Author Topic: A-10 Warthog to be retired by USAF (maybe)  (Read 80420 times)

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Offline S.M.A.

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A-10 Warthog to be retired by USAF (maybe)
« on: November 29, 2013, 17:58:27 »
The end of the line for the A10 Warthog/Thunderbolt II:

Quote


R.I.P A-10 Warthog

American Military News



NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — As an old Warthog pilot, Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III spoke in near mournful tones Wednesday of the likely mothballing of the venerable A-10 close air support aircraft and tank killer.

“Can we save the A-10?” was the question from the audience Wednesday at the Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference here.

Clarke, director of the Air National Guard, came at the question in roundabout fashion. He loved flying the A-10 Thunderbolt, better known as the “Warthog,” Clarke said. He noted that the plane was “near and dear to land warriors” for its GAU-8 Avenger, a 30mm rotary cannon that is the heaviest such weapon mounted on an aircraft.

But the Air Force was “looking at reducing single mission aircraft,” Clarke said, and under the sequestration process “we’re not getting any more money – that option is out.”


The Air Force “has to have a fifth generation force out there” of stealthy, fast and maneuverable aircraft, and the low and slow A-10 just didn’t fit in, Clarke said.

“We’re on board with moving towards Air Force 2023,” the concept for the future of the force which has no room for the A-10, Clarke said.

Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, also declared his affection for the A-10, which happens to be an aircraft he has 1,000 hours flying.

“I love that old ugly thing,” Welsh said.

However, the chief of staff explained the service has to take part in finding over a trillion dollars in cuts to the defense budget over the next ten years because of sequestration. In this budget environment, he said the Air Force will likely be unable to afford the Warthog.

The A-10, developed by Fairchild-Republic in the 1970s, was credited with destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks in the first Gulf War and has been a close air support mainstay in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

However, Welsh said the A-10 finds itself on the chopping block because “it’s a single-mission airplane, essentially,” and would struggle in more contested airspaces.
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Online FSTO

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A-10 finally done?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 10:16:23 »
I love that plane.  :nod: But it looks like the USAF will finally get rid of a plane they never really liked.  :crybaby:

From a pretty good maritime website. Red font is the SECDEF words.

http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.ca/2014/02/hegelian-paradox-on-path-to.html

Really ugly things are those bad ideas promoted in peace, that are disproved at ever real conflict. USAF rings its bell;

To fund these investments, the Air Force will reduce the number of tactical air squadrons including the entire A-10 fleet. Retiring the A-10 fleet saves $3.5 billion over five years and accelerates the Air Force’s long-standing modernization plan – which called for replacing the A-10s with the more capable F-35 in the early 2020s.

The “Warthog” is a venerable platform, and this was a tough decision. But the A-10 is a 40-year-old single-purpose airplane originally designed to kill enemy tanks on a Cold War battlefield. It cannot survive or operate effectively where there are more advanced aircraft or air defenses. And as we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, the advent of precision munitions means that many more types of aircraft can now provide effective close air support, from B-1 bombers to remotely piloted aircraft. And these aircraft can execute more than one mission.

Moreover, the A-10’s age is also making it much more difficult and costly to maintain. Significant savings are only possible through eliminating the entire fleet, because of the fixed cost of maintaining the support apparatus associated with the aircraft. Keeping a smaller number of A-10s would only delay the inevitable while forcing worse trade-offs elsewhere.

Two things. 1. The A-10 comments were being made when I was a MIDN. 2. The F-35 is a China doll that cannot get down and dirty. Again, like ploying the bean field with the Lexus.

The answer here is to do what many have called for starting in the 1990s. Begin work on a replacement for the A-10 using its exact mission requirements. Do it fast. Do it cheap. Do it sturdy. Do it well ... just like the A-10 program.

Offline AirDet

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 20:00:17 »
You know, they have a point. The A-10 may have been the best tank busting aircraft ever built but there are far more cost effective ways to do the same mission. The concept of UAVs delivering munitions isn't going to go away.
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 20:49:54 »
The A-10 also had a fair ability to take fire, survive and bring itself home. 

UAVs are a tool in the toolbelt, and not always the best option.  If it's about saving $$, though, the Warthog isn't sexy enough to survive budgets.  And they are getting up in years.
The only time you have too much gas is when you're on fire.

Offline X_para76

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 21:26:33 »
Such a shame. I've always thought the A-10 was a brilliant bit of kit for close air support. Not sure if anyone here was already aware of this but Hans-Ulrich Rudel who was a Stuka pilot and the most decorated German serviceman from WW 2 was a consultant for the design of the A-10?
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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 21:45:20 »
It's a robust, easy to maintain, tough, effective airplane. Update the cockpit and comms and build more new ones. A hell of a lot better CAS aircraft than a F35 or UAV.

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 22:55:58 »
It's a robust, easy to maintain, tough, effective airplane. Update the cockpit and comms and build more new ones. A hell of a lot better CAS aircraft than a F35 or UAV.

Agreed. There is nothing else flying that will take this type of abuse.

http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/Stories1/001-100/0016_A-10-battle-damage/story0016.htm
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Offline WingsofFury

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2014, 00:42:09 »
Like the plane, but there are other options when it comes to CAS and anti tank destruction platforms.

The Apache comes to mind...

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 00:54:01 »
Agreed. There is nothing else flying that will take this type of abuse.

http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/Stories1/001-100/0016_A-10-battle-damage/story0016.htm
Could F35 sustain that type of damage? Could an Apache?

Doubt it. But the Brylcream boys like the whiz bang no matter the cost.

I say again, update the cockpit and put in new comms. Hell, Canada should buy the plans, it seems like an easy plane to build and be lot more useful to the Canadian Army than what the F35 will ever be.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 06:58:57 »
Like the plane, but there are other options when it comes to CAS and anti tank destruction platforms.

The Apache comes to mind...

Hmmm.  It is a good platform as well, but doesn't have the range, speed or same flexibility WRT to armament.
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Offline Technoviking

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2014, 08:46:54 »
So, there I was....

Offline Journeyman

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 08:48:47 »
..... be lot more useful to the Canadian Army than what the F35 will ever be.
That presumes that the RCAF gives the remotest of rat's bollocks about the Army.  You'll note that the closest our fighter-bomber world got to supporting the rest of the Canadian military's war-fighting was by deploying to Nellis or Tyndall.

 (again, not speaking of the 'Army Aviation' people)

Online FSTO

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2014, 09:19:33 »
That presumes that the RCAF gives the remotest of rat's bollocks about the Army.  You'll note that the closest our fighter-bomber world got to supporting the rest of the Canadian military's war-fighting was by deploying to Nellis or Tyndall.

 (again, not speaking of the 'Army Aviation' people)

Is there an Air Force in the world that cares about CAS? To me they all strive to be "knights of the air" and can't be bothered to soil themselves by going low and slow.

The supporters of the F35 go on and on about how advanced all the systems on board will be and how they will all work as advertised. I have my doubts, how many pieces of whiz bang electronics have done nothing but go "bang" as one system fault after another renders it useless.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2014, 09:34:32 »
It seems to me that the operational requirement for an F-35 type capability rests on the assumption that we will prepare for war, generally, not for a specific war. A general approach allows (requires?) one to consider a peer or near peer enemy and that leads one to require something like the F-35.



If, on the other hand, you are prepared to argue that a specific model of war will define the next war, and maybe the one after it, then you can, as some have, argue for a specific aircraft type or for alternatives to the conventional (piloted) aircraft.

As we can see even the USA must accept some limits on its defence budget; that means choices must be made.

The A-10 has done wonders on the battlefield. Is there are useful replacement in e.g. the fixed wing or UAV world?  :dunno:
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2014, 09:51:09 »
Is there an Air Force in the world that cares about CAS? To me they all strive to be "knights of the air" and can't be bothered to soil themselves by going low and slow.

Very broad brush stroke.  Lots of "low and slow" type flying out of the Wing I'm at.   :2c:
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Offline Ditch

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2014, 10:09:07 »
Lots of broad brushes all around.  Let's try and be consistent with AF bashing - you can't whine about the lack of fast jet support and then laud the green force that saved plenty of skin overseas.  The green machines are all very much light blue - 100%.  You enjoyed those big green helicopters lifting your entire platoon to the FOB? - thank the RCAF, the light blue element.  Don't confuse the colour of the paint job with the colour of who is really making those contributions.

A-10 is/was a great machine for one specific role.  In today's economical times, we need more multi-role aircraft in the fleet. 
Per Ardua Ad Astra

Offline Colin P

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2014, 10:14:05 »
Good luck getting any of those F-35 we might get to do a strafing run where there is return fire, they will be to valuable to risk to a "golden BB from a DShK"

Offline Journeyman

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2014, 10:23:38 »
Let's try and be consistent with AF bashing - you can't whine about the lack of fast jet support
I wasn't whining about the lack of fast jet support -- I think VERY highly of the USAF, in particular some F-15E and F-18 types -- and I wasn't even whining about the lack of Canadian fast jet support, so much as I was outright bashing those useless c*nts who couldn't be bothered providing support in Afghanistan because there were no 4-star hotels.....unlike Italy, which is why they could deal with Libyan 'oppression.'  ::)

I mentioned Tac Hel, but the CP crowd was involved too.  No, it's specifically the unionized, pampered-princess side of the Air Force.....and now we're stuck with one of them as CDS.  :not-again:


Hopefully you're no longer misunderstanding how I feel on this matter.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2014, 10:26:52 »
If we're to follow the current buttons and bows and all things historical trend, then tac hel should return to its home in the Army, and maritime air (both rotary and fixed wing) should return to the senior service.

There are distinct organizational biases within the RCAF (shared with their USAF brethren) towards air superiority over air to ground.  "Multi-role" aircraft become "too valuable" to risk in CAS functions, and thus become de facto air to air, or engage in CAS from 20 000' - a bit of an oxymoron.
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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2014, 10:36:50 »
The green machines are all very much light blue - 100%.

Only as a result of past political foolishness, and the "light blue" mentality has cost us in terms of operational effectiveness over two many years.

You enjoyed those big green helicopters lifting your entire platoon to the FOB? - thank the RCAF, the light blue element.

The "RCAF" has yet to move even one entire platoon to a FOB.

A-10 is/was a great machine for one specific role.

Agreed. And it represented only one way of carrying out that role. Newer technology has provided other means.

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2014, 10:38:52 »
If we're to follow the current buttons and bows and all things historical trend, then tac hel should return to its home in the Army, and maritime air (both rotary and fixed wing) should return to the senior service.

Oh, please, please, please.

Offline Ditch

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2014, 10:39:49 »
I think VERY highly of the USAF in particular some F-15E and F-18 types
Sorry - can't have you diving into this topic without the atypical army.ca comment of "stay in your lane as you obviously have no clue to which you speak"
Quote
Hopefully you're no longer misunderstanding how I feel on this matter.
I understand that you appreciate very much the continuing RCAF support that was given to deployed forces throughout the mission to CDAG and Afghanistan.  You obviously appreciate the sacrifices that our aircrew have made alongside our brethren in green.  You understand that the same "useless c*nts" are the same people that provided the tac-hel, CP, tactical airlift, C2ISR, etc to the mission.
Per Ardua Ad Astra

Offline WingsofFury

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2014, 10:42:41 »
Could F35 sustain that type of damage? Could an Apache?

Doubt it. But the Brylcream boys like the whiz bang no matter the cost.

From the article...

Quote
the damage had not affected the flight control surfaces or the (landing) gear

And to this point...

Quote
I say again, update the cockpit and put in new comms. Hell, Canada should buy the plans, it seems like an easy plane to build and be lot more useful to the Canadian Army than what the F35 will ever be.

I don't know why you think that CAS can't happen from a platform like the Hornet, Strike Eagle, or even the F-35.  With the advancement of JDAMS and targeting systems it's a lot more efficient than having something low and slow over extremely hostile environments.

I just read your comments about our Hornet pilots...and I'm giving my head a shake.

Perhaps if you knew that our CF-18's didn't even have the capability to provide you with CAS in Afghanistan due to politics and the delay of the IMP you would reconsider your words.




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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2014, 10:43:33 »
Very broad brush stroke.  Lots of "low and slow" type flying out of the Wing I'm at.   :2c:

Agree, that is why I said "To me". As Navy man I appreciate the contributions of our maritime air. It just seems to me that the decision makers in most Air Forces are from the fighter community and therefore a focus on their community vice helicopters, cargo, MPA and CAS.

Offline Journeyman

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Re: A-10 finally done?
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2014, 10:46:39 »
Sorry - can't have you diving into this topic without the atypical army.ca comment of "stay in your lane as you obviously have no clue to which you speak"
On a couple of Ops, we had USN FA-18 support.  Yes, the air support goes into one CAOC bucket for planning, and it was just coincidental that the Navy happened to be supporting their sailors on the ground, but their fast-air seems to have a much better concept of "team"  -- or maybe it just seemed that way because they showed up. 
 
But then, I was there; how could I possibly know 'of which I speak.'