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"The Taliban hates the A-10. That’s good enough for me." -- Senator Lindsey Graham

In February of 2012, a report surfaced that said the U.S. military was looking to retire single-purpose aircraft in favor of multirole aircraft in large part due to budget cuts. One of the aircraft that was among those to be killed off was the A-10 Warthog. However, it looks as though some lawmakers want the venerable Warthog to fly for many more years.
 
The A-10 is a dedicated ground attack jet that has been providing close air support for decades. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R) has announced that she will push for amendments to be made to legislation that would retire the A-10 fleet.
 
The USAF has proposed the removal of the A-10 from its fleet by 2019 in part due to a 2011 deficit-reduction law. There are lawmakers on both sides of the isle that want to keep the A-10 flying, but they will have to find cuts in the budget elsewhere to make that happen.

 
The USAF maintains that by cutting the A-10 from the fleet it will save $3.5 billion over several years.
 
Senator Lindsey Graham (R) says that he has "been in theater enough to know what the troops say about the A-10." Graham added, "The Taliban hates the A-10. That’s good enough for me."
 
According to reports, many senior Army leaders, special operations troops, and soldiers in the field oppose the retirement of the fleet. Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Oiderno recently stated, "Obviously, we prefer the A-10. [Soldiers] can see it, they can hear it, they have confidence in it."

Source: Defense News



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By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 11:15:41 AM , Rating: 5
Ah, not so much..

The F-35 could never move into the operational envelope that the A-10 has carved out for itself. When your taking on multiple tanks and ground positions, your aircraft has to be able to withstand repeated passes and tight turns while exposed to the enemy. That and you've got to be ready to re-attack should a target survive. It is assigned to venture into areas with still active radar guided guns as well as MANPADS. The only other AC even remotely close to filling the same role as well would be the SU-25.

The F-35 just doesn't have the slow speed maneuvering characteristics to linger over the battlefield to fill the role. Besides, stealth characteristics do you little good when the enemy can visually acquire you.

The USAF sees the F-35s ground attack role as lining up on a target, dropping a few precision guided weapons and/or AGMs and returning to base. Essentially, a near direct replacement for the F-16. Its weapon payload & gun could never do what the GAU-8 and A-10 hard points are designed for.


By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 1:08:05 PM , Rating: 4
If they can visually acquire you then they can visually guide their weapon against you. Most AAA and TAC SAMS, as well as some of the newer MANPADs, have that capability.

In fact the ability to use optical guidance has never really gone away, it has just been eclipsed over the years by automated systems.


By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 1:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
If I remember my training (From way back in the days) many STRAT SAMs like the Sa-2/3 have optical guidance. It prove quite effective in Vietnam when their radars were taken out.

In fact the Vietnamese would optically launch a missile and guide it most of the way to the target and switch on the radars for the final intercept. That way the AC's crew had very little warning time in which to respond. Proved very effective against the slow lumbering B-52s. This gave rise to rapid developments in the weasel programs.


By Jeffk464 on 4/14/2014 1:15:22 PM , Rating: 2
Just remember one of the key reasons that russia lost in Afghanistan is they were unwilling to put their SU 25's at risk when they needed to. Why did we loose again. :) eh oh yeah the enemy refuses to acknowledge that they lost.


By AntDX316 on 4/14/2014 11:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
cause the UAVs... do the same amount of dmg with less upkeep


By JediJeb on 4/23/2014 6:03:10 PM , Rating: 2
I have yet to see a UAV that carries that massive Gatling gun that the A-10 carrier. The amount of damage it does I just don't see UAVs doing.


By Hammer1024 on 4/14/2014 2:32:53 PM , Rating: 4
Folks... Let's get a bit... ok A LOT, more educated on what UAVs can and cannot do!

UAVs are missile magnets: THEY DO NOT DODGE!

They fly programmed way point flight paths: THEY DO NOT DODGE!

They do not take on targets of opportunity!

The only UAVs that DO NOT use way point flight are hand held squad and platoon units.

Of these, the only lethal one is a switchblade with a combat radius of a few miles and in direct line of sight of the operator.

The Predator uses a loiter scheme to hit it's targets.

UAVs are NOT piloted by some guy with a joystick sitting in a room thousands of miles away; the communications delay is a killer (22,000 up from the ground station to a satellite, 22,000 miles to another satellite, then 22,000miles down to the UAV, return path the same). By the time the information is encrypted, sent out and the UAV responded, it's 10's of seconds LATER!

GET OVER THIS UAV obsession please. You have no idea what you're talking about.


By corduroygt on 4/14/2014 3:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
You are grossly misinformed about all of that.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0dHKWjXn-E


By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2014 5:44:16 PM , Rating: 2
Fact is anyone saying a UAV can do the job of the A-10 is a certifiable retard.

Get over this UAV obsession please. They are NOT combat aircraft. Yeah they're pretty good at lobbing a missile into some guys undefended cave or shack, but that's about it.


By Strunf on 4/15/2014 7:50:46 AM , Rating: 2
That's an ad... the communications lag is a real barrier for real-time movements, however one could easily see the operator sending instructions, target this, go there etc then the UAV would follow the instructions by itself.

If you play computer games you would know lag is a huge handicap and most people play using wired connections that are much faster and with a lower ping than anything a satellite can provide.


By dgingerich on 4/14/2014 12:09:51 PM , Rating: 1
The A-10 is a great ground support plane, that's for sure. It has been doing an exemplary job for decades, but there are other things that can take its place in ground support.

The F-35 is there for the tank busting side of things. It takes out the large artillery and armored vehicles. The big difference is that it can be in and out of range of tactical (man carried) anti-air missiles before enemy troops could even get one out to fire. It's faster and flies higher. This is the role that the F-16 did so well.

Unmanned Reaper drones are there for ground troop support, and Reapers have a much longer linger time. They're less useful for "shock and awe" tactics which can demoralize the enemy troops, but they can take out small targets upon request with far less time from request to action than an A-10 can. In addition, they're less able to be targeted by hand carried anti-air missiles, and even if they're taken down, there isn't near the cost, in lives or money, of losing an A-10. This would fit that role of going behind enemy lines with still active anti-air and taking out the air defenses to allow the other planes to come in and pound the enemy.

Finally, there's the AC-130. It can be used for that immensely demoralizing "shock and awe" type attack, plus it can do it for longer. An A-10 can dive in and put 20mm shells in a small, single area for 15-20 seconds and scare the hell out of enemy troops, making them need a change of pants. An AC-130 can do that same area for 2-3 minutes with 30mm or 40mm cannon fire as well as 105mm cannons. The Spectre can certainly scare the hell out of enemy troops better than the A-10, and leave a lot more of them dead in the process. Sure, they're easy targets for anti-air missiles, but the A-10 would as well under those circumstances.

Besides, the maker of the A-10 is bankrupt. They can't make any more. Parts for repair are also getting harder to come by and more expensive. It could probably still serve for a while, but it is still close to time to let them go. The 486 chip was still used until 2007, and it did the job well, but it eventually needed to be retired and replaced.


By Bad-Karma on 4/14/2014 12:53:53 PM , Rating: 4
I'm with you 100% for most of your post.

But there a couple of points where I thing your off the mark.

1.) Armor travels together. So for "tank busting" the F-35 doesn't have the payload capacity to bring against a column of armor. Remember that they aren't going to fly without some air-to-air capability so those small weapons bays are further reduced by toting air-to-air missiles. Also the F-35's gun isn't really enough for the top armor of modern tanks.

2.) For close air support faster and higher is not always better. When you make a high speed pass over the battlefield you alert the enemy to your presence. Your bomb load or missile may have missed requiring a second/third/.... run, and after the first your targets probably have moved to seek cover, but they are also ready for you. And for the F16, it is actually far worse at medium altitude bombing than you'd imagine even with modern upgrades. It's another reason the AF wants the F-35 to include advancements that the 16 can't incorporate. Gen Chuck Horner proved this in Desert Storm when the Iraqis use of radar guide AAA & tac sams pushed the fight into the mid-high altitude bombing. The Brits tended to stick to low level where they were more effective but had far worse attrition. Horner was very wise to do this after he witnessed what the Egyptians were able to do to low flying Israeli aircraft. So for desert Storm we had worse bomb damage rates but far better attrition. Smart weapons changes the game a little in Close-Air-Support for not by much.

3.)Currently the reaper drones are more ISR focused with couple/few small stings (Hellfires) available should the opportunity arise. CS often demands a far more heavy weapons load like cluster munitions. The other issue with the reapers is that they are currently propeller driven, which means they take quite a bit of time to redeploy to the needed area. Newer faster drones with bigger payloads are under development and R&D but are still quit a ways out to being fielded.

4.) A drone lingering over the battlefield means that the enemy can bring far more anti-aircraft weapons to bare. Trying to linger at higher altitudes inside the envelope of something like a mobile SA-10/20 would be near impossible. Even some of the far more mobile TAC sams could get at you.

5.) The A-10 still has life in it as the fleet just got new wings/avionics and engines.But your right it does need to be replaced eventually. Just not with something inferior.


By gamerk2 on 4/14/2014 3:29:13 PM , Rating: 4
You seem to be disregarding the A-10's primary armament:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avenger_cannon

Who needs payload when you have several thousand rounds of explosives built in? Compared to what, four hardpoints to carry bombs? Hope the enemy never travels in groups larger then four...

Hence the fatal flaw of the JSF: No carrying capacity. You are too limited to deal with large groups of enemies without dispatching multiple jets, which immediately makes the A-10 a cheaper option.

Hence why the Army LOVES the thing. I say screw the old agreements, and give the cost of operating the A-10 to the army. Problem solves.


By MrBlastman on 4/14/2014 3:47:15 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on what angle you shoot at them from. You typically want to shoot the MBTs from top-down (i.e. above them) or from behind. The front and sides are most heavily armored.


By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2014 5:57:51 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Avenger isn't that effective against MBT's. A-10 would most likely use missiles to take out a T-80 or similar.


I just have to ask...

Are you a retard?

Saying the A-10's main gun isn't "effective" against tanks is like saying a sledgehammer isn't "effective" against an egg!

If was specifically DESIGNED to defeat heavy armor. Wtf? It fires some of the most advanced armor-defeating rounds on the planet, at 4,000 rounds a minute.

A T-80 tank, hell even a T-90, might as well be an aluminum Coke can as far as the A-10 is concerned.


By sorry dog on 4/14/2014 6:37:25 PM , Rating: 1
Saying the A-10 is a flying tank shouldn't be taken to literally. It's still an airplane, and airplanes can be shot down. If an A-10 can go to a particular area because the risk is acceptable then an F16, Beagle, or Stubby (F35) can go there too. Yes, the cannon is awesome, but so are JDAMs, LMAVs, and even from 7,000 feet an F16 CEP with a dumb bomb is around 80 feet or less. The Manpads aren't so effective over that altitude and the 35 can operated even if there are some lingering medium and long range SAM threats.

Now, if Congress wants to give the AF some extra money to keep some A10's around then I'm all for it. But in the sequestration era where some hard choices have to made, I'd rather the guys flying and fighting or at least used to do so make the decisions instead of the desk pilots.


By Fritzr on 4/14/2014 9:48:39 PM , Rating: 4
You do realize that it is the desk pilots saying kill the A10 and it is the troops who will be requesting air support wanting an A10 to stop by when they ask for support.

In short, it is the people who will not need the assistance who are in favor of the F16/F35/AC130 ... the people who will be under fire when they request assistance prefer to see an A10 in their sky.


By JediJeb on 4/23/2014 6:19:03 PM , Rating: 3
Come in close, low and slow as most ground support does( few hundred feet altitude and maybe 200mph) and ask a pilot if they would rather be in an A-10 or an F16/F35. Just having that heavy titanium bathtub to sit in help a lot when you have troops on the ground lobing small arms fire at you, or even some AA. Also in the first Gulf War one A-10 actually flew home with half of a wing blown off, not so easy for something like the F16/F35 to do.

I used to live near where some A10s trained. You really don't know they are coming until they are right on top of you. I have been standing in a field when one came over only a few hundred feet above the ground and by the time you could see it over the trees, it would have been too late to run. An F16 would either need to be much higher up or flying too fast to really react when it saw you in that situation, the A10 though could have taken us out easily.


By corduroygt on 4/15/2014 9:02:01 AM , Rating: 2
You're the bald retard buddy. Ask A-10 pilots if you don't believe me. It was designed to kill 60's tanks and anything lighter. Newer tanks have better armor and the A-10 pilot will be going for the Maverick missiles against something like a T-90 or Leopard or Abrams.


By bug77 on 4/15/2014 9:53:24 AM , Rating: 2
According to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAU-8_Avenger#Specifi... the Avenger can penetrate 30mm of armor at 1,000m or 69mm at 500m. Couldn't even break open the front of a Tiger.


By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2014 6:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
Wtf? The A-10 destroyed over 1,000 Iraqi tanks in Desert Storm. A LOT of those were gun kills.

And no A-10 pilot would bother attacking the "front" of a tank where the armor is thickest. Duh! They hit the top of the turret, shredding the occupants and setting off the magazine. Or attack the rear, and obliterate the engine.

quote:
the Avenger can penetrate 30mm of armor at 1,000m or 69mm at 500m.


Sure a single round. What you need to think about is the cumulative effect of dozens of hits of a depleted Uranium penetrator within milliseconds of each other does to armor.

Do your own research. There's hundreds of videos from Desert Storm of A-10's strafing tanks to death.


By therealnickdanger on 4/17/2014 10:41:13 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed. I wrote a report on the A10 for school during the first Gulf War with a section dedicated the Avenger. The GAU8 is ridiculous. It's like getting hit by Thor's Mjolnir 60 times per second (if such a thing existed). Insane kinetic energy + insane accuracy = insane damage. The recoil force alone is greater than the thrust output of one of the two engines. In the hands of a skilled pilot, it's like the finger of God.

Yes, I have a slight man-crush on the A10.


By Khato on 4/14/2014 12:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it's the adoption of drones that really starts cutting into the A-10's domain. While drones can't carry as much ordinance, and they of course lack anything comparable to the GAU-8, they're quite capable of carrying out pretty much any mission that the A-10 can. About the only difference would be that they're not a flying tank - if they get hit, they're probably going to go down.

That said the A-10 is still an awesome and unique aircraft and I'd certainly be sad to see it go.


By Jeffk464 on 4/14/2014 3:37:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure the AC130 also has mini guns on it. I use to have to listen to them fire them off from my house.


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