The A-10, a hard plane for the USAF to kill

Posted on: December 14th, 2013 by Will Rodriguez 68 Comments

The A-10 is the only US plane ever developed specifically to attack ground targets.  It has a distinguished history and is probably the most beloved fixed wing aircraft among the last several decades worth of grunts.   I was privileged to watch it do CAS firsthand two decades ago in Iraq.  MUCH has been written of its lethality, exploits and ability to withstand punishment.  What isn’t as well known are the US Air Forces numerous efforts to kill the plane.  No other successful plane can boast among its enemies the air force it flies for.

The A10 program came into being after the Air Force was forced to procure the A-7 Crusader during Vietnam to conduct Close Air Support (CAS).  It had borrowed all the A-1 Skyraiders it could from the Navy and while stifling Army efforts to arm the O-1 Birddog and OV-10.  The Army convinced it needed to develop an organic means to provide its own CAS was forbidden to pursue armed fixed wing under the 1948 Key West Agreement and successfully obstructed from arming light reconnaissance aircraft it did possess attempted to push helicopter capability with the AH-56 compound helicopter that featured a pusher prop in addition to the main and tail rotor of conventional helicopters.  The Air Force response was a push to have the AH56 classified as an Air Force program because of its stubby wings and pusher prop.  It failed so instead started the program that would eventually result in the A-10.

The Army killed the AH -56 Cheyenne helicopter in 1972 frustrated by accidents, technical challenges and rising cost.  The Air Force promptly tried to kill the A-10 but by that time had created enough congressional interest to ensure the program continued and would bear the A-10.  Even after the A-10 was fielded the Air Force had almost yearly attempts to cut procurement numbers.  The A-10’s most serious threat came in the late 80’s and even after Desert Storm as the Air Force made the case for replacing the A-10 with the F/A-16.  The plan was to put different radar/electronics on the F-16, add armor and even a 30mm minigun pod.  It didn’t work too well and Congress continued to thwart efforts to cash in the A-10. 

The current effort springs from the Air Force’s need to budget for the trillion dollar F-35 program.  The Air Force has proposed mothballing the whole A-10 fleet to subsidize the funding and fielding of the F-35.  Much of the argument rests on other aircraft like the F-16 to execute the CAS mission.  Often stated is the F-16’s ability to deploy precision munitions from beyond the range of enemy air defenses avoiding the damage A-10’s have suffered when employed in range of enemy air defenses. 

The problem with this argument is the same task, conditions and standards are not applied to other aircraft.  The modern A-10 can employ the same precision munitions the F-16 can from the same ranges and the A-10 has demonstrated the ability to sustain battle damage that would down and possibly kill F-16 pilots attempting the same level of support.  Further the A-10 carries almost three times the bomb load of the F-16 (16k vs. 6k lbs) and double the 30mm cannon rounds compared to the 20mm on the F-16. 

Those that make the F-16 over A-10 argument won’t tell you they are offering a solution that provides a third less bombs and potentially no gun support except in the most permissive environments and then only half of a much smaller round.  Finally, “danger close” (the minimum distance one can employ the bomb from friendly troops) for the 500lb Mk82 bomb is 500m.  The truth is troops in NEED of CAS often can’t withdraw to a safe distance because of enemy fire or are surrounded by an enemy who are much closer than 500m.  This leads to the clear superiority of guns in that situation which can be fired as close as 50m to friendly troops.  The A-10’s carries double the basic load of 30mm rounds than the F-16’s 20mm rounds.

Well seems the Congressional cavalry has again been saved the A-10 from the Air Force.   Defense Tech reported Fri, “The bipartisan defense budget that passed through the House Thursday includes strict language mandating the Air Force not execute any plans to retire the A-10 Warthog. The legislation specifically blocks the Air Force from spending any money to divest A-10s through calendar year 2014.”  Chances look good that the A10 will be with us at least a year before the Air Force tries to kill it again.

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  • clluelo

    That is great news Will. But congress should make the AF give the A10 to the Army !

  • cllueloThat is a no brainer but the Air Force would burn them rather than do that.
    That’s a whole new article.  I have CAS in general, the C27J and intratheatre lift waiting in the wings…

  • LauraKinCA

    I will take any stop gap to keep the A10 around for a bit longer. I know if is only buying time… but we still have troops that need its capabilities.

  • Allwet

    Damn, I agree , but the fact that the first sentence is true …..is a major malfunction of the armed forces upper end.Doesn’t take a friggin genius(pass it over to Army,USMC)…..or just maybe it does.

  • ArcticWarrior

    Vipers also cant do low and slow like the Hog. And with CAS that’s vital.

  • ArcticWarriorYou know I agree with you but the A10 haters have been very effective at reputing this.  

    The counter is that precision munitions don’t require “low & slow” which is true IF have the exact grid of where the target is (which can be hard to determine when you are keeping your head down), If you have a laser designator for munitions that require it, IF you are 500m away from the enemy, IF you aren’t providing gun/cannon support and IF the aircraft aren’t going to help/confirm the groundpounder’s situation (low & slow allows one to identify little things like friendly & enemy locations).  The A10 haters assume these away or any future situations where the enemy is able to jam our technology.  Part of this is the Air Force culture that hates the A10 and the often proven cliche of “fighting the next war like the last one…”

    Put together these are a substantial portion of CAS missions.  Without saying it, the A10 haters are saying “sucks to be you”.  This is easy to do when you aren’t writing the letters home…

  • YankeePapa

    Allwet,
    .
    …Before Gulf War One the Air Force told Congress that the A-10 was “obsolete” and needed to be scrapped so that they could buy more “blue sky” F-16.  Oh yeah, and we can mount ground support munitions.
    .
    …Congress knew that odds were that F-16 would find themselves tasked elsewhere when things hit the fan.  And if the Air Force did try to do a proper close support number, their losses would shock them.  F-16 is extremely fragile compared to an A-10.  
    .
    …Congress knew that they were being hustled and tossed ice water on the Air Force.  “Fine, you don’t want them… you give them to the Marine Corps or the Army along with any of their pilots that want to transfer.”
    .
    …Air Force had apoplexy… Marines deeply respect the A-10… but too heavy for their amphibious deployments.  Army would take in a heartbeat, but Air Force would gargle with rusty razor blades before letting the Army have fixed wing attack aircraft.
    .
    …So A-10s kept and rubbed the Air Force’s “primary gender characteristic” in the mud during Gulf War One.  After the war many were assigned to Air National Guard squadrons… Fair compromise.  Guard loves flying them and since pilots are not career… no harm done by them being in dedicated CAS…
    .
    …British comedy that I saw once… filmed in 1960s,  Bad guys dropping bombs on good guys in small British town… using WWI German biplane from air show.  One old Brit working in his garden looks up and sees one of these dropping a bomb… Calls to his wife, “Helen… they’re at it again!”
    .
    …Well, the Air Force is at it again.  Same tune, just different lyrics.  So far… at least for this year, it seems that Congress is not impressed.
    .
    …One question that is sure to come up in the mind of a civilian who understands the above… Since the Air Force has no respect for dedicated CAS, why doesn’t Congress just permit the Army to have dedicated fixed wing attack aircraft of its own?
    .
    …Ah… then we wander into the dark maze.  First, the Air Force still has a massive case of the red a– about once having been under the thumb of the Army… and a shrink might go further but…    What if the Army got dedicated fixed wing CAS and had the same results or better that the Marine Corps does with its CAS?  The Air Force would be proved to have been like the “battleship admirals…” who are a figure of fun at best these days…
    .
    …Air Force doesn’t like *any* other service having any aircraft… It has long since learned that the Navy will keep its carriers (no “atomic wars” so far to prove them obsolete…) and has even given up re the Marine Corps…  But in their view… every aircraft that is purchased by another service is one less that they could have had.  Of course, if by magic the other services lost most of their aircraft the Air Force would have no intention of covering most of the missions. 
    .
    …And the Air Force has political clout.  So you are a Senator from say, Washington… and you propose a bill to divest the Air Force of CAS.  Well, maybe Boeing doesn’t get the B-3 bomber or new air transport contract… for “various reasons…”  Or maybe the Air Force decides that it really doesn’t need Cornblatt AFB in Wyoming… or if it can’t get rid of it, it reduces staff or… and supporting contractors and subcontractors and…  And as to any new bases… or locating new squadrons…

    .
    …While the Air Force does not have a free hand… they can make life unpleasant for a state’s Congressional Delegation.  If Congress determined, they can make it happen… but while most members happy to keep the Air Force from getting away with this particular stunt… for now… they are unwilling to bloody themselves over a permanent correction to this problem…

    YP

    .

  • YankeePapaAllwetGreat perspective on why the Army is kept from having armed fixed wing.  If people knew how the Air Force freaked over the Army putting relatively light M60 machineguns on a the O-1 Birddog (think single engine 1-2 man Cessna) during Vietnam.  Later, they had to borrow O-1’s from the Army because they didn’t invest in enough Forward Air Controllers.  They put 2.75″ rocket pods to fire white phosphorous to mark targets like the Army was allowed to but AIR FORCE O-1’s were allowed to put HE rounds in their tubes for immediate support when waiting for the fast movers.  The Army in the SAME plane doing the same mission was not allowed.
    At some point I will do an essay on the scandal that is Close Air Support.  There are levels of spite and hubris in the controversy that would shock people.

  • ArcticWarrior

    majrodArcticWarrior Agree with everything you say. Targeting software and JDAMs are great if you have the luxury of all your “ifs”, unfortunately if your the poor bastard facing an overwhelming force 75m away Mk82s fitted with a tail kit don’t do you any good.

    Me, I want to see effective, rugged, reliable and when my head is down I want to hear the “burp” of the 30mm. I want the pilot to see what I am seeing at the next tree line, 800 feet gets you that. I want two-hour loiter time and more than 10 trigger pulls available, the A-10 has 20.

    No slam on the F-16, it is an amazing aircraft that has exceeded its original design intent, however that does not make it superior to the A-10 in CAS. If it aint broke, don’t fix it applies.

    The fetish the AF has over the F-35 is sickening. Its bleeding budget money away from other programs that are proven and nowhere near obsolete.

    They, the USAF, are obligated to protect ground troops and the A-10C is clearly the best tool for the job. Anyone would be hard pressed to find an aircraft that has singlehandedly saved so many troops when the shit was hitting the proverbial fan.

  • YankeePapa

    majrodYankeePapaAllwet,
    .
    …For any who doubt that the Air Force can play rough… 
     http://www.nurflugel.com/Nurflugel/Northrop/xb-35/xb-35_blurb/conspiracy/body_conspiracy.html
    .
    …  I always thought that the original “Flying Wing” bomber might have been too far ahead of their time… (probably was)but I always wondered at the peremptory order to scrap all of them… not even one kept for a museum… dark mutterings at the time…
    YP

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarriormajrod,
    “…I want the pilot to see what I am seeing at the next tree line,..”
    .
    …Sometimes
    younger Marines get carried away and think that the very true statement
    of “All Marines are riflemen first…” equals the extremely incorrect
    statement that all Marines are “infantry first…”  All (male) Marines
    have some infantry training… all too the good… But actual infantry
    has three times the training followed by FMF duties…
    .
    …But
    one place that the Marine Corps has put some extra effort into the
    equation… All Marine aviators receive ground officer training.  
    This pays off when CAS required.  The all-time CAS champion, Hans Rudel
    said that a CAS pilot must think like an infantryman first and a flyer
    second…
    .
    …Right now the Air
    Force high command is admitting that it doesn’t know what some of its
    most important commands are up to right now.  It *still* can’t get a
    grip on the nukes that it is responsible for.  While countless officers
    and men in the Air Force do their duty in an exemplary fashion… it ill
    behooves the Air Force high command to try to rob the Republic of
    dedicated CAS for the Army.
    .
    …Was
    better some years ago when the Air Force high brass designed horrid
    “Sprockets” type dress uniforms… Kept them away from screwing up more
    important matters…
    YP

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapaArcticWarriormajrod”Hans Rudel said that a CAS pilot must think like an infantryman first and a flyer second… ” I like that.
    The AF Brass seems to think dropping a JDAM with 1000m danger close is CAS

  • ArcticWarriorYankeePapamajrod
    You have to remember that the last decade has really reinforced this approach.

    Consider that in most cases over the last decade we’ve been fighting an enemy we’ve typically outnumbered and/or outgunned. 
    We’ve often had the luxury in many cases of not having a time sensitive requirement to seize an objective (it’s not like the flank company, battalion etc. is relying on you to take an objective so it can execute its mission) and had time to back off and call the Air Force to drop a bomb instead of risking casualties.  
    CAS is the only mission the Air Force was doing so the airframes were almost always available.  
    That type of environment/experience is driving a lot of the extremely shortsighted “wisdom” we are getting from the Air Force establishment and people who are not students of war.
    It’s a cliche I repeat quite often but we can so see it in action today and is a lesson in understanding so many past military mistakes.  “You can’t count on fighting the next war like the last one.”

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarriormajrod,
    …If you haven’t seen them before check out officer and enlisted USAF proposed uniforms from some time back… 
     http://tmmkkt22.blogspot.com/2006/05/new-air-force-uniform-part-ii.html
    YP

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapaArcticWarriormajrod Ha! I heard about that but never saw it. Very Starship Troopers meets the Kaiser

  • YankeePapamajrodAllwet  That’s an incredible story and a crime.
    I have seen competitions where the Army required companies to give up their proprietary data, not select a winner and run a subsequent competition sharing a specific feature offered in the proprietary specs or incorporated it into a gov’t solution.

  • Allwet

    majrodYankeePapa….FLASH…exit honor code, officer integrity breach…I say again…!!!!!!!!WTF, Over.

  • Some widgets of wisdom to my readers as you go looking at other articles about the A10.  Don’t fall for the lack of detailed analysis, ignorance or plain propaganda of many A10 detractors.
    Here are the key mistakes, double standards, lack of comparison that the anti A10 types base their argument on.

    MANPADs and A10 survivability.  A10’s are susceptible to AA. So are the F16’s and everything else that they fail to address which are MUCH more fragile.

    Smart bombs make all the difference.  No.  Even a precision guided 500lb bomb is not to be used closer than about
    500m because the danger of blast and shrapnel to friendly troops while
    cannon fire has been employed up to 50m from friendly troops. Between 500m and friendly troops the enemy is largely afforded a 500m deadspace
    unless you have guns/cannons which make you vulnerable to MANPADS (see above).  Smart bombs may “check the block” in providing CAS but the quality of that CAS is
    exponentially less than what A10’s guns provide. 
    ____ (insert your favorite fighter) has a cannon.  A10’s carry almost three times the bomb load of an F16 and twice the cannon rounds which are MUCH bigger.  Size does matter especially when it comes to cannon rounds.
    Hope these nuggets help you when you have to debate an ignoramus or someone only applying standards to the A10 they won’t to other aircraft.  They helped me.

    http://breakingdefense.com/2013/12/a-10-close-air-support-wonder-weapon-or-boneyard-bound/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=*Situation%20Report&utm_campaign=SITREP%20DEC%2020%202013
    http://defensetech.org/2013/12/13/bill-blocks-air-force-from-retiring-a-10-warthog/#idc-container

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …As I have mentioned before… the WWII Thunderbolt was a much tougher plane than the Mustang when it came to CAS.  Mustang great for distance and air superiority… but when it came to splattering mud on your canopy…the Thunderbolt could get the pilot home…

    .
    …If you read the biography of Chuck Yeager, he speaks of one mission that he was scheduled to fly in his Mustang in the last months of the war.  One of the gutsiest men ever produced by the human race, with ice water in his veins… but he had a premonition of doom for that one mission that he could not shake off.  He had done others like it before and the memory of it was not good.  The mission was cancelled.  It was a very low level attack on a German airfield… the Germans had learned to be ready…
    .
    -YP-

  • Wiggy111

    In terms of survivability in CAS the A-10 can’t be beat except maybe the AC-130, but I’m not sure if that is apples to apples.  Only one plane was lost in Iraq and none in Afghanistan.  It is almost impossible to shoot it down with an RPG or small arms fire.  SAMs of course are a different story. Several were shot down in the Gulf War.

  • YankeePapa

    Wiggy111,
    .
    …Perhaps you meant to say “force application”, not survivability… The AC-130 can give out punishment like there is no tomorrow… but can quite easilly be shot down in circumstances where the A-10 would usually manage to limp home… There are very specific requirements that have to be met before the AC-130 is committed to action.
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapaWiggy111Spectre is a tremendous plane but considering the heaviest weapon it ever mounted was a 105mm howitzer there are some targets it is marginally effective at (mostly hardened defensive positions).

    Up until relatively recently the optics on the plane were designed for night ops.  Its recent upgrade with day friendly optics makes it capable of being operated in day environments but to bring its guns to bear it has to come into MANPADS range which is how it was shot down in the early 90’s (DS) during a daylight mission.  One must keep in mind it is exponentially easier for a MANPADs gunner to ID & track (requirement for the seeker head on most MANPADs) a target during the day than at night.  The AC-130 because of it’s primary weapons, the flight profile required to use them and its limited ability to maneuver (compared to a fighter) makes it especially vulnerable to MANPADs.

    FWIW, they have started to arm Spectres with Griffin missiles (about half the size of a Hellfire).  Al this really does though is make the Spectre an oversized reaper while putting 11 crewmen in harm’s way.  Not a huge leap in capability IMO.

  • Tango9

    I was an E-0 stepping off the bus at Lackland AFB, TX, Feb 7 1987.
    Within 24 hours I was told three things:
    1)  Fulda Gap
    2)  F-16s would replace A-10s
    3)  The AF was a family
    None of which are true.

  • YankeePapa

    Tango9,
    .
    …After RVN and college, but before Africa, I was a manager at Boeing.  Like many big organizations, they had a place to send you if you annoyed the high brass.
    .
    1.  McHale’s Navy, it was Frozen Monkey Bay Alaska…
    .
    2.  Hogan’s Heroes, (for the Germans) it was The Russian Front…
    .
    3.  At Nordstrom (after Africa) it was the Chino Rack…
     .
    4.  Just as well that you did not make your observations public while serving in the USAF…
         As it turns out, both Boeing and the Air Force have the same “gulag…” Minot, North Dakota…
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapaTango9Very funny and insightful (both of you)

  • Tango9

    YankeePapaTango9As it turns out, both Boeing and the Air Force have the same “gulag…” Minot, North Dakota…
    Oh, dude that was a beach vacation.
    If you really jacked up, you got sent to the DEW Line.

  • Tango9

    majrodYankeePapaAllwetAt some point I will do an essay on the scandal that is Close Air
    Support.  There are levels of spite and hubris in the controversy that
    would shock people. 

    I know you’ve spent time around the 5-sided insane asylum.   Brother, there’s no fixing it. 
    If, maybe, we had lifespans of 200 years you might have time to address it, but we don’t. 
    I still haven’t figured out much more than the simple fact that smashing your face into an anvil doesn’t affect the anvil.

  • Tango9majrodYankeePapaAllwet Hi Tango, always good to hear your input.  Honesty and conciseness aren’t as prized as they should be.  
    FTR, never been to the Pentagon in uniform.  I DETEST(ed) staff jobs.  Most are tedious BS jobs to make a Colonel or General look good.  Had plenty of friends/classmates though that served there and I passed through after retiring.  Along with the aura of power around DC, I felt a palatable and malevolent quality to the place.

  • YankeePapa

    majrodTango9YankeePapaAllwet,
    .
    …In the first period of the Dark Ages of the United States Army, (1866-97) a lot of officers with no proper business in Washington were cluttering up the town in their effort to cultivate political support (both in and outside the Army…)
    .
    …It got so bad that an order was generated that no officer without approved business could come within twenty miles of Washington.  
    .
    -YP-

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    I’ve always wondered why the A-10s were flown by the AF, when Marine pilots (and Navy) could probably take these birds to new heights. I can understand not fitting on the boat, but I’m sure they can make room for such an important aircraft, or rig it to fold wings. I know the Army hasn’t a fixed wing tradition, but this all seems to be an opportunity for the other branches, no? Or is there a similar CAS drone in the works?

  • YankeePapa

    TeufelshundeUSMC,
    .
    …The problem for the Marines is not only the size… it is the weight.  It simply doesn’t fit into the expeditionary role… (though otherwise they would love to have it…)  The Army, on the other hand would kill to get this aircraft (and such pilots and ground crew as chose to transfer with the planes…)
    .
    …The Air Force is pathologically “dog in the manger” about not letting the Army have any fixed wing aircraft.  If they could get away with it, they would torch every A-10 today if there was the slightest chance that the Army would get them.  Yeah… it is that nuts…
    .
    -YP-

  • TeufelshundeUSMCThe Army does have a fixed wing tradition.  It’s where the Air Force started…

    What happened was the Army was forced to totally divest itself of armed fixed wing.  It needs to be reversed specifically for CAS and intratheatre lift.

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapaTeufelshundeUSMC At least the Coasties and Forest service were able to wrest those C27J’s from life in the boneyard.

  • ArcticWarrior

    majrodTeufelshundeUSMC Crazy isn’t it? But the Army does really good ISR work with fixed wing assets

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    ArcticWarriorYankeePapaTeufelshundeUSMC Marines: I wonder if they can fit these A10s to these new forward floating platforms they’re coming up with.

    Army: Yeah, they definitely should get ’em. God knows what else the AF has in Area 51, we could use 😉

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrodTeufelshundeUSMC EXACTLY!!! I’ve always been for re-consolidation, AF back to the Army, Marines to the Navy (actually, I’d prefer Navy to the Marines) and SOCOM/CIA Covert folks/NSA/NRO, etc. Just three branches, so all this mess is averted.

    A10s too heavy too big to fit on ship, make drones.

  • TeufelshundeUSMCmajrodI haven’t weighed in heavily but you might be interested in this http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140574/robert-farley/ground-the-air-force. 

    It’s about folding the USAF back into the Army.  Some stressed zoomies out there.

  • TeufelshundeUSMC

    majrodTeufelshundeUSMC Thanks for the article. Didn’t know there was some serious brains behind re-consolidation.

    Thanks to RAND and the Cold War the AF got some clout, but otherwise its a house on sand. I hope the Army gobbles it up.

    The connection to the ground should never be detached.

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  • YankeePapa
  • YankeePapa

    http://www.dodbuzz.com/2014/06/20/house-votes-to-block-a-10-retirement/
    .
    …I find it entertaining that the Air Force weeps at its being forced to keep the A-10… “If you make me feed my baby, I won’t have money for cigarettes…”  Last time that I checked, Air Force golf courses still had full funding…  
    .
    …I understand that the Air Force (as with all the services) has readiness issues… and those are serious… but they don’t seem to get that the A-10 provides us with readiness *now* for something that we need *now*, not some potential future capability that is *not* ready… *now…*
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/09/27/islamic-state-fight-could-breathe-new-life-into-the-a10.html?ESRC=eb.nl
    .
    …The Air Force has changed its approach to getting rid of its unloved child.  No longer saying that it is “obsolete” but rather that “…it can only do one thing…”  Pretty much true of brain surgeons as well. 
    .
    …The “one thing” that A-10s do is what we need.  Going back to the days before Gulf War One when the Air Force said that F-16s could do the exact same job… (Sure, if you don’t mind really expensive aircraft being blown out of the sky… assuming that you don’t have them tasked on other type missions…) the A-10 is the poster child for why the Army should handle its own CAS.
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …Air Force brass may suffer massive humiliation as a result of Republican gains.
    .
    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/11/07/sen-john-mccain-vows-to-save-a10-from-retirement.html
    .
    -YP-

  • Allwet

    YankeePapa …but to many of them the “one thing”is a vague reference with no context. That “one thing”,
    is “everything nothing else can do RIGHT NOW”.
    The F-16’s……high altitude fast movers with no loiter time and many times 1 chance to get it done right and then they’re gone off to refuel or retasking…. but hey they get to fly fast, and will never have to see the faces of the boots they have not saved, but are leaving anyway.
    oh shit(a thought?), maybe they picked that up from our foreign policy?

    …and it does make more sense for Army/Navy/Marine elements to provide their own CAS. Apparently not enough high profile Air Force pilots have ejected over hostile enemy held territory where they need that kind of support to get them home alive , or they would have an idea of just how big of a thing, that “one thing” can be.

  • Allwet YankeePapa 
    “Apparently
    not enough high profile Air Force pilots have ejected over hostile
    enemy held territory where they need that kind of support to get them
    home alive , or they would have an idea of just how big of a thing, that
    “one thing” can be.”

    There is something to be said for having skin in the game.  I get a very vociferous rejection of this point when I bring it up with “Airpower Uber Alles” proponents that insist there is nothing wrong with USAF CAS or any decision made by the Air Force that involves it.

  • YankeePapa

    majrod Allwet YankeePapa ,
    .
    …The problem is not so much that the Air Force is absolutely geared in a different direction and always has been (just before Normandy the Army Air Force was pushing to reduce CAS responsibilities… Ike crushed them…)  After all, would the Army want to be saddled with minesweepers?
    .
    …But of course the Army would gladly hand all of its minesweepers (and officers and crews who wanted to go with them) to the Navy.  It would not move heaven and earth to scrap them.  
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …The Air Force is a fine service with a great many excellent officers and men.  The other kind, it seems, have run the Air Force Academy, been responsible for nuclear weapons… and are in charge of trying to kill the A-10. 
    .
    …First it was decreed (before Gulf War One) to be “obsolete…”  Then it was only a “single purpose” aircraft… and now that Congress is going to be run by the Republicans (who mostly favor the A-10) the Air Force has trotted out a new dog and pony show…  By keeping the A-10s there will “be a delay in deploying F-35s because the ‘maintainers’ will be working on the one rather than the other…”   Uh, yeah…  They will be working on the perfect aircraft for the missions that we actually have… 
    .
    …Maybe this time around Congress will “grow a pair” and tell the Air Force that they have a choice… fully support the weapons system that the representatives of the Republic are backing… or hand them over to the Army… no ifs, ands, or buts… 
    .
    …The Air Force tried to keep the Army from getting the choppers that it needed for the Air Cav concept.  When asked by Senator Barry Goldwater (an Air Force reserve General no less) if the Army forbidden to obtain them, would the Air Force obtain, and fly them for the Army.  The result was a flat no.  The Army got their choppers.  
    .
    …If the Air Force doesn’t want the A-10s… fine.  But their “dog in the manger act” is not only old… it is obnoxious and to be frank… insubordinate…  I am sure that a couple of the Generals who hate the A-10s have visions of ordering all base commanders who have A-10s to have bulldozers trash them all in one glorious evening (after 5 PM on Fridays when Congress not manned…)  
      http://www.dodbuzz.com/2014/11/12/republicans-press-to-save-a-10-following-new-air-force-proposal/
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …In Boise it is hard to go more than a few days without looking up and seeing an A-10.  Air National Guard flies them out of Gowen field immediately at the Southern end of the city’s limits…
    .
    http://www.kboi2.com/news/local/a-10s-285669831.html
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …There was a British spy film made (and set) in the mid 1960s.  Bad guys tried to kill the hero by having a WWI  aircraft with German markings (stolen from an air show) drop a bomb on him… Bomb missed… but old English gardener saw the aircraft on the bomb run and watched the bomb hit his greenhouse… He called out to his wife, “Sheila, they’re at it again…”
    .
    …Well… the Air Force is at it again.  Maybe they have decided that they can ignore Congress and just be part of POTUS team…  This was from local channel news tonight…
    .
    http://www.jrn.com/kivitv/news/Air-Force-announces-renewed-effort-to-retire-A-10s-from-duty-crapo-responds-291088541.html
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …The Air Force has not had A-10s in Europe since 2013.  Get the unwanted stepchild out of sight.  Now a squadron has been returned as part of the token NATO response to Putin’s Crimea swallowing act…
    .
    http://www.wsbt.com/news/nationworld/us-sending-tankbuster-jets-back-to-europe/31235670
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …Today SOFREP had a link to Fightersweep re the ongoing struggle.

    .

    http://fightersweep.com/2038/the-a-10-warthog-debate-a-fate-worse-than-death/
    .
    …In reading the posting, I felt as if I were watching a film where killer is placing a pillow over a victim’s face while murmuring soft hushing sounds…  Intentionally or not, more than a touch disingenuous. 
    .
    …He mentions the Air Force wanting to get rid of the A-10 after the first Gulf War, but does not mention that they tried to *before* that war as *obsolete*… a position  that displayed either incompetence or chicanery.
    .
    …He mentions an Air Force commander who was relieved for something that he said to his command on the subject, without bothering to include the minor fact that it included an accusation of treason and a promise to deny the remark.   Yes, I suppose that anti- A-10 types not keen on that misstep.  
    .
    …Lines thrown in such as A-10s not targeted for places such as Baghdad.   True enough… and neither were AC-130s…  Not what they were designed for…  And of course, not one word about, if the Army really wants, they can take up the burden.
    .
    “…Hush… hush now.  It will all be over soon…”
    .
    -YP-

  • Allwet

    YankeePapa
    The writer even had private pilots license…..and nary a real true concern for boots in the dirt.

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …I’m getting old.  CRS…  I forgot to mention that his approach to any debate was that… it was over… it is going to happen.  Flat dismissal of any other possible course.  Wonder if the members of Congress agree with that sentiment.  Possibly the Air Force considers their input irrelevant. This train will run on time…
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa 
    I weighed in pretty heavily in that article.
    I gave the author the benefit of the doubt.  As I’ve observed in just about every branch, some members are very uninformed about their branch’s history especially in regards to other branches.
    Then there’s the very human tendency to not want to recognize problems with the group you identify with.
    Of course those faults are more noticeable in officers.  We should be better and rise above parochial interests but for some that’s a harder climb than others.

    I left a bunch of articles outlining some other Air Force misbehavior.  I thought it was better to showcase the Air Force’s underhanded ways with the C27J than take on the author directly and address how misinformed he is with the A10.  If he fails to see the systemic issues I can always come back and address the Air Force systemic short shrift of CAS and the A10 and simultaneously tie that in with the story of intratheater lift which is hauntingly similar.

    Hopefully things will calm down on the home front and I can re-engage on the book.

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …I was reviewing a few chapters in the massive (more than 1000 pages) history of the battle of Nomanhan (Russians called it Khalkhin Gol) between the Japanese and Soviet armies in 1939 on the Manchurian/Mongolian border.  In the end the Japanese lost for a long list of reasons. 
    .
    …They did not really use combined arms.  They had their infantry attack for a number of days… then their tanks… then their artillery.  Such air support as the Japanese had was largely air superiority.
    .
    …After the battle the Japanese learned all the wrong lessons.  Decided that they could make up for material shortages with increased “spiritual strength” among the soldiers.  A generation of their fighting men would perish… from India to the Aleutians…. trying to match metal with willpower…

    .
    …Japanese air units were extremely put out at even the suggestion of highly developed and coordinated CAS.  If they had nothing better to do they might strafe some enemy troops, but would much prefer attacking airfields.  
    .
    …A comparison is made in the book with the Royal Air Force… which started WWII with a massive distaste for any kind of CAS.  In 1937 the British War Minister told the Chiefs of Staff that the fighting in Spain had shown that CAS was very productive.  The Chief of Air Staff got hostile and declared that it would be “…a massive misuse of air power…”  
    .
    …The Royal Air Force absolutely rejected CAS for the Army as one of its missions.  In 1940 the hard pressed British First Armored Division pleaded for CAS against the advancing Germans.  They were told that such “suggestions” were “…impracticable and unnecessary…”  Meanwhile, German CAS was devastating the BEF.

    .
    …As the war progressed, the RAF was eventually forced into undertaking CAS missions.  The early results were not good… and sometimes “unfortunate…”  It was not until 1944 that the Army could have confidence in RAF pilots… those who had training, experience and were flying aircraft such as Typhoons designed for the work. 
    .
    …If the brass controlling potential CAS assets have no respect for the mission, then the results will be less than stellar.
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …If this report is correct I don’t look for the Air Force to change direction… or the Congress for that matter.  Like supertankers, giant military projects are almost impossible to stop for political reasons, financial, ego… and career…
    .
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/the-dollar1-trillion-question-for-the-f-35-is-the-us-buying-an-inferior-plane/ar-BBlIfvu?ocid=mailsignout
    .
    -YP-

  • Allwet

    Seems I read somewhere recently, of a direct contest between the 35 and a ’16….whereby the 35 came up short.I’d venture to guess that in the compromise of specific capabilities, we end up with an aircraft of vague performance across the board.It is almost guaranteed to not perform extremely well in any one area.It is a joke in the ground support role, when compared to a hawg….
    Just sayin…..

  • Allwet 
    Yeah, I read several synopsis’ (pl synopsi?) about the test.  It wasn’t addressing CAS.  The test was looking at a “merge” or in visual range dogfight between the F35 and F16.  Full disclosure, the F35 didn’t have all its technology installed (e.g. stealth and sensor fusion).  F35 proponents say the F16 (or similar aircraft) wouldn’t be able to get that close.  Maybe they are right but I’m not sure they are considering the capabilities of the enemy’s stealth or tactics to minimize the F35’s effectiveness.  
    I just hear history whispering in my ear about guns are no longer necessary on fighter planes because missiles make them obsolete.  We learned different in Vietnam…

  • Allwet

    majrod Allwet Perhaps intelligence is actually at work, letting the disinformation flow as to actual air to air capabilities…….probably not, but one can hope.The other side of the coin, is maybe it just perform as well as they had anticipated. I’d like to think we are still up to real world standards in the smoke and mirrors game, and hiding the true capabilities of the aircraft by a substantial margin. We have ceded far too much in the practical skill set arena in exchange for advanced technology and the easy button in the past decade , so I have my doubts.It is hard to stop a cash flow once the current starts running, with common sense , and that ever more obscure concept of doing the right thing.

    Missiles are really flashy when engaging with the easy button from a coupla thousand feet , and seeing blood is no issue.Nice and sleek and clean, making war into something it isn’t.
    Funny thing about history, even the wrong parts keep repeating themselves-usually the parts that are the most most convenient to believe.

    “We learned different in Vietnam…  ” , and then the next gen set came along and “knew better” all over again.

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …AIR FORCE DEPLOYS MORE “OBSOLETE” AIRCRAFT…
    .
    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/09/14/us-air-force-deploy-more-a10s-europe-this-month-general-says.html
    .
    -Yankee Papa-

  • YankeePapa
  • YankeePapa

    .
    …As another installment in the A-10 saga.  Ignore the headline.  Headline writer probably figured fighter squadron… must be fighter…
    .
    http://www.ktvb.com/story/news/local/2015/12/18/fighter-jets-nampa-caldwell/77595638/

    .
    -Yankee Papa-

  • Allwet

    Headline writer probably figured fighter squadron… must be fighter… 
    One the milder press inaccuracies as of late-, good news indeed, that the angels will continue to be on call, because there is NO REPLACEMENT.

    Cuts never seem to be what actually needs cuttin’, but preachin to choir here 😉

  • Allwet

    …at least livefyre replies to comments!

  • YankeePapa

    Allwet .
    “…milder press inaccuracies…” 
    .
    …Yup.  I remember, before I left for Africa in the mid 1970s… Seattle Libertarians held there biggest convention ever.  Biggest newspaper in town showed up… took tons of photos… bunch of interviews.  Wound up being a full page.  Writer put a tiny paragraph at the end… “Other third parties in the area also holding conventions… Communist Party spokesman — —– said that his party expected big gains…” 
    .
    … Headline writer must have only looked at the last paragraph… because the full page story with lots of pics of Libertarians wound up with a headline that said… in big letters… 
                     COMMUNISTS EXPECT BIG GAINS
    .
    -YP-

  • Allwet

    So twice a year , a bunch of us X’s, and the young male members of our families load out and head for Lake of the Ozarks for a semi annual “Live Fire Execise”, we’ve come to call “The Shoot Out”.See misc patch of ground s after an afternoons work;).

    During a break one afternoon a few years back, I was out breaking trail on the MTB along the bluffs , providing the local tick and chigger population with free food- when I heard the unmistakable double turbo fan roar of …WTF…..an A-10 flight????? Eye level, and then some. Ever see the top of an A-10? 

    Well, enough time has past, so asses would be online for low fly by ass chewing, so…turns out the “locals” “could have been” a flight out of Whiteman AFB(CRAP, ….name change eminent?)- the 422nd Fighter Wing. Which I only found out  recently, seems they can more then hold their own……

    http://www.442fw.afrc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123460513

    ….and their nose art kicks ass.

    http://www.442fw.afrc.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/web/2015/05/150513-F-IM197-252.JPG

    Oh, a note of clarification: The X’s, are ex service members , not the infamous others, as in Ex’s.
    There’d probably be more brass on the ground if that were the case;)!

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …I saw my first A-10 while visiting in Tucson, AZ in 1981.  Some people call it ugly… but in function can be found beauty.  When I moved to Boise in 1997 I discovered an Air Guard squadron based here.  Most days when I drive to Wally World to go shopping I can see a couple off to my left coming in for a landing…
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa 
    Interesting.  It’s good they don’t do this in Illinois.  Chicago’s plane would likely shoot itself down.