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Subject: Hog Lovers Are Appeased
SYSOP    10/13/2010 5:26:57 AM
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Photon       10/15/2010 11:55:35 PM
USN-MID:  Changing something major like that (especially now in a shooting war) without clear benefits to the force isn't really a good idea.
Good point!  Of course, across-the-board changes in military structure should not be undertaken while we are shooting and getting shot at.
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Photon       10/16/2010 12:19:57 AM
ker:  But the best way to do that is to leave things where they are.  The A-10 have been threatened but they have survived.  They have not been orphaned as the upgrades demonstrate.  Would Army A-10s fly off of new Army airfeilds???   If you want to send Army combat vets to help with A-10 pilot training great.
Good point.   Yeah ... leave the (nominal) organizational structures in place.  Now that I am re-visiting 'form should follow function' again:  It appears that the most critical thing is less about nominal organizational flowcharts, but making sure that servicemen across the board are prepared to tango together.
I have slapped the Air Force around on this very topic in the past.  At this point my hope is not to see Army win a civil war but to see the civil war end.  A-10 pilots in Air Force uniforms help with that.  The new way to let the Air Force know how you feel is to lobby the congress and Sec Defence to raise the promotion ceiling for A-10 pilots.  They are on our side. Smile.
The last thing anyone should want is a 'civil war' of some sort.  Self-imposed dysfunction can be psychologically more damaging (hence demoralizing) out of proportion, compared to damages inflicted from outside sources.
As for the need for unity -- I remember a little blurb from a book containing a biography of Genghis Khan:
Grab an arrow shaft.  Break it!  It is easily broken.  Now then, grab a bundle of arrows.   Break them!  They cannot be broken.
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SMSgt Mac     ~Sigh~ A-10 Fanboys   10/17/2010 9:52:45 PM

Wow. There is enough A-10 mythology in the comments so far to put Edith Hamilton to shame. I


 seriously doubt anyone commenting to this point can accurately describe the origins of the A-10 (A-X) program without resorting to the internet, so.... everyone's mouse ready? 
Q: Which of the following statements is/are <i>most</i> correct?

a. The Army shamed the Air Force into fielding a CAS platform because it was unhappy with the AF's CAS performance in Vietnam?

b. The Army on the whole was happy with the AF's CAS performance in Vietnam, but wanted a fixed wing CAS platform itself and the AF had to develop the A-X to keep the Army out of the fixed wing attack business.

c. The Army on the whole was happy with the AF's CAS performance in Vietnam, but the AF, in a customer-oriented and proactive fashion did a survey and concluded it needed to field a slower-moving CAS platform that could provide escort to slower Army helo force packages. The AF aggressively moved to field a new generation, low-cost CAS platform. 

d. The Army on the whole was happy with the AF's CAS performance in Vietnam, but the AF had been left out of missions because (innocently) the Army planners didn't want to deal with the complexities of planning force packages and operations with mixed high-low speed systems and all the potential for things that can go wrong. Once the AF found out about it, they fast tracked the A-X project.


I count the moments until I can bask in the glow of ?genius?.... and if one must resort to Google et al, one should probably stick to expounding Airpower issues of the 1:48 and 1:72 scale.

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AThousandYoung       10/17/2010 11:19:08 PM
I thought it was for blowing up Soviet tanks in the Fulda Gap." alt="" />
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warpig       10/18/2010 1:43:11 AM

I thought it was for blowing up Soviet tanks in the Fulda Gap." />

It was the (very accurate) realization that the A-10 was going to get shot to pieces in the Fulda Gap that lead some USAF planners in the 1980s to start considering replacing the A-10 with something more survivable.  It was the collapse of the FSU that mooted that impetus, and Desert Storm that led everyone to realize that the A-10 could still be a very effective contributor, and lead the entire USAF to realize it should still be kept around.  It was the revolution in CAS that came with JDAMs and vastly improved airborne sensors in the 1990s-early 2000s that lead to almost every other USAF/USN/USMC aircraft becoming more effective at CAS in most situations than was the A-10A that lead to the realization that the A-10A definitely needed a fleetwide upgrade to become the best CAS aircraft once again.  It is the A-10C upgrade that has once again made the A-10C the best aircraft in the world for most CAS missions.
Oh, and once more, with feeling, please recall that CAS is a mission, not an airframe.  For example, the B-1 can perform most CAS missions, the A-10 can perform most CAS missions, and the MQ-9 can perform most CAS missions, but none are the best aircraft for all CAS missions, and each one is better than the other two at some CAS missions.  And for that matter, the AH-64 and the M-109A6 can perform many "CAS" missions, too.
Sarge, I'm leaning toward "d", but "c" sounds pretty good, too.
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Phaid       10/18/2010 5:14:26 AM

I thought it was for blowing up Soviet tanks in the Fulda Gap." alt="" align="absMiddle" border="0" />

Kind of.  The A-X program from which the A-10 came was originally intended to replace the A-1 Skyraider, which was the only fixed-wing type that actually was good at CAS in Vietnam but was way too vulnerable and ran on AvGas.  At the same time, though, the Air Force still saw its main tactical mission as the defense of Europe against the invading Soviet hordes, which meant killing tanks.  Fast jets at the time were terrible at killing tanks, and it turned out 30mm guns were actually really good at it, so they changed the specification to include a high rate of fire / high velocity 30mm gun.
As Warpig said, though, by the late 80s it was clear that the whole concept of flying low and slow around the FEBA was not a good idea, so the Air Force decided to turn the A-10s into FACs and call them OA-10s.  But then 1991 happened, and even though that bore no resemblance to the Fulda Gap it did show the A-10s could be extremely useful under some circumstances.
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SMSgt Mac    Warpig Gets It   10/18/2010 10:49:34 PM

It was kind of a trick question (which I?ll get to later) since nothing ever happens in a vacuum, but the best answers were C and D.

In June of 1966, the AF Chief of Staff directed a study to determine if the AF was providing satisfactory support to the Army in Vietnam. By August the results were reported that the Army was generally satisfied with AF support but that they were excluding the AF from certain missions, and increasing the expenditures for more armament of the AH-1 and working towards something called the Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (You will more likely know it as the AH-56A Cheyenne). Another finding was that the multi-role approach (i.e. using aircraft such as A-7D for CAS when needed) wouldn?t satisfy the perceived need for ?helicopter escort? and ?fire support? roles.  As a result of this study, the AF immediately launched an effort to field a dedicated CAS aircraft that would replace the (believed to be) best CAS aircraft at the time: the A-1 Skyraider. An important planned improvement over the Skyraider would be a better capability against hard targets. The program went through two major rounds of capability and mission analyses and numerous minor tweaks before the final A-X requirements were issued.

Background (the trick part):

Existing Doctrine in 1965 allowed the Army to pursue rotary wing solutions to providing ?suppressive fire? support that could augment but not replace CAS. The Army was then developing its Air Mobile doctrine and sought to expand acquisition and use of both rotary and fixed wing aircraft to support it. In particular, the Army?s effort to acquire more Caribou and Mohawk aircraft was seen as trespassing into AF missions and the effort was shot down at the SecDef and NOT AF level (yes, McNamara) .  This ?fixed wing expansion? attempt, combined with the Army?s efforts to field the Cheyenne (the roots of which reach back to before major involvement in Vietnam, circa ?62), which was seen by some in the AF as evidence of the Army?s intent to expand beyond the ?suppressive fire? and into the CAS mission due to the quantum leap ahead in capabilities (high speed, advanced avionics, 30mm gun, grenade launcher/minigun, etc) compared to its precursors increased tensions between the AF and Army.  There were Congresscritters taking sides (largely Army) in the debate, and one in particular, Rep Otis Pike, played a major role in bringing things to a head. He convened a hearing in late ?65 and the Committee findings released in Spring of ?66 criticized the AF for not being more serious about fielding a better CAS capability. This was in spite of the already in-work effort to field an interim platform (A-7D). IMHO, Pike?s background as a WWII Marine aviator probably poisoned the well on the issue, since Marine Aviation?s sole reason for existence is to support the Rifleman on the ground. Like many of my ground-dwelling brethren, Pike probably confused/confuses CAS with Airpower, instead of recognizing the first as a subset of the second. As mentioned earlier, the AF found the Army generally happy with the AF?s CAS with the exceptions related to helo operations, so it appears that ?someone? was overstating the case against AF CAS for reasons that are anyone?s guess.

A cynic would assume that the 'Army' or nefarious members thereof was consciously attempting a turf takeover to support their Airmobile aspirations, but a more like (to me) explanation is that it was more along the lines of the Army wanting to control as much of their own destiny as possible by making as many of their fires as organic as possible when in contact with the enemy, without concern for the unintended consequences on eliminating the enemy, or reducing his capabilities PRIOR to contact.  I believe Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom operations have since validated the second explanation.

Epilogue: Ironically, a showdown on CAS between the Cheyenne and what was to become the A-10 was avoided -- as the Cheyenne program sank by the weight of its own te
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HeavyD       10/20/2010 1:32:21 PM
CAS IS a mission, not an airframe.
All the more reason to consolidate command and control of as many delivery platforms for the CAS mission as close to the grunts as possible.
Back in the day I worked as the 8th ID's SHORAD battalion liaison, along with army aviation, airforce and artillery (don't want to fly low and slow through an incoming arty barrage) to form the DAME:  Division Airspace Management Element.
The Air Force was obviously the outsider from both C and C as well as planning.
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SMSgt Mac    To be even more precise...   10/26/2010 9:43:36 PM
and less abstract: 'Fire Support' is the MISSION, 'Air' is the MEDIUM. CAS is the METHOD of exploiting the medium to perform a mission.  I won't expand on this not-so-trivial point in any more detail for reasons that I won't go into here.
The "ground-centric" vs. "air-centric" views of Airpower in general, and CAS in particular are contrasted very well in RAND's "Learning Large Lessons" (make sure one reviews the revised edition) and a host of source documents that are cited within. I would recommend following-up on the RAND piece with more on how to correctly perceive and employ Airpower 'strike' capabilities. First with "Airpower Advantage: Planning the Gulf War Air Campaign, 1989?1991" by Diane T. Putney, then with "Airpower in the Context of a Dysfunctional Joint Doctrine" by then-Lt Col Carl Pivarsky (while a student at AU", then Dwayne P. Hall's AU student paper "Integrating Joint Operations Beyond the FSCL: Is Current Doctrine Adequate? and finally "Joint Maneuver And Fires Coordination Board: Does The Joint Targeting Coordination Board Need To Evolve?" authored by AF Major David Naisbitt when he attended Army Command and General Staff College.
When it comes to Airpower, it becomes clear that after studying the issue, the Ground-Centric POV requires a very large blind-spot. The Air Element IS a Maneuver Element, and it would help the Army quite a bit if it came to terms with the idea.
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