Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • claymore

    While at mountaineering school with a state police SWAT team training event we were given a tour of the factory that build these. It sits at the base of a mountain that had been “Cut back” many hundreds of yards by the factory testing them, over the years, on the side of the mountain.

    We would be doing our SWAT training at a site next to the factory and a siren would blow and then BBRAAAAPPPP they would fire off a long burst. It was awesome. But several times the long firing strings were interrupted by popping and burping like a bad running car then it would fire again smoothly must have been problems with them or the ammo.

    • Grimm

      Claymore, I’ve spent a lot of time at that training area adjacent to the GE testing facility, and smiled every time I heard that unholy noise.

      • claymore

        For sure it is something else sounding when your hanging off the side of a mountain.

  • Blake

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

    “The A-10 was used in combat for the first time during the Gulf War in 1991, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces, making it by far the most effective aircraft of the war. A-10s also shot down two Iraqi helicopters with the GAU-8 cannon. The first of these was shot down by Captain Robert Swain over Kuwait on 6 February 1991, marking the A-10’s first air-to-air victory.”

    Anybody suggesting the A-10 should be phased out & replaced by anything weaker than a Helicarrier should have a bucket of ice water dumped on their head.

    • Mystick

      Plus it’s a good mirror for the SU-25…

    • Seburo

      How about the A-164 Wipeout?
      http://armedassault.wikia.com/wiki/A-164_Wipeout
      And It double posted the picture.

      • Stealthy nacelles–interesting concept.

      • Blake

        That’s pretty schweet…

      • LCON

        exposed arms and gun but stealthy tail and nacelles. I am afraid it would be a no go. but damn if it isn’t the coolest CG I have seen all day.

      • n0truscotsman

        I tried to fly that damn thing in game and still haven’t got it down (and im even worse with helicopters, which pretty much reduces my effectiveness to that of a ground pounder or in a tank).

      • Secundius

        Why on earth would you Stealth the Engine Nacelles, if the rest of planet is still going too have a radar cross-section of a Semi.

        • Seburo

          Bohemia Interactive made it so only they would know. My guess is to make it harder for fighters and choppers to track it. However internal bays to improve cross-section would make the wings even larger.

          • Secundius

            @ Seburo.

            The problem with that theory is, you would also have to stealth the Gun, Missiles and Bombs.

          • Seburo

            Only the gun could be made stealthy if it was capped off and removed automatically during flight if you wanted it to fire. Once the plane becomes too large your better off making a flying wing with an internal autocannon instead.

          • Secundius

            @ Seburo.

            You can make a Stealth Attack Aircraft. The problem is it’s not going to be small. You’d have to have Internal Weapon Bays for the Ground Attack Ordnance carried aboard and bury the cannon in the fuselage somewhere unit it is needed. As similar to the F-22 Raptor system. Or take a Plane like the S-3C Viking Airframe, load all your weapons inside the fuselage. Have a “Pop-Down or Peek-A-Boo” gun system that drop through a hatch in the lower fuselage on a swivel mount, so the gun can be steered and stay pointed at the target. And a Inverted Mk.13 Navy Missile Launcher, but smaller, That can also be deployed in the same manner as the gun system. And fire its Ordnance as needed.

    • Agreed—The A-10 should remain in service as long as they can fly safely.

    • Grits.N.Jowls

      The Air Force doesn’t like it because it flies low and slow; It directly supports ground troops in close. They prefer their laser guided bombs dropped from 30,000 feet above.

      • Secundius

        @ Grits.N.Jowls.

        Sometimes you need Low & Slow, to get the job done. In Vietnam, it was the Douglas A-1D Skyraider or (Sandy or Spuds), a post WW2 Single Piston-Engine Attack Aircraft. Even, Lower & Slower, but with (4) 20mm cannons and a 16,000-pound ordnance load that could stay on station for hours-at-a-time. Giving the boots on ground the support they needed. Were suppose to learn from out mistakes, but, apparently some people in the military missed that one. And didn’t learn a Godd@#$%d thing.

        • Craig Chambers

          I was an ECM tech in an A-10 fighter wing from 1989 to 2002. The only complaints I ever heard from pilots was that they wish it had more powerful engines. In 1993 at the Gunsmoke Competition at Nellis AFB, the A10 beat all other fighters in every aspect of ground support except for high altitude bombing, the F-16 won that. The A-10 is also equipped with Air-to Air missiles for air combat. Prior to the first gulf war our A-10’s were going to be replaced by the F-16. After what the A-10’s did in that war, 60 to 70 of them were removed from the bone yard in Arizona and put back in service. I have seen the A-10 fire at the firing range they use in southern Missouri. After seeing that close up, if I were an enemy combatant and knew an A-10 was coming, I would be running as fast as I could to get out of the area. The A-10 can turn on a dime and give you change. It is an awesome fighter!!!

      • Craig Chambers

        I was an ECM tech in an A-10 fighter wing from 1989 to 2002. the only complaints I ever heard from pilots was that they wish it had more powerful engines. In 1993 at the Gunsmoke Competition at Nellis AFB, the A10 beat all other fighters in every aspect of ground support except for high altitude bombing, the F-16 won that. The A-10 is also equipped with Air-to Air missiles for air combat.

  • guest

    The good thing about the A-10/GAU-8 combo is that unlike most aircraft of any type where the cannon(s) was added as a back-up weapon, often off-center with too little ammo, etc etc here it was designed as a primary weapon, and extremely powerful being second only to the GsH-6-30. The whole aircraft looks as if the Heinkel aircraft co somehow survived the war and designed it, but the again given that the aircraft was made with specific input from Rudel it does not come as a surprise.
    However this just like the AC-130 is only effective as a “fight the stupid people living in the stone ages” weapon, because no self-respecting modern army would let it ever get close enough within effective firing distance of that gun, and had the Taliban had MANPADS the days of “freedom farts” over the afghan hills would be over very quickly, and high-altitude JDAM strikes would be one of the few methods left.

    • hami

      A-10s fought against skynet. That’s a pretty modern enemy.

    • sianmink

      Tha A-10 was designed to fight the Soviets in eastern Europe, full aware of the threat of radar and heat seeking AAA. Typical mission profile was NOE flying to and from the target, giving MANPADS and larger systems very little window for engagement.

      • Wetcoaster

        Unfortunately, it was designed to fight the Soviets in eastern Europe in the late 70’s/early 80’s. I’m not sure how well it would stand up to modern AA defences. The lack of acceleration severely hinders its ability to evade missiles and while like many helicopter gunships, it’s designed to survive a ‘few’ 23mm hits, ZSU-23-4’s fire more than just a ‘few’ rounds at a time.

        That said, it’s an almost perfect instrument for peacekeeping and counter-insurgency support with its high payload, long endurance, and light maintenance requirements compared to the previously mentioned helicopter gunships.

        • The perfect COIN aircraft.

          • Secundius

            @ Phil W. “Associate Editor TBF”

            If I had to venture a guess, it would be the Air Tractor AT-802U.

        • n0truscotsman

          “I’m not sure how well it would stand up to modern AA defences.”
          Compared to what? the F15, F16, F/A-18, Harriers???
          Its low speed is a benefit to close air support, primarily because it can turn on a dime and is not suseptible to weather/hours bans.

        • Secundius

          @ Wetcoaster.

          The Hellfire AT Missile, has a maximum range of 8,000-meters and the ZSU-23-4 Mobile AA Gun System, has a maximum horizontal range of 7,000-meters. It a Apache crew over-fly’s the first 1,000-meters, their going to have some serious problems to deal with.

    • big daddy

      You do not know what you speak of. They fly low and are very quiet, our column in Germany could have easily completely destroyed by the one nobody saw until it was right on us during an exercise. It is by far the most effective ground attack aircraft ever devised. They do have very effective defenses against AA missiles although some loses would be expected.

      • J.T.

        Their defense is being able to get hit by one and keep flying. Most MANPADS don’t have a warhead big enough to take one down.

        Take this one for example.
        http://warthognews.blogspot.com/2011/06/from-archives-10-80-0258-from-172nd.html

        Anything bigger would have probably already been taken out by SEAD missions. Even then, the A-10 is for CAS after air superiority has been gained and not deep penetration or first strike missions where they would have to worry about some of the nastier AA.

        • guest

          SU-25 has also survived direct hits into the engine (in fact that exact kind of survivability was what the SU-25 was tested for – a mock-up warhead rammed directly into the turbine’s exhaust). But that has not prevented many of those planes being shot down, as recently as in the Ukraine conflict.
          Keep in mid that this is the *old* version of MANPADS that just “mindlessly” aims at the exhaust plume, all modern (80’s and later) MANPADS aim for centre mass and have delayed detonation inside the fuselage rather than the engine. That would simply rip the A-10 in half.

          As far as low&slow goes – Shilka was designed to deal with exactly that, and all short, medium and long range SAMs today are specifically designed to hit targets at almost 0 altitude, and are no deceived by ground clutter/reflections. Modern SAMs like Tor and Pantzir have warheads that would knock the A-10 out of the sky even if it was flying 1 foot above the ground, and even if the hit was indirect.

          In general the A-10’s survivability is based on the same concepts as the Abrams, Merkava and Chellenger tanks – a myth spun around them about their invincibility, and “proven” by conflicts where it is faced with completely outdated hardware adversaries of not even the best quality because USSR-supplied equipment was always down-rated for export purposes.

          Even still in the Iraq war, engagements between lebanon/israel etc have all shown that all of these tanks can be killed with even old 60’s soviet RPGs and ATGMs, and the mythical A-10 is no different.

          A-10’s survivability depends entirely on all enemy AA defenses being taken out of operation first by cruise missiles or radar seeking missles, then more “detailed work” by high flying fighter-bombers, and only then the A-10 can work in relative safety.
          The US govt has go to extensive lengths to make sure that nobody is supplying MANPADS into Afghanistan and hence the impunity of actions in that area. Nothing to do with any mythical “ruggedness” of anything what so ever.

          • n0truscotsman

            “Nothing to do with any mythical “ruggedness” of anything what so ever.”

            The A10s ruggedness is anything but mythical, it is a testament to actual real world experience.

            Take the balkans for example. It was the only NATO aircraft that could fly in all weather conditions and all hours, due in no small part to its high turn radius and lower speed.

            No A10s were downed in the Balkans despite other “faster stealthier” aircraft being downed.

            In fact, the A10 was the precise reason why the Russians replaced the Shilka (a 23mm weapon system) with the Tunguska and Pantsir (30mm and missiles).

          • guest

            No. Shilka was replaced because two overlapping systems (Shilka and Strela) were unified in one vehicle rather than two which gave much increased efficiency, less cost than producing and operating two vehicles etc. It is an evolutionary step and A-10 was a part of the overall adversaries considered, but FAR from the only one or some sole reason.

            The 23mm vs 30mm discussion is rather pointless. The world has yet to see an aircraft that can’t be shot down with 20mm let alone 23mm, or 30 for that matter. 23mm lacks range, has low velocity, and somewhat less destructive power but BY NO MEANS is “useless” against A-10 or anything else.

            As far as Balkans … pointless to discuss. Again if in any theatre the opposing side had a reasonable number of MANPADS you’s see huge losses of attack aircraft. There are few APCs that could survive a missile hitting at M2 and detonating 2 lbs warhead deep inside, let alone an airplane of any design.

          • n0truscotsman

            I didn’t say it was the sole reason by it got replaced. and the category of MANPADS wasn’t replaced or supplemented either.

            The fact is that modernizations in radar and fire control systems allowed a benefit to be gained from up-gunning SPAAG systems, particularly the case of Tunguska to 30mm. 30mm has far superior range and accuracy than the 23mm.

            “The world has yet to see an aircraft that can’t be shot down with 20mm let alone 23mm,”

            Um, the A10 is resistant to 23mm AAA. Probably because it was designed with the Shilka and 14.5mm ZPU type guns in mind…

            “Again if in any theatre the opposing side had a reasonable number of MANPADS you’s see huge losses of attack aircraft. ”

            The Serbs had dedicated anti-aircraft surface to air missiles, never mind MANPADS. Ever hear of the SA-3? (the system that shot down a F117 using a very intuitive, low tech approach).

            Its not pointless to discuss. Kosovo and operations like it are most likely what the US military is going to be involved in rather than large scale wars (which yield nuclear MAD).

            So WTF is the alternative to the A10? the F35?

          • Secundius

            @ n0truscotsman.

            In the case of the F-117, shoot down. That was a lucky shoot in the dark, after salvoing everything into the air hoping that at least one will find its target.

          • guest

            Secundius
            No, it was fine-tuning og low-frequency S&A radars, which later on “revolutionized” the russian radar industry by taking low-frequency 60’s radars and significantly up-rating them with newer electronics. “stealth” is only stealth to a specific set of frequencies, in the case of long wave radars they are almost impossible to hide from.
            So no, the “shot in the dark” is a lie started by someone who does not know what he is taliking about.

            n0truscotsman

            “Um, the A10 is resistant to 23mm AAA. Probably because it was designed with the Shilka and 14.5mm ZPU type guns in mind…”

            You know that Mi-28 is resistant to everything all the way to 30mm HE. That howver applies only to vital parts being protected by armor – like the cocpit, vital system components etc. The A-10 is similar, and I have no doubt that the armor surrounding the pilot will indeed take repeated hits from 23mm HE rounds. However that is impossible to do with the entire aircraft because then it would be so heavy you’d have to omit almost all weapons only so it would barely take off.
            So whatever “resistance” is implied – troughout entire aviation industry armor was used very sparingly and only to protect vital parts.
            Again the A-10 is no miracle aircrafts and just like every other piece of overhyped weaponry the only reason it has not seen major losses is a) lack or real adversaries and b) very, very careful use.

          • Secundius

            @ Guest.

            The A-10 aircraft may be resistant in Repeating” hits of 23mm, but, not Overwhelming hits. The pilot may be protected by a Titanium Bathtub, but, the rest of plane isn’t. And even a plane like the A-10 can be taken out and shot down. If it no longer becomes flight worthy.

          • n0truscotsman

            That is a statement out of ignorance.

            The F117s tech was beaten by an adversaries’ ingenuity (which NATO vastly underestimated) using essentially obsolete technology. It was a cold bucket water in the face of technophile USAF and NATO commanders that believe (still do today, hence the F35) that radar stealth is a battlefield deus ex machina.

          • guest

            Unfair to say that it has any competitors in any NATO country, except the very few that still use SU-25. Essentially those two are the only true CAS/Ground attack aircraft in existence, so gauging them against a frontline bomber like the F-111 or a F-117 is comparing apples and oranges.
            As far as me saying that Saddam’s army or Taliban not being real adversaries is not to demean the A-10, but to illustrate that its entire “legend” is built upon unfair comparisons. Like M2A2 vs T-55 or purely RHA “T-72” (in fact an export clone with much weaker specs) or Asad Babyl. This is just BS to compare equipment that way.

            Secundius,
            7000 – I do not know where you got that figure from. No auto cannon in even 30mm calibre can effectively hit an aircraft at that distance.

          • Secundius

            @ guest.

            I said the maximum horizontal range was 7,000-meters, not effective range. I think the maximum effective range is only around 3,000-meters. And as far as horizontal range is concerned, they don’t say Flat Trajectory, So if you apply a 10 to 13-degree elevation to the ballistic flight, in might still qualify as horizontal trajectory. And I thing, but i not sure, that the maximum elevation angle of the guns is around 85-degrees from vertical with a range of approximately 3,700-meters (somewhere around there). All the information I got was from a old Soviet-Field Manual, and some of pages were missing.

          • n0truscotsman

            the 7000 figure didn’t come from me. The 30mm guns are a close in weapon system, so yeah…

            The reason why i compared it to the F111 and F117 is because those two aircraft were air force white buffalo that were astronomical in their cost and development, not to mention very complex with their creators bragging about their technological prowess, but ultimately weren’t as useful or successful as the A10 and F16, both simple, robust families of aircraft.

            But what is an adequate gauge? there can be no such thing as a large scale conventional war like what was hypothesized at fulda gap because such a thing will inevitably go nuclear. Any basis we have on such a scenario is purely hypothetical to begin with.

            There is a difference between earning a reputation and legend. The A10 is hardly a legend in the air force (it is a source of controversy, scorn, and contention among the technophile elite that is the fighter mafia and stealth boys). Its excellent reputation was acquired by the troops who needed it when shit went south in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though it is getting long in the tooth.

          • Secundius

            @ guest.

            If your referring to 23mm autocannons on the ZSU-23-4, they have a maximum horizontal range of 7,000-meters.

      • Michael Bergeron

        They are actually fairly quiet until you are well within the range of the gun. As far as flying low I know for Cannon range they buzz my house at no more than 200 feet most of the time. Really the only way to improve it would be to make a faster airframe to get the gun on target even earlier.

        • Secundius

          @ Michael Bergeron.

          If you make the A-10 faster, then you actually loose time, aligning for a gun kill. not increase it.

          • Michael Bergeron

            faster in absolute speed for travel from base to point of attack, you can always fly aircraft slower than max speed.

    • Wetcoaster

      The big worry is that semi-modern radar-guided SAMs are going to make hash out of an A-10. A-10s fly low and slow – low because of the mission profile, and slow because they are heavy, under-powered behemoths. They lack speed (or the altitude to convert it to speed) to evade a missile, so the pilots better have the utmost confidence in their intel/C3i, CAP and Wild Weasel comrades to suppress or route them around threats.

      They make great COIN aircraft in the vein of the OV-10, A-26, and converted trainers with their long loiter time and high payload. Ironically, but biggest aid to that mission (and the FAC mission they got in the Balkans) would be a backseater – ironic because they were so easy to fly, no 2-seat trainers were ever designed for them.

      • big daddy

        OA-10

      • Mystick

        Problem is most (terminal) active and semi-active radar-guided SAM’s don’t have “look-down” capability. There is something called a “range gate” that determines the distance at which the radar receiving unit starts ignoring returns. It’s a time domain function. This is done because theoretically, you’ll get a return off of the moon if the angle is right. I believe there are stories out there in the early days of SAM development about “runaway” missiles actually targeting the moon, just as there are stories about early heat-seekers targeting the sun.

        Most systems use a static range gate. This means that it will generate a return off of anything within a given envelope defined by the beam angle of the antenna and the time-based distance of the returning signals.

        This is fine when the seeker is looking up into the sky. Good odds that there will be only a single return in that envelope – the target. Not the same when the seeker is pointed down – now the earth itself is generating a return. For a low-flying target, say at 1000 feet, this means the signal from the target is distinguished from the return of the earth in the time domain by nanoseconds. Many radar systems do not have that kind of linear resolution.

        There are exceptions to this. The SM-3 supposedly uses a laser for terminal guidance. But this is a NATO system and unlikely to engage an A-10.

        This is one reason NOE flying is emphasized in combat operations. The greater threat to these aircraft are MANPADS and AAA, which utilize either IR/laser terminal guidance or are just “dumb” ballistic projectiles. Projectiles which the A-10 is specifically designed to survive. Look for pictures from the Gulf Wars about damaged A-10’s that safely returned after hot sorties.

        • n0truscotsman

          Thank you for that post

        • guest

          Oh lord… again, enough with the 1960-1970s comparisons. The radar developments are FAR BEYOND look down/shoot down problems. Modern SAM systems use AESA or PESA and can target *stationary or moving targets on the ground* never mind some low flying aircraft.
          Khrizantema and its predecessor use ACLOS with a single “dumb” radar dish with no beam forming or any probably a 20-electron tube “computer” or whatever it uses and STILL can detect targets against terrain background and in ECM conditions. And you are saying a SAM radar which is infinitely more advanced capabilities will have problems putting its missile on target in the air, much less a non-reduced RCS low and slow target like the A-10.

          • n0truscotsman

            You are making the assumption that Russia has equipped all of its air defense forces with such expensive and complex equipment too, let alone the crews.

            So many assumptions.

            Its like assuming the US Air Force is comprised entirely of F35s and F22s.

            “And you are saying a SAM radar which is infinitely more advanced capabilities will have problems putting its missile on target in the air, much less a non-reduced RCS low and slow target like the A-10”

            And you are assuming once again, that ECM doesn’t exist and that anti-radiation missiles dont exist.

            You are understanding warfare from a 2D aspect.

          • guest

            I am not assuming anything, I am basing my opinion on facts.Mystick is talking as if it’s the 1960’s and radars have just barely started to be used and somehow have “huge” problems shooting down low-flying aircraft. This “problem” has been solved (not just by USSR) during the 80’s and today virtually does not exist. I was pointing out to the fact that electronics especially computer controlling/analysing radar signals have gotten so good that they can detect targets on the ground, not just above it, which makes the whole point of bacground noise/reflections redundant. As an example Pantzir (as well as older Tunguska) are designed witha secondary role, which is attacking ground targets for self-defense or whatever. If they can “see”, lock on to and guide their rockets which are by the way NOT semiactive homing rockets onto ground targets – then the whole “debate” about low flying is pointless. It has been since the 80’s.

            You bring ECM into the debate now. Yes, what about it? Modern short-range SAMs have at least several (or a near infinite amount) of radio channels and at least two radars onboard, as well as using laser and IR/TV channels as back-ups.
            Ther’s also this minute little function called “lock-on-jam”.

            The A-10 is being retired for a good reason. This is not the 1940’s and the A-10 is not JU-87G2. Those times are long gone.

          • n0truscotsman

            You are assuming again that all adversaries are using 1990s era anti-aircraft equipment, which isn’t even remotely true. You are assuming also that the same incremental developments in EW haven’t been made. Neither of which are true.

            Then what is supposed to replace the A10? recent wargames at JRTC have proven that a close support aircraft is just as important now as it was during WW2. The hypothetical replacement, the F35, is woefully inadequate for the job and it hasn’t even entered service yet.

            So what replacement is there for the A10? because the armed forces needs a close support aircraft.

          • Secundius

            @ n0truscotsman.

            The Skinny is. They want replace the A-10 Warthog, with the Textron AirLand Scorpion. Which is approximately 1/2 the size of A-10, Vmo is the same as the A-10 (450-kts.), maximum ordnance load with (6) wing hard-points and an internal weapons bay is 9,200-lbs. (57.5% of the A-10) and get this “NO” cannon. And is classified as a Light Attack Aircraft. Its more suited as COIN aircraft then an Light Attack Aircraft.

          • n0truscotsman

            I can get behind the scorpion. I like its low cost and simplicity.

          • Secundius

            @ n0truscotsman.

            No cannon, unless you mounted on one of the wing hard points or extend and retract from the internal weapon bay. And your going the require 2 or 3 aircrafts to do the job of one A-10.

          • guest

            The reason why SU-25 uses rocket pods is the exact same reason why it has a “weak” 30mm cannon: rockets are much more effective in every sense of the word. They can fly father, penetrate much thicker armor, have significantly more HE and shrapnel, and are much more mission-configurable. Plus they can be up-calibred with a change of the pod, while the A-10 is stuck to its gun. Even if a mission would not demand a gun it can’t be removed or replaced – unless they put a giant fuel tank in there it’s not much one can do when an airframe is designed for one specific weapon.

            As far as replacing A-10 goes – don’t get off track. The article is about A-10 and its capabilities.

            n0truscotsman,
            Like I said jamming is effective but if it was omnipotent then we’d be seeing S-200 and S-300 being scrapped, along with Igla-1 etc. And none of them are. What we have seen is that the *only* theatres of war since Vietnam where aircraft have been used en-masse are the countries which have either no good reputation for having good professional armies and/or very old AA equipment. There has been for example no country with S-300 system in their arsenal has ever been invaded from the air. For the very simple reason that Vietnam would repeat itself: high losses, ECM would protect some of the aircraft on average but statistically would shoot down so many planes/helicopters that the whole operation would run itself into the ground financially and militarily. The same reason why US can “bark” about Russia and China as much as it wants to, but no invasion will ever take place. And today’s aircraft are extremely costly, and the ones with most protection are bombers and frontline fighters. Not CAS!
            ECM, along with every other active/passive measure only *decreases* the chances of being shot down, and only against certain systems, but by NO means does it mean impunity.
            This is historically accurate because all defensive measures like ECM are always behind the offensive like SAMs. This is true for every branch of the military.

    • Blake

      Ya know that any time MANPADs are expected A10s carry copious quantities of flares & chaff, in countermeasure pods, right?

      The A10’s legendary hardening works pretty dang well against traditional AA “spray & pray” weapons like flak cannons (just ask Lt. Col. Kim Campbell).

      • guest

        You know that modern MANPADS have two-channel seekers, that look after very specific wavelengths of heat emissions from hydrocarbon fuel exhaust, as well as can recognise an aircraft against atmospheric background even without any exhaust heat, and are designed specifically to ignore flares. This is not the 1960s.

    • n0truscotsman

      That last paragraph is a pretty big assumption and it would make sense if ECM didn’t exist.

      The fact is that close support aircraft are indispensible for modern armies to succeed fighting against numerically superior foes, even modern ones.

      https://medium.com/war-is-boring/a-10-attack-jets-rack-up-air-to-air-kills-in-louisiana-war-game-a2299445b2a4

      The A10 was designed specifically with high intensity combat in mind, and in proportion to other aircraft like the vastly overrated F117 and useless F111s, they were astonishing successful during the Gulf War. Given their record of survivability and number of targets destroyed, if a A10 is not supposed to be successful in a certain environment, others wouldn’t be as well.

    • TB

      Good, finally someone that knows what he’s talking about, unlike all the “the A-10 is the most bad ass thing ever…” comments.

      There’s a reason why modern aircraft increasingly use long range, stand-off cruise missiles. Modern air defences are so deadly that the last thing you want to do is get in close over the battlefield, like the A-10 does. It was a great aircraft during it’s time, but that time is long gone, and today it is increasingly outdated and only useful for bombing and strafing guys that have nothing to shoot back with.

      • dp

        Precisely; Pantrir is apparently very effective on this type of target http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantsir-S1
        This is most modern Russian tool for use on battalion level. It gets targets moving up to speed 1km/sec (no kidding) and up to altitude of 20km which means pretty well everything. Recent show up was against Ukie fired Tochka. four were launched, four went down.
        I suppose you can still use A-10 on 3rd rate powers like ISIS, but they recognize the threat and will upgrade too. Destroying x-number of Iraqi tanks more that 20 years ago is kind of lame argument today.

  • Mario AK

    The history of the aircraft and the gun it’s built around is truly noble, the people behind it put up a real struggle getting it into american aviation. The same people were the most vocal critics of the F-35 back in the day, with good reason. The A-10 has, however, diminished greatly in my eyes after being used to dump tons and tons of irradiated material on Iraq, the consequences were terrifying and well documented…

    • Rusty Shackleford

      That is what pisses me off about Alpena/Grayling is the many tons of DU being dumped on Michigan, a lush, green envirnment that sits on the edge of Americas largest fresh water source. Why the hell can’t they train at Nellis AFB? That area is already highly toxic and radiological.

      • Hudson

        I believe the training shell are just plain steel not DU.

        • Secundius

          @ Hudson.

          The GAU-8 Avenger/Goalkeeper, 7-barrel 30x173mm Autocannons. Currently deploy with three types of rounds.
          1. PGU-14/B APU(DU), Armor Piercing Incendiary (Depleated Uranium round.
          2. PGU-13/B HEI, High Explosive Incendiary round.
          3. PGU-15B TP, Target Practice (Aluminum) round.
          Magazine/Drum capacity is typically 1,150-(Live) Rounds carried and 1,174-(Practice) Rounds* carried. Note: (*) This is due too weight of shot. Also, while in training mode, gun settings are limited to 1 and 2-second burst. This is due to “heat generated”, more than anything else.

          I hope this help you guy’s out.

      • Shawn

        Training rounds are not DU. And they don’t use DU to train, it is too expensive. Get your facts right if you are going to complain. DU is evil I agree, but so is war, and look around you, there still plenty of it (war) to go around.

        • Secundius

          @ Shawn & Hudson.

          The GAU-8 Avenger/Goalkeeper 1.18-inch (30x173mm) TP, Training Practice round is made of ALUMINUM.

          • Shawn

            I know, but thanks 🙂

          • Secundius

            @ Shawn.

            What I’m not sure of, is whether any or all had tracer incendiary install in them. Because I can’t amagined they just walked the round into the target, by just eyesight alone

          • Shawn

            As fast as that cannon shoots, they don’t walk rounds into targets.
            You hear BARRRRRRRAAAAAAPPPPPPP!!!!! and the target disappears.

            And an interesting fact, I can see the .50 cal range from my balcony. So at night I get to watch all the tracer fire stream past. My youngest daughter still calls it “fireworks” which makes me smile.

          • Secundius

            @ Shawn.

            Its funny that you mentioned that, FIREWORKS! I was an Armorer and General Technician, on Bell AH-1S Tow-Cobra’s while in the Army back in the ’80’s. And, I and a group of fellow technicians used to take the M197 3-barrel 20mm Rotary Cannons to the Range, usually at night to do test firing. And the local base children would come to watch the FIREWORKS, as they would say. We dug a Slit Trench so they wouldn’t get into any harm from strap deflection/ricocheting rounds. We would go through about 14,000 red tracer rounds per week testing those guns.

          • Shawn

            Neat Story! The Cobras used to make fun of us during state-side field maneuvers all the time. Nothing makes a pilot more happy than seeing a ADA system with no missiles on it. (CONUS HAWK units weren’t allowed to mount the real thing, someone might have gotten hurt).

            I was a 16D crew member / 16S section chief during the 80s (HAWK and Stinger Missile Systems, so all the nonsense being spouted in this thread about ADA systems I find more than a little amusing) Stationed at both Ft. Bliss and here at Graf. The coolest weapon I’ve gotten to fire was at Bliss, when I made friends with one of the Vulcan AIT cadre and he invited me to be the “button pusher” during a familiarization day for a new training cycle. Only got a few seconds of joy, but when the old auto hulk they put down range for me to aim at disappeared in a thunderclap and cloud of dust I’m sure I had a grin from ear to ear.

  • Seburo

    USAF is very short sighted to replace the A-10 with a plane that can’t turn, climb or run. Stealth will be useless on anything but a tailless aircraft in the next ten years. Since ISIS represents the future tactics of terrorism. The A-10 is still going to be relevant and would need a whole new aircraft to do it’s job.

    • Craig Chambers

      The A-10 shouldn’t be replaced anymore than the B-52 should be replaced, which are scheduled to be in service until 2050. The need to bring the B-52 D model back out, except I think all of them were destroyed due to a treaty with Russia. They went as high 100,000 feet. I was an ECM tech in the 442nd, A-10 fighter wing from 1989 to 2002. The only
      complaint I ever heard from the pilots was that they wish it had more
      powerful engines. In 1993 at the Gunsmoke Competition at Nellis AFB, the
      A-10 beat all other fighters in every aspect of ground support except
      for high altitude bombing, the F-16 won that. The A-10 is also equipped
      with Air-to Air missiles for air combat. Prior to the first gulf war our
      A-10’s were going to be replaced by the F-16. After what the A-10’s did
      in that war, 60 to 70 of them were removed from the bone yard in
      Arizona and put back in service. I have seen the A-10 from the 442nd fighter squadron fire at the firing
      range they use in southern Missouri. After seeing that close up, if I
      were an enemy combatant and knew an A-10 was coming, I would be running
      as fast as I could to get out of the area. The A-10 can turn on a dime
      and give you change. It is an awesome fighter!!!

      • Secundius

        @ Craig Chambers.

        I don’t know what Bomber, your thinking of, No Boeing B-52 model, especially the B-52D, ever had a service ceiling of 100,000-feet. The B-52D, on had a service ceiling of 49,400-feet and phased out service in 1983.

      • Seburo

        The A-10 would be viable until 2040 with upgrades. If the USAF didn’t play fast and loose with its funding. The main problem in keeping it flight worthy is that nobody makes parts for it anymore most of them are taken from airframes that have already been retired. The best hope for the Warthog now is the A-10 PCAS upgrade via DARPA.
        It’s already known that it can mount AIM-92’s although that’s at best an anti helicopter configuration. Might need that sooner rather than later with terrorism.

        The military wouldn’t even need an A-10 replacement if the A-12 Avenger was in service or if the FB-22 & the AST-21 Super Tomcat wasn’t canceled by the grifters who brought us the second war in Iraq. The F-35 won’t do the CAS job(or any other) well at all and may not even be in service for another five years at best.
        As for the gun Rheinmetal made their own 30mm caseless autocannon that the Germans wanted on the Tiger UHT. Caseless ammunition would also allow a much higher ammo capacity. A plane with something like that would be something to see.

  • James

    While at AFROTC training at Eglin AFB in ’81, we were delighted with a 3 second testbed firing demonstration of the GAU-8A. We were separated 30’ adjacently to the mounting platform by a concrete wall and chainlink fence.

    I’ve never experienced anything like that; overwhelming hot gases and completely soul rattling. Good times.

  • dp

    For comparison http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gryazev-Shipunov_GSh-30-2 used on Russian equivalent, the SU-25. Note the relatively small size, light weight and high rate of fire. It uses Gast principle.

  • Todd S

    This plane is the baddest badass that ever badassed, IMO.

  • Shawn

    I live near Grafenwöhr training area in Germany, we have the A-10s here once or twice a year making “God Farts” down-range. From my apartment window you can see them circling around to get on target. One of the joys of life IMHO.

    • Michael Bergeron

      I live a few miles from Cannon Range which is where the Missouri Air Guard does their target practice and my house is under their final approach. Man those “God Farts” as you call them still sound beautiful to this day.

      • Shawn

        Yes they do. My favorite fighter jet to watch fly while growing up was the F-4. But I take a break to watch during the day when the Warthogs are out to play.

      • Guest

        The A-10 fighter squadron from Whiteman AFB uses the firing range in southern Missouri. I was an ECM tech in an A-10 fighter wing from 1989 to 2002. The only
        complaints I ever heard from pilots was that they wish it had more
        powerful engines. In 1993 at the Gunsmoke Competition at Nellis AFB, the
        A10 beat all other fighters in every aspect of ground support except
        for high altitude bombing, the F-16 won that. The A-10 is also equipped
        with Air-to Air missiles for air combat. Prior to the first gulf war our
        A-10’s were going to be replaced by the F-16. After what the A-10’s did
        in that war, 60 to 70 of them were removed from the bone yard in
        Arizona and put back in service. I have seen the A-10 fire at the firing
        range they use in southern Missouri. After seeing that close up, if I
        were an enemy combatant and knew an A-10 was coming, I would be running
        as fast as I could to get out of the area. The A-10 can turn on a dime
        and give you change. It is an awesome fighter!!!

      • Guest

        I was an ECM tech in the 442nd, A-10 fighter wing from 1989 to 2002. The only
        complaint I ever heard from the pilots was that they wish it had more
        powerful engines. In 1993 at the Gunsmoke Competition at Nellis AFB, the
        A-10 beat all other fighters in every aspect of ground support except
        for high altitude bombing, the F-16 won that. The A-10 is also equipped
        with Air-to Air missiles for air combat. Prior to the first gulf war our
        A-10’s were going to be replaced by the F-16. After what the A-10’s did
        in that war, 60 to 70 of them were removed from the bone yard in
        Arizona and put back in service. I have seen the A-10 from the 442nd fighter squadron fire at the firing
        range they use in southern Missouri. After seeing that close up, if I
        were an enemy combatant and knew an A-10 was coming, I would be running
        as fast as I could to get out of the area. The A-10 can turn on a dime
        and give you change. It is an awesome fighter!!!

      • Craig Chambers

        I was an ECM tech in the 442nd fighter squadron, A-10 fighter wing from 1989 to 2002. The only complaint I ever heard from the pilots was that they wish it had more powerful engines. In 1993 at the Gunsmoke Competition at Nellis AFB, the A-10 beat all other fighters in every aspect of ground support except for high altitude bombing, the F-16 won that. The A-10 is also equipped with Air-to Air missiles for air combat. Prior to the first gulf war our A-10’s were going to be replaced by the F-16. After what the A-10’s did in that war, 60 to 70 of them were removed from the bone yard in Arizona and put back in service. I have seen the A-10 from the 442nd fighter squadron fire at the firing range they use in southern Missouri. After seeing that close up, if I were an enemy combatant and knew an A-10 was coming, I would be running as fast as I could to get out of the area. The A-10 can turn on a dime and give you change. It is an awesome fighter!!!

    • gunslinger

      god farts.. never heard that.

      love it

      • Shawn

        hehe it fits!

        • Secundius

          @ Shawn.

          Reminds me of a story I heard. About three British Journalist attached to a British platoon trapped and surrounded in an oasis in the middle of a wadi. For 24-hours, they weren’t able to get the upper hand on this group of Taliban fighter of approximately, 100-strong. When around 10 AM, An Irish Corporal assigned to guard the British Journalists, smiled and said in old Irish gaeilge “stoirm cac ag teacht”, and the other British Soldiers starting laughling out load. Including the lieutenant assigned to this British platoon. And the three British journalists, just looked at each other in puzzlement. Not known what the Irish corporal had just said. The Irish corporal looked at them, again with a big grin on his face and pulling out a long grass reed from his mouth. And said it again, “stoirm cac ag teacht”. And than translated to them, “Shit Storm Coming”. Apparently a flight of (4) A-10 Warthog’s flying in the immediate area, were responding to their need for air support. And the trio of British Journalists and Platoon of British Soldiers, had front row seats, to the best showing of their lives, ever. After the A-10’s withdrew. Not one Taliban Fighter was left standing, and/or alive. And the trio of journalists, made it their point to memorize the Old Irish Phrase. Just in case it ever happen to them again.

  • n0truscotsman

    and supposedly, the F35s magical woo woo stealth technology and “unparalleled information dynamic” (or whatever horseshit lockheed puts in their promotional brochures) will be more than adequate to replace the A10.

    Yeah right /rolls eyes/

    • Secundius

      @ n0truscotsman.

      The problem is, the promotional brochures talks about using the Rheinmetall Mauser, 1.063-inch (27x145mm) revolver auto-cannon and not the General Electric M61 Vulcan, 0.79-inch (20x102mm) 6-barrel rotary cannon. Quite a bit of difference in striking power/punch.

      • Seburo

        Lockheed won’t allow a better cannon to be mounted on their plane. USAF screwed up their chance to get the BK 27.

        • Secundius

          @ Seburo.

          I agree. Its all political. This has nothing to do with what’s best for the services. It’s all about whats best for national politics.

  • MOG

    I really need one of those mounted in my grill for I-10 traffic.

    • Secundius

      @ MOG.

      Unless you car and/or truck has a really great suspension systems, up front. Its going to be doing a lot of “Hogging”.

  • mosrr

    I must be in the minority, but darn the A10 looks good!

    • Secundius

      @ mosrr.

      I have nothing against the A-10 Warthog, I thing they should do a “Beethoven” on the airframe. Fly her until she become no longer serviceable. Like the BUFF, keep in inventory until, she’s at least 100-years, young.

  • Phil Hsueh

    My question for A-10 detractors, in particular in relation to its survivability (or lack there of) on the modern battlefield in a non-permissive environment, is this, what out there is more survivable then? The A-10 was made to go low and slow and get down there in the weeds and risk enemy AA fire, be it from guns or missiles. If we ever get into a war with an enemy that has such a nasty AA defense that it threatens the survivability of an A-10 then it’s going to be equally or more of a threat to less survivable aircraft like the F-16 and F-35. At least with an A-10 if it gets hit with something that it can’t simply shrug off it at least stands a much better chance of either being able to fly/limp home (even if it means possibly aborting its mission) or stay together long enough to buy its pilot the time to eject.

    While it’s true that the A-10 doesn’t have armor all over, it was built with multiple redundant systems spread wide apart so that a single hit is unlikely to take out all of the redundant systems because they’re too close together. It’s also designed so that it can still fly on one engine, engines that are also spread apart to reduce the chance of a hit one doing anything to the other, engines also sit above the tail so that its heat signature is masked from below, and it’s also designed to be able to fly home despite being all shot up and that includes having half of its tail blown off.

  • gunslinger

    i think he means 30mm of ‘Murikan Freedom

  • Will

    The Air Force should stick to fighters and high altitude bombing.
    Attack aircraft, SPECIFICALLY THE A-10, should all be given to the USMC!
    The Marines are famous for turning out dated equipment into the best war fighting materials known to man. They would maintain the A-10 with the TLC they so richly deserve. Look what they’ve done with the Cobra helicopter.
    A-10: Gods gift to pilots who live to fly and love the aircraft they fly.

  • Craig Chambers

    I was an ECM technician in an A-10 fighter wing from 1989 to 2002. Prior to the first Gulf War, our A-10’s were going to be replaced by F-16’s. After they way the A-10’s proved their value in the first Gulf War, 60 to 70 of the A-10’s were removed from the bone yard in Arizona and put back in service. In the Gunsmoke competition at Nellis AFB in 1993, the A-10 beat all other fighters, F-15, F-16 and others, in every area of combat for ground support except for high altitude bombing, the F-16 won that one.

  • Tucson_Jim

    INSTEAD OF WRITING YOUR COMMENTS HERE, WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS INSTEAD ! ! ! HERE! YOU CAN CUT AND PASTE THE LETTER BELOW AND SEND IT TO YOUR REPS USING THIS LINK:

    http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup

    Dear ,

    As your constituent, I am COMPLETELY in favor of keeping the A-10’s operational status for Close Air Support mission because of its proven effectiveness in protecting US and allied ground troupes.

    I will not even argue based on its economic impact to the local economies where it is based, for there are many air bases in many cities across the nation operating aircraft that support their host communities.

    But, the simple fact is that the A-10 remains the most capable CAS platform in the world today, its mission is NOT obsolete, and there is NO replacement capable of performing its mission as cost-effectively.

    As a taxpayer, I will do what I can to defend this highly successful system for the safety of our sons and daughters in harm’s way. If they need to be transferred to another branch of the military or consolidated to a single base, I am in favor of doing whatever it takes to keep it flying.

    Thank you for your service.

    Sincerely,

    • Secundius

      @ Tucson Jim.

      Who are you addressing this posing too, there no genre spacific name attached to this posting

  • COBRACHOPPERGIRL

    The A-10 fires radioactive waste all over the battlefield, which is a contaminant for thousands of years…

    https://www.google.com/search?q=depleted+uranium+babies&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS565US565&oq=depleted+uranium+babies&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3386j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

    • Russel aka ‘Rusty’ Shackleford

      Less radioactive that Uranium ore. A very weak one.