M-346 FT, a new CAS plane for Italy and USA?

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http://www.ansa.it/sito/notizie/economia/2016/07/11/a-farnborough-il-nuovo-aermacchi-m-346ft_71247d6c-2f4e-41f1-80ea-0b99b6e71e3f.html https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2016-07-11/aeromacchi-m-346ft-debuts-farnborough-2016 https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2016-07-11/aeromacchi-m-346ft-debuts-farnborough-2016 Needless to say how a similar bird could be interesting not just for Italy itself but also for other nations and above all for the USA in connection with both the T-X and the prospective A-10 substitute. All of this, obviously if we would live in a normal world, let's say one in which the next twenty years acquisitions of both countries would not be already completely sold out, body , mind and a.s.s.holes to the F-35 or the T-X program would be not completely made up i.e. rigged on in order to avoid any honest chance of a T-100 victory...:apologetic::apologetic:
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it definitely offers an interesting capability to nations that would want a combat capable jet trainer. But the M-346 FT concept does not feature a radar, which means that it isn't really going to be able to compete against other light fighters, but as a bomb carrier in non contested airspace or with escorts, it is going to be quite useful. As a retrofit solution for existing customers and a future solution for new customers, I think it will find some traction. There is a trend towards this already. BAe/HAL have signed a JV to undertake similar development on the Hawk, calling it the Combat Hawk, by modifying the wing to improve agility and performance, new cockpit avionics, HMDS, LDP, higher thrust engine with FADEC and integrating new air to ground and close combat missiles. Radar may also be integrated, but it's not yet certain. Quite clearly, affordability and lower operational costs are considered to be marketable features for trainers that can then be called upon to perform some missions that do not require cutting edge avionics or the most sophisticated fighters. So the M-346 FT is supposed to feature - 5 under wing and under fuselage hardpoints - inflight refueling capability - ability to carry different recon and designation pods - tactical DL like the Link 16 - self protection CMDS http://alert5.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/1.jpg
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it definitely offers an interesting capability to nations that would want a combat capable jet trainer. But the M-346 FT concept does not feature a radar, which means that it isn't really going to be able to compete against other light fighters, but as a bomb carrier in non contested airspace or with escorts, it is going to be quite useful. As a retrofit solution for existing customers and a future solution for new customers, I think it will find some traction. There is a trend towards this already. BAe/HAL have signed a JV to undertake similar development on the Hawk, calling it the Combat Hawk, by modifying the wing to improve agility and performance, new cockpit avionics, HMDS, LDP, higher thrust engine with FADEC and integrating new air to ground and close combat missiles. Radar may also be integrated, but it's not yet certain. Quite clearly, affordability and lower operational costs are considered to be marketable features for trainers that can then be called upon to perform some missions that do not require cutting edge avionics or the most sophisticated fighters. So the M-346 FT is supposed to feature - 5 under wing and under fuselage hardpoints - inflight refueling capability - ability to carry different recon and designation pods - tactical DL like the Link 16 - self protection CMDS http://alert5.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/1.jpg
Well, in our case it would be a substitute of AMX, something that is certainly into its own capabilities, just let's add an inboard gun, maybe a 27mm of retired Tornado and you can go forward. Certanly no one pretend it to be used instead of a Typhoon or a F-35, but in a scenario like Lybia or Syraq it would be ideal.

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Unfortunately to substitute for an A-10 it would need a much heavier gun. Even a reduced barrel version of the A-10 gun is too much for the M-346 airframe. I'm wondering if an Oerlikon KCA ( from the Viggen ) and a titanium tub for the crew would be possible.

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Is that new offer a hint that the M346 structure has been beefed-up to sustain the G-load expected in the T-X competition? Hence this CAS offer to offset the increased OP cost (heavier)?

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All of this, obviously if we would live in a normal world, let's say one in which the next twenty years acquisitions of both countries would not be already completely sold out, body , mind and a.s.s.holes to the F-35 or the T-X program would be not completely made up i.e. rigged on in order to avoid any honest chance of a T-100 victory...:apologetic::apologetic:
Setting requirements that are too high for older designs to meet is "rigging" the competition? The USAF will have at least three competing teams with trainers capable of meeting the requirements... NG, Boeing/Saab, and KAI/LM. They really don't need to lower the bar to achieve competition.

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The "gun is essential" view of CAS is an archaic throwback to the time when biplanes ruled the skies over the trenches during WWI - spraying projectiles across the countryside (most missing their targets). The A-10 carries 1350 rounds and might kill 5 targets. The remaining 1345 rounds miss! How about a modern view where the CAS asset uses its sensors to ID targets and program a target-specific number of tiny "killer bee" PGMs, which seek out and destroy their assigned targets? If the "killer bee" loadout weighs the same 1800+kg as the A-10's GAU-8, and an individual "killer bee" weighs 1 kg, and has a 50% hit rate, then the modern CAS asset can kill 900 targets. That is an 18,000% improvement over the A-10! My point is to stop re-fighting the last war using archaic technology. M346 as CAS is a losing proposition.
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What do a Toyota pickup and an old 23mm VYa cost? What do 500 rounds of .50 cal full metal jacket cost? What do your beautifully miniaturized PGMs cost per round? ma deuce is a winning proposition economically speaking. Or we should acknowledge that we aren't blowing up that toyota because we think it needs blowing up for a greater goal, but the expensive PGM needs expending for our domestic industrial interest.

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What do a Toyota pickup and an old 23mm VYa cost? What do 500 rounds of .50 cal full metal jacket cost? What do your beautifully miniaturized PGMs cost per round? ma deuce is a winning proposition economically speaking. Or we should acknowledge that we aren't blowing up that toyota because we think it needs blowing up for a greater goal, but the expensive PGM needs expending for our domestic industrial interest.
Regular forces doesn't have the opportunity for indiscrimnate killing any longer. It ist not the destruction of a low cost "Toyota" and the militas inside as well. Even in an asymmetrical warefare of today the opponent will run out of "Toyota" and related crew very fast. You are in need to get fast results and will not have neither the time nor the money to operate for a unlimited time to create havoc with an unkown scope of collateral damage from your dumb weapons.

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The question is, what is the cost of a basic training only m-346? How much would it cost to add the fighting functuons onto the m-346? Would it cost more than a tejas or a fa-50? Is there a considerable advantage of using the m-346ft rather than something like the super tucano in a CAS mission?
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The "gun is essential" view of CAS is an archaic throwback to the time when biplanes ruled the skies over the trenches during WWI - spraying projectiles across the countryside (most missing their targets). The A-10 carries 1350 rounds and might kill 5 targets. The remaining 1345 rounds miss! How about a modern view where the CAS asset uses its sensors to ID targets and program a target-specific number of tiny "killer bee" PGMs, which seek out and destroy their assigned targets? If the "killer bee" loadout weighs the same 1800+kg as the A-10's GAU-8, and an individual "killer bee" weighs 1 kg, and has a 50% hit rate, then the modern CAS asset can kill 900 targets. That is an 18,000% improvement over the A-10! My point is to stop re-fighting the last war using archaic technology. M346 as CAS is a losing proposition.
All this PGM-only approach leads to complete inability of the Western forces to provide any meaningful operation without the PGM stocks being depleted fast. As we have seen several times in recent times.. Slowly, the pilots are getting too dumb to go into any fight which does not look like a videogame.. Should I hit that Toyota without getting connected to my server? No automatic trajectory computation, no pre-defined target coordinates, no netcentric bull****, just using an unguided bomb or a cannon round? You're kidding, right?
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Is that new offer a hint that the M346 structure has been beefed-up to sustain the G-load expected in the T-X competition? Hence this CAS offer to offset the increased OP cost (heavier)?
Tomcat, it was found that the M-346 had the possibilities to meet the minimum requirement by itself, just with some software change. As soon as this became evident, the final requirement was changed into making the maximum sustained G the key factor to the choice of the T-X, all other excluded. So we sorta received the real message: no matter how much you would possibly modify the M-346, WE WANT AN AMERICAN DESIGN TO WIN THE CONTRACT. Point , case closed, no use to spend more money on a rigged tender. Let's concentrate into selling to all the rest of the world.
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All this PGM-only approach leads to complete inability of the Western forces to provide any meaningful operation without the PGM stocks being depleted fast. As we have seen several times in recent times.. Slowly, the pilots are getting too dumb to go into any fight which does not look like a videogame.. Should I hit that Toyota without getting connected to my server? No automatic trajectory computation, no pre-defined target coordinates, no netcentric bull****, just using an unguided bomb or a cannon round? You're kidding, right?
The thing is that the most basic PGM´s are getting so cheap to acquire that its starting to get cheaper (actually way cheaper) to use them to hit a target instead of using iron bombs or cannon rounds. A JDAM or a APKWS round, today costs less than the CPFH of a Viper.
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Indeed. It can cost more in ordnance to destroy a target using dumb bombs than PGMs, because of the number of dumb bombs which miss - i.e. most of them. A Brimstone isn't cheap, but when, as in Libya, almost 99% hit their intended targets, it can be cost-effective.
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The "gun is essential" view of CAS is an archaic throwback to the time when biplanes ruled the skies over the trenches during WWI - spraying projectiles across the countryside (most missing their targets). The A-10 carries 1350 rounds and might kill 5 targets. The remaining 1345 rounds miss! How about a modern view where the CAS asset uses its sensors to ID targets and program a target-specific number of tiny "killer bee" PGMs, which seek out and destroy their assigned targets? If the "killer bee" loadout weighs the same 1800+kg as the A-10's GAU-8, and an individual "killer bee" weighs 1 kg, and has a 50% hit rate, then the modern CAS asset can kill 900 targets. That is an 18,000% improvement over the A-10! My point is to stop re-fighting the last war using archaic technology. M346 as CAS is a losing proposition.
Well, you have to forgive us about this. As you know we are an archaic people: when your own ancestors still lived in an hut in some part of Saxony we had had Caesar, Vergilius and Augustus by a long time, so we maybe tend to be quite conservative in certain matters. Still we just have a CAS plane in our inventory, a quite unconventional one: no big gun, no great armor but also with such shortcomings and despite a certain initial underextimation of it, we now regard it as a fundamental asset, of our air force also because they had the possibility to test on field how also the ridicolous peashooter it had was a really useful tool, above all to make talibans squat down instead of overrunning the position of those US marines that were stuck down in a bog with their during what we call "the five day battle" (august 2012) i.e.how long it took to rescue them. So, given that such PGM you descrive are still in the head of God, as we use to say, i'm happy to inform you that the most appreciated item, both by pilots than by the, always forgotten when talking about CAS, grunt on ground, of our AMX was precisely the RECCELLITE pod thanks to the ability it had to not only gather but also to distribute in real time the information to the troops on field, something that saved several lives in AFganistan, just by preventing ambushes and that is was anyway followed in this by the LITENING one to guide PGM bombs. So no one there is advocating to employ only the gun (and above all to install a A-10 like monster on a modern plane) on such a mission, only trying to made undestand to you and other like minded people that the Close Air SUPPORT mission is, almost in our own's archaic people air force vision, something just an universe or two more complicated that a mere body count.

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Use of PGMs is one factor to improving the effectiveness of CAS. Another is pushing the ability to target down to the squad level. Currently the JTAC carries a bulky kit used for targeting and passing target data to the CAS asset. But CAS is only effective where the JTAC is, and JTACs are not everywhere. A solution would be to provide a miniaturized version of the JTAC kit to the infantry squad so they can call CAS based on their needs. But that requires Army leadership to get off their duffs and demand targeting capability at the squad level. That same squad should possess backpack UAVs for reconnaissance to answer the question "Are there insurgents planning an ambush in an alley six blocks from here?" Again Army leadership is lacking when a requirements pull is needed.

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Tomcat, it was found that the M-346 had the possibilities to meet the minimum requirement by itself, just with some software change. [...] Point , case closed, no use to spend more money on a rigged tender. Let's concentrate into selling to all the rest of the world.
You have to excuse me but I never heard about that software change.

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The "gun is essential" view of CAS is an archaic throwback to the time when biplanes ruled the skies over the trenches during WWI - spraying projectiles across the countryside (most missing their targets). The A-10 carries 1350 rounds and might kill 5 targets. The remaining 1345 rounds miss! How about a modern view where the CAS asset uses its sensors to ID targets and program a target-specific number of tiny "killer bee" PGMs, which seek out and destroy their assigned targets? If the "killer bee" loadout weighs the same 1800+kg as the A-10's GAU-8, and an individual "killer bee" weighs 1 kg, and has a 50% hit rate, then the modern CAS asset can kill 900 targets. That is an 18,000% improvement over the A-10! My point is to stop re-fighting the last war using archaic technology. M346 as CAS is a losing proposition.
No, the remaining rounds is no miss! Each bullet not hitting target will be noticed by boots on the ground, so they will find cover! And as long as you hear the A10 gun occatinally, you will try to be in hiding. You just dont get the same effect from bombs and rockets.
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The thing is that the most basic PGM´s are getting so cheap to acquire that its starting to get cheaper (actually way cheaper) to use them to hit a target instead of using iron bombs or cannon rounds. A JDAM or a APKWS round, today costs less than the CPFH of a Viper.
A baseline JDAM can only hit a static target, for moving targets you need the PLG (Precision Laser Guidance) set, for instance KMU-572 as an addition to DSU-38A/B, which is ~$25,000. For increased accuracy you need an upgraded tail kit with the ultra-tightly coupled (UTC) capability which takes into account data from the bomb's INS to track both the host aircraft and the targets speed, acceleration, and direction. Bang, another $30,000. Makes $55,000 added price for the guidance kit alone to the bomb's price which is some $11-13k for an Mk83 and $15-17k for an Mk84. Are you still claiming they are so cheap?
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A baseline JDAM can only hit a static target, for moving targets you need the PLG (Precision Laser Guidance) set, for instance KMU-572 as an addition to DSU-38A/B, which is ~$25,000. For increased accuracy you need an upgraded tail kit with the ultra-tightly coupled (UTC) capability which takes into account data from the bomb's INS to track both the host aircraft and the targets speed, acceleration, and direction. Bang, another $30,000. Makes $55,000 added price for the guidance kit alone to the bomb's price which is some $11-13k for an Mk83 and $15-17k for an Mk84. Are you still claiming they are so cheap?
Yes, they are, the APKWS that i´ve mentioned before will do the job nicely and its even cheaper than the JDAM, and adding mobility to a target and trying to destroy it with guns and iron bombs sents whatever airforce into "multiple sorties" or "multiple aircrafts" to actually destroy one single target. The sortie/number of targets destroyed with iron bombs and guns its a bleeding disaster, it always was, the pendulum has firmly moved to PGM´s, they are actually cheaper to employ.
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Its quite simple - Think of the number of targets, number of aircraft, number of tankers, number of air-bases, number of maintainers, number and cost of munitions and manpower required to sustain all that and then you can get an idea about how moving up to number of munitions per target effects your cost equation. Its just not the cost of the munitions itself but getting the enterprise to deliver that munitions and create the desired level of effect. Each COCOM has a level of demand from each unique air-force, Navy and Army enterprise..If you move up the number of munitions required per target, you impact the number of aircrafts demanded by the COCOM's for a desired number of targets or missions. This in turn effects the COCOM need for tanker and puts additional stress on the tanker fleet. All in if you want to fight like that you have to stock yourself accordingly. Your main cost drivers are manpower, and hardware sustainment so those decisions absolutely come with consequences. Despite the relatively large Anti-ISIL operation (US) in terms of amount of munitions used, or sorties flown the PGM cost is only about 20% of the overall cost.