Lockheed SR-71B newest resurrected

Interesting article on how the Blackbird could have been dragged out of retirement, post 9/11 ...... At the time it was only shy of a decade retired and NASA Dryden / Armstrong Flight Center only retired them in late 90s. At the time think the top brass that decided it should be retired were ver much anti Blackbird anyhow.

This kinda of blows the theory on the mythical Aurora

cheers

 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
Interesting article on how the Blackbird could have been dragged out of retirement, post 9/11 ...... At the time it was only shy of a decade retired and NASA Dryden / Armstrong Flight Center only retired them in late 90s. At the time think the top brass that decided it should be retired were ver much anti Blackbird anyhow.

This kinda of blows the theory on the mythical Aurora

cheers

I think at the time the 'fighter' TAC pilots took over USAF from the old SAC guys, and wanted lots of fast pointy things and to bin the A10.
 
I think at the time the 'fighter' TAC pilots took over USAF from the old SAC guys, and wanted lots of fast pointy things and to bin the A10.
Yeah, because the A-10 is a bit sh!t. Slow, lacking in EW, lacking in sensors, lacking a datalink, far from low-observable - and at the time it was daylight only.

During GRANBY it was outperformed as a tank-killer by the F-111; and outperformed as a ground-attack platform by the F-16. Having armour isn't much use if it just means that you get seen coming, and hit a lot as you hang around. Show all the pictures you like of colander-like A-10s, it got shot down at four times the rate of the F-16, while doing the same job - which is why it got called back from BAI tasks to only doing CAS before the ground war started.

Still, b1g GuNz r k3wl.
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
Yeah, because the A-10 is a bit sh!t. Slow, lacking in EW, lacking in sensors, lacking a datalink, far from low-observable - and at the time it was daylight only.

During GRANBY it was outperformed as a tank-killer by the F-111; and outperformed as a ground-attack platform by the F-16. Having armour isn't much use if it just means that you get seen coming, and hit a lot as you hang around. Show all the pictures you like of colander-like A-10s, it got shot down at four times the rate of the F-16, while doing the same job - which is why it got called back from BAI tasks to only doing CAS before the ground war started.

Still, b1g GuNz r k3wl.
How many F16s were deployed against A10s?
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
I think at the time the 'fighter' TAC pilots took over USAF from the old SAC guys, and wanted lots of fast pointy things and to bin the A10.
The A-10's been in service since 1977. If the USAF wanted to bin it off, they've done a spectacularly bad job of doing so.

Tactical Air Command took over from the SACumcisers starting in the late 1960s and were ardent believers in close air support; pushing for the A-X project that became the A-10 (to replace the A-1 Skyraider), but also buying a more capable, higher-performance CAS aircraft for higher threat environments (ironically, the A-7E, that was gone by the early 1990s) and fighting off the "not a pound for air-to-ground" excesses of John Boyd and his acolytes, which is why the F-16 and F-15E are highly capable strike and CAS assets (ironically Boyd claimed doing so 'ruined' the F-16)

Ironically, back in 1994, during the innocent days of the Peace Dividend, the USAF offered the US Army the A-10 on a plate - they turned it down flat....
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Ironically, back in 1994, during the innocent days of the Peace Dividend, the USAF offered the US Army the A-10 on a plate - they turned it down flat....
Are you sure about that? Sounds like a huge violation of the Key West Agreement and, after the attack helicopters fiasco, the USAF are hugely aware of the need to chop camels' noses off.....
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
How many F16s were deployed against A10s?
251 F-16s were deployed, compared to 148 A-10s.

The A-10s flew 8,640 sorties. Six A-10s were lost and fourteen damaged.
The F-16s flew 11,698 sorties, with three F-16s lost and four damaged.

So, an A-10 was lost for every 1440 sorties flown; compared to an F-16 lost for every 3899 sorties; A-10s were shot down at nearly three times the rate of F-16s, and damaged nearly five times more often.

Worse, this was despite the A-10s being pulled off the more dangerous target sets, like the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard units (which had a lot of battlefield air defence protecting them) and limited for most of Desert Storm to the "kill boxes" along the Saudi border (that other aircraft used to expend any remaining ordnance after their missions).

General Chuck Horner, the 'Air Boss' in Desert Storm, described in an Air Force Magazine interview (June 1991) how:-

The other problem is that the A-10 is vulnerable to hits because its speed is limited. It's a function of thrust, it's not a function of anything else. We had a lot of A-10s take a lot of ground fire hits. Quite frankly, we pulled the A-10s back from going up around the Republican Guard and kept them on Iraq's [less formidable] front-line units. That's line [sic] if you have a force that allows you to do that. In this case, we had F-16s to go after the Republican Guard.
So the F-16s took much lower losses, despite hitting the targets that the A-10s found too dangerous.
 
The A-10's been in service since 1977. If the USAF wanted to bin it off, they've done a spectacularly bad job of doing so.
They did however, manage to shift all but 3 fighter sqns (and some OT&E units) to the Air Force Reserve and ANG.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Are you sure about that? Sounds like a huge violation of the Key West Agreement and, after the attack helicopters fiasco, the USAF are hugely aware of the need to chop camels' noses off.....
As described here:- (2003 Washington Post interview with Merill McPeak)

A decade ago, while serving as Air Force chief of staff, I went quietly to my Army counterpart, Gordy Sullivan, and proposed that we make a trade: swap the Air Force's primary close air support aircraft, the A-10, for the Army's theater air defense missile, the Patriot. Had he agreed, Sullivan and I would have faced bitter opposition from within our own services and probably could not have pulled it off. But I thought it worth a try, because the result would have been much-improved integration of these two critical mission areas -- close air support and theater air defense. In any case, Sullivan gave me the cold shoulder, claiming the Army could not afford to operate the A-10.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
They did however, manage to shift all but 3 fighter sqns (and some OT&E units) to the Air Force Reserve and ANG.
Considering the USAF had just bought 700-odd airframes specifically for "the next Vietnam" just as the popular and political mood was "no more Vietnams!", that made a definite sort of sense.

Using A-10s over the Central Front in Europe was the same sort of desperation measure as our hanging Sidewinders on Hawk trainers and using them to supplement UK air defence - it was "we've got them, might as well use them" rather than "this is a good and well-thought-through plan"...
 
Considering the USAF had just bought 700-odd airframes specifically for "the next Vietnam" just as the popular and political mood was "no more Vietnams!", that made a definite sort of sense.

Using A-10s over the Central Front in Europe was the same sort of desperation measure as our hanging Sidewinders on Hawk trainers and using them to supplement UK air defence - it was "we've got them, might as well use them" rather than "this is a good and well-thought-through plan"...
There was, of course, also the factor that Fairchild were at risk of going bust in the days before companies in bother were simply hoovered up by Boeing, Lockheed or Northrop/Northrop Grumman. Or BAE...

Also, the A-7D vs YA-10 fly off didn't produce quite the results the A-10's proponents claim, namely complete superiority for the A-10. The latter was better in certain scenarios - very low level, gun runs on tanks, but many of the issues with the aircraft which have been discussed on Arrse before were hinted at in the trials - the pilots who flew them (with operational experience of CAS using F-100s and F-4s in Vietnam) concluded that there was no clear winner and that the two aircraft complemented one another.

It was also noted that the A-7, which had an autopilot and excellent weapons-delivery systems for the time was better suited to operating in the lousy weather likely to be found in Northern Europe.

Indeed, some cynics suggested that the fly-off was designed to see whether the A-7 could fly like an A-10, rather than which of the two airframes met the requirement. When the answer was, in effect, 'both are useful' the USAF concluded that buying the new aeroplane (which was what Congress wanted them to do) and handing the A-7s over to the ANG to replace the older attack aircraft which were in use (the F-100 and a squadron of F-105Ds). The size of Aerospace Defense Command was also drawn down in the mid-1970s, and the ANG F-102 and F-104 (Puerto Rico ANG) squadrons were re-roled with TAC using the A-7.

Again, a cynical interpretation is that had the USAF decided that the A-7 was the better bet, there'd have been a political storm, the Army would've complained about not taking CAS seriously, and - worst of all - the ANG would've been getting brand new aeroplanes while USAF units flew older aircraft (which, horror of horrors, were derived from a USN aeroplane). The desire to have a mixed fleet of A-7s and A-10s was suppressed and the A-7s sent off to the Guard.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
There was, of course, also the factor that Fairchild were at risk of going bust in the days before companies in bother were simply hoovered up by Boeing, Lockheed or Northrop/Northrop Grumman. Or BAE...

Also, the A-7D vs YA-10 fly off didn't produce quite the results the A-10's proponents claim, namely complete superiority for the A-10. The latter was better in certain scenarios - very low level, gun runs on tanks, but many of the issues with the aircraft which have been discussed on Arrse before were hinted at in the trials - the pilots who flew them (with operational experience of CAS using F-100s and F-4s in Vietnam) concluded that there was no clear winner and that the two aircraft complemented one another.

It was also noted that the A-7, which had an autopilot and excellent weapons-delivery systems for the time was better suited to operating in the lousy weather likely to be found in Northern Europe.

Indeed, some cynics suggested that the fly-off was designed to see whether the A-7 could fly like an A-10, rather than which of the two airframes met the requirement. When the answer was, in effect, 'both are useful' the USAF concluded that buying the new aeroplane (which was what Congress wanted them to do) and handing the A-7s over to the ANG to replace the older attack aircraft which were in use (the F-100 and a squadron of F-105Ds). The size of Aerospace Defense Command was also drawn down in the mid-1970s, and the ANG F-102 and F-104 (Puerto Rico ANG) squadrons were re-roled with TAC using the A-7.

Again, a cynical interpretation is that had the USAF decided that the A-7 was the better bet, there'd have been a political storm, the Army would've complained about not taking CAS seriously, and - worst of all - the ANG would've been getting brand new aeroplanes while USAF units flew older aircraft (which, horror of horrors, were derived from a USN aeroplane). The desire to have a mixed fleet of A-7s and A-10s was suppressed and the A-7s sent off to the Guard.
Indeed. The USAF arguably had nothing to better the A-7 until the F-16 came along.

The A-10? Curate's egg.
 

Latest Threads

Top