USAF A-10 logic

USAF A-10 logic

Advertisements


Categories: weapons

Tags: , , ,

36 replies

  1. It is impossible to persuade people when their mind is made up I am afraid.

    Right now the A10 is in a fight for its life. Even if it is saved, the training school has been phased out. The problem is that to do CAS well, you need good pilots, but also the entire support structure. Inevitably if the US finds itself needing CAS, the learning curve is reset.

    Right now, much like how easily people seem in society to vote against their own interests, greed of the military industrial complex is the bane of militaries.

    • “It is impossible to persuade people when their mind is made up I am afraid. ”

      Yeah.

      “Right now the A10 is in a fight for its life. Even if it is saved, the training school has been phased out. ”

      Which means no replacement pilots, which means that it will have to be retired someday… typical USAF, they are geniuses when it comes to doing away with useful weapons.

      • “Right now, much like how easily people seem in society to vote against their own interests, greed of the military industrial complex is the bane of militaries. The problem is that to do CAS well, you need good pilots, but also the entire support structure. Inevitably if the US finds itself needing CAS, the learning curve is reset. ”

        Well the conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s belligerence coupled with the stubbornness of some US congressmen which didn’t buy the bulls…t the USAF was selling and forced them to keep the A-10, might have granted the A-10 a new lease of life. Several squadrons are being redeployed to Europe. Out of these 11 A-10 have been deployed to Romania at the Campia Turzii airbase from March 27th up until July 27th, for the „DACIAN THUNDER 2015” exercise. Now I don’t know what kind of exercise last for 4 months. On the other hand training courses for various specializations such as the famous TOP GUN for air-superiority crews last around 4 months. My belief is that the “Dacian Thunder 2015” and other similar long duration exercises involving A-10 which might be carried out in the future in the Baltic countries and Poland, are actually a disguised training school for A-10 pilots especially since it’s being organized right in the terrain were A-10s might be used and in conjunction with allied troops from Romania, Poland, the Baltic Countries that A-10s might be called to support.

    • BTW, looks like Chinese military has many of the same problems as the US military:
      View story at Medium.com

      In that view, developing J-20 and -31 does not seem so wierd.

      • Corruption is everywhere I am afraid.

        That being said, their economic ideas seem to be closer to right – as I’ve described them in your economics blog. That’s why they’ve seen so rapid growth. They are following the Japanese, South Koreans, and a few other East Asians in their trajectory. Sure they’ll grow old, but then again, population decline seems to be occurring in a lot of places – Western Europe is no exception.

        • “Sure they’ll grow old, but then again, population decline seems to be occurring in a lot of places – Western Europe is no exception.”

          Agreed. And interesting thing is that it seems that population decline is connected to neoliberal doctrines and atheism. So Christian Socialism would be the best choice for well-being of any given Western nation.

  2. Among the blogs on the website, Foxtrot Alpha (which I linked earlier) seems to be one of the more sane blogs:

    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-usafs-rationale-for-retiring-the-a-10-warthog-is-bu-1562789528

    The bottom-line here is that saving $3.7 billion dollars over next few years is not worth giving away the cheapest and most traditionally survivable attack aircraft in the USAF, yet along worth telling the kids we send to fight our bloody ground wars that their lives are not worth .21% ($1.2B per year divided by $550B) of the annual Pentagon’s budget. Quite frankly, I think it is alarming that we are even having this debate at all and it is indicative of just how diseased the USAF, and the Pentagon’s overall priorities have become.

    The A-10 is the best CAS platform mankind has ever designed, if the Air Force wants to chop its inventory of Warthogs to 200 jets and leave the rest in storage then fine. The war is wrapping up, we get it, an elastic force is understandable going forward. But should we choose to send the finest among us into harms way in a foreign land again — and seeing as how this new millennium has gone so far I doubt that really is a question — we should all demand that the finest air support possible go along with them, and that is unquestionably provided by the A-10 Warthog.

    Congressional hearings (from the Foxtrot link):

    http://tucson.com/news/blogs/pueblo-politics/cd-watch-barber-grills-officials-on-a–in-house/article_a39433f7-c41e-540f-90bf-bc3fddcc5bc9.html

    Other link:

    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/at-what-point-does-the-usafs-war-against-the-a-10-becom-1685239179

    The truth is that the A-10’s greatest flaw is that it is comparatively slow and ugly, and that it was so cheap to build, upgrade and sustain over the years. No major defense contractor made made windfall profits on it time and time again and we do not need to buy more of them, we simply need to maintain and upgrade the force we have already paid for. In other words, the Warthog is not a jobs program or a cutting edge technology for generals to hang their career on and they won’t make any really good friends in the defense industrial complex wanting to pay them a big six figure salary once they hang up your uniform for defending it. It is not a sexy machine, it has no flames coming out of its tail and it is not meant to heroically shoot down other aircraft under high g-forces. What it is is an inexpensive, already owned and brutally effective tool at keeping our guys on the ground alive while making sure the other guy’s troops end up dead.

    The issue is that there is even a replacement on the table, certainly nothing like the ALX.

  3. Potentially. I cannot remember off the top of my head the Su-25 development history. What surprises me though is that the Russians with the experience with this aircraft have not made a followup but have managed to fund tactical bombers like the Su-34.

    Either way, a lot of nations have the potential to make something like the ALX if they wanted to. It’s not something insanely expensive. If a nation like Sweden can make something like the Gripen, then even a smaller nation could attempt something like the ALX. Heck, one option might even be to make turboprop CAS aircraft – it’d still be pretty good for the job.

    • “What surprises me though is that the Russians with the experience with this aircraft have not made a followup but have managed to fund tactical bombers like the Su-34.”

      Not really surprising. They have many same hurdles as the US, though not to the same extent: an independent air force and strong military industry.

      • One would think that the difficulties that the Russians have faced since the 1990s would force some degree of design discipline, but that does not seem to be happening.

        True, it’s not as bad as the US, but that bar is really low. To be honest, there’s no military that seems to think about the value of CAS these days.

        If you think about it, the most efficient (from a money spent vs impact) are the irregular forces. Perhaps it’s because necessity forces that kind of discipline. For the same reason that smaller nations (or nations with unfavorable geography like Germany), generally tend to have the best troops (in terms of effectiveness per troop).

        I suspect that may be one of the reasons why the US too designs the weapons the way that it does.

      • “For the same reason that smaller nations (or nations with unfavorable geography like Germany), generally tend to have the best troops (in terms of effectiveness per troop). ”

        What unfavorable geography in Germany?

        • Same as Croatia., though to a lesser extent – being located on important trade routes always spells trouble.

          But reason why Germany actually has some of the best troops in the world is that it, like Croatia, Poland, Finland and most other countries with above-average troop quality, spent a lot of time being invaded and fought over. It was not until the 19th century that Germany could get some peace.

      • @Andrei

        Germany is roughly where East and Western Europe meet. That’s why they have been involved in quite a few wars.

        @Picard

        It’s interesting to note that one of the reasons why it’s been suggested that the Middle East is such a low trust society is because they are roughly in the middle of the Silk Road. Combine that with the legacy of the Crusades centuries ago, along with being conquered by the Mongols and I guess the Arabic cultures have evolved into a very low trust society. Other figures no doubt played a role like Al-Ghazzali, who helped weaken rationalism in Islam. Unlike the Germans though, they were never able to develop and sustain a very high quality military.

        There has been the argument that resources can be a curse as much as a blessing. That may be true for economies as well. I have found it interesting that irregular insurgents do so well against conventional Western forces (in no small part due to their own failings) and the Arabic conventional militaries generally do not fare as well.

        Perhaps resources have also driven strategy for large nations like the US and Russia as well. They have lots of resources to call upon, so that’s what their military doctrine relies more heavily on. Contrast with smaller nations like the Nordic nations or the Swiss.

      • “But reason why Germany actually has some of the best troops in the world is that it, like Croatia, Poland, Finland and most other countries with above-average troop quality, spent a lot of time being invaded and fought over. It was not until the 19th century that Germany could get some peace.”

        “Germany is roughly where East and Western Europe meet. That’s why they have been involved in quite a few wars. ”

        Actually you are both only partially right. If we take the period after the Mongol Invasions in the 13th century to the 20th century, Germany didn’t spend a lot of time being invaded on the contrary it did most of the invading. Starting with the crusades against the Russian Orthodox Christians in the 13th Century ( look-up Alexander Nevsky ) lead by the Teutonic Knights, the Polish-Teutonic wars of the 14th and 15th Century (look-up Battle of Grunwald and Marienburg ), continuing with the Italian Wars of the 16th Century that were inflamed by German Mercenary Companies, and finishing with the 30 years war of the 17th Century which was again inflamed by the German Mercenary Companies to such an extant that the Peace of Westphalia outlawed them, Germans have usually been the aggressors. In fact except for the 100 years war which was strictly a French-English affair, most of the wars in Western and Central Europe were started and kept going because of some German state part of the Holy Roman Empire (depending on the period that included Spain and parts of Italy which were ruled by the Habsburgs ) .
        The peace that Germany got starting from the 19th century was only because the two powers that had kept them in check and contained Poland in the East and France in the west were having trouble. France because of the revolutions and Poland having been betrayed by it’s former vassal Prussia and former ally Austria (let’s not forget that it was the Polish king and Polish-Lithuanian army that lifted the siege of Vienna in 1683) and split up between them and Tzarist Russia. And we all saw in the 20th century what Germany did with that peace, Two World Wars started and Lebensraum.

        • It is correct that Germany has mostly been an agressor – ever since the fall of the Roman Empire – but if you take a look at most of the late Middle Ages and modernity, Germany was actually divided into many smaller states. Only larger German states of the time I was referring to were Austria and Prussia. These two *were* busy invading everything they could, but remaining German states were nothing more than playground of their, and other Great Powers’, armies.

      • I would agree with the above. But regardless, Germany has historically had pretty high quality troops.

        Of course, being small does not assure a high quality troop, but it does seem to make it more probable. You could argue that for a lengthy period of time, the Ancient Romans had better troops and tactics than their competitors. The Mongolian army too had better troop quality than many of the nations they conquered.

        • True. Though in both cases, it had to do with continuing practices they have learned during the time when they were a small fish in the basin. In other words, tradition, which seems to be undervalued or even ridiculed in modern Western world.

      • If you think about it though, a lot of militaries owe their successes and failures to their peacetime traditions and cultures.

        That may be true even today – every nation’s culture heavily influences its military. I would argue that is true for every nation and non-state actor. Things like whether or not officers have lots of privilege over their subordinates versus a more egalitarian structure, whether or not questioning is encouraged versus a top-down mentality, are very much a product of culture as much as the military as an organization itself.

        • Military stems from the society, and will therefore follow norms of that society. Today’s Western military idiocy and focus on hardware over people is a result of an insanely materialistic culture.

      • I’d imagine that a less materialistic culture would not have gotten into so many of the wars in the first place. That’s another issue to consider.

  4. Perhaps the worst thing of all is that many nations seem to have lost any capacity for reflection and self correction.

    The mistakes that the US made in Vietnam have been repeated in he War on Terror. Many of the other problems such as the indiscriminate us of drones seem to have enabled little reform. Part of that is in no small part due to the influence of the military industrial complex, which is actively disengaged in attempting to make real reforms to protect its profits, but another part of that must be attributed to cultural problems. It seems that the lessons of the past have not been learned.

  5. If you think about it, the US has mostly bombers now apart from the F-22 and F-15, which are bomber interceptors

    – They are retiring many F-16s and worse, many F-16 pilots are not air to air
    – The F-15s are getting retired quickly to pay for the F-35 (http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/usafs-dubious-priorities-results-in-axing-of-f-15-aggre-1633886869)
    – There simply aren’t enough F-22s and if they are still getting less than 10h/month, then they are not getting enough hours to train
    – Don’t even get start on B2 hours (https://medium.com/war-is-boring/guess-how-many-times-per-month-a-stealth-bomber-pilot-actually-flies-e62189128a63)
    – Of course, the A-10 we’ve documented the USAF is fighting hard to get rid of

    So what does that leave us with?

    – A small number of F-22s with very limited training hours
    – Maybe an aging fleet of F-16s
    – An aging fleet of F-15s that is slowly being retired
    – The bombers of course
    – The problem plagued F-35

    I suppose the USN has it’s F-18 Super Hornets, but those aren’t really that great either if you think about it. They never really solved the wing drop issue.

  6. The irony here I guess is perhaps the Russians are justified in making the Su-27 as a “bomber interceptor” since most of the aircraft are bombers or pseudo bombers.

    Part of this is because of the Cold War legacy, but another part is also because of the defense industry and military ideology.

    Equally alarming, the thing is that the so called War on Terror would benefit immensely from a small light CAS type aircraft. The ALX or even a light FAC type scout would be immensely helpful for any ground forces. Instead money goes to the bombers, F-35, and the drones.

    Everything has gone overbudget. Apparently the aircraft carriers have too:
    http://www.pogo.org/blog/2014/12/20141215-navy-tries-to-cover-up-new-carriers-exploding-cost.html

    The hollow military as you’ve noted is coming, but not for reasons the American conservatives claim – the defense industry has become the culprit.

    • “Equally alarming, the thing is that the so called War on Terror would benefit immensely from a small light CAS type aircraft. The ALX or even a light FAC type scout would be immensely helpful for any ground forces.”

      Actually, a turboprop FAC / light attack aircraft would be the most helpful due to low cost, fuel economy and endurance / loiter ability.

    • True. Granted the only time ALX is better is when the enemy has AA – I suppose the most that Islamic fundamentalists will get are 12.7mm machine guns, although MANPADs are possible (they have gotten some pretty impressive ATGMs as well).

      But the point is moot. The bottleneck is not money to build either ALX or a FAC. The bottleneck is political will and the defense industry’s profits. I wonder though – could a business case be made for high volume (ex: not as much profit per plane but more volume). Then again maybe not. Winning is not desirable to the MICC.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: