They took our BRRRRRT


#1

Air Force tests two turboprops as potential A-10 “replacements”

Original article.

The US Air Force has kicked off the procurement for another round of wing replacements for A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft, known affectionately by many as the Warthog. With new wings, the A-10s will help fill a gap left by the delayed volume delivery of F-35A fighters, which were intended to take over the A-10’s close air support (CAS) role in “contested environments”—places where enemy aircraft or modern air defenses would pose a threat to supporting aircraft. For now, the A-10 is being used largely in uncontested environments, where the greatest danger pilots face is small arms fire or possibly a Stinger-like man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) missile. But the Warthog is also being deployed to Eastern Europe as part of the NATO show of strength in response to Russia.

While the A-10 will keep flying through 2025 under current plans, Air Force leadership has perceived (or was perhaps convinced to see) a need for an aircraft that could take over the A-10’s role in low-intensity and uncontested environments—something relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain that could be flown from relatively unimproved airfields to conduct armed reconnaissance, interdiction, and close air support missions. The replacement would also double as advanced trainer aircraft for performing weapons qualifications and keeping pilots’ flight-time numbers up.

So, last year the Air Force kicked off the Light Attack Experiment (OA-X), a four-aircraft competition to determine what would best fit that bill.

In the first phase, the Air Force tested four aircraft at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Three were turboprop aircraft already in the inventory of some US allies in some form: AirTractor and L3’s AT-802L Longsword; Sierra Nevada and Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano; and Textron and AirLand LLC’s Beechcraft AT-6B Wolverine. The fourth, the only jet aircraft in the group, was Textron and AirLand’s Scorpion. Now, the Air Force has begun a second phase and has cut the field to two: the Beechcraft AT-6B Wolverine and the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano.

The Beechcraft Wolverine:
image

The Super Tucano:

The Australians field a PC-9 which at least one of these two planes is based off and they use it for forward spotting and ground support, but can either of these prop aircraft really replace the A-10?! BRRRTTT is cool, the A-10 is a beast, but aesthetics and cool factor aside, the A-10 is about the best CAS fixed wing that has existed outside of Spectre isn’t it?

The F22/35 replacement scheme is a load of rubbish as well. They want a Jack of all trades platform that still isn’t living up to expectation and is still trying to kill its pilots, running billions over budget and being out performed by previous generation aircraft.

Bye bye BRRRRTT-T.


#2

Errr wut!?

The only thing those planes bring to the table is that the baddies will need to learn a new silhouette as I’m pretty sure most baddies KNOW they are f00ked when they see the shape of the A10!

Pretty sure neither of those planes could carry a GIANT gattling gun so what are they going to arm them with?


#3

They can carry dumb/guided pickles and hellfires and can be fitted with a couple of 20/30mm cannons, but they just aren’t the platform that the A10 is, with or without the BRRRRT.

Have you read the stories about the punishment they can take? They’ve flown back to base missing huge sections of wing/tail, been peppered with 20/30mm AA fire and been mostly fine, as you say they’re feared as “The Devils Cross” literally inspiring brown trousers alert when they’re spotted let alone when they ‘unzip gods fly’.


#4

Well, the testing ain’t going well…

Air Force “light attack” test aircraft crashes on bomb range, killing pilot

On June 22, an A-29 Super Tucano participating in the US Air Force’s Light Attack Experiment (OA-X) program crashed while flying over the Red Rio Bombing Range—part of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. US Navy Lt. Christopher Carey Short, from Canandaigua, New York, died in the crash. Another pilot ejected and suffered only minor injuries.

The Super Tucano, a joint entry into the OA-X program by Brazil’s Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corporation, is one of two aircraft designs being tested as part of the second phase of OA-X by pilots attached to the Air Force’s 49th Wing at Holloman Air Force Base. The goal of the testing is to determine whether the aircraft matches the Air Force’s needs for flying close air support and reconnaissance missions for combat and counterinsurgency in “uncontested environments” (that is, operational areas where the enemy lacks air defenses). Such a niche is currently occupied by the A-10 and other more advanced aircraft.

They aren’t having much luck with test flights in the US over the past few years with the F22/F35 suffocating pilots or crashing, other maintenance issues with other platforms, all the Osprey test crashes.

Sinking budgets? Impatience? Seems odd.


#5

Had to google that when I read it… like what?

Article for others who hadn’t heard about this: https://www.wired.com/2012/06/stealth-fighter-choke/

Apparent oxygen shortages, or hypoxia, have plagued the high-flying Raptor for years, and may even have contributed to a fatal crash in Alaska in 2010.

Impatient to put the F-22s back to work, the Air Force decided to add a charcoal filter to the onboard oxygen generator, and then ordered the roughly 200 Raptor pilots back into the air

But the charcoal filter shed black dust into the pilots lungs, only compounding their symptoms.

Gotta luv Uncle Sam…


#6

I hadn’t read about the charcoal filters!! That was not a good idea…

Last I read on Ars they still hadn’t pinned down what the problem with the O2 systems actually was. Testing on the ground showed there were no issues but pilots were still becoming light-headed or blacking out for short periods.

Something I read early on with the F22 but can’t find reference to it now was about the limits put in to protect pilots. Supposedly the thing can fly so fast and maneuver so sharply/is so agile that the forces/stresses on the pilot’s bodies would kill them.

The whole program is a giant money pit to create an air-frame so over-engineered that by the time it is flying its only competitor would be its self. The Russian and Chinese equivalents are way off and don’t look like they compete and may never compete - but the whole thing is an academic exercise any way since a lot of technology from the 80s can still defeat a bunch of the stealth defences in a lot of scenarios!

Why make a super fighter when an 80s era SAM can still knock your $300 million dollar stealth plane out of the sky unless it has expensive and limiting jamming pods or slow and lumbering support craft?


#7

The trouble I believe is that with high G manoeuvres, blood literally compacts to one end of your body. I know with the eurofighter, the pilots needed to wear pressure suits so that compress and force blood back to where it needed to be… sounds kinda scary to be honest.

Slightly off tangent with the thread, but inline with your last reply: I don’t get military spending… as recent as yesterday there were reports of the MOD asking for another 1% of GDP to be spent on defence… apparently to keep us as a tier one nation that can strike anywhere in the world.

why? and I actually mean that as a question. Why plow another £20 Billion quid into stuff that either gets out-dated and goes past its use by date… or by current conflict experience, uses a £30,000 guided missile to take out a 1990s Toyota Hilux with a couple of extremist conscripts on board. Great value for money…

It seems that hair-brained ideas are guessed at by aging generals and civil servants who think that we’re still in the time of Waterloo. Nukes are a good example: Scrap em. The world markets are so intertwined these days, that if anyone uses one, we’re all fucked. So why waste the money on a what-if scenario. Save the money. Hell, if it didn’t happen during Cuba, it ain’t ever gonna happen.

£20 Billion. That’s a whole lot of teachers, police, nurses and firemen right there…


#8

the general argument for military spending is that they can save lives, and no one wants to get into the argument over the value of human life to counter that.

in terms of nuclear disarmament we’re still at the cold-war nuclear standoff, it’s just the lack of change/escalation makes it appear to be over. The argument is if we disarm, others can then choose to strike at us knowing there will be no mutual destruction, and while there’d be a lot of fuss if someone decided to nuke britain entirely, the rest of the world would immediately seize on the commercial opportunities that brings, and there wouldn’t necessarily be any repercussions against who did it in terms of nuclear retaliation from other nations. Similar to how now when someone does something bad to another nation what we get is a lot of political fist pumping and trade sanctions, because the latter is financially beneficial to whoever wins that dice roll. It was a game of escalation that capped out with mutually assured destruction, and we’re all now sat here with fingers on the triggers in case someone else blinks.


#9