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Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 8:40 PM
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#1

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 9:07 PM

Yes, and probably.

If the Warthog survives, it will be because of political pressure from those states who make money off its continued operation.

Military bases will be closed, or not, for the same reasons. If senator A has an air base or Warthog squadron in their state, that will be the single most important reason to keep them alive.

Utility will be close to the bottom of reasons to keep the base or plane on the books.

Votes trump all else. One look at the continuous election cycle should convince you of that.

I think it is a very intimidating (cool) weapon. That's because it flies low and slow and makes a lot of noise. That buzz the nose gun makes is unmistakable.

Drones, and some Longbows, make an effective battle ground combination.

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#2

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 9:08 PM

It doesn't fit in with the new defense strategy....

http://www.defense.gov/news/defense_strategic_guidance.pdf

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 9:20 PM

I think the current strategy is to simply disband the military piece by piece and subcontract what's left to the Salvation Army.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 9:25 PM

Only in a perfect world.

OK, there is no perfect world.

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#5
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 9:27 PM

Well, Washington believes they have the ability to create it - as long as they spend money.

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#7
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 9:49 PM

See my edit above.

Washington is more worried about being reelected than creating a perfect world.

We all have our scared cows. Theirs is votes.

Karl Rove has left the building. The Hammer is plotting a comeback. We'll see.

Liberals still have more drawing power than Mitt Romney.

It's that 47% thing.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 9:56 PM

'We all have our scared cows.'

.

What have you been doing to frighten your cows?!

.

Actually, I kind of like it that way. I guess perhaps the cows should be scared if their status as sacred is being questioned.

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#34
In reply to #8

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 12:01 PM

With the number 47% being brought up, ........ I think he meant sheep......

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#36
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 12:05 PM

Ohhh! Sacred Sheep! I like that too.

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#33
In reply to #5

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 12:00 PM

That's would be pretty funny........ if it wasn't true.

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#43
In reply to #3

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 10:11 AM

That's not a good comment, it's a silly one. But you knew that when you wrote it.

Seriously, we have plenty of spare capacity. I can't even remember the last time we lost a pilot in combat. (Non-combat losses count too, though. If the military is too heavily tasked, it shows in maintenance & safety. But those aren't trending red.)

If the mission is to invade and conquer China, Russia, or any other of about two dozen nations, then our military isn't big enough. But that's not the mission, is it? We can kick the combined asses of roughly 100 nations with what we have (if they all got together in one place). With Iraq twisting in its own wind - blowing from Iran - and Afghanistan possibly winding down to nothing, there's no reason to have a post-911 military.

Back on topic...

The A-10 is an effective weapons system. Colleagues of mine are currently upgrading it, replacing the 8-track with an iPod, that kind of thing. I don't think any work is being done on the gun or the other fundamentals, because it's all enough. There's no substitute for a pilot with eyes on, and no other airplane protects the pilot like the A-10.

The A-10 is a relic. It's a dumb iron hauler until the upgrade completes, and then it'll just be almost as smart as an F-16. We've got bombs that aren't only fire-and-forget, they're fire-and-retarget. The A-10 is too stupid to carry and launch them.

Given our global strike capability, the A-10 is a luxury. Our troops on the ground will PROBABLY be fine without it.

So, like a '67 Camaro, the A-10 is obsolete.

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#44
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 10:26 AM

but missiles cost a lot more than a 30mm cannon round. and the mission is close air support. which means protecting the grunts on the ground. if it moves the A-10 will make it stop moving. That is it's function. the only thing that the army has that is even close is the Apache. The Air force HATES close air support. They always have. They like fast movers and remote controlled missiles. If it costs a million and a have a missile it is sexy. they like sexy.

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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 11:16 AM

Parts of the Air Force hate CAS. But even those parts take it VERY seriously.

An A-10 takes twice as long in transit as an F-16. Bombers and AC-130's have better loiter time.

I get the love of old Camaros and Ferraris. That doesn't change the fact that newer cars perform the same mission better, unless the mission includes nostalgia.

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#54
In reply to #3

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

03/01/2014 6:27 PM

You ) the public) voted for CHANGE you're getting it

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#6

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 9:42 PM

It seems like the A-10 would only be obsolete if either:

.

1. Tanks and armored vehicles had become obsolete

2. Something provided clearly superior performance for combating tanks and armored, especially under heavy fire.

3. Tanks and armored vehicles had developed armor or defenses that made the A-10 ineffective.

.

I don't think any of those things have happened. There may have been small movement towards each of those things, but I think we are still a ways off.

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#9

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 10:01 PM

If there is scaled and extended conflict in the Middle East nobody will be flying anything in the battle space. It will be dominated by modern SAM systems now being fielded by the SCO.

We have one aircraft in our inventory capable of defeating interlocking S-300 systems. The SCO will soon be fielding the S-500; two generations beyond the S-300.

We have invested in runway decorations; in the coming conflict this will leave us two options; negotiated withdrawal or nuclear conflict.

If we choose the second option the A-10 would probably be our most capable air to ground attack system given the resulting operating conditions.

The cost, lead time, and space dependence of our tactical systems will leave us no other options.

A few folks made a ton of money; and left us both vulnerable and broke. We cannot now prevail in scaled and extended conflict against the SCO in the middle east; the outcome has already been defined by the same variables that have ruled the battle space throughout history; logistics and economics.

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 10:11 PM

SCO. SCO. SCO?

.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization? - doubtful

.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra? - probably not

.

Singapore Chinese Orchestra? - probably not

.

Synthetic Crude Oil? - what would it be doing in the region?

.

Society of Canadian Ornithologists? - Not again! Damn it!

.

.

It isn't a bad idea to reference at least once what the TLA (Three Letter Acronym) you are using stands for.

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#17
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 10:59 PM

Well TINAC; for me, coming from you, that comment just shows how unprepared we really are for this.

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#21
In reply to #17

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 11:19 PM

What's funny is I'm familiar with the SAM system mentioned. Maybe I'm just being daft, but even after trying to igure it out by tying it to the counties in possession of the SA-10, I can't figure out who the acronym stands for.

.

Never mind. I was being daft..

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#22
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 12:06 AM

Those must be some counties!

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#23
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 12:52 AM

Indeed!

Countries. Countries.

.

Some days my daftness knows no bounds (county, country, or otherwise).

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#37
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 1:22 PM

The organization encompasses 40 percent of the Eurasian land Mass, 25 percent of the worlds population, and the 2nd and 8th largest economies in the world. Membership in the SCO includes defense and economic cooperation agreements.

In extended and scaled conflict in their backyard they will exercise absolute tactical and logistical dominance well outside the effective range of our singularly superior naval forces.

These guys are not to be trifled with; they came out of their caves a long, long, time ago; they know the limits of our logistical capabilities, our dependence on space based systems, have proven space denial and SLBM equatorial orbital launch capability, survivable and robust tactical systems, numerical superiority in land and air assets, a much a faster and economically viable supply chain for sustained development and deployment of tactical systems, a much larger manufacturing base, large mineral and petroleum reserves within their sphere of military dominance; and they understand our mindset; which includes the resulting arrogance and ignorance of our people resulting from decades of "information management."

They know our strengths, weaknesses, and how we think.

We can stare goo goo eyed at the gee whiz in our hands and get our arses kicked or get to work developing and deploying rapidly mobile and robust land based communication, navigation, and targeting capabilities along with economically sustainable tactical systems to go with them;

or we can go to the house.

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#35
In reply to #11

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 12:03 PM

I think the S-300 is a Chrysler.

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#24
In reply to #9

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 7:19 AM

Are you sure?

The S-400 is supposed to be an intercepter for supersonic missiles and not a replacement for the S-400 and the S-400 has yet to be exported.

However, every time someone develops a system there is someone else that develops a counter and so it goes over and over again.

Do any of those systems obsolete the A-10? No. The A-10 is brought in after the campaign of SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) has been completed and the phase of neutralizing armored ground forces has begun.

This is not the first time the A-10 was on the chopping block. So far there is nothing to replace it.

I suspect that program and many others are on the chopping block not because they are outdated, they aren't, but because we have outspent our borrowing capacity and the current administration feels that additional social justice programs weigh more heavily than national defense.

We also have the spiraling over cost of the F-35 program and no one will kill that because it is too big and we are in much too deep. So, mothballing the A-10s would reduce that squeeze. That's the rhetoric in Washington.

I guess we will see. We can always just draw political red lines in the sand and when things get hairy, pull out the eraser.

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#38
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 9:48 PM

"However, every time someone develops a system there is someone else that develops a counter and so it goes over and over again."

Perhaps this is why lead time is of such critical strategic importance?

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#10

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 10:01 PM

These days, the biggest liability to manned aircraft is the man, for many reasons. One great thing about drones is if one gets shot down, no pilot prisoner to bargain for.

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#12

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 10:25 PM

The armed forces tried to do this once before but then all that Iran-Iraq-Afghanistan-many more areas conflicts started. They sent the A-10's there and they proved to be one of the most valuable assets in the aviation inventory.

Without doubt most of the idiots politicians will find some reason to kill it and put the money in their own congressional area. What they will find out is that drones are good but not for most of what the A-10 does. For proof just look at the 7 day war of General Schwarzkopf. The A-10 became the low flying hero.

They are also my favorite plane at the military air shows.

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 10:41 PM

How about this for ground attack!

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 10:55 PM

That one is "tears in my brew!" Wonderful picture! Thanks

Only to be surpassed by a picture of a P-51 or P-38!

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#19
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 11:07 PM

Here ya go...

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#42
In reply to #19

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 9:44 AM

In all this one-upmanship about aircraft PICTURES (pictures? Piddly-Poo? What good are pictures?) I live about 12 miles from the National Air and Space Museum, which has many wonderful birds hanging and standing around it, but even better, I live about 12 miles (the other direction, I'm right between) from the Udvar-Hazy wing of the same museum.

And in THAT one are sitting or hanging pristine examples of the P-47 Thunderbolt, AKA The Jug, a P-38 Lightning, a P-51 Mustang, F4-U Corsairs, A-1D Spads (Vietnam War Veterans), and such relatively fast movers as an F-100, an F-106, an SR-71 Blackbird (Now THERE is a wicked looking plane! Too bad it was never fielded as an Air Superiority Fighter. Not terribly maneuverable, but mated with the AIM-54 Phoenix system, it would have kicked tail from WAY, WAAAYYYY out there, and gone home before anyone even knew it had been around.) There are many more, too many to name, so that the tour of the museum is an all day event. Brings tears to the eyes, they're so pretty. The only thing I liked better was attending an air show at a British Air Base about an hour from Coventry with an old friend from the US Navy, and getting to see a bunch of them fly, along with Spitfires, Brewster Buffalos, and a raft of RAF stuff I couldn't identify.

But since we can't all go to the UK to see them, and there seem to be fewer ans fewer opportunities to see them at US Air Shows, seeing them on the ground is good, too, so should any of you guys ever get the chance to visit DC (Visit, mind you. Stay to long and you'll can contract a terminal case of politicians), let me know in advance, and I'll schedule us a trip out to the U-H, so you, too, can drool over the real thing.

Micahd

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#13

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 10:36 PM

Just paint teeth and eyeballs onto drones.

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#15
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 10:47 PM

... and some pipes to simulate a 30mm chingun.

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#18

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 11:03 PM

We have no autonomous attack systems with the AI capability required to function in a communications limited and fluid battle space.

Although human physiology limits maneuverability well below modern airframe capability; the primary CPU of the manned system is still far more capable when given the inability to maintain continuous real time communication; a condition which will exist in any conceivable scaled and extended Middle East conflict scenario with the SCO.

If we have had the foresight to develop mobile and rapidly deployable ground based communication and navigation systems, then MAYBE, small fractional RCS drones and cruise missiles, in large enough numbers, MIGHT be able to overwhelm the numerous and modern SAM systems we will be facing; but given the metrics by which our monopolistic military supply chain operates, I doubt that is the case.

Within a short time after initial hostilities we will be entering the battle space broke, blind, deaf, and dumb. What develops within the fluid battle-space will be of much less importance than how we prepared for it.

Gee whiz is really cool when you are fighting cavemen; but in an extended blood letting with a modern enemy that has a huge numerical and manufacturing superiority with great logistical and economic advantage the Gee Whiz is just a means of further access into the pocketbooks of the taxpayer. This was not lost on our adversaries; who have been studying this black art much longer than we.

Our planning was based on profitability while our adversaries were planning to win. This may have put us at a significant disadvantage.

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/25/2014 11:19 PM

Bush/Cheney just about threw us into bankruptcy fighting cavemen.

They didn't bother to find money for their war, they printed it.

Colin Powell would have won the fake war in two years. Rummy cost us trillions.

OSB vowed to break us, and he almost has.

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#25
In reply to #20

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 7:27 AM

True, but that hasn't stopped Washington from spending and printing even more money as both wars have wound down.

That lust has not abated and just like the universe, is accelerating. Let's just call it Dark Political Energy that drives this expansion.

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#26

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 7:38 AM

A tool is only obsolete if there is something better to replace it with. Which is to be the F-35. Since it's replacement is tied up in cost over runs and performance issues. When is the issue.

Drones have their uses. I don't see drones as the best option as support for ground troops in a battle situation. A pilot in the cockpit would have a better assessment of the threat on the ground and could respond more quickly saving lives.

So I say no.

Department of Defence is just throwing these things out there to get congress's attention. With the budget cuts some things got to go. If military keeps throwing things at congress that will effect their constituents back home. Then they will come up with the money to keep them in place.

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#27
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 7:44 AM

I don't believe the F-35 is in any way meant to replace the A-10s role.

I just thing the F-35 is sucking all of the oxygen out of a room where the air is already very thin.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 8:03 AM

That is not as it is being sold. The aircraft is to replace the F-16, A-10, F/A-18 and the AV-8B.

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#31
In reply to #28

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 10:35 AM

You are right, that is how it is being sold. The reality is that the F-35 can't handle the same environment as well as the A-10.

Ao, unless the F-35 can accomplish the same targeting roles in a different way (i.e., out of the line of fire), there will be a gap in performance.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 10:45 AM

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#29

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 9:28 AM

If you have ever seen one of these machines in action (and been protected by one) you were in absolute awe! :-) Great machine and I hope it survives a while longer.

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#30

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/26/2014 10:22 AM

If I recall correctly fighters with guns were obsolete at the beginning of the Vietnam war. How did that work out?

Before the downsizing a few years ago I would commonly get buzzed by Wart Hogs going back and forth to their playground in Avon Park. I was always amazed at the two different types and how much of an impression they could make on people. Some had quiet engines and they would be on top of you so fast that when you look up you only see the back end of the plane. Others had the "we want to make a political statement" engines and you could hear them coming a minute or two before they arrived.

A big gun with a lot of armor plating. Pretty handy if all the war plans go to he#% and the ground pounders have to do it the old fashioned way.

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#39

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 8:25 AM

During the Iraq war, the A-10 was THE most effective aircraft in theatre. it could and did do things that the Apache and the F-16's and the F-15E's could not and cheaper than any of them. a 30 MM chain gun is a pretty cheap weapon to shoot compared to $150K hellfires. It flies too low and slow for most SAM systems to target (speed looks like a ground target and it is often lost in ground clutter) and they did not lose a single aircraft to my knowledge. the planes have been known to come back with entire flight control surfaces shredded from ground fire and the pilot didn't notice any loss of controlability. If there has ever truly been a flying tank, the A-10 was it.

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 8:38 AM

It's the redundancy......

A plane that was designed from the ground up for a specific mission........er,... in this case, designed around the chain gun.

I think in the first Iraq war we lost one, and the pilot was captured........ The Iraqis made a field day with the video...... pilot was pretty beat up from the ejection.

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#41
In reply to #40

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 8:48 AM

After further research it would appear four were lost during the gulf War.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Republic_A-10_Thunderbolt_II

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#46

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 11:18 AM

Anybody who believes the A-10 is obsolete should notify the bad guys that their RPG's are obsolete.

Lo-tech is often preferred for close in fighting when things get down and dirty.

Hooker

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 4:54 PM

Ea tu Hooker?

Is there something wrong with the 30 mm chain gun in the nose of a Longbow?

Not to mention the Hellfire, Hydra and Stingers it can carry.

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 5:02 PM

Well, being a helicopter guy I would normally vote for the Longbow but actually I think each is useful for close in support in specific AO's.

I would vote for the Warthog to come in, blow the hell out of the bad guys and get out quickly in a fairly open environment. This was ideal for armor killing in Iran.

On the other hand I think I would vote for the Longbow in hilly/mountainous terrain where it can pop up, detect, fire and hide. The Longbow had problems defending itself in wide open spaces like Iran.

Just gotta pick the right tool for the job and not depend on a single weapons system for everything.

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#52
In reply to #48

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/28/2014 7:51 AM

"wide open spaces like Iran"

My references to Iran should have been Iraq, though I suppose we'll be in Iran soon enough.

Hooker

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#53
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Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/28/2014 1:42 PM

Probably not.

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#49
In reply to #47

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 7:35 PM

What does Ea tu mean?

I have heard of et tu, but not Ea tu.

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 7:44 PM

Phonetics?

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#51
In reply to #49

Re: Is the A-10 Warthog Obsolete?

02/27/2014 11:13 PM

Could it be misspelled from Eau Tu? The smell of Tu? Tu needs a bath?

Or mis-spaced? EAT u? (not tasty, I think).

Ah, the vagaries of English. At least as spoken on THIS side of the pond, anyway!

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