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Something to give you a chuckle... NZ mentality...

The NH90 operated by the Air Farce (yes spelt correctly) is primarily to be used as a troop transport for the Army so as you'll see in the vid, its logically painted grey to match the soldiers in the brown digi cam DPMs and the NZLAV in the solid Green.... yeah... that makes sense.

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Opens windows.

See this

600167_1115617485182653_7912342200105684

Oh yeah... just Obama visiting the neighborhood

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It could have been worse, it could have been one of these monsters......I n Iraq they would almost blow our vehicles off the road coming in low to land at the hospital.

220px-Ch53e-40-070920-28cr-16.jpg

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So I'm really burned up. Yesterday, Columbine II, the original Air Force One, and the only flying Lockheed Constellation in the country, took off from an airport a couple hours away from my house. I would have gone to see it (my grandpa's a big Connie nut, from his time in the Navy) but I had to take my dad (who also would have loved to see it) to have surgery.

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That sucks Schizo, but I would be a little more burned up if it I missed it for something less serious than surgery. It is one of those things in life we have to miss out on for a loved one.

My wifes uncle saw quite a few Connies pass through when he was assigned to Tan Son Nhut during Vietnam. They had one that sheared the propeller shaft in flight and made an emergency landing there for engine problems. The aircrew didn't realize what had happened until her uncle spun the prop with one hand and they watched it spin like a fan blade. The the engine was running like it was supposed to but the prop was feathering in flight without the engine being shut down.

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My grandpa flew on a Connie throughout the 60s and early 70s, working radar and I believe sonobuoy detection. (Though the latter may have actually been on P-3s; I'd have to ask) When he retired in the late 90s, he took up restoring them and moved to Camarillo, California. He's been involved in the restoration of at least 5 of the 9 near-airworthy Connies left in the world. There's been a big uptick in investor interest in these planes in the last couple years though, and Columbine II and Bataan both got bought last year, with intent to restore and fly on the airshow circuit.

Still, it would have been nice to see Columbine II while she was on her way to finishing school as it were.

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"Father of the A-10" dies. I don't think I've ever seen the missing man formation done with A-10's:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/22/politics/a-10-avery-kay-funeral-flyby/index.html

All my A-10 buddies have been acknowledging Kay this week. Sad to see him go. When Sprey leaves us that will be a terrible day indeed.

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Well The Air Force is now taking a "Come Hell or high water" stance on retiring the A-10.

http://theaviationist.com/2016/03/24/us-air-force-retiring-a10-anyway/

The U.S. Air Force has revealed that the A-10 retirement will begin in fiscal year 2018.

Taken on Feb. 26, the picture in this post shows an A-10 Warthog in action during a joint air attack team exercise at Yakima Training Center, Washington, where the “Hogs” trained alongside the AH-64 Apache helicopters deployed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., providing Close Air Support (CAS) to Soldiers with 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

Still, this kind of training will come to an end in the near future. In fact, in spite of its unmatched capabilities in the CAS role, the U.S. Air Force will soon retire its A-10 fleet.

As reported by DefenseNews.com, the service has recently revealed the number of A-10s that will be retired each year before the type is completely withdrawn from service in 2022.

The plan call for the retirement of 49 planes or 2 squadrons in fiscal year (FY) 2018. This will be followed by 49 aircraft in FY2019, 64 in FY2020, and 96 in FY2021.

During a hearing held at the House Armed Services Committee on Mar. 16 Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said that accelerating the retirement of the A-10 will help to better support the stand up of F-35 squadrons. “If we keep the A-10, by FY21 — the scheduled FOC (Final Operational Capability) date for the F-35 — we will be about 50 percent short of the maintenance manpower we need to field the F-35. So it’s a manpower problem.”

However, even though the F-35 can perform the CAS mission, it would be too expensive using the Lightning II in the A-10 role, thus leaving the problem of the Hog replacement unsolved. As explained by Welsh himself: “The F-35 is intended to the high-threat CAS platform, (with the retirement of the A-10) we are losing CAS capacity.”

I can just picture the Army's reaction.

Edited by Shadow

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"PLEEEEEEEAASSSSEE LET US HAVE THEM!!!"

Or something like that.

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Col Kay must be rolling in his grave right now after how hard he fought to have the USAF keep the CAS role.

Thing is, most Hog pilots I know would jump over to army in a heart beat if they received the planes. Maybe the Army should take back the role and fixed wing CAS. Lord knows that the F-35 will never be able to do the job with any kind of success.

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Col Kay must be rolling in his grave right now after how hard he fought to have the USAF keep the CAS role.

Thing is, most Hog pilots I know would jump over to army in a heart beat if they received the planes. Maybe the Army should take back the role and fixed wing CAS. Lord knows that the F-35 will never be able to do the job with any kind of success.

That's silly. The F-35 could probably do CAS just fine. Probably better than the A-10 (due to its sensor suite). F-16s, Strike Eagles, Hornets, and Harriers also do CAS you know. Heck, even the B-1 has done CAS. The A-10 is not the only fixed wing CAS asset out there.

Edited by Vifam7

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People have this concept that CAS is carried out by a gun at 10 feet off the deck, while being plinked by small arms fire from the ski-mask-wearing bad guys on the ground. In actuality, target-seeking ordnance is typically more effective at this role, not least of all because it can be fired while outside of the range of enemy "anti-air" capabilities. (Which more and more often contain legitimate anti-air weapons like shoulder-hoisted missile launchers, which aircraft like the A-10 can't avoid and likely would not survive direct hits from)

While I'm still not convinced of the potential efficacy of the F-35 in any role, and I think it has no cost-effectiveness in a CAS role, I do have to say the A-10 is getting ancient and it is legitimately going up against technologies it was never designed to fight off. The A-10 was designed in a time when flak and bullets comprised the anti-air defense, and it was made to make tanks become scrap heaps, and it does all that handily. But it has a big radar and heat signature, and the enemies we do have for it don't have tanks, they have manpads. The people who do have tanks, enemies or not, have more advanced technology than even that. While aircraft like the F-15 and F-16 are arguably still competitive in their long-range missile bus role, the A-10 represents a pilot and a lot of money in danger when it flies CAS, and justifies itself a replacement.

It certainly isn't the cold war anymore. For better and for worse.

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That's silly. The F-35 could probably do CAS just fine. Probably better than the A-10 (due to its sensor suite). F-16s, Strike Eagles, Hornets, and Harriers also do CAS you know. Heck, even the B-1 has done CAS. The A-10 is not the only fixed wing CAS asset out there.

Those F-14 crews trained for it, did very well at CAS, and were often specifically requested over other "fast jet" CAS, when available.

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The F-35 will not be able to do CAS like the A-10 in the near future.

It can't linger for hours, can't fly slow and maneuver well, can't carry a large payload, is fragile and also very expensive.

The helmet is so large that it's hard to look around easily in the cockpit, according to the F-35 pilot who lost a dogfight to an F-16 that didn't even have to drop its droptanks to outmaneuver the F-35 in 2015.

Radar signature prolly doesn't mean a whole lot when the A-10 is normally flying low. Plus Long-wave radar apparently can see our Stealth fighters clear as day, and the russians have been improving them for 60 years and sell them to anyone that has money.

Of course he's prolly biased because he helped design the F-16 and the A-10, but he brings up a lot of good points

I mean, right now our Marines are experimenting with Vietnam Era Broncos to provide CAS because the F-35 is too expensive and won't even have a working gun for a few more years.

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/ov-10-broncos-were-sent-to-fight-isis-and-they-kicked-a-1764407068

Pretty crazy stuff :p

Edited by Duymon

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That's silly. The F-35 could probably do CAS just fine. Probably better than the A-10 (due to its sensor suite). F-16s, Strike Eagles, Hornets, and Harriers also do CAS you know. Heck, even the B-1 has done CAS. The A-10 is not the only fixed wing CAS asset out there.

As long as the sensors work. :p

You're correct, there are many aircraft that can fill the CAS role. I still think the A-10 has a place in the Air Force though. It's long loitering capabilities still gives it a strong hand in anti-insurgent missions and COIN operations. Not too mention being more cost-effective. That said, they would be under serious threats in a region with tougher air defenses such as the S-300, Tor, Pantir and any big array of MANPADs.

Edited by Shadow

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Where did this complete b*llocks come from the Pierre Sprey "designed" either the A-10 or the F-16?

He was a DoD analyst. He never "designed" an aircraft!

Btw, Combat Dragon (which involved OV-10G flown by US Navy crews in Iraq) is a US SOCOM program - nothing to do with the USMC.

Edited by GMK

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You obviously haven't heard the latest F-35 news. When flying with internal weapons at a temperature greater than 35 degrees F the weapons bays must be opened every 10-15 minutes in order to keep the weapons from detonating. THey did not adequately cool the weapons bays after nestling them up against the engines.

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^ So, every 10-15 minutes their RCS will go from "Nothing to see here..." to "Hi there! Can you see me now?". post-664-0-13958200-1459014850.gif

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Well, if it's at cruising altitude, it should be cold enough to avoid opening the doors.

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David is correct, at normal cruising altitude the average temp is -20 to -60. The only place they would be flying in temps higher than 35 would be flat on the deck at very low level. The actual engine combustion chamber/turbine/burner can on it is located aft of the main weapons bay. Do i believe the F-35 can replace the A-10...no but there have been some issues with the information released on the F-35 by the media (wow the media bending the truth...never). The F-35 that lost the dogfight was also restricted in its flight maneuvers due to it being a primary test bird. These restrictions were still in place with the frame even in low level production up until recently. The AF basically told the LM engineers to cut some of the apron strings.

MANPADS are a threat to any aircraft we are using currently. Hell in Korea one of the biggest threats to the USAF units there should a war break out are MANPADS used by infiltrator units. Most of the enemies we are fighting won't use the large S-300 systems since they are expensive and make excellent ground targets for the SEAD aircraft. Unless a shooting war between us and either the Chinese or Russians start the biggest threat to our aircraft are MANPADS. A-10's can sustain hits from MANPADS due to the survivability built into the frame. The plane can fly with almost half a wing shot off. Its heat signature is actually lower than the F-16 or F-15 (800-1000 degrees in burner). There have been several hit by MANPADS that made it back to base. Remember most air to air and ground to air missiles are designed to explode NEAR the frame and shower it with shrapnel. When General North shot down that MIG-25 over Iraq with the AMRAAM he watched it explode over the cockpit and the after affect is what blew it into 3 pieces. These new generals will say anything to get their shiny new toys. These are the same genius's that have put the USAF into one of the worst manning crunches in damn near 70 years.

I could have told you that the A-10 retirement was mainly based on manning.We were hearing about this in 2011-12( a year before I retired) that there weren't going to be enough maintainers for the F-35. They cut way to many maintainers from 2010 to 2013, I watched good people get put out only to be asked in the past 2 yrs if they would go back in. The whole retirement issue is an attempt to cover up a horrible mismanagement of the budget with no forward thinking.

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MANPADS are only a threat if you get close enough for them to be a threat. The longest-range systems have an effective range inside of 5 miles. There's this image we have of close air support involving an A-10 flying in, strafing the ground with its big old gun, and flying back out, but that's simply not the case. Precision guided munitions have been used to great effect for years and years, and CAS doctrine has relied upon them almost exclusively for 15 years. Even the A-10, a plane for which so many compromises were made to fit the GAU-8 inside its narrow nose, has made much more use of the precision ordnance they can strap to it, than the noisemaker under the tub. Arguably the most significant CAS aircraft of the last 15 years has been, wait for it: the B-1B Lancer.

Which really isn't something that gels with a lot of people's views. How can a high-altitude bomber be a "close" air support plane? Ask any Vietnam vet and they'll yell at you. But we're not rubbing sticks together here. Even the gruntiest grunt in the US armed forces is equipped with pound after pound of technological assets, and it's a lot easier to precision target a missile or bomb with all of the technological capacity we have today, than to put rounds on targets while strafing. Again, it's easy enough for an A-10 jockey to hit the broad side of a tank with the big gun, but using it against individual dudes on the ground is like bullseyeing womprats in your T-16 back in Beggar's Canyon back home: you have to be Luke Skywalker to do it.

And if you want to talk about loiter time, the whole reason we started deploying bombers as CAS planes is, they were the only things that could stay in the air long enough with a load of munitions to get to hell and back from the operating bases we had in 2001. An A-10 can carry over 10,000lbs of fuel. A B-1B can carry over 265,000lbs. Not to mention its external hardpoints alone can carry the maximum takeoff weight of an A-10. (Plus an additional 75,000lbs of ordnance in the belly) The Thunderbolt II has a ferry range smaller than the Lancer's combat radius. And none of this even touches on the Buff, which can use all the same fancy toys we've been strapping to A-10s and F-16s, and chucking into B-1 bellies since Enduring Freedom- it can just swallow up a whole lot more of them. And then fly for even longer.

All of which is to say, while I don't support the F-35 in a CAS role specifically, because it lacks pretty much everything you'd ask for in a CAS plane, the A-10 is coming onto a level of redundancy that doesn't justify itself. The current battlefield just doesn't justify the dedicated jet attacker built around a big gun. Maybe it will again in the future. (I really hope not) If you're that worried about it, wrap them up at Davis Monthan. They'll last longer out there. In the meantime, the tools we have available today make the A-10 obsolete for the role everyone wants it to fill. The Air Force doesn't want it, not because they're against providing CAS, but because it's a really expensive way to do it less effectively.

And they only have enough in the budget to do really expensive stuff ineffectively with one boondoggle of an aircraft.

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The B-1B is a lot sexier too.

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The B-1R seems like a good a investment if the Lancer is looked towards to play a CAS role over strategic bomber for the long term. But as grigolosi points out, it seems the Air Force high brass has its head far up some place. If Air Guard and Reserve units weren't being squeezed so bad, I'd say that A-10 Guard units should be maintained.

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As far as strafing runs go: they do them quite frequently against targets in Afghanistan. There are many cases where a bomb is overkill for the target or the friendlies are too close to use them. That is the draw back to the B-1 and all the technological wonders of bombing at distance.

I know all the statistics state that 80% of the CAS sorties are flown by other aircraft. Well of course they are. A-10's are only a small percentage of the airframes we have deployed but when it comes to any of these aircraft using their gun to strafe I would rather it be the A-10 do to accuracy reasons and the number of runs that can be done by the shear amount of ammo the drum holds. The days of strafing are far from over if the shear number of video footage alone is any indication. In this footage the tech wonder of the B-1 would have been useless. B-1 pilots would not have been able to spot the smoke color on the black and white targeting displays. This war is a down in the dirt, gritty war and we still need an aircraft that can operate effectively in the low level arena and spot targets the others are moving too fast to see at low level.

Edited by grigolosi

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So, you gonna go do all the maintenance then? And pay for parts, gas, training, hangar/tiedown space, and all of the other, very many expensive things that a plane needs to stay in service?

It's not like the Air Force is axing the plane for marginal savings. Literally billions.

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Wonder if the future T-X advanced trainer could be used for this.

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This war is a down in the dirt, gritty war and we still need an aircraft that can operate effectively in the low level arena and spot targets the others are moving too fast to see at low level.

Doesn't the army operate attack helicopters for this very purpose?

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Wonder if the future T-X advanced trainer could be used for this.

Wasn't something like this pitched to the Air Force for a small and cheap CAS aircraft? I forget the name.

Also, a too close view of what the receiving end of an Avenger looks like.

Doesn't the army operate attack helicopters for this very purpose?

Choppers can't always get their in time.

Edited by Shadow

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Choppers can't always get their in time.

What, like the A-10 can? If you're too close to the bad guy for precision bombing, nobody's flying gun is saving your ass. Helo, A-10, or otherwise.

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The maintenance costs for the A-10 are far lower than any other aircraft we are currently using. As a matter of fact the B-1 has a higher operational cost than the F-22, this is according to the latest findings by the DOD. Also the A-10 is far more reliable than the other platforms they break far less and can be maintained in far more austere environments than the fast movers. I know from experience working with B-1 maintenance crews and talking to them that in order to fly 1 mission they have to have 3 ready on hand, 2 primaries and 1 spare since the turn time on them is counted in hours. The B-1 has evolved to fill a niche. Without it they would have been retired also. But to condemn an aircraft that performs its mission to the letter because it is low tech is not smart when you fighting a low tech war, which is what we are fighting now. The USAF mismanaged budgets and personnel cuts/moves are the primary drivers in this debate in Washington. Again I watched the AF cut bodies without regards to future needs of the force. It is an inherent belief within the active AF maintenance fields that the flying mission has taken a back seat to the nonner mission (non sortie producers) which ironically is to support the flying mission. Somewhere along the way in the past 20 yrs the vision of the AF has turned from fly and fight to type, file and be a personal trainer. The AF is now trying to cover its collective ass by stealing man power from other airframes for the F-35.

Strafing runs do not produce concussive shock waves that turn your innards to jelly. The average shock wave distance for a 500lb, 1000lb bomb is around 1 to 2 miles. I know this because this was part of our safety briefings for ICT's (Integrated combat turns) in which we used live munitions. Strafing allows the aircraft to put rounds on target within the areas that would endanger the infantry. The costs of the guidance package for a JDAM out weighs its use in every situation. One of the areas where the precision drop works extremely well is in an urban area and that is when they are using GBU-38 SDB's so they don't level the entire city block. As far as A-10's or any other aircraft getting there on time, this is the reason why they fly holding stations over the areas where the Army and Marines are actively sweeping. All the aircraft do this. In most cases an airstrike is never more than 5-10 mins away on a bad day.

In my book they are attempting to retire the A-10 too early. All the aircraft in the inventory are being utilized as they should be. But not every aircraft fits every mission need. That is the beauty in the flexibility we have right now.

Edited by grigolosi

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What, like the A-10 can? If you're too close to the bad guy for precision bombing, nobody's flying gun is saving your ass. Helo, A-10, or otherwise.

I think that was answered above. You're right in air support of any kind is not going to be used if the enemy is practically ontop of your position.

Is the A-10C GBU-38 or JDAM capable, or do its new systems simply accommodate laser-guided munitions?

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The maintenance costs for the A-10 are far lower than any other aircraft we are currently using. As a matter of fact the B-1 has a higher operational cost than the F-22, this is according to the latest findings by the DOD. Also the A-10 is far more reliable than the other platforms they break far less and can be maintained in far more austere environments than the fast movers. I know from experience working with B-1 maintenance crews and talking to them that in order to fly 1 mission they have to have 3 ready on hand, 2 primaries and 1 spare since the turn time on them is counted in hours. The B-1 has evolved to fill a niche. Without it they would have been retired also. But to condemn an aircraft that performs its mission to the letter because it is low tech is not smart when you fighting a low tech war, which is what we are fighting now. The USAF mismanaged budgets and personnel cuts/moves are the primary drivers in this debate in Washington. Again I watched the AF cut bodies without regards to future needs of the force. It is an inherent belief within the active AF maintenance fields that the flying mission has taken a back seat to the nonner mission (non sortie producers) which ironically is to support the flying mission. Somewhere along the way in the past 20 yrs the vision of the AF has turned from fly and fight to type, file and be a personal trainer. The AF is now trying to cover its collective ass by stealing man power from other airframes for the F-35.

The die is already cast. You can't go back and cancel the F-35. The F-35 is going into service whether we like it or not and will be asked to perform all roles including CAS. How well it will do.. well, we shall see (For now, anything written or said by Pierre Sprey, "defense experts", and journalists should be taken with a grain of salt IMHO) . But I do believe that the A-10 could have a place&role in the AF inventory. However, in this era of tight budgets (which isn't likely to improve), the AF is going to cut somewhere and we know it's not going to be the F-35. And of all the platforms to drop, the A-10 seems like the most logical choice?

Edited by Vifam7

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