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View Diary: Air-Minded: Douglas F3D Skyknight (20 comments)

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  •  It Depends (14+ / 0-)

    I know you didn't ask me but I thought I'd weigh in.

    The argument that the Air Force makes, and I think it has some merit, is that the A-10 would not survive in a 4th-generation air defense environment.

    The A-10 did very well in the Gulf War, right up until they ran into the Republican Guard units which had better tactical air defenses. Then the loss rate became unacceptable and they had to be held back.

    In a relatively benign threat environment the A-10 does very well, but the argument is that we may not be fighting insurgents in Afghanistan next time around.

    I know the Army loves them, but they won't do much close air support if they're busy dodging SU-35s and 4th-generation SAMs.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 01:57:07 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Fine. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins, Simplify, ER Doc, Jay C

      The A-10 is too light on EW and ECM. A slightly bigger A-10, possibly a twin-seater, would be the solution, essentially a light bomber (a mostly heretical concept, nowadays).

      But if there are SU-35s lingering in an area, there's probably no business flying CAS in that area in the first place. It's up to the AF to do its job to supply cover or clean the place ahead of CAS. I can't see what an aircraft, any aircraft, loaded for CAS can do against a Su-35.

      I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

      by Farugia on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 02:38:22 PM PST

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      •  You're correct (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Farugia, xaxnar, Tinfoil Hat, Jay C

        I think that in an era of shrinking budgets the Air Force would rather have a multi-role airplane that can do other things besides CAS.

        I don't want to come off like I'm shilling for the F-35. I'm not sure it's ever going to be worth what we're spending on it.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:00:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope that's going to be the case (0+ / 0-)

          I've been following news on the F-35, and it looks like the Air Force is serious about getting all the bugs out. As for the expense, well there's nothing more expensive than fielding weapons systems that can't survive actual combat.

          "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

          by xaxnar on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:04:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Jack of all trades... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sphealey

          Granted, you can always turn a good fighter into an OK ground attack aircraft (and stuff like recon, EW, etc.), given enough hardpoints, enough drop tanks and the right software on the sensor suite.

          But CAS?

          The characteristics of a good CAS aircraft are just 100% incompatible with those of a decent fighter : maneuverability at low speeds, resilience to low level flak, high payload, loiter time, etc.

          Trying to mix CAS in the same frame as a fighter just makes for a crap CAS aircraft AND a crap fighter AND a very expensive package all around. Paying a lot more for a lot less. No cost savings there, quite the contrary.

          Anyway, the best solution is well known: return fixed-wing CAS to the Army :->

          And the Army grunts will buy a lot of stuff like that, so it'll be really cheap.

          I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

          by Farugia on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 04:11:08 PM PDT

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