A-10 Thunderbolt

Discussion in 'History' started by 1911NUT, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. Rex in OTZ

    Rex in OTZ Well-Known Member

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    The A-10 hasn’t always been so plain. One of the most obscure is the frosty-painted “Snow Hog” from early in the warplane’s career. This white and very dark green — almost black — Warthog flew for several days during Exercise Cool Snow Hog (yes, really) in March 1982.
    one of the Warthogs received the winter paint job, and the pair of ground attackers moved to a “forward operating location” in Kotzebue, Alaska for the March “Cool Snow Hog” exercise, according to an official Air Force historical review in 2007.
    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/in-1982-gorgeous-a-10-snow-hogs-trained-in-alaska-fb972d3c0160

    http://www.eielson.af.mil/News/Comm...arctic-camouflage-makes-eielsons-hogs-unique/

    http://warthognews.blogspot.com/2012/01/10-80-0221-in-experimental-arctic.html?m=1
     

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  2. Rex in OTZ

    Rex in OTZ Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the USAF brought a couple A-10's of which only one was a 'Snow Hog' to Ralf Wein Memorial Airport (OTZ) for the exercise. :D

    Almost as exciteing as when in October 1962 when Captain Charles Maultsby emergency landed his U-2.

    The 1980's airport & runway is way different than the 1960 airstrip right in the middle of town.

    https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/nsa/cuba_mis_cri/dobbs/maultsby.htm

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.adn.com/alaska-life/we-alaskans/2017/06/09/when-off-course-u-2-spy-plane-out-of-alaska-nearly-triggered-war/?outputType=amp-type
     

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018

  3. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

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    kbd, the AC-130J is my second favorite aircraft. It is truly a kick-a$$ aircraft that is, BTW, older than the A-10...in terms of sheer firepower (death from the sky), it is precise and always welcome to show up by the ground-pounders. You'll not find me disparaging it at all.

    The last of your posting suggests it can also be used for moving equipment and troops, which it can and is a real plus. But it also highlights some concerns I raised: it could be chopped to other missions - sometimes to the detriment of on-call direct support of ground-pounders.

    One of the big reasons the Army (and USMC) went to armed helos was because of quick availability and C2. The A-10 was partially as a result of that. A-10 pilots get "down and dirty"; AC-130s are a bit more stand-off, but universally praised by those soldiers and Marines who get its awesome support. Kinda the difference between Army Infantry and Army Field Artillery, or FASCOs and bomber crews. They all put their butt on the line, for which I am grateful, but a FASCO, or grunt, or AH-64 (and AH-1) crews, and A-10 pilots have a bond because it is more personal, visceral.

    To be sure, one of my Warrants when I was in the Azores (mid-late '80s) had been an infantryman in RVN: his unit was being over-run and the commander called in close-air support; "Danger Close". By the time an AC-130 showed up, the BGs were inside the wire. When asked by the pilot of the AC-130, the ground commander called in fire on his own position and told his troops to hunker down where possible. With great trepidation knowing his fires would likely injure or kill fellow Americans, the AC-130 shot up the place and saved the unit from annihilation by all counts.

    My Warrant was hit in the leg by one of those rounds, which was why he was transferred to the Transportation Corps as a Watercraft ("Marine") Warrant.

    When he arrived in the Azores, we became good buds since we were both ex-Infantry. At the USAF O'Club one night soon after he arrived, I introduced him to the USAF Air-Base Group Commander. They chatted for a bit, did the "where have you been, what have you done", etc. and eventually got to their service as fellow RVN vets. It turned out the USAF ABG Commander was the pilot of that AC-130...

    For the rest of my time there, they were best of buddies and always introduced the other as either "he shot me - wanna see my scar???" or "I shot him - should have aimed better". The ABG Commander was grateful to speak with a survivor of one of the most difficult decisions one ever had to make, as well as the deep appreciation my Warrant had for his actions to save him and his unit. It was also very reassuring (first-hand) to the ABG Commander that he had, indeed, saved countless lives.

    So I have a great respect for both the A-10 and the AC-130 (and its predecessor the AC-47). It is just that the A-10s are generally more responsive because of their numbers, plus the guy talking to you is also the guy pulling the trigger...
     
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  4. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm waiting for an AC-17 with a 155 gun and two 30MM gatlings.:D
     
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  5. 1911NUT

    1911NUT Active Member

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    The C-130 airframe is Timeless. It can do it all. and with J.A.T.O. it can do it from a short field or even the deck of a carrier.
     
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  6. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    RJF22553,

    I've watched the development of turboprop powered military aircraft with some interest. I think we can use them to more affordably execute some of the missions traditionally conducted by fast jet combat aircraft. I'm not opining that we should scrap or replace our A-10 fleet, just that we use more affordable aircraft against less capable adversaries.

    Goal
    The general idea here is to limit the use of expensive and operationally limited single seat fast jet aircraft that require concrete runways or aircraft carriers in secure locations. Such fighters were primarily designed to fight improbable conventional wars against peer level adversaries. No matter what claims are made to the contrary by their designers or even how our fast jets are employed, existing airframes like the A-10, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, and F-35 were primarily designed for strike missions against specific types of targets. Until the US runs up against a true peer level adversary, that sort of specialization is incredibly costly and wasteful when used against less capable adversaries.

    Background
    The current generation of turboprop powered aircraft like the AT-6, A-29, C-27, and C-130 are every bit as effective in actual use in low to moderate threat environments as fast jets because modern technology permits them to fly nearly as fast as and turn nearly as tightly as the small turbofan powered attack and transport aircraft that they would replace on most operations.

    The turn radius of a lightly loaded C-130J is slightly tighter than an A-10C with a light load because of the lower wing loading and drag. The sustained turn rate of the C-130J is only a couple of degrees per second less than the maximum sustained turn rate of the A-10C. A C-130J with a light load can maintain a 17 degree per second turn. The maximum sustained turn rate for a completely clean A-10C is about 19 degrees per second. The C-130J has a shorter take-off and landing roll with a similar payload, too. A tracked landing gear system would cut ground pressure to about 1/3rd of what it is currently to enable true rough field operations. The gas turbine engines are somewhat less susceptible to FOD than the turbofans since they're higher off the ground.

    Against a peer level adversary with an Integrated Air Defense System (IADS), The A-10, F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 will simply result in lots of lost aircraft and aircrews. The A-10 can perform special support missions that the others were never designed for, but that's it. I think it's wasted capability against adversaries without IADS and suicidal against adversaries with IADS. If there's an assault mission that requires full payload, then the C-130J can carry as many weapons as the A-10C, loiter longer, and fly just as fast.

    Platform Utility
    It would be incredibly useful to have a cost effective general purpose assault / light transport aircraft that can fly through lightly (small arms and radar guided AAA) to moderately (IR threats) well defended airspace and attack enemy helicopters or attack aircraft, vehicles, field fortifications, and personnel, as required. Spectre gunships and Harvest Hawk bomb trucks area already executing part of this mission.

    Proposal
    My suggestion is that a portion of our C-130J fleet be configured such that the main gear sponsons are extended forward to contain internal storage bays for munitions or guns. That way, the cargo hold can still carry light armored vehicles / soldiers / cargo for resupply. The flat plate area that affects drag doesn't change, apart from when the aircraft is turning, so range and cargo capacity is largely the same.

    Even against poorly trained and equipped adversaries, our helicopters are painfully slow and thus ridiculously vulnerable to ground fire. Someone needs to inform the airborne that helicopters are not the only ride into battle, or even the best in many cases.

    The USAF also doesn't want to take the chance that a cannon or heat seeker will take down an irreplaceable fast jet. I agree, but the troops still need support, so I started looking at available solutions using existing platforms and systems upgrades in novel ways to improve general and specific capabilities that are always required to win land battles.

    Required Upgrades
    The Super Herc needs the APG-81 and DAS from the F-35, internal weapons bays for whatever mix of AIM-9X / AIM-120D / AGM-65 / AGM-114 / AGM-176 / APKWS / JDAM / SDB is required by the mission, laser pods on the wing pylons to blind incoming missiles, and armor for crew and engines to complete its defensive suite.

    The pair of pilots and an observer / weapon system operator provides more situational awareness than a single pilot can ever have. It should always fly minimally armed so it can escort itself and handle as-required attack duties using PGM's and guns. Once you have a clear target, PGM's are more useful. Before you have a target, strafing runs with automatic cannons tend to distract people from what they were previously doing.

    I was thinking a pair of Sidewinders, four to eight Griffin or Hellfire, and a pair of 30mm chain guns would work for most use cases. Other weapons could be fitted as required. That load out would represent roughly 3,000lbs of weapons.

    The C-130J needs a twin tail configuration like the A-10 combined with wingtip winglets to replace the single large vertical stab. This will prevent hits to the stab from completely disabling the rudder.
     
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  7. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Combined Arms Operations
    I wanted to simultaneously introduce the concept of truly light tracked support vehicles that could be parachute deployed as part of a maneuver force that the C-130J would deploy and provide air support for after the drop. These vehicles would be loosely based on the Japanese Type 60 106mm recoilless rifle carrier. The armor package would be rated to stop 14.5mm or lesser threats and make use of an active protection system to defend against RPG's and ATGM's. The personnel carrier vehicles would be about 14'L x 7'W x 4'H (very similar to the Type 60), less weapons mounts (a remotely operated M2 or Mk19), and carry 4 light infantry in reclined seats in a separate compartment behind the driver.

    Instead of steel tracks and armor, aluminum or titanium and composites combined with rubber band tracks would lower the vehicle weight. A fuel cell, super capacitors, and electric motors would power the vehicle to minimize noise and vibration. The super caps provide burst acceleration to get to speed quickly and then the constant lower power requirement is provided by the fuel cell. The power requirement is low because the vehicle is light. It's direct drive with a pair of high torque permanent magnet brushless electric motors, which provides redundancy and eliminates the requirement for a transmission system.

    All vehicles will use a 360 camera system, similar to my Cadillac Escalade, so that the driver has very good situational awareness of what's going on around him or her. This should mostly eliminate the need to drive around exposed to incoming fire.

    The APS system can also include buckshot cartridges to discourage enemy infantry from approaching the vehicle. This system has already been tested by DARPA and was deployed on a few Hummers in Afghanistan. It works quite well, it's light and compact, and is essentially a bolt-on system that any vehicle can use, including civilian trucks. It uses dense inert metal explosives to pre-detonate incoming explosives, essentially turning the incoming round into a lot of otherwise harmless pieces of low velocity shrapnel, and the effects are exceptionally directional to limit the hazard to nearby infantry.

    The automatic cannon carrier variant would mount M230, Mk242, or Mk44 chain guns to chew through light cover and field fortifications. The ammunition that each gun fires is most suitable for a specific type of target. Other types of weapons like Gatling guns could also be mounted.

    The light tank variant would carry a 105mm gun based on a very light and low-recoil design that IWI created for the Israelis. This would primarily be loaded with explosive and buckshot rounds to support infantry assaults and is not intended to attack other tanks. The gun will use an autoloader so that no additional crew members are required.

    The anti-tank variant would carry 8 Griffin or Hellfire or Javelin, as is appropriate for the expected target type. Hellfire for MBT's, Griffin for lightly armored vehicles, and Javelin for trucks or field fortifications or other specialty targets.

    The air defense variant would carry 8 Sidewinder for defense against attack aircraft, 4 AMRAAM for defense against tactical fighters, or 16 Stingers for defense against drones.

    The tanker variant would carry a bladder of fuel for the fuel cells.

    All variants would have a common cargo area with mount points for the weapon system or fuel bladder or accommodations for infantry. The infantry would deploy by having the vehicle move forward at low speed while they roll out the back so the vehicle never stops moving. They're mere inches above the ground, so they basically roll off the ramp, rather than stop and try to get up from their seats while crouched to exit the vehicle. It's a "gravity assist" thing, rather than fighting gravity in your gear.

    I was thinking that the infantry variant should contain a small but separate section that contains extra ammo. I did actually mean "light" when I said light infantry. Everyone will have a light carbine (5.56mm or 7.62mm) or a grenade launcher and pistol. Nobody is going to carry heavy weapons or insane quantities of ammo. That's what the vehicle is for.

    I recognize there are times when a rocket or missile or heavy caliber rifle is needed, but these vehicles are going to be in the mix with the people they're supporting. That wasn't possible before because even the M113 was too big / heavy / slow / un-maneuverable. They keep making these things more expensive / vulnerable / less generally useful as a function of size, noise, weight, and fuel consumption. It's time to reverse that trend with intelligent protection. Some things are not survivable, even in an Abrams tank.

    All of these vehicles would be so small and light that a CH-53 could carry them internally and a V-22 could sling load the vehicle, whatever works best. That means mobility is not limited to fixed wing aircraft.

    It's not perfect, but it's very quiet and low profile to make it a difficult target to find and hit, the ground pressure exerted is lower than an adult human, it's usable on road or off road because the low weight and band tracks won't tear up low quality roads, and it requires very little fuel for sustainment.

    Anyway, that's the basic idea of how to use C-130's and ground maneuver units together to surround, pound, and destroy. Support from AT-6 or A-29 or A-10 may still be required in some cases, but this could add a new dimension to what the Air Force and Army or Marine Corps can do together.
     
  8. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sometimes, decisions are made to replace functional systems like the A-10, or the Beretta pistol because there is a lot of money to be made by a lot of people in the process.
     
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  9. TankTop

    TankTop Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hand of god



    What was someone saying about shoulder fired SAM’s?

     
  10. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    And sometimes they're made by people who love their country and want to do what ever is best to defend it, even to the point of cutting giveaways to the parasites.
     
  11. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Chain,

    I'd agree that replacing the A-10 is a mistake at this point since we've nothing to replace it with, but it's hard to argue that a jet that costs more than a C-130J to operate is more appropriate for killing illiterate terrorists when speed and turn rate are equal, but payload and range are substantially greater than for the A-10. A loaded A-10 climbs better under certain conditions, but that's about it. Both have armor for the crew and self-sealing fuel tanks, but the new (refurbished) 130J's have more advanced communications, countermeasures, and sensors because the Air Force refuses to upgrade their A-10's for reasons I won't claim to understand. We still need our A-10's in case the Russians try to invade Europe or the Chinese and North Koreans try to invade South Korea or the Iranians try to invade Iraq. Those are the only plausible scenarios where A-10's become a hard requirement, but they're every bit as vulnerable as turboprop aircraft to IADS and tactical fighters like the Su-30 and MiG-35.

    By purchasing new wings for the A-10 fleet and refurbishing / upgrading the existing C-130 fleet, we can get another two decades of service life out of those airframes. The tactical fighters (F-15 / F-16 / F/A-18 / F-22 / F-35) are simply too expensive for continuous use in combat operations where not required. We're grounding F-15's, F-16's, and F/A-18's faster than we can replace the airframe and engine components that have reached their service life limits and mishaps are increasing alarmingly as a function of reduced training time. By the Air Force and Navy's own logic, all F-15 / F-16 / F/A-18 airframes should be retired and replaced with F-35's because they're not survivable against IADS and their primary mission is strike against heavily defended targets. If we had a fleet of AT-6's or A-29's and C-130J's equipped with appropriate weapons, then there'd be no need to waste airframe life on combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would like to see the same upgrades for the A-10's too, less the radar system that will never fit in its nose.

    If everyone in the sky is using the same basic avionics systems and munitions, then retraining becomes a matter of airframe and tactics familiarization, rather than gaining proficiency in using entirely new systems. That was the complaint made by one of our former pilots who flew Prowlers and then Super Hornets. It's like going from a station wagon to a Ferrari. You can learn to drive either, but there's a much steeper learning curve with the Ferrari regarding what not to do.

    The Air Force had OV-10's before poor management decisions killed that program. I think either the AT-6 or A-29 is a worthy successor that's faster, more maneuverable, and purpose-built for attack. Neither will ever beat the OV-10 for rough field performance. At 1/3rd the purchase price of an AH-64E with all the electronic goodies and half the operational cost or less, along with more range / payload / speed for either fixed wing bird, both look like good buys to me. The jury is out on Textron's new Scorpion jet. It could be useful, but it's definitely not an A-10 replacement.

    The Army and Air Force should modify their MOU to permit Army to operate AT-6's or A-29's instead of AH-64's or those new Valor or Raider oddities that they're evaluating. That would provide more than enough money for AT-6 or A-29 and continued V-22 procurement and upgrades. Either way, these new helicopters are insanely expensive. Bell says their new V-280 Valor can be had for $20M per copy. I think $30M to $40M is more realistic, if their prior V-22 program is any indicator of what the real cost will be.
     
  12. tinbucket

    tinbucket Well-Known Member

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    I would love to see and hear Snoopy or Spookie work out again. They might have a better chance of hitting it shoulder launched misissle though. When it is pitched black and it opens up they don't have much chance to shoot back, unless they are a quarter mile to the side and get lucky perhaps.
    It is plumb pitiful to see them open up with one in ten or more green tracer mix trying to ind Snoopy when he opens up with a ahahahahahahahahah stream of fire.
     
  13. Rentacop

    Rentacop Well-Known Member

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    Once again, a cynical statement without evidence . In fact, there is evidence to the contrary ; the Berettas are wearing out and the gun is big and hard for women with small hands to operate .
    The A-10 decision was based on the idea that faster planes can do the job at less risk . That may or may not be the case but it is a far more likely reason than someone robbing the treasury .
     
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  14. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member

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  15. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are already in debt to the tune of $170,000, per citizen. A year and a half ago, conservatives were pulling hair, gnashing teeth and screaming about that. I would think we could stretch out some programs.

    Tank busting can be done with existing inventory. I have an 8 year old truck; I would like to have a new one, but I have a budget to work with, and I can't print money.

    As far as the woman issue, you match the person to the weapon, not the weapon to the person. What will they do with our 155 MM artillery, downsize the shells to 90 MM so the women can handle them?

    The defense industry has thousands of lobbyist on The Hill. They do it for a reason, and it works. If you don't think that some military buying decisions are made with campaign financing, or future job opportunities, in mind, then you are living in an alternative universe.
     
  16. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    [QUOTE="Chainfire, post: 1913205, member: 10411"
    The defense industry has thousands of lobbyist on The Hill. They do it for a reason, and it works. If you don't think that some military buying decisions are made with campaign financing, or future job opportunities, in mind, then you are living in an alternative universe.[/QUOTE]

    Some are, Chain. but the vast majority are made for the benefit of our national defence. I truly believe that most men who have devoted their lives to defending our country, and have made the personal sacrifices needed to do so, are motivated by patriotism and honor, not greed. Certainly there are a few exceptions, but not many IMHO