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"Attack" is an aircraft role that is filled by both airplanes and helicopters (the AH-1 Cobra and the AH-64 Apache both come to mind), but you don't hear about "Attack" helicopters so much as "Gunship" helicopters, probably due to their heritage involving transport helos loaded down with machine guns (the Cobra, for example, was originally a variant of the Huey, although I don't know if the two airframes still share any common parts).
In the area of airplanes, "Attack" usually just means "Light Bomber", with the implication that the aircraft will loiter over the battlefield (although in low-intensity conflicts, fighters and bombers will do the same). Honestly, in practice, an F-16 is just as much an attack aircraft as an A-10, lacking any enemy aircraft to engage. I've seen "Strike Fighter" used to describe fighter planes that also perform the bombing or attack roles, notionally being their own escorts.
So cab ranking CAS is still a thing then?
Considering they were relatively contemporaneous, can someone summarize how the F-14D Super Tomcat and the F/A-18E/Fnote I really, really, really hate this plane's name. Super Hornet compare to each other? In particular, I'm trying to figure out the likelihood of the former being held on to by the US Navy if the Cold War had not ended, since the subsequent changes in the US military caused by said event is a major reason why the Tomcat was phased out in favor of the Super Hornet.
Edited by MarqFJA on Aug 23rd 2019 at 3:10:50 PM
Well, the Super Tomcat concepts were never very well received. The one that competed with what would become the Super Hornet was both more expensive and had a significantly smaller performance envelope, on top of still relying on 60s-era technology. Even if funding had been unlimited I’m not sure why they would have purchased it. More likely they would have kept going with NATF.
The Tomcat was always primarily a fleet air defense aircraft, and that role gradually became something specialized aircraft weren’t really needed for.
Edited by archonspeaks on Aug 23rd 2019 at 6:23:50 AM
The F-14 is also a big plane with limited roles. Expensive too. One of the reasons for retiring the F-14 was to free up funding for amusingly enough, the even more limited F-35.
You know, funnily enough the Air Force has actually wargamed out F-35s vs. F-14s, since that’s a plausible matchup in the case of an invasion of Iran.
Here’s a hint: it doesn’t go well for the F-14.
Was that test an ultra-rigged one like several others they've caught scandal for? Like how allegedly the F-35 was "superior" to the A-10 in the ground attack mission because the A-10 had all kinds of hamstringing on it?
The F-35 is a more limited aircraft than the F-14 and I'm not talking dogfights. Less payload overall, less flight range, fewer air to air missiles, less capable radar and target acquisition, and much much slower. The F-35's stats in that regard are very ill-suited to Fleet Air Defense when compared to the F-14.
Are we just assuming that any test that produces a pro-Lightning result is rigged because narratives now?
Oh, the “ultra-rigged” fly-off? You mean the one POGO bitched wasn’t fair because no ground troops were there and the A-10 had to use real-world cannon loads? No offense, but POGO’s criticisms aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on when it comes to this topic.
As for the rest of that, let’s go down the list.
Weapons carriage: The F-14 can carry 14,500lbs across 10 hardpoints. The F-35C can carry 18,000lbs on six hardpoints and two internal bays.
Combat range: The F-14 has a combat range of 500-600mi, depending on configuration. The F-35 has a combat range of 700-800mi, depending on configuration.
Avionics: The F-14 uses the AN/AWG-9 radar set. It’s got a maximum range of 230mi, and can track 24 targets simultaneously. The F-35 uses the AN/APG-81 radar set, and though its abilities are currently entirely classified we know it’s an improved version of the F-22’s AN/APG-77, which has a maximum range exceeding 300mi and can track more than 40 targets simultaneously. Oh, and that’s not even including the massively expanded functionality modern AESA sets have over 70s vintage sets.
As far as maximum speed and AAM configurations, those two aren’t even directly comparable so it’s pretty much pointless bringing them up.
Edited by archonspeaks on Aug 23rd 2019 at 9:17:50 AM
...OK now I really want to hear this story because it sounds like a right tale.
After some quick googling, I believe that's referring to this (straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak), which is more or less summed up by this early bit...
But the Air Force scheduled just four days’ worth of tests at desert ranges in California and Arizona. And, according to sources closely associated with the fly-off, not a single event includes ground troops, or any kind of fluid combat situation, which means these tests are hardly representative of the missions a close air support aircraft has to perform.
And elaborated even further later...
I don't know about anyone else, but this looks like a rigged test.
Edited by MarqFJA on Aug 23rd 2019 at 7:35:03 PM
Not even close.
Do you know what we call live-fire tests like that? Live Fire Exercises, we do them several times a year.
Really the fact that the anti-air fire was so simplified is a huge point in the A-10's favor.
The A-10 is very slow and a very obvious target, it'd get mulched in a hostile airspace.
Oh, it is much worse than that. POGO really needs to do their homework a bit better.
Point one is bogus. The A-10 is notorious for a lack of endurance in anything other than gun only clean configurations and even then only if it is not making any attack runs at all. Once it does anything other than loitering orbits its endurance measures in minutes. Pretty much the same as every single jet fighter out there. Once they start making combat passes on anything their endurance drops quite sharply and is entirely dependant on how they have to make the passes.
Point Two is complete bullshit. We haven't even attempted to put the F-35's through their paces and the A-10's number of sorties is strictly limited to access afforded by logistics just like literally every single other aircraft out there. Sorties per day unless actual maintenance is needed are determined by re-arm, refuel, and refit times which is largely a function of ground crew and preparation. The F-35 won't be any different. They literally made this shit up.
Point Three has been done consistently since before the first Gulf War. Strike aircraft consistently make strikes at that altitude for the express purpose of avoiding most SHORAD threats. A-10's "durability" to enemy fire at low altitude is more exaggeration than reality and have been knocked out in one shot by lightweight SHORAD and MANPAD Missiles. Even far larger armored aircraft like earlier variants of the AC-130 gunship has been shot down by lightweight SHORAD missiles. Armor on aircraft has been superfluous for a long time. The A-10 does not offer any unique capability here.
Point Four is more of the same bogus material and lies by omission. Troops aren't calling for guns the most, the overwhelming call is for PGM strikes in the form of guided bombs, guided artillery, guided MLRS rockets, and missiles in general and we even have an increasingly growing selection of guided munitions that can be used at what would be danger close range or in built-up areas. Which by the way is also slowly including more of those for use on the A-10. They also carry dumb munitions all the time and the A-10 does not always carry the guided bombs especially when operating at higher altitudes where the aircraft struggles. We still use dumb bombs on our other crafts as well. This isn't a unique situation. However, the F-35 has a strike against it here. The craft is built to be a PGM truck and in my opinion, maybe a bit over-reliant on guided munitions. But again POGO drops the ball.
The gun ammo load argument is also bogus. The gun has a burst limiter built into limiting how many shots go out to a certain max with each trigger pull. In the first A-10 Gun Efficacy tests conducted in 1978 and again in 1979 the craft carried and fired fewer rounds one very test array than that and managed to score some meaningful hits. IF they were truly confident of the A-10's supposed efficacy with its gun, then they should be fully confident of it generating better results against softer targets with a larger ammo load. The A-10 averages about 10-20 shots for a single low altitude pass for best accuracy. The supposed more effective A-10 would have had enough ammo for close to 15-20 passes on average. Yeah POGO not doing their research again and water is wet.
Point Five is utter bullshit. That equipment is used all the time in Red Flag exercises, its called the actual ADA systems using their tracking radar and other equipment to simulate firing on targets. This has been common practice since AA radars became common. Which you know is over half a century of common practice. Modern equipment is a lot better than the old kit. MANPAD's have such systems as well and are frequently part of White Sands testing. Really they were too damn lazy to look that up. It is basically something akin to miles gear. Short of actually shooting at the aircraft, a test the A-10 has several incidents where it has failed including getting tagged by a MANPAD, it is a bit difficult to go beyond that. Modern missiles are actually pretty damn lethal. Again POGO offering literal fabrications.
Point Six is incredibly stupid both craft benefit equally from that scheme and anyone trying insist they can accurately ID less visible targets while zooming by at a few hundred miles an hour at a few hundred feet up is pretty much spouting pure bullshit. The same claims were made by lower and slower flying prop aircraft fighter jocks in WWII. Which turned out to be wildly inaccurate. The A-10 isn't going to be doing much better. Instrumentation and targeting/tracking equipment, however, helps a lot more than eyeballing it. Guess which aircraft is carrying the superior tracking and targeting equipment, it isn't the A-10. Anyone with google earth has the luxury of spending minutes looking at the same patch of ground to find the vehicles in a static situation. Jet aircraft of all varieties do not have such a luxury. This is a very poor comparison and the statement reflects a lack of reality-based knowledge on the part of the writer of these "points".
If we were to take all these points at face value the A-10 is a failure as well and the US has access to other craft that can just as easily do the same job better.
POGO has a long track record with a distinct lack of honesty and lies by omission on damn near anything military they touch.
Edited by TuefelHundenIV on Aug 24th 2019 at 11:16:38 AM
... OK, now I am left with the big question of what could folks like POGO possibly get out of lying like that.
It's politics. It's also recognition and personal power if they can succeed. Like pretty much any organization that attempts to influence the government most are after some sort of personal power and authority. Its why you should be wary of what comes out of the Pentagon as well. POGO does do good work in other areas and is surprisingly deft at finding orgs hiding money sinks that benefit someone privately or oddball purchasing schemes. That gives them some authority and weight in politics. The military itself is a big target that is somewhat at the whim of public opinion.
Its the same kind of crap like out of what happened with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. It was almost all politics and very little actual form or function. Some of what happened to the Cheyenne attack helicopter was politics the rest was time ran out for its design.
Edited by TuefelHundenIV on Aug 24th 2019 at 3:27:03 AM
POGO hasn’t printed an honest word on the DoD in a very long time. It’s half political jostling and half a serious lack of understanding on military matters. The F-35 is their favorite punching bag for obvious reasons.
Edited by archonspeaks on Aug 24th 2019 at 7:56:28 AM
Because its a well deserved punching bag.
Of course, same as every tactical aircraft before it. But it’s not like they’re attacking it on its merits, it’s just the same applause lines every time for true believers to eat up.
At this point, regurgitating the same PRATTs on the topic shows more about the speaker’s convictions than it does about the material. And POGO’s convictions are highly suspect when it comes to the military.
Edited by archonspeaks on Aug 24th 2019 at 9:12:52 AM
Marq: A single yappy general who literally had next to no knowledge about actual armor tactics, armored vehicle design, or armored combat but was merely a well connected USAF twerp kept trying to sabotage the program and to a certain extent succeeded. He was almost singlehandedly responsible for time and cost overruns to do testing that wasn't needed and very expensive redesigns that notably altered how the vehicle was used. The Bradley was originally supposed to be an American BMP, including amphibious and a good degree of air mobility as an air-droppable asset. By the time the well-connected yahoo had finished the program had hit time and cost overruns and was now so heavily armored, it was no longer amphibious without special kits. They are still air-droppable but are a hefty vehicle. The trade-off was it is now a surprisingly well-protected IFV.
The Cheyenne had the USAF trying to have an absolute monopoly an any and all aircraft including rotary wing units but the US Army and Marines were interested in developing their own organic air support elements as the USAF was being strategic bomber focussed and letting the CAS role degrade a bit too much. The Cheyenne had two things against it. The first was the USAF politicking producing a long and expensive delay in its development and testing. However, the other issue was the analog systems that the Cheyenne helicopter had been using were dated and already being replaced with new digital systems. Throw in some testing hiccups and design issues and it was pretty much doomed.
Both instances were more about politics than actual functional changes as the various issues weren't issues based on the intent of use or were flaws that further development could have quite likely addressed. The Cheyenne hit a tech jump at the worst time for it and it was pretty much the final nail in the coffin. The Bradley would have been functional in a role similar to the BMP but the trade-off is actually decent as it is one of best armored IFV's currently fielded short of modified tank hulls. There are several other examples if you spend enough time digging through the developmental histories especially for any big-ticket items.
The waters get really muddied when the contractor lobbyists get involved and the politicians looking for pork-barrel items for their states want to pick a fight to get it.
Edited by TuefelHundenIV on Aug 25th 2019 at 4:31:15 AM
POGO is not to be trusted on military matters - they predicted that the M1 would fail in Desert Storm. They are part of the reason the F-22 stopped at 187 fighters.
Again with these acronyms. Is there a dictionary somewhere listing all their meanings?
Google military acronyms. I use it on a regular basis and it works out pretty decently.
Edited by TuefelHundenIV on Aug 25th 2019 at 4:32:09 AM
Regarding the F-35 vs F-14 radar sets, don't both aircraft use the E-2 Hawkeye anyways? Neither aircraft is designed nor intended to operate a vacuum (and not only because neither aircraft actually can operate in a vacuum). Even the famously rugged A-10 was never intended to bulldog its way into defended enemy airspace until fast-movers like the F-4 and F-16 preceded it and set about the day's business of poking enemy Anti-Air assets in the eyes.
Which brings me to a related question, does Iran have an AWACS platform? I honestly don't know, but wouldn't be that surprised if they had some sort of solution for shoehorning a search radar and a gaggle of air controllers into a transport plane.
Edited by AFP on Aug 29th 2019 at 6:42:58 AM
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