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11 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

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.

The most interesting aspect of our HVI campaign is that we've persisted despite zero evidence it works.  There's not a single time we've taken down a #1 target that made any damn difference; that statement isn't hyperbole, it was my ACSC research project.  If AQ/IS were killing our generals, we'd make a fuss but ultimately just promote someone else.  It wouldn't fundamentally degrade the US ability to project combat power; since it wouldn't work on us why did we assume it will work on our enemy?

i know the real answer: leadership for years didn't have the stomach to endorse the level of bloodshed actually required to degrade our enemy so the HVI hunt was something they could get approved rather than something that would enable victory.  But over time it was a tactic that became a strategy and we started believing it.  Also we fundamentally misdiagnosed the character and motivations of our enemy, so we came up with a "solution" that works on who we think they are not who they really are.  And when it didn't work, we tried harder and harder instead of challenging our original assumptions.  

The good news is that our recent campaign against IS has shown the level of brutality required to stop someone who is ideologically committed.  Mosel is totally destroyed, an outcome everyone on our side wanted to avoid but the enemy forced our options down to two: cede this territory to us or crush us out.  I'm estatic our leaders finally chose to increase the violence and decrease the ROE.

That said, the war on terror is not over.  This article is written by someone obtuse to reality.  Somalia, Libya, Mali, AFG and Pak, Syria (not even close to over despite success against IS), Yemen..... soon maybe Turkey depending on how the YPG shakes out in Syria.  How's the PI looking these days?  Seriously, this long war will continue even if we want to quit because the enemy doesn't want to quit.  They will continue to press the fight until either: they win, lose motivation to continue, or are utterly defeated.  The first is unthinkable, and the second and third require significant resources, time and effort on our part to even attempt.

sorry for the long lost.  Summary- Author is wrong.  I'd like to see the scorpion procured but I'll settle for some AT-802s.  No matter what, saddle up for more war.

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1 hour ago, tac airlifter said:

The most interesting aspect of our HVI campaign is that we've persisted despite zero evidence it works.  There's not a single time we've taken down a #1 target that made any damn difference; that statement isn't hyperbole, it was my ACSC research project.  If AQ/IS were killing our generals, we'd make a fuss but ultimately just promote someone else.  It wouldn't fundamentally degrade the US ability to project combat power; since it wouldn't work on us why did we assume it will work on our enemy?

i know the real answer: leadership for years didn't have the stomach to endorse the level of bloodshed actually required to degrade our enemy so the HVI hunt was something they could get approved rather than something that would enable victory.  But over time it was a tactic that became a strategy and we started believing it.  Also we fundamentally misdiagnosed the character and motivations of our enemy, so we came up with a "solution" that works on who we think they are not who they really are.  And when it didn't work, we tried harder and harder instead of challenging our original assumptions.  

The good news is that our recent campaign against IS has shown the level of brutality required to stop someone who is ideologically committed.  Mosel is totally destroyed, an outcome everyone on our side wanted to avoid but the enemy forced our options down to two: cede this territory to us or crush us out.  I'm estatic our leaders finally chose to increase the violence and decrease the ROE.

That said, the war on terror is not over.  This article is written by someone obtuse to reality.  Somalia, Libya, Mali, AFG and Pak, Syria (not even close to over despite success against IS), Yemen..... soon maybe Turkey depending on how the YPG shakes out in Syria.  How's the PI looking these days?  Seriously, this long war will continue even if we want to quit because the enemy doesn't want to quit.  They will continue to press the fight until either: they win, lose motivation to continue, or are utterly defeated.  The first is unthinkable, and the second and third require significant resources, time and effort on our part to even attempt.

sorry for the long lost.  Summary- Author is wrong.  I'd like to see the scorpion procured but I'll settle for some AT-802s.  No matter what, saddle up for more war.

Very true, as Mark Twain said "history doesn't repeat itself but it rhymes"... As in Vietnam, we prosecuted that war for about the first 5 years as we wished it were to be fought rather than how it should be fought, similarly we are doing the same thing, wishing that cutting off the head of the Hydra didn't grow back with two more in its place, but it does... and in reality it is not the head that is the worst problem but the body.  

The body of foreign fighters and local jihadis comprising the VEOs, the support (tacit or robust) from sympathetic populations in these semi-governed places and while not politically correct but true the tribal and fundamentalistic Islamic denominations (Salafist, Wahbabist, etc...) that provide the cultural and spiritual motivation and justification for jihad as aggressive war and an oppressive state.

The Long War is on three fronts:  Cultural, Military and Economic.

A war of ideas, a war against fascist theocrats and a war to provide something other than jihad as a means to a dignified life in the countries that spawn these cancers.

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14 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

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.

 

And the whole fixation on ISR allows the intel types to think that they are operators, not support.  

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On 8/3/2017 at 9:16 PM, HU&W said:

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

Was that to add to the point, or did you miss the pegged-out sarcasm meter?

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Wonder if there is any U-28 front or back seat experience flying in the demo/eval crews?  

ATIS. 

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33 minutes ago, ATIS said:

Wonder if there is any U-28 front or back seat experience flying in the demo/eval crews?  

ATIS. 

Sort of...

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4 hours ago, ClearedHot said:

Sort of...

A pilot and a CSO. One of whom is a patch.

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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
 


You know I spent 6 months with 2 other AF pilots trying to convince the leadership in the Phil AF that the Air Tractor was the quantifiable better in every catagory that mattered aircraft for their turboprop CAS program. That was in addition to the guys that had been there before us trying to convince them of the same thing.

They were hung up on Tacano. And their aversion to the AT came back to the same problem, it wasn't sexy looking and it had the name Tractor.


I wonder how much of that same stupidity is coloring our guys opinion of it for the trials.

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I don't know anything about the AT can you elaborate why it's superior?

 

Range with usable load, loiter time, ruggedness to austere field usage, etc.

 

If the point of this whole scenrio was:

1. Display minimal show that the US is in town.

2. Money is tight, do this on the cheap.

3. You need minimal footprint for logistics because where you are going is far more forward than a Bagram or Balad.

4. Have an aircraft you could train the locals to fly while you do mission and support with FMS.

 

 

For the partner nation it was a question of how do we support operations against targets in a pacific scenario but it works to our what a mole coin game too.

 

How do I take an airfield that can barely be called that in the middle of craptasistan and put enough planes there so as to provide these CAG guys with 3 strike lines on the ATO a night which plane is best suited?" The AT just killed the A-29 and AT-6 when the numbers stacked for comparison. Particularly for persistence with a pod and a useful amount of variable mission packages at ranges away from the MX hub. We were war gaming it against the other 2 options and it just killed them. Scorpion changes the equation a bit because with the added speed maybe you can support from a bigger hub, but if you go look at some of the crazy high side stuff going on in the fight in OIR, getting in the dirt is an expectation you can't get away from. Hell even at Al Asad or Erbil yeah the concrete is well poured, but who is to say there is enough lift in the theatre to support you better than if you were living in the dirt. Africa/PACOM/SouthCOM would be the same kind of problem.

 

We need an aircraft that can be comfortably used in wars we aren't trying to be full might of the US. We've grown entirely too comfortable with the idea there's always a C-17 ring route, you will always live in a CHU, and sustainment is a given because 19 KBR convoys come in and out a day. Take a look at Q-West right now and tell me that logistics and sustainability wouldn't be a primary planning factor for putting a light weight CAS plane over Tal Afar or the Western Syria-Iraq border over speed, sexiness, 2x 34s instead of 4x 114s.

 

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On 8/16/2017 at 9:08 PM, Lawman said:

You know I spent 6 months with 2 other AF pilots trying to convince the leadership in the Phil AF that the Air Tractor was the quantifiable better in every catagory that mattered aircraft for their turboprop CAS program. That was in addition to the guys that had been there before us trying to convince them of the same thing.

They were hung up on Tacano. And their aversion to the AT came back to the same problem, it wasn't sexy looking and it had the name Tractor.

I wonder how much of that same stupidity is coloring our guys opinion of it for the trials.

 

Will not question or quibble with your assessment of the choices but ultimately it is about getting them (and us) an aircraft appropriate for COIN / LIC.  Even if it is not the best system we think out of the possible choices, it is first about just getting one on the ramp / dirt strip and supporting door kickers.

If the A-29 is what they have their heart set on no matter what and they can afford it, maintain it and use it effectively, so be it.  Now if we are paying for their aircraft thru a partnership program, totally different story but if it is their dime, give them your sound professional opinion but let them go their route and get into the business of effectively / efficiently delivering air power for COIN / LIC.

As to your valid if just a bit gruff point of whether it is stupidity affecting the assessment of LAE, I will say it is a bit apples to oranges.  Most if not all of the operations / missions a USAF LAAR would execute would not be from an austere FOB / FARP.  Likely it would be from a MOB with support and tied by VDL to an ITC / C2 element, rightly or wrongly, as I think that is just mainly the way the AF rolls.  

A LAAR for an ally of lesser means / different ROE may not be the right LAAR for the USAF just given the way it operates (fairly risk averse).

On 8/16/2017 at 10:47 PM, Lawman said:

Range with usable load, loiter time, ruggedness to austere field usage, etc.

If the point of this whole scenrio was:

1. Display minimal show that the US is in town.

2. Money is tight, do this on the cheap.

3. You need minimal footprint for logistics because where you are going is far more forward than a Bagram or Balad.

4. Have an aircraft you could train the locals to fly while you do mission and support with FMS.

For the partner nation it was a question of how do we support operations against targets in a pacific scenario but it works to our what a mole coin game too.

How do I take an airfield that can barely be called that in the middle of craptasistan and put enough planes there so as to provide these CAG guys with 3 strike lines on the ATO a night which plane is best suited?" The AT just killed the A-29 and AT-6 when the numbers stacked for comparison. Particularly for persistence with a pod and a useful amount of variable mission packages at ranges away from the MX hub. We were war gaming it against the other 2 options and it just killed them. Scorpion changes the equation a bit because with the added speed maybe you can support from a bigger hub, but if you go look at some of the crazy high side stuff going on in the fight in OIR, getting in the dirt is an expectation you can't get away from. Hell even at Al Asad or Erbil yeah the concrete is well poured, but who is to say there is enough lift in the theatre to support you better than if you were living in the dirt. Africa/PACOM/SouthCOM would be the same kind of problem.

We need an aircraft that can be comfortably used in wars we aren't trying to be full might of the US. We've grown entirely too comfortable with the idea there's always a C-17 ring route, you will always live in a CHU, and sustainment is a given because 19 KBR convoys come in and out a day. Take a look at Q-West right now and tell me that logistics and sustainability wouldn't be a primary planning factor for putting a light weight CAS plane over Tal Afar or the Western Syria-Iraq border over speed, sexiness, 2x 34s instead of 4x 114s.

Valid points but I would contend we (the USAF and CAA community) need to bisect the LAAR concept into two programs, their LAAR and ours.

We can have both with our purchase of their LAAR likely to be only for an FTU and our LAAR in greater numbers, say a schoolhouse at Duke with 15 OA-8s and 100 Scorpions / AT-6s / A-29s over 6 Wings in the ARC.

Not sneering at the OA-8 but the GOs can only think so far out of the container, for the USAF LAAR, it will have to be something closer to what they are used to or have now.  

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On Friday, August 18, 2017 at 7:09 AM, Clark Griswold said:

Most if not all of the operations / missions a USAF LAAR would execute would not be from an austere FOB / FARP.  Likely it would be from a MOB with support and tied by VDL to an ITC / C2 element, rightly or wrongly, as I think that is just mainly the way the AF rolls.

Have you seen ops in Africa?  What you're referring to is how we used to roll...specifically in A-stan and in hi-vis theaters.  That's not how we roll in conflicts that the US media doesn't see or care about.  If it makes it to CNN, there will be an F-16, F-22, or F-35 (heaven help us) dropping ordinance.

Iraq, Syria, and A-stan are catalysts, not the intended theaters.  At least that's how I hope the LAAR concept is being developed.

Ok...so it's all REALLY a program to get rid of the A-10, but hopefully there is also a sincere purpose and mission for the airframe we're pursuing.

...or perhaps I'm just an idealist who refuses to quit...

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21 hours ago, FourFans130 said:

Have you seen ops in Africa?  What you're referring to is how we used to roll...specifically in A-stan and in hi-vis theaters.  That's not how we roll in conflicts that the US media doesn't see or care about.  If it makes it to CNN, there will be an F-16, F-22, or F-35 (heaven help us) dropping ordinance.

Iraq, Syria, and A-stan are catalysts, not the intended theaters.  At least that's how I hope the LAAR concept is being developed.

Ok...so it's all REALLY a program to get rid of the A-10, but hopefully there is also a sincere purpose and mission for the airframe we're pursuing.

...or perhaps I'm just an idealist who refuses to quit...

Valid point but just my two cents, for long term overt assist or pacify missions, we'll probably operate from MOBs (could be smaller than we're accustomed to in Iraq/Afghanistan).  

We can have both, the OA-8 was sold to Kenya for about 15 mil a copy and that was not a large buy (around 12 aircraft I think) so if the USAF came along and wanted a split buy of LAARs, getting enough OA-8s to get some benefit of the economies of scale and get a higher end LAAR, I think we could do it without breaking the bank.  The argument then would be for an AT-6 or A-29 for engine commonality but really what we need are high and low mix.  A strategy to prosecute a "high" end LAAR fight and a "low" end LAAR fight.

Speed, range and growth capability for the high end LAAR.  

Ruggedness, endurance and value for the low end LAAR.

Edited by Clark Griswold
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high/low end fights are way overrated IMO

any "high" end fight won't be high end after a few days.

what we need is for the AF to shit or get off the pot...get something and get it out there...it's not that complex.

but if there's an organization that can screw something as simple as light attack up...it's the USAF

Edited by BashiChuni
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On 8/21/2017 at 11:39 PM, BashiChuni said:

any "high" end fight won't be high end after a few days.

By "high" end conflict suitable for a high end LAAR I mean a medium intensity COIN / IW scenario - fighting irregular forces with sporadic conventional military capabilities that threaten fixed wing assets operating low.  This would also be an asset also for a Grey Zone conflict where other ambivalent to cooly hostile military forces are also operating necessitating a platform that could self-defend and egress quickly if needed.  

Syria being a good example of this but Iraq and Afghanistan also have a need for a what a high end LAAR can bring:  jet speeds (400+ KTAS) and mission altitudes (20K+ AGL) for solid on-station times (4+ hours) with sensors & weapons in one asset at sustainable costs.

Edited by Clark Griswold

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Thread bump.

Article is from 2016 but looks like the Scorpion might get an Air to Air capable radar and used in ASDOT (UK aggressor): Scorpion Selected for ASDOT Proposal

The article mentions the Thales RDY-3 multi-mode radar, does any know or can say (if OPSEC / Non-Disclosure allows) if the Scorpion in the USAF AFE is military radar equipped?  

Link to the Thales page on the RDY.

  

 

 

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One of the results of OA-X/LAE is the combat fly-off between A-29 and AT-6. Not sure what exactly we need to test here based on A-29 flying previously under Imminent Fury and the OV-10's work during Combat Dragon but I digress...

Another result very likely will be a light ISR expirament, based in no small part on the Air Force's very positive view of the Scorpion's performance and potential during LAE: https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/air-force-association/2017/09/21/light-isr-the-air-forces-next-experiment/

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Not to be negative but how much more testing/experimenting do we need to do?

It just appears to be the same rope a dope then delay then nada.  

Imminent Fury, Combat Dragon, Afghani Air Force A-29 ops with the A-29, Columbian AF ops with the A-29, AT-802 use by XE, etc... how much more data do we need?

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Gotta keep feeding the military industrial complex, remember the DoD is really just a jobs program anymore, how useful or how much we need a piece of equipment is directly proportional to how much money it wastes in the process

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On 9/30/2017 at 10:32 AM, YoungnDumb said:

Gotta keep feeding the military industrial complex, remember the DoD is really just a jobs program anymore, how useful or how much we need a piece of equipment is directly proportional to how much money it wastes in the process

Maybe but either way the time to sh*t or get off the pot is well past.  

The inability to get an aircraft for this mission is a symptom of the larger problem, the lack of desire/interest/recognition by the DoD/Congress that if the US is going to continue to prosecute COIN/LIC & FID/Stability/Advise & Assist missions then we probably need a new UCC from the parts of the existing ones to plan/advocate/execute these missions.  

I am thinking that if this is ever going to happen, a Joint Force capable of effectively and sustainably executing these missions, it is going to take a new construct, formal commitments from the existing branches and resources reprogrammed (if required) from existing capabilities.

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