Will the A-10 go?

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It seems as if the DoD/Pentagon has it in for both the A-10 and the U-2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-26326969 Will the A-10 really go? Especially after the recent contracts signed to provide new wings for the type. I can see the U-2 being retired as its role could probably be undertaken by drones (Global Hawk) or whatever they have flying around area 51 these days. This whole plan has to get through congress, but I am unsure how that will play out. Could the U.S. armed forces be as effective without the A-10?
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Moved my post here from the News section (to not pollute the thread). Hope it's OK for your Freehand
Pentagon seeks to ground U-2s, A-10s and Kiowa Warriors, delay F-35C procurement
Regarding the moves with the A10, I fear that the democrats will have to swallow the pill in 2016. Discarding the 10 is nearly as dramatics as replacing automatics cartridge with boxes of marshmallows. Here is an anticipation for the next presidential debate: GoP candidate: And the irresponsible Obama deprived american ground force from air support with the A10 Hillary: The "A" what ? is that a new app from Apple that I don't know about? (thinking) How could it be? GoP candidate: You see what I mean. (pointing his finger toward the crowd). We need you America Senator Mc Cain - giggling behind the stage - to CNN's senior correspondent : I told you. Naïve they are. May the (US Air) force be with US. CNN anchor: You said Hillary will win. Senator Mc Cain You 're sure ? CNN anchor: Hummm... can't find your tweet on my Iphone... But Senator, wasn't the USAF declining the OP benefits of the RQ4? And blablabla
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It's cool with me. I think they are both going to go, but am also glad that the B-1 is not on that list. I recall earlier talk of the B-1 fleet being axed as well.

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There was also a recent article talking about a drastic force reduction in the US army (from two theater to a single one). Easy to see some convergence here. I fear that if SFOC doesn't request it , the 10 will go. Keeping the B1 (upgraded) makes sense. This thing is a SuperDuber Rafale on an OP point of view.
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Going, Going, Gone… Hate the idea of it on a sentimental level, but the utility of maintaining the fleet is lessening. First, I hope we avoid any more conflicts where an aircraft where the A-10 is relevant- read Afghanistan. (or any conflicts at all) Second, if there is any class of aircraft that can be replaced most effectively by a UCAV, it is CAS aircraft.

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Air Force would much rather keep the U-2 a few more years. They say Global Hawk cost twice as much per hour and still suffer from frequent critical systems failure.

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the A-10, which Hagel called a 40-year-old, single-purpose aircraft designed for Cold War operations, at a cost savings of $3.5 billion over five years.
Source: CNN.com The big picture: US Army down from 550k to 450k personals Special Forces up from 66K to 70k The new Helo joint project might be what will put an end to the glorious A10.
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The U2 is no real surprise the type has been on the road to retirement anyway, the A10 is a more difficult pill to swallow but once Afghanistan is over the justification to keep it gets rather week and true savings are made by retiring a whole fleet. The Kiowa Warrior is far more problematic, it is a cost effective and affordable type the only reason it is being offered up is the Army want to properly fund the and protect the AH64E program. As for the B1, fifteen years ago the type was struggling to find a role within the airforce and was on the road to early retirement. Over a decade of combat in Afghanistan have changed things, the type is one of the most popular aircraft for ground commanders in the CAS role. Certainly an ironic development, but the huge precision bomb load, SNIPER pod, ROVER and the supersonic ability to transit to any part of the theatre quickly then loiter for hours has made it an invaluable type.

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First, I hope we avoid any more conflicts where an aircraft where the A-10 is relevant- read Afghanistan.
Hmmm.... lets examine the last, say, 25 years for "major" conflicts in which the US have got involved. 1. Afghanistan. A-10 critical to supporting those at greatest risk (i.e. the troops on the ground, not the pilots in the sky.) 2. Iraq II. A-10 critical to removing any armoured vehicles and to providing on-call air support to troops in country and city. 3. Kosovo. Originally not used due to the interdiction nature of the strike plan, but eventually critical in destroying military equipment in Kosovo itself [the A-10s being the prime tank/artillery killers in the end] 4. Bosnia/Serbia/Yugoslavia. Not used extensively. No troops on ground. 5. Iraq I. A-10 critical to scud hunts, removing armoured columns and on-call support. The initial proposed retirement of the A-10 was halted due to its performance. So, in 4 out of 5 conflicts the A-10 has seen extensive use. In the 3 conflicts where troops have been on the ground, the A-10 has been absolutely essential. Given the assumption that the primary role of the USAF would be to support the US Army in any conflict where they are engaged, you have to ask... why are they being retired again?
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There seems to be this whole attitude now from the US planners perspective that "We have been fine with this dirty little wars so far, but when we have to fight a real war we need real stealth, lots of unmanned and a massive technological edge. If we don't get that now, then we will have some tough questions to answer when the fan gets messy". Some of which is valid, although I would prefer to think that they won't need to plan for a real war....

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There seems to be this whole attitude now from the US planners perspective that "We have been fine with this dirty little wars so far,
But that's the thing - they haven't been fine - even in these dirty little wars. The troops want persistent on-demand air support. The only platform that exists which can do that is the A-10. All others are limited by endurance and/or loadout.
but when we have to fight a real war we need real stealth, lots of unmanned and a massive technological edge. If we don't get that now, then we will have some tough questions to answer when the fan gets messy". Some of which is valid, although I would prefer to think that they won't need to plan for a real war....
Some of which is definitely valid. However, following age-old USAF reluctance to do their primary job they are beating the CAS A-10 with the interdiction stick and it has great potential for disaster when the fan gets messy... Although since it'll be primarily US Army blood that gets split, perhaps some USAF generals don't really care.
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I think it goes back to usage. The A-10 is obviously the go-to-aircraft for the CAS role and the U.S. has been in active combat since 2001, the best alternative is to keep the aircraft. How many of them are in service? Would it be enough to scale back the numbers to a squadron or two and keep the rest in reserve (AMARC) for when the active airframes wear out? What about the F-15C/D? Talk about a one-trick pony... I love the F-15, but think that CONUS defense missions can be handled by the F-22, F-16 and even some naval units. The F/A-18E/F is no slouch itself. Retiring the F-15C/D, a platform that has had little to do in the recent conflicts, may be a better idea.

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I think it goes back to usage. The A-10 is obviously the go-to-aircraft for the CAS role and the U.S. has been in active combat since 2001, the best alternative is to keep the aircraft. How many of them are in service? Would it be enough to scale back the numbers to a squadron or two and keep the rest in reserve (AMARC) for when the active airframes wear out? What about the F-15C/D? Talk about a one-trick pony... I love the F-15, but think that CONUS defense missions can be handled by the F-22, F-16 and even some naval units. The F/A-18E/F is no slouch itself. Retiring the F-15C/D, a platform that has had little to do in the recent conflicts, may be a better idea.
I agree, cutting the F15C/D or the older F16 block 25 aircraft would be alot more logical. The US has way to many fighters. I hope the A10 survives.

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Going, Going, Gone… Hate the idea of it on a sentimental level, but the utility of maintaining the fleet is lessening. First, I hope we avoid any more conflicts where an aircraft where the A-10 is relevant- read Afghanistan. (or any conflicts at all) Second, if there is any class of aircraft that can be replaced most effectively by a UCAV, it is CAS aircraft.
With no disrespect my friend. But after 12 years of COIN warfare in the Ghan, I guess it will be very easy to overlook the fact that the A-10 is a specalised tank killer. I grant you the Afghan-type COIN warfare the U.S./NATO has been bogged down in is over, as both organisations wake up and smell the roses, that whilst the West was chasing boogy men under the title of "War on Terror", the rest of the world had moved on back to the emphasis of 'conventional warfare'. It's my opinion that the likes of the A-10's tank-killing capability - spacifically with its Avenger cannon will still be required by U.S. 'ground forces' to steem and compensate for the enevitable force cut's that has to compensate for the past 12-years adventure! As much as I believe that UAV like Global Hawk might be able to replace the venrable Lockheed U-2/TR-1. I can not say the same for your assesment of UAV's being able to replace the A-10 in either COIN, to say nothing of tank killing! Regards Pioneer
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I think A-10 is no longer necessary for tank plinking, F-16 had a merry ole time plinking them in Iraq. Why did the pilots call the new leisure tank plinking ? Because it was like shooting targets in a barrel, that is how easy it was, and SDB II makes it even easier, from an even higher alt. Schwarzkopf: "Tell them not to call it 'tank plinking'!" Horner: "That's the surest way to get them to call it 'tank plinking.' "
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With no disrespect my friend. But after 12 years of COIN warfare in the Ghan, I guess it will be very easy to overlook the fact that the A-10 is a specalised tank killer. I grant you the Afghan-type COIN warfare the U.S./NATO has been bogged down in is over, as both organisations wake up and smell the roses, that whilst the West was chasing boogy men under the title of "War on Terror", the rest of the world had moved on back to the emphasis of 'conventional warfare'. It's my opinion that the likes of the A-10's tank-killing capability - spacifically with its Avenger cannon will still be required by U.S. 'ground forces' to steem and compensate for the enevitable force cut's that has to compensate for the past 12-years adventure! As much as I believe that UAV like Global Hawk might be able to replace the venrable Lockheed U-2/TR-1. I can not say the same for your assesment of UAV's being able to replace the A-10 in either COIN, to say nothing of tank killing! Regards Pioneer
A-10 cannot operate in anything other than a permissive environment, there was a great article about the life expectancy for an A-10 pilot over CENTAG during the cold war, it's worth a google. IADS have only gotten better, the A-10 cannot be expected to, and will not survive in a near-peer conflict such as the one you are implying. In GWI, A-10's were restricted to within 30 miles of the Saudi Kuwait border, the one mission they flew over Republican guard forces (60 miles) resulted in two losses and seven damaged aircraft. In truth, with the advent of JSOW (even without the specialized anti-armor bomblets) and SDB-II, the ability to break up a massed attack by armor is better achieved with standoff munitions. As far as COIN, there is little doubt which is effective in both cost and loiter time, it's UAV's. There is a great graphic that was taken down by the DoD last year that showed drone strikes are up hugely, 1/3 of all munitions dropped were by drones. Lastly, CAS, 80% of CAS missions over Afghanistan were flown by fast movers or bombers, that leaves 20% to A-10's, AC-130's, and rotary wing. Biggest reason? B-1B's can cover large distances quickly, have massive ordinance loads, and loiter time in hours, not minutes. Again, hate to see it go, but it is the least valuable aircraft for modern warfare in the inventory.

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A-10 cannot operate in anything other than a permissive environment
Yet that is the airspace environment the US Army has found over its head in the majority of its conflicts in the last 20 years....
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I would expect A-10 to go down roughly as easily when hit by SA-3 as F-117, and it won't dodge much better
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But it can fly low and use terrain to avoid being shot at by the big guys who would turn an F-16 into scrap metal. And at that altitude it is much more survivable to small SAMs and AA guns.
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GAO summery of desert storm conclude that low alt is the only dangerous alt.
In sum, the factor most strongly associated with survivability in Desert Storm appears to have been the combination of flying high and flying at night
Aircraft Casualty Rates The overall aircraft casualty rate was 0.0017 per strike, or in other words, about 0.0017 aircraft were lost or damaged per strike in Desert Storm. The F-117 was the only aircraft under review that reported no losses or damage. However, using an analysis performed in DOD but not publicly reported, we calculated the likelihood of a nonstealthy aircraft being hit if it flew the same number of strikes as the F-117 (that is, 1,788), with a general probability of hit equal to 0.0017.40 This calculation showed that 0 hits would be the most likely outcome for a nonstealthy aircraft* * by flying at night and high alt. that is, and generally taking the same precautions http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?126574-GAO-summary-of-Desert-Storm
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But remember the A-10's original mission was not flying over a desert. It was created with the European theatre in mind: hills, woods, ... Terrain masking was playing a large role in its survivability, as well.