Here we go again…

The air farce is, as usual, playing games to get their precious F-35 through large scale procurement… The supposed fly off between the A-10 and F-35… Yeah, right…

A close air support test should involve large numbers of ground troops in a highly fluid combat simulation in varied terrain, across many days. It should test the pilot’s ability to spot targets from the air in a chaotic and ever-changing situation. The test should also include a means of testing the program’s ability to fly several sorties a day, because combat doesn’t pause to wait for airplanes to become available.


Air Force leaders came up with a simple solution to this dilemma. They are staging an unpublicized, quickie test on existing training ranges, creating unrealistic scenarios that presuppose an ignorant and inert enemy force, writing ground rules for the tests that make the F-35 look good—and they got the new testing director, the retired Air Force general Robert Behler, to approve all of it.

Full article, HERE at

Anybody with two brain cells to rub together know the F-35 cannot perform CAS at anything approaching the level of the A-10, especially when you take away all the fancy electronics and JTAGC directing them…

The F-35B (Marine VSTOL variant), loses over 30% of its fuel capacity, can’t load most bombs, and STILL is not combat capable. Which is ONE of the reasons, the other being F-18Cs falling apart, that the Marines are continuing to fly/support the AV-8Bs for at least a few more years.

The Navy is actually building more F-18s, ‘just in case’…

Reminds me of the ‘Navy’ F-111s that were delivered so McNamara could say the F-111 was a multiservice aircraft. Yeah, right…

Kicking the soap box back in the corner, and looking for my BP meds. Come on Trump, drain the damn swamp!!!


Here we go again… — 38 Comments

  1. CAS also implies the other guy is shooting back. I’ve seen the A-10 pics of returning with battle damage. I can make a good estimate of the F-35 controlled damage experiments. CDE, aircraft LFTE results show suitability and survivability. My guess isn’t kind: retired general, have a seat in the cockpit section while the 30mm challenge is tested. No?

    Hey AF, here’s a thought. Is it really that much more costly to build separate fighters, attack aircraft, and CAS aircraft?

  2. The Air Farce never wanted the A-10, only the ground pounders and hog drivers love it. The whole F-35 program is reminiscent of the F-111, AKA “Flying Edsel,” debacle.

  3. Let’s see now. We have a platform that works, and works well. Obviously it has to go.

  4. How long can a F-35 stay on station?
    How much ordnance can it carry?

    And most important, can it make this sound?

    I rest my case.

  5. What do you call it when the Air Force is trying to kill off the A-10? That’s just another day ending in “-day”.

  6. Too many people at the top of the Air Force like shiney new toys.

    In the 1970’s they tried to replace the C-130 with either the C-14 or C-15. In 1976 CINC MAC promised an all jet (turbojet) airlift force. The C-130 is still here with some good upgrades, the YC-14 is in the bone yard and the YC-15 was scaled up to become the C-17 (after it went to the bone yard). (Disclaimer: I am a former C-130 pilot.)

    In the late 1980’s, the AF (Reserve and National Guard) built two YA -7F’s, another CAS aircraft. They flew them off against F-16’s. The A-7F out performed the F-16. The YA-7F’s are at museums. Also to note, no AF A-7’s were used in Desert Shield/Desert Storm though thugh the Navy used theirs.

  7. The Air Force doesn’t need to fly A-10’s anymore.

    The solution is SIMPLE.

    Transfer them to the US Army and the US Marine Corps.

    The USAF can claim the air space between the close support aircraft and space…that’s not over water.

    • Too sensible. If the Navy can live with the Army having more hulls, surely the Air Force can live with the Army operating their own airborne artillery.

      Budgets? How cheaper is the A-10 to operate than an Apache helicopter?

    • If I recall correctly, when the A-10 was first developed, the USAF wanted to kill it. It was too slow, to ugly and too unsexy for fighter jocks. The Army replied in essence, we need this aircraft and if you won’t fly it we will, remember you flyboys were once the ARMY Air Forces. The threat of loosing budget and personnel to the Army trumped the humiliation of having to fly low and slow. The AF brass has hated the A-10 ever since.

    • Could you land the A-10 on a carrier? I would guess the only problem if it could would be the lack of folding wing tips. In the last year or two I have seen some noise about building an updated version of the A-10 with 40+ years of improvement in technologies used. Just put folding wing tips on it so it can go on the hanger decks.

      I think the biggest problem from voiding the Key West Agreement as discussed below would be that the Army would like to take it all back over. Airpower is “just” an extension of artillery and logistics isn’t it? And the Navy would like the control of the nuclear forces that they lost in the agreement.

    • The Air Force is terrified that the ghost of Billy Mitchell will come back and haunt them if they ever do anything nice for the Army.

    • The Supertucano is adequate for permissive environments, and would be very handy as a light attack/observation aircraft. I’d prefer to see 20mm’s rather than .50’s, but you can’t have everything.

      Although I’d rather bring back the A26. Better range and loiter time, more ordnance to put on targets. Dump the dorsal turret. Put a 30mm GAU-8 in the nose, and a 25mm M-242 in the ventral turret. Give it radar and infrared. Update everything, and armor the cockpit. Crew of two or three. Design it to carry Brimstone missiles on the wing pylons, and maybe a couple of heat seekers for self defense. Plus the usual spoofers, etc. Maybe turbofans rather than turboprops.

      Add in a couple of intel/ELINT platforms, and you’ve got yourself an inexpensive third tier air force. Shoot, it would be handy at controlling a squadron of drones with LOS comms. Or radio relay. Or artillery spotting. Or light cargo/transport. Basically, anything except hunting down other planes and heavy cargo.

  8. All- Thanks for the comments! Dr. Rock- The ST’s are apparently a damn good COIN aircraft, but don’t do well against armor, AFAIK.

    Posted from my iPhone.

  9. The AF seems to be run by fighter-pilot generals. The A-10 is not zoomy enough for them. I would agree that the A-10s should be transferred to the Army and Marines.

  10. You need to consider another point about the F-35. Stealth relies on very specific, clearly defined angles to have its’ stealth characteristics. (I recall a story about the F-117 losing its’ stealth during testing, because a sparrow landed on it). Given that absolute requirement, what happens when the F-35 gets hit by anything, or splattered by dirt/grime, etc?

    At that point, it becomes a target.

    Also, there is the repeated point about its’ stores load, vs the A-10, but that is merely another mark against it.

    • If the f-35 get hit or a close disintegrates. Also, remember, there is no manual flying for the pilot. Anything happens to the computer and you are dead dead dead.

    • The F-117 LO was as much dependent on its outer mold line geometry as with its exterior materials. The low observable (LO) materials of the 70’s and 80’s were much more prone to easy damage. It has been reported that the B-2 requires LO repairs after every few flights.

      The F-35 is a generation or 2 (or more) advanced in its stealth technology than what you reference.

  11. There are never enough attack aircraft, one of the things Hitler somewhat got right (bombs on an Me-262 being one of the examples.)(I do not like the man, do not like what he stood for, do not like what he did. But even he could get at least one thing somewhat right, right?)

    The Super Tucano will fit the role of ‘low intensity’ attack craft very well. Just don’t expect it to last in a more intense battlefield than COIN or anti-drug. Hmmm. Wonder if they could make a folding wing version for carrier ops.

    I was secretly holding out on the OV-10X a few years ago, but no, my hopes are always dashed. Heck, it would have been neat to see an A-37X type plane, or that Rutan designed attack plane.

    As to the F-35, since they killed off the F-111 and the F-117, both designed as fast-moving dash-in/dash-out attack craft, there is a need for a low-observable fast mover. Just… it can’t, by design, do loiter as flying artillery like the A-10 or the AC-130 can. Funny, I never hear anyone in the AF calling for the end of the Gunship program, just the A-10.

    • As best I recall, the 117 was subsonic. Wikipedia says Mach 0.92.

  12. From my layman’s viewpoint, the F-35 will definitely outperform the A-10 in velocity, and number, at ground impact.

  13. Hey Old NFO;

    As an Army guy, we LOVE the A-10, that was the airplane designed to keep the soviets from flooding the Fulda Gap like cockroaches in a New York Apt in the Bronx. The Airforce hates the A-10, it ain’t sexy enough for them and flying low and slow is so beneath them. I believe the only reason the Airforce ain’t turning the planes over to the Army or Marines is pure service rivalry.

  14. Bob, it’s that 1947 Key West Agreement that AF wants to keep in place. Armed helos were not ‘aircraft,’ so Army was able to get away with it. I’d prefer the A-10 or a descendant, because helos are too slow and fragile to get exposed. A combination with UAV cargo carriers for guided round or mini UAV homers/ swarm would be great. Hit low, hard, fast and slower.

  15. Trump should terminate the Key West Agreement or at least rewrite it to move CAS to the Army where it belongs.

    The zoomies can focus on bombing, air-to-air, and space and the service with fighting boots on the ground gets the capability to protect the troops.

  16. All- Thanks and NO disagreement with anyone! And yes, OV-10X would work! Already tough, just needs better engines!!!

    Posted from my iPhone.

  17. So, non-military guy here. Question; has the behavior of the Air Force since it’s separation from the Army tended to justify the separation?

    • We haven’t won a war since the USAF became its own service. You can decide if that’s correlation or causality.

    • I’m a wannabe who has watched too much Stargate.

      There are serious questions about what criteria you would use to evaluate that.

      One angle is heavy bombers and ICBMs. Did the Air Force do a good job with those? Would another service have done as well? Would the necessary R&D and other stuff have been done as well under Army direction?

      Were there missed opportunities to militarize space? Is the Air Force institutionally incapable, and needing to be replaced in that by a space force?

      There were legitimately serious R&D hurdles to be cleared getting aircraft to the current state. Were those handled well, and would they have been handled well in a different organization? (I was privileged to hear a retired Air Force officer, now defense contractor, speak this spring on his work on the A-10 project. He was not ashamed of that. That said, I think I’ve also heard about some Navy officers who have done nice development work in aerospace. I’m quite poorly read, and need to go over some of my notes.)

      The Air Force has done some very nice things with transportation and long range refueling.

      If the Air Force and Army had not split is a big if. You could also ask if the DoD had not been formed by merging War and Navy. Procurement issues with big ticket items may be tied to wider political issues.

      I’d debate not having won any wars since that reorganization. Some apparently quite successful conflicts, and some huge messes. The tech would be tempting morons to think we could get all the victories for cheap no matter who was developing it.

      It may be that I’m too ignorant or stupid to sort the evidence properly, but it looks like there’s ample material to argue both sides. And a lot of the experts on the successes of Air Force programs are interested parties.

  18. CSP- I’m the wrong guy to ask, but the egos sure are bigger now than they were when the Army was in control… Just sayin 🙂

  19. I say give the AF back to the Army and move all the personnel out of the Hotel Suites they live in, and get back with the real grunts/etc! After having worked and attended some AF schools the one word I’d use to describe them enmase is, “pussyified”!

  20. I say give the AF back to the Army and move all the personnel out of the Hotel Suites they live in, and get back with the real grunts/etc! After having worked and attended some AF schools the one word I’d use to describe them enmass is, “pussyified”!