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From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: The A-10's competitiveness (no, not the missing A-10)
Date: Thu, 01 May 1997 15:32:10 GMT (MCZAND) wrote:

>  You can
>bet the F-16 pilots are going to scream bloody murder about that after
>their first actual ground support mission.  You can also bet that after
>the next war, the Air Force will either try to get out of supplying ground
>support, or they will try and get congress to fund development of a new

Actually, I suspect, unless things have changed quite a bit, that the
Viper drivers will be nudging each other out of line to take the CAS
mission rather than the deep strike interdiction slots against heavily
fortified and defended areas.

I know I always preferred dealing with small arms, light AW and
shoulder mounted SAMs to the long haul into MiG country with layered
AAA and Dr. Pepper SAMs at "10, 2 and 4 o'clock."

>As for why the Air Force decided to replace the A-10 with the F-16, the
>most likely reason I have heard is the Gee Whiz factor.  Otherwise known
>as the Newer is Better factor.  At any rate, the U.S. military is in love
>with high technology, even when old technology can do the job better and
>more cheaply.  I suspect that is the reason why the Navy decided to
>replace it's A-6's with a stealth plane, and refused to give up on it even
>after it had gone over budget and behind schedule.

I never saw an acquisition program that applied the Gee Whiz factor.
What I have seen is questions of cost, supportability, reliability,
accuracy, etc.

Yep, the U.S. military is in love with high tech. I think it is vastly
preferable to buckets of blood, particularly if the blood is mine. I
like the idea of precision munitions rather than waves of low tech
aircraft, I think the concept of smart aircraft with reusable
components vs smart bomb with throw away technology is economically
sound. I think the need to carry the battle to the enemy in the 21st
century battle requires technology rather than cojones. And I
absolutely detest the foolishness of designing an airplane that is
intended to suffer battle damage.

>I'll tell you this, if I were the wife of any A-10 or F-16 pilot, I would
>be fighting both the Air Force and congress to keep both planes in the
>jobs they were designed for.  I certainly wouldnt want to loose a loved
>one to a stupid decision made out of a lust for high technology by people
>who wont be at risk as a result of their decision.  As for the readers of
>this ng, perhaps we should be writing the Air Force and Congress.

As for the readers of this ng, I would hope that they would listen to
the people with combat experience who are making the decision and get
over the fixation about which airplanes they are emotionally involved.
 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: The A-10's competitiveness (no, not the missing A-10)
Date: Fri, 02 May 1997 16:02:11 GMT wrote:

>I don't subscribe to the "Speed is Life" convention and losing the A-10
>will be one of the ACC's biggest mistakes.

Would it be presumptuous to ask how many combat missions you've flown
that allows you the luxury to "non-subscribe"?? Trust me, you can
never have too much speed. You may want to convert it to potential
energy occasionally, but over the long term you'll always want to
return to speed.

>	Then we needed the A-1 Skyraider in Vietnam
>because our fast new jets had neither the loiter time nor the accuracy.
>Hmmm...I see a pattern.

Actually we needed an aircraft to supply the third world local forces
that could be easily maintained and compatible with their previous
experience. The US forces flying A-1s were predominantly in the MAAG
role. The only exception was Sandy, and the issue there was
compatibility with the escorted Jolly.

To verify the argument, ask yourself which aircraft had the "loiter
time" and "accuracy" to deliver munitions downtown.

>Wanna know what plane makes for the best CAS? Ask the guys on the ground,
>they'll tell you.

Absolutely correct. The guys on the ground in SEA generally said the
best CAS came from the first available aircraft. In some instances,
particularly at night, that meant gunships that could stay overhead
for hours. At other times it was response time which meant
fast-movers. Still other instances required accuracy and there you
might find preferences for A-7D/E, or A-6. Some guys will even tell
you the best CAS came from Arc Light.

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: The A-10's competitiveness (no, not the missing A-10)
Date: Thu, 01 May 1997 15:23:01 GMT (Warthog52) wrote:

>There's been a lot of talk about the missing A-10, but let's get to a real
>issue concerning it, now.
>The U.S. Air Force is moving to retire the A-10, sighting that the F-16
>can do a better job, but the F-16 can hardly offer the same close air
>support role.  It can only loiter for 15 minutes and doesn't have the same
>survivability as the F-16.

How long an aircraft loiters is dependent on a lot of factors,
including range, operational radius and combat load. Suffice it to say
that your assertion that an F-16 can loiter only 15 minutes is
incorrect. Given differences in transit time, the available play time
for the two aircraft can be quite similar.

>But does the A-10s slow speed and old age justify its eventual retirement?
> It can carry a massive amount of ordinance, and the Gatling gun is, if
>anything, a major morale crusher to the enemy.

The gun is "neat" but it isn't the primary weapon--that remains the
function of Maverick. And, until you've seen an F-16 do a stand-off
toss of a free fall weapon from three miles into an 8 x 8 foot plywood
target you probably won't appreciate the accuracy of the system.

One major item overlooked in the arguments is the distinction between
armor "plinking" and CAS. Recall that the most unlikely candidate for
anti-armor in DS was the F-111, clearly a fast mover and decidely less
maneuverable than the Viper.

Also note that troops in contact are supported by a variety of arms
ranging from division/corps artillery assets to organic weapons such
as mortars to Army aviation units to fixed wing. Application of the
GAU-8 may  be "demoralizing" to the enemy but may not be as effective
as anti-PAM weapons like CBU variants delivered accurately.

And never discount the necessary time to transit to the target area.

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: A-10 Replacement
Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 15:41:27 GMT (MCZAND) wrote:

>I suggest the guy who said that the speed of the aircraft has no bearing
>on ability to hit a ground target take a basketball, stand in the bed of a
>truck, strap himself to something, and then try to sink a basket while
>moving at 60 mph.  An even more accurate scenario, would have him trying
>to hit a baseball with a bat at that speed.  Any physicist, mathmatician,
>or engineer would tell him that probability of seeing or hitting a target
>goes down as speed increases.  In effect, the size of the target appears
>to shrink as speed goes up if I remember correctly, and I am not talking
>about Einsteins stuff.

I'm the guy. Let me suggest that if you don't survive the target run
you don't get bombs on target today or tomorrow.

Sure, going slow will let you see more, but that ignores the
capability of modern aircraft. Give an F-16 an eight digit GEOREF and
the odds are he can put a Mk-82 in the basket without overflying the
target (or ever even seeing it.) Put a spot on the target and any
aircraft that can carry a PGM will hit it regardless of speed.

Physicists, mathematicians and engineers never get the opportunity to
die in combat. They don't usually fly in tactical aircraft, they don't
have a clue about the arena, they don't recognize that a 65%
probability of mission survival is undesireable. Fighter pilots are
professionals who are trained to do the job and will find a way to get
it done.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, the lapel pins and the
membership in the elite organizations.

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: A-10 Replacement
Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 13:54:38 GMT (Curt Handsaker) wrote:

>	Why, if the USAF is so good at CAS, did Army grunts request USMC
>close air support whenever possible in Korea and Vietnam?

That is what is know in debate as an "asserted conclusion." It isn't
factual merely because it was stated as a fact.

Army units that request air support get whatever is available. It is
the function of the FSCO at the TOC. They might get artillery, either
organic or corps, they might get aviation units and they might get
fast-movers. If they get tac-air, it might be USMC, but the odds are
pretty slim. In Vietnam, there were never more than a handful of MC
CAS assets in theater. This was pre-Harrier and the Marines were
flying A-4s in the CAS role and in the later years, the F-4S.

I don't know if you have ever been on the ground and in-contact, but
trust me, you won't be shopping for air among a menu of assets. You
will happily accept whatever you get.

>	Slow airspeed over the target area is nessecary to get a positive
>I.D. of the target.  This is esp. true when you're talking about a
>danger-close mission.

Absolutely false. The luxury of roaming at low airspeed over targets
for positive ID is extremely rare. You can use smoke (artillery,
mortar or hand-dropped) to designate the target--or your own position.
You can describe either by pilotage or lat-longs or GEOREF. You can
illuminate or you can provide a ded-reckoning heading and distance
from a known IP. "Danger-close" is an advisory call and definitely
important in defining what weapons can be employed and what tactics to
use, but it doesn't mandate slow and it doesn't mandate over-flight.

(Credibility check--I've been both tacair fighter pilot flying combat
CAS missions and a fully qualified close-control FAC/ALO with the 4th
Infantry Division.)

>	We need an aircraft designed for the job.  Not a dogfighter
>adapted to the role.

We can't afford specific narrow function aircraft that can't be
re-roled into other missions. We can get the job done with a
combination of aircraft, weapons, systems, tactics and proper

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: A-10 vs. Su-37, Guns Only
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 18:13:44 GMT

"Zorak" <> wrote:

>How do you think this match up would go? I know that the A-10 isn't a
>fighter, but it is very maneuverable, and since dogfights usually take place
>at slower speeds anyway, it's slow speed won't be much of a hindrance. Also,
>the A-10's Avenger cannon will tear the Su-37 to shreds, if it can hit it.
>Comments anyone?

The most likely scenario for a "fast mover" attacking an A-10 is to
simply blow through repeatedly with high angle gun shots then zoom up
to a perch position for a re-attack.

The defense of the Hog(s) will be to circle in a daisy-chain with the
members of the flight defending/occupying a deep six position for each
other. While circling the A-10s keep the gun pointed in a threatening
position for an attacker. The problem, however, is that the low energy
capacity of the A-10 makes it a 2-dimensional defender--it remains
mostly in the  horizontal plane.

The guns-only attacker simply maneuvers "out of plane" (which is the
best idea attacking any type of aircraft close in.)

What doesn't happen is a "knife fight" or close in manuevering
scissors where the straight wing airplane has good sustained turn

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

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