s to go after the Republican Guard.

Q: At what point did you do that

A: I think I had fourteen airplanes sitting on the ramp having battle damage repaired, and I lost two A- 10s in one day [February 15], and I said, “I’ve had enough of this.” It was when we really started to go after the Republican Guard.

Initially, much of the air assets were devoted to strategic targets, to make sure we got those down, while we were also hitting the frontline forces. As we killed off the research and development stuff-storage, those kinds of targets-we brought more and more assets into the Kuwait Theater of Operation. We really started heating the battle up in the KTO.


I'm very interested in this.

What is the mechanism such that F-16s took fewer casualties than A-10s? Was it just the greater speed of an F-16? Because strafing infantry in a valley at 500mph sounds inaccurate. Was it different tactics (i.e. the A-10 was low/slow, the F-16 was higher/faster. The A-10 was more close gunnery, the F-16 was more missile)?

What's the mechanism such that F-16s are safer?
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3860
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: How useful are light fighters?

Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:39 am

RJMAZ wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
A number have been shot down by IR SAMs, such as the SA-9 and SA-13.

And the US CENTAF, Chuck Horner pulled A-10's off the high end Iraqi targets because they were getting shot up way too much, and moved them onto the lower end Iraqi targets. He allocated F-16's to strike at the higher end Iraqi ground targets:

This confirms what I have been saying.

The SA-9 and SA-13 aren't MANPADS these larger systems would be mainly found in high threat environments. While the A-10 took hits from AAA and MANPAD they could often continue to perform their mission and return to base for repairs.

The F-35 and A-10 high/low combination would see the F-35 taking all highly defended ground targets in a high threat environment. Just like how the F-16 took the high threat ground forces in the Gulf War. The A-10 would be kept to low and medium threat environments. The A-10 would then free up a large number F-35 aircraft for high end threats. As the A-10 costs a fraction of the price of the F-35 to operate it results in a massive overall increase in capability.

The M346 would only be able to operate in a low threat environment where helicopters can also operate. This would not free up many F-35 aircraft.


When the A-10's took hits, it was for the most part, abort mission and try to nurse the aircraft back home for a crash landing. Many A-10's that got badly shot up actually never flew again; most were cannibalized for parts, then a pit was dug for the remains and the aircraft subsequently buried in the Saudi sand. A couple of birds that did crash land also got their pilots killed as well during the landing attempt.

kitplane01 wrote:
I'm very interested in this.

What is the mechanism such that F-16s took fewer casualties than A-10s? Was it just the greater speed of an F-16? Because strafing infantry in a valley at 500mph sounds inaccurate. Was it different tactics (i.e. the A-10 was low/slow, the F-16 was higher/faster. The A-10 was more close gunnery, the F-16 was more missile)?

What's the mechanism such that F-16s are safer?


Greater speed meaning that they spend less time being engaged, and can get in and out of danger quicker. Plus, the F-16 has better sensors and stand off engagement capabilities, meaning that they can stay further away from threats. During the Gulf War, A-10's were initially permitted to initiate their attacks from 4,000 to 7,000ft, fairly close to the ground because the A-10 pilots were struggling to find and identify targets from higher altitudes as the Iraqi's were digging in their vehicles and camouflaging them. Flying at such low altitudes, close to the ground also meant that they were closer to ground fire as well, which allowed the Iraqi's to more accurately aim their weapons at the A-10's.

Chuck Homer had this to say as well regarding the pulling back of the A-10's:

We had a problem. Our most effective tank killer was being shot up at an alarming rate. In fact, before February 15, we had lost only one A-10 (on February 2 to an IR SAM), while suffering a little over twenty-five other aircraft shot down. Still, before February 15, the large number of battle-damaged A-10s was wearing on my mind. Thirty or forty had been hit, yet had survived and limped home for repairs—a tribute to their rugged design and safety features. But a lot of hits was a lot of hits. Too many hits.

On the fifteenth, when I walked into the TACC, I learned that two A-10s were down and three damaged, with one of these losing much of its tail. The airplanes were too valuable in a variety of roles, from Scud-hunting to close air support, to have them grounded by battle damage. There was a strong possibility that the Iraqis would run me out of airplanes before they ran out of SAMs. With a heavy heart, I told the battle staff we were going to pull the A-10s back and use them only against the Iraqi divisions near the border. The Republican Guard and other armored divisions being held in reserve would now be off-limits to the A-10s, until later in the war, when the Iraqis had run out of heat-seeking missiles. Though I was worried that my decision would sting the egos of the Warthog drivers (a fate they sure didn’t deserve, since they were excelling at everything they’d been tasked to do), I just couldn’t stand by and watch them take hits and now losses.

But Dave Sawyer wrote me the next day, the sixteenth, and (without really meaning to) relieved my worries. “Your guidance to limit A-10s to southern areas is appropriate and timely,” he wrote. (That’s military for “Thank you, boss. We were being given more than our share of pain and suffering.”) He went on to relate the specific procedures he and Sandy Sharpe had worked out:

“We have prohibited daytime strafe for the present, except in true close air support, search and rescue, or troops in contact situations. With the OA-10 forward air control spotters, flight leads using binoculars, or a high (relative) speed recce pass in the 4–7,000 foot range, we should be able to determine worthwhile armor targets, then stand off and kill them with Mavericks. We’ll save the gun (and our aircraft) for the ground offensive. The OA-10s and our two night A-10 squadrons have yet to receive battle damage. There’s safety in altitude and darkness. When the ground war starts, we’ll strafe up a storm and get in as close as we need to to get the job done. No A-10 pilot should ever have to buy a drink at any Army bar in the future. Until G day, request you task A-10s only in air interdiction kill boxes you’ve now limited us to. If you need us to go to deeper AI targets, we plan to impose a 10,000-foot above-the-ground minimum altitude there, and employ only free-fall ordnance and Mavericks. We’ll promptly exit any AI area in which we get an IR or radar SAM launch.”
 
RJMAZ
Posts: 2508
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:54 am

Re: How useful are light fighters?

Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:35 am

ThePointblank wrote:
When the A-10's took hits, it was for the most part, abort mission and try to nurse the aircraft back home for a crash landing. Many A-10's that got badly shot up actually never flew again; most were cannibalized for parts, then a pit was dug for the remains and the aircraft subsequently buried in the Saudi sand. A couple of birds that did crash land also got their pilots killed as well during the landing attempt.

How would the M346 have performed?

The number of A-10 buried in the sand was actually minor compared to the huge number of targets destroyed. Again this is an example of a high end threat environment.

In 2005 when this was relevant a huge number of A-10 aircraft were being mothballed. They had lots of life left so extra spare aircraft could be purchased for pocket change.




kitplane01 wrote:
I'm very interested in this.

What is the mechanism such that F-16s took fewer casualties than A-10s? Was it just the greater speed of an F-16? Because strafing infantry in a valley at 500mph sounds inaccurate. Was it different tactics (i.e. the A-10 was low/slow, the F-16 was higher/faster. The A-10 was more close gunnery, the F-16 was more missile)?

What's the mechanism such that F-16s are safer?

The F-16's were killing targets at a far lower rate than the A-10. Casualty rate would be linked to the number of targets engaged. The A-10 would be safer than the F-16 per target.

For instance if you had 10 A-10's over the battlefield you might need 50 F-16's to hit the same number of targets in the same time period. Is not a targeting pod is far slower than the MK1 eyeball. If the F-16 was 20% less likely to get shot down per aircraft then with 5 times as many aircraft the casualty rate is the same. Operating 5 times as many F-16's to get the same job done as the A-10 is much more expensive.

In a medium threat environment the A-10 would perform flawlessly where the M346 would get shot down.
 
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kitplane01
Topic Author
Posts: 2127
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:58 am

Re: How useful are light fighters?

Thu Feb 04, 2021 3:36 am

ThePointblank wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
A number have been shot down by IR SAMs, such as the SA-9 and SA-13.

And the US CENTAF, Chuck Horner pulled A-10's off the high end Iraqi targets because they were getting shot up way too much, and moved them onto the lower end Iraqi targets. He allocated F-16's to strike at the higher end Iraqi ground targets:

This confirms what I have been saying.

The SA-9 and SA-13 aren't MANPADS these larger systems would be mainly found in high threat environments. While the A-10 took hits from AAA and MANPAD they could often continue to perform their mission and return to base for repairs.

The F-35 and A-10 high/low combination would see the F-35 taking all highly defended ground targets in a high threat environment. Just like how the F-16 took the high threat ground forces in the Gulf War. The A-10 would be kept to low and medium threat environments. The A-10 would then free up a large number F-35 aircraft for high end threats. As the A-10 costs a fraction of the price of the F-35 to operate it results in a massive overall increase in capability.

The M346 would only be able to operate in a low threat environment where helicopters can also operate. This would not free up many F-35 aircraft.


When the A-10's took hits, it was for the most part, abort mission and try to nurse the aircraft back home for a crash landing. Many A-10's that got badly shot up actually never flew again; most were cannibalized for parts, then a pit was dug for the remains and the aircraft subsequently buried in the Saudi sand. A couple of birds that did crash land also got their pilots killed as well during the landing attempt.

kitplane01 wrote:
I'm very interested in this.

What is the mechanism such that F-16s took fewer casualties than A-10s? Was it just the greater speed of an F-16? Because strafing infantry in a valley at 500mph sounds inaccurate. Was it different tactics (i.e. the A-10 was low/slow, the F-16 was higher/faster. The A-10 was more close gunnery, the F-16 was more missile)?

What's the mechanism such that F-16s are safer?


Greater speed meaning that they spend less time being engaged, and can get in and out of danger quicker. Plus, the F-16 has better sensors and stand off engagement capabilities, meaning that they can stay further away from threats. During the Gulf War, A-10's were initially permitted to initiate their attacks from 4,000 to 7,000ft, fairly close to the ground because the A-10 pilots were struggling to find and identify targets from higher altitudes as the Iraqi's were digging in their vehicles and camouflaging them. Flying at such low altitudes, close to the ground also meant that they were closer to ground fire as well, which allowed the Iraqi's to more accurately aim their weapons at the A-10's.

Chuck Homer had this to say as well regarding the pulling back of the A-10's:

We had a problem. Our most effective tank killer was being shot up at an alarming rate. In fact, before February 15, we had lost only one A-10 (on February 2 to an IR SAM), while suffering a little over twenty-five other aircraft shot down. Still, before February 15, the large number of battle-damaged A-10s was wearing on my mind. Thirty or forty had been hit, yet had survived and limped home for repairs—a tribute to their rugged design and safety features. But a lot of hits was a lot of hits. Too many hits.

On the fifteenth, when I walked into the TACC, I learned that two A-10s were down and three damaged, with one of these losing much of its tail. The airplanes were too valuable in a variety of roles, from Scud-hunting to close air support, to have them grounded by battle damage. There was a strong possibility that the Iraqis would run me out of airplanes before they ran out of SAMs. With a heavy heart, I told the battle staff we were going to pull the A-10s back and use them only against the Iraqi divisions near the border. The Republican Guard and other armored divisions being held in reserve would now be off-limits to the A-10s, until later in the war, when the Iraqis had run out of heat-seeking missiles. Though I was worried that my decision would sting the egos of the Warthog drivers (a fate they sure didn’t deserve, since they were excelling at everything they’d been tasked to do), I just couldn’t stand by and watch them take hits and now losses.

But Dave Sawyer wrote me the next day, the sixteenth, and (without really meaning to) relieved my worries. “Your guidance to limit A-10s to southern areas is appropriate and timely,” he wrote. (That’s military for “Thank you, boss. We were being given more than our share of pain and suffering.”) He went on to relate the specific procedures he and Sandy Sharpe had worked out:

“We have prohibited daytime strafe for the present, except in true close air support, search and rescue, or troops in contact situations. With the OA-10 forward air control spotters, flight leads using binoculars, or a high (relative) speed recce pass in the 4–7,000 foot range, we should be able to determine worthwhile armor targets, then stand off and kill them with Mavericks. We’ll save the gun (and our aircraft) for the ground offensive. The OA-10s and our two night A-10 squadrons have yet to receive battle damage. There’s safety in altitude and darkness. When the ground war starts, we’ll strafe up a storm and get in as close as we need to to get the job done. No A-10 pilot should ever have to buy a drink at any Army bar in the future. Until G day, request you task A-10s only in air interdiction kill boxes you’ve now limited us to. If you need us to go to deeper AI targets, we plan to impose a 10,000-foot above-the-ground minimum altitude there, and employ only free-fall ordnance and Mavericks. We’ll promptly exit any AI area in which we get an IR or radar SAM launch.”


Love all the quotes. Thanks.

This sounds very much like the solution was altitude, and a better targeting pod. Speed was not mentioned in the quotes (though I'll believe if it was mentioned elsewhere). An A-10, F-16, or an M346 can all fly at altitude and drop missiles and carry a reasonable targeting pod.
 
RJMAZ
Posts: 2508
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:54 am

Re: How useful are light fighters?

Thu Feb 04, 2021 4:14 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Love all the quotes. Thanks.

This sounds very much like the solution was altitude, and a better targeting pod. Speed was not mentioned in the quotes (though I'll believe if it was mentioned elsewhere). An A-10, F-16, or an M346 can all fly at altitude and drop missiles and carry a reasonable targeting pod.

That wasn't the solution at all. The F-16 did not have a targeting pod during Desert Storm and it's radar was rather useless.

The F-16's pilots were told to fly at higher altitudes where they couldn't even see most targets. That is absolute failure in my books. You'll always have a good survival rate when you don't turn up to the battle.

The A-10 was hunting for new targets and the majority of the targets it found, identified and killed by itself. This is a unique mission that is quite unique to the A-10. It performs this in a fast closed killchain causing rapid devastation to the enemy.

The majority of the F-16 targets were found by other air assets or by friendly ground forces. It isn't even the same mission. The F-16 was leaving enemy threats intact that could harm friendly forces on the ground and helicopters in the air.

The A-10 mission in the high threat environment was not replaced by the F-16. The A-10 mission in the high threat environment was simply deemed too dangerous for all aircraft to perform.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 3860
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: How useful are light fighters?

Thu Feb 04, 2021 6:45 am

RJMAZ wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Love all the quotes. Thanks.

This sounds very much like the solution was altitude, and a better targeting pod. Speed was not mentioned in the quotes (though I'll believe if it was mentioned elsewhere). An A-10, F-16, or an M346 can all fly at altitude and drop missiles and carry a reasonable targeting pod.

That wasn't the solution at all. The F-16 did not have a targeting pod during Desert Storm and it's radar was rather useless.

The F-16's pilots were told to fly at higher altitudes where they couldn't even see most targets. That is absolute failure in my books. You'll always have a good survival rate when you don't turn up to the battle.

The A-10 was hunting for new targets and the majority of the targets it found, identified and killed by itself. This is a unique mission that is quite unique to the A-10. It performs this in a fast closed killchain causing rapid devastation to the enemy.

The majority of the F-16 targets were found by other air assets or by friendly ground forces. It isn't even the same mission. The F-16 was leaving enemy threats intact that could harm friendly forces on the ground and helicopters in the air.

The A-10 mission in the high threat environment was not replaced by the F-16. The A-10 mission in the high threat environment was simply deemed too dangerous for all aircraft to perform.

One squadron of F-16's were equipped with the LANTRIN navigation pod, which contains a wide FOV FLIR. This was the only squadron that employed Maverick missile.

This squadron also made use of the radar to find targets in conjunction with LANTRIN; typically, the F-16's flew in two-ship pairs, with one aircraft searching using doppler beam sharpening mode on the radar to find fixed targets, the other using searching using ground moving target track mode to find moving targets. If a possible target was detected, they would use LANTRIN to get eyes on the target.

The F-16 pilots also developed new tactics, such as the Killer Scout technique:

https://www.airforcemag.com/article/0493scouts/
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Thu Feb 04, 2021 6:58 am

ThePointblank wrote:
One squadron of F-16's were equipped with the LANTRIN navigation pod, which contains a wide FOV FLIR. This was the only squadron that employed Maverick missile.

Source please?

https://www.airspacemag.com/military-av ... 91/?page=4

But full LANTIRN capability wasn’t available to the F-16 during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The few production pods that existed went to the more-capable F-15E strike aircraft. Without the LANTIRN targeting pods, F-16 pilots mostly dropped unguided weapons from high altitudes, resulting in many targets being missed.


Within a few months after the Gulf War, F-16s began receiving many of the planned upgrades, including the long-coveted LANTIRN pods and the AMRAAM radar missile. On December 27, 1992, an F-16 patrolling the post-war Iraqi no-fly zone shot down a MiG-25 with the first-ever air-to-air kill for both an F-16 and an AMRAAM.


The F-16 was utterly useless. The USAF loves fast jets and they have performed a full scale misinformation campaign against the A-10. The A-10 is probably the only non stealth aircraft that could survive a modern battlefield. They can sit below the long range SAM bubble.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Thu Feb 04, 2021 9:00 am

RJMAZ wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
One squadron of F-16's were equipped with the LANTRIN navigation pod, which contains a wide FOV FLIR. This was the only squadron that employed Maverick missile.

Source please?

https://www.airspacemag.com/military-av ... 91/?page=4

But full LANTIRN capability wasn’t available to the F-16 during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The few production pods that existed went to the more-capable F-15E strike aircraft. Without the LANTIRN targeting pods, F-16 pilots mostly dropped unguided weapons from high altitudes, resulting in many targets being missed.


Within a few months after the Gulf War, F-16s began receiving many of the planned upgrades, including the long-coveted LANTIRN pods and the AMRAAM radar missile. On December 27, 1992, an F-16 patrolling the post-war Iraqi no-fly zone shot down a MiG-25 with the first-ever air-to-air kill for both an F-16 and an AMRAAM.


The F-16 was utterly useless. The USAF loves fast jets and they have performed a full scale misinformation campaign against the A-10. The A-10 is probably the only non stealth aircraft that could survive a modern battlefield. They can sit below the long range SAM bubble.


https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... /MR357.pdf


Pages 53 and 54.

The unit involved was the 388th Fighter Wing, which was the lead unit deploying the LANTRIN pod for the F-16 on their Block 40 jets.
 
johns624
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:27 pm

Isn't the term "light fighter" itself a misnomer? Shouldn't it be "trainer armed with weapons"?
 
art
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:23 am

johns624 wrote:
Isn't the term "light fighter" itself a misnomer? Shouldn't it be "trainer armed with weapons"?


Mirage, Gripen and now Tejas are not trainers, are they?
 
744SPX
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:07 am

Not a pound for air to ground.
...but then I've always favored specialized aircraft over multi-role "jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none" aircraft.

The F-16 didn't start out that way. They turned it into a pig.
 
johns624
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:09 am

[url][/url]
art wrote:
johns624 wrote:
Isn't the term "light fighter" itself a misnomer? Shouldn't it be "trainer armed with weapons"?


Mirage, Gripen and now Tejas are not trainers, are they?
If you read any of this thread, you'd know that's not what he was referring to when he said "light fighter".
 
mxaxai
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:17 pm

johns624 wrote:
Isn't the term "light fighter" itself a misnomer? Shouldn't it be "trainer armed with weapons"?

The F-5 and F-20 are "light fighters" but definitely not trainers. Same for the Su-25, AMX, A-4 or A-10, which are designed for CAS not training.
 
johns624
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:31 pm

mxaxai wrote:
johns624 wrote:
Isn't the term "light fighter" itself a misnomer? Shouldn't it be "trainer armed with weapons"?

The F-5 and F-20 are "light fighters" but definitely not trainers. Same for the Su-25, AMX, A-4 or A-10, which are designed for CAS not training.

Once again, look at the OP's parameters for what he considers a light fighter. Reading is fundamental.
 
mxaxai
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:34 pm

johns624 wrote:
Once again, look at the OP's parameters for what he considers a light fighter. Reading is fundamental.

I prefer not to read thank you very much
 
744SPX
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:11 pm

mxaxai wrote:
johns624 wrote:
Once again, look at the OP's parameters for what he considers a light fighter. Reading is fundamental.

I prefer not to read thank you very much


:rotfl:
 
johns624
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:31 pm

mxaxai wrote:
johns624 wrote:
Once again, look at the OP's parameters for what he considers a light fighter. Reading is fundamental.

I prefer not to read thank you very much
How about carrying it a step further and not writing?
 
Reddevil556
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:39 am

I think places like Mali, Chad, and Somalia would be perfect locations for light attack fighters. Countries like Kenya could use them effectively to cover their borders where terror groups try to operate. Boko Haram and Al Shabab haven't been know to have much for surface to air capabilities. The light attack fighters could patrol more area over lets say rotary wing and still carry a decent payload. Peer, near-peer for the US and NATO/EU is a lot different thank Peer, near-peer for all of Africa. Given how much Russia and China have increased their presence in Africa of late, this continent will continue to see perpetual unrest.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:24 pm

I think people are getting a bit confused. Fighter aircraft perform air to air. Attack aircraft perform air to ground

In the Gulf War 95+% of the missions were hitting ground targets. All of the missions being talked about here are air to ground missions. Used armed helicopters or even a SU-25 are a better option than an armed trainer.

The A-10 is clearly the best option for a cheap aircraft to hit the largest spectrum of ground targets. I'd even suggest removing the GAU-8 cannon completely. The gun is nearly 2,000kg when loaded and probably wouldn't be used often in the newer mission profile. This would save 15% of the empty weight, improving range and acceleration a fair bit. A 70mm rocket pod with the newer guided missiles are an excellent substitute.
 
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seahawk
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Sun Feb 07, 2021 3:40 pm

Helicopters are way more expensive to run than an armed trainer.

USAF

T-6A goes for about 800$ per hour
T-38C about 4000 $ per hour
UH-60M 4300 $ per hour
AH-64E 5800 $ per hour
UH-72A 2900$ per hour

https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals ... 19_b_c.pdf
 
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kitplane01
Topic Author
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:40 pm

seahawk wrote:
Helicopters are way more expensive to run than an armed trainer.

USAF

T-6A goes for about 800$ per hour
T-38C about 4000 $ per hour
UH-60M 4300 $ per hour
AH-64E 5800 $ per hour
UH-72A 2900$ per hour

https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals ... 19_b_c.pdf


Love number data. Thanks
 
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kitplane01
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Re: How useful are light fighters?

Mon Feb 08, 2021 5:03 am

Malaysia hopes to buy 36 light fighters / trainers in the next three years. They will use them both a trainers and in operations against insurgents.

They currently operate 28 Su-30s and 8 F/A-18s, so they can afford and do know how to operate mainline fighter aircraft.

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