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"US Congress Allocates More Money To Keep 3 ...." Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2017 9:28 p.m. PST

…Squadrons Of A-10s Flying

"The House Armed Services Committee has taken its first steps toward preserving three A-10 Warthog squadrons that, without funding for new wings, could begin retiring as early as the mid-2020s.

The HASC chairman's mark of the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, released Monday, adds $103 USD million for an A-10 "unfunded requirement." In its FY18 unfunded priorities list, the U.S. Air Force included an equivalent amount of cash, which if appropriated would be used to restart production of A-10 wings and manufacture four wing sets.

As of now, the Air Force plans on retaining its A-10s through at least the next five years. Past then, some parts of the fleet will need modifications to keep flying…"


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Legion 429 Jun 2017 6:18 a.m. PST

If it works don't fix it. And in this case I'd think it would save $$$$ in the long run. With the current type of asymmetrical warfare we find ourselves in. The A-10s CAS capabilities certainly makes it a useful tool in the inventory.

But … No matter what … The USA must have aircraft to maintain Air Superiority in the event of a more conventional conflict. As we see US aircraft have recently shot down 2 Drones and one Syrian Russian designed aircraft. While those were trying to attack US allies. So IMO CAP and CAS are very important in US war planning and fighting, regardess.

Charlie 12 Inactive Member21 Jul 2017 7:22 p.m. PST

Maintaining a creditable CAS capability is crucial (duh!). But let's be honest about the A-10.

1) Its an old bird. And, as with all old birds, its going to cost more and more to keep them flying.

2) Against ISIS (or any other garbage rank opponent) its a world beater. But against a first rank opponent, its chances of survival are much, much slimmer. That, BTW, was a major concern back in the late '80s when the bad guys were seen as the WARPACT. Think how different the AAA environment is now verses then.

3) Its a one trick pony. Granted, it does it very well. But in the current budget environment, one trick ponies (especially ones that need other assets, like SEAD, to even hope to succeed) are a tougher sell.

The A-10 is not a bad plane. Not by any means. But its 'used by' date may well have come and gone. Against the badly trained, bad equipped, incompetently led it can still prove its bones. But against a first rank opponent (like the Chinese), not so much.

Lion in the Stars21 Jul 2017 8:20 p.m. PST

The problem is that any aircraft that is going to be good at CAS is going to suck at just about any other modern air mission short of dogfighting slow. Aerodynamic requirements alone make that a reality.

The A10's replacement will probably be semi-stealthy, just to help it survive in AAA environment. But I doubt it will be as fast as the F35. In fact, I'd be surprised if the A10's replacement was supersonic at all.

Windward Inactive Member26 Jul 2017 12:25 p.m. PST

Speed is not really an asset in CAS (other than being able to get on station quickly). Fast movers have a problem acquiring and hitting targets (sans the use of guided precision munitions). Those are expensive, so the military is going to default to dumb bombs most of the time.

The hit against the A-10 in the 80s was in the high threat environment it was vulnerable. That will be true for any CAS aircraft.

The question is will we have a low threat CAS aircraft like the Super Tucano, or a durable (but expensive) medium to high threat CAS aircraft like the A-10 or something of its ilk.

USAF hates the CAS mission, so I think they will grudgingly go the cheap route of the Tucano. But those aircraft will be meat, in any environment with real AAA assets.

In Vietnam, the Sandys (A-1 Skyraiders) who's lotter time and massive ordinance load made them excellent CAS aircraft were pulled due to vulnerability to the NV AAA threat. They where tough, but not tough enough to sustain multiple hits.

The replacement was the A-7, the SLUF had reasonable speed (to avoid AAA), tubrofan engine allowed useful lotter time, and large ordinance load. But it still wasn't tough enough to take the hits (thus the A-10 was conceived).

They really need to make the next generation of the A-10, taking all the advantages of the A-10 (and lessons learned) and applying new technology (semi-stealth, night strike capability), and it will not be cheap.

But in any form, it will not be cool and sexy, a requirement for the USAF. So either they punt on the CAS mission, allow the Army to fly fixed wing strike aircraft (maybe declare a restriction on subsonic aircraft to make them happy) or they will have to suck it up and go forward.

But the flying wonder that is the A-10 is getting long in the tooth, the airframes have an expected life, even with wing replacements they will time out.

SouthernPhantom10 Aug 2017 8:22 p.m. PST

I expect that the A-10 will wind up being replaced by the A-29 or other light attack aircraft. Those will do just as well at the COIN/CAS role, while being even cheaper to operate.

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