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AF Light Air Support Aircraft

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Cooter    25
6 hours ago, xaarman said:

Those wings look so awkward for the airframe.

 

2 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

 

 


Curious as to why you think that - do you think it should be low wing or with more sweep?




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Endurance, observation, and loiter speed (130 kts).  Purpose built.

 

Cooter

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Clark Griswold    506
Endurance, observation, and loiter speed (130 kts).  Purpose built.
 
Cooter

No argument in fact I thought the first wing was better for the mission


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ClearedHot    1,161

5-6 hour endurance and can get to the target at 400 knots...crushes the other offerings.

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di1630    450
Scorpion testing a gun(s) on the jet

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/paris-scorpion-tests-20mm-cannon-ahead-of-oa-x-438703/

Article doesn't specify if they are incorporating it (20mm) into the airframe - anyone know if this is the case?


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They should not waste their time. More rockets instead. I bet it's a pod.


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Clark Griswold    506

They should not waste their time. More rockets instead. I bet it's a pod.


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Probably so - just a guess but is this gun testing/demonstration for price conscious potential operators?


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nsplayr    599

It is a pod-mounted gun and it's a requirement for the LAE to demo a gun. The one I've seen is a .50 cal; haven't seen the 20mm personally.

I fully agree that if I'm giving up a hardpoint or 2 for small caliber guns on a fast moving fixed wing, I'd much rather not and have more gas/laser-guided rockets/bombs/hellfire/etc.

Edit to add: LAE = light attack expirament, the new acrynom du jour rather than OA-X.

Edited by nsplayr
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ClearedHot    1,161
8 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

Makes sense now that the Saudis have ramped up their fight against VEOs.  I know the Taco Gilberts of the world think AT-6 or A-29 is the best option because there is already a maintenance backbone, but the Scorpion jet is a growth platform with a huge advantage in speed and range.  The speed advantage alone not only reduces the time to respond to a TIC but also reduces the number of aircraft required to cover an area using the lily pad concept.  Add in dual sensors and a HUGE internal payload bay and it is truly a game changer in this arena.

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Clark Griswold    506
Makes sense now that the Saudis have ramped up their fight against VEOs.  I know the Taco Gilberts of the world think AT-6 or A-29 is the best option because there is already a maintenance backbone, but the Scorpion jet is a growth platform with a huge advantage in speed and range.  The speed advantage alone not only reduces the time to respond to a TIC but also reduces the number of aircraft required to cover an area using the lily pad concept.  Add in dual sensors and a HUGE internal payload bay and it is truly a game changer in this arena.

This

I am hoping for a Tigershark situation in reverse so Big Blue can grow a brain and buy it also. It may take an FMS sale to spur a domestic buy.


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Clark Griswold    506
5 hours ago, cagg011 said:

I'm from the tiny town where Air Tractor is based. The impact it would have on the community would be huge, if it were selected. 

No doubt but considering the desired objectives/requirements of the LAE I think it is an outside chance at best.  It's a good concept and has successful operational use but for a potential USAF LAAR, IMO this how the current line up stacks up:

1 - Scorpion

2 - AT-6B

3 - A-29B

4 - AT-802L

 

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Orbit    24

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2017/07/31/oa-x-an-air-force-program-warfighters-and-taxpayers-can-do-without/

The U.S. Air Force is conducting a flight demonstration this summer to see how low-cost, mainly propeller-driven planes might contribute to its warfighting capabilities. The basic idea is that the service can save money by not flying jets, or at least high-end ones, against enemies like ISIS who lack air forces or air defenses. The program is designated OA-X, which in Air Force nomenclature means it is an experimental concept aimed at developing new approaches to ground attack and reconnaissance.

OA-X is a dumb idea that is going nowhere. It is 16 years late to need, and by the time it enters the force sometime in the next decade, there may not be a single place the Air Force is operating where a low, slow propeller plane can survive.  Even terrorists will have shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles, courtesy of our friends the Russians. So OA-X is a fantasy that speaks more to current fiscal stresses than future operational needs.

Nobody doubts that planes resembling World War II-vintage Thunderbolts are cheaper to operate than modern jet fighters. The reason armed forces around the world turned to jets two generations ago was because every aspect of their operational performance is superior to that of turboprops. If the Air Force had come up with the idea of using warmed-over Thunderbolts to fight rag-tag jihadists before 9-11, it might have looked smart. Now it just looks out of touch with reality. Here are five reasons why.

 

Undefended air space is disappearing. The places where U.S. combat air power will be most in demand during coming years are Eastern Europe, the Persian Gulf and the Western Pacific. Likely adversaries in all three places have advanced radars, smart surface-to-air missiles, and fighter jets that would make mincemeat of propeller-driven light attack planes. The so-called "permissive" air space where a prop plane could survive is giving way to heavily contested skies in which even jet fighters will have difficulty surviving if they are not stealthy.

We already have lots of ways to support troops on the ground. OA-X is usually mentioned in connection with providing close air support to troops on the ground, a mission that requires careful coordination because enemies are operating so near friendly forces. But the Air Force already has half a dozen different types of aircraft equipped for that mission, from the A-10 Thunderbolt II to the F-16 fighter to the AC-130 gunship to the B-1 bomber carrying smart bombs. All those planes are more survivable than the candidates for the OA-X role.

OA-X will drain money away from higher priorities. When Air Force officials say a light attack plane will save money, they mean after it is fielded. But that will take the better part of a decade, and in the meantime it will put added stress on the service budget. Several hundred airframes will need to be bought and modified. Pilots and maintainers will have to be trained. A spare parts inventory will need to be purchased. All of the money to cover these costs will likely come out of other programs the service has identified as urgent priorities.

Jets work better even in uncontested air space. Just because an enemy might lack air defenses doesn't mean a low, slow turboprop is the best way to provide close air support or tactical recon. The jets currently used for those missions get to the fight much faster, operate in any kind of weather, loiter longer over the battle area, carry bigger, more diverse bomb-loads, and can respond to a broader array of unanticipated developments. Sure the turboprops are cheaper, but you get what you pay for, and saving U.S. lives matters more than saving money.

The global war on terror is winding down. The joint force has spent 16 years wearing down militants in places like Iraq. ISIS is on the run and Al Qaeda is a fading memory. The only place where extremists still are operating successfully is Afghanistan, due to that country's unique disabilities. But America won't be in Afghanistan forever -- Trump is just as impatient as Obama about getting out -- and we have trained the Afghans to use light attack planes on their own. So OA-X is a backward-looking program both in terms of technology and threats.

There's a reason why the Air Force still doesn't have a program of record for developing a light attack plane after over a decade of studying the concept. The reason is that the case for moving forward is too shaky. Although it is possible to imagine circumstances in which a low, slow turboprop might be useful, it is also easy to imagine a world in which it is utterly useless.

Perhaps the solution here is to help overseas partners buy such a plane if they feel they need it, while the U.S. Air Force concentrates on the more challenging threats that lie ahead -- like assuring that U.S. ground forces in Europe have overhead air cover despite Russia's best efforts to deny it. That's the kind of mission where modern air power can make a real difference for warfighters and taxpayers alike.

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Day Man    577

"...Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute"

"The Lexington Institute receives funding from many of the nation’s leading defense contractors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and United Technologies."

All you need to know

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raimius    50

We won't be operating in uncontested skies.  The war in Iraq is over.  Afghanistan is winding down.  There are very few failed states anymore.  
Also glad we won that darn war on drugs a couple decades ago!

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Clark Griswold    506

This meme seems appropriate:

FlakOverTarget_zps283xqlh4.jpg

The big suppliers want big expensive systems and the big support costs associated with it hence encouraging their talking heads to attack.

 

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Longhorn15    41
5 hours ago, Day Man said:

"...Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute"

"The Lexington Institute receives funding from many of the nation’s leading defense contractors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and United Technologies."

All you need to know

Also, no military experience, let alone AF experience.  Quite the experienced academic, so his opinion is worth exactly...zero.

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viper154    92

A few take aways from a young dummy. Jets are great. Quick to the fight, can carry a lot of payload, and have all sorts of cool gizmos and do hickies. Their loiter time not so much. Really, the war on terror is almost over? Maybe for everyone over here that's cozy on their couch drinking a beer. My time in RPA purgatory and the things I've seen would leave me to think that's a lie. 

 

Sure, we are 16 years late, but it's a great capability we should have. Do we need thousands of these? Probably not. But a couple squadrons in AFSOC would be a great compliment to our SOF capibility and to our ground pounders. 

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Day Man    577

as long as our strategy is whack-a-mole, that 'war' has no end.

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HU&W    603
6 hours ago, raimius said:

There are very few failed states anymore.  

There are three kinds of states: failed states, those recovering from failure, and those with the potential to fail.

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ATIS    71
1 hour ago, viper154 said:

Sure, we are 16 years late, but it's a great capability we should have. Do we need thousands of these? Probably not. But a couple squadrons in AFSOC would be a great compliment to our SOF capibility and to our ground pounders. 

There is a niche for this type of platform, folks do know this. 

In my opinion, we are in an acquisition environment now (unlike the early days post 9/11) where funding either a new start program or updating an existing program of record is the biggest challenge facing this effort.  Appetite to support a large ACAT program and fund a PMA/Joint PMO/SPO to manage Cost-Schedule-Performance until IOC/FRP (Full Rate Production) is a "dry hole".  The special communities may be able to squeeze out a small footprint and manage it, but they have a lot of expensive items competing for their limited resources as well.  The bigger "Blue" this gets, the less the chances I believe of it being realized. 

I would have dragged my balls through 100yds of broken glass to fly CSO in this solution, especially if they started the program like the first days of the U28 program...which I was uber fortunate to be a part of.

Cheers

ATIS

Edited by ATIS
crappy post surgery meds they have me on...and no Caskmates to wash it down.
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Clark Griswold    506
1 hour ago, Day Man said:

as long as our strategy is whack-a-mole, that 'war' has no end.

263e897df65be533196aa8cb7de60b65925bc7f0

Strategy is being very, very generous.  

The obsession / fixation with the tactic of persistent ISR followed by a precision strike against one target(s) exquisitely developed is distracting "leadership" from overall strategy and overall progress (or lack thereof)... if those damn trees were not in the way we could see the forest.

 

Edited by Clark Griswold

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