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I feel like that article kinda buried the lede....

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The Air Force has said that funding for the initial AT-6 and A-29 buys will come out of the estimated $160 million in unspent funds that Congress appropriated for the effort in previous budgets. Congress has appropriated $200 million in total for the effort since it was announced in late 2016.

So the United States Air Force, the world-renowned King of spending taxpayer dollars, has been sitting on $160 million of unspent funds for Light Attack?  With some of those funds up to three years old? 

I think that's the most powerful piece of evidence showing that the Air Force does not care about Light Attack. 

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3 hours ago, Blue said:

I feel like that article kinda buried the lede....

So the United States Air Force, the world-renowned King of spending taxpayer dollars, has been sitting on $160 million of unspent funds for Light Attack?  With some of those funds up to three years old? 

I think that's the most powerful piece of evidence showing that the Air Force does not care about Light Attack. 

You are surprised by this from a service that does so well at managing its pilot force?

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8 hours ago, raimius said:

It is one of the more impressive passive-aggressive ways to avoid fielding a fleet of aircraft that I've ever seen.

2

If any decision maker reads this thread, buy it and give it to the Guard. 

There's a lot of old iron in the Guard they (AF) don't want to update or support, convert those units to Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance and be done with it.

If I were Gen Clark Griswold (God help us in that case), Light Attack would get paired with ARC aggressor squadrons vs outsourcing most of it or another related mission partnership like co-location with a Reaper wing, ASOS, etc... recruit and retain talent, conserve our operational experience and Make the AF Great Again.

 

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If any decision maker reads this thread, buy it and give it to the Guard. 
There's a lot of old iron in the Guard they (AF) don't want to update or support, convert those units to Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance and be done with it.
If I were Gen Clark Griswold (God help us in that case), Light Attack would get paired with ARC aggressor squadrons vs outsourcing most of it or another related mission partnership like co-location with a Reaper wing, ASOS, etc... recruit and retain talent, conserve our operational experience and Make the AF Great Again.
 

So basically do what existed in the 80s when the Guard had a FAC(A) mission with the OV-10s.

Wait.... it’s almost like we’re buying the same damn plane if we went with the *drumroll* OV-10X.

F me I’ll bet there are still pubs regarding doctrine of such a unit buried right next to books on Air Land Battle.


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So basically do what existed in the 80s when the Guard had a FAC(A) mission with the OV-10s.

Wait.... it’s almost like we’re buying the same damn plane if we went with the *drumroll* OV-10X.

F me I’ll bet there are still pubs regarding doctrine of such a unit buried right next to books on Air Land Battle.


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Someone smarter than I once told me that generals don't like saying "no" to things, as they will look like they are responsible for the failure if it was the wrong decision.  Instead of owning up to their decisions, they just "ask for more information" repeatedly until either the staff surrenders, it dies, or they move on to a different job and it's someone else's decision to make.  Not sure if that's the case, but it sure makes a lot of strange behavior make sense.

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Someone smarter than I once told me that generals don't like saying "no" to things, as they will look like they are responsible for the failure if it was the wrong decision.  Instead of owning up to their decisions, they just "ask for more information" repeatedly until either the staff surrenders, it dies, or they move on to a different job and it's someone else's decision to make.  Not sure if that's the case, but it sure makes a lot of strange behavior make sense.

I need more information before I say this is true or not.

//SIGNED//
Gen Clark Griswold


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Ha

Because the Army has ever had its priorities together when it comes to an aviation platform....

No... just hell no. The last thing we need in the CABs is another platform and mission they don’t understand when they can’t get UAS right most of the time.


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1 hour ago, Lawman said:

 


Ha

Because the Army has ever had its priorities together when it comes to an aviation platform....

No... just hell no. The last thing we need in the CABs is another platform and mission they don’t understand when they can’t get UAS right most of the time.


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That’s a pretty broad statement that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The army does pretty well with all its standard army aviation platforms and missions. CH, UH, AH, MH, and army FW all seem to work pretty well for the missions the army executes. 

Saying that adding FW/light attack to the army would be adding a platform and mission they don’t understand is a bit naive. The army understands attack. Clearly any new equipment has a learning curve. It can be trained and developed.

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Ha

Because the Army has ever had its priorities together when it comes to an aviation platform....

No... just hell no. The last thing we need in the CABs is another platform and mission they don’t understand when they can’t get UAS right most of the time.


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I was hoping you would add your opinion on it and from my AF point of view No also - Key West aside this is a mission for the AF as Light Attack should be a capability for the Joint Team and the AF mainly does this (brings air/space/cyber capes in support of another branch/ally)

Like Cato, I’ll end this with my constant refrain on this subject: Just buy it AF


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That’s a pretty broad statement that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The army does pretty well with all its standard army aviation platforms and missions. CH, UH, AH, MH, and army FW all seem to work pretty well for the missions the army executes. 
Saying that adding FW/light attack to the army would be adding a platform and mission they don’t understand is a bit naive. The army understands attack. Clearly any new equipment has a learning curve. It can be trained and developed.
The Army doesn't understand they aren't the only game in town, and does not understand that they have to coordinate with the rest of the air assets. Basically they treat their aircraft are flying trucks or flying artillery.

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10 hours ago, pilot said:


That’s a pretty broad statement that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The army does pretty well with all its standard army aviation platforms and missions. CH, UH, AH, MH, and army FW all seem to work pretty well for the missions the army executes. 

Saying that adding FW/light attack to the army would be adding a platform and mission they don’t understand is a bit naive. The army understands attack. Clearly any new equipment has a learning curve. It can be trained and developed.

Naive? First off, as jazzdude alluded to, the Army understands aviation to work in the realm of one localized ground commander as his personal artillery (or what have you, based on type of aviation). They don’t play well across the entire AO, and it turns out most air platforms can go across a distance rather quickly and potentially be used to assist more than one ground commander in a somewhat efficient way by weighing priorities and current need instead of hoarding them like sandbox toys. 
 

Second, Lawman may have some experience in the matter. Bold call out. 

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8 hours ago, SurelySerious said:

Naive? First off, as jazzdude alluded to, the Army understands aviation to work in the realm of one localized ground commander as his personal artillery (or what have you, based on type of aviation). They don’t play well across the entire AO, and it turns out most air platforms can go across a distance rather quickly and potentially be used to assist more than one ground commander in a somewhat efficient way by weighing priorities and current need instead of hoarding them like sandbox toys. 
 

Second, Lawman may have some experience in the matter. Bold call out. 

Bold call out? Interesting assessment. 

First, that's the whole premise of having light attack given to the army. Having organic assets controlled by the ground commanders would get them the support they need when they need it, as that article mentions. I cannot tell you how difficult it was getting anything from the Air Force in the way of support in my time in the army. You say the army doesn't play well across the AO. Which AO? The theater? The division AO? The brigade AO? The battalion AO? Each level has its own priority and tasking ability. If army aviation owned light attack, it would be distributed to whichever AOs it was needed and give the ground commanders the ability to use it when they need it, with the ability to flex across AOs as needed by the ground battalion/brigade commanders working out their deals, negating your whole idea that the whole AO benefits by having a separately owned/tasked asset performing the on call missions (especially true inter-service). The argument that article makes, which I tend to agree with, is that when an army aviation brigade has administrative and operational control of its assets, the division which it supports (generally the end user of any CAS) has better ability to use it. When the army ground commander is reliant on another service that may or may not be there that day because it has its own priorities, it makes it a lot more difficult. When the end user and the aviation asset owner have a somewhat co-located presence and operate under the same higher HQs, it's much easier to coordinate support, both in combat and in training.

Second, lawman is a warrant officer in the 160th if I'm not mistaken. That's an important fact to recognize with his perspective. The 160th typically gets a lot more integration with the AF and gets a lot more assets that it and/or its customers request, unlike the regular army, both in training and in combat. They want to work with some A-10s/F15Es/F16s? Done. Easy. Their customers are usually tier 1 SOF...a small sliver of the military. They get what they want. Not true with regular army. There is only so much pie...and that primarily gets distributed to top tier SOF (except when there is a TIC or something and something happens to be available in the AO). I'm sure in Lawman's part of the world getting access to CAS isn't difficult, and in his mind having AF own light attack would affect him and his world no differently than it currently exists. I'm also guessing, and Lawman can correct me if I'm wrong, that as a 160th warrant, he doesn't have as much SA on higher level stuff as a commissioned officer has, who actually works as a commander or staff officer at higher levels. If he's a senior warrant, he may have served on battalion or regimental staff as a stands/safety/tacops guy, but those roles are generally internally focused, not externally focused. And when they are externally focused, it's generally mission coordination with other SOF assets, not higher level asset distribution outside of what has been requested/allocated for particular missions.

And regardless of the level within the 160th he has served (flight lead/air mission commander or up to a senior warrant staff officer), the whole previous bit about the 160th and its customers being different than the regular army aviation units and their customers (ie the whole regular army) applies. As a commissioned officer, I worked in training and combat at the brigade level managing air mission requests and tasking scout/attack/lift/medevac missions for a division in Iraq. I also flew the line and have an appreciation for being owned operationally by the guys on the ground who we supported. For a while in Iraq we had a C-130 OPCON to us (I feel bad for those herc guys...). When we had it, we could move more people and stuff around a whole lot easier than with our CH-47s/UH-60s. It could fly down to lower mins (applicable in dust storm days) and carry a whole lot more stuff a whole lot faster. Once we lost OPCON status of it, we could never get a C-130 for routine lift missions we needed. That's the lift side for an example...but on the attack side, it's a similar situation. We could put AH-64s wherever we wanted to support the ground units and work out the details with them. If light attack were an army asset, the same would be true. And I get it, as it is now, there are only so many jets to go around and their response time is pretty quick if absolutely needed. But a fixed number (lets call it 200) light attack planes owned by the army would get more use by the army in the way of ground support/training than the same number of planes owned by the Air Force. They would have their own priorities with it. That's just how it goes when another service owns something, especially if it isn't co-located with an army base.  But light attack is a different animal and imo more closely related to AH-64 type support just with longer/faster legs to get somewhere. If the AF (certainly AFSOC) gets LA, the priority for those planes won't be supplementing apaches for CAS supporting the ground division in Iraq or Afghanistan. They won't train with, get tasked by, and deploy in support of regular infantry ground units as they would if the army owned them.

And I think the biggest thing is that the AF has waffled with the decision for so long, unable to figure out if they want it to be a larger ACC asset (they clearly don't), or a smaller/limited in size and scope AFSOC asset (seems like that's where they were pushing it, if it had to come at all), or not at all. I've always supported Light attack being an Air Force asset until they couldn't make a decision on it. After reading that article and reflecting on my previous time in the army, I would support it going to the Army for the aforementioned reasons. I think the real crux of this is identifying what capacity is needed by the ground guys. Despite overlap in mission, there is a big delta between AH-64s and A-10s in capes, usage, and the level of integration with the supported units. Is there a need for something in-between? Who is the end user? SOF? Conventional forces? If SOF, it's probably better used as an AFSOC asset and limited in scope to SOF stuff. If there is a need to support conventional forces in uncontested/low threat environments in the same way apaches are used, I think an argument can be made that the Army is better suited to have operational control of them at the aviation brigade level, so the divisions they support can parse them out to the conventional army guys who need them on the ground.

BTW, back to Lawman's original point, the whole reason the army got its own armed predators (grey eagles) was because ground commanders weren't getting the armed UAS support they needed from the AF. We can debate their implementation and structure within army aviation (which is what Lawman seemed to be alluding to going poorly), but UAS is a different animal than a new manned platform. The bottom line is, there is a divide between services on tasking/priorities. Organic assets are much easier to deal with for ground commanders than requesting support from a sister service.

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4 minutes ago, pilot said:

<Total bullshit that ignores the Army’s large lack of ability to allocate and apportion airpower>

Just no. There’s a reason the air arm was taken away from the Army. 

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1 minute ago, SurelySerious said:

Just no. There’s a reason the air arm was taken away from the Army. 

Not sure if you even read that whole post, but I'd guess not since you can't seem to debate it and just dismiss it as bullshit with no intelligent response. You think of it only as air power. Air power doesn't take or hold ground. Attack/light attack isn't just air power. It's one of many assets that exists to support the guy who is taking/holding land, which is the whole point of war. I'm not sure that most Air Force guys will ever really have an appreciation for that since most Air Force guys think only in terms of "air power," which is why the army has its own attack aircraft and armed UAS...they can't rely on us, the AF, to provide what they need when they need it. Need more proof? How many times have we tried to get rid of A-10s? Who stops it? Congress and the army...certainly not AF generals.

After the army air corps split off and became focused on air and space, there was a lack of focus on the army ground guys as a customer, and a huge void and lack of needed support for the army...hence why army aviation regrew causing the disagreement between the services (hence the Johnson-McConnell agreement). That divide reared its head again when the army wasn't getting what it needed with UAS (and lift with the C27J debacle), and now light attack is in that same middle ground with who should provide what. It SHOULD have been an AF mission if purchased and used properly, but it wasn't ever purchased. Who suffered? The ground commanders.

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That’s a pretty broad statement that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The army does pretty well with all its standard army aviation platforms and missions. CH, UH, AH, MH, and army FW all seem to work pretty well for the missions the army executes.  Saying that adding FW/light attack to the army would be adding a platform and mission they don’t understand is a bit naive. The army understands attack. Clearly any new equipment has a learning curve. It can be trained and developed.  

 

 

 Working well into my second decade as an Army aviator with first hand experience watching us not get out shit in a sock.  No we have no god damned clue what we are doing when it comes to anything above the coordinating altitude (the altitude where the ATO/ACO just says “stay down there and kill yourselves if you want too, but don’t get any higher”). That is exactly where this platform would live. Unless we just want to go with the default dumbassery of “stay low and we won’t need to coordinate so it’ll be ok.” I’ve seen that method used to great effect.

 

When you have 1 guy per company of aviators who even knows what the ATO is and maybe 2 guys in a battalion that understand how to pull it off the spins... when your ALSE guy is a W2 PI dude that spent two weeks learning how to sew and now has to worry about oxygen and ejection seats/chutes.... When your S6 can’t get crypto into the equipment you have and now we want to add GPS keys to guided munitions maintained at a flight line that won’t be collocated with your battalion... When your brigade worries more about making sure the piloted are painting their faces in the field with a flammable paint and ignoring the fact your aircraft have no ASE installed and sends them to China Lake to run the radar lane... that last one was 4 CAB at NTC just a few months ago. Don’t even get me started on the guard....

 

No the last thing the Army needs is a fixed wing attack airplane.

 

And I was a staff aviator working up to Brigade level before I said F this I’m tired of banging my head against the wall for these idiots to ignore basic facts/requirements and crossed over.

 

 

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