The Comanche and the Albatross

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maus92

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Unread post01 May 2014, 12:50

An analysis of an alternative way forward for the USAF.

The Comanche and the Albatross
About Our Neck Was Hung
Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF
F-35. We have no other choice.
—Gen Mark A. Welsh III Chief of Staff, US Air Force

"The Air Force intended eventually to replace much of the post- Vietnam fighter fleet with the F-35A. This stealthy aircraft possessed advanced technology and was no more expensive than the aircraft it was designed to supplant. The Air Force sought to buy 1,763 F-35As—the number required to replace every F-16, A-10, and F-117 in service in 2001. Envisioned after the resounding success of the F-117 in the Gulf War, the program placed high emphasis on the utility of low radar observability. Designed to provide combat aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps as well as a host of allies world- wide, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) would usher in a revolutionary im- provement in American airpower.

Instead, the program has been troubled, characterized by the Pentagon’s acquisition chief as “acquisition malpractice,” and finds itself well behind schedule and over budget.1 Rather than an affordable, capable fighter aircraft, operational in large numbers by 2015, the F-35 continues to arrive late and cost more than anticipated.2 Program delays, un- met performance requirements, and spiraling costs have recently run full tilt into an austere budgetary environment dictated by the Budget Control Act of 2011.3 More significantly, the program emerged from de- cades of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)–centric Cold War experience; furthermore, the Air Force did not envision it either for the Pacific theater or for an adversary with China’s air defense capa- bilities. In this light and despite more than a decade of development invested in the program, budgetary realities should serve as an impe- tus to reexamine the Air Force’s participation in the F-35 program and the future of the fighter force.

We have choices—if we are willing to entertain them. The Army’s treatment of the Comanche program offers an example of a bold move in aviation that allowed that service to both modernize and recapitalize. This example shows a potential way forward and should remind Airmen that the Air Force is essential for national security, that no indi- vidual aircraft has ever proven indispensable to national security, and that we should be wary of risking national airpower capabilities in our pursuit of a single type of platform. This article presents an alternative future structure designed to preserve the combat air forces (CAF) as an agile and combat-ready multipurpose force, restoring the “high-low” mix that the Air Force essentially abandoned in the 1990s.4 It offers a future force, called here the “alternate force”—one more broadly capable and affordable than the force that the current path will produce."

This journal article will not go over well....


Read all 24 pages at:

http://www.au.af.mil/au/afri/aspj/digit ... ource=GovD
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sferrin

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Unread post01 May 2014, 13:09

"The Army’s treatment of the Comanche program offers an example of a bold move in aviation that allowed that service to both modernize and recapitalize. "

Somebody should clue him in. They still haven't replaced the aircraft the Comanche was supposed to replace. :roll:
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stobiewan

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Unread post01 May 2014, 13:56

sferrin wrote:"The Army’s treatment of the Comanche program offers an example of a bold move in aviation that allowed that service to both modernize and recapitalize. "

Somebody should clue him in. They still haven't replaced the aircraft the Comanche was supposed to replace. :roll:



And how much have they spent specifically not replacing those aircraft? What's ARH-70 and t'other one cost? $10bn?

They could have just bought Comanche and been in the middle of refurbing them by now.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post01 May 2014, 16:53

sferrin wrote:"The Army’s treatment of the Comanche program offers an example of a bold move in aviation that allowed that service to both modernize and recapitalize. "

Somebody should clue him in. They still haven't replaced the aircraft the Comanche was supposed to replace. :roll:


Despite several tries over the last how many decades now? You know how difficult it can be to replace a scout helicopter though.

Anyway I am shocked that people would suggest JSF alternatives. Has anyone else seen other articles like this over the years? This is going to hit like a ton of bricks.

This journal article will not go over well....



Its just another alternative piece, I think I have seen them all at this point, from F-22s for the Marines, to Super Arrows from Canada. Its just another article for bloggers to post, and its timely too especially after the Australia order. Yep, time to start over alright.
Last edited by XanderCrews on 01 May 2014, 17:34, edited 1 time in total.
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mk82

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Unread post01 May 2014, 17:24

One thing about that article doesn't gel Maus....if the USAF ceases the development of the F35 (pretty advanced stage now) today, it will still need an alternative program to replace its legacy fighter fleet as the legacy fighter fleet ages. An alternative program will need funding....new funding....good luck with that in an austere budgetary environment! Can you predict that the new alternative program will not become a money pit too? Anyways, NGB is still a USAF priority and the F35 still has a role in the Pacific, especially in light of advanced IADS proliferating in that region and Europe is not exactly Kumbuyah....Cold war like situations can recur if you bother to keep with current affairs.....Maus.
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popcorn

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Unread post02 May 2014, 00:13

Upgrading legacy jets and curtailing F-35 purchases? Been there, done that to death o these forums.
However, the good Colonel is apparently a UCAV fan.. maybe UCLASS or notional,MQ-X will approximate his vision, a robot sidekick to,5Gen jets.. but for now, full-speed ahead on,F-35 on all fronts,,A, B and C to recap,TacAir for AF, Navy and Marines... comparing JSF with the niche Comanche not really valid.


http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... ht-fighte/
Last edited by popcorn on 02 May 2014, 01:59, edited 2 times in total.
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lookieloo

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Unread post02 May 2014, 00:56

sferrin wrote:"The Army’s treatment of the Comanche program offers an example of a bold move in aviation that allowed that service to both modernize and recapitalize. "

Somebody should clue him in. They still haven't replaced the aircraft the Comanche was supposed to replace. :roll:
It's worse than that. They're actually gonna be forced to retire the Kiowas without any replacement at all... after two other failed attempts that followed the Comanche (more wasted money). Said "bold move" was nothing more than a short-sighted sacrifice to the ephemeral gods of COIN-warfare.
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count_to_10

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Unread post02 May 2014, 01:58

You have got to wonder what motivates these people.
Einstein got it backward: one cannot prevent a war without preparing for it.

Uncertainty: Learn it, love it, live it.
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Unread post02 May 2014, 02:11

count_to_10 wrote:You have got to wonder what motivates these people.


Ego......
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XanderCrews

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Unread post02 May 2014, 05:41

lookieloo wrote:
sferrin wrote:"The Army’s treatment of the Comanche program offers an example of a bold move in aviation that allowed that service to both modernize and recapitalize. "

Somebody should clue him in. They still haven't replaced the aircraft the Comanche was supposed to replace. :roll:
It's worse than that. They're actually gonna be forced to retire the Kiowas without any replacement at all... after two other failed attempts that followed the Comanche (more wasted money). Said "bold move" was nothing more than a short-sighted sacrifice to the ephemeral gods of COIN-warfare.


This just can't be said enough.

I get that not everyone agrees with the JSF and there are alternative ideas that people liked to explore, but using the Comanche as a an example of the way to do it? Good God, man! Did you bother to read beyond the first chapter?! :doh:
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Unread post02 May 2014, 06:19

XanderCrews wrote:
lookieloo wrote:
sferrin wrote:"The Army’s treatment of the Comanche program offers an example of a bold move in aviation that allowed that service to both modernize and recapitalize. "

Somebody should clue him in. They still haven't replaced the aircraft the Comanche was supposed to replace. :roll:
It's worse than that. They're actually gonna be forced to retire the Kiowas without any replacement at all... after two other failed attempts that followed the Comanche (more wasted money). Said "bold move" was nothing more than a short-sighted sacrifice to the ephemeral gods of COIN-warfare.
This just can't be said enough. I get that not everyone agrees with the JSF and there are alternative ideas that people liked to explore, but using the Comanche as a an example of the way to do it? Good God, man! Did you bother to read beyond the first chapter?! :doh:
Here's the funny part though. If it turns out that the Apache can do it all... guess what else can take up the slack of older, single-role types? Methinks it might be a mistake for F-35 opponents to draw attention in this direction.
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Gums

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Unread post02 May 2014, 20:30

Salute!

I have the highest respect for Lookie, especially his view about CAS and the Warthog.

I worked on the avionics and armament system designs for the Commanche for our "prime" contractor, and it had a decent A2G capability, but was primarily supposed to be a scout platform with some degree of LO in the design with a few Hellfires and such ( all in weapon bays, BTW). The Apache ruled then , and still does. Hell, I even have an Apache Dash-One in my library, as we were trying to integrate the Stinger and Aim-9L on the sucker.

I thought the Rh-66 would have been a super replacement for the Kiowa, considering all the advancements in avionics and such back in the early 90's.

So the point paper about taking the Commanche route is BS, IMHO. I saw something similar with the USMC Super Cobra when we were called in to upgrade the avionics. The crews we interviewed at Yuma ( Desert Storm vets) wanted the 4-blade rotor more than improved avionics. USMC could not afford a new helo, so they made do with what they had. The Bee Stubby is gonna be great for them, and looks like a real player versus the Harrier.

So the Army made do with their Kiowas, and still are stuck with them.

Gums opines....
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Unread post02 May 2014, 21:39

Gums wrote:Salute!

I have the highest respect for Lookie, especially his view about CAS and the Warthog.

I worked on the avionics and armament system designs for the Commanche for our "prime" contractor, and it had a decent A2G capability, but was primarily supposed to be a scout platform with some degree of LO in the design with a few Hellfires and such ( all in weapon bays, BTW). The Apache ruled then , and still does. Hell, I even have an Apache Dash-One in my library, as we were trying to integrate the Stinger and Aim-9L on the sucker.

I thought the Rh-66 would have been a super replacement for the Kiowa, considering all the advancements in avionics and such back in the early 90's.

So the point paper about taking the Commanche route is BS, IMHO. I saw something similar with the USMC Super Cobra when we were called in to upgrade the avionics. The crews we interviewed at Yuma ( Desert Storm vets) wanted the 4-blade rotor more than improved avionics. USMC could not afford a new helo, so they made do with what they had. The Bee Stubby is gonna be great for them, and looks like a real player versus the Harrier.

So the Army made do with their Kiowas, and still are stuck with them.

Gums opines....

Your 100% right about asking combat crews what they want is a good step in any upgrade program.

What confuses me is that with the helicopters, the Army & USMC have the Canadian CH-146 Griffon program to base a new helicopter on. That is basically an armed twin-engine, 4-blade, light attack helo with common heritage from Bell 212/412/UH-1N series. A single-engine version is the Bell 407GT, armed and sold to Iraq.

A friend of mine flies Bell 412EP helo for civilian medivac, complete with glass cockpit, upgraded avionics and FLIR.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post02 May 2014, 22:37

neurotech wrote:
Gums wrote:Salute!

I have the highest respect for Lookie, especially his view about CAS and the Warthog.

I worked on the avionics and armament system designs for the Commanche for our "prime" contractor, and it had a decent A2G capability, but was primarily supposed to be a scout platform with some degree of LO in the design with a few Hellfires and such ( all in weapon bays, BTW). The Apache ruled then , and still does. Hell, I even have an Apache Dash-One in my library, as we were trying to integrate the Stinger and Aim-9L on the sucker.

I thought the Rh-66 would have been a super replacement for the Kiowa, considering all the advancements in avionics and such back in the early 90's.

So the point paper about taking the Commanche route is BS, IMHO. I saw something similar with the USMC Super Cobra when we were called in to upgrade the avionics. The crews we interviewed at Yuma ( Desert Storm vets) wanted the 4-blade rotor more than improved avionics. USMC could not afford a new helo, so they made do with what they had. The Bee Stubby is gonna be great for them, and looks like a real player versus the Harrier.

So the Army made do with their Kiowas, and still are stuck with them.

Gums opines....

Your 100% right about asking combat crews what they want is a good step in any upgrade program.

What confuses me is that with the helicopters, the Army & USMC have the Canadian CH-146 Griffon program to base a new helicopter on. That is basically an armed twin-engine, 4-blade, light attack helo with common heritage from Bell 212/412/UH-1N series. A single-engine version is the Bell 407GT, armed and sold to Iraq.

A friend of mine flies Bell 412EP helo for civilian medivac, complete with glass cockpit, upgraded avionics and FLIR.



Let it be a warning to all the idiots out there that say "Just cancel Y and buy X" The army has been trying to buy X for 20 years now.
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Unread post03 May 2014, 00:39

Just cancel Y and buy X

Just ask the 82nd what happened to their "promised" Sheridan replacement.
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