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    • #48534
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      https://www.military.com/defensetech/2018/01/02/saving-guys-ground-10-documentary-shows-stunning-mission.html

      ‘Saving Guys on the Ground’: A-10 Documentary Shows Stunning Mission

      Screen grab from the documentary ‘Grunts in the Sky: The A-10 in Afghanistan.’
      Military.com 2 Jan 2018 By Oriana Pawlyk

      “A-10 savin’ the day again, baby!”

      That’s what U.S. troops on the ground scream for joy after an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot swoops down low for a “gun run” in Afghanistan.

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      The stunning footage — from both ground troops and from inside the cockpit — has made its debut in the 2014 mini-documentary “Grunts in the Sky: The A-10 in Afghanistan.”

      The nearly four-year-old footage was recently made public after a Facebook group, Air Force amn/nco/snco, which is popular within the Air Force but isn’t officially run by the service, pursued the footage through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Air Force hasn’t fulfilled the FOIA, but the video recently appeared on Facebook and YouTube.

      “There’s just nothing that matches the devastation that that gun can bring,” says A-10 pilot “Geronimo” at Bagram Air Base. Airmen in the video are mostly identified by their call-signs.

      “My whole soul and being is that guy on the ground,” says another pilot.

      The pilots interviewed for the documentary make the case for the plane: The A-10 can not only shoot at enemy tanks like it did en masse during the Gulf War, it can trail a single, moving target and take that out with precision too.

      But the main mission objective isn’t to coordinate, seek out and track targets. It’s aerial cover.

      “We hear the bullets flying [from the ground],” Geronimo says. “We hear [a soldier] taking cover, we hear him breathing hard. It becomes a very personal mission.”

      Air Force leaders have repeatedly said the A-10 (known as the Warthog, or Hog) — one of the leading aircraft in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — will remain in service “indefinitely.”

      But while many an A-10 enthusiast would like to see the planes flying “indefinitely,” the Air Force more likely means “into the foreseeable future.”

      In September, Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, told Defense News that if the A-10 fleet does not receive new wings before the service life of the current wings runs out, some squadrons will begin retiring.

      Nevertheless, Congress has maintained pressure on the service to keep the A-10 flying for as long as possible to keep troops secure on the ground.

      “The ground troops that I work with — when they think close-air support, they think A-10s,” says Staff Sgt. Joseph Hauser, a joint terminal attack controller based at Forward Operating Base Ghazni.

      “The reason for that is, they almost share the same mentality. If you were to say that there’s a grunt in the sky, it’d be a Hog pilot,” Hauser says.

      Check out the mini-documentary here:

      blob:https%3A//www.military.com/d79e4872-bd2b-404f-93f8-acf8361c1122

    • #48535
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      https://www.military.com/dodbuzz/2017/11/22/academy-cadets-want-make-10-lethal

      Academy Cadets: We Want to Make the A-10 Even More Lethal

      An A-10 Thunderbolt II from the 442nd Fighter Wing, out of Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., flies over the Atlantic Ocean during the National Salute to America’s Heroes Air and Sea Show media day May 26, 2017, at Miami Beach, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

      A pair of Air Force Academy cadets selected for pilot training are not only preparing for their day in the cockpit — they’re also looking to boost the performance and lethality of the A-10 Warthog.

      Cadets 1st Class Jon Clegg and John Potthoff have been working at the academy “to research decreasing maintenance requirements and increase munitions capability,” according to a service release.

      We’re working together to investigate replacing the existing leading-edge slat system with a fixed leading-edge droop to reduce complexity on this important aircraft,” Potthoff said in the release.

      Dr. Thomas Yechout, their aeronautics professor, is assisting with the research. Yechout said the leading-edge slat system “uses a gap to accelerate airflow during flight.” However, a leading-edge droop may reduce engine stalls, possibly translating into lower maintenance costs and more available aircraft, he said.

      But the cadets not only want to produce a smoother flight — they want to strap more rockets to the Fairchild Republic-made Thunderbolt II.

      The A-10 is a Cold War-era ground-attack plane known for its iconic gun designed to shred tanks and its tough titanium armor designed to take hits and keep flying.

      Clegg and Potthoff believe the A-10 can carry more munitions if the number of pods that carry rockets could be increased.

      “Their tasking was for us to evaluate and define the aerodynamic effects and the performance implications of tripling the number of rocket pods,” Yechout said. “This included assessing the changes in aircraft range, endurance and maximum speed.”

      Air Force leaders have repeatedly said the A-10 — one of the leading aircraft in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — will remain in the service “indefinitely.”

      But while many an A-10 enthusiast would like to see the planes flying “indefinitely,” the Air Force more likely means “into the foreseeable future.”

      The argument to keep the close-air-support mission aircraft — for now — is due to pressure from congressional members such as Arizona Republicans Sen. John McCain, a former Navy pilot, and Rep. Martha McSally, who flew A-10s during her Air Force career.

      The service — facing financial pressure driven by spending caps known as sequestration — made multiple attempts in recent years to retire the Warthog to save an estimated $4 billion over five years and to free up maintainers for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the stealthy fifth-generation fighter jet designed to replace the A-10 and legacy fighters.

      In September, Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, told Defense News that if the A-10 fleet does not receive new wings before the service life of the current wings runs out, some squadrons will begin retiring.

      Clegg and Potthoff profess they have solutions for the platform as a whole.

      Last year, the cadets conducted analyses on an A-10 Thunderbolt stripped for a maintenance overhaul at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

      “I was able to perform analyses on real-world problems and see how my work has the potential to impact those on the operational side,” Clegg said.

      Clegg and Potthoff  first presented their research to the A-10 special projects office program manager and staff last May and will give a new presentation in January, Potthoff said.

      “We may have an entirely new project after the January briefing,” he said. “One thing is certain, we will continue to do research to support the A-10 and increase its combat capability.”

      The two cadets are scheduled to graduate in May, the release said.

    • #48536
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      https://www.military.com/dodbuzz/2017/11/08/lawmakers-back-400-million-for-possible-a-10-successor

      Lawmakers Back $400 Million for Possible A-10 Successor

      A Textron Aviation Beechcraft AT-6 experimental aircraft flies over White Sands Missile Range as part of the Air Force's Light Attack Experiment (OA-X) to determine the feasibility of using light aircraft in attack roles. Ethan D. Wagner/Air Force

      Key lawmakers agreed to provide the Air Force with $400 million to explore buying a new light attack aircraft for missions in the Middle East.

      The $400 million figure is proposed in the negotiated fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, congressional staffers said Wednesday on Capitol Hill. The House could vote on the legislation as early as next week, with action in the Senate sometime afterward.

      The Senate Armed Services Committee originally added language stipulating $1.2 billion to start procuring light attack aircraft; however, the light attack “experiment” is not currently a program of record.

      The service could bring in a new turboprop aircraft — known as OA-X light attack planes — if it sees value.

      OA-X “is actually not about the hardware — it’s about the network,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein during a recent interview with Military.com.

      The Air Force in August conducted a “light attack experiment” at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, in which four aircraft — AirTractor and L3’s AT-802L Longsword; Sierra Nevada and Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano; and Textron and AirLand LLC’s Scorpion, as well as their AT-6B Wolverine — conducted live-fly exercises, combat maneuver scenarios and, on some occasions, weapons drops.

      Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain lauded the Air Force’s initiative to not only think outside the box in potential acquisition strategy — testing the product before investing — but also the experiment itself.

      “The light attack experiment at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, provides an example for how rapid acquisition and experimentation can help our military procure the needed capabilities more quickly, more efficiently, and more affordably than we have in the past,” the Arizona Republican said at the time.

      The former Navy pilot stressed that, while the service should sustain its A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter fleet for close-air support, “the Air Force should procure 300 low-cost, light-attack fighters that would require minimal work to develop.”

      How soon the Air Force will decide whether to invest in light attack aircraft has not been determined, Goldfein recently said.

      He said he wants the service to train more often with coalition partners — who may not have high-end fighter aircraft.

      Goldfein, who served as the U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander between 2011 and 2013, said, “Is this a way to get more coalition partners into a network to counter violence?”

      “Can I at the same that we’re looking at a relatively inexpensive aircraft and sensor package, can I connect that into a network of sharable information that allows us to better accomplish the strategy as its been laid out?” he asked.

    • #48560
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      I love that plane. It’s a sky tractor for hauling the biggest Gatling gun in the sky around. That’s badassery on a whole other level.

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