Warthogs, Vipers and Pink Flamingos

Discuss air warfare, doctrine, air forces, historic campaigns, etc.
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KamenRiderBlade

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Unread post23 Oct 2015, 15:41

oldiaf wrote:McCain was critical of F-22 and now a critical of F-35 , Does anyone know what this man wants ?!!

He wants to be bribed / get financial campaign donations from LM
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Unread post23 Oct 2015, 16:10

[As for McSally it might just be nostalgia. You know I'm nostalgic for the A/B-26 attack/bomber. The A-26 of WWII became the B-26 post war. It's a 400mph aircraft that can carry a ton of bombs, 10, 5"rockets, and make a strafing run with 14, 50cals. Against infantry 14 widely spaced 50cals would be more effective then 1, 30mm cannon in a strafing run. I'm sure your familiar with the B-26 Gums, they used them in Vietnam. They even played an effective role in the Bay of Pigs. If JFK had allowed all 16 assigned for the mission to be used they might have succeeded in taking out Castro's T-33 Jets on the ground. Do you think if I got elected to congress I could bring the B-26 back, and send them to Syria?[/quote]
As I understand ... Russian moved 3 batteries of SA-22 to Syria not SA-17 plus 1 SA-12 in one of the ships[/quote]

Thanks for the correction. Interesting that even the Israeli Air Force is backing off from encounters with Russian fighters. The time may come when Israel detects missile transfers to Hezbollah and has to act. At that point things could get hairy. If the West moves on a safe zone, or a no fly zone what will Russia do? Back down, or fight and lose? As the Chinese curse goes, "May you live in interesting times."
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Unread post23 Oct 2015, 23:06

tincansailor wrote:Always interesting Gums. Too the point from the article about improving SAM systems it's amazing how dense people can be. You would think that former combat pilots like McCain and McSally would have a better understanding of the subject. The A-10 issue is so clouded by emotion it seems impossible to argue rationally. The Myth of the A-10 is many times stronger then the aircraft itself.

We now see that the USAF is going to be sending A-10C's based in Turkey into combat in Syria. We should pray they stay high, and that neither Assad's, or Russian Forces engage them. The A-10's will need heavy escort to keep them safe, like F-105's needed lots of F-4's over N-Vietnam to protect them. Finally the F-4's had to do the bombing missions themselves. I hope the air force isn't trying to teach a grim lesson. I hope their not capable, (And I don't think they are) of such a cynical ploy that could cost lives.

Syria has SA-2, SA-3, SA-5, SA-6, SA-10, and SA-11. I understand the Russians have moved SA-17 into Syria. Israel has operated against all of these systems except SA-17. They've only been able to do that with fast jets equipped with first class ECCM, and in many cases stand off weapons. Does anyone really think the A-10 can survive in a contested airspace like Syria?

I guess the best analogy which I'm sure has been used many times on this board is to compare the A-10 to the JU-87 Stuka. Fantastic in uncontested airspace, but easy pickings vs. a peer competitor. Since that comparison is obvious to anyone even remotely familiar with the subject why would it require losing aircraft and pilots to prove the point to people who should know better?


Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by contested airspace like Syria. I thought that coalition air power was being used against ISIL. Is ISIL operating some sort of captured air defense system? Does ISIL have an air force? I've read that 80 percent of the time the A-10 is backing up friendly forces with close air support. What is the best platform to provide this close air support when American pilots do not talk with commanders of supported forces on the ground?
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Unread post23 Oct 2015, 23:59

"Waging the Tangled Air War Over Syria and Iraq"
By Nolan Peterson 9/30/15 at 11:38 AM

Source:
http://www.newsweek.com/waging-tangled- ... raq-378166

The air war against ISIS is a tricky one for U.S. pilots. Without American troops on the ground, it’s hard to tell friend from foe.

In Operation Inherent Resolve—the coalition air war against ISIS—airstrikes are based on information relayed from airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, both manned and unmanned, as well as from foreign ground forces such as the Iraqi Security Forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga.

There’s lots of parties involved and no comms with the guys on the ground,” an A-10 pilot, an Air Force major, said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to security concerns. He added, “The fog of war is thick.”

For U.S. pilots in Operation Inherent Resolve, it is a constant challenge to clearly identify targets or the forces they are supporting. ISR has been a key component of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other sites. But information from ISR has practical limits (in sensor video feeds, humans are reduced to glowing infrared blobs), and communications with foreign ground units does not always provide clear situational awareness of the battlefield.

U.S. troops have many ways to identify themselves to pilots. Technology like Blue Force Tracking plots their locations with colored icons on a digital map of the battlefield. U.S. forces also wear special glint tape or bring infrared strobes, which identify them to aircraft orbiting overhead. Apart from these high-tech methods, U.S. troops can always fall back on plain English radio communications to describe their location to pilots, referencing GPS coordinates or easily identifiable landmarks.

Coordinating air and ground operations is a specialized skill; U.S. pilots and ground forces train exhaustively to communicate with each other. The Air Force has special operations career fields—Tactical Air Control Party officers, Combat Controllers and Special Tactics Officers—that are specially trained to communicate with warplanes.

And JTACs (joint terminal air controllers), who are drawn from various career fields across different military branches, are specifically trained to call in close air support and airstrikes from forward positions. Additionally, to cut down on the fog of war between pilots and ground forces, select U.S. pilots cross-train as air liaison officers (ALOs) to embed with Army ground units.

Practically all the tools, techniques and specialized personnel the U.S. uses to deconflict airstrikes are unavailable in the air war against ISIS. U.S. JTACs are in Iraq, but they are removed from the battlefield, sitting in joint operations centers (JOCs) staring at video feeds to gain situational awareness (called “SA” by military members) of the battlefield.

Despite the tactical challenges, the U.S. and coalition air campaign have had a punishing effect on ISIS, killing about 300 of its fighters every week, according to U.S. commanders in the field, which slightly outpaces the rate at which ISIS is able to recruit and field new fighters.

The attrition rate and the lack of freedom of movement enforced by U.S. air power have stalled ISIS’s blitz across Iraq, which had advanced to the gates of Baghdad. ISIS is effectively pinned down, and it is now up to the Iraqi Security Forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Free Syrian Army to take back ground.

“With Daesh on the defensive, air power is generating critical time and space for partners on the ground to train and field more fighting capacity,” said David Tomiyama, a U.S. Air Force Central representative, using an alternate name for ISIS.

Information on civilian casualties is not immediately available, but U.S. commanders praise the precision of the air campaign against ISIS. According to Air Force data, since Operation Inherent Resolve began on August 24, 2014, U.S. and coalition forces have used more than 20,000 precision-guided munitions—constituting 99 percent of the total munitions used.

“This is the most precise air campaign in history and a model for future counterinsurgency campaigns,” said Air Force Col. Michael Koscheski, commander of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, speaking from an undisclosed location in the Persian Gulf region.

Old Habits

The air campaign against ISIS is the product of the tactics and techniques learned after 14 years of irregular warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan and other sites. “These irregular, sustained conflicts are what we are going to keep seeing in the future,” Koscheski said.

Joint air operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom normally comprised a “stack” of air assets, which would orbit over an objective at different altitudes and ranges, creating a protective cone of airborne overwatch and firepower to defend U.S. troops on the ground and target the enemy. The aircraft had different roles, such as ISR, jamming and close air support. Typically, an aerial refueling tanker would orbit on an airborne track somewhere nearby, and personnel recovery and quick reaction forces would be on alert.

The “stacks” of military aircraft currently operating over Iraq and Syria are similar to what U.S. and allied forces used in OIF and OEF—the key difference being that there is no U.S. ground force with which to communicate.

In Operation Inherent Resolve, ISR aircraft—both manned and unmanned from multiple countries—provide most of the intelligence on enemy positions and “pattern of life” information. ISR data is relayed to joint operations centers in Iraq where U.S. JTACs and Iraqi liaison officers review the images and video feeds. Despite their presence on the battlefields, the U.S. military says Iranian and Syrian military representatives are not consulted to deconflict airstrikes.

“Coalition aircraft absolutely do not coordinate with Syrian government assets, neither in the air, nor on the ground,” Tomiyama said. “In the event coalition aircraft are in the vicinity of Syrian aircraft, it is standard practice for us to stand off until the airspace is clear of non-coalition assets.”

Tomiyama added, “We are not in conversation with the Iranians.”

Distinguishing ISIS fighters from civilians or other units can ultimately hinge on subjective observations, such as how personnel move, the type of equipment used and how the fighters handle their weapons. Iraqi military representatives often have intimate knowledge of the terrain and normal patterns of life in urban areas under surveillance, as well as an extensive network of contacts on the ground, which provides valuable human intelligence. “The Iraqis are responsible for deconfliction,” Koscheski said.

Final approval for any airstrike ultimately depends on a U.S. general officer sitting in the joint operations center with the JTACs and liaison officers. U.S. pilots complain that the process is too restrictive and slow. Commanders say it’s working and point to the coalition’s precision and effect on ISIS’s operations as evidence.

“This operation will take time,” Tomiyama said. “It is a difficult fight and there may be setbacks.”

Enemy of My Enemy

The battlefields of Iraq and Syria are a complicated spider’s web of alliances—sometimes the forces fighting ISIS are also fighting each other. “The friendlies were shooting at us 13 years ago,” an A-10 pilot said.

The Kurdish Peshmerga is a key ally against ISIS. But Turkey, which recently opened up its bases to the U.S., has been bombing some Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, which Turkey considers terrorist groups. And in Syria, the Iranian Quds Force supports the regime of Bashar Assad against both U.S.-backed rebels and ISIS, while in Iraq the Quds Force supports the Iraqi Security Forces, which are also supported by U.S. air power, training and equipment.

“The composition of who the friendly forces are, that’s a question mark,” an A-10 pilot, an Air Force major, said.

The presence of Russian warplanes and ground units in Syria is a new headache for the U.S. and coalition partners. On September 18, the Department of Defense announced that U.S. and Russian forces were discussing ways to deconflict forces in Syria. Days later, however, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the Pentagon would not move forward on talks with Russia about deconflicting warplanes over Syria until the Kremlin proposed a political solution in Syria beyond propping up the regime of Assad.

“[T]he secretary agreed to continue that dialogue with the Russians; if their actions are aimed at countering ISIL and advancing a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a September 22 press briefing, using another acronym for ISIS.

“[A]t this point that we still do not have an entirely clear picture of exactly what the Russians are hoping to do in Syria,” Cook added.

Prior to missions, U.S. pilots and other personnel are briefed on the threat posed by both Assad’s forces and those of Iran. The consensus among U.S. intelligence personnel is that Iran will not attack U.S. forces operating in Iraq and Syria unless the U.S. is perceived to be interfering with Iranian operations or demeaning the perception among Iraqis about the degree and utility of Iran’s aid.

“Iran isn’t stupid,” a combat rescue officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity from an undisclosed location in Iraq. “They don’t want to start World War III.”
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Unread post24 Oct 2015, 10:38

Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by contested airspace like Syria. I thought that coalition air power was being used against ISIL. Is ISIL operating some sort of captured air defense system? Does ISIL have an air force? I've read that 80 percent of the time the A-10 is backing up friendly forces with close air support. What is the best platform to provide this close air support when American pilots do not talk with commanders of supported forces on the ground?[/quote]

You pretty much answered your own question with you detailed post about how we conduct operations in Syria. When we send in a strike we have to protect it from what might happen. We can't just ignore Assad's, or the Russian Forces because they haven't engaged us. Even though we always back off from them any strike packages have to be escorted, and protected electronically. My guess is F-22s were involved on the first night of the Coalition Air War in Syria was to take out Assad's Air Defenses if they engaged us.

Would you want unescorted A-10s being harassed by Russian SU 30s? The Russians aren't bombing ISIS in Eastern Syria so there's not much danger of conflict there. However both Russia and the Coalition are bombing in the North West corner of Syria. As long as Obama is president there is no chance America takes any aggressive action against the Russians. The assumption he makes is if any American Forces anywhere in the world fire on any Russian Forces an escalation to a full nuclear exchange would be inevitable. Consequently the U.S. will back down from any challenge, however all our allies may not.

The U.S. has pulled out it's Patriot Missiles from Turkey as a sign that we don't have their back but they may take actions of their own. As Russia pursues a Counter Population Strategy to drive out the people of Syria the Turks may move to create a Safe Haven inside the country, West of the Euphrates River. That Haven would be a place for civilians to find refuge and anti Assad Rebels to regroup, and rearm. Will the Russians hold back from bombing the Safe Haven? What happens if they do bomb them?

Syria is a small airspace with a lot of aircraft bombing lots of people. There are also lots of SAMs all over the place. Some of them have been captured by ISIS. ISIS has former Saddam officers, and enlisted men. It's possible they could get some SAM Systems back in action. I suspect they haven't done that because the bombing from the Coalitions been pretty feeble. It restricts their mobility, but it's not nearly as bad as what they took during the Surge in Iraq. Using SAMs would only provoke an intensified air campaign.

When Libya fell thousands of Russian man-pads went missing. Hamas, and ISIS in Sinai got hundreds of them, it's hard to imagine ISIS in Syria & Iraq didn't get any. When ISIS overran Northern Iraq they must have captured hundreds more. They have downed Iraqi Helicopters. The potential for a major escalation in Syria should preclude using a plane as vulnerable as the A-10. F-16s can drop bombs just as well, and defend themselves better at the same time. We have lots of other ways to kill any tanks ISIS might use other then a 30mm cannon.
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Unread post24 Oct 2015, 16:17

Salute!

Well, well. Maybe the commanders are scoping out the pink flamingos.

The air campaign against ISIS is the product of the tactics and techniques learned after 14 years of irregular warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan and other sites. “These irregular, sustained conflicts are what we are going to keep seeing in the future,” Koscheski said.


I agree to a point, then I see more intensive scenarios looming where the high-tech systems and well-trained adversaries will determine the outcome.

The one thing that bugs me is I see deja vu one more time - "convoy cover"?? Whoa! Talk about a waste of resources for most cases. Go read "Street Without Joy", then play my brain recorder from 1968 and 1973 when we repeated the French use of their limited CAS assets flying over their trucks and advancing troops. So I am orbiting above the 9th Inf Div convoy or the 25th up in the highlands early 1968, and then above boats heded for Phnom Penh ffrom the gulf in 1973.

Use the stupid critters!!! The drones!!

I realize the irregulars we support can't have their own embedded helos, but hanging around waiting for something to happen is not very effective in terms of $$$ or results. The CAS video I posted shows a lack of good pre-planned LZ prep and also is one scenario that could afford some folks orbiting overhead until the situtation was clearly in favor of the friendlies. I flew many in 1968, including some with the SOG folks in Prarie Fire ops where no LZ prep but orbit in case the teams were discovered and had to be extracted.

The video shows a classic LZ insertion that I witnessed many times, and brought back memories, good and bad. It also shows the classic CAS that McCain remembers ( near end we see a Scooter strafing, so Spaz should be proud). Then compare with the next video 30 years later.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bniEbKXt6M

I also post a good one of CAS in the modern arena, and this bomb hits very close to the friendlies with great results.

http://www.sluf.org/misc_pages/bomb.wmv

I do not think a 'hog could have been the plane designating, but prolly could have been the bomb truck.

Gums opines...
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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Unread post24 Oct 2015, 22:47

oldiaf wrote:McCain was critical of F-22 and now a critical of F-35 , Does anyone know what this man wants ?!!
I'm pretty sure he's just a miserable old man. These are absolutely the worst customers for anything anywhere on the planet and are prone to being complete $hitheads just because they can if things don't go exactly their way. Sorry that stuff is sometimes hard John; try not to be such a chicken-$hit about it this time (remember F-22?) so's we can keep having respectable air-force.
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Unread post25 Oct 2015, 00:07

Gums wrote:Use the stupid critters!!! The drones!!


At AUVSI 2013, General Atomics revealed it was in discussions with Raytheon to integrate weapons used on larger, manned aircraft, including the AIM-9X Sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAAM, and AGM-88 HARM on the MQ-9 Reaper. With a 1,500 lb (680 kg) payload, its wings are "more than sufficient" to mount larger air-to-air or air-to-surface missiles. An AESA radar, developed using internal funds, is primarily for collision avoidance, but could also be used for targeting incoming air-to-air threats, searching for ground targets, and jamming enemy systems. Equipping these systems would potentially enable counter-UAV missions. General Atomics is also considering equipping the MQ-9 with Link 16 to allow it to pass targeting coordinates and position information to other aircraft

Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_A ... te_note-23


Unfortunately, Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, has said that the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper is just too vulnerable to being shot down to be considered for the close air support mission.

Source:
http://breakingdefense.com/2015/02/air- ... ew-weapon/

MQ-X was cancelled in 2012. It makes you wonder what sort of UCAV the United States Air Force would consider for CAS. Would it need all apect stealth and a jet engine?

Unfortunately, DARPA cancelled the optionally manned A-10 for PCAS.
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Unread post31 Oct 2015, 03:36

tincansailor wrote:
We now see that the USAF is going to be sending A-10C's based in Turkey into combat in Syria. We should pray they stay high, and that neither Assad's, or Russian Forces engage them. The A-10's will need heavy escort to keep them safe, like F-105's needed lots of F-4's over N-Vietnam to protect them. Finally the F-4's had to do the bombing missions themselves. I hope the air force isn't trying to teach a grim lesson. I hope their not capable, (And I don't think they are) of such a cynical ploy that could cost lives.


All that's going to happen is our jets will fly missions in support of the Kurds, while the Turks take off right behind them and go bomb the Kurds. Same crap of Op Provide Comfort/Northern Watch, 20 years later.

Syria has SA-2, SA-3, SA-5, SA-6, SA-10, and SA-11. I understand the Russians have moved SA-17 into Syria. Israel has operated against all of these systems except SA-17. They've only been able to do that with fast jets equipped with first class ECCM, and in many cases stand off weapons. Does anyone really think the A-10 can survive in a contested airspace like Syria?


Minus the SA-5, all could viable problems for us. And we don't even know who may be operating the captured Syrian ones: Syrians sympathetic to ISIS or defectors, Syrians being forced to operate them by ISIS? Who knows. Either way, not a good environment for us, and definitely not the Afghan/Iraq uncontested complacency we've gotten used to in the past decade and a half.

McCain has never been too bright, and he's degenerated into a stubborn old man. Somewhere along the line he got an idea in his mind that the A-10 is the symbol of American Air Power. At the same time his zeal for cutting waste in government directed his ire against the F-35. As with Truman that zeal creates a bean counting mentality that hurts military readiness. McCain is now talking about cutting F-35 numbers to save money. Of course the fact that will drive up unit cost, and the obvious fact we'll have fewer combat aircraft seems to be lost on him. Lets just hope he loses his reelection bid next year.


McCain just wants the votes. A-10s for the Tucson area votes, F-35s for the Phoenix/Yuma votes. He's playing all sides of the aisle like the swarmy politician he is.

As for McSally it might just be nostalgia. You know I'm nostalgic for the A/B-26 attack/bomber.


McSilly is merely McCain-lite. She doesn't do anything without the establishment and her handlers telling her what to do. She was worthless as a pilot and commander in the A-10 community, and is equally worthless as CD2 congresswoman. The voters of CD2 got who they voted for.
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Unread post31 Oct 2015, 03:50

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:You know Arizona has one ANG base for A-10s and two for F-35s right? The Marines that declared IOC are in Yuma Az. Luke AFB on the western edge of the Phoenix area is transitioning from the largest F-16 training facility in the world to an F-35 training facility.


No ANG A-10s in AZ, just the AFRES A-10 squadron at DM, along with active duty. ANG is F-16s. The F-35s are indeed Luke and Yuma, all of which explains McCains motives. Agree.

tritonprime wrote:Were McCain, McSally, and/or Ayotte responsible for the deployment of the twelve A-10C from Moody AFB to Incirlik AFB in Turkey replacing six F-16?


I believe the rotation was already set for those A-10s, just the location changed. A-10s are being used like any other jet that's still available. No different than how F/EF-111s were still doing rotations here and there, as well as F-4Gs, until they were actually retired.

tincansailor wrote:So cynical sprstdlyscottsmn. You may well be right, but I still think McCain is a stupid stubborn old man. Having said that I do think he's a patriot so I hope your wrong. As you pointed out F-35s will be stationed in Arizona replacing A-10s.


The F-35s aren't in AZ to replace the A-10 at DM, they're here to replace the F-16 at Luke. The ANG at Tucson airport tried for the running to get them, but lost out to Luke. The replacement for the A-10 at DM is projected to be AFRES F-16s, 1 or 2 squadrons, from Hill supposedly.

tritonprime wrote:Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by contested airspace like Syria. I thought that coalition air power was being used against ISIL. Is ISIL operating some sort of captured air defense system? Does ISIL have an air force? I've read that 80 percent of the time the A-10 is backing up friendly forces with close air support. What is the best platform to provide this close air support when American pilots do not talk with commanders of supported forces on the ground?


As I mentioned before, we don't know who is operating the captured AAA/SAM equipment.....Syrian sympathizers, Syrians forced? Have to assume the worst.

tincansailor wrote:Would you want unescorted A-10s being harassed by Russian SU 30s?

Syria is a small airspace with a lot of aircraft bombing lots of people. There are also lots of SAMs all over the place. Some of them have been captured by ISIS. ISIS has former Saddam officers, and enlisted men. It's possible they could get some SAM Systems back in action.

We have lots of other ways to kill any tanks ISIS might use other then a 30mm cannon.


I don't see air-air action between Russia and us happening, or them attacking our planes. I do see the threat of AAA/SAMs to be a very real one, and one they may just bite us in the butt badly here soon.

Yup on the 30mm. The 30mm isn't even the primary anti-tank weapon, the AGM-65 has historically been.

It's a fanboy thing that the myth of the invincible 30mm. Just like its a fanboy thing about "low and slow is the best for CAS!"

Low and slow, if WX or the tactical situation doesn't dictate it, only serves to get you shot up or shot down. One doesn't fly down into small arms/automatic weapons WEZ for the hell of it. And if the CAS aircraft is shot down or forced to leave, what good does that do the ground units they are supporting? Secondly, CAS tactics since Desert Storm have gone from low altitude to medium altitude, what with advanced guided weaponry and sensors on fighters and even A-10s. A-10s learned the hard way when they went to Desert Storm with Fulda Gap low-altitude tactics, and paid a hefty price for it. That said, if the tactical situation does require one to go low altitude to engage effectively, then low altitude it will be, and business will be done.
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