Check out the TB2K CHATROOM, open 24/7               Configuring Your Preferences for OPTIMAL Viewing
  To access our Email server, CLICK HERE

  If you are unfamiliar with the Guidelines for Posting on TB2K please read them.      ** LINKS PAGE **



*** Help Support TB2K ***
via mail, at TB2K Fund, P.O. Box 24, Coupland, TX, 78615
or


GOV/MIL OA-X: More Than Just Light Attack
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 40 of 66
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924

    3 OA-X: More Than Just Light Attack

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://warontherocks.com/2016/08/oa-...-light-attack/

    OA-X: More Than Just Light Attack

    Mike Benitez
    August 16, 2016


    http://warontherocks.com/wp-content/...ght-attack.jpg

    Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein recently acknowledged that the Air Force is unbalanced to fight at the high end of the conflict spectrum — in high-intensity conventional war. The world is rapidly changing, and the high and low ends of conflict are moving further apart. The high end is getting more difficult as a result of warfighting advances by near-peer competitors, while the low end is moving tangentially towards an enduring commitment. Excessively depending on a single exquisite aircraft to span this widening rift between the spectrum ends dilutes capability, capacity, and resources that are all constrained today and for the foreseeable future.

    One platform cannot be expected to span this gap today, and certainly not tomorrow. During a recent think tank discussion, Lt. Gen. Mike “Mobile” Holmes, the deputy chief of staff of the Air Force for strategic plans and requirements, informally circulated a concept called OA-X (O/A denotes an observation/attack role, while X stands in for an undetermined identification number). OA-X is the low-cost, off-the-shelf light attack solution the Air Force is bruiting to relieve the spiraling operating costs of conducting low-intensity operations with multirole fighters, working within existing fiscal constraints to free resources to invest in the high-end fight.

    This has led to speculation, confusion, and even backlash about exactly what the tech-centric service is thinking. The reality is that the Air Force must embrace the much-touted, but seldom-executed high-low force mix to evolve the force of the future — something I’ve devoted an entire article to cover before. While this idea dates back to 2009 and has gained various levels of traction along the way (Imminent Fury and Combat Dragon II), the concept has been revived by Congressional authorities granted this year that could get new aircraft flying within two years.

    The OA-X concept comprises much more than light attack, though.

    Observation, Not Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)

    The evolution of global ISR surveillance and reconnaissance has fundamentally changed how America fights wars, but left behind another key component to actionable intelligence: observation.

    In the context of airplane capabilities, observation is not surveillance or reconnaissance. Instead, it should be viewed from a combined-arms perspective — not simply an overhead remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). Observation is more akin to a spotter for a sniper or a cavalry scout for an Army battalion. Neither the sniper nor the battalion would be as successful without the observation element integrated into the fighting element. In observation, the processing, dissemination, and the ability to take action reside in the realm of the ground element, even if the observation is completed from the air. This is the same conceptual base as the Marine Corps’ investment into the highly capable UH-1 Super Huey/Venom. Though the Air Force continues to provide reassurances that it does indeed embrace the close air support (CAS) mission, it is worth asking: What ever happened to its observation requirement to buttress CAS?

    The Lineage of Observation

    Military observation from ballooned flight dates to the 1700s, followed shortly by the first manned flight. Benjamin Franklin even remarked that, “filling a balloon with hot air…may be sufficient in elevating an engineer to take a view of an enemy’s army, works, etc.” Accordingly, the first Wright military flyers were assigned to the Army Signal Corps, and observation formed the basis of military flight at the beginning of World War I, predating fighter and attack roles.

    In World War II, observation experienced transformative growth into air reconnaissance, and a plethora of aircraft were modified to perform photographic recon. In the era before today’s naming convention, these aircraft carried “F” designations to denote this role: the F-3 (A-20), F-5 (P-38), F-6 (P-51), F-7 (B-24), F-9 (B-17), and F-10 (B-25). Despite the vital intelligence gained by these missions, in Europe this effort supported the massive strategic bombing campaign rather than maneuvering forces on the ground. This represented a significant departure from how the Air Force viewed information gathering from the air and how it related to supporting fielded forces, partly due to the changing perspective of air power. This created a rift between reconnaissance and observation that would remain for decades.

    At the same time, the Army relied on “liaison” aircraft to perform the more traditional WWI-era observation of fielded forces and artillery spotting. The venerable Piper Cub became the L-4 Grasshopper, of which several thousand were used in the war. These were augmented by the purpose-built Stinson L-5. Similarly, the British Army used Lysander and the Luftwaffe had the Storch. The U.S. Navy also relied extensively on observation from the air, as ships did not yet have radar. The Navy flew thousands of SOC Seagulls (“SOC” for scout, observation, Curtis-Wright) and OS2U Kingfisher floatplanes from cruisers and battleships that provided critical information on enemy location, size, and disposition. Hundreds of miles away from U.S. fleet elements, submarines also scouted.

    Fueled by the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as an independent service in 1947 and the rise of the bomber mafia, the Air Force widened this fracture between recon and observation when it left observation behind for the Army to assume — even though the Air Force retained close air support along with both strategic and tactical reconnaissance under the 1948 Key West Agreement. The Army soon ordered a new observation plane to replace its weathered L-4/L-5 fleet, resulting in the O-1 Bird Dog that entered service in Korea in early 1951 to augment observation helicopters in the war. Over 3,000 O-1s were produced for the Army and Marine Corps in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until Vietnam that the aircraft would become widely popular.

    The O-1 was used in the early days of the Vietnam War with the Red Markers in 1961, and Air Force advisors trained the Vietnamese Air Force in forward air controller (FAC) duties using borrowed O-1 aircraft. This closed the book on a dark era of the Air Force’s view of Army air support and promptly ended a hiatus of FAC training, which had been terminated in 1956. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) also used O-1s in the covert Raven FAC programs under the cover of Air America. By 1965, the Air Force realized it was in a new type of war and assumed control of over 100 O-1s from the Army, used for reconnaissance, target acquisition, artillery adjustment, and the forward air control of tactical aircraft. The Air Force was back in the observation business.

    While the Air Force commissioned the O-2 Skymaster to augment the OA-1, a tri-service light armed reconnaissance aircraft competition was well under way. In 1964, the winner was announced: the legendary OV-10 Bronco, which would serve for almost 30 years. The OV-10 was retired after Desert Storm, when some A-10s were anointed the superficial OA-10A designation to fill the role. That too eventually ended, and times were changing — or so it seemed.

    The Rise of RPAs

    The extinction of observation platforms coincided with the rise of remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs). Though drones date back to World War II, modern RPAs originated from the classified Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Teal Rain program in the 1970s. A need for surveillance remerged during the mid-1990s Bosnian War and drove CIA-sponsored drone development based on the follow-on Amber program, which resulted in the RQ-1 (now called MQ-1) Predator. This expansion continued in Kosovo, before the explosion of RPA use after 9/11.

    Despite the rise in surveillance platforms, the optical field of view shrank to singular electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) soda-straws. The sensors used on the MQ-1, MQ-9, U-28, MC-12, AC-130 — and all fighter/attack planes in the inventory — generally operate within a narrow 5-degree field of view with no peripheral sensing. While most RPAs possess synthetic aperture radar to map terrain and moving vehicles, this is not useful for observing people and dismounted troops. The Air Force has been adapting air-centric surveillance born from air-centric operations to fight a ground-based post-9/11 war with more in common with Vietnam than Kosovo. Observation was lacking, and everyone knew it.

    The military invested in wide-area surveillance programs such as Angel Fire, Constant Hawk, and Gorgon Stare to move beyond the soda-straw of the RPA legion. But these were forensic in nature, not observational, and they don’t perform within the realm of combined arms. At the same time, the Army augmented its growing indigenous RPA fleet by adapting wide-area surveillance onto tethered aerostats (which also carried soda straw EO/IR and other sensors), but those were relegated to base defense for obvious reasons. Think of OA-X as attack-oriented observation, whereas remotely piloted aircraft are surveillance-oriented attack.

    Talk, Action, and Reality

    Over the past 40 years, Air Force acquisition can be neatly categorized between two camps: “surveillance/reconnaissance” and “shock and awe.” But then what? As Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley puts it, “after shock and awe comes march and fight.” The realities of follow-on ground operations and the requisite air support have not informed force structure and military strategy for decades. Then again, in this, the lack of consideration mirrors the U.S. track record of predicting conflict — 100 percent wrong for 50 consecutive years.

    For 16 years, the Air Force has been hemorrhaging money by using aircraft that are over-built and under-qualified for the mission. It’s not too late for force to adapt — far from it. New Chief of Staff of the Air Force General David Goldfein recently commented he firmly believes the United States is only 15 years into a 30-year conflict with violent extremism. Experts think this ideology-based conflict might last through the end of the century. OA-X would be the first meaningful step, albeit a small one, in finally moving toward a high-low force structure. This “balanced capabilities mix” structure is described in the Air Force’s strategic master plan and future operating concept — documents that shape the landscape for operations in 2035. In this light, “balanced” means more low-end platforms that change the cost imposition must be embraced to supplement the small but capable A-10 fleet, which accounts for a mere 15 percent of the fighter/attack inventory today.

    The Unaffordable Cost of Inaction

    As highlighted before, the realities of 21st century conflict must account for intermingled state, ethnic, and religious actors coloring outside the lines drawn on a map or defined areas of operations. The force of both today and tomorrow must be prepared for conflict that devolves into flat, long-duration operations with a wide range of multifaceted objectives. This problem should not be treated with the force structure built to counter a nation-state from the 1990s.

    In this arena, the low-end mix of platforms needs to prioritize efficiency in order to provide a low-cost, efficient, and enduring operating capability to support the joint force by prioritizing attributes of a low threshold for acquisition, low operating costs, and life-limited terms. This is how to manage the cost-curve for the long haul.

    These platforms can consolidate the current CAS eco-system, which is tried and true, but extremely tired and growingly geriatric. A pair of F-15Es or F-16s performing air support is supported by a KC-10, receives intelligence or targeting information from an ISR asset (i.e. MQ-1/9, MC-12, or U-28), and controlled by a Joint Terminal Air Controller (JTAC). This construct is simply inefficient and expensive. What’s more it only exists as a result of continually adapting conventional assets instead of investing in an enduring solution. Adaption in the beginning of the conflict with current resources is tolerable a stop-gap, but 16 years later, this expensive stop-gap formula remains.

    The total cost to operate a single CAS orbit as described above is astonishing: over $64,000 per hour or $1,000 per minute per combat air patrol.* The F-35 will only increase the bottom line, as it actually brings less, not more, capability to the type of air support used the past 15 years — and it will cost exponentially more to operate than the aircraft it is replacing. The F-35 will not have the following for several years (or longer): the small diameter bomb, IR marker, video down-link, and EO/IR sensor fidelity that equals currently deployed fighters. Accepting the published $42,200 cost per flying hour, a formation of two F-35s will grow this price-point by 68 percent, to $107,800 per hour. By comparison, OA-X is projected to operate for under $4,000 per hour, including personnel costs — a 96 percent reduction in operating cost to support a generational war against violent extremism.

    If the now-operational F-35A deployed to the Middle East and flew a typical 8-hour Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) sortie, it would cost nearly $800,000 per mission as described, not including ordnance expenditures. For every 20 forecasted OIR F-35 missions flown, the Air Force could buy an OA-X platform (assuming $15 million for either the A-29 or AT-6). As another comparison, suspending a single day of current OIR operations ($11.9 million/day) would almost buy an OA-X platform.

    Bridging gaps, growing capabilities

    While capable and immediately available as-is, leveraging an off-the-shelf solution provides huge advantages to build on. But organizational coordination must become equally agile in today’s world. While potentially an Air Combat Command asset, OA-X could use Air Force Special Operations Command programs and processes to expeditiously field mature equipment. This potential relationship is not unheard of. Similar administrative/tactical/operational command relationships already exist in force application, just not in force equip-and-employ agreements — yet. Mature sensor suites from the Air Force’s Big Safari program office (of Project Liberty MC-12 lore) could streamline acquisition and integration; acoustical boomerang sensors from the Army could also be adapted to aid in triangulating fire from the enemy. These adaptions could be measured in months instead of years that are typical of the conventional processes.

    A commonly held presumption was that these light attack aircraft could not bring to bear the firepower beyond one or two attack runs inherent to a limited gun magazine or bomb carriage. That too has changed. The new Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (a laser-guided rocket) provides more firepower at reduced fly-away weight compared to bombs, and incorporating the unique laser-guided small diameter bombs (Laser SDB) from the MC-130W would bring even more firepower when warranted.

    Looking Ahead

    It is easy to succumb to the rhetoric that capability advances require tech-heavy solutions, especially given the Air Force’s tech-centric foundation and today’s third offset strategy movement. While there is a clear distinction between fighting the last war and acknowledging conflict in a new era, the path must be approached differently than the last few generations of leaders have done. The Air Force must avoid the siren of a “game-changer singularity panacea” that will solve growing problems that require tough decisions by tough leaders.

    While some unusual arguments against OA-X stem from the guise of its low-tech approach, don’t let the propeller façade fool you into thinking of the platform as simply a lightweight, low-cost, low-tech version of an A-10. Nothing else today can boast the visibility of an F-15, the EO/IR sensor capability of an MQ-9, the firepower of an F-16, and the agility of an attack plane — and all for an operating cost that is pennies on the dollars of today’s multirole fleet.

    The OA-X concept is not perfect, nor does it claim to be. Robert Watson-Watt, the man who pioneered radar to defend Britain in WWII, famously stated: “Give them the third best to go on with; the second best comes too late, the best never comes.” That encapsulates the essence of O-AX. It may not be a solution yet, but it’s certainly introducing options that align with Air Force strategy and intent to build agility into its ranks.

    Back to the roots of observation, OA-X can support the asymmetric, flat, trans-regional wars against non-state actors the joint force will be engaged in for the foreseeable future. We must move forward — we can’t afford not to.


    * Computed using the following operating costs: two-ship of F-16’s at $20,300 each, KC-10: $20,000, MQ-1: $3,500.

    Maj. Mike “Pako” Benitez is an F-15E Strike Eagle Weapons Systems Officer with over 250 combat missions spanning multiple deployments in the Air Force and Marine Corps. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and a former Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) fellow. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force or the U.S. government.

    Image: U.S. Air Force phot by James Haseltine


    Commentary

    Air-Mindedness 2.0: We Need to Do Better Than “Fly, Fight, and Win”

    Hasty Ambush

    A Close Air Support Flyoff Is a Distraction

    Commentary

    The Myth of High-Threat Close Air Support

    Comments 7

    7 thoughts on “OA-X: More Than Just Light Attack”



    Sons of Liberty says:

    August 16, 2016 at 11:31 am


    Excellent article. But we don’t have the bright bulb leadership in the AFSEC office to truly understand and realize the need. I will differ on two points first the high low concept has been around well before 2009. Second, we have seen the value of existing airframes in carrying out this mission. The OV10 Broncos that have been upgraded and deployed to fight in Iraq and Syria have proven themselves relavant and lethal.

    They have proven out the laser guided precision kill system. They have also shown how quickly we can recover, refurbish and upgrade these old warriors. The OV10 was built for an 18,000 hour lifespan so many of these planes have usable life left. Unlike entering into a completion for a new airframe we can move with greater speed to bring back the Bronco updated for the digital age.


    dtr says:

    August 16, 2016 at 12:28 pm


    Interesting post. It seems a lot of what is hindering the development of lower cost CAS and observation platforms is the USAF/Army split dating to the late 40s. The Army and Air Force view themselves as separate services with different mission mindsets, but the reality is both are design and commissioned to fight and win land wars, while the Navy is designed to keep sea lanes open for commerce and fight wars in the littoral. Re-unite the USAF and Army, and end the endless fight over who controls the battle in the air over land battlefields.

    Using light off the shelf platforms to provide CAS in uncontested airspace just makes too much sense. The silly battles over preserving the A-10, which is basically just a big high speed cannon wrapped in a twinjet airframe designed 50 years ago, needs to end. Today’s weapons have advanced far beyond tank killer cannons, between JDAMs, SDBs, Hellfire missiles, and various other weapons, all adaptable to a wide variety of airframes (including both manned and UAS), it is clear that the airframe selection is now almost beside the point. The point now is the ability to deliver well-placed fire when and where needed, using multi-platform-adaptable new weapons.


    James B. says:

    August 16, 2016 at 5:56 pm


    I would disagree on both the Army and Air Force being designed to fight land wars: if that had been the case, they’d have stayed together. The problem is that our military never really has done a strategy review of DOD organization, it is overwhelmingly focused of operations and tactics.

    Strategic targets are those which can affect decision-making in the enemy government, regardless of the ground war. USAF deep strike is generally the best option for these.

    Operational targets are resources being moved towards the battlefield. Since they aren’t at the battlefield yet, USAF deep strike is still a very good option for these.

    Tactical targets are those which have reached the battlefield and entered the fight. These are an Army issue because they are shooting at Army forces, so it most efficient for Army fires to destroy them. Close Air Support is more like heavy, precise artillery fire than air-centric bombing, so it belongs with the Army fires units, not Air Force fighter squadrons.

    What this means for the OA-X and/or a custom-designed OA-XX is the paramount importance of being a integral part of the ground combat force. While it should be a decent attack aircraft, it should focus on mastering the control aspect of CAS, so it can harness the power of artillerymen who can’t see the target or fast-movers who are just delivering the bombs. It should not be a flying tank, but a flying forward-observer track.


    Thomas Rath says:

    August 16, 2016 at 1:28 pm


    Actually there has been a great deal more study than the Air Force wishes to remember or recognize. First off, a modern COIN/OA-X aircraft should never be powered by turboprop engine(s) for a variety of known but ignored reasons. Second, there was an aircraft vastly superior to the obsolete A-29 and AT-6 II all the way back in 1989, albeit focused on light attack. Last (for the moment) a viable grasp of the full range of roles and missions might best begin with an extrapolation of the German mission requirement back in 1937 that resulted in the FW-189. Of course the extrapolation would have to be extensive as an analog would be the P-51 extrapolated to the F-22.


    dtr says:

    August 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm


    Thomas,

    Why on earth would a turboprop be considered infeasible for close air support? Virtually all CAS by fighter-class aircraft was performed by either piston-prop or turbo prop aircraft all the way up through the Vietnam war era. Today the most capable of all CAS aircraft in the world, in terms of raw firepower and killing efficiency is the AC-130 Spectre – which is of course powered by four turboprop engines.


    Sons of Liberty says:

    August 16, 2016 at 7:35 pm


    The only drawback to the AC130 is the altitude it must fight from can be effected by cloud cover and fowl weather. Where as a close in CAS platform like the a10 or OV10 can operate below the cloud cover.

    And not sure what Thomas is saying turbo prop not being good for CAS


    Voice_of_Reason says:

    August 16, 2016 at 4:33 pm


    An excellent article.

    The US Military is so fixated on high end combat that decision-makers, JCIDS writers, and budgeteers forget that 99% of combat is low end.

    Sure, you need high end capabilities. But you need everyday capabilities even more.

    You wouldn’t take your expensive china set to a barbecue, and you probably go to a lot more barbecues than formal dinners.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    OK
    Posts
    30,453
    This article ignores one aspect of military procurement.

    Kickbacks, graft and corruption.

    On a project like the f35, with a gobzillion dollar budget, you can easily hide "gifts" large enough to buy a light aircraft.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

    Member: Nowski Brigade

    Deplorable


  3. #3
    They had a perfect plane to fill that slot,but they just had to do away with with the A-10.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    In CLE again
    Posts
    55,032
    While I enjoy the Tucano and the other couple platforms, I'd DEARLY LOVE to see the P-51 brought up to the 21st century engineering standards and materials....


    "Cadillac of the air!!" *

    * Empire of the Sun....
    RULE 1:
    THEY want you DEAD.

    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my brothers' children (and their parents) may have peace, and have NO KNOWLEDGE of what I have done."

    TACAMO!! NOW!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Quote Originally Posted by night driver View Post
    While I enjoy the Tucano and the other couple platforms, I'd DEARLY LOVE to see the P-51 brought up to the 21st century engineering standards and materials....


    "Cadillac of the air!!" *

    * Empire of the Sun....
    They did, the Piper PA-48 Enforcer...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    In CLE again
    Posts
    55,032
    AH I SEE....


    What can I tell ya....Dilettante not PolyMath....
    RULE 1:
    THEY want you DEAD.

    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my brothers' children (and their parents) may have peace, and have NO KNOWLEDGE of what I have done."

    TACAMO!! NOW!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Happy on the mountain
    Posts
    66,351
    The modern American CAS aircraft needs to be-

    -inexpensive to procure, operate and maintain
    -rugged and resistant to ground fire
    -highly maneuverable
    -capable of carrying an effective combat load and loitering for long periods
    -piloted by a warrant officer
    -operable from forward located austere airfields

    Of course, none of this is likely to happen, because it runs counter to zoomie mentality.

    Which is why the whole thing should be assigned as an Army mission, not a USAF mission.
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Jefferson
    Posts
    7,588
    Personally I've seen what an A-10 can do in real combat......OUCH!! Tears up armor, carries a ship-ton load of ordnance and is damn near impossible to shoot out of the air. It's a total brute! Why mess with success?!?!?!? STUPID AIRFORCE!
    We have done so much, with so little, for so long....We can now do anything, with nothing, forever.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.combataircraft.net/2016/0...us-about-oa-x/


    http://www.combataircraft.net/wp-con...50-768x512.jpg
    An 81st FS A-29. USAF

    Is the USAF serious about OA-X?
    Published: August 16th, 2016

    Some senior US Air Force officers are talking about new close air support (CAS) options. A new, low-end, light attack ‘OA-X’ aircraft is being mooted, as is a more capable ‘A-X2’ that could eventually replace the A-10 ‘Warthog’ in the longer term.

    Analysts rightly observe that the OA-X would probably tap into existing offerings such as the Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine or the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and would likely be for a handful of aircraft in the near term, maybe as soon as next year.

    The US military has dabbled with such ideas before on several occasions in recent years. Obvious comparisons can be drawn between OA-X and the previous USAF Light Attack/Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) program that dates back to 2009, as well as the Navy-sponsored ‘Imminent Fury’ study that specifically looked at the A-29 for light attack/counterinsurgency missions. The former was subsumed into the Light Air Support (LAS) program, which ultimately delivered 20 Super Tucanos for the Afghan Air Force, for which the A-29 was selected in preference to the AT-6B.


    http://www.combataircraft.net/wp-con...yZd6pbTj80.jpg
    The AT-6 Wolverine has been evaluated significantly by the USAF. Beechcraft/Jim Haseltine

    There was also the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) ‘Combat Dragon II’ trial that used a pair of OV-10G+ Broncos to assess the suitability of turboprop aircraft in counter-insurgency (COIN) operations in Afghanistan. We now know that the two Broncos completed a combat evaluation with CENTCOM that ran until October last year and was intended to test the use of a small aircraft for COIN and CAS. The aircraft are believed to have played a part in the current Operation ‘Inherent Resolve’ against the so-called Islamic State to examine the use of turboprop strike aircraft to improve air-to-ground co-ordination in such combat theaters.

    Today, the 81st FS at Moody AFB is well into operations with the Afghan A-29s. The Sierra Nevada Corp. is delivering 20 aircraft as part of a $427 million contract. The 81st FS is training Afghan pilots at Moody after the unit was reactivated in January 2015. Four of the A-29s were delivered to Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, on January 15 this year. Four more aircraft were delivered on March 29 for the 2016 ‘fighting season’, another four are due in 2017, and the remaining eight by the end of 2018.

    A-29 Super Tucano Attack Aircraft In Action – Live Fire Training
    https://youtu.be/LkgeladdlaI

    So, if the USAF is serious about OA-X then either A-29s or AT-6s could be purchased as early as next year and could potentially backfill the 81st FS with USAF-owned aircraft and make good use of the infrastructure in place and the core of experience that has been built with the USAF pilots at the 81st FS — many of whom are former A-10 pilots.

    However, there are two major questions.

    Firstly, is the USAF willing to pay for new aircraft and continued support of the Moody LAS operation. It has many core programmes such as the F-35, KC-46 and B-21 that may have to fight for funding in the coming months. The USAF leadership is intensely focused on the high-end future fight.

    Secondly, is there an appetite to have USAF pilots flying a type such as the A-29 Super Tucano in combat operations. Even the A-10 is considered somewhat vulnerable to surface fire, despite its impressive rugged design and track record in ‘Desert Storm’, where A-10s routinely returned with severe battle damage. The A-10 was only deployed to the ‘Inherent Resolve’ theater once it was clear that surface-to-air threats were minimal.

    Types such as the A-29 or AT-6 may be considered simply too much of a risk for US airmen to be flying in these scenarios — hence Gen ‘Hawk’ Carlisle’s assertion that permissive environments are a thing of the past. Is the USAF is serious about OA-X then there is a clear and sensible way to introduce such a capability. If not, then the A-10 remains — for the time being — its best solution despite the cost of maintaining this fleet.


    An A-10C unleashes its 30mm cannon. USAF

    Two A-10 squadrons are based alongside the 81st FS at Moody. USAF

    An 81st FS A-29 prepares to taxi out for a mission. USAF

    A-29 Super Tucano Moody AFB Bombing Range
    Military Flying
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB_3WXu2xys
    Posted in News

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...-at-nellis-afb

    Here We Go Again: USAF Aims to Stand Up Dedicated F-16 CAS Squadron At Nellis AFB
    The service tried to kill the A-10 this way 25 years ago—and it failed miserably.

    BY TYLER ROGOWAY
    AUGUST 19, 2016

    Even though the USAF has shuttered the 65th AGRS based out of Nellis AFB, its only F-15C/D aggressor squadron, our friends at Combat Aircraft Monthly say a new F-16 unit is slated to be activated at the base. This new unit will be made up of eight Block 40 F-16C/Ds, with the squadron envisioned to grow to 16 aircraft as the F-35 comes on line and replaces the Viper in front-line units. The F-16s' mission will reportedly be tightly focused on close air support. Combat Aircraft writes:

    “The CAS Integration Group’s mission will include high-end training as well as an increased emphasis on tactical level CAS, with experts to integrate fires in joint operations, advancing the joint CAS enterprise and preserving the USAF ‘CAS culture’. Gen ‘Hawk’ Carlisle, commander of ACC said: ‘The changes we’re making at Nellis are an important step in refining our CAS skills through future generations of Airmen so we can continue to provide ground forces with all the advantages air power brings to close combat.’”

    WHAT USAF CHIEF PROBABLY MEANT WHEN HE SAID HE WANTED “A FLYING COKE MACHINE” TO REPLACE THE A-10 WARTHOG
    By Tyler Rogoway
    Posted in THE WAR ZONE

    HOW A SMALL-TOWN GIRL ENDED UP IN THE COCKPIT OF AN A-10 WARTHOG
    By Frank Crebas, Rich Cooper and Tyler Rogoway
    Posted in THE WAR ZONE

    SURPRISE, SURPRISE! THE USAF CAN'T AFFORD ITS FIGHTER FLEET PAST 2021
    By Tyler Rogoway
    Posted in THE WAR ZONE

    LOOK AT THIS SEA OF WARTHOGS AND VIPERS DOING THE “ELEPHANT WALK” AT OSAN AIR BASE IN SOUTH KOREA
    By Tyler Rogoway
    Posted in THE WAR ZONE

    WATCH THIS DUDE PLAY THE A-10 WARTHOG'S CANNON AS A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
    By Tyler Rogoway
    Posted in THE WAR ZONE

    This all sounds good and well. But there are a few tells here that indicate this new unit could be forming to help bolster the case for retiring the USAF’s most underappreciated tactical asset—the A-10 Warthog.

    “Preserving the USAF CAS Culture” has been a major issue raised in regards to retiring the A-10; you don’t just retire the plane, you also retire the community that supports it. And that community has been laser-focused on providing extremely high-quality close air support under the most challenging conditions for nearly four decades.

    Multi-role fast jets and their aircrews have to accomplish many tasks as well as CAS, and although they are capable of the mission—especially when spooled up for it via intensive training before deployment—America’s CAS "brain trust," so to speak, exists within the A-10 community. If it goes by the wayside, all the experience built up over decades of testing tactics in combat environments will slowly decay. This phenomenon is largely referred to as "brain drain" in Pentagon parlance.

    With this and the USAF’s dogged determination to quickly retire the A-10 in mind, moving some of that brain trust over to an F-16 unit gives the impression that the Air Force is trying to check off a box on the Warthog’s death warrant.

    Thing is, the USAF has long lusted over the idea of replacing the Warthog with Vipers. The force even went so far as to strap a 30mm cannon pod onto the F-16's centerline, load up the jet with new avionics, paint a batch of them green and stand up a constellation of units to focus on CAS tactics and development. (One of these, in fact, was based at Nellis AFB two and a half decades ago.)

    The big gun-toting F-16, dubbed the A-16 and the F/A-16 at various points, failed miserably at its job. The vibration from the cannon was far too much for the “electric jet” to withstand, and accuracy was piss-poor. Even with its cutting-edge technology, the attack Viper simply didn’t hold a candle to an aircraft designed from the ground-up for low-level CAS and battlefield interdiction—and to survive taking one or many hits in the process.

    Read all about the A-16 program and how it tried to shoot down the A-10 once and for all in this feature I wrote in 2014.

    The announcement of a USAF F-16 squadron dedicated to CAS also comes as the USAF continues to spastically put forward initiatives to replace the A-10—not with the F-35 as it has tried to justify in the past, but now with a pair of ambiguous new platforms. I predicted the Air Force would do exactly this, and I also maintain that all this is just vaporware.

    In fact, even after all the USAF’s bluster about a “two platform solution” over the summer and the salivating media carrying the story as fact, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James proved it is indeed all talk:

    "So far I have read about this in the news. I have not actually seen a proposal on any of this that has come forward to me. So it sure is pre-decisional. It hasn't been decided on,” she said. “Where would we get the money? Not at all clear to me.”

    The Secretary, who has been very forthcoming about controversial issues that past USAF brass have traditionally “circled the wagons” around, stated there is no money for any of these plans. Flight hours for aircrews are already in the toilet, and the USAF will not be able to afford the tactical aircraft fleet it currently has by 2021 according to their own numbers. (Interestingly enough, 2021 is the same year the USAF plans to sneakily put the A-10 out to pasture.) And on top of that, the Air Force still has multiple big-ticket items in development, many of which are still fiscally unpredictable (B-21, F-35, etc).

    The USAF says it cannot even afford the A-10—which it owns outright and has recently upgraded—today. The A-10 is Air Force's cheapest manned tactical asset to operate. So how is it going to be able to afford to develop, procure, and operate a two-aircraft CAS solution? Simple answer: It can’t, unless it wants to give away some very high-profile programs that have missions far more sexy than CAS. Which it won’t.

    Now we have reached the point where it seems as if the USAF is willing to build a little time capsule for CAS expertise by standing up an F-16-equipped mini-squadron at Nellis, as if doing so would give the service access to all the CAS lessons learned in the past. News flash: CAS is what the USAF is doing combat-wise today, every day, against an enemy that shows no signs of fading into the history books. The best aircraft for that mission remains the A-10, and the best place for safekeeping of CAS expertise is within the A-10 community—the same place it has been vested successfully for nearly 40 years.

    So next time you read a headline toting the USAF’s grand plans to replace the A-10, rest assured it is just more mental masturbation coming from a flying service in total denial of the fiscal realities that will continue to mount in the coming decade.

    Contact the author Tyler@thedrive.com

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowMan View Post
    Personally I've seen what an A-10 can do in real combat......OUCH!! Tears up armor, carries a ship-ton load of ordnance and is damn near impossible to shoot out of the air. It's a total brute! Why mess with success?!?!?!? STUPID AIRFORCE!
    Or agenda driven politicians. Must dismantle military, must dismantle the air superiority and so on and so forth. Logic demands we keep that bird. The only one who could want to see it gone, are our enemies.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Quote Originally Posted by Ractivist View Post
    Or agenda driven politicians. Must dismantle military, must dismantle the air superiority and so on and so forth. Logic demands we keep that bird. The only one who could want to see it gone, are our enemies.
    Yeah, you can't just have "one wrench" in the tool box for all jobs. There's a place and circumstance for a "fast mover", an A-10, a light attack and a drone. Same thing goes for the medical community. Any MD can treat someone for minor injuries or illness, but we have specializations for a reason.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Happy on the mountain
    Posts
    66,351
    Does the OPFOR have armor? No? Then why an A-10 for CAS? The A-10 was built when the Fulda Gap mentality ruled all conventional military thinking.

    Half the Vietnam era MACV-SOG guys I got to know along the way made it home in part because of CAS from SPADs - A1s. http://www.skyraider.org/

    Match the capability to the mission - with the most bang for the buck.
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Quote Originally Posted by Dozdoats View Post
    Does the OPFOR have armor? No? Then why an A-10 for CAS? The A-10 was built when the Fulda Gap mentality ruled all conventional military thinking.

    Half the Vietnam era MACV-SOG guys I got to know along the way made it home in part because of CAS from SPADs - A1s. http://www.skyraider.org/

    Match the capability to the mission - with the most bang for the buck.
    Yeah. The mission and its demands in terms of range and the OPFORs targets to be "serviced" and their counter capabilities (IADS, MANPADS, AAA, beltfeds, small arms).

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Happy on the mountain
    Posts
    66,351
    Seems to me it would be obvious by now that a CAS mission needs a CAP on top, but...

    Here's what it sounds like when the obvious isn't done.

    http://www.skyraider.org/skyassn/sar...1Shootdown.mp3

    Jolly Green 71

    70/01/28 HH-53B 66-14434 40th ARRS Udorn

    Capt Holly G. Bell Pilot KIA/BNR
    Capt Leonard C. Leeser Copilot KIA/BNR
    SMSgt William D. Pruett PJ KIA/BNR
    TSgt William C. Sutton PJ KIA/BNR
    Sgt William C. Shinn Flt Eng KIA/BNR
    Sgt Gregory L. Anderson Photographer KIA/BNR

    The Jolly Green website also has a list of all HH-3 and HH-53 losses in Southeast Asia. From this list, you can get the names of the crew on Jolly Green 71 by looking at the HH-53 loss on 28 Jan 1970.

    You can then go to http://www.scopesys.com/anyday and enter Jan 28. After some notable events in world history are listed, you will find a section listing MIAs for that day. The crew of JG 71 is listed, along with the F-105 crew that was the object of the SAR, Seabird 02. The F-105 crew, although having ejected safely, never made it into the POW system.

    The events described here took place in North Vietnam north of Mu Gia pass. Seabird 02 was down in the foothills along the route structure leading north out of Mu Gia. Jolly Green 71 was northwest of this area in the high terrain along the border of Laos and North Vietnam.

    An interesting note is that the two sets of coordinates given for the crash site of JG 71 do not agree. The Lat-Longs given are N 180200 E 1053300 which puts the crash site inside Laos. The UTM coordinates of WF 582048 move the crash site north, into North Vietnam.
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Interesting comparison....

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_PA-48_Enforcer

    Performance

    Never exceed speed: 402 mph
    Maximum speed: 345 mph (300 knots, 556 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,575 m)
    Cruise speed: 253 mph (220 knots, 408 km/h)
    Stall speed: 94 mph (82 knots, 152 km/h)
    Combat radius: 460 mi (400 nmi, 740 km) with two 30 mm gun pods
    Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
    Rate of climb: 5,000/min (26.1 m/s)
    Hardpoints: Six underwing hardpoints with a maximum capacity of 5,680 lb (2,576 kg).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrae...4_Super_Tucano
    Performance

    Maximum speed: 590 km/h (319 knots, 367 mph)
    Cruise speed: 520 km/h (281 knots, 323 mph)
    Stall speed: 148 km/h (80 knots, 92 mph)
    g-limit: +7/-3.5 g)
    Range: 720 nmi (827 mi, 1,330 km)
    Combat radius: 550 km (300 nmi, 342 mi) (hi-lo-hi profile, 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) of external stores)[181]
    Ferry range: 1,541 nmi (1,774 mi, 2,855 km) [182]
    Endurance: 8hrs 24mins[182]
    Service ceiling: 10,668 m (35,000 ft)
    Rate of climb: 24 m/s (1600 fpm)
    Hardpoints: 5 (two under each wing and one under fuselage centreline) with a capacity of 1,550 kg (3,300 lb)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_...l_OV-10_Bronco
    D model
    Performance
    Maximum speed: 288 mph (463 km/h)
    Range: 1,382 mi (2,224 km)
    Service ceiling: 30,000 ft (9,159 m)
    Armament
    Guns: 1 × 20 mm (0.79 in) M197 cannon (YOV-10D) or 4 × 7.62×51mm M60C machine guns (OV-10D/D+)
    Hardpoints: 5 fuselage and 2 underwing and provisions to carry combinations of:
    Rockets: 7- or 19-tube launchers for 2.75" FFARs/2.75" WAFARs or 2- or 4-tube launchers for 5" FFARs or WAFARs
    Missiles: AIM-9 Sidewinder on wings only
    Bombs: up to 500 lb (227 kg)
    Last edited by Housecarl; 08-21-2016 at 11:10 PM. Reason: added OV-10 info

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Figured I'd add this here since this sort of munition would be very likely heavily employed on the LIC/COIN side of the house.....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.defensenews.com/articles/...glide-munition

    http://aviationweek.com/site-files/a...b-dynetics.jpg

    Dynetics Looks to Fit Niche With Small Glide Munition

    By: Jen Judson, August 22, 2016 (Photo Credit: Dynetics)

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A mid-sized, Huntsville-based defense firm is looking to fill a niche in the US Army’s munition inventory with its Small Glide Munition (SGM) while preparing to field a similar weapon to US special operators.

    Dynetics’ SGM is a 60-lb tactical munition that has – like the name implies – a capability to glide provided through wings that unfold after launch from a Common Launch Tube (CLT). The design is modular so the munitions could fit on a variety of platforms, according to the program manager for the SGM at Dynetics, who asked not to be named due to security concerns.

    The munition also packs a wallop with a 35-lb warhead, which means it’s smaller in size than a Hellfire missile but its effect on a target is far greater than other smaller munitions. For example, Griffin, a small precision guided munition made by Raytheon, has a 13-lb warhead.

    But while it’s a niche munition, it has application across many platforms beyond what Dynetics is developing for US Special Operations.

    “Key components can be replaced and upgraded, particularly with regards to the warhead and seeker,” the company official said.

    And because the system is unpowered, it enables Dynetics to put more volume in the warhead and that is why it has a greater lethal payload than would be expected in a munition of its size, the official added.


    DefenseNews
    As Air Force Shrinks, Officials Look For New Ways to Amass Firepower


    Last month, Dynetics was awarded a $11.65 million contract to conduct work on the SGM for USSOCOM, intended to be carried on AC-130 gunships or unmanned aircraft systems. The contract will support integration, qualification and testing prior to a planned fielding of the munition in 2017.

    SGM was recently designated by the US Air Force as the GBU-69/B.

    Dynetics is testing the munition at Eglin Air Force Base. According to a document -- labeled "For Official Use Only" -- required to justify a sole-source contract to Dynetics for the SGM from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin, the munition is the only glide weapon in the 50-lb class range that can be launched from a CLT with “a high degree of lethality." It also has a modular warhead that “can be removed and replaced without modification to other munition components in non-factory environments, the document states.

    The company’s solution also addresses “aspects of the 360-degree employment zone not covered by the powered munition," has a reduced launch signature and supports “engagement scenarios for which attack azimuth and impact angle must be precisely controlled.”

    And the SGM is now under consideration by the Army for its Small Guided Munition contract. The company responded to the Army’s request for information released in February.

    “If you look at the RFI you will see the size requirement was for a 60-lb munition,” the official said. “That is quite a coincidence to me, but, basically I think if you read it, they were looking for something that would be smaller, but more affordable than Hellfire,” for such platforms like Gray Eagle which have weight constraints, the official added.

    Roger Eidsaune, the director of advanced programs at Dynetics, told an audience at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium August 17, that the SGM was built with “a particular customer in mind to meet a gap they had in their weaponry.”

    And he added, “There was no new technology involved, it was innovating the technology into a package that could do that particular mission and do that quickly. We had to get if from when they asked to delivery quickly.”

    The munition, for example, uses a BAE Systems' Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) taken from the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) for terminal guidance. According to Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics’ director for air and missile defense, the control fins, which allow the munition to glide, were taken directly from a Russian design.

    While building a 60-lb munition for SOCOM or the Army may not be as attractive for large prime contractors because the of quantities associated with the requirements, the market is just right for Dynetics to invest in niche requirements, the official noted.

    Finding solutions for niche requirements for Dynetics is not new. Yet, the first niche munition the company developed went a completely different direction than the SGM – the massive ordnance air blast munition or the “mother of all bombs,” the official said. The bomb, that yields an 11-ton blast, was first built for C-130s. “That established ourselves as a niche provider,” the official added.

    Aside from eying other possible opportunities for its SGM among the other services such as the Marine Corps’ V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor, the company designed its munition to be flexible to fit on foreign aircraft as well.

    “In terms of export we have been cautious to not do anything that would present roadblocks to being able to provide this to international customers,” the official said.

    Allies that operate light attack aircraft such as Brazil would be attractive candidates, the official noted.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.defensenews.com/articles/...k-aircraft-buy

    Exclusive: Air Force Mulls Flight Demo for Possible Light Attack Aircraft Buy

    By: Valerie Insinna, September 19, 2016 (Photo Credit: US Air Force)
    Comments 8

    WASHINGTON — The Air Force is considering a near-term buy of light attack aircraft to help relieve mounting operations costs, ameliorate a fighter pilot shortage and improve readiness, a top general told Defense News in an exclusive interview.

    Lt. Gen. James M. "Mike" Holmes, the service’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, is floating a number of options to Air Force leaders, including a potential flight demonstration of inexpensive, off-the-shelf tactical airplanes that could occur as early as spring 2017.

    Holmes stressed that a new light attack craft, which has been termed OA-X, would not replace the A-10 Warthog fleet. Instead, it would be a supplement to the Warthog that would give combatant commanders a low-cost option for battling the violent extremist groups in light of the high operations and maintenance costs associated with the A-10 and various fighter jets currently doing that job.

    Click here for our coverage of the 2016 Air Force Association conference.

    This July, reports surfaced about an emerging Air Force proposal that would have the service take a two-pronged approach to conducting close air support (CAS) missions and ultimately replacing the Warthog. Aerospace experts present at a briefing by service officials described a plan where the Air Force would first buy an inexpensive OA-X to compliment the A-10 in low-threat environments. Later, the service would procure an A-X that would replace the Warthog and provide the ability to conduct CAS against more dangerous adversaries in medium-threat environments.

    “It comes down a little bit to what do you believe. Do you believe that this war that we're fighting to counter violent extremists is going to last another 15 years?” Holmes said in a Sept. 15 interview. “If you believe it does, and our chief believes it will, then you have to think about keeping a capability that's affordable to operate against those threats so that you're not paying high costs per flying hour to operate F-35s and F-22s to chase around guys in pickup trucks.”

    The service is also considering pushing back its retirement of the A-10 from 2022 to a later year because of similar concerns about the high cost-per-flight hour of fifth generation fighters, he noted.

    Air Force leaders have yet to make a final decision on whether to buy an OA-X or A-X, and the Pentagon and Congress also get a vote, said Holmes, who is nominated to lead Air Combat Command. If confirmed, he would be charged with overseeing the service’s fighter and bomber fleets, which include the A-10.

    Since the proposal was first made public, however, some top service officials have questioned whether the Air Force would find space in its budget for a two new aircraft.


    Defense News
    Air Force Boss Wary of Proposal for New Close-Air Support Jets
    “Where would we get the money?” asked Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James in July, who had not been briefed on the plan at the time. “Not at all clear to me.”

    Current Air Combat Command head Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle in August raised questions on whether investing in an OA-X or A-X would be the most effective use of funds.

    “If you look at the things within the combat Air Force portfolio that I'm responsible for in modernization and taking care of those systems, I don't know where the money would come from,” he said. “And if we got extra money, in my opinion, there's other things that I would do first to increase our combat capability before we go to that platform.”

    Holmes acknowledged the difficulty of adding another acquisition to its already overstuffed budget. In recent budget cycles, the Air Force has benefited from agreements that added funding above the Budget Control Act spending caps.

    “If we go back to a BCA level, we won't be talking about adding new things, we'll be talking about getting rid of things that we're doing, and anything that we do is going to be a tradeoff,” he said. **

    However, the service needs relief from growing operations-and-maintenance costs that are consuming a vast portion of its resources, Holmes said.

    “The question is, how do you afford it? The counter question is, how can you not afford it? Or, can you afford not to because of the operating cost difference?" he asked. "Right now, the thing that's growing faster than inflation and eating up space in our budget is operating costs.”


    Defense News
    Air Force To Make A-10 Replacement Recommendations as Early As Fall
    As the service readies its fiscal year 2019 budget plans, Holmes wants to collect data that would help James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein decide whether to proceed with an OA-X program of record. One option on the table is a flight demonstration of multiple off-the-shelf airplanes, which could happen as early as spring 2017.

    “We may do some experiments where we invite people to come in and show us what their airplanes can do,” Holmes said. “If we do an experiment like that, it will be to try to help determine whether there is a portion of the mission that we're doing now that could be done by a less capable, less expensive airplane, and if so, if there are one or more airplanes out there that you could acquire with very little development and send out there to do it?”

    “We don't think it would cost a lot of money, and it's designed just to help us get our arms around [questions like], what can you actually do? Does it actually contribute? Can it survive in different threat environments?” he said. *


    The Textron AirLand Scorpion flies over St. Michael's Mount in the United Kingdom.
    Photo Credit: Textron AirLand
    If the service prioritizes close air support as the primary mission for the aircraft, its options are limited to planes such as Textron AirLand’s Scorpion jet, Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano or Beechcraft’s AT-6, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group.

    It could also opt for one of the off-the-shelf offerings for the T-X trainer competition such as the Alenia Aermacchi M-346, a variant of which is being proposed by Raytheon and Leonardo.

    “You need a high-wing, relatively capable of good low altitude performance, and relatively low speeds, and the 346 would do it,” Aboulafia said. Boeing’s clean-sheet T-X design might also have applicability, “but both of them would be significantly inferior to the A-10 for that job.”


    An M-346 advanced training aircraft.
    Photo Credit: Leonardo-Finmeccanica
    Another option is light fighter like the FA-50 made by Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries, “but that’s not optimized for slow ground attack. It’s like a mini F-16,” he said.

    Part of the argument in favor for buying an OA-X is that a low-cost, off-the-shelf aircraft would benefit more than just the close air support mission. It provides the cheapest way for the service to improve its capacity and boost readiness against near-peer competitors, Holmes said.

    While the service is capable of satisfying demands in the Middle East and doing occasional “theater support package” deployments meant to help bolster enagement with allies, the high operational tempo makes it difficult for airmen to receive enough training to prevail against near-peer adversaries that would operate integrated air defense systems.


    Defense News
    Air Force Faces Rocky Road Ahead For Replacing the A-10
    “So if I increase my capacity, I could split that rotation up over a larger group, I could give everybody more time to train against a full spectrum threat, and then I could gradually start to increase my readiness,” he said.

    Having additional planes would also allow the service to train more fighter pilots per year, something Holmes said was vital for increasing the number of flight instructors and building up the command-and-control capability at air operations centers — both of which require experienced aviators.

    Aaron Mehta contributed to this report.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/mili...tition-to-war/

    The Air Force Is Sending Its Light Attack Plane Competition to War

    Two of the aircraft involved in the service's OA-X light attack plane competition are headed to a war zone.

    By Kyle Mizokami
    Sep 27, 2017
    1.3k
    The U.S. Air Force is sending two of the four aircraft involved in its OA-X light attack aircraft competition to the battlefield. The move, likely unprecedented, will allow the service to evaluate both airplanes in combat missions before a final purchase decision is made.

    Aviation Week & Space Technology reports that the Air Force is sending the Embraer/Sierra Nevada A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron AT-6 Wolverine to a yet-to-be-determined war zone. Under a program nicknamed Combat Sent III, the Air Force will stand up an experimental squadron and send two A-29s and two AT-6s, along with seventy pilots and maintainers, to test the aircraft under combat conditions.

    The goal of OA-X program, which stands for observer-attack experimental, is to pick a light attack aircraft for low-end missions against enemy ground forces with little in the way of air defenses. OA-X is meant to be a relatively small ground attack aircraft capable of loitering over the battlefield and delivering bombs, rockets, and missiles on enemy targets with precision. The aircraft is also expected to do reconnaissance and observation missions.

    Another key requirement: The OA-X is supposed to be cheap to fly. The retirement of the A-10, whether in two years or twenty, is inevitable. The F-35A Joint Strike Fighter will likely take over close air support duties flying against countries with advanced air defense systems—think Russia or China. But in smaller wars against less technologically advanced enemies, there's little reason to use a plane as advanced (and, at $35,000 an hour, as expensive to fly) as the F-35. OA-X will be a low-cost solution for wars where the F-35A would be overkill.

    The Air Force hasn't yet decided where to send Combat Sent III, but the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria would be an obvious choice. The Islamic State conflict is exactly the type of fight the OA-X was tailored for, and ISIS has nearly non-existent air defense capabilities, so there is little to no likelihood that a careful pilot could be shot down by enemy fire.

    This may be the first time the U.S. Air Force has sent aircraft into combat before officially adopting the models. Technically, the four aircraft being sent abroad still belong to Embraer/Sierra Nevada and Textron. The service plans to buy up to 300 OA-X warplanes.

    Read more at Aviation Week & Space Technology

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    In CLE again
    Posts
    55,032
    OK!!

    While I am a fan of the Super-T, WTF happened to the Scorpion?? Thought that would be a heavy competitor to the Super-T...

    Not shocked that they dragged the AT-6 that far in the process, but shucks....
    RULE 1:
    THEY want you DEAD.

    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my brothers' children (and their parents) may have peace, and have NO KNOWLEDGE of what I have done."

    TACAMO!! NOW!!

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Happy on the mountain
    Posts
    66,351
    The insanity of denying the Army fixed wing combat aircraft is reflected in the development of the attack helicopter. This CAS mission/program needs to be transferred back to the Army and flown by warrant officer pilots.
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Quote Originally Posted by night driver View Post
    OK!!

    While I am a fan of the Super-T, WTF happened to the Scorpion?? Thought that would be a heavy competitor to the Super-T...

    Not shocked that they dragged the AT-6 that far in the process, but shucks....
    Well the Scorpion isn't in the USAF/MAP supply pipeline like the AT-6 or the Super-T so it makes sense they'd send these out first.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...for-small-wars

    Props: Small Planes for Small Wars

    by Ken Segelhorst
    Journal Article | October 2, 2017 - 1:56am

    Introduction
    War is expensive, especially when using high-end fourth and fifth generation aircraft designed for World War III to bomb handfuls of sandal wearing men armed with rusty AK-47s.* While the United States (U.S.) Department of Defense (DOD) enjoyed the extravagance of seemingly bottomless coffers during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that time has ended.* The DOD cannot afford to employ its most advanced high-end aircraft in support of every military operation.* The U.S. military is primarily engaged in small-scale overseas contingency operations, characterized by tight budgets and strict force caps.* These operations largely involve small teams of special operations forces (SOF) and regionally aligned ground forces deployed to advise and assist U.S. allied and partner-nation forces in irregular warfare (IW), specifically counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and foreign internal defense.* The deployment of high-end jet aircraft in support of these forces is not only impractical due to robust support requirements but also fiscally irresponsible due to astronomical acquisition and operating costs.* Instead, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) requires an inexpensive, light air support (LAS) aircraft as a practical and cost-effective means of providing air support for IW in low air threat environments.1

    The Most Prominent Form of Warfare
    According to the National Intelligence Council (NIC)’s Global Trends 2030, IW comprises more than three-quarters of the conflicts in the world today.* The application of IW by both state and non-state actors as a primary mode of warfighting will be an increasingly common characteristic of future conflicts.2* In the coming decades, failed states and ungoverned areas will increasingly become sanctuaries for violent extremist organizations (VEO) and other practitioners of IW.* The quantity and resiliency of these organizations is expected to grow and significantly weaken a number of the world’s governing regimes.* Rival states will leverage VEOs and other non-state actors to outsource mayhem while maintaining a high degree of deniability.3

    In spite of this analysis and 15 consecutive years of IW in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Syria, the USAF has yet to accept IW as its predominant mission set. *In actuality, the USAF has largely attempted to distance, if not extricate, itself from IW by aggressively advocating the retirement of the A-10 in favor of the over-priced and under-performing F-35.4* Admittedly, the USAF must possess high-end aircraft like the B-2, F-22, and F-35 for those rare “must-win” contests with near-peer competitors.* However, utilizing those same high-end aircraft for the full spectrum of military operations is the equivalent of using a $4.5 million Lamborghini Veneno as your daily driver.

    The USAF requires a dedicated airframe for this more common and inherently protracted form of warfare, one more efficient and better suited for the unique challenges associated with IW.* Rugged and inexpensive LAS airframes like the AT-6 Wolverine, A-29 Super Tucano, AC-208 Combat Caravan, and OV-10 Bronco offer a practical and inexpensive solution.* Armed with the latest avionics, sensors, and weapons, these aircraft are the most effective and efficient choice for U.S. IW efforts due to their long loiter times, minimal support requirements, multi-purpose designs, low-speed operation and maneuverability, survivability, and cost-effectiveness.

    Long Loiter Time
    Unlike high-intensity conflicts where aircraft are dispatched to attack preplanned targets and quickly return to base, missions flown in support of IW require long loiter times.* In IW, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft must loiter patiently overhead, searching for signs of elusive enemies.* Other aircraft circle high above the battlefield, waiting to provide close air support (CAS).* The more loiter time an aircraft has to perform these tasks, the better suited it is for IW.

    While it is true that most high-end jet aircraft have considerable loiter times, the cost and resources required to support those times are substantial compared to LAS aircraft.* High-end jet aircraft consume fuel at a significantly higher rate than LAS aircraft.* The same amount of fuel consumed by an F-15 during takeoff would power a LAS aircraft for more than 100 flight hours.5* Many high-end jet aircraft require aerial refueling to achieve desired loiter times, increasing both the U.S. footprint and the cost of operations.* In addition, loitering for long periods rapidly depletes an airframe’s service life.* One year of employment in an IW environment, such as Iraq or Afghanistan, translates to five to seven years’ worth of real airframe degradation.6* The employment of LAS aircraft in IW could save the USAF billions of dollars in remanufacturing and replacement costs while keeping its fifth generation fleet ready to take on near-peer competitors like Russia and China.

    LAS aircraft, with their piston- or turbine-powered props, consume significantly less fuel than jet aircraft.* Conservative fuel consumption and low stall speeds allow LAS aircraft to loiter longer and cheaper than their high-end counterparts do.* Most models are capable of flying five-hour sorties on internal fuel alone and conducting sorties in excess of ten hours when operating with external drop tanks.* While some LAS aircraft are capable of aerial refueling, the ability to fly long-duration missions without tanker support provides a marked advantage over high-end jet aircraft for IW.* In many cases, a LAS aircraft could remain on station for the entire duration of a foot patrol or vehicle convoy, a nearly impossible task for most high-end jet aircraft.

    Minimal Support Requirements
    With the prominence of IW and the number of VEOs growing around the world, the U.S. will increasingly find itself focused on advising and assisting its allies and partners in fighting terror and maintaining regional stability from remote locations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.* Future deployments in support of these objectives will surely come with strict force caps in place to minimize the U.S. footprint.* Planners will need to meticulously scrutinize available forces and select those capable of providing the most “bang for the buck.”* When it comes to aircraft, the ability to forward deploy LAS aircraft to remote and austere locations with minimal support packages provides a marked advantage over high-end jet aircraft.

    High-end manned aircraft like the F-15, F-16, and F-35 and unmanned systems like the MQ-1 and MQ-9 require complex and costly support packages.* These aircraft demand long, smoothly paved, and pristine runways.* They require avionic repair shops; petroleum, oil, and lubricant facilities; and various other support activities.* Operating and maintaining this level of infrastructure is not only extremely costly but also manpower-intensive, requiring the deployment of numerous support personnel and special equipment.* The burdensome logistical and personnel requirements of employing high-end jet aircraft often result in their consolidation at one or two major airbases.* The consolidation of aircraft onto these bases frequently means aircraft must “commute” to their area of operation, not only wasting the aircraft’s fuel and service life but also reducing the aircraft’s time on station.

    LAS aircraft require little infrastructure or support.* They do not require pristine, smoothly paved runways.* They are capable of utilizing roads, fields, and dirt strips carved out of the jungle.* Many LAS aircraft qualify as short takeoff and landing aircraft, with some requiring less than 1,000 feet for takeoff.* As such, LAS aircraft could operate from nearly any existing airfield around the world, making LAS aircraft extremely well suited for forward deployment to those remote and austere locations often associated with IW.

    Forward deploying LAS aircraft offers a number of tactical advantages.* Rather than commuting to the battlefield like high-end jet aircraft, LAS aircraft can operate from the same bases as the very units they support.* Forward basing maximizes aircrafts’ time on station and enables faster turnaround times for aircraft refueling and rearming.* Forward basing also compensates for the slower speed of LAS aircraft.* While they may not fly as fast as high-end jet aircraft, the ability to forward deploy LAS aircraft reduces the distance aircraft need to travel to provide support.* Most importantly, forward deploying aircraft facilitates full integration of aircrews into the planning process and forms air-ground teams.* Ground forces can fully incorporate aircrews into operation planning, rehearsals, execution, and the after action review process to ensure maximum synchronization and synergy.

    LAS aircraft are also far less maintenance and support-intensive than their high-end counterparts.* Whereas high-end jet aircraft often require ten to 30 direct maintenance man-hours per flight hour (DMMH/FH), many LAS aircraft require just one to two DMMH/FH.7* A few general aviation mechanics equipped with simple hand tools are capable of keeping most LAS aircraft flying day after day.*

    A recent Central Command (CENTCOM) assessment pays testament to the reliability of LAS aircraft.* Over an 82-day period in the summer of 2015, two OV-10 Broncos completed 134 sorties, including 120 combat missions, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).* These two Vietnam-era antiques completed 99% of the combat missions they were assigned.8* Compare those figures to the operational readiness rates of high-end aircraft in the USAF’s fleet like the B-1B at 47%, CV-22 at 56%, F-22 at 67%, and the trouble-laden but too big to fail F-35 which occasionally peaks as high as 60%.9* This sharp contrast in readiness highlights the reliability of LAS aircraft, making them the ideal choice for the often arduous conditions associated with IW.

    Multi-Purpose Design
    Future U.S. support to allied and partner-nation forces in IW environments will be small in scale.* As previously discussed, planners will need to artfully select forces to provide desired capabilities while meeting strict force caps imposed by the U.S. Department of State, DOD, or host-nation governments.* These anticipated constraints make the deployment of highly specialized aircraft improbable.* However, LAS aircraft can provide ground forces with a wide range of capabilities in support of IW, including ISR, CAS, and more.

    The importance of ISR in IW cannot be understated.* These conflicts often revolve around locating a highly elusive enemy.* While high-end aircraft like the F-16 can be equipped with add-on sensors like the Sniper XD pod to perform ISR, this is not the aircraft’s intended purpose.* With surveillance and targeting pods built into their fuselages, LAS aircraft offer a better field-of-view with fewer blind spots than high-end aircraft equipped with add-on sensor packages.* Integrated laser rangefinders, infrared pointers, and illuminators allow aircrews to confirm or relay target data.* Many LAS aircraft also come equipped to transmit video directly to ground forces via remote optical video enhanced receiver systems.

    LAS aircraft are not only capable of locating the enemy but engaging the enemy as well.* These aircraft have impressive payloads for their size; several LAS aircraft offer payloads in excess of 3,000 pounds.* Hard points on their wings and fuselages allow these aircraft to carry a wide variety of weapon systems, including machine guns, cannons, rocket pods, missiles, and bombs up to 500 pounds.* These aircraft can operate today’s most advanced weapon systems, including global positioning system (GPS) and laser-guided bombs, Hellfire missiles, and even some versions of the Maverick air-to-ground tactical missile.10

    LAS aircraft also have the capability to support ground forces in ways high-end jet aircraft cannot.* Some LAS aircraft, like the AC-208 and OV-10, can double as light transports, giving the supported ground force commander added flexibility.* LAS aircraft are also capable of supporting psychological operations (PSYOPS).* Their low stall speeds and long loiter times make them ideal platforms for leaflet drops and aerial loudspeaker operations.* The British employed prop-driven aircraft to this effect with great success during the Malayan Emergency; the USAF could enjoy similar success by utilizing LAS aircraft to inform and influence elusive enemy organizations and encourage defections.11

    Low-Speed Operation & Maneuverability
    While it is true that LAS aircraft cannot come close to matching the speed of high-performance jet aircraft, the ability to operate and maneuver at low speeds offers a few distinct advantages. *The low stall speeds of LAS aircraft enable them to operate alongside helicopters, an impossible task for most high-performance jet aircraft.* Along with their longer loiter times, greater survivability, and more substantial payloads, LAS aircraft could replace or supplement attack helicopters as escorts for air assault, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), and combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopters.

    The U.S. gainfully employed piston powered, propeller-driven, A-1 Skyraiders in this capacity during the Vietnam War.* Under the callsign “Sandy,” A-1 Skyraiders escorted CSAR helicopters deep into enemy territory to rescue downed aviators.* The A-1 performed this role so remarkably that joint planners selected it to play a critical role in the Son Tay Raid.* Five A-1s escorted the heliborne Special Forces raiders deep into the heart of North Vietnam and successfully isolated the Son Tay prison camp from enemy reinforcements throughout the duration of the ground assault.

    LAS aircraft’s smaller size and reduced power does not necessarily equate to a lack of maneuverability.* Many LAS aircraft are capable of conducting aerial combat maneuvers, including the Immelmann Turn, Cuban Eight, and Split-S.* They can also maneuver better at low speeds than high-end jet aircraft, giving them an advantage when performing CAS.* Low-speed maneuverability translates to a tight turning radius.* The smaller turning radius an aircraft has, the quicker it can reengage the target area.* Due to their tighter turning radiuses, under most conditions, LAS pilots are capable of maintaining constant visual contact with their targets, providing far superior situational awareness compared to their high-end counterparts.

    Survivability
    Survivability is an important characteristic for all military aircraft.* The USAF must always the take the safety of its Airmen into consideration, especially in today’s risk-averse environment.* One of the main arguments made against the employment of LAS aircraft in combat operations is their reduced survivability when compared to high-end jet aircraft.** It is true that LAS aircraft would not fare as well as their high-end counterparts against computer-controlled anti-aircraft artillery and chassis-mounted surface-to-air missiles (SAM).* However, the air defense artillery threat is traditionally extremely low in IW.* The greatest threat to aircraft in these environments is typically small arms fire with the occasional manually controlled 23mm cannon or shoulder launched SAM.12

    LAS aircraft, properly equipped for IW, can operate in these environments without significantly increasing risk.* Many LAS aircraft offer advanced defense packages.* Missile approach warning systems, radar-warning receivers, and infrared countermeasures are common equipment.* Armored cockpits, canopies, and engines offer protection against small arms fire and flak.* Some aircraft feature ejection seats while a few are equipped with whole-airplane parachute recovery systems.* These features greatly increase the survivability of LAS aircraft and their crews in IW, reducing the risk associated with their employment to an acceptable level.

    Cost-Effectiveness
    The Pentagon’s days of extravagant spending are over.* Military and civilian policymakers in Washington, including the new Commander in Chief, are currently searching for ways to tame “out of control” defense costs like the F-35 program without sacrificing capabilities.13* Army doctrine teaches leaders to employ the best weapon for the target; this basic principle of fire control also applies to aircraft.* Not every operation requires the most advanced, high-performance stealth aircraft designed to wage war against a high-tech communist superpower or well-armed military regime.* LAS aircraft provide a much more cost-effective means of providing air support for ongoing and future IW operations.

    The procurement cost for LAS aircraft is significantly less than that of new, high-end jet aircraft.* The problem-ridden F-35A, built as a cost-effective replacement for the F-16 and A-10, currently runs $110 million per aircraft, down from its earlier production cost of $161 million per aircraft.14* By comparison, most LAS aircraft built and equipped specifically for IW cost between $2 million and $10 million depending on the platform and configuration.15* At that cost, the USAF could procure entire squadrons’ worth of LAS aircraft for the cost of a single F-35.

    Aircraft operating costs are also an important consideration when evaluating cost-effectiveness.* The cost of fuel, POL, replacement parts, regular maintenance, and major periodic maintenance and overhauls all affect an aircraft’s cost per flight hour.* The F-16 operates at a cost of roughly $23,000 per flight hour and the F-15 approximately $40,000 per flight hour.16* The trouble laden F-35 costs taxpayers an estimated $68,000 per flight hour.17* LAS aircraft have much simpler designs, making them much easier and cheaper to maintain.* They also consume fuel at a much lower rate, helping keep operating costs low, often under $1,000 per flight hour.18

    A side-by-side comparison of the F-35 and a typical LAS aircraft over a 20-year period helps highlight the USAF’s potential savings.* Assuming an F-35 flies 120 hours per year for 20 years, the aircraft’s operating cost would amount to over $163 million.* The operating cost for a standard LAS aircraft would amount to just $2 million, or 1.5% that of the F-35.* Needless to say, the USAF would enjoy significant cost savings by deploying squadrons of LAS aircraft to IW environments as opposed to high-end aircraft like the F-35.

    Continued.....

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Continued.....

    Potential Airframes
    Several LAS aircraft are currently available for testing and evaluation.* Among the frontrunners is Beechcraft-Textron’s AT-6 Wolverine, based on the popular T-6 Texan II currently utilized by the U.S. Air Force and Navy’s undergraduate flight training programs.19* The AT-6 features a digital cockpit, upgraded power plant, reinforced structure, integrated electro-optical sensors, and datalink.* The AT-6 is fully compatible with U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Joint Terminal Attack Controller systems.* Equipped with seven hard points, the AT-6 is capable of mounting a wide variety of weapon systems, including gun pods, 2.75-inch laser-guided rockets, Hellfire missiles, and up to 500-pound GPS- or laser-guided bombs.* The AT-6 also maintains an 85% commonality with the standard T-6 trainer already in service, translating to reduced costs associated with procurement, training, and maintenance.20

    Sierra Nevada-Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano is also a likely candidate.* Unlike the AT-6, the A-29 is combat proven.* More than 170 A-29s are in service with nine different countries.* These aircraft have logged over 28,000 combat hours without a single loss.* Slightly larger than the AT-6, the A-29 Super Tucano still boasts a top speed of 320 knots, a max payload of 3,420 pounds and a 3.4 hour flight endurance (8.4 hours with drop tanks).* The A-29 offers an advanced sensor suite, making it a capable ISR platform.* For light attack and CAS missions, the A-29 features two internally mounted .50 caliber machine guns and five hard points, allowing crews to choose from more than 130 weapon and fuel configurations.21

    The Cessna AC-208 Combat Caravan is an adaptable, multi-role aircraft.* Already in widespread use around the world, the Cessna 208 is a favorite amongst bush pilots, contractors, humanitarian organizations, and militaries for its simplicity, ruggedness, and low cost.* Designed as a regional utility aircraft, the Cessna 208 trades speed and maneuverability for cargo capacity.* The standard Cessna 208 can carry up to 3,835 pounds of cargo or 12 passengers.* The AC-208 Combat Caravan adds wing-mounted hard points capable of mounting machine guns, rocket pods, or Hellfire missiles.22* Adding a roll-up cargo door and either 7.62mm GAU-17 or .50 caliber GAU-19 electronically driven Gatling guns would give the AC-208 an added gunship capability.* The AC-208’s large fuselage can host a wide array of sensors and communications equipment along with their operators, making the aircraft a suitable ISR and command and control (C2) platform.

    Finally, the OV-10 Bronco offers a compromise between the AT-6’s speed and the AC-208’s flexibility.* A combat proven design, the U.S. employed North American Rockwell’s ugly twin-engine aircraft during the Vietnam War as a forward air control platform.* Although not currently in production, the OV-10’s OIR combat record suggests this old warbird still has plenty of fight left in it.* Boeing has explored the possibility of reintroducing the OV-10 with advanced avionics, sensors, and engines to revitalize the aircraft for modern conflicts.* As is, the OV-10 can fly three-hour sorties on internal fuel and take off on unimproved runways as short as 800 feet. *In a light attack configuration, the OV-10 can carry more than two tons of ordnance, including 7.62mm machine guns, 20mm cannons, rocket pods, missiles, and 500-pound bombs.* As a utility aircraft, it can carry up to 3,200 pounds of equipment, five passengers, or four fully equipped paratroopers.* For casualty evacuation, the OV-10 can support two litter patients and a medic to provide in-flight care.23

    Recent Attempts to Reintroduce LAS
    Over the last decade, the DOD has entertained the idea of reintroducing LAS aircraft for modern IW.* As previously noted, CENTCOM deployed two OV-10s to OIR in 2015 as a proof of concept for utilizing LAS aircraft in low-intensity conflicts.* These aircraft performed exceptionally well, successfully executing 134 sorties, including 120 combat missions, in just 82 days.* This experiment was not CENTCOM’s first attempt to reintroduce LAS aircraft for IW.* Two previous programs, Imminent Fury and Combat Dragon II, attempted to test and evaluate the A-29 and OV-10 as LAS platforms for U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.* Unfortunately, each of these programs fell victim to congressional budget cuts.

    Imminent Fury grew out of requests from Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets for a more effective means of providing air support to special operators in Afghanistan.* The program examined multiple airframes before leasing an A-29 Super Tucano for further assessment.* General Stanley A. McChrystal, commander for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, was likely the program’s leading advocate.* In 2010, McChrystal personnel wrote the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) encouraging him to move Imminent Fury into phase two, which would have entailed deploying four LAS aircraft to Afghanistan for combat trials.* In his correspondence to the CJCS, McChrystal championed LAS aircraft for their ability to provide SOF and conventional ground forces with expeditionary ISR support that could find, fix, and finish enemy targets.* Unfortunately, weeks after his letter to the CJCS, McChrystal was relieved for comments made in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.* Without its most vocal champion, Imminent Fury lost traction and was unable to overcome congressional opposition to using the foreign-built A-29 Super Tucano over the Kansas-built AT-6 Wolverine.* The $17 million deployment program, which ultimately could have saved the U.S. billions of dollars a year in procurement and operating costs, met its end on the budget chopping block in October 2010.24
    Shortly after the death of Imminent Fury, the Pentagon resurrected the LAS test program as Combat Dragon II, this time using a pair of OV-10 Broncos.* Combat Dragon II tested the modernized OV-10s in the skies over Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon and Nellis Air Force Base (AFB).* In 2012, the Pentagon requested $20 million to deploy the OV-10s overseas for combat trials.* Senator John McCain, now chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, challenged the program, stating the U.S. lacked an “urgent operational requirement for this type of aircraft.”25* Congress slashed Combat Dragon II’s funding and the LAS initiative once again found itself grounded.

    The USAF revived the LAS concept in March 2017 by inviting the aerospace and defense industry to participate in an experiment to examine the potential for a new low-cost, light-attack platform, or OA-X, for the USAF.* General Dave Goldfein, USAF Chief of Staff, stated that the OA-X study will determine if such aircraft could provide a “more sustainable model for the future.”26* The USAF’s requirements for the OA-X are broad.* The proposed aircraft must be capable of taking off from a 6,000’ runway and have a fuel consumption rate of less than 1,500 pounds per hour.* The aircraft should also be ready as-is, requiring minimal modifications prior to production.27* Sierra Nevada-Embraer has entered the now U.S.-built A-29 into the fray while Beechcraft-Textron has entered both its AT-6 and Scorpion light-attack jet.* The aircraft will face off in the skies over Holloman AFB this summer.

    While past studies have failed to navigate service and congressional roadblocks, the OA-X experiment may fare better under the new administration.* The new Commander in Chief has repeatedly expressed his disgust with the failed F-35 program.28* A shrewd businessman, President Trump would surely appreciate the cost-effectiveness of employing LAS aircraft for the nation’s most common and persistent conflicts.* Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a known champion of LAS aircraft.** In March 2010, General Mattis, then CENTCOM Commander, told the U.S. Armed Services Committee that using high-tech jet aircraft like the F-15 to support troops in IW environments “amounts to overkill.”29* With these potential champions at the helm, it is time for the USAF to take action and actively push for LAS acquisition and integration.* If the USAF lobbies a fraction as hard as it has to kill the A-10 or defend the disastrous F-35, it will surely succeed in convincing Congress to support this far more practical and cost-effective means of providing air support for IW operations.

    Integrating LAS Aircraft into the Fleet
    Introducing LAS aircraft into the USAF will be no easy task.* Doing so will require organizational and cultural change.* Organizationally, the USAF must decide whether to create new squadrons or reconfigure existing formations.* Creating new squadrons would be daunting and require additional personnel and facilities.* The most practical and cost effective solution is to transition existing squadrons from their worn-out legacy aircraft to the new LAS airframe.* The USAF has already planned for A-10, F-16, and F-15 squadrons to transition to F-35s. *Unfortunately, the F-35 program is significantly behind schedule.* The program originally promised 1,013 fighters by fiscal year 2016 but has delivered fewer than 200 to date.* As Senator John McCain stated, the F-35 program is “both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule, and performance.”30* As the F-35 program has repeatedly failed to deliver, the USAF should consider transitioning some of its F-16 and F-15 squadrons to LAS aircraft.* Doing so would allow the USAF to replace elements of its aging fleet with a more reliable, cost-effective, and practical airframe for today’s most common form of warfare, while simultaneously reducing the service’s dependency on the catastrophic F-35 program.

    Reintroducing LAS aircraft into the USAF fleet will also require a cultural change.* The USAF maintains a culture largely fixated on technological advancement.* For decades, the USAF has perceived progress as building or buying increasingly stealthy and high-tech aircraft like the F-35 and its eight million lines of computer code.* Introducing LAS aircraft, reminiscent of World War II-era warbirds, runs opposite this cultural mindset and requires deliberate action to prevent resistance.* The first step is for the USAF to accept IW as the predominant form of modern warfare and embrace it as the service’s most probable air combat mission requirement.* The USAF must then educate its leaders on the importance of this mission set in its various professional military education courses.* Finally, the USAF must successfully brand and market LAS to make it an attractive career option for young, talented, up-and-coming Airmen.

    Conclusion
    Irregular warfare is the most prevalent form of conflict in the world today.* Employing high-end fourth and fifth generation jet aircraft in IW is not only impractical but also fiscally irresponsible.* Relatively inexpensive, fixed-wing LAS aircraft provide a far more practical and cost-effective means of providing air support for IW.* LAS aircraft have long loiter times, consuming a mere fraction of fuel burned by high performance jets.* Rugged and easily maintained, LAS aircraft are capable of operating with minimal infrastructure and support, facilitating forward positioning at remote outposts.* LAS aircraft can also operate in a wide variety of roles, providing ISR, CAS, CASEVAC, and even PSYOPS.* Although slower than their high-end counterparts, many LAS aircraft are extremely maneuverable.* When properly equipped, they can operate in IW environments without significant increase to risk.* They are also far more cost-effective than today’s high-end jets.* The USAF can procure entire squadrons’ worth of LAS aircraft for the cost of a single F-35.* Furthermore, the introduction of LAS aircraft could save U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars in operation and maintenance costs each year, while preserving the nation’s most advanced and expensive aircraft for potential high-intensity conflicts against near-peer competitors.* When taken in the aggregate, the advantages of LAS aircraft provide distinct benefits that are both tactically sound and cost-effective.

    End Notes
    1. Author’s note: For the purpose of this article, LAS aircraft are defined as fixed-wing, piston or turbine powered, propeller-driven, single or multi-engine aircraft.* High-end aircraft are defined as fourth and fifth generation aircraft to include but not limited to the F-15, F-16, F-22, F-35, B-1, and B-2.
    2. National Intelligence Council, “Global Trends 2030: Alternate Worlds,” December 2012, http://www.dni.gov/files/documents/G...rends_2030.pdf.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Tara Copp, “Trump’s F-35 tweet hits Air Force’s again fighter fleet,” Stars and Stripes. 13 December 2016, http://www.stripes.com/news/trump-s-...rce-s-aging-fi... (accessed 13 December 2016)
    5. Robert F. Door, “AT-6 Texan II Armed Aircraft Showing Progress on Several Fronts,” Defense Media Network, 15 March 2011, http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/s...rcraft-showing... (accessed 24 June 2012).
    6. Marcus Weisgerber, “The Light Attack Aircraft,” Air Force Magazine (January 2010): 56-58.
    7. Air Tractor, “AT-802U,” http://802u.com (accessed 3 July 2015).
    8. David Axe, “Why is America Using These Antique Planes to Fight ISIS,” The Daily Beast. 9 March 2016, http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...erica-using-th... (accessed 8 December 2016)
    9. Colin Clark, “ALIS Biggest Challenge for F-35 IOC: Gen. Harrigian,” Breaking Defense, 14 September 2015, http://breakingdefense.com/2015/09/a...for-f-35-on-tr... (accessed 11 December 2016).
    10. “LAS in, LAS out: Counter-Insurgency Planes for the USA and its Allies,” Defense Industry Daily, 25 September 2014, http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...-insurgency-pl... (accessed 17 October 2014).
    11. George C. Morris, “The Other Side of the Coin: Low-Technology Aircraft and Little Wars,” Airpower Journal (Spring 1991) http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/a...j91/5spr91.htm (accessed 5 May 2012).
    12. Vance C. Bateman, “The Role of Tactical Air Power in Low-Intensity Conflict,” Airpower Journal (Spring 1991), http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/a...j91/6spr91.htm (accessed 1 May 2012).
    13. “F-35 program ‘cost is out of control,’ Trump says,” FoxNews.com, 12 December 2016, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016...st-is-out-cont... (accessed 13 December 2016).
    14. Winslow Wheeler, “The Pentagon’s Million-Dollar Aviation Plan,” TIME.com, 1 May 2012, http://battleland.blogs.time.com/201...million-dollar..., (accessed 6 May 2012).
    15. “LAS in, LAS out,” Defense Industry Daily.
    16. Wheeler, “The Pentagon’s Million-Dollar Aviation Plan.”
    17. Jeremy Bender and Mike Nudelman, “The Air Force’s 10 Most Expensive Planes to Operate,” Business Insider. 3 March 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/air-f...ight-hour-char... (accessed 11 December 2016).
    18. Robert F. Dorr “AT-6B Texan II Shines at JEFX, But the Future is Unclear,” Defense Media Network, 8 June 2010, http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/s...ure-is-unclear (accessed 24 June 2012).
    19. US Navy, “T-6A Texan II Turboprop Trainer,” Naval Air Systems Command, http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm...ayPlatform&key... (accessed 10 July 2015).
    20. Textron Aviation, “AT-6 Light Attack,” Defense, http://www.beechcraft.com/defense/at-6/default.aspx (accessed 3 July 2015).
    21. Kenn Boechler, “Going Tactical: A New Strike Aircraft for the Afghan Air Force,” Small Wars Journal, 1 October 2013, http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...ghan-air-force (accessed 17 October 2015).
    22. Boechler, “Going Tactical.”
    23. Boeing, “OV-10 Bronco Multimission Aircraft,” Products in Boeing History, http://www.boeing.com/history/produc...10-bronco.page (accessed 3 July 2015).
    24. John Ismay, Adrian Bonenberger, and Damien Spleeters, “The WWII-Era Plane Giving the F-35 a Run for its Money,” Motherboard, 18 September 2015, http://motherboard.vice.com/read/low-and-slow (accessed 8 December 2016).
    25. Axe, “Why is America Using These Antique Planes to Fight ISIS.”
    26. “USAF Pressing Ahead with OA-X Test,” Combat Aircraft. 17 March 2017, http://www.combataircraft.net/2017/0...ad-with-oa-x-t... (accessed 27 May 2017).
    27. Ibid.
    28.Paul R. LaMonica, “Trump Calls Fighter Jet Costs ‘Out of Control’,” CNN.com, 12 December 2016, http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/12/inve...kheed-martin-f... (accessed 28 May 2017).
    29. Robert F. Dorr, “Combat Dragon II Demonstrates OV-10G+ Bronco Capabilities,” Defense Media Network, 13 June 2013, http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/s...i-demonstrates... (accessed 16 December 2016).
    30. Ryan Browne, “John McCain: F-35 is a scandal and a tragedy,” CNN.com, 27 April 2016, http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/26/po...lay-air-force/ (accessed 15 December 2016).

    About the Author

    Ken Segelhorst is a major in the U.S. Army.* He holds a B.A. from the University of Missouri and a M.A. from Webster University.* His experience includes multiple deployments throughout the Middle East and Africa.* The views in this essay are his own and do not reflect those of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, or Department of Defense.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.defensenews.com/digital-...n-middle-east/

    Dubai Air Show

    New A-29 order brightens aircraft’s prospects in Middle East

    By: Valerie Insinna  
    1 day ago

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force recently ordered another six A-29 Super Tucanos for the Afghan Air Force, a positive sign for future sales as U.S. and Middle Eastern air forces note an increased interest in low-cost light attack planes.

    The latest order, announced by U.S. prime contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation and manufacturer Embraer on Oct. 25, brings up the number of A-29 aircraft ordered by the U.S. Air Force on behalf of foreign nations to 32 planes. SNC has delivered 20 aircraft to Afghanistan and two of six to Lebanon through the U.S. program.
    US delivers first A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the Lebanese Army
    The two aircraft are the first of six that will be provided by the U.S. to the Lebanese Army within the framework of the military aid program to the country.
    By: Agnes Al Helou, Chirine Mchantaf
    According to an Air Force spokesman, the $174.5 million contract provides for six additional aircraft as well as for long-lead parts, maintenance spares and transportation to training locations.

    Over the past year, the A-29 has established a small but comfortable foothold in the Middle East with signs that its footprint could expand in the coming years. The aircraft has been operational in Afghanistan since early 2016.

    During a recent experiment at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, the U.S. Air Force operated the A-29 ahead of a probable combat demonstration in the region for next year. The United Arab Emirates, which has a stated requirement for light attack aircraft, sent military officials to Holloman for the event.
    The Air Force’s next step after its light attack demo: A combat trial
    This month, three industry teams will hand over four different light attack aircraft to Air Force pilots for a series of flight demonstrations that will test their ability to prosecute targets on the ground while operating in austere desert environments.
    By: Valerie Insinna
    “I think the market is very robust and continuing to expand,” said Taco Gilbert, senior vice president for SNC’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance business. However when asked what countries seemed most promising for sales, he demurred.

    “I can’t tell you all of the people that we’re talking to right now, but I can tell you that there is a lot of interest in the aircraft,” he said.

    Like most other major aerospace companies, SNC and Embraer will be at the Dubai Airshow hoping to stoke interest from new customers. Although the A-29 itself will not be featured at the show, some of its competitors —including the Air Tractor AT-802U and IOMAX Archangel — will be on static display.

    While Middle Eastern nations have historically invested in relatively high-end fighter capabilities, Gilbert said, nations dealing with counterinsurgency organizations can actually benefit by operating a cheaper, slower platform like the A-29 that allows pilots to fly low and slow over targets.

    “Nations that have been flying high performance aircraft for a long time are learning — unfortunately sometimes the hard way, by getting frustrated — that these high-performance aircraft are not the best asset for all missions,” Gilbert said.

    “In a permissive or semipermissive environment, they are not the best asset. Not only are they too expensive, but the capabilities that make them so effective in a high-end war actually are detrimental in a counterinsurgency operation,” he said. “They move too fast to pick out targets. The visibility is too poor. They’re too expensive to operate, they’re more limited in the airfields from which they can operate. So people are learning that a turboprop aircraft like the A-29 — and particularly the A-29 — is ideally suited. So we’re seeing more and more interest across the Middle East and quite frankly across the globe.”

    The A-29 has flown more than 320,000 flight hours and 40,000 combat hours, and can be modified to carry more than 150 configurations of electro-optical/infrared equipment, laser designators, and communications gear. Operating costs amount to about $1,000 per flight hour compared to upward of $20,000 for a fighter jet, he said.

    Production of the latest six aircraft for the Afghan Air Force is set to start immediately in Jacksonville, Florida, SNC and Embraer stated in a joint news release.

    The new A-29 order for Afghanistan comes on the heels of an August approval by the U.S. to sell 12 A-29s to Nigeria as part of a $593 million Foreign Military Sales package. Gilbert said the U.S. government is working on its letter of offer and acceptance that will solidify final terms of a deal between it and Nigeria.
    US approves A-29 Super Tucano sale to Nigeria
    The U.S. State Department has approved a $593 million foreign military sale to Nigeria, including 12 A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft.
    By: Valerie Insinna
    In early October, Embraer announced a deal for six Super Tucanos, which will be produced in Brazil for an undisclosed customer.

    The U.S. Air Force is also considering buying several hundred light attack aircraft that would enable cheaper operations in the Middle East and help create new pilots. The service has not yet decided whether to move forward with a combat demonstration in the region, but officials had said the A-29 and Textron’s AT-6 Wolverine would likely be the aircraft chosen to participate.

    “The Air Force has been in constant communication, but I don’t think they really know what’s going to happen yet,” Gilbert said. “They communicated a desire to go forward, but I know they — just like everyone else in the government — are somewhat limited by finances. So, they’re trying to come up with the funding or a means to secure the funding from Congress.”

    -

    About this Author

    About Valerie Insinna
    Valerie Insinna is Defense News' air warfare reporter. She previously worked the Navy/congressional beats for Defense Daily, which followed almost three years as a staff writer for National Defense Magazine. Prior to that, she worked as an editorial assistant for the Tokyo Shimbun’s Washington bureau.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Hummm.....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://warontherocks.com/2017/11/false-promise-oa-x/

    THE FALSE PROMISE OF THE OA-X

    ADAM CHITWOOD
    NOVEMBER 24, 2017

    Military aviation circles are awash in the glow of the competition for the coveted Air Force contract for the OA-X, a cheap to acquire and cheap to operate counter insurgency aircraft. Some see the OA-X as a cost effective and more attenuated alternative to provide close air support (CAS) to ground troops. However, the success of OA-X will inherently be limited as it was conceived to support the U.S. military as it was operating nine years ago in Afghanistan. The world has since moved on, and warfare with it. The first limitation to the OA-X is due to the fact that the uncontested airspace which defined our air war over Afghanistan and Iraq is quickly disappearing, increasing the risk to its pilots. Secondly, its tactical abilities cannot overcome the political limitations which will reduce its use on the battlefield. Lastly, the manning shortfall in the Air Force will be exacerbated by a massive OA-X buy and not relieve pressure on its pilot shortage as advertised.

    Opposed CAS

    Around 2008, when the original OA-X tender was proffered, large numbers of American troops were on the ground fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, the Air Force didn’t face a shortage of air support assets at that time, it faced a war that couldn’t be won with more strafing runs and precision guided weapons. Instead, the Air Force opted to increase its ability to provide surveillance capability through the MC-12 and U-28 programs and expanding use of its MQ-1 and MQ-9. By then, the military realized intelligence gathering aircraft provided greater utility in fighting an insurgency than more precision guided munitions orbiting overhead. This partially explains why the OA-X was not pursued much earlier.

    Since then, the nature and technology of foreign intervention has changed, thereby changing the environment in which the OA-X will operate. Russia and Iran view their support to the Taliban, Assad regime, and Houthis as vital to pursuing their interests and, in doing so, countering American interests. That support turns uncontested battlefields into complex operating environments for America’s military. In Syria, pilots must deal with modern surface-to-air missile systems, advanced fighters, and drones of all varieties. Prior to the entrance of Russian forces in Syria, American pilots dealt with the complex terrain of Syria’s surface-to-air missiles, a large portion of which are quite modern, while targeting ISIL. The coalition’s ability and responsiveness to develop and prosecute ISIL targets was reduced when targets fell under the Syrian surface-to-air missile umbrella. This was further complicated when surface-to-air missile systems were moved closer to areas of American air operations.

    Since late 2015, when the Russians joined the war in Syria, American pilots have had to fight a shooting war on the ground while avoiding a shooting war in the air. Russian attempts to visually identify unknown aircraft were never something to take lightly as both American and Russian fighter aircraft were armed for air-to-air combat. Even radar contact cannot identify intent. When Russian aircraft or cruise missiles fly through coalition operating areas, the last thing anyone cares about is cost efficiency. Unsafe intercepts, close calls, and errant air strikes require constant vigilance for everyone involved in the air war. A pilot does not need to constantly ingress into a hornet’s nest of surface to air missiles to be in a contested environment; but the changing nature of America’s irregular adversaries does raise the uncertainty associated with coalition operations. The shootdowns of a Russian Su-24, Syrian Su-22, and Iranian drones over Syria highlight the fact that the air war over Syria is anything but unopposed and is a place ill-suited for a low-cost bombing and strafing platform.

    The war in Yemen has seen the use of Patriot missiles and advanced aerial and maritime drones creating risk in areas previously considered unopposed. The recent shootdown of an MQ-9 over Yemen and the Turkish helicopter downing in 2014 proves that the airspace we operate in is no longer uncontested even when the Russian military is absent. The recently reported threat of drones weighing less than 20 pounds to F-22’s presents a non-traditional threat, which could rapidly see deployment in the form of kamikaze drones that can intercept aircraft such as the OA-X but be difficult to counter. While the OA-X is supposed to target technologically inferior enemies, the growth of small drones to perform reconnaissance and strike missions demonstrates that America’s adversaries are not satisfied with their technological inferiority and are evolving to counter America and its partners and allies. Purchasing combat aircraft under the hope they won’t be countered is a dangerous gamble.

    Political Limitations to OA-X Employment

    America’s reliance on airpower for lethal operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and around the globe, in support of counter-terrorism operations since the end of the Afghanistan surge, is a function of both its effectiveness and its perceived ability to reduce risk to U.S. forces. This risk ultimately originates from U.S. political leadership. If America’s political leadership does not want to assume risk to OA-X aircrew and their logistics trail, then the Air Force risks procuring an aircraft that it won’t employ in combat. One need not look further than Marawi in the Philippines to accept that insurgencies and terrorist attacks do not automatically beget direct lethal support from America. Once political will grows for intervention, the OA-X can’t deploy to Jordan to support operations in Iraq and Syria or Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan to support operations in Kandahar province. These bases require logging over 500 nautical miles to and from the battlefield before it begins to support troops on the ground. Aircraft with similar performance such as the U-28 and MC-12 are forward deployed in the current fight due to this range restriction since they don’t have an equal counterpart that can operate from longer ranges. The OA-X will not have a set of unique capabilities worth the increased risk to staging operations closer to the front lines. To effectively employ the winner of the OA-X program, the military must carry a footprint in the country it is supporting, and most likely from more than one location; increasing the size and proximity of American forces to danger from the front lines.

    A closer examination of political environments brings into question the utility of acquiring 300 single-mission aircraft (the approximate size of the A-10 fleet). When President Barack Obama directed intervention into Iraq and Syria he promoted risk minimization through a ‘no boots on the ground’ policy. The President secured domestic political support which combated terrorism without risking the lives of American service members even though aircrew lives are at risk in every sortie over hostile territory. Cementing the support of the American populace was a requirement in light of failing to secure support in 2013 to punish the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons use. Even as troop counts steadily increase, the American populace’s angst over military deaths remains visible every time a single service member dies; creating headlines for days or weeks after the fact. In 2017, political benefits can outweigh monetary costs.

    Deployed Force Size

    Staging the deployed OA-X fleet closer to the fight decreases the cost to air refueling assets which is a major benefit for Air Force operations, while increasing ground or airlift based logistics requirements at varying costs and risk for each theater and base. The logistical cost to staging near the front lines for an OA-X will be much smaller than if an F-16 unit staged close to the front lines due to reduced fuel usage, but it will still be present. Ground based logistics in Iraq and Afghanistan presented insurgents with a soft target to attack, costing the United States lives as well as money. If the Air Force prioritized diminishing fuel requirements over risk to its forces then it would conduct fighter operations from places like Balad Air Base in Iraq similar to its footprint in Operation Iraqi Freedom. While the OA-X may have a smaller logistics fuel footprint than other fighters, the fact that no fighters are forward deployed in Iraq and Syria leads to the understanding that any footprint greater than zero can be too high if it can be avoided. The AH-64 provides an interesting parallel to examine in Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria as well. The AH-64 can be located close to the fight, flies low and slow, and carries a similar loadout to OA-X competitors. Since the military did not lean on the AH-64 to reduce the burden on the Air Force, one can conclude the political risk of moving a large contingent to perform CAS operations close to the fight figures significantly in the force posture calculus. If the OA-X is constrained to being employed at higher altitudes to avoid risks inherent to helicopter operations, then it merely becomes a manned MQ-9 with a higher acquisition and operating cost.

    A large contingent of the OA-X would need to be deployed to appreciably reduce the presence of high-performance aircraft on the battlefield. Troops for maintenance, munitions, communications, airfield operations, and other supporting services are required to run a fully functioning combat operation. Security for the airfield may be small or significant as well. The size of the contingent will vary but could range from a few hundred to a few thousand individuals for each location. Before troop numbers were masked in 2017, only 5,000 troops were allowed in Iraq and 11,000 troops were in Afghanistan!

    An Added Requirement, not a Pressure Reliever

    The Air Force acknowledges it needs to find pilots to fill the large number of cockpits planned for a potential OA-X purchase. Assuming the Air Force places 1.25 flyers per aircraft in a squadron (based on the composition of an F-16 squadron), per position (three of the four OA-X contenders are two-seat aircraft), the Air Force will need to find an additional 750 flyers. This will probably consist of 375 fighter pilots and 375 combat systems officers in addition to appropriate maintenance, staff, acquisition, and testing personnel to support the new aircraft. The Air Force is currently short over 1,200 fighter pilots and doesn’t need any additional requirements which don’t relieve pressure elsewhere. Assuming the Air Force proceeds with its OA-X purchase, it will still depend upon traditional strike assets in the Middle East to fill a deterrence roll towards Iran, further limiting its stress reduction capability on traditional Air Force strike assets.

    One proposal is to reduce training requirements in the fighter pilot pipeline by fast-tracking pilots into the OA-X. This rapid flow construct creates fighter pilots of unequal capability which appears capable on paper but has a portion of fighter pilots unable to perform more than a single mission in a single environment. This pipeline resembles that of a First Assignment Instructor Pilot in which a pilot spends his or her first three years after pilot training, teaching pilot training, before moving onto his or her primary aircraft. The pilots gain valuable flying experience but still need seasoning time in their fighter. They also create unique requirements for career advancement while limiting their ability to attend training opportunities such as the USAF Weapons School. Retraining an OA-X pilot for another more capable airframe such as the F-35 will require the appropriate training at some point; delaying the training that is needed and kicking the backlog can down the road. An OA-X pipeline such as this actually extends the inexperience of the pilot force against Chinese and Russian competitors; a greater existential threat to American military operations.

    A Better Way Forward

    Purchasing large numbers of any OA-X competitor will be akin to fighting the last war while ignoring changing airpower requirements. Due to the problems listed above, the OA-X isn’t scalable to the envisioned 300 aircraft. If anything, the Air Force should only buy a wing’s worth of jets (48-72) with an option to buy more in the next 20 years at a specified price, should a large U.S. force in an uncontested air environment need a cheap and reliable CAS asset. The small number of aircraft could be assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command in an Air Advisor role.

    The Air Force’s strategy to combat an insurgency or civil war is limited to oversaturated 24/7 coverage of the battlefield of any aircraft with any capability. While a two-ship of A-10s and a single B-52 have significantly different capabilities and limitations, they are treated as interchangeable pieces in a game of CAS checkers vice the high-stakes game of chess the Air Force should be presenting on the battlefield. It is regrettable that the only measure of CAS effectiveness for a sortie or entire deployment is limited to how often an individual or squadron fulfilled his or her portion of around-the-clock coverage; essentially amounting to a punched time card. As one Air Force general lamented at a conference I attended in 2015, “if we dropped a few more thousand JDAM [Joint Direct Attack Munition] the war wouldn’t be any further along,” unintentionally inferring that if we dropped a few thousand less JDAM the war wouldn’t be any further behind. The Air Force should invest its time and money in improving CAS effectiveness, CAS efficiency, and develop new ways of effectively fighting an insurgency or civil war that reduces mass destruction of infrastructure and supports a sustainable political end state.

    Gen. David Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, asserts the Air Force’s commitment to the Middle East is as great as its commitment during the surge in Iraq. To reduce the strain on aircraft, personnel, and funding we should instead accept that we do not need to maintain a surge force posture in the Middle East indefinitely. The Air Force has had five strike squadrons deployed (F-15E, F-16, F-22, B-1 or B-52, and A-10) to support Iraq and Syria, in addition to Marine squadrons and over 40 strike fighters on each aircraft carrier. This posture is augmented by a large coalition contingent and numerous types of surveillance aircraft which can make the air space resemble a modern-day Battle of Britain which actually slows response time and underutilizes assets. The Air Force could have pulled one or two of these squadrons from the counter-ISIL fight as early as 2015 without reducing battlefield effectiveness while significantly reducing the cost to the tanker fleet and support personnel. The over-crowded airspace and subsequent over-use of precision guided munitions hasn’t changed since then.

    The rapid advancement and proliferation of small drones, remotely piloted aircraft, artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous navigation, image recognition, and lasers may make the OA-X outdated before the first aircraft rolls off the assembly line. Forward looking technology which is monetarily cheap may resemble an airman embedded with the Army that can operate a fleet of small drones, each with different capabilities that can reconnoiter, attack, decoy, deter, and communicate, instead of just staring at piece of territory and launching hellfire missiles. As small drone capabilities evolve, they may even be able to provide the same capabilities of an OA-X at an exponentially smaller cost.

    The Air Force should spend its time and money developing the disruptive hardware, software, and processes to fight insurgencies and civil wars instead of trying to resurrect the A-1 Skyraider to refight a previous war. The threat environment has changed, domestic politics have changed, and the Air Force has changed. The OA-X answers a simple question of how to reduce the cost of CAS against an enemy which fights at a lower price point than the United States. However, the question the Air Force should ask itself is how to employ CAS to bring about victory on the battlefield in a time when technology, and even the battlefield itself, are changing much quicker than our acquisition timelines and weapons system life cycle.



    Maj. Adam “Trader” Chitwood is a B-1B Instructor Pilot and Weapons Officer with over 3,300 hours. He led the crew that earned the Air Force’s 2016 General Curtis E. LeMay Bomber Aircrew Award while in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. He is a former Political Advisor Fellow at the U.S. Department of State. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force, the U.S. Department of State, or the U.S. Government.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Just South of Corruption,IL
    Posts
    595
    It’s made by Hawker-Beech, no wonder it looks just like a Beech Bonanza with a PT-6 and a canopy.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Quote Originally Posted by samus79 View Post
    It’s made by Hawker-Beech, no wonder it looks just like a Beech Bonanza with a PT-6 and a canopy.
    Which is now Raytheon....

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Just South of Corruption,IL
    Posts
    595
    Quote Originally Posted by Housecarl View Post
    Which is now Raytheon....
    After Hawker-Beech went bankrupt, Raytheon sold it to their big competitor Textron(Cessna). I believe the only airframe they are keeping(at least civilian airframe) is the King Air. The Hawker series of aircraft ceased production and hasn’t started up again as far as I know.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Quote Originally Posted by samus79 View Post
    After Hawker-Beech went bankrupt, Raytheon sold it to their big competitor Textron(Cessna). I believe the only airframe they are keeping(at least civilian airframe) is the King Air. The Hawker series of aircraft ceased production and hasn’t started up again as far as I know.
    Yeah I got it reversed...sorry.


    http://www.planobrazil.com/wp-conten...lverine_02.jpg


    http://militaryedge.org/wp-content/u.../05/AT-6_6.jpg

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://warontherocks.com/2017/11/oa...-light-attack/

    OA-X Strikes Back: Eight Myths on Light Attack

    Mike Pietrucha
    November 28, 2017


    https://2k8r3p1401as2e1q7k14dguu-wpe...a-1024x681.jpg

    In August, I was present at Holloman Air Force base, when the Air Force conducted a live-fly experiment with light attack aircraft. The first of its kind since the Vietnam era, the aptly named “Light Attack Experiment” brought together industry with Air Force operational and flight test crews to conduct an evaluation of non-developmental light attack aircraft. The objective was to assess the suitability these aircraft for traditional counterland missions such as close air support (CAS), armed reconnaissance, and combat search and rescue (CSAR). Predictably, there has been opposition to considering a light attack aircraft. While a comprehensive list of the misperceptions, conspiracy theories, and outright deceptions that populate some of these rebuttals would break the War on the Rocks word limit, here are a few of the most common myths.

    Myth #1: Defended airspace is proliferating. *
    This particular fantasy has the massive proliferation of air defense systems expanding to cover the globe. Not really. If we were to compare the number of countries with substantial air defense capabilities now with those in 1988, the number would be about the same. Certainly, some nations have upgraded their air defense capabilities (Iran and Saudi Arabia) and some have maintained them; others have been unable to maintain the investment (Cuba and the United Kingdom) or seen it destroyed in combat (Iraq, Serbia, Libya, and Syria). In fact, we’re in a long-term steady state condition where the volume of defended airspace is static. Countries that have a longstanding investment in air defense do modernize, but advanced air defenses are expensive and specialized, making them useful for defensive purposes but little else. Certainly, there has been proliferation of small, shoulder-fired systems, but those systems are largely low-altitude systems historically most threatening to helicopters. The majority of airspace faced by U.S. aviators is undefended, or “permissive,” the vast majority of the time — as clearly evidenced by the lack of combat losses. As for that airspace that is defended, we need trained and ready forces to go there — forces that currently have been worn out flying in permissive airspace.


    https://2k8r3p1401as2e1q7k14dguu-wpe...etruchapic.png
    Figure 1: Days of Air Combat Operations since the beginning of Desert Storm. Each operation is considered individually from start to end; it is common for two or three operations to be underway simultaneously (such as Allied Force, Southern Watch, and Northern Watch).

    Myth #2:*The aircraft is unsurvivable.
    Clearly, an aircraft that isn’t a Fifth Generation aircraft is unsurvivable. There is something anti-magical about the OA-X class of airplanes in that they are commonly pitched as easy meat for anybody with an AK-47 or a 1970s-vintage, black market SA-7. Well, it turns out, they’re not. Last year the 81st Fighter Squadron’s A-29s participated in Green Flag in the Nevada desert. Playing part of “Red” air defense was a platoon of Marine Stinger operators — some of the best-trained operators in the world with the finest MANPAD ever built. The Marines were offered a weekend pass to anyone who got a valid shot on an A-29. No takers. The Afghan Air Force has been operating the A-29 Super Tucano in combat for 18 months; no losses. Colombia has operated the Super T for a decade against the FARC and ELN; likewise, no losses. But despite this hard data, and despite the fact that I have made detailed rebuttals of this proposition before, the OA-X is pitched as unsurvivable. No matter that it is hard to see, hard to hear, and can operate at altitudes well above 20,000 feet. No matter that the aircraft’s faint heat signature is dwarfed by any jet airplane. This proposition is subject to an easy test — when helicopters, drones and cargo planes can’t fly safely in that airspace, the OA-X probably doesn’t belong there either. But until then…*

    Myth #3: We don’t need it; lots of airplanes do what OA-X does.
    Plenty of aircraft can handle ground attack. As it turns out, “plenty” is not nearly enough. The Air Force is below its minimum sustainable fleet size for combat aircraft, without even enough to absorb sufficient numbers of new pilots. But numbers aren’t the story — readiness is. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps fighters are suffering their lowest readiness rates since the 1970s, and with no other aircraft to utilize in the fight against violent extremists, we cannot climb back out of the readiness hole. With no relief pitcher, even the best hall of fame pitcher will run out of juice. If the airplanes and units are worn out because there is no relief, “plenty” is even less than you think it is.

    Myth #4: We have other things to do with the money.
    There are other priorities for a limited budget. Within current budgetary restrictions, this is true. The Air Force has too much mission and not enough money, and the best that Air Force leadership can do now is move holes around. Fill in one hole, make another. Sen. John McCain, a former attack pilot himself, recognizes this and marked up money in the 2018 NDAA — the down payment on a five-year funding profile outlined in Restoring American Power. This white paper postulated 300 light attack aircraft in six years. This is ambitious, but not impossible. The last military low-wing turboprop purchase was the T-6 program, which produced 292 aircraft in six years and kept going. Once the initial purchase is made, the investment starts to pay back: The turboprop light attack aircraft have a sustainment cost roughly a quarter of a legacy fighter, with a fuel consumption of only 5 to 10 percent of legacy jets. Not only is this a good use of taxpayer money, it’s a brilliant one with a substantial long-term payoff.

    Myth #5: Jets “work better” than turboprops. *
    The poor turboprop just doesn’t get enough respect, and is often rejected because of its age, not its performance. If you want to fly high and fast, the jet is your baby. The propeller is speed-limited because the engine can only turn the prop so fast. But if you want to operate from forward bases on a logistical shoestring, think turboprop. Within its operating range (below about 400 knots), the turboprop is a much more efficient thrust-producer than the jet turbofan — more thrust with less fuel. The turboprops are highly resistant to foreign object damage, have long maintenance intervals, and are much, much cooler in the infrared spectra where heat-seeking missiles “see.” All of those reasons (except the last) are why you see mid-range airliners powered by turboprops. Amateurs study tactics, dilettantes study systems, but professionals study logistics — and the turboprop has a very low logistical burden compared to a jet.

    Myth #6: The airplane is too slow.
    Slow, of course, is automatically undesirable, or so the advocates of fast fighters would have you believe. It’s odd that this keeps coming around — it’s an argument that was made against the A-10 in the 1970s and has proven impossible to suppress. In Vietnam, the United States used both fast and slow Forward Air Control (FAC) aircraft for the mission of finding and directing tactical airpower against targets that were fleeting and flat-out difficult to find. Fast FACs were set aside after the war – what they made up for in airspeed didn’t offset the fact that they were not as good at finding fleeting targets. What we have decisively proven in test and in combat is that slow speed gets you two key benefits — more time to acquire small or hard to see targets, and the ability to operate under the weather. In the long battle to make the A-10 program successful, the YA-10 had to fly off against the high-speed A-7D Corsair II in 1974. The Hog’s relatively slow speed made operations under the weather feasible, and allowed attacks under lower ceilings and in worse visibility than the faster jet could handle. Plus, the A-10 could loiter for two hours, compared to the Corsair’s 11 minutes.

    Myth #7: There is a secret plan to use OA-X to retire the A-10 and eliminate Close Air Support as an Air Force mission.
    This is my favorite A-10 conspiracy theory. Having worked OA-X for nine years, I haven’t heard a whiff of this. A light attack aircraft will never replace the A-10 and isn’t intended to. The Air Force flew light attack aircraft in New Mexico, partnered with industry for an experiment. Interest is high. The VIP visitor list was packed like a Super Bowl. The Air Force is riddled with advocates for multirole aircraft that can do ground attack, and literally every officer involved in the writing of the OA-X enabling concept that started the light attack discussion is a combat veteran. Most of them were A-10 pilots. I can laugh this myth off; next week the guys in tinfoil hats will probably return to the news that NASA is hiring for a position to defend us against aliens. (Small ones, anyway.)

    Myth #8: The struggle against violent extremists is winding down.
    If the previous entry is my favorite A-10 conspiracy theory, this one is my favorite piece of pure wishful thinking. Anybody advancing this theory should hang up their defense analysis spurs and start hawking penny stocks. We tried this in 2011 (Iraq) and 2014 (Afghanistan) and it wasn’t true either time. Unfortunately, air operations to counter or contain violent extremists are past, present, and future, and may be the defining struggle of this generation. One author suggested that the Air Force just back off and supply less airpower, as if it was the USAF’s call to wind down and reduce airpower’s commitment. The last generational struggle, the First Cold War, lasted for almost half a century, from 1945-1990, and we’re really just getting started on this one.*

    This is the myth shortlist. There are more, and there will be more to come. In the light attack experiment we gathered hard data, which will set the record straight. The fundamentals on light attack are longstanding, well-supported, and fact-based. Light attack is an idea whose time has come — the question is not “should we” go ahead, but “can we”.
    *
    Col. Mike “Starbaby” Pietrucha was an instructor electronic warfare officer in the F-4G Wild Weasel and the F-15E Strike Eagle, amassing 156 combat missions and taking part in 2.5 SAM kills over 10 combat deployments. As an irregular warfare operations officer, Col. Pietrucha has two additional combat deployments in the company of U.S. Army infantry, combat engineer, and military police units in Iraq and Afghanistan.*The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force or the U.S. government.
    Image: U.S. Air Force/Ethan Wagner

    Commentary
    Mali is France’s Afghanistan, But With a Difference

    Commentary
    Hedging Our Bets: Reviving Defense Industrial Surge Capacity

    Commentary
    The Intellectuals Behind the First U.S. Navy Doctrine: A Centennial Reflection

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    OK
    Posts
    30,453
    Afghan A-29s Aren’t Dropping Laser-Guided Bombs or Engaging Targets at Night

    The U.S. military routinely touts the successes the Afghan Air Force has had with its A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft. But after nearly two years of operations, Afghan pilots still can't drop laser guided bombs or fight at night and it’s unclear when that will change.

    Despite repeated reports suggesting otherwise, Afghan Air Force A-29s have yet to employ any precision guided munitions during combat missions. In an Email to The War Zone, the NATO-led advisory mission in the country, known as the Resolute Support Mission, also confirmed that it had only recently begun training crews to use weapons of any kind at night. In December 2017, Afghan pilots dropped their first live 250-pound class GBU-58/B laser guided bombs on a training range in Afghanistan. Defense contractor Raytheon specifically began selling this smaller, lighter member of the Paveway bomb family in 2011 as a way for air forces to try and reduce collateral damage, but has also pitched it as an ideal weapon for light attack aircraft.

    “Until now, U.S. advisors have focused the training of the A-29 pilots on visual deliveries as part of a continuous progression that will incorporate precision guided munitions and night weapons delivery,” U.S. Air Force Major Nicholas Plante, the chief public affairs officer for Resolute Support’s Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air (TAAC-Air), told The War Zone. “The ability of the Afghan Air Force to deliver precision guided munitions in a training environment, like the GBU-58, will add increased capability when it’s eventually employed in combat.”

    The thing is, official descriptions and media reports of Afghanistan's A-29 have routinely highlighted their ability to employ precision guided munitions, and by extension their ability to conduct night time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions using an on board sensor turret with electro-optical and infrared cameras, since the first four touched down in the country in January 2016. That Afghanistan’s planes may technically be able to perform these missions if crews had the right training might not necessarily be the case, either.
    USAF



    “The A-29 can employ laser-guided bombs,” the Pentagon wrote in its December 2017 “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan” report, the second of two such reviews it published every year. “But employment training is delayed due to technical issues with front seat targeting and aircraft performance limitations.”

    TAAC-Air said it could not speak directly to the content of the Department of Defense report. At the time of writing, the Pentagon public affairs office had not yet responded to queries for additional information about these issues. The Sierra Nevada Corporation, which supplied the aircraft for Afghanistan in cooperation with Brazilian plane maker Embraer, had not responded to a request for comment.

    Based on the available information, and specifically the comment about “front seat targeting,” the “technical issues” might be a matter of making sure the pilot can properly set the weapons before releasing them or view the feed from the A-29’s sensor turret. Troops on the ground could in some cases be able to mark targets with hand-held laser designators to help mitigate these problems, but still that isn't even happening.

    The “aircraft performance limitations” could have been related to range, maneuverability, or altitude restrictions when carrying larger laser-guided weapons, such as the 500-pound class GBU-12/B laser-guided bomb. This seems like a remote possibility given that the Super Tucanos have reportedly had no trouble flying missions with unguided weapons in the same weight class.



    At present, Afghan Air Force A-29s employ 250-pound class Mk 81 and 500-pound class Mk 82 iron bombs, unguided 70mm rockets, and the aircraft’s two wing-mounted .50 caliber machine guns. The Pentagon and the Resolute Support Mission both insist the lack of a precision munitions capability has had little to no impact on the Afghan Air Force’s Super Tucano operations in the meantime.

    Between June and November 2017, Afghan Air Force’s 12 A-29s flew almost 900 missions, with less than 330 of them involved air-to-ground attacks, or just under two every day on average, according to the Pentagon. The aircraft flew 152 airstrikes in total in 2016. Between January and November 2017, U.S. military aircraft flew more than 1,100 close air support missions and more than 4,000 sorties overall.

    “The A-29 employs unguided munitions through its onboard targeting computer that aids the pilots in accurate visual weapons delivery from all altitudes using tactics refined through repetition during their training with advisors both in the United States and in Afghanistan,” Major Plante explained. In addition, Afghan Tactical Air Coordinators “increase attack effectiveness and precision by providing target guidance and talk-ons to pilots during execution of a mission. Their role is significant in effective targeting, decreasing collateral damage, and is a critical piece of the integration of airpower to support ground maneuver units.”

    It's true that the low- and slow-flying A-29s would have a better chance of identifying their targets and engaging them with unguided weapons than higher and faster-flying combat aircraft. The Super Tucanos would be perfectly able to attack large, static targets, such as enemy-occupied structures, too. The Pentagon was quick to highlight the aircraft’s role in strikes against Taliban narcotics production centers in November 2017.

    “They've got the A-29, which has been very successful and continues to build into a very viable platform,” U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Lance Bunch, Director of Future Operations for the Resolute Support Mission, told reporters in December 2017. “The first strikes as part of this air interdiction campaign were conducted by the Afghan Air Force, where we worked with them to deliver targets that they then went and struck to start that entire campaign.”

    But no matter how accurate the pilots are with dumb bombs, that is no substitute for a guided munitions capability, which was one of main reasons for getting these aircraft to the Afghan Air Force in the first place. It is impossible to believe that the inability to employ those weapons has not limited the aircraft operational effectiveness, especially when it comes to attacking moving targets or providing close air support to friendly troops who may be very close to enemy forces or innocent bystanders.

    This would be especially likely to occur during fighting in built up urban areas, something that has hardly been out of the ordinary in Afghanistan. When U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis visited the country in September 2017, the Taliban launched a bold attack on Hamid Karzai International Airport in the capital Kabul. Coalition warplanes flew close air support for Afghan troops who responded on the ground, but inadvertently caused a number of civilian casualties when one of their missiles malfunctioned and went flying into a nearby residential area.

    Using dumb bombs and unguided rockets can only increase the risk of collateral damage in any situation, which is an important consideration in a conflict where even mistake can be a major propaganda victory for the enemy. It's a major reason why the U.S. military has almost exclusively relied on precision guided munitions for airstrikes against militants in both Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria. We at The War Zone have similarly questioned the wisdom of the U.S. military employing iron bombs for so-called "terrain denial" missions in Afghanistan.

    "Precision weapons has changed the way we fight and we're not going back," Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Heather Wilson said during a speech in September 2017. "The world will not tolerate imprecise weapons."
    USAF

    .

    And the inability to employ weapons or even patrol at night is a significant issue, too. Insurgents and terrorists in Afghanistan have long used the cover of darkness to conceal their movements and launch surprise attacks on government security forces.

    Persistent aerial surveillance and the ability to conduct both precise close air support and strike missions at night have been and continue to be essential parts of the U.S.-led campaign to keep the Taliban at bay. Earlier in December 2017, the U.S. military released footage of just such a mission that took out the leader of the Taliban's elite "Red Unit" in Helmand province.

    These are key capabilities the Afghan military will need in order to be able to do so on its own, especially given that militant groups groups have been steadily improving their ability to conduct operations after the sun goes down. You can read about that in more detail in a previous piece I wrote about the changing nature of night fighting in the country.

    Persistent problems with finding qualified pilots, sensor operators, and ground crew personnel can’t have helped matters, either. As of November 2017, the Afghan Air Force had 14 qualified crews for its dozen A-29s, 30 percent below the authorized force level.

    “The lack of qualified candidates with the necessary technical skills to complete training presents a challenge,” the Pentagon acknowledged in its biannual report in December 2017. “Finding suitable candidates with English skills remains difficult.”

    That there are simply not be enough individuals available to routinely have two-man crews flying A-29s might help explain why problems setting up a “front seat targeting” capability was an issue to begin with. It also suggests that there is a lack of qualified sensor operators. Maybe most telling is that photographic evidence does not generally show Afghan Air Force Super Tucanos flying with their ventral sensor turrets at all.
    USAF



    There is evidence that there have been significant issues in training individual to operate and maintain these systems on other aircraft, as well. The separate Special Mission Wing (SMW), part of the Afghan Special Security Forces, the country’s much-touted and well-funded special operations community, has a fleet of PC-12NG intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft, similar to the U.S. Air Force’s U-28A aircraft, which do have a electro-optical and infrared sensor turret on board.

    “The PC-12 can send full-motion video (FMV) to a ground station and the onboard crew can perform real-time analysis of collected data,” the Pentagon reported in December 2017. “Despite these capabilities, SMW personnel require training to improve the integration of intelligence into combat operations.”
    DOD



    The Afghan Air Force still relies heavily on contractors to keep the A-29s operational in general. As of November 2017, private firms were providing 60 percent of the required maintenance for the aircraft, something the Pentagon expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

    “Because A-29 programs [sic] are still in the early stages of a rapid operational fielding, aircraft maintenance capabilities remain a challenge,” the Pentagon’s December 2017 report said of a program that began in 2014. You can read all about the saga of getting the Super Tucanos to Afghanistan here.

    The aircraft have been in country for two years flying missions, so calling this the "early stages of a rapid fielding" seems a bit farcical. These problems are hardly limited to specific aircraft types and we at The War Zone have also repeatedly documented similar manpower and logistical issues throughout Afghanistan's rotary wing aircraft fleets.

    None of this is to say that A-29s aren’t an important addition to the Afghan Air Force. The aircraft give the service more flexibility and increased capability, all at greater ranges and speed than with its armed helicopters.
    USAF



    In addition to the dozen A-29s in country, there are another seven situated at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia in the United States to train new pilots. By 2019, the U.S. military hopes to have facilitated the delivery of a full force of 25 A-29s for the Afghans.

    But there are clearly significant challenges to ensuring the Afghans can take full advantage of the aircraft they have already. The U.S. military-backed plan to overhaul the Afghan Air Force could further increase the strain on existing training and logistics pipelines.

    Starting in 2018, the U.S. military plans to begin assisting with the delivery of AC-208 Combat Cavarans with sensor turrets and the ability to employ laser-guided 70mm rockets. These single engine aircraft are already in service with the Iraqi and Lebanese air forces, both of which use them as platforms to fire Hellfire missiles, which could be another option for the Afghan examples later on.
    NATO



    The Afghan Air Force expects to take delivery of three of the planes in 2018 and have a full fleet of 32 in service by 2023. It might be easier for the Afghan Air Force to absorb these aircraft because it is already flying unarmed C-208s in a variety of support roles and has developed a certain proficiency at maintaining them. There would still be questions about how well the service would be able to maintain the AC-208’s sensors and other mission systems without outside support, at least in the near term, though.

    At their best, these aircraft can't match the full capabilities of the A-29, though. Adding them to the mix might suggest the United States is concerned that the Afghans may not be able to fully make use of the Super Tucanos any time soon. This begs the question about whether the aircraft, which have a price tag of approximately $18 million each, a cost the United States has largely underwritten, have been a worthwhile investment if they're still not reaching their full potential after almost two years of in-country operations.

    In the meantime, the NATO-led coalition, and the U.S. military most of all, continue to fly the vast majority of airstrikes in Afghanistan, a number that has dramatically increased in 2017. This has come at great cost since multi-role fighter jets such as the F-16 Viper and B-52 heavy bomber have been the main aircraft flying over the country. Absent another alternative, until the Afghan Air Force develops a more robust capability, we can expect coalition aircraft will continue to provide this vital support for the foreseeable future.

    Light attack aircraft with a functional precision guided munitions capability would be a much more cost effective tool for these missions. Unfortunately, in addition to the limited capabilities of the Afghan Air Force, the latest push to develop a U.S. military light attack aircraft force, which came to a head earlier in 2017 with a highly publicized U.S. Air Force test project, appears to have stalled out.

    Some have gone so far as to suggest private military companies could help provide an immediate and lower cost capability that is more effective than what the Afghans can provide for themselves at present, and also far cheaper than having American aviators continue to fly the missions. We at The War Zone have previously discussed the ins and outs of those proposals in detail.

    “The Afghan Air Force is … increasing its strike capabilities with ongoing U.S. advisor-led training,” Major Plante said. “The A-29 Super Tucano with precision guided munitions will provide the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces on the ground a vital battlefield advantage in their country.”

    However, the A-29s and their more advanced capabilities are clearly still years away from making their impact felt in the fight against the Taliban, ISIS and Al Qaeda-linked terrorists, and other militant groups, if they ever do. Until this occurs, and other parts of the Afghan Air Force finally stabilize as well, the U.S. will be relied upon to fill this gap. As such, the idea that America could have ever left the country militarily before a robust Afghan air arm was firmly in place was and still remains a farce.

    Update 12/22/17:

    Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has responded to our queries and provided important additional information about Afghanistan's A-29s and their capabilities. The company has been involved in resolving the two specific issues the Pentagon mentioned in its report.

    "The front seat targeting limitation is a reference to a sensitive slew controller for the EO/IR sensor when it is used for laser guided bomb targeting," Scott Oxarart, a Sierra Nevada communications representative said in statement. "SNC has resolved this issue and is fielding a software improvement.

    "The aircraft performance limitations comment is an artifact of the current airspeed limitation of the sensor used in firing laser-guided bombs," he added. "This is not an inherent A-29 issue, rather an artifact of the sensor specified in the original USAF requirements document that we were provided. SNC and Embraer have provided additional engineering and flight test data to expand the operational airspeed envelope to address USAF concerns associated with this sensor. That data is with the USAF at this time. The limitation is not associated with the A-29 itself."

    In a separate phone call, Taco Gilbert, the Senior Vice President for SNC´s Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance division, said that Afghan A-29 crews had proven to be "very, very precise" with unguided bombs since they began flying combat missions in 2016 and that those missions had resulted in no confirmed collateral civilian casualties to date. He added that this mirrored feedback the company had received from other Super Tucano operators, including Colombia, with regards to employing dumb bombs.

    It is worth noting that alleged civilian casualties from Afghan and coalition air strikes has spiked in 2017 as the total number of missions has similarly increased. A recent New York Times report also called into question the accounting of civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria, an issue that could extent to other conflict zones, as well.

    In addition, in the late 2000s, the Central Intelligence Agency led an effort to give Colombia's Air Force a precision guided munition capability, specifically to enable targeted strikes against specific rebel leaders. According to The Washington Post, the country's Super Tucanos had been limited to attacking larger area targets.

    Gilbert further stressed that guided weapons were not necessarily a requisite for precise air-to-ground attacks, but acknowledged that the Afghans would be even more capable with their A-29s if they gained the ability to use precision guided munitions. He noted that avoiding the need to use expensive precision guidance kits would make a light attack aircraft an more cost effective alternative to fast-moving jet combat aircraft in permissive environments, as well.

    It will be interesting to see if the Afghans continue to employ unguided bombs once they gain a more robust precision capability. We will definitely keep following the ambitious U.S.-backed plans to transform the force.

    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...rgets-at-night
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

    Member: Nowski Brigade

    Deplorable


  34. #34
    The combat Cessna 208 Caravan would be an easy and quick CAS aircraft. And a cheap one too-the Afghans use them currently; I've had a chance to see one close up. Good size, PT6 turboprop reliability, TONS of cargo space. Another would be to bring back the OV-10 Bronco. Quite a nice CAS bird, and can carry 3200 pounds of cargo to boot. A fine plane, still in use with some of our allies.Nimble as a fighter plane, ever seen one drop ordinance? They can drop ordinance using LABS manouvers! I can see the OV-10 being bought into production very quickly. Failing that, make a turboprop version of the Spad. A-1 Skyraider. Bomb load carrying capacity of a B-17, sucks up battle damage like nobody's business and easy to train on and fly.
    The Super Tucano is a decent aircraft-but even with the USAF looking for a low cost CAS aircraft they're loading them up with FADEC, Touch displays and all the high tech garbage that drives costs up without increasing capability. The Piper enforcer would be ok, but if they could just keep it simple-Garmin makes a light aircraft digital dash that is cheap; incorporate it into a new OV-10 or combat caravan. Low cost and capable should be the driving force; not how many toys they can stuff into the plane.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    OK
    Posts
    30,453
    The hidden message of this piece is that they can't find enough inbrad goatf***ers that have enough intelligence to operate anything other than an AK or Toyota truck.

    Persistent problems with finding qualified pilots, sensor operators, and ground crew personnel can’t have helped matters, either. As of November 2017, the Afghan Air Force had 14 qualified crews for its dozen A-29s, 30 percent below the authorized force level.

    “The lack of qualified candidates with the necessary technical skills to complete training presents a challenge,” the Pentagon acknowledged in its biannual report in December 2017. “Finding suitable candidates with English skills remains difficult.”

    That there are simply not be enough individuals available to routinely have two-man crews flying A-29s might help explain why problems setting up a “front seat targeting” capability was an issue to begin with. It also suggests that there is a lack of qualified sensor operators. Maybe most telling is that photographic evidence does not generally show Afghan Air Force Super Tucanos flying with their ventral sensor turrets at all.



    Starting in 2018, the U.S. military plans to begin assisting with the delivery of AC-208 Combat Cavarans with sensor turrets and the ability to employ laser-guided 70mm rockets. These single engine aircraft are already in service with the Iraqi and Lebanese air forces, both of which use them as platforms to fire Hellfire missiles, which could be another option for the Afghan examples later on.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

    Member: Nowski Brigade

    Deplorable


  36. #36
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    The hidden message of this piece is that they can't find enough inbrad goatf***ers that have enough intelligence to operate anything other than an AK or Toyota truck.








    Yeah...Anyone with the brains having looked around at the majority of their neighbors and analyzed their situation has gotten out if they could. Heck how many have come to the US for advanced training and gone AWOL?

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Happy on the mountain
    Posts
    66,351
    If zoomies sign the purchase orders, bloat will prevail.

    We need a modern version of the Fighter Mafia ...
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto
    -http://bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2016/10/a-wholly-rational-hatred.html

  38. #38
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    In CLE again
    Posts
    55,032
    Long ago and far away, NASA Lewis (now NASA Glenn) was doing development on digital cockpit and 3D audio in OV-10's as test beds. Mentioned this at an Airshow at Burke and the guy shepherding the Bronco took a FAST turn and walk away from me....snicker...it WAS open source but well....
    RULE 1:
    THEY want you DEAD.

    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my brothers' children (and their parents) may have peace, and have NO KNOWLEDGE of what I have done."

    TACAMO!! NOW!!

  39. #39
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Hummm....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://warontherocks.com/2018/01/an...-oa-x-to-life/

    AN UNCONVENTIONAL PROPOSAL FOR BRINGING THE OA-X TO LIFE

    WILLIAM MILLER JANUARY 15, 2018

    “A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.”

    -Gen. George S. Patton Jr.

    While Patton was fighting Hitler’s armies, light to medium attack aircraft suppressed German movement and activity on the Western front as the United States pushed the Nazis back into Germany. The 9th Air Force filled the skies with smaller aircraft, most of them oriented towards attack in some way. This lesser-known force exemplified airborne persistence, a characteristic that today’s Air Force still needs to conduct missions throughout the world. Excitingly, there is an idea on the horizon to follow what the 9th Air Force did in World War II: the Light Attack program.

    The Light Attack program, or OA-X, has the potential to provide the Air Force with four major benefits: efficient, persistent airpower, fighter pilot production, the absorption of those pilots, and the ability to preserve and posture its more advanced aircraft for conflicts involving major powers. As such, this proposed weapon system will help solve the problems of fighter pilot production and absorption with the added benefit of giving strategic flexibility to the Air Force inventory at an affordable price. Therefore, it is imperative that OA-X start immediately. To facilitate a rapid standup, the Air Force needs to recapture the former MC-12 Liberty’s manpower investment.

    The sooner the Air Force has enough combat aircraft with open training cockpits, and instructors to fill them, the sooner it can grow out of the fighter pilot shortage. The OA-X can help ameliorate the broader fighter pilot shortage problem, but to do this, the program itself will need manpower. Starting up the OA-X will be challenging amid the current aircrew crisis. The service is currently short 1,200 fighter pilots with the pressing need most for flight leads and instructors. Given the dearth of available fighter pilots, the Air Force must leverage other pilots who have comparable tactical experiences in line with what the OA-X will do. The MC-12 Liberty community is the key to standing up the OA-X immediately because the pilots have comparable experience, there is a surplus of them, and most are available. The Air Force needs to overcome the bureaucratic obstacles posed by the personnel coding system currently preventing the service from taking advantage of the MC-12 pilots’ talents for the OA-X.

    The MC-12 Liberty was a light, tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft employed to provide real-time tactical information to ground forces. The Liberty was as close to the fight as one could get without actually shooting weapons, with the pilots integrally involved with all aspects of the mission. More than 80 new pilots, trained in the fighter/bomber track in pilot training, went to the Liberty between 2011 and 2013. The requirement to fill MC-12 cockpits was massive due to the growing and constant need for tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in combat operations. Almost all Liberty pilots attained 1,000 combat hours of small warfare airpower experience in Afghanistan and saw firsthand the kinds of missions to which OA-X is best suited. They spent countless hours in stacks of aircraft, often leading and coordinating the application of airpower, hunted down terrorists, and supported numerous “troops in contact” situations and convoy overwatches. These air-ground focused experiences overlap with the missions to which an OA-X design would be naturally suited. The mission set overlaps were so obvious, there was even a plan to integrate the two aircraft early in 2010.

    The MC-12 was not a kinetic aircraft, but it was often involved in the entire “find, fix, finish” process, which was the method used in the elimination or capture of a multitude of high value targets. Integral knowledge of weapon systems and kinetic tactics was necessary to participate effectively. Looking forward, the light attack aircraft could be integral in information sharing on the battlefield, a role that is directly in line with the MC-12 community experience. Their knowledge of tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in combination with strike tactics could also be beneficial in the planning and execution of integrating U.S. assets in the battlespace through the OA-X.

    The largest obstacle standing in the way of using MC-12 pilots for the OA-X standup is Air Force personnel practice. In a critique of the OA-X concept in War on the Rocks, Major Adam Chitwood states the program would act not as a relief valve, but as an added requirement. Based on Major Chitwood’s analysis, the Air Force will need around 375 fighter pilots, or members with an “11F” personnel code, to launch the program. In the “11F” personnel code, “11” means pilot, and “F” means fighter. So, an “11F” is a pilot who flies a fighter type aircraft. Major Chitwood assumes only 11F pilots will be used to fill the OA-X cockpits, which is in line with current Air Force personnel practice because the service views the OA-X as a fighter. But sticking to that premise would severely limit the Air Force and make OA-X an impossibility.

    Since the MC-12 pilots have a reconnaissance code of “11R” (reconnaissance pilot) the Air Force is not considering them for the OA-X. To the Air Force, “11R” means the pilot should be far away from the tactical fight, while “11F” means combat aircraft, and in the tactical fight. Because the MC-12 was described as a reconnaissance aircraft, the Air Force coded them “11R.” The MC-12 mission set was not the typical “11R” type, however, and it was a combat aircraft in low intensity conflict.

    The system makes it extremely difficult for pilots throughout the Air Force to do anything other than what their code indicates. The coding scheme is insidiously self-limiting for the organization and if the aircrew crisis teaches us anything, it is that such practices have become unaffordable. To advance the OA-X with any semblance of vigor, the Air Force must better identify talent based on experience and training, and use its assets more appropriately.

    Under current plans, the experience of the MC-12 pilots will be utilized for other intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms, making the startup of the OA-X harder. Since the divestment of the MC-12 in 2015, former Liberty drivers have filled the needs for pilot training instructors, remotely piloted aircraft, and missions of high national significance. The “11R” designation drives the system to think of MC-12 pilots as good matches for the E-3, E-8, RC-135, and EC-130, all of which are command and control intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C2ISR) aircraft. The problem is that none of them have any C2ISR experience associated with these heavy aircraft. C2ISR and tactical intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) are two very different mission sets. Where C2ISR focuses on big-picture intelligence gathering for effects to an entire theater of operations, tactical reconnaissance is narrower in focus and has a much closer relationship with combat. Before the MC-12, the Air Force definition for ISR was primarily based on the C2ISR aircraft. In its rush to codify the mass of personnel it sent to the MC-12 program, the Air Force took a shortcut by branding the pilots with a code that did not reflect what they actually did.

    MC-12 pilots have the experience necessary to act as the bulk of the initial (or early) flight leads and instructors for the OA-X schoolhouse. The Liberty drivers would offer the nation more value by using their combat experiences for the startup of the OA-X program. They come with similar combat time and instructor hours, and the rare experience of having started up a new airpower community. The Liberty pilots represent an unconventional opportunity to take the initiative in structuring the force in the best possible way considering constraints. The Air Force would be wise to act quickly, since many of the Liberty veterans will go to their mismatched command and control intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assignments in less than a year and serve there until the end of their commitments. What’s more, the chance to do something pioneering and more in line with the aviators they have become could make the difference in retaining them.

    The sooner the OA-X expansion happens, the more quickly the Air Force can normalize an attack enterprise and establish the necessary fighter pilot production and absorption mechanisms. Timely action is essential because OA-X could be a turning point in the production of attack pilots. Some have floated “bar-napkin” concepts to use OA-X’s absorption capacity to eliminate the 11F shortage in 12 years, but even those notions do little to explain where the Air Force will get experienced tacticians without raiding its already threatened supply of fighter pilots. With the Liberty drivers, the Air Force can execute the standup with highly experienced pilots who could become flight leads and instructor pilots in a minimal amount of time. They could serve primarily in the replacement training unit and be the catalyst that allows the program to not only stand up rapidly, but also grow quickly into an integral part of the Air Force attack community. At that point, production and absorption will be added benefits of what will be a robust and increased attack enterprise.

    The Air Force could easily miss this prime opportunity to speed development of a revitalized attack enterprise because the personnel system cannot seem to label its pilots accurately. If the service wants a true renaissance of attack community, it needs to move away from assigning people based on three-digit codes and instead track and leverage the actual skills they possess. The service is making bold moves and sensible changes in terms of pilot production and retention. If it acts similarly boldly with regard to the way it uses its assets, it has the opportunity to stop the bleeding now. MC-12 drivers are an unconventional solution, but with them lies the greatest opportunity to rapidly stand up an affordable replacement training unit that can fix fighter pilot production and absorption.

    Patton crossed the Rhine before Montgomery “without benefit of aerial bombing, ground smoke, artillery preparation and airborne assistance.” Montgomery spent too much time planning and perfecting to no real added effect. Perhaps Air Force leaders can boldly build a robust attack force without the benefit of time, exorbitant amounts of money, a surplus of fighter pilots, or a long period of testing. To do this, they should make the OA-X happen now and start fixing the Air Force’s problems today instead of analyzing and planning into organizational paralysis.



    Captain William “SWAT” Miller is a T-38C instructor pilot at Vance Air Force Base with over 1,700 total hours. He flew the MC-12W Liberty during two tours in Afghanistan with a total of 204 combat sorties with 945 corresponding hours. He is a 2010 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in military history. His views are his own and not those of the Air Force or his leadership at Vance.

    This essay was not a lone project conducted in a vacuum. Several people smarter than I gave invaluable input as to the content and editing, such as Major Ryan “FIR” Eriksen, Captain Stephen C. Cruickshank, my wife Jessica, and many others.

  40. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    93,924
    Hummm....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018...tack-aircraft/

    US Air Force kills combat demo for light attack aircraft

    By: Valerie Insinna  
    11 hours ago

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force will not be proceeding with a combat demonstration for its light attack aircraft, but an eventual program of record has become the assumed outcome of further experimentation planned for two turboprop planes.

    The new experiments, planned for May to July 2018 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, narrow the field to Textron Aviation’s AT-6 Wolverine and the A-29 Super Tucano made by Sierra Nevada Corporation and Embraer — cutting the Textron Scorpion and L-3 Technologies’ AT-802L Longsword from further competition.

    “Rather than do a combat demonstration, we have decided to work closely with industry to experiment with maintenance, data networking and sensors with the two most promising light attack aircraft — the AT-6 Wolverine and the A-29 Super Tucano,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said. “This will let us gather the data needed for a rapid procurement.”

    The Air Force announced in 2016 that it was considering holding a flight demo with light attack planes the following year. The hope, Air Combat Command head Gen. Mike Holmes told Defense News then, was to better understand whether inexpensive, off-the-shelf aircraft could fill some of the service’s close-air support requirements in the Middle East at a cheaper operating cost than combat aircraft like the A-10 or F-16.

    Buying several hundred light attack aircraft would also bring with it several other advantages, proponents of the strategy argued. For one, having more aircraft in its inventory would increase its capacity, allowing it to train more pilots per year.

    In addition, buying a low-cost, easy-to-use plane would also “bolster our interoperability,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said in a statement. This in turn would give the service an opportunity to partner with international countries who might not be able to afford a more pricey jet like the F-35 or F-15.

    After flying in to see the first set of light attack experiments at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Air Force leaders said they believed a combat demonstration would be the next step. However, the service now expects to be able to get the information for a future rapid acquisition of light attack aircraft without having to bring the two remaining competitors to the Middle East.

    “The Air Force is gathering enough decision-quality data through experimentation to support rigorous light attack aircraft assessments along with rapid procurement/fielding program feasibility reviews,” said Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Emily Grabowski. “We’re finalizing requirements documentation and developing an acquisition strategy.”

    Networking and future interoperability with partner forces will be a key part of the demos at Davis-Monthan. “The Air Force will also experiment with rapidly building and operating an exportable, affordable network to enable aircraft to communicate with joint and multi-national forces, as well as command-and-control nodes,” the service noted in a statement.

    It also plans on inviting international partners to observe the light attack experiment’s next phase, it said. Five countries, including Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Paraguay, watched the last round.

    Other focuses of the future experiments will include logistics and maintenance requirements, weapons and sensor issues, and training syllabus validity, it said.

    However, the service has not finalized how it will pay for the new round of experiments or set a timeline for a future program of record.

    “We are working a cost estimate for the next phase of experimentation, but we need to work with our industry partners to finalize the cost estimate. At this time, we expect to use current experimentation funding for the stateside experiment,” Grabowski said.

    About Valerie Insinna
    Valerie Insinna is Defense News' air warfare reporter. She previously worked the Navy/congressional beats for Defense Daily, which followed almost three years as a staff writer for National Defense Magazine. Prior to that, she worked as an editorial assistant for the Tokyo Shimbun’s Washington bureau.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts


NOTICE: Timebomb2000 is an Internet forum for discussion of world events and personal disaster preparation. Membership is by request only. The opinions posted do not necessarily represent those of TB2K Incorporated (the owner of this website), the staff or site host. Responsibility for the content of all posts rests solely with the Member making them. Neither TB2K Inc, the Staff nor the site host shall be liable for any content.

All original member content posted on this forum becomes the property of TB2K Inc. for archival and display purposes on the Timebomb2000 website venue. Said content may be removed or edited at staff discretion. The original authors retain all rights to their material outside of the Timebomb2000.com website venue. Publication of any original material from Timebomb2000.com on other websites or venues without permission from TB2K Inc. or the original author is expressly forbidden.



"Timebomb2000", "TB2K" and "Watching the World Tick Away" are Service Mark℠ TB2K, Inc. All Rights Reserved.