American Air Power Old is new again

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by NorwichDad, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    Nice article from CNN. Turbo Prop is back. I still think we need to spend bulk of resources upgrading to the newest technology and planes. After all, we don't know who we will fight or oppose 15 years in the future. But for some fights we can go back in time. Maybe it is way to save some money going against those whose anti aircraft teams are armed with AK47s.

    The experiment aims to determine whether slower planes like the Bronco can better support ground troops battling insurgents than more technologically advanced and expensive counterparts such as the F-15 Eagle and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets.

    The idea is that older aircraft can more cost-effectively fly close air support missions to help U.S. ground troops and pilots better see and attack low-tech insurgents.

    Harmer, now the senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, called the OV-10 a "great plane to fly" and said it was likely that U.S. pilots fought over who got the chance to fly it in combat.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/11/politics/decades-old-planes-used-against-isis/index.html

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    Just read this article as well. Assigned to an AF unit, back in the "old days" that flew and maintained the OV-10s. Great little acrobatic aircraft. Most of the pilots in the unit, after they got over their initial disappointment of the assignment, really enjoyed the flying. The TASS mission was one to be proud of. Although not the same aircraft, the movie "Bat 21" about the O-2, depicts a small part of the missions for which the OV-10 was tasked as well.
    I must say, though, the CNN article is a bit in error. Unless they have "super-charged" the turbo props, the only way the aircraft can attain 223 mph speed, is in a nose dive from an altitude of 10K, about the time they hit the ground. Cruising speed is closer to 150 - 180 knots, depending on winds.
     
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  3. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    You have to be careful in kissing the use of any military weapon until you see the environment it is used in. "Low tech" can get "High Tech" real quick. In Vietnam, I had the job (privilege, really) of controlling both Navy OV-10s and Army LOACH-Cobra gunship teams from riverboats as we transited enemy territory. If a .50cal opened up on the air assets, the Broncos would scatter like quail and not come back until the .50 cal was dead. They had to. Their speed was too great to see the gun pits. The Army helos would slowly and methodically search under every leaf, at sometimes horrible costs to the LOACH crews, to find and kill the .50 cal. And these were just manual weapons on a tripod, no radar controlled guns which would have been lethal for any aircraft or helo. All it would take is a lot of Russian built shoulder-fired missiles or a few radar controlled guns and things can get way too high tech for that great little plane.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
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  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    You can tack on some defensive systems. Even Hueys can get them.
    The idea of a large fleet of cheap aircraft that can be a quick-response force in low-tech conflicts is attractive, especially as it does not beat up your expensive aircraft so quickly. The F-15s, F-16s, and B-1s flew a LOT of hours over the past decade.
     
  5. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Let me ramble

    AF is moving towards very expansive aircrafts that flies too fast and don't have guns to provide close ground support to ground troops, but the pilot is better protected from enemy anti-aircraft or a lucky bullet.

    Ground troops do appreciate a laser guide bomb dropped from high up, but sometimes 20 mm or 30 mm cannon or a 500 lbs bomb visually dropped might be more appreciated. Based on what was discussed, we can reasonably assume that pilots flying OV-1o will face greater danger to themselves. Do we put pilots in a platform that protects them less to provide better ground support to save ground pounder lives?

    Cost wise, I am sure we can operate 10 or more OV-10 vs one F 35. I would also argue that since F 35 is so expansive, the cost of operating multiple airframes in lieu of F35 is still cheaper. But do we want to put pilots in airframes that increases risk?

    My simple analogy is that we don't need a very expansive 50 gadget Swiss army knife, when will only use two or three things out of 50 gadgets and we can buy several different gadget to meet our needs.
     
  6. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    It is a tough balance. For current conflicts, the cheap/simple option is very attractive in that the risk of modern air defense is small. Against an opponent with modern fighters and IADS, these planes would not stand up well. Similarly, they tend to be short-range, which means increased basing issues.

    The stealth strike-fighter is necessary against near-peers, but inefficient for fighting insurgents.
    The light-strike turboprop is great against insurgents, but gets wrecked in a fight with near peers.
    If you are the leader faced with preparing for both scenarios, what do you pick? (with limited budgets)
     
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    If I was the leader, I will have an independent study outside DOD (as independent as it can be) for on the likely future threat in terms of aviation and type of enemies and make the decision on the likely threat and not make a decision based on personal bias or pitch from different services (i.e. AF wants F-35s)

    Some of the questions that study should answer is

    Threats modern AC capabilities to include their likely operational location (i.e. Where are going to face MIG-35? How many MIG-35 are operational)
    Chance of US fighting modern opponent(s)?
    Chance of US doing more COIN?

    There are many enemies we face, with limited budgets, have to take risk somewhere.
     
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