Feb 13, 2015

US Sends Back A-10 Thunderbolt II Aircraft To Germany To Counter Russian Threat

As a new ceasefire for eastern Ukraine was signed on Thursday, in an attempt to halt the worsening conflict between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels, the United States is sending to Europe a warplane that was designed during the Cold War for one purpose: to destroy Russian tanks in Europe.
A dozen A-10 attack aircraft will move to Spangdahlem Airbase in Germany to support Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S.-led commitment to continued support of NATO partners as Russia expands its military presence on the doorstep of the alliance.
The airplanes, famed for their ability to find and destroy armored vehicles, will be also deployed to nations closer to Russia.
USAF A-10 will conduct training alongside NATO allies to strengthen interoperability and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe.
The A-10 recently escaped being cut from the Pentagon's budget thanks to the support of powerful allies in Congress.
The move comes at a crucial time for Europe, as Russian airplanes conduct flights close to NATO airspace reminiscent of the Cold War and fierce fighting between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian army continues in eastern Ukraine.
Back in the United States, however, the future of the A-10 is being fiercely contested. The Air Force wants to end the A-10's 40-year run to free up resources for its new F-35 fighter jet and save the $4.2 billion a year the old planes cost to run.

1 comment:

  1. Close Air Support is a specific capability not a political decision.

    The A-10 has two engines for a reason. The engine locations was developed to reduce susceptibility to MANPADS from the front or rear. The engine location away from fuel in a ground-fire rich environment was no accident, and the McDill AFB F-35A fire illustrates why . . . the F135 engine does not meet containment requirements, and when that happens you have a fire fueled by the aircraft fuel tanks.

    Weapons capability, diversity, and capacity is unequaled for the short run from the expeditionary unimproved runway to the front and back. An argument for the F-35B could be made here, except for all the other considerations. The F-35 (any flavor) is highly allergic to bullets, and we do not want to place that valuable an asset with a single engine that close to its potential and likely demise.

    The A-10 aircraft is relatively easy to refuel, rearm, and repair in the field. Systems and pilot are protected. The 30mm gun is effective against more than just tanks, and it can carry AIM-9s for self-protection. Presence (physical and psychological) and persistence in proximity to the ground is the key to success to any CAS aircraft. This single point is ignored or denied by detractors.

    If the working group does not include A-10 operational experience, it will be a sham committee.
    I sincerely hope that a review of the design criteria is required of the first most successful Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft ever manufactured by the United States. Such as:
    1. Dual engines and their proximity to fuel
    2. Payload capacity and weapons diversity
    3. Ability to take ground fire and continue to perform the mission and get the pilot home safely
    4. Aerial refueling capability
    5. Forward deployable with unprepared runway capability
    6. Gear up landing capability
    7. Self-deployable
    8. Superior cockpit visibility
    9. Rapid ground turnaround (rearm & refuel)
    New systems would begin with
    1. More capable combat system on fiber optic backbone
    2. EOTS capability
    3. Expanded non-line of sight communications
    4. Cloaking Device & Shields (might be a little early for this)