• Saturday, August 17, 2019

Modern A-10 type aircraft concept

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by Philip the Arab, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Philip the Arab

    Philip the Arab BANNED

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    The A-10 Thunderbolt is a formidable aircraft that has a good history at destroying strategic enemy ground targets and supporting friendlies in the CAS role. The A-10 was developed around the GAU-8 Avenger, a 30mm Gatling-style autocannon that has a variable firing rate of up to 3900 rounds per minute and can penetrate up to 76mm of RHA. This aircraft is known for its classic "brrrt" which is the sound of the aircraft gun firing at such a high rate. What I'm trying to say is that the aircraft I]s still useful today after some 41 years since being inducted and it will need to be replaced soon with a aircraft that offers similar performance against targets. Now you don't need a built in 30mm gun necessarily since there is a gun pod available that uses the same GAU-8 ammo in a smaller fashion but with only 353 rounds available. So what I propose is having a jet that uses a similar layout to the A-10 but with maybe 2 centerline gunpods instead of a built in 30mm gun. In theory, even an aircraft like the Textron AirLand Scorpion could become a deadly CAS and attack aircraft by adding these armaments in combination with AGM-65s, JDAMs, AIM-9 sidewinders. You give me your opinion if it would be a good aircraft if certain changes are made to the airframe of the Scorpion such as Titanium tub, etc;.

    Gunpod using 30mm gatling gun


    A-10 Thunderbolt firing


    @The SC Tell me what you think of this idea if you want.
    @Swordbreaker12 You also tell me if you like.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  2. Dante80

    Dante80 FULL MEMBER

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    If you think about it, one of the main reasons we really don't have new and dedicated aircraft designs for the reference mission is simply because the threat profile has changed a lot, together with the attributes of the reference mission (for example, the A-10 was designed for mass attacks on the 100+ armored division spear-point invading Europe in a WWIII scenario).

    The future really belongs to UCAVs for high threat mission profiles and general purpose aircraft for low. Will attach a pretty good RAND analysis on the subject that I read last year. Here is a summary if you don't want to read the whole thing..

    Key Findings

    Close Air Support (CAS) Backs up Troops on the Ground and Affects Morale
    • The A-10 operates at relatively low altitudes. It uses its 30mm cannons more frequently than any other weapon. These allow greater accuracy than bombs, which is of particular value when the troops being supported are in close proximity to the enemy.
    • Low-flying aircraft are also highly visible. This boosts friendly morale and intimidates enemies.
    • In recent conflicts, the air defenses have been unsophisticated, mostly consisting of small arms, rocket-propelled grenades, and some shoulder-fired missiles.
    Other Assets that Perform the Mission, but There Are Drawbacks
    • The USAF has other options for performing the CAS mission, including F-15Es; F-16s; B-1s; and, soon, the F-35A.
    • Attack helicopters could provide CAS, but are, like all aircraft, also vulnerable at low altitudes.
    • Other alternatives include converting A-10s to remotely piloted aircraft or developing a specialized unmanned aerial vehicle for the purpose.
    Costs Are an Additional Concern
    • The Air Force expects to save about $3.7 billion over the next five years.
    • But this does not account for the costs of conversions or alternative aircraft.
    Recommendations
    • Given the importance of close air support (CAS) to joint operations, future CAS requirements should be carefully reexamined in much the same way they were before the A-10 was developed.
    • The current plan for CAS capabilities should be adopted if it can meet the CAS requirements that emerge from this process and if a cost-based analysis validates the cost reductions the Air Force envisions.
    • However, if the plan does not meet future CAS requirements or would cost more than alternatives that provide similar CAS capabilities, the current plan for providing CAS should be reconsidered.
    • Regardless of the outcome of the requirements reexamination process and the subsequent capabilities and cost-based analyses, we recommend fielding a viable replacement CAS capability before eliminating the capability the A-10 provides to minimize risk to ground forces.
     

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  3. Philip the Arab

    Philip the Arab BANNED

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    I see what you are saying but most people who flew the plane and even congress say the U.S. is not ready to retire the plane and even if it is expensive the military is receiving a bigger budget because of Trump. UCAVs are more of a loitering for a long time aircraft not a short loiter but heavy weaponry aircraft like the A-10. F-35s and other aircraft recommended for the CAS role just don't work as well as the A-10 as shown in Afghanistan and somewhat in Iraq and don't give the same morale boost as the sound of the Brrt.
    I mean I agree with you it has some usefulness and some not so usefulness but if something cheaper can be made I will go with it such as the Textron Scorpion or the A-29.
    Also forgot to mention this but I'm not aiming this at the U.S. alone, I'm aiming it at countries that want A-10 aircraft which I think many do.
     
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  4. Dante80

    Dante80 FULL MEMBER

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    Good points, but what you are mentioning is different though. The reason that the A-10 flies still is simply because it already exists and the current alternatives may be more costly and time consuming than simply retaining it. This is also the reason that the report states it would be prudent to retire the plane AFTER the capabilities it provides are answered via fielding a new platform (for continuity purposes).

    I was addressing the notion of developing a new specialized platform for the role.

    So, this would depend on the threat specifics that each country will need to take into account when trying to fill its CAS cap needs. Most countries find that attack helicopters or multi-role aircraft tend to fit said missions much cheaper than a dedicated platform still. Same goes with arming turboprops when the need arises in low threat environments.

    If you want feedback for the specific configuration you are envisioning, it is untenable for a multitude of practical reasons. For example, you are talking about fitting two GPU-5/A pods to an aircraft that does not even have the hard-point strength to field them (each pod weighs close to a ton when full). The pod you were talking about is also a notable failure, as you well know.

    Moreover, the whole idea of developing the Scorpion was to provide a very light (composite construction) and inexpensive to field (COTS equipment) and fly (business jet engines, low maintenance costs) ISR and light attack aircraft for the export market. While it is expected to be a pretty effective and inexpensive platform for low threat operations, it really cannot substitute something like the Thunderbolt or the Frogfoot (something duly noted when the aircraft was evaluated during the LAAS/LAR program). Or at least, not do it as cheaply or effectively as a Lo/Hi combination that most nations pursue currently for the reference mission.

    You are correct in assuming that something like the AT-6B or the A-29 might be closer to filling the Lo part of the CAS spectrum.

    Hope that helps, cheers.
     
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  5. Philip the Arab

    Philip the Arab BANNED

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    I agree with you but was just throwing out some aircraft that I thought could mount 2 of these you can shoot one at me that you think could fulfill a similar role to the A-10 or SU-25. Do you think that the gun pod could be redone today and it’s stability be increased? If so the plane would not need a built in gun as big as the 30mm and could maybe mount a m61 Vulcan instead. What about an A-6 type aircraft as an CAS aircraft? In theory it could hold a gun pod since it has the ability to hold 3600 pounds on each hardpoint one pod could fit well and has a slow cruise speed so it’s good for strafing.
    Hellfires instead of Mavericks would mean more missiles per hardpoint something like 4 on one rack. Of course all the other weapons used on the A-10 could be used on an A-6.
     
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  6. 313ghazi

    313ghazi SENIOR MEMBER

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    It's really nice to read a reasoned discussion on this forum. Most topics on this forum are flooded by people who should see a shrink rather than visit a defence forum.

    My personal take is that there won't be another A-10, but the existing version will be kept airborne for its CAS role against militants.

    Dedicated CAS in regular warfare will be done by helicopter gunships, fighter jets and ever increasingly drones and UCAVS. Each of these options have advantages over the A-10 and are more in-line with tactics for standard conflicts.

    For example the choppers can fly lower and operate without the need for runways. The fighter jets can respond faster and put down more fire. The UCAVS don't put a man in the line of fire and can operate in swarms.

    I think its one of a kind. It was designed during interesting times, it's ruggedness and adaptability has helped its shelf life but I doubt we'll see a purpose built replacement.
     
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  7. khansaheeb

    khansaheeb SENIOR MEMBER

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    Pakistan needs a heavily armored tank buster plane too.
     
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  8. Patriot Lover

    Patriot Lover FULL MEMBER

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  9. Dante80

    Dante80 FULL MEMBER

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    The gun pod itself had no real accuracy or mechanical problems. It is actually exceptional. The problem has to do with the application. To have any degree of accuracy, you want the platform to be as stable as possible. And it is impossible to design a pylon that is rigid enough to keep the platform steady to reduce deflection, yet flexible enough at the same time so that the tremendous recoil of a big cannon does not shake the plane to bits. Or worse still, misalign the pylon itself via its operation, thus rendering the combo completely inaccurate after a small burst. The same holds true for the M61 Vulcan btw. Both SUU-16/A and SUU-23/A pods were found to be unsatisfactory during the Vietnam war, for pretty much the same reasons.

    This is also the reason that the most successful gun pod ever produced features the M134 Minigun, firing 7.62mm ammo.

    Hell, even more integrated weapons (fuselage central gondolas instead of pods) can have this problem. See for example what happened when Mikoyan tried to field the GSh-6-30 cannon on the MiG-27. Quoting from wikipedia, the airframe vibration led to fatigue cracks in fuel tanks, numerous radio and avionics failures, the necessity of using runways with floodlights for night flights (as the landing lights would often be destroyed), tearing or jamming of the forward landing gear doors (leading to at least three crash landings), cracking of the reflector gunsight, an accidental jettisoning of the cockpit canopy and at least one case of the instrument panel falling off in flight. (!!)

    An A-6 is a bad example, for a couple of reasons. Disregarding the fact that it has been retired for a couple of decades now, it would essentially be a less capable but more expensive Hi CAS platform than the already existing A-10. Think about it for a second. As soon as you start ticking the boxes you want for CAS capabilities, the closer you come to a dedicated platform for the reference mission. And platforms like the A-10 or the Su-25 were purpose-built for the application at hand.

    If those are not sufficient today for high threat environments, how would an attack aircraft conversion be? As I tried to illustrate above, the world is moving to UCAVs, attack helis, converted turboprops and multi-purpose fighters for a reason.
     
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  10. T-123456

    T-123456 ELITE MEMBER

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    Very simple,there are cheaper and better alternatives.
    UCAVs and Attack helicopters,like @Dante80 mentioned.
     
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  11. TOPGUN

    TOPGUN PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Always loved the A-10 damn flying tank that nothing on the ground can escape period lolz.
     
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  12. Philip the Arab

    Philip the Arab BANNED

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    Do you think the GAU-19 will work in a gun pod as in stability? Recently a gunpod for it was developed and this could be a good weapon for use on turboprop attack aircraft as an intermediate round between the M61 and the M134.
    [​IMG]

    https://fulcrumconceptsllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/PFS_gp-19_06.pdf
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  13. Dante80

    Dante80 FULL MEMBER

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    It is possible. Looking at the manufacturers page, this seems light enough to do the job, while heavy enough to deal with the recoil (the recoil is about 380lbf, and the loaded weight is bigger). Since this is still a Gatling gun though, you would probably need something better than a pair of lugs to secure it (if you are aiming to field 2 of them, instead of one at the fuselage).

    No idea on effectiveness. It is self-contained, and it can be linked to the sighting system in a light attack aircraft. Also, the fact that this uses stock .50 BMG ammo means that you have a pretty wide range of available ammunition types to customize your belt according to the mission reference needs.
     
  14. Philip the Arab

    Philip the Arab BANNED

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    I mean the M134 might not have enough penetration power against light armored vehicles when compared to the .50 cal. I mean there could be only one gunpod instead of two gunpods put on a plane like the B-250 Bader for example in the center hardpoint and I mean it might have the same Brrt sound as the GAU-8 but just not as loud. The ammo will be expended slower since the rate of fire is slower so that means a higher amount of firing the gun.
     
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  15. Philip the Arab

    Philip the Arab BANNED

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    How is Turkey getting the F-35? The U.S. senate which controls weapons transfers passed a bill to prevent it but somehow everybody that's Turkish keeps saying they are getting the plane.
    In June 2018 the US Senate passed a defense spending bill that now prevents the Turkish Air Force from obtaining the F-35 stealth fighter. Tensions between the US and Turkey are to blame for the denied contract, and now may put Turkey in a position to become the first customer for Russia's Su-57.