Showing posts with label Warthog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Warthog. Show all posts

Friday, February 13, 2015

Legacy Weapons Systems

The Economist, at the end of a piece commenting upon Ashton Carter as new US defense secretary, said this.  "To fund new weapons and technology Mr. Carter will need to axe legacy weapons systems (such as the A10 tankbusting aircraft). "
The A10 is old enough to be bought and paid for.  It works.  Should we desire to push the Russian tanks out of Ukraine, a couple of squadrons of A10's could do the job handily.  Keeping the A10 flying is a bargain compared to the pricey, new, not-paid-for  F35.  The Air Force, run by a fighter pilot mafia, wants to dump the A10, largely because it is no match for a real jet fighter.  They see themselves at the stick of an A10, and helpless against a MIG.  The answer, is to create US air superiority over the battle field, and make sure the A10 squadrons have fighter escort.   To be a good ground attack aircraft, the A10 has to fly low and slow so the pilot can see his targets and get close enough to hit them.  You cannot fly between the trees and under power lines at Mach 2. 
  Plenty of potential US enemies have lots of tanks.  Few of them have jet fighters that compete with ours.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The A-10

Aka the Warthog.  A ground attack plane, a jet powered version of the Russian WWII Sturmovic.  It can fly low and slow, just what you need for tank plinking, has a honking big 30 mm Gatling gun, and lots of bombs and missiles.  Nice straight wing, top speed around 400 mph.  Twin engines so you can get home if one takes a hit.  Came into service after Viet Nam, did a fantastic job in the first Gulf War.  Best plane out there for ground attack.  On the other hand, if you are flying an A10 and you get bounced by enemy jet fighters, you are in deep trouble. 
  The Air Force officer corps is pretty much all fighter pilots now that SAC has been disbanded.  And fighter pilots want to fly fighters and do air to air combat.  They like the white silk scarf fluttering in the slip stream and they all want to be the Red Baron.  The idea of getting down into the ground fire and shooting up tanks has no appeal to fighter pilots. 
  This year Congress laid a heavy duty funding cut on all the armed services.  It's actually a real cut, the services get less money than than they did last year.  So, the Air Force looked around for things they could shut down or sell off, to keep the little money left them going into the F35 program.  What to cut?  How about that ugly old A10?  None of us fighter pilots like it, if we get rid of  it we can use the money saved to buy that hot F35 that we do like.
   There has been some squawking from the Army and the Marine Corps, both of which like the A10.  Nobody who saw A10s blowing Saddam Hussein's tanks away in the Gulf Wars is going to feel happy about doing without them.
   The issue probably needs to be resolved in Congress, if Congress still has the ability to resolve anything.