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View Full Version : US did not sell A-10s and AC-130s?


Hermitian
04-04-2011, 09:47 PM
So I was reading this CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/04/04/libya.us.nato/index.html?hpt=T2) article about the US pulling back some of our forces and planes from the Libya. Specifically the portion:

But a NATO official said that, weather aside, only the United States has the ability from the air to strike at mobile troops and equipment.

NATO needed that from the United States, the NATO official said.

"Specifically the A10s and the AC-130s nobody else but the U.S. has," the official noted.

I looked on Wikipedia, and it doesn't list any other operators besides US forces.

The A-10 and AC-130 gunships are not cutting edge planes. Is there a reason we did not sell them? Did one one want them?

Johnny L.A.
04-04-2011, 10:25 PM
Heck, the USAF didn't really want the A-10 (or rather, its mission) when it was introduced.

Sometimes it's good to keep some things proprietary. We wouldn't want someone to buy an AC-130 and turn it against us. There was some concern in 1979 about the F-14s and Phoenix missiles we sold to Iran. Typically, we keep the best systems to ourselves and let the buyers fit out the platform or else sell them systems that are 'almost as good'.

Airman Doors, USAF
04-04-2011, 10:26 PM
They're not cutting edge planes? They certainly are. Their capabilities are unparalleled, even 40-50 years later.

Johnny L.A.
04-04-2011, 10:30 PM
They're not cutting edge planes? They certainly are. Their capabilities are unparalleled, even 40-50 years later.

The C-130 is an old design, and there are a ton of operators worldwide. They're constantly being upgraded to keep them fresh. (In another life I drew wiring diagrams for them on CADAM.) I'm sure the more advanced users could make an AC-130 gunship if they wanted to, but AFAIK we don't sell them the systems we put in them.

Hermitian
04-04-2011, 11:05 PM
It just seems strange the things we sell and do not sell. We sell F-16s like they are going out of style. We sell Black Hawks. We sell M1 Abrams tanks. Heck, we even sell the UK our Trident II submarine launched ballistic missiles.

I don't mean that the A-10 or AC-130 are out of date or anything, they are obviously needed and they work well. I just don't think of them as having any super advanced technologies that we want to only keep to ourselves.

Maybe there is a demand side component also. Maybe no one thought they needed them.

Magiver
04-04-2011, 11:20 PM
The A-10 and AC-130 gunships are not cutting edge planes. Is there a reason we did not sell them? Did one one want them? They Russians were afraid of the A10. It fires 4200 armor piercing shells a minute from a rifled gattling gun accurate to 3 miles and can hang 8 tons of weapons from the wing. A 130 gunship can circle an area and essentially put a bullet in every square foot of covered area.

Mr. Excellent
04-04-2011, 11:26 PM
Other planes are faster, stealthier, or have longer ranges. Or more sophisticated avionics. But if I had to choose which airplane, in all the world, I did *not* want to see flying towards my house, it would be the A-10. (An AC-130 would be flying *around* my house. Though I doubt it would need to bother for very long.)

Magiver
04-05-2011, 12:06 AM
Other planes are faster, stealthier, or have longer ranges. Or more sophisticated avionics. But if I had to choose which airplane, in all the world, I did *not* want to see flying towards my house, it would be the A-10. (An AC-130 would be flying *around* my house. Though I doubt it would need to bother for very long.) You just have to watch it fly to understand why an A-10 fulfills it's mission design so well. It flies over 400 mph and is far more maneuverable than a helicopter. It's designed to take a pounding and the engines are above the tail plane so the infrared signature is blocked.

Declan
04-05-2011, 12:13 AM
The A-10 and AC-130 gunships are not cutting edge planes. Is there a reason we did not sell them? Did one one want them?

Not every airforce is big enough or rich enough to have dedicated aircraft, so they generally want more bang for their buck and go with a multi-role. Or they go with the cheapest and improvise.

You could probably make a reasonable facimile of the A-10, the russians do it with the Frogfoot, but with a more standard cannon, but I would think most air forces that operate the C-130 probably need the cargo version more than a nice to have plane that may or may not get used as often.

Declan

thirdname
04-05-2011, 12:22 AM
I was surprised to see a video of Iraqi Army soldiers training in M1A1 tanks that we have apparently sold them. I thought the details of the armor were secret.

Patch
04-05-2011, 12:27 AM
I was surprised to see a video of Iraqi Army soldiers training in M1A1 tanks that we have apparently sold them. I thought the details of the armor were secret.

Egypt has M1s as well. Because the tank armor can be custom modified, I'm more than certain what we export is not up to the same protection as that fielded by US troops.

Alessan
04-05-2011, 01:33 AM
Only the largest and richest air forces can afford a specialized system like the A-10, because after all, fighter jets like the F-15 and F-16 can also take out tanks and fortifications. Can they do that was well as the A-10 can? Of course not - but they can also help achieve air superiority, take out anti-aircraft batteries and perform long-range bombing raids, and when you're working with a limited budget (and unless you're the USAF, you are), you need that flexibility.

EvilTOJ
04-05-2011, 08:20 AM
If we sold the A-10 then Cobra could get their hands on some, and we just can't have that!

awldune
04-05-2011, 09:27 AM
The A-10 uses depleted uranium munitions. Don't know if that could be a factor in our ability to export.

Capitaine Zombie
04-05-2011, 09:29 AM
[I]But a NATO official said that, weather aside, only the United States has the ability from the air to strike at mobile troops and equipment.



Is that NATO official new to his job, cause striking from air on mobile troops or equipments seems to be one of the roles of any airforce in the world.

levdrakon
04-05-2011, 09:45 AM
Other planes are faster, stealthier, or have longer ranges. Or more sophisticated avionics. But if I had to choose which airplane, in all the world, I did *not* want to see flying towards my house, it would be the A-10. (An AC-130 would be flying *around* my house. Though I doubt it would need to bother for very long.)During training exercises I've been "killed" by A-10s. They are scary. You kind of expect to see a plane coming. A-10's just pop out from behind some trees and you're dead. They don't just go screaming past. It's like they can stop and look right at you, just to mess with you.

Johnny L.A.
04-05-2011, 09:53 AM
Is that NATO official new to his job, cause striking from air on mobile troops or equipments seems to be one of the roles of any airforce in the world.
I am not familiar with modern European air tactics. The one aircraft I think of when I think of European fighter-bombers is the Tornado. That seems like a good platform for attacking relatively small areas, much as the A-7 Corsair II was. But I don't know of the European Air Forces have anything equivalent to the A-10, which is designed for taking out specific, fairly small, targets. Of course they have helicopters.
During training exercises I've been "killed" by A-10s. They are scary. You kind of expect to see a plane coming. A-10's just pop out from behind some trees and you're dead. They don't just go screaming past. It's like they can stop and look right at you, just to mess with you.

A friend said he's heard them when he was on exercises. The gun sounds like a zipper. He said he'd hate to be on the receiving end.

Alessan
04-05-2011, 09:55 AM
You can take out tanks with F-15s, F-16s and their European equivalents.

The_Raven
04-05-2011, 09:58 AM
I was in the White Mountains one afternoon when a couple of NHANG A-10s just materialized from the hillside below us, flashed by overhead and were gone. Startled the crap out of me. An aircraft amazingly well-suited for its role.

voltaire
04-05-2011, 10:26 AM
A friend said he's heard them when he was on exercises. The gun sounds like a zipper. He said he'd hate to be on the receiving end.

I'd say more like a buzzsaw than a zipper. Here's a short video (http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=bf6_1297870171) for anyone that hasn't heard it. The first sound is the rounds impacting the ground, the second sound is the gun firing.

Reply
04-05-2011, 10:52 AM
Is that NATO official new to his job, cause striking from air on mobile troops or equipments seems to be one of the roles of any airforce in the world.

I'm no expert, but maybe he meant sustained ground attack in a small area?

The A-10 and AC-130 are basically flying heavy weapon turrets that can stay in an area and pound armored targets / buildings without using up all their ammunition quickly.

Fighter jets are usually limited to their ordinance of missiles/bombs/rockets; their guns (if they have 'em) are useful against other aircraft, but not necessarily tanks and buildings. They also fly fast, potentially requiring repeated back-and-forth flights over an area. They're also, for the most part, not shielded against ground fire.

Helicopters are more maneuverable and can hover in an area, but they too are limited to their missiles/rockets against armored targets. They're also a lot slower and more vulnerable than an A-10.

The A-10 has a huge gatling gun that can very well obliterate tanks on its own in ADDITION to its loadout of missiles/rockets/bombs. It can strafe columns/convoys of ground targets like nothing else (at least not for the same price of ammunition). It's also a rather solidly-built plane and the pilot is shielded by a titanium bathtub under the cockpit.

The AC-130 has an even huger howitzer.

Nadir
04-05-2011, 11:06 AM
The A-10 and AC-130 gunships are not cutting edge planes. Is there a reason we did not sell them? Did one one want them?
A-10s and most 130 variants with the exception of the very oldest airframes in the inventory which are scheduled for retirement, are all in various stages of received/receiving/or scheduled to receive various combinations of newer more efficient/powerful engines, the latest glass cockpit, GPS and laser-guided nav-targeting and AESA radar upgrades, giving them service life extensions and/or incredibly effective modern attack capabilities never seen before.

The C-130J is a totally new version of the C-130. Lockheed is building brand new ones and selling them all over the world.

bump
04-05-2011, 12:52 PM
It's not that the A-10 or AC-130 aircraft have any technological advantages over the multirole fighter-bombers such as the British Tornadoes and Typhoons or US F/A-18E/Fs and F-16s.

It's that they're completely and only optimized for ground attack roles. In other words, the A-10 and AC-130 do what they do better than the other planes. The other planes can do it, and do a lot of other things, but the dedicated attack planes do it a little bit better.

And like Alessan said, only the most affluent air forces can afford dedicated ground-attack planes, so it's pretty much only the US who has them in the west, although many former Soviet and former Soviet satellite states still operate Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes.

Nadir
04-05-2011, 01:20 PM
It's not that the A-10 or AC-130 aircraft have any technological advantages over the multirole fighter-bombers such as the British Tornadoes and Typhoons or US F/A-18E/Fs and F-16s.
That would be false. They are technologically equipped to do it far better - more effectively, more efficiently, and more of it for longer periods of time on station.
... but the dedicated attack planes do it a little bit better.
See above. They do it much, much better.
And like Alessan said, only the most affluent air forces can afford dedicated ground-attack planes, so it's pretty much only the US who has them in the west, although many former Soviet and former Soviet satellite states still operate Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes.
Have you seen Saudi Arabia's milair budget? Quatar bought some C-17s a few years ago. They are not cheap. Japan has the latest F-15s with greater capabilities than our most current models of that particular fighter. It's not about money, it's about requirements. They don't view dedicated close air support as a priority or high level requirement because they simply don't engage in those type military activities.

Ravenman
04-05-2011, 01:25 PM
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that there is nothing so sensitive about the A-10 and the AC-130 that they couldn't be sold to foreign countries (in contrast to the F-22, which law specifically prohibits foreign sales due to the incredible sensitivity of the technology involved).

Just look at the AC-130: the airframes are like forty years old, the weapons were designed more than half a century ago, the sensors are from the late 1980s, and it takes quite a large crew by current standards to operate the thing. There just isn't anything terribly secret or magical about the aircraft, other than we are willing to operate an old aircraft to do a very specific mission, which it does very well.

In fact, the current fleet of AC-130s are planned to be replaced over the next several years because they are so damned old. They will be replaced by AC-130Js which have modern cockpits, airframes, weapons, and sensors; but even still, it isn't like there is some reason why some other country can't get their hands on similar technology -- it's just there probably is no interest in paying for such a niche aircraft.

Nadir
04-05-2011, 01:43 PM
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that there is nothing so sensitive about the A-10 and the AC-130 that they couldn't be sold to foreign countries (in contrast to the F-22, which law specifically prohibits foreign sales due to the incredible sensitivity of the technology involved).
But the F-35, which is a multinational joint venture building off the F-22, will carry an even greater order of technological sophistication in terms of the advanced electronics, stealth, sensor integration, software, materials, etc.

The F-22 export restriction was a political deal, and has in fact been questioned for this very reason. It likely will be exported in some reduced functional version at some point.

GreasyJack
04-05-2011, 02:01 PM
Is that NATO official new to his job, cause striking from air on mobile troops or equipments seems to be one of the roles of any airforce in the world.

The issue is that NATO is very sensitive about civilian causalities and the A-10 and AC-130 are the only two aircraft that can safely do the really close-in air support role within cities where the fighting is actually going on. The European multi-role aircraft can pound the supply lines and such, but are simply not designed for such a close-in role.

kombatminipig
04-05-2011, 02:08 PM
The A-10 uses depleted uranium munitions. Don't know if that could be a factor in our ability to export.

Depleted uranium is exactly that, depleted. It's entirely inert. The only reason for its use is that it's darn heavy.

Mk VII
04-05-2011, 02:24 PM
We have few aircraft of any description (and even fewer now) because we're not prepared to spend very much on defence. They have to be made to do many things moderately well, not one big thing very well. The Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) concept back in the '70s (which eventually emerged as the Tornado) was an international project which was highly political and which had to placate the various using factions in England, West Germany and Italy. Various other nations were supposed to participate, but all dropped out citing various reasons and the number of a/c manufactured ended up being cut sharply from the original order.

Ravenman
04-05-2011, 03:03 PM
The F-22 export restriction was a political deal, and has in fact been questioned for this very reason. It likely will be exported in some reduced functional version at some point.What you phrase "political deal" is what others might call an act of Congress.

The chances of an F-22 ever being exported are slim and none, and slim is on its way out of town. The production line will be completely closed down within a year, it will be prohibitively expensive to reopen it, and even the one real potential customer -- the Japanese government -- seems to have completely dropped their interest in the F-22 due to the extremely high cost of restarting the line -- and the prospects of changing US law on the matter.

Japan is now looking at the F-35, among other aircraft.

Telemark
04-05-2011, 03:28 PM
I was in the White Mountains one afternoon when a couple of NHANG A-10s just materialized from the hillside below us, flashed by overhead and were gone. Startled the crap out of me. An aircraft amazingly well-suited for its role.
If you're up on Osceola or Carrigain or even Sandwich Dome they sometimes swoop below you. I've stared out from rock cliffs straight across into the pilot's eyes as they go by. Gotta love that.

smithsb
04-05-2011, 03:30 PM
Depleted uranium is exactly that, depleted. It's entirely inert. The only reason for its use is that it's darn heavy.

It's dense, it's very hard yet doesn't shatter like some other hard but brittle metals. It's pyrophoric. Shards and scrapings as the projectile penetrates the target burst into flame igniting ammunition, fuels, hydraulics, and batteries.

The Air Force also has HEI (high explosive incendiary) 30mm rounds. These may be a solid load (all HEI) or mixed with TP (target practice) rounds. The TP rounds are high quality steel and will do similiar damage to vehicles as the DU round would. Useful for training and also to avoid the "stigma" of DU.

Note that while US DU rounds are for all intents and purposes inert (you can't get a reading above backgound radiation levels from them); some foreign "DU" rounds are a fair amount more active.

Prox
04-05-2011, 03:36 PM
Depleted uranium is exactly that, depleted. It's entirely inert. The only reason for its use is that it's darn heavy.Depleted uranium is still radioactive - about 60% as much as natural occurring uranium. You right though that it's mass is why it's used as ammo. As an added bonus, uranium also catches fire pretty easily when exposed to air, if the round happens to hit the targets ammo supply, it'll set it off.

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depleted_uranium#Ammunition), somewhere between 17 to 20 countries use depleted uranium in their arsenals and 18 countries manufacture it, so I don't think that has any bearing on whether or not the A-10 and AC-130 are sold.

Mr. Excellent
04-05-2011, 04:25 PM
It's pyrophoric. Shards and scrapings as the projectile penetrates the target burst into flame igniting ammunition, fuels, hydraulics, and batteries.


Also people. Another of the many very, very good reasons not to be a tank driver in a military that we aren't on exceptionally good terms with.

Nadir
04-05-2011, 05:12 PM
What you phrase "political deal" is what others might call an act of Congress. ...Japan is now looking at the F-35, among other aircraft.
Since when was an act of congress not a political deal? :rolleyes:

And what makes you think Lockheed wouldn't jump at the chance to gen up that line? Do you think they just scrap the tooling? Do you know how much it cost that congress in it's infinite wisdom to repeatedly cut the F22 buys and ultimately shut it down?

That would be termed an act of stupidity by some. ;)

Capitaine Zombie
04-05-2011, 06:11 PM
The issue is that NATO is very sensitive about civilian causalities and the A-10 and AC-130 are the only two aircraft that can safely do the really close-in air support role within cities where the fighting is actually going on. The European multi-role aircraft can pound the supply lines and such, but are simply not designed for such a close-in role.

Thanks, that seems like the correct answer.

So basically the A-10 does the job of an helicopter (they're VTOL?)? Is why they are being used? The parameters of the UN missions say no copters, only planes?

Ravenman
04-05-2011, 06:25 PM
And what makes you think Lockheed wouldn't jump at the chance to gen up that line? Do you think they just scrap the tooling? There are no customers.

Do you know how much it cost that congress in it's infinite wisdom to repeatedly cut the F22 buys and ultimately shut it down?Yes, I do.

Johnny L.A.
04-05-2011, 06:30 PM
So basically the A-10 does the job of an helicopter (they're VTOL?)? Is why they are being used? The parameters of the UN missions say no copters, only planes?
No, the A-10 is not V/STOL. It does, however, fly low and slow and can turn on a dime. Well, maybe a quarter. It's better armed and armoured than helicopters. Helicopters fly low and slow, and are also very maneuverable. However they are limited in the arms and ordnance they can carry. They can also be more vulnerable to ground fire. There are some fine tank-busting helicopters out there.

lazybratsche
04-05-2011, 06:31 PM
No, that's not quite it. An A-10 (and AC-130) can do a sort of sustained close air support -- fly in, drop bombs on primary targets, and then fly around the battlefield strafing any reasonable target. Or just loiter, waiting for ground forces to identify targets. Other strike fighters can fly in and drop bombs in a similar manner, but then they're done. The A-10, after dropping it's tons of ordinance, can still do a lot of damage with its cannon. And the cannon is more suited for attacking smaller individual targets -- a truck, an artillery tube, an armored personnel carrier. For these, you don't want to waste expensive smart bombs and missiles.

Helicopters are also very good at close air support, but they don't have the range to reach Libya from bases in Italy.

(Also the A-10 isn't VTOL. But it can fly very slowly, which is very helpful when shooting at the ground.)

Ravenman
04-05-2011, 06:32 PM
Yes, I do. I should have added that it was not Congress, but the Air Force and the Defense Department that proposed the end the F-22 buys. Congress rejected the proposal several times before acquiescing, so I think your facts are a little off.

Johnny L.A.
04-05-2011, 06:35 PM
No, that's not quite it. An A-10 (and AC-130) can do a sort of sustained close air support -- fly in, drop bombs on primary targets, and then fly around the battlefield strafing any reasonable target. Or just loiter, waiting for ground forces to identify targets.

Sounds a lot like the old AD Skyraider. I've heard that there was still a demand for them into the '70s, but the existing stocks were just plain worn out and it was decided that it would be too expensive to build new ones. Dad used to say that Skyraider had 'the instantaneous firepower of a light cruiser.'

silenus
04-05-2011, 06:43 PM
A-10 and A-1 side by side (http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1411/1106078072_34be4b95ed.jpg).

Not to mention that the A-1 could carry more bomb tonnage than a B-17.

Johnny L.A.
04-05-2011, 06:44 PM
Sweet!

billfish678
04-05-2011, 06:44 PM
expensive smart bombs and missiles.

Helicopters are also very good at close air support, but they don't have the range to reach Libya from bases in Italy.

(Also the A-10 isn't VTOL. But it can fly very slowly, which is very helpful when shooting at the ground.)

I would also guess that an A-10 is a bit more robust than a helicopter. I've always had the impression a helicopter can be brought down just by looking at it wrong :)

Nadir
04-05-2011, 08:22 PM
I should have added that it was not Congress, but the Air Force and the Defense Department that proposed the end the F-22 buys. Congress rejected the proposal several times before acquiescing, so I think your facts are a little off.
You should amplify/correct your statement to include the whole story about how Gates (SECDEF) was forced to cut the F22 and many other high dollar programs under Congressional budget pressure. The Air Force NEVER wanted less F22s, under any of the myriad sets of flawed fiscal reasoning that were presented over the years.

Maye since you "do" claim know these figures, you can enlighten us on what the initial vs. mid term 384 vs. final 183 flyaway numbers buys actually ended up costing the American taxpayer, when it was all said and done?

Then we'll see whose facts are are either off, misleading or just lacking any substantive information whatsoever. :dubious:

bump
04-05-2011, 09:03 PM
Gates (SECDEF) was forced to cut the F22 and many other high dollar programs under Congressional budget pressure.

You've got that backwards, dude. Gates told Congress to cut funding.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1710944,00.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aj694ju69myQ

http://defensetech.org/2009/04/15/secretary-gates-and-the-f-22-raptor/

gravitycrash
04-05-2011, 09:41 PM
During training exercises I've been "killed" by A-10s. They are scary. You kind of expect to see a plane coming. A-10's just pop out from behind some trees and you're dead. They don't just go screaming past. It's like they can stop and look right at you, just to mess with you.

Ha, our whole platoon was killed by an A-10 at 29 palms during CAX 85. It sucked to be us that day.

Ravenman
04-05-2011, 10:13 PM
You should amplify/correct your statement to include the whole story about how Gates (SECDEF) was forced to cut the F22 and many other high dollar programs under Congressional budget pressure. The Air Force NEVER wanted less F22s, under any of the myriad sets of flawed fiscal reasoning that were presented over the years.You are wrong. In 2009, Gates proposed termination, and Secretary Donley and General Schwartz both supported the proposal. Their view was that they would like more F-22s, but they had higher budget priorities that made further purchases inadvisable.

Maye since you "do" claim know these figures, you can enlighten us on what the initial vs. mid term 384 vs. final 183 flyaway numbers buys actually ended up costing the American taxpayer, when it was all said and done?That isn't the question you asked. You asked how much it cost to shut down production. That number is approximately $400 million. You are asking a somewhat nonsensical question that assigns a cost to buying items on a low rate initial procurement versus a mature full rate production line. It boils down to comparing points on a learning curve: every time production doubles, cost is reduced by a fairly predictable rate.

If the learning curve in the F-22 were 85% (for example), the second aircraft would be 15% cheaper than the first, the fourth would be 15% cheaper than the second, etc. While the 256th would be cheaper than the first by a considerable amount, the idea that funds are saved by buying more aircraft makes about as much sense as a spoiled housewife claiming that she saved her husband $100,000 because the diamond ring she just bought was on sale for 20% off.

Out of curiosity, do you know the difference between flyaway cost, average procurement unit cost, and program acquisition unit cost? Because by most estimates, the flyaway cost for restarting the line would be a roughly 40% increase, which means it isn't very likely that any other country is going to pay that premium to buy F-22s, even in the unlikely event that the export prohibition were repealed.

GreedySmurf
04-05-2011, 11:09 PM
As a little more bit of info relating to the OP, there is another consideration in that to effectively use the AC-130, and to a far lesser extent the A-10, you need airspace dominance.

It's obviously part of the doctrine of the US Air Force, to obtain uncontested skies as early in the piece of any war as possible. Thus they're happy to have aircraft like the AC-130 ready to use.

Whereas smaller Airforces, (eg Australia) have no illusions that they have the inherent combat power to obtain air dominance in anything but situations like Afghanistan. So could never forsee using something like the AC-130. Also it is a formal part of our strategy, and influences our militaries buying decisions, to have maximum inter-operability with US forces. So why bother with an AC-130, when 9 out of 10 warzones we'll be in will be alongside US Air Forces anyway, who will bring them with them! :D

Uniform_Delta
04-06-2011, 12:08 AM
Actually it has very little to do with technology and everything to do with the cold war and levels of training. First the O/A-10 was designed to break up waves of Soviet Armor and thin skinned vehicles in a European theater. That push never came and many people in the USAF wanted (and still do) to get rid of it because it is slow and has very limited capabilities outside of CAS and Combat Search and Rescue. The AC-130 s primary cold war mission was rear area CAS. The AC-130 was basicly able to linger and provide support against insurgents and enemy SOF units like the Spetsnaz in Europe, or North Korean units busting out of tunnels, it’s secondary mission was friendly SOF support. It now primarily does SOF support with limited over-watch/perimeter defense work in Iraq and other theaters. Most countries have little to no “white SOF” ability and those that have a “black SOF” capability lack the ability to project them, and thus have no need of an AC-130 like platform. As another poster mentioned the O/A-10 and AC-130 need complete air dominace to operate… none of the NATO countries have the ability to establish air dominance on their own, the UK and France come close but lack the numbers to maintain it for very long.

A additional issue is that the US military has a robust Close Air Support (CAS) capability, in most countries forward air control is a auxiliary duty of artillery troops or forward observers, the US has dedicated CAS controllers who receive extensive training compared to our NATO allies. The US is still the only military that can pull of a Joint Air Attack Team style attack, this is procedure where O/A-10s, Attack Rotary Wing Assets and Artillery do a coordinated strike on a moving target. It requires intensive training, communications and equipment other countries simply don’t have. This tactic set resulted in the “Road of Death” in DS1. So bottom line is even if a country had O/A-10s and AC-130s they currently lack the personnel required to properly use them.

“It is not the object of war to annihilate those who have given provocation for it, but to cause them to mend their ways.”
-Polybius, Greek Historian (2nd Century B.C.)

Kevbo
04-06-2011, 12:46 AM
I'd say more like a buzzsaw than a zipper. Here's a short video (http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=bf6_1297870171) for anyone that hasn't heard it. The first sound is the rounds impacting the ground, the second sound is the gun firing.

I've heard it called "the fart of death".

Reply
04-06-2011, 01:38 AM
Actually it has very little to do with technology and everything to do with the cold war and levels of training.

[snip]

So bottom line is even if a country had O/A-10s and AC-130s they currently lack the personnel required to properly use them.


The air dominance thing makes sense, but the training part I don't get... if that's the case, how do ANY arms sales go through? People have to be trained for any sort of weaponry, whether it's a gun or a stealth fighter jet or a submarine, no?

And what about, say, Israel? Don't they normally have air dominance, good training, money to spare, and urban theaters a-plenty?

Nadir
04-06-2011, 07:17 AM
You've got that backwards, dude. Gates told Congress to cut funding.
You can't be that obtuse. :rolleyes:
You are wrong. In 2009, Gates proposed termination, and Secretary Donley and General Schwartz both supported the proposal. Their view was that they would like more F-22s, but they had higher budget priorities that made further purchases inadvisable.
Bolding MINE. Who approves the budget, again? Was that Congress? What was the budget level compared to previous years again? How many BILLION was cut again this fiscal year? Were you unaware or forget where Schwartz and Donley came from - how they got into those positions in the first place?

Let me give you a hint: It had much to do with fundamental disagreements between SECDEF and AF leadership PRIOR to the the two yes men Scwhartz and Donley coming into play.

Sheesh, educating you people seems almost like an exercise in futility. :smack:

"Dipping Below: The Air Force will begin to slip below its moderate-risk requirement for 2,000 fighters next fiscal year, Lt. Gen. Bud Wyatt, Air National Guard director, told House lawmakers last week. "The President's [Fiscal 2012] budget has announced the loss of 18 more F-16s to the Air National Guard, and so we're beginning to drop below that 2,000 number," Wyatt told the House Armed Services Committee's tactical air and land forces panel during an oversight hearing. The 2,000 aircraft requirement, which includes 1,200 frontline primary assigned aircraft, stemmed from the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review."

Nadir
04-06-2011, 07:24 AM
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1710944,00.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aj694ju69myQ

http://defensetech.org/2009/04/15/secretary-gates-and-the-f-22-raptor/
Analyzing current events from stale information regurgitated from rags like this that have literally no context or basis in reality is extremely disingenuous.

Gotta give you credit for the Google-foo, tho. ;)

Alessan
04-06-2011, 07:43 AM
And what about, say, Israel? Don't they normally have air dominance, good training, money to spare, and urban theaters a-plenty?

I'm not sure why Israel hasn't bought any. The IDF has its doctrines that are in many ways very different from those of the US military. For instance, Israel has also refused to buy Bradleys or Strykers - nor has it bought similar vehicles from any other nation or made any of its own, making it the sole major military not to adopt the IFV (infantry fighting vehicle) concept.

Israelis have their own way of doing things, and I guess the A-10 isn't part of it.

Ravenman
04-06-2011, 08:10 AM
You can't be that obtuse. I'm sorry, but that is a stone-cold hard fact. While the number of F-22s was originally supposed to be much higher, since 2005, the DoD, the Air Force, and the President had submitted long-range budget plans only for procurement of 170-odd planes. In 2008, Congress added funds to allow for the procurement of an additional 20 aircraft.

It is simply impossible to argue that the Executive Branch did not lead the efforts to truncate the F-22 line.

Who approves the budget, again? Was that Congress? What was the budget level compared to previous years again? How many BILLION was cut again this fiscal year? Were you unaware or forget where Schwartz and Donley came from - how they got into those positions in the first place?Yes, Congress decides how much is ultimately spent for any military program. But Congress did not come up with the idea of ending the F-22 line, in fact, there was much debate in Congress about reversing the Department's position that the line should end. You've got things exactly backwards.

But to repeat myself (and others): The President's budget in 2009 asked for no more F-22s. This position was ultimately supported by the Defense Secretary, the Air Force Secretary, the Air Force Chief of Staff, and they convinced Congress NOT to add additional funds for more F-22s in 2009. The President threatened a veto of the defense appropriations bill if more F-22s were added by Congress, so Congress did not include the additional funds that had been debated.

Sheesh, educating you people seems almost like an exercise in futility. Your opinion would hold more weight if you acknowledged that it was the Department of Defense, not Congress, that pushed for the end of the F-22 program. That is an incontrovertible fact, no matter how you feel about the issue.

Ravenman
04-06-2011, 08:14 AM
"Dipping Below: The Air Force will begin to slip below its moderate-risk requirement for 2,000 fighters next fiscal year, Lt. Gen. Bud Wyatt, Air National Guard director, told House lawmakers last week. "The President's [Fiscal 2012] budget has announced the loss of 18 more F-16s to the Air National Guard, and so we're beginning to drop below that 2,000 number," Wyatt told the House Armed Services Committee's tactical air and land forces panel during an oversight hearing. The 2,000 aircraft requirement, which includes 1,200 frontline primary assigned aircraft, stemmed from the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review."By the way, you're somewhat misrepresenting General Wyatt's position:

He also stood by his recent letter advocating F-22s for his command's mission to protect the nation, but insisted that he never called for buying more than the 187 F-22s requested by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Air Force leadership.

Wyatt said his response to a letter from Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., focused on the urgent need to replace the Guard's aging fleet. The general said he gave "very specific answers" to "very specific questions" from Chambliss, who was fighting to include authority in the fiscal 2010 defense authorization to buy more F-22s, which are assembled in his state. . . .

Wyatt said, for example, that Chambliss asked if the F-22 can provide the capabilities he needed for the air sovereignty mission, and "the answer basically was 'yes.' But I also pointed out in the letter that there were other aircraft that also could provide that capability."Cite. (http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0709/072909cdpm1.htm)

Nadir
04-06-2011, 08:27 AM
By the way, you're somewhat misrepresenting ...[/URL]
Knowing "what" happened is one thing. Knowing "why" it happened is something else. I'm wasting no more time trying to explain to you how congressional and executive branch budget cutting exercises affect procurement and senior leadership staffing decisions.

It's kinda like the old saying: "The man that knows how to do something will always have a job. The man that knows why it needs done will always be his boss."

Ravenman
04-06-2011, 08:45 AM
Knowing "what" happened is one thing. Knowing "why" it happened is something else. I'm still not entirely clear that you know what actually happened and who proposed what...

kombatminipig
04-06-2011, 08:49 AM
I'm not sure why Israel hasn't bought any. The IDF has its doctrines that are in many ways very different from those of the US military. For instance, Israel has also refused to buy Bradleys or Strykers - nor has it bought similar vehicles from any other nation or made any of its own, making it the sole major military not to adopt the IFV (infantry fighting vehicle) concept.

Israelis have their own way of doing things, and I guess the A-10 isn't part of it.

If I may guess, I think it has to do with the IDF counting on a few things


Opposing tanks will be less advanced designs, meaning that the existing Merkavas would win most conflicts.
Air superiority will not be guaranteed during the beginning of the conflict, and enemy ground forces will be well protected by mobile SAMs.
It will probably be a two front conflict, meaning that the possibility of moving in strike fighters quickly is valuable.
Air superiority must first and foremost be taken, and with a limited air force sacrificing air superiority fighters for ground attack aircraft is prohibitive.


This is of course presuming that the major threat would be a joint attack from Egypt and Syria. In my opinion, the IDFs limited capability of delivering precision CAS to infantry became very obvious during the last conflicts in Gaza and Lebanon.

kidchameleon
04-06-2011, 10:20 PM
Depleted uranium is still radioactive - about 60% as much as natural occurring uranium. You right though that it's mass is why it's used as ammo. As an added bonus, uranium also catches fire pretty easily when exposed to air, if the round happens to hit the targets ammo supply, it'll set it off.

It depends on who supplies the DU. The stuff we used for shielding technetium generators back at GE had to be less than .35% U-235 while the US DoD requires .2 or .3%.

Colibri
04-06-2011, 10:25 PM
You can't be that obtuse. :rolleyes:

....

Sheesh, educating you people seems almost like an exercise in futility. :smack:

[Moderator Note]

Nadir, let's dial it back a little here. No warning issued, but a bit less snark is in order in GQ.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

PS. This goes for everyone in this thread.

Mekhazzio
04-06-2011, 11:56 PM
I would also guess that an A-10 is a bit more robust than a helicopter. I've always had the impression a helicopter can be brought down just by looking at it wrong :)It depends on the helicopter. The heavy attack helicopters that are analogous to the A-10, like the AH-64 or Mi-24, are about as robust, but it's important to keep perspective on what 'robust' really means in the context.

Compared to a main battle tank, which can take major hits over and over without significantly impairing its ability to fight, all aircraft are flimsy creations in that they rely on a long series of parts staying in good working order just to not fall out of the sky. The heavy ground attack aircraft are hardened only in the sense that a bunch of random soldiers with rifles generally won't be able to shoot them down in any span of time, and glancing hits with lighter anti-aircraft weapons may not immediately take them out. This makes them significantly more durable than your average military aircraft, but generally, if they get hit by anything actually made to shoot at aircraft, it's still going to seriously ruin their day.

That problem is approached by attack helicopters spending a lot of effort and, in the more modern ones, technology, on not being shot at by anti-aircraft weapons in the first place. Hiding in terrain and attacking from out of line of sight are the main source of survivability. The A-10's design strategy was different. The idea there was more to make the system so cheap and basic that they could be fielded in enough numbers to simply take the losses. It's almost a Soviet style, really, and is one of many reasons why it was not embraced very warmly by the USAF.

DWMarch
04-07-2011, 01:39 AM
I'm not sure why Israel hasn't bought any. The IDF has its doctrines that are in many ways very different from those of the US military. For instance, Israel has also refused to buy Bradleys or Strykers - nor has it bought similar vehicles from any other nation or made any of its own, making it the sole major military not to adopt the IFV (infantry fighting vehicle) concept.

Israelis have their own way of doing things, and I guess the A-10 isn't part of it.

Well, why would Israel need those boxes on wheels when you already have the badass Achzarits or Namers? (These are main battle tanks converted to APCs for those who don't have a fascination with the IDF like I do) To paraphrase The Lonely Island, "Fuck wheels, I'm in a tank muthafucka!"

But the A-10 is seriously badass and I wonder why the IDF doesn't get itself some. I would think it would be an ideal platform for the area... Israel is not a huge country so you don't need fighter-bombers that can do 1000mph in a straight climb. But you might want a jet that can take a serious pounding (apparently the A-10 can fly with a wing, tail and engine shot off) while delivering a serious pounding. Who knows? Maybe the IDF will someday develop their own version of the A-10, the IA-10EB (for Extra Badass). I'd pay money to see it.

Declan
04-07-2011, 02:41 AM
But the A-10 is seriously badass and I wonder why the IDF doesn't get itself some. I would think it would be an ideal platform for the area... Israel is not a huge country so you don't need fighter-bombers that can do 1000mph in a straight climb.

Alessan might be able to make a better guess on this than me, but it could be the amount of pilots in the israeli airforce. If they only have x amount of zoomies available at any one given time, better to have them in the 15's and 16's.

Besides, only the gun is really all that much more different. Every other ordinance or missile is platform agnostic. The hog was meant to be survivable, not invincible and then they have to have another logistics pipeline for the spare parts and maintenance.

Declan

Raguleader
04-07-2011, 06:29 AM
I've got a Master Sergeant in my squadron who once had an A-10 come in to provide some CAS for his team.

The way he tells the story, they're hunkered down, waiting for their air support to come in, listening for that distinctive shriek of jet planes.

BRBRBRBRBRBBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBBRAPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!

They never knew the A-10 was there until it opened up with the Avenger cannon from almost directly above them. He described it as a "genuine bowel voiding experience":eek: And they knew it was coming. :D

yoyodyne
04-07-2011, 08:14 AM
It depends on who supplies the DU. The stuff we used for shielding technetium generators back at GE had to be less than .35% U-235 while the US DoD requires .2 or .3%.Pure U-238 is still radioactive.

JoelUpchurch
04-07-2011, 09:26 AM
Depleted uranium is exactly that, depleted. It's entirely inert. The only reason for its use is that it's darn heavy.

It is also very hard. The only reasonable substitute is tungsten, which is expensive. Depleted uranium is very cheap for the US, since we have huge stockpiles of it left over from refining uranium for reactors.

I looked at the presentation for the Traveling Wave Reactor and part of the pitch for it was that it could burn depleted uranium and we had over a 100 year supply of fuel already refined and stockpiled.

There are also high explosive incendiary rounds for the GAU-8 cannon.

Kilmore
04-07-2011, 11:32 AM
How hard would it be to drill a hole in the side of a Hercules and put a gatty and a fire control in there? I know the AC-130 is a bit more complicated than that, but I think the principle should still be good.

Also, what about the Super Tucano? According to Wikipedia the USAF is supposed to be getting about a hundred of those from Brazil. Apparently we don't always need to bring a chainsaw (A-10) to a knife fight.

Ravenman
04-07-2011, 12:28 PM
How hard would it be to drill a hole in the side of a Hercules and put a gatty and a fire control in there? I know the AC-130 is a bit more complicated than that, but I think the principle should still be good.It isn't the world's hardest engineering problem, but it isn't simple, either. The problem is accuracy. For example, if you stick something out of the side of an airplane, the air tends to be moving rather quickly, making a gun barrel flutter. Of course, this is nothing that can't be solved, but it is somewhat more difficult than cutting a hole and bolting down a gun.

Also, what about the Super Tucano? According to Wikipedia the USAF is supposed to be getting about a hundred of those from Brazil. Apparently we don't always need to bring a chainsaw (A-10) to a knife fight.Those are intended to be used to train foreign air forces, not as a US combat aircraft.

Raguleader
04-07-2011, 05:35 PM
How hard would it be to drill a hole in the side of a Hercules and put a gatty and a fire control in there? I know the AC-130 is a bit more complicated than that, but I think the principle should still be good.

I want to say that that's basically how the first gunships were set up. C-47 Dakotas equipped with a broadside of miniguns. The concept and the technology gradually developed until we got to the current generation, an AC-130J which as I recall actually carries fewer guns, but has also added wing-mounted bomb racks.

Patch
04-09-2011, 08:08 PM
I've got a Master Sergeant in my squadron who once had an A-10 come in to provide some CAS for his team.

The way he tells the story, they're hunkered down, waiting for their air support to come in, listening for that distinctive shriek of jet planes.

BRBRBRBRBRBBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBBRAPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!

They never knew the A-10 was there until it opened up with the Avenger cannon from almost directly above them. He described it as a "genuine bowel voiding experience":eek: And they knew it was coming. :D

I've seen video filmed with night vision in Iraq of an AC-130 doing a night firing demonstration. There's the bowel-voiding sounds, as you so nicely put it, and you see these big green globs streaking to the ground as the 40mm stuff hits. It looks and sounds like something from War of the Worlds.

And here it is. (http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c6a_1172279607)

Gukumatz
04-09-2011, 11:01 PM
I tossed the question to a (retired) Norwegian Air Force captain and a swedish friend of his, who was a grenadier with the UNPROFOR forces during Bosnia, today. Their answer was both immediate and in perfect agreement.

If Norway - or NATO - is ever in a situation where we require A-10s or AC-130s, the US will be on our side. If they're not, we won't have air superiority anyway. Secondarily, on the extremely limited military scale that Norway operates on, there is very little we could accomplish with them that ground forces with artillery support and conventional air support can't do, cheaper.