backtop


Print 53 comment(s) - last by Sahrin.. on Jan 6 at 1:43 PM


F35 arrives at Eglin  (Source: Lockheed Martin)
Lockheed Martin finally delivers F-35 JSF aircraft to Eglin AFB

Lockheed Martin made an important stride towards proving the financial burden of its F-35 program is worthwhile, when it recently delivered a production jet at Eglin Air Force Base. The private contractor believes the F-35 will help modernize the U.S. military, and help allies keep their airspace safe (for a hefty price). 

The F-35 model Eglin took delivery of was the F-35 Lightning II model, and the jet requires a traditional takeoff and landing. Eglin first expected to receive the fighter in November, but design and engineering issues forced a delay until July.

"We're incredibly proud of our government/industry team whose steadfast dedication to this program led to the successful delivery of AF-9 today,” noted Larry Lawson, Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager. "The exceptional capabilities of this 5th generation fighter are now in the very capable hands of the men and women of the 33rd Fighter Wing who are ushering in a new era of F-35 training. We look forward to delivering our full complement of F-35s to the Emerald Coast in the months and years ahead.”

The F-35's introduction at Eglin AFB has led to excitement in the region, with base officials anxiously waiting since late 2009. 

Even though Eglin personnel had to wait longer than expected, preparation work continued in simulators and in classrooms. Flight operators are now trying to figure out how to split up flight and training time among an anxious staff hoping to jump into the cockpit and have wrench time with the aircraft.

The F-35 Lightning II and other variations of the pricey fighter jet will be utilized by the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and several other allied nations.

Despite being a program with extremely high hopes, the F-35 has endured a bumpy road as budget issues and continued delays plague the military. Lockheed recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that some models will cost a whopping $771 million per aircraft -- with a $264M down payment requested to the Pentagon.

To make matters worse, necessary F-22 upgrades also are overbudget, and U.S. lawmakers are growing tired of Lockheed Martin's development issues.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: $771 million my ass
By Reclaimer77 on 7/18/2011 1:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
USAF, true. But that's what Army and Marine choppers are for :)

The A-10 wasn't designed to fight insurgents, it was designed for destroying armor, airfields, and as you say battlefield interdiction.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Manch on 7/18/2011 2:02:25 PM , Rating: 2
A-10's was designed soley for Close Air Support. That includes armor, enemy personnel/insurgents. It's doing what it's intended for.

The A10 was designed to withstand small arms fire, shoulder fired anti aircraft weapons, as well as take significant damage.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/18/2011 2:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
You're wrong. The A-10 is designed for Close Air Support. Killing insurgents is one of the responsibilities of CAS aircraft. Striking airfields? Not so much.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Reclaimer77 on 7/18/2011 3:02:43 PM , Rating: 1
You can put all the titles on it you want, but battling droves of Soviet tanks in a Cold War scenario was at the forefront of the A-10's design. You think that awesome cannon was designed to fight troops? Overkill wouldn't you say? The fact that the entire aircraft was pretty much built around a specific weapon platform might clue you in as to the designers intentions.

However that doesn't mean the A-10 does not excel at CAS. But to say it was "designed" to fight insurgency is absurd. The term "insurgency" wasn't even used when it was being designed.

We're just splitting hairs here, really. The A-10 is a "ground attack" plane. You want it to do CAS, it can do that. Want it to shred tanks and armor? No problem.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/18/2011 3:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
No, we are not splitting hairs. You're just wrong.

1) I never said that the A-10 was "designed to kill insurgents." I said that the "A-10 is the most effective (USAF) aircraft at fighting insurgents." RTFQ.

2)On the other hand, you claimed that the A-10 was designed for destroying "armor, airfields and battlefield interdiction." Airfield strikes with A-10s, are you kidding? That's what F-15Es, F/A-18s and F-16s are for.

I don't think you get the A-10. Sure, the A-10 is a "ground attack plane," but only because it was designed from the ground up as a close air support aircraft, which entails delivering munitions to support soldiers on the ground. That's what distinguishes the A-10 from other "ground attack aircraft" like the F-16 and F/A-18.

It just so happened that during the A-10s conception, soldiers on the ground were expected to defend against Soviet tanks, hence the reason for the GAU-30 in the A-10. In fact, I would argue that the Avenger is a CAS weapon with anti-armor capability, rather than an anti-armor weapon that has proved useful for CAS.

For straight up anti-armor, not CAS, a flight of F-15Es carrying eight GBU-12s each is arguably a more reliable, efficient and survivable solution than a flight of A-10s (i.e. "Tank Plinking").


RE: $771 million my ass
By Reclaimer77 on 7/18/2011 4:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It just so happened that during the A-10s conception, soldiers on the ground were expected to defend against Soviet tanks, hence the reason for the GAU-30 in the A-10. In fact, I would argue that the Avenger is a CAS weapon with anti-armor capability, rather than an anti-armor weapon that has proved useful for CAS.


Well I was pretty much with you until this. How can you argue that, I mean really. A CAS weapon with anti armor abilities? Bull! You don't wrap a plane around a cannon capable of penetrating main tank armor with a depleted uranium slug and call it a "CAS" weapon that just happens to have anti-armor capabilities. Come on, what are you trying to spin here?

quote:
For straight up anti-armor, not CAS, a flight of F-15Es carrying eight GBU-12s each is arguably a more reliable, efficient and survivable solution than a flight of A-10s (i.e. "Tank Plinking").


Too fast and not nearly maneuverable enough down low at those speeds. Tanks aren't always sitting out in an open field. To kill a tank, especially dug in ones, you first have to SEE the tanks. Tanks usually aren't alone either, you also have to engage support vehicles and anti-aircraft defenses. That's where the A-10 comes in.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/18/2011 7:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well I was pretty much with you until this. How can you argue that, I mean really. A CAS weapon with anti armor abilities? Bull! You don't wrap a plane around a cannon capable of penetrating main tank armor with a depleted uranium slug and call it a "CAS" weapon that just happens to have anti-armor capabilities. Come on, what are you trying to spin here?


Refer to the "Coloring Book for Real Life Hog pilots" (http://www.simhq.com/_air/air_053c.html).

The question is, what are you trying to spin? Do you even know what you're talking about? Short of a rear attack or a very steep dive (to reduce angle of incidence) to get at the top armor, the GAU-30 has trouble penetrating the armor of the T-62.

I wouldn't call a weapon that can only situationally take out a tank to be called an anti-tank weapon. The AGM-65 Maverick and AGM-114 Hellfire series of weapons are anti-tank weapons. Not only can they consistently penetrate enemy armor, these weapons allow the shooter to stay out of small arms/MANPADS range. The GAU-30 on the other hand has laughable armor penetration in comparison, and requires the A-10 to perform a predictable strafing run that exposes it to hostile AA fire (which normally wouldn't be risked unless said A-10 is doing CAS).

Hence, why the GAU-30 is a CAS weapon with anti-armor abilities.

quote:
Too fast and not nearly maneuverable enough down low at those speeds. Tanks aren't always sitting out in an open field. To kill a tank, especially dug in ones, you first have to SEE the tanks. Tanks usually aren't alone either, you also have to engage support vehicles and anti-aircraft defenses. That's where the A-10 comes in.


The F-15E is faster and higher, thus it can easily avoid anti-aircraft defenses that the A-10 would be exposed to. It's APG-70/63v3/4 AESA radar also can do high resolution SAR maps of the target area to identify enemy tanks, fortifications, etc. The radar is coupled with the IIR/EO targeting pod (LANTIRN or ATFLIR), which can be slaved onto ground targets and used to designate targets for 8-9 laser guided bombs?

In short, how can the A-10 possibly be better in a straight up anti-armor role (non-CAS)? It is more vulnerable to AA defenses and enemy fighters, and carries less anti-tank munitions than the F-15E.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Reclaimer77 on 7/18/2011 10:29:44 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
In short, how can the A-10 possibly be better in a straight up anti-armor role (non-CAS)? It is more vulnerable to AA defenses and enemy fighters, and carries less anti-tank munitions than the F-15E.


I just told you how.

The cheapest combat aircraft in the U.S. Air Force, the A-10, was responsible for over half of all Iraqi equipment losses, destroyed more tanks than any other aircraft (1,000), achieved the highest sortie rate, and the highest readiness rate of any U.S. Air Force combat aircraft in Desert Storm. At only $12 million each!!

So I guess you know more than the commanders on the scene. Because THEY sent in the A-10's. NOT F-15's.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/18/2011 11:28:20 PM , Rating: 2
That's your rational conclusion? Those commanders were "on the scene" for a war that happened 20 years ago. Things change.

But let's indulge you for a second. During Desert Storm, the Iraqi military was fully intact. F-15Es (and F-111s), in addition to "tank plinking," also struck airfields, SCUD sites, air defense and C3 nodes, infrastructure, suspected WMD factories/sites, etc. In comparison, A-10s did some daytime SCUD hunting but spent the majority of its time hunting tanks over Kuwait/Basra. That's one reason why A-10s scored more anti-armor kills.

Furthermore, forty-eight F-15Es participated in Desert Storm, versus 144 A-10 Thunderbolts participated in Desert Storm. Over 70 A-10s suffered some form of damage, with four shot down. In comparison, two F-15Es were shot down striking more heavily defended targets like airfields.

Over a decade later, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, F-15E strikes claimed 60% of the Iraqi Medina Republican Guard, in addition to its other strike missions. The Strike Eagle is clearly no slouch in the anti-armor role - I really don't get your hostile resistance to the notion that the F-15E can be a better anti-armor platform than the A-10 in a non-CAS role.

You gave up trying to argue that a 30mm cannon can reliably penetrate the armor of enemy tanks, so I guess I should credit you for progress.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Jeffk464 on 7/19/2011 1:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
Thats right, the reason is you could afford 144 A10's for the cost of 48 f15's. Plus A10's were less finicky so you could put a lot more sorties out of them, so basically a force multiplier. Ultimately warfare is not about who has the coolest most futuristic weapon or the best kill ration, its about who finally wins in the end. We absolutely decimated the Vietnamese in terms of high tech equipment and kill ratios, but in the end who was the victor? Germany always had the best most high tech equipment in WW2, but guess what they got overwhelmed with good enough equipment. Lesson learned you, might be better off in some circumstances with large numbers of cheaper, simpler, more rugged equipment. We are going to end up pulling out of Afghanistan with our superior fighting force because we can't afford our style of fighting.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Jeffk464 on 7/19/2011 1:25:01 PM , Rating: 2
I will give you the exception of your top fighter cap aircraft, you definitely want to have the absolute best aircraft for that role.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Reclaimer77 on 7/19/2011 3:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In comparison, A-10s did some daytime SCUD hunting but spent the majority of its time hunting tanks over Kuwait/Basra. That's one reason why A-10s scored more anti-armor kills.


Uhhh duh? Maybe because the A-10 was specifically designed and equipped to hunt tanks? It's not a coincidence that the A-10 gets the nod anytime we need a strike against enemy armor.

If you were correct, we would have used F-15's exclusively.

quote:
You gave up trying to argue that a 30mm cannon can reliably penetrate the armor of enemy tanks, so I guess I should credit you for progress.


Only in the front. Guess what? Tank treads aren't armored. And every A-10 jockey knows the rear of a tank is the sweet spot. The armor is thinner and the engine and fuel are there too. Claiming the 30mm cannon with depleted uranium penetrates and exploding rounds cannot decimate tanks is hilarious. Truly ignorant.

You just want to keep diminishing the A-10's anti-tank specialty in an effort to convince us it's a "close air support" craft exclusively. Keep dreaming. For CAS it doesn't need that uber cannon, it's such overkill.

The A-10 was designed with one thing and one thing only in mind; engaging enemy armor. Yes, it CAN do CAS. But the sooner you wrap your head around this utterly simple truth that better off we'll all be. The only reason "CAS" was tagged onto the A-10's role was a political one. The Air Force did not want the Army and Marines developing their own attack craft.

As far as F-15's doing the job against tanks...

The A-10 enjoys an extreme measure of agility and responsiveness that permits it to fly low and slow to employ terrain-masking techniques to thwart enemy defences. Its lower speed, combined with the higher lifting camber of the wing design, permits the A-10A to pull more g-forces at a lower given speed, making the A-10A highly maneuverable and agile. For comparison:

A-10: 3.5g, 180° turn, 320 knots
time to completion: 16 seconds
2,700 ft radius turn

F-16: 6g, 180° turn, 600 knots
time to completion: 17 seconds
3,620 ft radius turn


http://russillosm.com/A-10%20FAQ%20rev1.2.pdf

Are you starting to get the picture here? Fighters are air superiority craft, not mud eaters. The F-16 can out-turn the F-15, so this is a good comparison. Notice how the optimal turning speed of the F-16 is almost double the A-10, and it still gets out-turned!

quote:
I really don't get your hostile resistance to the notion that the F-15E can be a better anti-armor platform than the A-10 in a non-CAS role.


Then you don't "get" the A-10.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/19/2011 6:43:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Uhhh duh? Maybe because the A-10 was specifically designed and equipped to hunt tanks? It's not a coincidence that the A-10 gets the nod anytime we need a strike against enemy armor. If you were correct, we would have used F-15's exclusively.


Haha, "duh"? You completely miss the point - we can't use F-15Es because they were tasked with other missions. Unlike the A-10, which is more specifically tasked to hunting tanks. So of course the A-10 would score more tank kills.

You also clearly did not check out my link (which is a coloring book that tells real A-10 pilots what parts of an enemy tank to aim for). Otherwise, you wouldn't engage in such crazy talk. It takes two seconds to check out, and you can't even do that.

quote:
Only in the front. Guess what? Tank treads aren't armored. And every A-10 jockey knows the rear of a tank is the sweet spot. The armor is thinner and the engine and fuel are there too. Claiming the 30mm cannon with depleted uranium penetrates and exploding rounds cannot decimate tanks is hilarious. Truly ignorant.


You have to be an idiot if you think a tiny little hole punched into the treads of a tank are going to hamper its mobility. These are tracked vehicles bud, they don't use tires. A hole is going to do zilch.

What is hilarious is claiming that a weapon that is only effective at killing tanks from the rear as an "anti-tank" weapon. Are the 25/30mm cannons on the modern APCs/IFVs "tank-busters" then? They are just as effective as the GAU-30 at taking out tanks in this respect.

What is also hilarious is your F-16 data. Not only are they irrelevant (these are "clean" configurations), but they are also wrong (the corner speed of the F-16 is not 600 kts, so why that specific performance parameter is used makes no sense and merits no further thought).

Furthermore, in the non-CAS, anti-armor/"tank-plinking" role, I fail to see why you would want the A-10's slow-speed agility, which only counts for CAS. There are no troops at risk on the ground, so there is no pressing need to provide a sustained battlefield presence. It's much safer to lob laser-guided bombs from 20-30 000 ft then do strafing runs at 2-8000 ft when you don't have to.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Manch on 7/19/2011 7:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
The 30mm cannon on the A10 fires at a higher rate of speed. It's projectiles also fly a hell of a lot faster than an APC's.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/19/2011 7:35:29 PM , Rating: 2
Muzzle velocity of the GAU-30 is inferior to the 25mm M242 cannon used in the M2/3 Bradley.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Manch on 7/19/2011 8:35:57 PM , Rating: 2
I stand corrected, they are slightly slower, but the rate of fire is ridiculous compared to the M242. That combined with 30mm vs 25mm it's no contest and not even comparable.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/20/2011 1:04:08 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are vastly over-estimating the penetration capabilities of the GAU-30, which is rated at 38mm at 1000m (which is extremely short range for a strafing run).

In comparison, the 25mm 25x137 Oerlikon round achieves a penetration of 36mm at 1000mm. The difference is negligible.

Furthermore, the faster fire rate of the GAU-30 comes at the cost of a higher dispersion (e.g. a "cone" of bullets vs. a beam of bullets).

http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/collecting%2023-28...


RE: $771 million my ass
By Manch on 7/19/2011 6:58:52 PM , Rating: 2
Anti-Armor is part of CAS! Read the links in my post below. Both of yall are correct about some aspects of the A-10 role, but yall are hoplessly fixed on different aspects.

Armor and Artillery are designed to do what? Decimate ground troops in large quanities! So how do you protect your troops? Blow the sh!t up! The AC used during Vietnam had 20mm guns which were inefficient against anything but light armor so a 30mm cannon became a requirement. Also they were fast but burned a lot of fuel and had poor loiter time. Helicopters could provide the loiter time but had poor survivability. And just like in WWII on the European front where tanks would often decide the outcomes of the battles and that concern remained during the cold war.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/19/2011 8:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Anti-Armor is part of CAS! Read the links in my post below. Both of yall are correct about some aspects of the A-10 role, but yall are hoplessly fixed on different aspects.


Anti-armor missions can and often are separate from CAS missions. The objective of the former is to destroy as much enemy equipment as possible; the objective of the latter is to support ground troops as best as possible.

To illustrate, a platoon of T-72 sitting 20 km from the front-line would not be a threat to friendly ground troops, and thus will be considered targets-of-opportunity for CAS aircraft. However, this platoon will be mission objective targets for a flight of F-15Es tasked with "preparing" that sector of the battlefield.

For more reading on the F-15Es and tank-plinking in Operation Desert Storm: http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/941015lesson...

"F-15Es flew 2,172 sorties during Desert Storm for only two losses. They delivered a total of 1,700 GBU-10 and GBU-12 500 pound and 2,000 pound laser-guided bombs. On several occasions, two F-15Es configured with the full LANTIRN system destroyed a confirmed total of 16 armored vehicles, using eight laser-guided bombs, each on a single mission . F-15Es with LANTIRN sometimes hit targets within a 10-foot area, and even destroyed one Iraqi helicopter using a laser guided bomb. The superior all-weather capabilities of the F-15E also made them the key fighter attacking the Iraqi forces fleeing towards Basra on the so-called "road of death."

http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/EARS/Hallionp...

"In particular, the advent of routine around-the-clock laser bombing of fielded enemy forces in the Gulf War constituted a new phase in the history of air warfare. These attacks were not classic close air support, or battlefield air interdiction, but, instead, given the level of accomplishment over time, went far beyond the levels of effectiveness traditionally implied by such terms. Indeed, the vast majority were made in the 39 days prior to the ground operation when the coalition's land forces were, for the most part, waiting for their war to begin. Yet the Iraqi army was, in effect, mortally wounded in this time. These attacks, against Iraq's mechanized formations and artillery, can best be described as a form of strategic attack directed against unengaged but fielded enemy forces, what might be termed DEA: "Degrade Enemy Army." The combination of laser-guided bombs from F-111F's and F-15E's, together with Maverick missiles using imaging infrared thermal sensors fired by A-10's and F-16's were devastating, as were laser-guided bombs from British Tornadoes and Buccaneers, and AS-30L laser-guided missiles fired from French Air Force Jaguars. Particularly deadly were F-111F night "tank plinking" strikes using 500 lb. GBU-12 laser-guided bombs. On February 9, for example, in one night of concentrated air attacks, forty F-111F's destroyed over 100 armored vehicles. Overall, the small 66-plane F-111F force was credited with 1,500 kills of Iraqi tanks and other mechanized vehicles. Air attacks by F-15E's and Marine A-6E's in the easternmost section of the theater averaged over thirty artillery pieces or armored vehicles destroyed per night. "


RE: $771 million my ass
By Manch on 7/19/2011 9:54:52 PM , Rating: 2
yeah I replying to reclaimers counter argument:

quote:
You just want to keep diminishing the A-10's anti-tank specialty in an effort to convince us it's a "close air support" craft exclusively. Keep dreaming. For CAS it doesn't need that uber cannon, it's such overkill.


Just like the every other AC in our arsenal, it has been adapted to perform enhanced roles, but this whole argument came about the intended design/role of the A10 which is CAS and which anti-armor is very much apart of, hence the 30mm cannon is not overkill.

Like reclaimer said to you and I said, both of yall are splitting hairs.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Mudhen6 on 7/20/2011 1:10:48 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not splitting hairs. Killing enemy tanks that are not threatening friendly troops is by definition not "close air support."

Battlefield Interdiction missions may also involve killing enemy tanks. These are also not considered CAS missions.

I've presented proof/links multiple times already, but you and Reclaimer insist on being absolutely rigid in your beliefs. You specifically cannot seem to grasp the concept that killing enemy tanks does not automatically equate to "Close Air Support."


RE: $771 million my ass
By johnsonx on 7/19/2011 7:25:14 PM , Rating: 2
lol@the a-10 coloring book page 4, a view of the underside of a T-62:

"color the bottom of the tank green and yourself brown -- you dumb $h!t and A-10 will not fit underneath a T-62 tank and remain airborne."


RE: $771 million my ass
By johnsonx on 7/19/2011 7:26:42 PM , Rating: 2
argh! "and" was supposed to be "an", as in "you dumb $h!t, an A-10 will not..."


RE: $771 million my ass
By Manch on 7/18/2011 7:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
The A10 is better suited for Anti Armor. Tanks usually role in packs(see gulf war 1)and are supported by anti aircraft. The ability of the A10 to strafe and destroy multiple tanks while providing high loiter time/high survivability thru AA batteries is paramount.

Even todays fighters can be taken down with 20mm AA. Plus the turnaround time for the F15's/16/18's is ridiculously long compared to an A10. Of course 22's can dance around all of these AC. While a 22 can actually cricle strafe a target on the ground, it's just not armored enough to take that kind of fire.


RE: $771 million my ass
By Manch on 7/18/2011 7:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
The A10 was developed for CAS bc the USAF realized they had an inadequate response during Vietnam. Part of CAS is blowing up tanks, artillery batteries and SAM sites, and laying waste to ground troops, to protect our ground forces and support aircraft. It was developed in response to the lack of survivability of at the time current aircraft performing CAS missions in Vietnam. The requirements were later modified to require tank busting abilties, not just light armor in light of the possibility of a ground war in Europe, and mandated the 30mm cannon. The A10 is also the second lane to carry the thunderbolt name. It was name after a WWII plane(P47) made by Republic that was extremely good at performing CAS missions. It wasn't designed to just kill ground troops, but it was designed soley for CAS.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/air...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Republic_A-...

http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp...


"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki