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View Diary: Air-Minded: the C-130 Replacement that Wasn't (114 comments)

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  •  A lot of misguided AF br-ass effort was expended (13+ / 0-)

    too trying to kill or cripple what is one of the finest aircraft ever: the A-10 (Warthog) Thunderbolt II.
    And this negative push against a fantastic weapons system began in roughly the same timeframe, under St. Reagans Rethugs.
    I'll never understand how the R's manage to maintain political 'air' superiority over the Democrats, it is largely undeserved.
    After all, Ronnie and Pappy Bush couldn't have executed many of their military adventures if it hadn't been for President Jimmy Carter's careful defense planning and weapons initiatives (even the simplest systems take long lead times).

    And I remember how we in the US Air Force fought for more F-15s and F-16s

    "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

    by Bluefin on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:58:09 PM PST

    •  A coworker (retired Army COL) once told me (18+ / 0-)

      that A-10s were restricted from flying over swamps because they were so ugly they feared the frogs would try to mate with them.

      The Warthog did/does exactly what it was supposed to: provide close air support for ground forces. Long loiter time, low stall speed, large payload capability, a Vulcan cannon to pop the top of any tank in existence, a titanium bathtub to protect the pilot & damn near indestructible in toto.

      Problem was/is, jet jockeys wanna dogfight & make sonic booms in sleek aircraft--to them CAS is the equivalent of manure shoveling & the homely & slow (max speed 439 mph) Warthog might as well be a garbage truck. IMHO the Air Force never should've been in the CAS business in the first place--they should've given the A-10s to the Army & let them train their own pilots in that mundane but vital profession.

      It's not a "fiscal cliff," it's a Fiscal Bluff--so why don't we call them on it?

      by Uncle Cosmo on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 02:03:17 AM PST

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      •  One of (4+ / 0-)

        the many reasons we need a Defense Force instead of three (almost four because the Marine Corp keeps trying to get more independence) militaries.  Not only do we get overlapping programs we get reluctance for separate services to do the job that needs to be done such as supporting each other.  Worse decision made after WWII was taking the Army Air Corp and making it its own service.  What we needed to do then was put the Navy into the Army.  

      •  A10, the second most scariest airplane.... (5+ / 0-)

        While watching the Warthog during a demonstration of CAS, it scared the bleep out of me as I thought what was happening if I were a member of the OPFOR (opposing force). The pilot would make his run, gain altitude, roll it, and bring the Warthog back on line for another run....

        The only airplane that would scare me more would be the AC-130 Spectre Gunship. Pure terror.....

      •  In My Opinion, the Curtailment ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uncle Cosmo, ColoTim

        of the A-10 program was both political and misguided. It was developed because the F-100's, F-105's, A-4's, and F-4's, etc. were not really suited for the CAS role. It came along a little late, and even though it met the mission requirements precisely, the DoD and Congress decided that its particular mission would go away, since there would be not more Vietnams. Another factor was that Fairchild was not a favored contractor like Boeing, Lockheed, etc. As far as I know, all the A-10's are now with the Air National Guard.

        "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

        by midnight lurker on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:41:09 PM PST

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        •  Mmm, maybe not (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IreGyre, ColoTim, Bluehawk, xaxnar

          Dunno how much you can trust the Wiki article, but--

          The A-10 is scheduled to be in service with the USAF until 2028 and possibly later,[82] when it may be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[25] Critics have responded by saying that replacing the A-10 with the F-35 would be a "giant leap backwards" given the performance of the Warthog and the rising costs of the F-35 program.[83] In 2012 the Air Force concluded the F-35B cannot generate enough sorties to meet their needs, and so it will not replace the A-10.[84]
          Here are the references:

          82. Trimble, Steven. "US Air Force may extend Fairchild A-10 life beyond 2028." Flight International, 29 August 2007. Retrieved: 5 March 2010.
          83. Goozner, Merill. "$382 Billion for a Slightly Better Fighter Plane?: F-35 has plenty of support in Congress." The Fiscal Times, 11 February 2011. Retrieved: 6 March 2011
          84. "F-35B cannot generate enough sorties to replace A-10", Flightglobal.com, 16 May 2012.

          (Links are at Wiki)

          & here is a list of USAF line detachments still flying the A-10 per that article:

             23d Wing: Moody Air Force Base, Georgia
                  74th Fighter Squadron
                  75th Fighter Squadron
              51st Fighter Wing: Osan Air Base, South Korea
                  25th Fighter Squadron
              52d Fighter Wing: Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany
                  81st Fighter Squadron
              53d Wing: Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
                  422d Test and Evaluation Squadron (Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada)
              57th Wing: Nellis AFB, Nevada
                  66th Weapons Squadron
              355th Wing: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona
                  354th Fighter Squadron
                  357th Fighter Squadron
                  358th Fighter Squadron
          The Warthog is one of those exceptional designs that go on & on & on because they're so perfectly suited for their rolea. I'd put it in a class with the B-52, MiG 21, DC-3, B737, C-130, etc.

          It's not a "fiscal cliff," it's a Fiscal Bluff--so why don't we call them on it?

          by Uncle Cosmo on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:56:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I Agree ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            xaxnar

            that it deserves to go on. It is truly unique.

            I think they should have built more. But as I recall, there was a lot of politics going around in the mid- to early 70's that resulted in Fairchild contract cancellations in favor of other companies and programs. It's getting a little fuzzy, but I think at one point someone in the Government suggested that the program continue with someone other than Fairchild building the aircraft.

            "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

            by midnight lurker on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:02:25 PM PST

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            •  Yep, see linked AF report below... (0+ / 0-)

              "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

              by Bluefin on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:52:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I drew on a very interesting AF study, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Simplify, xaxnar

            A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog) SYSTEMS ENGINEERING CASE STUDY (pdf) after Binging it, which summarizes the whole A-10 program. Makes for interesting reading.

            BTW, the A-10 Wiki page indicates that the Warthog may still be flying in 2040! Which means a hull that first flew in 1972, in service in 1977, may still be serving then, 63 years later (JFC, I'm only slightly older than that and no way I'm still ripping things up, heh).
            So it joins B-52's, C-47's as truly ancient but viable aircraft designs.
            I guess the materials and maintenace count a lot too, the poor Coast Guard has always used cutters past 40 year hull lives, but they are downright scary down below (used in a much more hostile environment: salt water).

            The service life of the re-winged aircraft is extended to 2040.

            "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

            by Bluefin on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:51:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  When I was a kid (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, DaveinBremerton, chimpy, lazybum

      The 174th TFW of the NY ANG flew A-10s. They were taken away in the late '80s and replaced with F-16s. Now the F-16s have been replaced by Reaper drones which can't legally fly in Syracuse because it's a civilian airport. The drones are always on deployment anyway, but they can't even train with them here.

      In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

      by boriscleto on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:28:13 AM PST

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    •  A-10= my fav plane (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimpy, lazybum

      WHY the resistance from the brass??  That thing's fantastic.

      Maybe because it came in on-time and on-budget?

      •  That's sort of why I mentioned it. Too much of the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar

        suck butt-scratch back politickin' bull goes on to the detriment of the mission.

        I heard earlier today (on NPR's Here & Now) more about the Petraeus bull:
        that Gen Petraeus tooled over to parties with a 28 motorcycle police escort in Tampa, like the prof said- this is decadent, Fall of Rome crap (I was never a fan of P's anyway). Some of us remember the Rethug types whispering the same stuff about the alleged lifestyle of a Dem leaning general, Wesley Clark.

        "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

        by Bluefin on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:11:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I saw A10s at an air show in Ireland... German (0+ / 0-)

      Luftwaffe A10s back in the early 80s (at Casement aerodrome, Baldonnel)  Scary and impressive looking plane...

      it was weird seeing them with German Markings... I reflected that it was good they did not have something remotely like that to bust Soviet tanks on the eastern front in the 1940s... the war would have turned out very differently...
      Imagine Kursk... poof... all the Soviet tanks finished off in an hour or two.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 02:25:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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