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Air Power A place to discuss the implements of War in the Air!

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  #61  
Old 08 Sep 09, 01:51
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Actually, redstar makes a valid point.... plus when you think about it, the GAU8 was primarily a tank busting gun, the GAU12 would suffice while the Hellfire could take out any MBTs with one hit.
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  #62  
Old 08 Sep 09, 01:59
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A heavily armoured UAV armed with Hellfires and dumb rockets would be good for many roles. It has also the advantage that the Army can be allowed to operate them.
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  #63  
Old 08 Sep 09, 02:18
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One issue with UAV's armed with cannon might well be magazine capacity. The A-10 carries quite a few shells for the GAU 8. Also does the GAU 12 use depleted uranium munitions? That is why the A-10 kills tanks. The 30mm depleted uranium round is a sabot projectile that can and will punch through any top armor and most armor protecting the engine compartment. Not sure about most tank sides, but I am sure someone reading can supply the answer.

If they mount the GAU 12 on a pod under a UAV, I doubt it will carry a bunch of ammo for the gun.

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  #64  
Old 08 Sep 09, 03:00
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It seems we've gotten to the point where the UAV is armoured and armed with a GAU 8 and a dozen or so Hellfire missiles. At this point, will it really be that much smaller than an A-10? Obviously a pilot takes up a lot of room, but this is no longer a small drone we're talking about; it's just a relatively smaller, pilotless A-10 isn't it?
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  #65  
Old 08 Sep 09, 05:13
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I would like to agree at most points with redstar.

Toady, at low-intensity conflicts UAV are much more suited than A-10. They can endure more at area, no crew means less worries if they are shot down, and even their armament is getting better every day.

On modern battlefield, against strong army, A-10 is very vulnerable in its role. Slow, un-stealthy, and flying low can be very dangerous.

In modern warfare, due to development of guided ammo, we have completely new situation for the first time - it is much easier to destroy target than to find it.

I don't think that GAU-8 or similar gun has a future on modern battlefield. In action, it is necessary to come at 2km from target, shoot until almost 1km, and turn, and during aiming and shooting to fly straight. Even if enemy has only modern MANPADS, this kind of attack would be almost suicidal.

If we compare it to Hellfire missile, or even laser-guided Hydra missile, where aircraft can shoot target from range beyond MANPADS or AAA - it's disadvantages are clear.
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  #66  
Old 09 Sep 09, 07:40
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...sounds like the arguments being put forward by air strategists leading up to the Vietnam war.."only missiles, no guns needed, thanks for coming..", do we need to remind ourselves of the fallout this attitude caused? Rule out the gun in present day combat at your peril!

...besides, have you ever seen a UAV flying with a wingman?
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  #67  
Old 09 Sep 09, 08:00
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Originally Posted by galland View Post
...sounds like the arguments being put forward by air strategists leading up to the Vietnam war.."only missiles, no guns needed, thanks for coming..", do we need to remind ourselves of the fallout this attitude caused? Rule out the gun in present day combat at your peril!
This certainly is a good point, but:
- today's guided missile are more developed and battle-proven
- I am not against gun on aircraft, it can still be very useful, but not as a main weapon.
Also, if we consider data for GAU-8 gun
Quote:
The GAU-8 itself weighs 620 pounds (280 kg), but the complete weapon, with feed system and drum, weighs 4,029 pounds (1,828 kg) with a maximum ammunition load. The magazine can hold 1,174 rounds, although 1,150 is the more normal load-out.
Obviously carrying 1,8 tons of gun and ammo is not so easy.
By carrying lighter gun with less ammo, you could have more than a ton for other stuff!

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...besides, have you ever seen a UAV flying with a wingman?
Yes, but have you seen attack aircraft with 3 crew members?
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  #68  
Old 09 Sep 09, 08:27
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er....does a Stuka count..???
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  #69  
Old 09 Sep 09, 08:44
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er....does a Stuka count..???
Errr... doesn't Stuka have a crew of 2?
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  #70  
Old 09 Sep 09, 10:44
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The A-10 was designed when PGMs were the exception, not the norm. Consider the number of targets A-10s killed during Desert Storm and OIF using Maverics. Even on the A-10, the gun is not always the weapon of choice.

In today's environment, even an infantry squad can call down an SDB and get a one-round-kill. I'm in favor of putting Air Force controller types out in the boonies at the lowest tactical level possible and letting them bring the supporting fires right into the other guy's lap.
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  #71  
Old 09 Sep 09, 17:55
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Just looking at the guys in Post # 67, I am willing to bet that is as close as they want to get to the "Front". Why do the control centers for UAV's have to be in the US? Can't they be mobile? Close Air Support is always better when the controllers are there with the grunts...

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  #72  
Old 09 Sep 09, 18:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demon_Llama View Post
It seems we've gotten to the point where the UAV is armoured and armed with a GAU 8 and a dozen or so Hellfire missiles. At this point, will it really be that much smaller than an A-10? Obviously a pilot takes up a lot of room, but this is no longer a small drone we're talking about; it's just a relatively smaller, pilotless A-10 isn't it?
Excellent point. Why not just take out the ejection seat and put in a satellite hook-up to permit remotely operating an A-10?

UAV's aren't the answer to everything.
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  #73  
Old 09 Sep 09, 18:48
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Many's the time that a CAS aviator has to be literally "walked" onto the target.

"Where's the target?"

"See that tall ant hill in the middle of the field?"

"Roger."

"Look 30 meters west, where the jingle truck is."

"Roger."

"30 meters west of that is a Taliban fire team with an RPD. They're your target."

That can't be done with a bird flying at over 3,000 feet, and it can't be done with a UAV driver in a truck at Nellis AFB.

During the war in Viet Nam, the Air Force found that their fast movers weren't getting it done. The Air Force resurrected some real dinasaurs in response, like the A-1 and the A-26. The Air Force even investigated the possibility of restarting production on a limited basis, but that was found cost-prohibitive, as the US military normally orders the dies, forms, and machine tools broken up when production is officially closed. Likewise, with Republic-Fairchild now nothing more than an historical footnote, restarting A-10 production is not really feasible. Certain parts are cannibalized or rehabilitated from retired airframes, thus extending the life of the current A-10 fleet some 15 or 20 years, according to USAF PAO's, but no one is seriously considering restarting A-10 production.

That's a shame, 'cause we've been down this road before: the AF fighter mafia keeps sounding the death knell of slow and ugly, and every war proves -- once again -- the inability of the fast movers to put their irons on the target when it counts the most -- during battle. It seems to me that the fighter mafia, today's champions of the F-22 and the F-35, need a serious review of their lessons.
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Old 09 Sep 09, 21:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
Excellent point. Why not just take out the ejection seat and put in a satellite hook-up to permit remotely operating an A-10?

UAV's aren't the answer to everything.
How hard would it actually be to equip a previously manned plane with the equipment to be operated as an unmanned plane? I suppose the only reason you'd really want to do this is if you're flying into an area with plenty of SAM's and AAA where the pilot has a good chance of dying, but would it be possible if you did want to do it?
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  #75  
Old 10 Sep 09, 07:27
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Errr... doesn't Stuka have a crew of 2?
..always had a radio operater in them , didnt they..?

..i dont know, too old to remember these things now..!
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