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I also hope they feel the same way about funding its up-keep.

Actually, I see this as a way to reduce the actual capability of the USAF. By forcing them to keep the A-10, but not increasing their budget, means they cannot field newer better aircraft due to havig to spend more on aging aircraft upkeep.

Maintaining old aircraft gets expensive fast, the Navy maintenance cost for the F/A-18C and D were 50% to 75% more than the newer F/A-18E and F, and they did share some parts, and the Cs and Ds were not really that old, most were built in the 1990s. Ever wonder why major airlines seem to be always buys new aircraft and selling the old ones off? It is because as expensive as a new aircraft is, it is cheaper to buy and new one, with its reduced maintenance cost, than pay for the increasing maintence of an aging fleet.

Sorry for all you A-10 fans out there, I think it is a great piece of hardware, but its time has come and gone. The B-52 and B-1 remain in service because there are not enough aircraft that can carry the payload they can, nothing that can do that job, except 20 B-2. The A-10 is a one trick pony, whereas its replacement is multi-role. There is literally no mission an A-10 can perform that many other aircraft cannot perform.
 

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Not going to disagree with those who point out the cost of keeping the A-10 flying but what are you replacing it with?? F-22's, F35's ? Can't do the job, a couple pass and the're gone. Drones ? Not what we currently have flying. Can't carry the payload. "One trick poney" yes, CAS when and where it is needed. Lot of ground pounders butt saved with that old model "T".
Why can't they do the jobs?

Yes they fly faster, and they can detect targets at longer ranges. But, because they fly faster that means they are less prone to enemy intervention. Further, in a pinch they can defend themselves.

" . . . a couple pass and they're gone . . ."

Any ground support aircraft ability to remain on-station is governed by its ordnance load-out. The number of bombs, rocket pods, or missiles is about the same.

In WW2, the absolute best close air support bomber was the Ju-86 Sturzkampfflugzeug (Stuka). It could drop a bomb down a chimney with the right pilot, and had enough machine cannon to tear-up a convoy of soft skin vehicles.

In contrast, the allies used less capable, more survivable, multi-role aircraft for the close air support mission. P-47s, P-38s, Typhoons. These aircraft were much faster than the Ju-87 and even with modest propeller speeds had difficulty identifying enemy targets compared to the German dive bomber. These re-purposed fighter aircraft did not have sights required for dropping bombs or firing rockets, the pilot just made a best guess, same with the rockets, and if you watch enough gun camera films, you can see their aim is terrible.

Please remind me who had the more effective close air support during the war?

If the Germans had 6,000 more fighters instead of Stukas, might they had a better chance of maintaining at least parity in the sky?
 

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Great discussion, and I really love to think: just take all the original drawings and tool up and make new ones .... but having managed engineering projects through my career, I sadly have to agree with the logistical truths that you cannot keep an ageing fleet going forever.

There ought to be a way to make an A-10v2 using original design concepts, though the challenge here will not be engineering, but political, like the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, where politics and differing opinions will allow scope creep to poison the design, so what comes out is something that is a compromise based on negotiation, not performance.
If you wanted to make M14s again, you can collect up all the drawings, and the specifications and you would have all of the information necessary to make M14s just like the old ones. I think somebody has basically done that.

Unfortunately, aircraft aren't like guns.

1) Much of the design isn't actually on paper, it's in the tooling. Tooling to form the skin, frames, valve bodies, duct work, etc. And when that is destroyed or repurposed to other projects, it is gone forever.

2) Much of the technology used in the A-10 is obsolete and no longer available. The computers used to control various aircraft functions are 1970 vintage technology, and the chips are so obsolete you cannot make them anymore. And these are the core aircraft functions, not the easily modified mission avionics. To design and build a new modern computer to do the same jobs, would require a long and expensive development cycle, and a full validation test. Simply put, it would cost as much in time, money and effort as it did back in 1972.

3) "There ought to be a way to make an A-10v2 using original design concepts . . . " They did. they also threw in a few other additions, it known as the F-35. And your right, the problem is not engineering, it is political in getting people to understand that it really can do the core mission of the A-10, and other strike missions as well.

The only major difference is the F-35 doesn't have two tons of machine gun in the nose.
 

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In Vietnam, when the USAF withdrew all the A-1 Spads and replaced them in the CAS role with A-7s, you know what the major differences was?

We stopped loosing as many CAS aircraft to ground fire . . .
 

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Not being a ground pounder, I can not say for certain but it does seem to me that it would be much more accurate for an aircraft moving at the speed of the A-10 than it would be for a fast moving f-35 to hit accurately a small target without hitting long or short.. Kind of like the difference between shooting a deer that is walking vs one that is going balls-to-the-wall(been there, missed the shot !). Can the f-35 carry the same amount of ordinance as the A-10? Can it remain on station as long as the A-10? If you are a grunt, who's actually been there and done that, which would you rather have covering your back?
1) In combat, when the enemy is shooting everything from 7.62mm to 57mm at you there is only one speed - as fast as the aircraft can manage, with the drag you have attached. So, which would you rather be doing with a radar directed 30mm shooting at you, 250 mph, or 550 mph? Then after the bombs are gone and your aircraft is cleaner, which would you rather be doing, 320 mph, or 650 mph.

2) In the 1980s the F-16C introduced the Continuously Computed Impact Point, or CCIP, this was a line with a dot on the end of it projected on the head-up-display. The CCIP not only continuously calculated the point the selected weapon type would impact the ground if pickled off at that instant, it calculated the track over the ground later bomb release would take. Israeli pilots called it by a different name, the 'Death Dot', as now all they had to do was align the target on the projected line and sweep the dot over the target hitting the pickle button as the dot crossed the target. The accuracy was phenomenal. Not only did it make the dumb bomb impact points easier to calculate, you could maneuver during the bomb run, something that was not previously possible, and made bombers far less vulnerable during the run-in. Now, with guided bombs, moving fast is not detrimental to accuracy. But fast is always been safer.

3) Can it carry the same amount of ordnance? Yes, and even a bit more.

4) Can remain on station as long? As stated earlier, on-station is usually governed by your war load, when you run out of bombs you go home. Endurance and range are comparable.

5) But, you forgot a few questions:

Which one can get to you faster? Well, the faster one, of course.

Which one will be more available, i.e., break less, or be able to be fixed faster, or be damaged by ground fire less? Those first two questions we'll have to see, the third, probably the faster one that is less easily seen by radar.

If you are a grunt, who's actually been there and done that, which would you rather have covering your back?
The one that can get there the quickest, and demonstrates the best accuracy.

The Stukas' Achilles heel was survivability. They were pulled from the Battle of Britain very early. They could only be used effectively when they had air superiority. Our Dauntlesses were probably a better all around dive bomber. They too were purpose built and had better speed and survivability. It's a slippery slope when saying anything is the best. ;)
I would say Air Supremacy.

So, why didn't the USAAF use the A-24 in the CAS role? It was certainly better at CAS bombing than a P-47 with no bombsight. And, we even had air supremacy.

If fact, why did the Navy not make more use the SBC-2 or TBF/TBM Avenger as ground support, but preferred to hang bombs on F4Us and F6Fs?

I'll give you a hint, it's one of the same reasons the USAF wants to get rid of the A-10, the one that doesn't involve maintenance money.
 

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Why didn't the Navy use aircraft purposely designed to drop bombs as close air support bombers, but preferred to hang bombs on less capable fighter aircraft? (Similarly, these reason apply to the USAAF in Europe for the preference of fighters with bombs rather than dedicated attack aircraft.)

In fact, the aircraft carriers tasked with close support of amphibious landing were assigned mostly fighters on purpose.

The answers are:

1) Multi role. F4Us and F6Fs were multi-role, if a huge kamikaze attack showed up all the fighters could intercept, if there was no air attack, all the fighters could be used in ground support. If the air group were divided, some aircraft would be sitting on the deck with nothing to do in some situations. This is the same issue the USAF has today, although the limitation is due to budgets, not acreage available to land on in the middle of the ocean.

2) More support available to the ground forces. Fighters are faster than bombers, so the round trip from the carrier to the target and back to refuel and rearm takes less time. For the same number of aircraft tasked for ground support more of them are actually over the ground troops at any given time. Again, this is an issue the USAF has today, but again it is due to budget restrictions on the number aircraft they have in total.

3) More survivable. The more maneuverable fighters were better equipped to evade ground fire, and in the event Japanese fighters showed up (unlikely in 1944, but a real possibility today) they would have been better equipped to defend or escape than the lumbering bombers. Again, the USAF has to husband its resources.

The aircraft the USAF would used to replace the A-10 would be far better equipped to handle the role than the F4U and F6F were in WW2, and some of them have been used in the close support role. In fact, the A-10 was not used extensively in Afghanistan, and faster Av-8s, F-16s, and F-18s showed they were more than capable. And, just to show than slow is not necessary, or desired, in close air support the Marines have been using the zippy little Harrier has it primary air support platform with nary a complaint.

To be honest, the whole idea of a dedicated "attack" aircraft is a notion whose time has passed. You can now stick the same avionics in a fighter and it can do the "attack" job just as well, and still do fighter stuff.
 

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To me it's like rifles, different ones do different jobs. Bolt action for long range accuracy, assault rifle for close in, pistol or shotgun for real close. Build the best air superiority fighter you can. Build the best heavy and light bombers you can. Build the best CAS aircraft you can. No one size fits all will ever be the best at anything. 4 aircraft done.
Now, you can only afford one aircraft type . . . what's it going to be?
 
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