C-model A-10 takes first flight

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Trip_Wire, Aug 14, 2006.

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  1. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    C-model A-10 takes first flight

    http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=123009707

    by 1st Lt. James Madeiros
    96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

    1/28/2005 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- The newly designated C-model A-10 Thunderbolt II, modified with precision engagement technology, was flown for the first time here recently by a 40th Flight Test Squadron pilot.

    Precision-engagement technology allows the Air Forces premier close-air support aircraft to also use smart weapons such as Joint Direct Attack Munitions and wind-corrected munitions dispensers, incapable in the previous model, officials said.

    We have taken the worlds greatest close-air support platform and made it even better by adding a wide array of laser and Global Positioning System-aided munitions, the latest in targeting pods and the infrastructure to support data link, said Maj. Michael Rawls, the pilot who made the flight.

    The increased capability also allows for the A-10C to accept more high-value target missions.

    Despite some speculation into whether to retire the A-10 in full or in part in years past, its performance in recent conflicts and its program enhancements make it an invaluable part of the Air Force fleet, officials said.

    The A-10 provides a ground commander with a capability no other platform can in terms of survivability, loiter time and array of weapons, Major Rawls said. Bottom line, it means (it) is here to stay for awhile.

    For those who have seen an A-10, the new model looks identical from the outside because the modifications are largely in the software and cockpit hardware. The appearance would be different, though, when loaded with a new array of munitions. The new capability will enable the A-10C to carry six smart munitions, with a standard load of four, Maj. Rawls said.

    Although it has not yet flown with a new payload including smart munitions, Maj. Rawls said he felt that the modifications had not affected the performance of the aircraft.

    The modification moved the center of gravity slightly forward in the aircraft, but it was not distinguishable,he said. The jet handled very well.

    The estimated $300 million program has been a joint Air Force and industry effort that leaders said they believe will breathe yet more life into the 30-year-old aircraft.

    We are moving the A-10 into the 21st century with the capability to deliver the latest precision-guided weapons to the battlefield, said Col. Robert Nolan, 46th Test Wing commander.
     
  2. Oh. Does that mean it can actually fly in the dark, now? Because it couldn't before. Now colour me cynical, but I think something that doesn't work 50% of the battle is a bit sh*t.

    "World's greatest", b*llocks. Typical meaningless marketing rubbish.
     
  3. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    Let's get someting straight here Gravelbelly, TW did not write this article! The article was written by the Chap below!

    'by 1st Lt. James Madeiros
    96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs"

    If you have a better aircraft for CAS, please name it! I know no better CAS and especially a tank buster then the A-10 old or new.

    I would be very happy to have an A-10, show up if I was in need of CAS!
     
  4. To be fair, it has flown operations in the dark. During Desert Storm, the pilots improvised, using the seekers on their IIR Mavericks as a form of night vision gear (obviously, once they'd expended the weapons, they were blind), following which the USAF added NVG capability to the aircraft in about 1992.
     
  5. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    Dont forget the MILAN cannot fire when it is foggy either.... I remembe stood on a hilltop on the plain once on a cold wet foggy night listening to the range officer muttering, just you watch this, hoo hoo its gonna be great, any minute now, yes siree, you are going to like this oh yeah just you watch this hoo hoo and so on...for three sodding hours! An anti tank missile designed to be used on the north german plain....which can get rather foggy....
     
  6. Then why bother, if all you're going to post is someone else's blurb? To wit, where's the "value added"? Where's the analysis, or personal opinion in light of experience? Why should we want to read a USAF non-pilot 1st Lt's opinion on the A-10?

    I mean, it's not as if it makes said 1Lt look narrow-minded, oooh no.

    How about, oooh, gasp, anything that is properly equipped for night warfare - maybe a Harrier? Or an F-16? How about a B-52 and JDAM? Or perhaps an AH-64? What's doing the bulk of CAS in Afghanistan these days?

    There are other aircraft that can carry as many weapons, can turn up faster, have better sensor packages, better accuracy, and better situational awareness.

    But selling an aircraft on the basis that it has a BiG k3wl Gun that has to come within VSHORAD range to get a hit and can only take on one AFV per pass, sorry, no dice. And selling it on its undoubted ability to soak up fire, great, but remind me why it has to do that? Something about a rather crap ECM fit and poor speed in and out of the threat area?

    If nothing else is available, I'm sure it's incredibly welcome. But then, if nothing else was available, I'd happily take a Typhoon (either version)....

    But you want to be careful about offering unreserved support for the A-10, especially after two cowboys in A-10s went and misidentified WARRIOR as BMP, and caused about half of the UK's deaths during DESERT STORM.

    It would be like posting a "The USANG and the F-16 make for great BAI" on a Canadian website, or "The EA-6B: a wonderful low-level aircraft, flown by true professionals" on an Italian ski-resort site.
     
  7. In this day and age i wish we'd spent that Typhoon money on the AC130 spectre gunships the sceptics have.

    Night capable and with a howitzer hovering over head within about 20 seconds of radio call to splash i'd take one of them over the Typhoon anyday and over the A10 as well. The descriptions of there use in Dusty Warriors is astounding and in todays mainly infantry v infantry operations needing precise fire on fleeting targets (mortars setting up, RPGs preparing ambushes) i cant see how a Spectre couldnt be useful.


    But a dream is all it will be and at least the sceptics let us work with theirs occasionally
     
  8. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    Gravelbelly:

    Perhaps, you haven't noticed, my background is an an Infantryman, Ranger and Special Forces operator. The last time I had CAS, or needed it was from a USMC Corsair, which did a VERY fine job, BTW. So, in view of this, I don't feel I can speak with any authority, on the subject, other then as an Infantry observer, on the ground.

    Are you a military pilot? Flown the A-10? If so, I'll take your word for whatever; however, if not, I'll accept what the US Air Force has to say about its own aircraft. BTW: I see nothing from the manufacture in the article. Most of the data was quoted from the test pilot who flew the aircraft, not the Lt. or other people.

    I have not flown any military aircraft, although I do have a Private pilots license, which because of the expense, I seldom use. So, for me to start talking about the technicial aspects of the A-10 or any other current warbird, would be rather dumb. I posted ithe article here as general information, for those interested in general military aviation. Not as my opinion of the A-10, although, I do happen to think it is a great aircraft, for what it was designed to do, and these improvements should make it even better!

    Note: I do have frequent contact, with Special Forces Operators in both Afganistan and Iraq, whom speak highly, of the A-10 as an CAS aircraft. They are very happy with the aircraft!

    I'm sure that the good Lt.'s remarks were written and cleared by the proper authorities prior to its release. He was just parroting a AF news release and the test pilots remarks there in.

    As for your comments on the Blue on Blue incidents, are you blaming the aircraft? If so, don't you think that is just a little far out! It's like blaming a gun for killing people... it isn't the platform, its the man behind the trigger.. better known, as pilot error in this case? You'll note that the aircraft A-10 or F-16 wasn't put on trail, it was the pilots!

    I sense, a sort of blackcloud attitude on your part, because of the loss of Brit's and Canadians through Blue on Blue incidents, etc. Were you straffed or bombed by the USAF? If so, I'm sorry. They have bombed Americans as well. We all know, this happens in war time and I'm sure it has happened to the RAF, etc. as well. What is it some Yank General said? War is hell! (Sherman.)
     
  9. If the casualties were caused by teh Aircraft not having sufficient capabilities at the pilots disposal then the Pilots fault is lessened than if the plane was able to give him all the information.

    - Im not entirely clear on the circumstances but the two premises can co-exist.
     
  10. U-F-F, the problem with the AC-130 is its vulnerability to MANPADS, despite the clever DASS and the like it carries. This has largely restricted its operations to the hours of darkness. One of them stayed on beyond dawn to provide support to a USMC formation during Desert Storm and collected an SA-7 (IIRC) in an engine. The aircraft went down with the loss of most of the crew, sadly.

    There were complaints from US troops in Fallujah that the AC-130s were largely reserved for night-only work, and rarely used in daylight. Harriers and F-16s were therefore used. The USAF is now working on directed energy weapons - I kid you not - for its follow-on gunship programme (which could be another AC-130 variant), and this will - in theory - allow it to stand off outside MANPADs and SHORAD range if you believe the various spotter-based open source material available on this.
     
  11. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    Whats 'teh' Gadfly? (Or is it the 'Skate Board Kid?')

    If you are a USAF pilot or any Countries military pilot, you perform the mission you are assigned, with the aircraft they assign you to use. You as the pilot, have no real control of how it might be equipped, except for may be, minor control, of what weapons you might carry, to accomplish the mission. You do the mission with what you have, not what you wished you had.

    You know, I think, I should have used this Gad Fly (gadflies) site to compare you to. It fits you better!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse-fly
     
  12. "I cannot identify the target there are friendly forces in the area, so put the kettle on Im coming back"

    VS

    "I cannot identify the target there are friendly forces in the area, put the kettle on - Im just going to waste them first"
     
  13. I will apologise for not being an aviator, but I do get a bad case of shouting "the Emperor has no clothes!" when someone says that aircraft X was the "world's greatest" before modification, particularly when it's something as cheap and cheerful as the A-10. Don't get me wrong, it's simple, rugged, and it works, but "world's greatest"? Please.

    Try the 1997 version of the Pilot's Notes (.pdf) , and look at page 57: a handy guide about how to use insulating tape to make your A-10 NVG compatible.

    Now, why would "the world's greatest CAS aircraft" not be NVG capable? In 1997?

    And as for the rest, try the USAF wish list for improving the A-10

    Notable "things they want" are: a JTIDS fit. A missile warning system. Some form of automation for chaff/flare dispensers (currently, it's manual: pilot hears warning, pilot decides what to deploy). A targetting pod (even Jaguar could fly TIALD). The ability to fire an AAM.

    There are plenty of CAS aircraft out there which have some or all of those abilities. Kind of dents the "greatest" claim.

    A100016 states why it wants a digital terrain map: "DTS will significantly improve weapons accuracy through PR and target elevation data due to A/OA-10’s lack of any other means to determine the bombing triangle slant range to the target. Provides increased coordinate accuracy by eliminating elevation errors. Current system (Radar Altimeter) treats the earth as a flat plane; this modification provides a new capability to the A/OA-10 significantly improving system effectiveness."

    Now if bomb accuracy is woolly enough to allow for "significant improvement", the "best" claim looks suspicious. Particularly as if it suggests that the A-10 bomb sights can't cope with anything much beyond a flat desert (hmmm..... mountains, Afghanistan, there's a thought).

    Finally, to address your point that "I posted the article here as general information, for those interested in general military aviation" then why post something that is 18 months out of date and hopelessly biased? (The press release is dated January 2005). My original criticism of the post, that it's marketing bullsh*t, stands...
     
  14. So have they fitted software to make sure they don't destroy our Warriors? God forbid the US forces should do vehicle recognition.
    However, not doubting the capability of the aircraft - would rather have one of them on my side (with a capable pilot) than trying to smear my insides over the interior of the vehicle.
     
  15. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP