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John Kettler

Why doesn't the US Air Support roster in CMBS have the A-10 on it?

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Likewise, OS X 10.9 Mavericks is out.

 

John, as near as I can figure, my iMac has identical specs to yours (except that I increased the RAM to 16GB) and I run OS 10.9.5 with no discernible problems. I doubt that you need to be shy about upgrading to Mavericks.

 

Michael

Edited by Michael Emrys

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To a point, yes, but UAVs are expendable, and well-handled helos can hide behind things while moving laterally in order to pop up briefly in unexpeced locations (plus, of course, the -D models and higher can stay 'turret down' while engaging targets via the rotor mast sight.)

 

An A-10 can fly low enough to break LOS from air defense systems as well and still out-range every single air defense system appearing in CM:BS when firing Mavericks or lofting JDAMs in that profile, since they don't require overflight of the target area.

 

 

As for UAV's, just wait and see. they will get shot down all the time.

And Helos have a much better tactical ability than fixed air in that they can fly close to the earth and use terrain as cover.

As one post mentioned, Being seen is death on the modern Battlefield.

And A-10 are like a tourist taking photos, they hang around in the same spot way too long. They are so slow, they just seem odd when you see them on the battlefield.

There is no use for them, they need the skies cleared and ground anti air cleared to be of any use. So they are a cheap option and are useable as long as you are fighting a ill equipped enemy force. Not really what this game is trying to portray , is it.

 

Yeah, we expect UAVs to get shot down all the time and they are still in the game, so why not the A-10?

 

As for the too slow comments: every tactical aircraft flies around the same speed when loaded with bombs and down near the deck. All of them fly the same attack profile since it's dictated by weapon, not airframe, so I'm not sure why you're bringing it up as a point against the A-10. If the aircraft were actually flying at high speed, high-alt due to a pervasive gun/IRSAM threat, it would make a bit more sense to exclude the A-10 entirely, but the manual stipulates a situation where survivability is basically a dice-roll regardless of airframe since the US side is fighting outside its fixed-wing comfort zone and where most of our aircraft defenses mean nothing. Might as well fly A-10s in that situation, it isn't like their flares and other IRCCM are any worse than other fighters.

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Um . . . If you're just firing Mavs, and lofting JDAMs . . . What difference does the platform make? (in game terms)

 

None.

 

edit: Unless you're trying to do loft JDAMs with a Reaper or something ridiculous like that.

Edited by Apocal

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Baneman,

 

How I hate brain glitches! You are correct, and your BC remark was both clever and amusing--once I figured it out. My initial impression was that you were referring to flying rodent feces and mens insano--which certainly would've been noted and commented on.

 

Chazz,

 

That's an excellent suggestion. Even better now that I know I can theoretically at least run the game. Correction: It was an excellent suggestion, except that there's no CMRT Demo in the list. Was under the impression MikeyD had fixed this weeks ago.

 

Michael Emrys,

 

Splendid news. Don't suppose you know a talented Hogwarts grad who is adept at the incantation "Upgradius maximus video cardius!" do you? That's where I'm hurting the most--and for which I've yet to find a credible, let alone great, solution. I really do need to goose the RAM, though.

Very much appreciate all the suggestions and observations ref my iMac!

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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Chazz,

 

I had to do a Search to find a post on which the missing CMRT Demo link was first reported by me--mid November 2014. Fortunately, a kind soul posted the BFC CMRT page which had the Demo link embedeed. After some hair pulling (likely my fractious ISP) I got the CMRT DLed and gave it a whirl. Tankodesantniki looks fabulous (default is full trees on) and, based on a sample size of three tanks moved, works great. Looks way better than my CMBN did out of the box, or even at 2.12 but am not sure I've tried it since upgrading and patching through 3.2. Have the actual renderings been improved over CMBN, or is this software wizardry at work?

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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Fine, so just call it "CAS Platform", and move on to something that actually makes a difference

 

Yeah, I sort of wondered back in CMSF days why they went with specific aircraft when it could've been generic "Fixed-wing CAS" and "Rotary-wing CAS" without players noticing any functional difference. Call me spoiled since then.

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Well, here,  lets see what some real knowledgeable people say instead of your dreamed up nonsense.

 

Man, this took me less than two minutes to find and it does a good job of giving the plus and minus aspects of the A-10

 

And please note the multiple references to slower speeds.

 

Plus I have sat at cas target sites and watched different planes make their runs ( and Buddy they are not firing their weapons at the same speeds. (not even close, I have no clue as to the actual speeds, but its like a VW to a Porsche)

 

So before you keep fighting for the A-10 to be worthy of its place in the game. Start backing up some of them statements

 

 

 

WASHINGTON: The A-10 Warthog is ugly, tough, lethal, and fairly flexible. Its famous 30mm gun can destroy tanks or other armored vehicles with remarkable efficiency, not to mention enemy troops. Its titanium tub of a cockpit protects the plane’s pilot from most ground fire. Its pilots are trained to fly low and slow and to kill the enemy even when he is within yards of US forces. The Army and Marines love the Warthog.

 

 

In short, the A-10 appears to be the exemplar of Close Air Support, protecting Marines and Army troops when they face being overwhelmed by the enemy. Some members of Congress, with an eye on bases in their states and districts, love the plane as well and have championed legislation blocking the plane’s retirement.

Why, then, people ask, is the Air Force seriously considering sending the Warthogs to the great boneyard and their pilots to other missions? The answer is complex, but it boils down to three things: money, smart bombs, and threats.

First and foremost, retiring the entire A-10 fleet would save the Air Force $3.7 billion from 2015 to 2019. Retiring just some or even most of the A-10s wouldn’t reap nearly the same savings, because there are fixed costs in training and maintenance you can’t get rid off as long as you keep any planes.

Second, thanks to the wonder of smart bombs, most of the A-10’s mission can be done by other, less specialized aircraft. That wasn’t technologically possible when the A-10 first entered service in 1975. But in Afghanistan and Iraq, precision-guided munitions from faster-flying fighters and even heavy bombers have actually provided the overwhelming majority — 80 percent — of close air support.

Third, we’re not the only people with smart weapons. The Taliban and the Iraqi insurgents had at most a handful of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles — known in the trade as Man-portable Air Defense Systems, or MANPADS — but an unknown number of MANPADS were smuggled out of Libya after Qaddafi fell, and the missiles on the black market are getting more sophisticated all the time.

That’s why the Air Force has planned for at least the last 15 years to replace the A-10s with the F-35A, its version of the JSF, which will reach initial operational capability (IOC) by the end of 2016. The F-35A will not only carry smart bombs but also have new, sophisticated sensors to guide them to ground targets — and it will fly much faster and higher than the A-10 can, making it a much harder target. While the JSF can’t carry the Warthog’s massive 30 mm gun, it does have a highly accurate 25 mm gun and 182 rounds of ammunition. (I asked Gen. Robin Rand, head of the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, last Friday if the F-35 carried enough ammunition to do the CAS mission. He said yes.)

 

The B and C F-35 models can be fitted with a gun pod that carries 220 rounds but the pod disrupts the plane’s stealthy profile.

The Air Force has a long history of appearing to want to abandon the Close Air Support mission and stick with fighters and bombers, though there is no sign of that from the current Air Force leaders or their immediate predecessors. This unfortunate history means many observers still distrust the Air Force rationales for shutting down the A-10 fleet.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and his colleagues argue that in these days of declining budgets and the demands of enormous theaters such as the Pacific they must buy multi-role aircraft like the F-35 and the new Long Range Strike system. Single-mission aircraft, no matter how well suited they are to that mission, are just too expensive and limited.

 

Those don’t seem unreasonable arguments, on their face. But the Air Force’s history of institutional indifference to the CAS mission combines with the broadly-held belief that no aircraft can do the CAS mission as well as the A-10 to spark opposition from ground pounders and Congress in particular.

We spoke with the Army, the service with the most to lose should close air support diminish in effectiveness, and Air Force pilots who fly CAS missions to get both the official and off-the-record views. The official Army, in the form of Maj. Gen. Bill Hix, deputy director of the influential Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Army Capabilities Integration Center, was surprisingly understanding of the Air Force’s idea to shutter the fleet. But Hix also offered a nuanced critique of the current CAS capabilities, in particular the A-10’s ability to fly low and slow and deliver firepower in bad weather.

“If the [A-10] aircraft and the specifically trained pilots go away, this mission will become a distant requirement hastily met with pilots who have been brought up on OCA [Offensive Counter-Air] and DCA (Defensive Counter-Air operations], and CAS that is provided will consist primarily of fast air-dropping JDAMs and other smart bombs on targets designated from the ground and then transitioning out of the area due to limited loiter time,” Hix said in an email.

He listed some very specific conditions where the A-10 and its ordnance are awfully useful:

  • When “flying cover over outposts where attack helicopters can’t get (high altitude areas [e.g.] above 10,000 feet in the mountainous areas of Eastern Afghanistan for instance) and other USAF aircraft cannot get down/under the weather or fly in tight spaces (F-16, et al) or are too limited in numbers (AC-130).”
  • When “there is little to no air-to-air/IADs [integrated air defense system] threat and its use eases the demand for artillery and ground logistics requirements to support that artillery (cannon or rocket)[:] think of the support provided by Warthog pilots during the march to Baghdad in 2003); and the 30mm [gun], which is unique and intimidating to those on the receiving end, but not as precise as the gun on the AH-64 or the AC-130.”
  • He also made the crucial point, unaddressed by most in the Air Force, that the A-10 also serves as flying artillery, which is very useful in some situations. “CAS,” he writes, “is a complement to artillery and other indirect and air to surface fire support.”

Bottom line for the Army, per Hix: “That complementary mix of precision, area fires, sustained coverage, persistence, responsiveness and moral and physical effect remain important to success in ground combat; the A-10 carries a heavy complement of ordnance, while many other alternatives, like armed UAS, are more limited in their payloads; the A-10 is a good capability to have in the mix and even in limited numbers can continue to provide very useful and hard to replicate support on to ground troops.”

Note that reference to “limited numbers.” That seems to indicate the Army would accept retirement of much of the fleet but really wants the Air Force to keep some A-10s. But the Air Force makes the simple point that its big savings of $3.7 billion come only when it retires the entire fleet and gets rid of fixed overhead costs. As any student of aircraft acquisition knows, buying the planes is pretty cheap. More than three-quarters of a airborne weapon system’s costs typically come from parts, operations and maintenance.

The background view from a senior Army official was surprisingly accepting of the Air Force’s dilemma: “Tough times for all services and we have to leave it up to our counterparts to identify the best way forward to meet the CAS demands from the ground.”

Requests for air support, of course, aren’t the only thing coming from the ground. There’s also anti-aircraft fire — everything from MANPADS to sophisticated air defense missiles.

“I didn’t see the missile coming[;] my flight leader didn’t see the missile coming; my first indication of a missile launch was when it impacted my aircraft,” recalled Lt. Col. Kim Campbell, whose A-10 was hit over Baghdad in 2003. Fragments shredded much of the aircraft and cut its hydraulic control lines. But the plane’s famous titanium bathtub around the pilot kept Campbell alive, and amazingly, she managed to fly the wounded plane back to base.

Campbell argues the latest model, the A-10C, has better sensors and self-defense systems. “The A-10 has improved significantly,” she told Breaking Defense. “We’re better able to operate in these threat environments.”

But while the A-10  has been upgraded to handle some anti-aircraft threats, they still fly low and slow right into the enemy’s defenses. And in the air combat game, speed and advanced electronics are life.

To get a multi-role fighter pilot’s perspective, I spoke with an Air Force F-15E pilot (now a B-2 pilot), Capt. Michal Polidor, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for a 2009 close air support mission  in Afghanistan. The F-15E was not designed for CAS but neither was the B-1 bomber, which along with the F-18 and other multirole aircraft, have provided more than three quarters of close air support since the terror attacks of 2001. Laser-guided and GPS-guided bombs and rockets have made this possible, along with intensive CAS training for multi-role pilots and greatly improved coordination with ground forces through Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs).

 

 

Polidor was called by a JTAC to support 80 troops in danger of being overrun by massed Taliban forces eager to destroy Outpost Keating, a badly positioned base in Afghanistan that the enemy threw an estimated 300 fighters at in hopes of destroying it. He strafed a switchback road and dropped a mix of four bombs. Polidor was part of a fleet of 19 aircraft, including Army helicopters, that helped the men on the ground kill half the enemy force.

Since the Strike Eagle, as the F-15E is known, usually concentrates on OCA and DCA, Polidor said he received six months of CAS training before he deployed to Afghanistan, where he was based at Bagram Air Base. That training was crucial because, in addition to strafing and bombing, PoIlidor had to set his plane up as a communications relay between the JTAC and the other aircraft. His backseater became a JTAC for 19 aircraft. According to his citation for the DFC, Polidor (on his first day of combat), “took control of the 19 aircraft on scene and orchestrated air strikes from six F-15Es, four A-10s, two AH-64s and a B-1.”

 

He would not offer an opinion as to whether the A-10 should be retired or not (he is a captain, after all) but he did note that other Air Force fighters simply have to fly much faster to be safe and maintain maneuverability than does the A-10. While that means the F-15 can get to the scene more quickly, it also means it must leave more quickly and cannot fly as low and slow as can the A-10. He said an A-10 could probably execute two strafing runs for each one he can do because of that slower speed and lower altitude.

The circumstances of Polidor’s operation offer a window into just why the Air Force thinks it may be able to replace the A-10 even before the F-35A is available in late 2016. (The Marine Corps F-35B will be available earlier, in late 2015, and the Navy F-35C model by February 2019).

His aircraft executed a complex strafing run of a twisting valley road and dropped two laser-guided bombs and two GPS-guided bombs and did not injure any US or allied solders. The aircraft he and his weapons officer directed killed 72 Taliban, almost half the enemy deaths, a fine demonstration of what Gen. Hix meant when he cited the value of Close Air Support as airborne artillery. The fact that Polidor was able to execute such an array of complex maneuvers on his first day of air combat is testament to the CAS training he received.

So what does all this say about the A-10? Certainly, many of its effects can be duplicated by other, newer aircraft and usually are. Its psychological or morale effect on ground troops — fear for the enemy and jubilation for Americans and our allies — cannot readily be duplicated since the other aircraft do not fly low and slow. The A-10 is more vulnerable to sophisticated anti-aircraft defenses than the other multi-role aircraft (although recent upgrades have improved the odds) and Air Force officials believe it will be too vulnerable within 10 years.

Richard Aboulafia, one of the deans of aerospace analysts at the Teal Group, aptly summed up the A-10s prospects:

“It has faced dangerous moments before, it has faced retirement before, and it’s pulled through. You can make an argument for it either way, it’s not a dumb plane to have around by any means, it’s a very useful plane; the argument is in a time of austerity no service can afford single mission aircraft.”

The Air Force can probably retire the entire A-10 fleet in several years, but neither Congress nor the Army will be completely comfortable with that. But the $3.7 billion the Air Force estimates it could save will be very tempting to harvest, especially once we have largely withdrawn from Afghanistan and the F-35s reach IOC. Our bet: retirement starting in fiscal 2016. That leaves time to educate and mollify Congress and to demonstrate to the Army its soldiers won’t be left without effective protection.

Edited by slysniper

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slysniper,

 

 A very good read. If have to say, though, I nearly giggled like a girl over the claims regarding the efficacy of the F-35's 25 mm cannon and its whole 182 rounds for strafing in CAS. Not that it wouldn't smart and might well prove lethal to whomever/whatever's in the strafed area, but how can it possibly compare to the punch of the GAU-8 and as many as 1350 rounds of ammo, or, the more common 1174, as detailed in this highly informative Wiki, which goes into many aspects of the A-10 which the F-35 simply can't do? Try, for example, operating an F-35 from a semiprepared runway. Standard jet fighters, at least when I was in the business, for relatively light loads needed a completely FOD free zone 5000 feet long x 50 feet wide. The A-10 can operate from a far shorter runway and because its engines are high off the ground, survive in the face of FOD which would kill the F-35's engine. What's that worth in wartime? What's the ability to quickly combat turn the aircraft worth when sorties must be generated as fast as humanly possible? How much more responsive than the F-35 is the A-10 performing CAS when it's already operating well forward of the bases where the F-35 flies from? These are but a few of the issues which factor into the real world combat value of the plane. I knew a guy formerly in the Air Force who did airframe work on the SR-71 and F-117. From him I learned an aspect no one's discussed is the need for special protective clothing (a single cut can be quite injurious via toxicity), procedures to protect and replace the RAM, weapon carriage limitations if operating while Stealthy (can carry a mere 3000 lbs) and many more. With Stealth out the window, the F-35 can actually carry 18,000 lbs total, 2000 more than the A-10, but will in no way have the maneuverability, flexibility and loiter time the A-10 does. Speaking of the A-10, I screwed up titanically on the slant ranges for gun engagements. It should've been 4000 feet vs ZSU-23/4 and such and 2000 feet vs tanks! 

 

Much of this probably won't directly factor into CMBS per se, but I guarantee you it should be a factor for any operational overlay. 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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If being able to operate from sub-ideal landing strips was a highly desirable feature, the Harrier would still be fighting. Still, though, it all boils down to cost. If keeping the Warthog means there aren't enough air superiority fighters to give it room to operate, then it's a false economy to have GA displace "intercept-capable" airframes.

Anyway, won't the various state National Guards pick up the surplus airframes in a flash? :)

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HEY, the artical says it clearly enough. It is not the the A-10 is worthless, for sure it still has value. But the fact is, if something has to be cut, what do you cut. Not the best weapon  you have, but the least effective. And it appears that by what they are saying, it has been measured to be just that, if not now, for sure in the near future as to what continues to happen with weapons and tactics.

 

Man, I have a A-10 model in my own office ( it is not like I do not like the plane myself) but I get tired of these threads that attack Bf for not having it in the game where it is easy to see why they made a decision that appears to be pretty locigal  as to where things are going with our Military.

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And none of the debate is even relevant to determine why they are or are not in the game because the official position is they will not be in service in 2015.  Not with standing @panzersaurkrautwerfer's excellent point:

 

 the sort of conditions on retirement Congress have dropped make the USAF simply setting the planes on fire in a very large "accident" the only really reasonable way we're at A-10s retired by 2017. 

 

I am picturing scenarios for that accident in my head now...

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I am picturing scenarios for that accident in my head now...

 

The other possibility is they reclassify the F-35 as the A-10, the A-10 as the F-117, and just hope no one actually looks at the planes they're sending to the scrapyard/that the A-10 now costs about as much as it would to simply just buy Russia whole and avoid the war nonsense.  

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Re: USAAF

I think it'd really be better in the long run for the Air Force to divest itself of the CAS, battlefield interdiction and smaller (like C-130 and down) transports. The ultimate end users for the A-10 and nearly all the C-130 platforms are the Army and sometimes Marines. Those planes exist for those dudes. Also if we sliced off the F-16 to fill a similar role to what the USMC uses its F/A-18s for, it would allow the USAF to focus on what it views as its larger strategic mission, without having to either retain or maintain assets it honestly only is obligated to have them for the Army.

So to that end aligning CAS and interdiction type planes (A-10, F-16 post F-35 adoption in the USAF) against an Army fixed wing element, and moving the C-130s in a similar role, Army now only has itself to blame if it doesn't get CAS/regional airlift, while the USAF can focus on the strategic/theater type missions.

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And then you turn all fixed wing assets into the Luftwaffe of WW2 and look how good hat turned out.

I saw your derision about air superiority but frankly you (and many other ground troops) automatically assume your NOT going to get attacked by large number of aviation assets. If I remember correctly the last time the Army fought when it did not have air superiority was 1943.

Go back and look at the overl effectiveness of CAS and you will see that long range interdiction of logistics has played a much more vital role. Really the arty and helps you control are better at danger close attacks than anything the AF could bring. Our job is to make sure that you DONT get Attacked and attrit them so you don't have to fight an equal force.

There is a reason the AF was pulled from the army you really want an Arty specialist trying to lay out doctrine for an Air Force

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Which is missing my point.  I'm not arguing for NO airforce, I'm arguing that instead of the Army relying on the USAF to throw it a bone, the Army should have the control of the air assets that directly support it (CAS, short range interdiction, light transport), and the air force should be left to focus on the strategic/theater missions it already prioritizes

 

So to that end the USAAF would be some number of A-10s, some of the more strike-centric F-16 airframes, and C-130s, while the USAF would be all the F-22, F-35, B-52, B-2, C-17 type platforms, with the nuclear and cyberwarfare missions they already run.

 

There's no good reason to separate Army-supporting aircraft from the Army, just as much as there's zero reason the Army should have a say in the air superiority fight beyond "please handle that."

 

In many ways it'd just be a larger, likely green painted version of the current USMC fixed wing fleet

 

 

 

There is a reason the AF was pulled from the army you really want an Arty specialist trying to lay out doctrine for an Air Force

It had more to do with the assumption that future wars would be dominated by nuclear armed strategic bombers, or at the least massed bombings of cities again.  The USAF has always focused on its strategic role to the detriment of the tactical mission.  And from that it really makes sense to give the tactical missions to the people who are most interested in tactical missions, and again, letting the USAF focus on the strategic missions that are by far more part of its core focus.  

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Well, here,  lets see what some real knowledgeable people say instead of your dreamed up nonsense.

 

I was actually in Iraq.

 

As an actual accounts of CAS delivered  during an actual shooting war with actual MANPADS and AAA involved (my "dreamed up nonsense"):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0312544146/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link

""Once they had the target description, they descended under the cloud deck to where both the pilots and weapons systems officers could actually see the ground. The F-14s were literally only a few hundred feet off the ground. They flew directly over our position, positively identifying our six GMVs and the two white Range Rovers.

...

The Navy pilot had been told to look for an intersection with T-55 tanks just off the road, troops and pickup trucks. The Navy pilot looked out of his cockpit down at the ground and saw an intersection, a T-55 tank just off a road, troops and pickup trucks. His first bomb was delivered with great precision into a crowd of troops, killing many instantly. Unfortunately, they were not the Iraqi infantry. The Navy bomb landed among Tom Sandoval's Kurds waiting back at Objective Rock."

 

Now, in this case it ended pretty badly, but it is just illustrative that flying low and relatively slow is bog-standard for CAS. There is one situation where high speed fixed-wing has an advantage over the A-10, but it isn't exactly a circumstance you'd be seeing much of in CM:BS. And at any rate, none of our tactical aircraft (with one notable exception that isn't used for CAS) can bust Mach near the deck when loaded with large amounts of heavy A/G, so as a practical matter, they all have a similar top speed.

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The Navy bomb landed among Tom Sandoval's Kurds waiting back at Objective Rock."

 

This does get to the heart of why having a dedicated platform matters though.  The important thing about A-10s was they only really trained to kill stuff on the ground.  Nominally at least, they know what an M1 tank looks like vs a T-72 (nominally, quizing USAF dudes on vehicle identification is sort of terrifying.  There's at least some accounts that in both 1991 and 2003 the USAF largely relied on gun tube orientation.  Additionally some A-10s of all things rather infamously shot the hell out of a bunch of Marines in 2003 because they weren't sure what the USMC AAV-7s were so they assumed it was hostile).

 

Moving away from any sort of dedicated or well rehearsed and trained CAS is bad juju.  And F-35/B-1 CAS is not dedicated, well rehearsed or well trained.

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The other point is the platforms you describe as CAS actually haveany more roles so you can't just seperate by aircraft type. Which is another reason the AF picked the single role A-10

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So does the USMC F-18 fleet, but they're still intended for almost exclusively blowing up bad people on the ground in support of jarheads.

 

Again if the USAF put the time and care into CAS and directly supporting the soldier on the ground, this wouldn't be a problem, but there's a pile of dead marines, and a lot of dead air that seems to indicate the USAF isn't terribly interested, and frequently not especially good at CAS.

 

The USMC model, as much as it pains me to say it is the right model, with the CAS aircraft belonging to the higher echelon of the supported unit, not belonging to an outside agency that is not invested in the ground mission.

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The best air support is an MLRS battery.  You give coordinates, they give boom.  If the Russians want to waste an S300/S400 class missile trying to shoot them down it is probably a net win even if they get an intercept.

Edited by dan/california

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No one will ever try to stop 240mm rockets. But if MLRS will use ATACMS it will be intercepted even by tunguska.

How US plan to stop Russian MLRS hordes is the good question too.

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