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  • 1 month later...
On 1/2/2021 at 12:02 PM, Tank said:

Doing good.  Taken a little longer than planned but they’re now on schedule.  

The planes will be arriving at end of this year and the CAAs will start flying them in Jan 2022.  

Just curious how the A-29 for CAA thing is going.  “Not according to 6SOS planning” is my charitable characterization of where we are now.

We could have an interesting discussion on how and why this played out the way it did, lots of good lessons learned.  

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3 hours ago, tac airlifter said:

Just curious how the A-29 for CAA thing is going.  “Not according to 6SOS planning” is my charitable characterization of where we are now.

We could have an interesting discussion on how and why this played out the way it did, lots of good lessons learned.  

Check me on this but isn't the 6th going away here in the next 12-18 months?  Copy the sarcasm above but OADs aren't gonna be a thing much longer right?

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6 minutes ago, DirkDiggler said:

Check me on this but isn't the 6th going away here in the next 12-18 months?  Copy the sarcasm above but OADs aren't gonna be a thing much longer right?

Yes to your first question, although I’m tracking a bit sooner.  There is a plan to get some use out of those three aircraft, I will decline to say further in this format.
 

I thought a conversation about this might be interesting.  What was going to happen was crystal clear to those of us outside the CAA world, but those inside simply didn’t see or believe the writing in the wall.  I think there’s a cultural reason for that, but was curious what others thought.

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1 hour ago, tac airlifter said:

Yes to your first question, although I’m tracking a bit sooner.  There is a plan to get some use out of those three aircraft, I will decline to say further in this format.
 

I thought a conversation about this might be interesting.  What was going to happen was crystal clear to those of us outside the CAA world, but those inside simply didn’t see or believe the writing in the wall.  I think there’s a cultural reason for that, but was curious what others thought.

I was in the 492nd SOW when the AFSOC/CC deep dives and reviews started but was focused on other things (deploying) so didn't actually attend any of them.  I'm not a CAA so any opinion I'd give is purely an outsider looking in, prone to incomplete data/opinion but my take below, in no particular order.

1.  Slife is trying to push the command towards peer/near peer; I don't believe he saw CAA fitting into that.  He also doesn't care for individual unique units.

2.  6th had a serious issue trying to grow the size of the CAA enterprise; the assessment process drove some of this (part of the culture they were trying to grow as you mentioned above).  Slife didn't like assessment at all, I believe the 6th changed that process but it wasn't quick enough IMO.

3.  Due to the growth problem mentioned above, it was difficult for CAA to show the effects they were generating for the TSOCs outside of 1 AOR (can't go into further detail on this here).  Their ability to generate deployed forces besides the one persistent was limited.

4.  Some of the pre-deployment training requirements they levied on themselves were kinda over the top (cool, but over the top).  I've personally heard CAA guys say that they were the equal of ODA dudes and wanted to be treated as such deployed (culture).  I think the focus of non-flying small unit tactics and weapons type stuff didn't help them.  It always seemed to me that the flying piece of what they did was secondary to other things.

5.  I don't think they had the right advocacy or people in AFSOC/HQ.  In my staff life it seemed like the HQ guys advocated big things but weren't able to deliver on a decent amount (can't go into more detail here).

  I'm actually a believer in the CAA concept and think its shortsighted of AFSOC to divest of the capability so I don't want any of the above to sound like I'm slamming the CAA community or hating on them.  Time will tell if they get brought back from the dead like after the end of the Fiel regime.       

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9 hours ago, DirkDiggler said:

I was in the 492nd SOW when the AFSOC/CC deep dives and reviews started but was focused on other things (deploying) so didn't actually attend any of them.  I'm not a CAA so any opinion I'd give is purely an outsider looking in, prone to incomplete data/opinion but my take below, in no particular order.

1.  Slife is trying to push the command towards peer/near peer; I don't believe he saw CAA fitting into that.  He also doesn't care for individual unique units.

2.  6th had a serious issue trying to grow the size of the CAA enterprise; the assessment process drove some of this (part of the culture they were trying to grow as you mentioned above).  Slife didn't like assessment at all, I believe the 6th changed that process but it wasn't quick enough IMO.

3.  Due to the growth problem mentioned above, it was difficult for CAA to show the effects they were generating for the TSOCs outside of 1 AOR (can't go into further detail on this here).  Their ability to generate deployed forces besides the one persistent was limited.

4.  Some of the pre-deployment training requirements they levied on themselves were kinda over the top (cool, but over the top).  I've personally heard CAA guys say that they were the equal of ODA dudes and wanted to be treated as such deployed (culture).  I think the focus of non-flying small unit tactics and weapons type stuff didn't help them.  It always seemed to me that the flying piece of what they did was secondary to other things.

5.  I don't think they had the right advocacy or people in AFSOC/HQ.  In my staff life it seemed like the HQ guys advocated big things but weren't able to deliver on a decent amount (can't go into more detail here).

  I'm actually a believer in the CAA concept and think its shortsighted of AFSOC to divest of the capability so I don't want any of the above to sound like I'm slamming the CAA community or hating on them.  Time will tell if they get brought back from the dead like after the end of the Fiel regime.       

I’ve never understood the attempt to apples to apples AvFID to FID/ Special Forces to CAA. It’s a totally different animal to take some folks, hand them AK’s and tell them which way to shoot vice starting up an Air Force. I think FID is a great concept and definitely an area worth exploring and devoting resources to. I’m not sure about AvFID. Standing by the talking points about strategic effects and all that but I’d be more interested in seeing where AvFID led by the 6th SOS actually worked in the last 40 years. 

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11 hours ago, DirkDiggler said:

I was in the 492nd SOW when the AFSOC/CC deep dives and reviews started but was focused on other things (deploying) so didn't actually attend any of them.  I'm not a CAA so any opinion I'd give is purely an outsider looking in, prone to incomplete data/opinion but my take below, in no particular order.

1.  Slife is trying to push the command towards peer/near peer; I don't believe he saw CAA fitting into that.  He also doesn't care for individual unique units.

2.  6th had a serious issue trying to grow the size of the CAA enterprise; the assessment process drove some of this (part of the culture they were trying to grow as you mentioned above).  Slife didn't like assessment at all, I believe the 6th changed that process but it wasn't quick enough IMO.

3.  Due to the growth problem mentioned above, it was difficult for CAA to show the effects they were generating for the TSOCs outside of 1 AOR (can't go into further detail on this here).  Their ability to generate deployed forces besides the one persistent was limited.

4.  Some of the pre-deployment training requirements they levied on themselves were kinda over the top (cool, but over the top).  I've personally heard CAA guys say that they were the equal of ODA dudes and wanted to be treated as such deployed (culture).  I think the focus of non-flying small unit tactics and weapons type stuff didn't help them.  It always seemed to me that the flying piece of what they did was secondary to other things.

5.  I don't think they had the right advocacy or people in AFSOC/HQ.  In my staff life it seemed like the HQ guys advocated big things but weren't able to deliver on a decent amount (can't go into more detail here).

  I'm actually a believer in the CAA concept and think its shortsighted of AFSOC to divest of the capability so I don't want any of the above to sound like I'm slamming the CAA community or hating on them.  Time will tell if they get brought back from the dead like after the end of the Fiel regime.       

Well I can speak to the assessment portion a bit because I was interviewed and assessed. I was not picked up but my opinion was they were incredibly selective who they let in the unit to the point there was no chance to grow the enterprise. At the time I interviewed less than 1% of candidates (people who submitted resumes) were getting offered positions. Realize these were generally high speed individuals being looked at for school (including weapon school grads in my group), other selective hire units, etc... So of that 1% not all of them were even accepting. 

While I was there they had a mandate to scale the enterprise on a 3X multiplier and they didn't hire enough bodies to replace their units natural attrition that year. 

I understand there is a mindset in some SOF types that you can't drop a standard of whatever. I won't fault them for that. I'm to this day not sure what it was they were actually looking for. (Especially since I've worked successfully in security cooperation in two capacities now.) But I guess I could see a problem if they held that standard to a point that it became self defeating. Might be a useful capability on paper but if you can't scale it to a sizeable echelon than I really can't do anything with it as a geographic commander. 

I've read a lot of academic papers on AvFID and I used to be a big believer. But as I got a bigger picture in the mechanisms that drive the DoD machine I think I've fallen off the boat on it for other reasons mentioned above. ODAs are not teaching a level of warfare that is as technically demanding and C2 centric as airpower. ODAs work because you can train bare minimum useful infantry in a matter of weeks. Youre never going to stand up an Air Force that quickly with a capacity to bring effective arms against a prepared enemy in a way that it wouldn't be cheaper to just use your own air power to start. I dunno, FLEA's 2c noone cares about. 

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  • 1 month later...

Helo rescue guy turned UPT IP here....

As we continue to watch the "Special Military Operation" unfold in Ukraine and the importance of the armed overwatch execution, it clearer now more than ever the AF gets this right. I can't help but notice the minimal overhead and footprint of all the Ag sprayers (aka crop dusters) in northern Mississippi operating out of dirt strips or even fresh cut hayfields and still be able to do their job everyday covering thousands of acres, all with a just a few guys. 

I think this starts with the correct hardware. IMHO the 802 has the most intangibles going for it. Most predominately, its ability to launch and recover in pretty nasty runway conditions. As a former helo driver, operating on unprepared surfaces is our bread and butter, why can't we do the same with a FW thats capable of it?

 

spears.....

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On 3/10/2022 at 1:16 PM, DirkDiggler said:

1.  Slife is trying to push the command towards peer/near peer;

An epic mistake... Ukraine dominates the news, but if you are not reading about what is happening in Afghanistan, Syria and Africa you are WRONG.  Also, we are about to open the spigot on Iranian oil which will in short order turn into more funding for the VEOs that are reconstituting.  It is just a matter of time.

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27 minutes ago, norskman said:

Helo rescue guy turned UPT IP here....

As we continue to watch the "Special Military Operation" unfold in Ukraine and the importance of the armed overwatch execution, it clearer now more than ever the AF gets this right. I can't help but notice the minimal overhead and footprint of all the Ag sprayers (aka crop dusters) in northern Mississippi operating out of dirt strips or even fresh cut hayfields and still be able to do their job everyday covering thousands of acres, all with a just a few guys. 

I think this starts with the correct hardware. IMHO the 802 has the most intangibles going for it. Most predominately, its ability to launch and recover in pretty nasty runway conditions. As a former helo driver, operating on unprepared surfaces is our bread and butter, why can't we do the same with a FW thats capable of it?

 

spears.....

If we select the AT-802 we will crash several of them as new pilots learn the idiosyncrasies of flying a tail wheel.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s different enough to surprise you if your habit patterns aren’t defaulted that way.  Knowing this organization, if that happens risk averse management will generate policies which obviate the austerity advantages you reference above.  I’m excited to see which aircraft is selected, and I believe it’ll be announced in the next few weeks.

17 minutes ago, ClearedHot said:

An epic mistake... Ukraine dominates the news, but if you are not reading about what is happening in Afghanistan, Syria and Africa you are WRONG.  Also, we are about to open the spigot on Iranian oil which will in short order turn into more funding for the VEOs that are reconstituting.  It is just a matter of time.

I do think our nation isn’t done with jihadi VEOs, as much as we want to be.  I don’t think we’re going back to AFG.  AFSOC’s pivot towards near peer is driven by a desire to remain NSS relevant.  Appetite to engage VEOs has decreased markedly since the fall of Kabul.  No one really knows what near peer looks like for us, resulting in a weird dilemma where HQ is mad that ops units aren’t creatively finding ways to do new missions, without actually defining those missions.  It’s a strange time in the command.  

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1 hour ago, tac airlifter said:

If we select the AT-802 we will crash several of them as new pilots learn the idiosyncrasies of flying a tail wheel.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s different enough to surprise you if your habit patterns aren’t defaulted that way.  Knowing this organization, if that happens risk averse management will generate policies which obviate the austerity advantages you reference above.  I’m excited to see which aircraft is selected, and I believe it’ll be announced in the next few weeks.

I do think our nation isn’t done with jihadi VEOs, as much as we want to be.  I don’t think we’re going back to AFG.  AFSOC’s pivot towards near peer is driven by a desire to remain NSS relevant.  Appetite to engage VEOs has decreased markedly since the fall of Kabul.  No one really knows what near peer looks like for us, resulting in a weird dilemma where HQ is mad that ops units aren’t creatively finding ways to do new missions, without actually defining those missions.  It’s a strange time in the command.  

Agreed.  As with everything, follow the money.  SOCOM’s budget has taken a hit in the last several years; in my opinion the command is trying to find ways to remain/demonstrate relevance with the pivot to peer/near peer.  I personally don’t think we (AFSOC) have much play in those fights right of bang (that’s 5th gen/CSG/ABCT centric).  The 3rd floor is pushing hard otherwise but isn’t  really providing very clear guidance to the line squadrons on what we should stop doing IOT refocus.  I think the next 3-5 years are gonna be turbulent to say the least.

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On 4/17/2022 at 9:41 AM, tac airlifter said:

If we select the AT-802 we will crash several of them as new pilots learn the idiosyncrasies of flying a tail wheel.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s different enough to surprise you if your habit patterns aren’t defaulted that way. 

I don't see a lot crashes just because it has a tail wheel, ground ops are different but the 802 is a dream to fly and lands as easy as any USAF airplane I've ever flown, certainly easier than a C-130.

On 4/17/2022 at 10:56 AM, DirkDiggler said:

Agreed.  As with everything, follow the money.  SOCOM’s budget has taken a hit in the last several years; in my opinion the command is trying to find ways to remain/demonstrate relevance with the pivot to peer/near peer.  I personally don’t think we (AFSOC) have much play in those fights right of bang (that’s 5th gen/CSG/ABCT centric).  The 3rd floor is pushing hard otherwise but isn’t  really providing very clear guidance to the line squadrons on what we should stop doing IOT refocus.  I think the next 3-5 years are gonna be turbulent to say the least.

The SOCOM budget cuts are not as bad as some make them out to be although I was concerned about the associated S&T cuts...dumb.  The current budget fight is because the lunatic on the 3rd floor is focused on killing the gunship community and made huge cuts in manpower and tails to pay other unneeded support related bills.  He is trying to secure his legacy as a change agent and now that he is going to AF/A3 the damage will be permanent...there is actually a path for him to CVSAF, god help those still in uniform.  Oh and Fat Tony coming in to replace him at AFSOC, that is just the cherry on top of a crap sunday.

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Have several friends who have flown 802, Archangel, Thrush, etc. In their words, I t’s not the platform we need for armed overwatch. IMO, AFSOC shot itself in the donger when it passed on the Viking and Scorpion. Everything else is a consolation prize so that the C-130/Pave mafia can get something with a propeller. 

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10 hours ago, Standby said:

Have several friends who have flown 802, Archangel, Thrush, etc. In their words, I t’s not the platform we need for armed overwatch. IMO, AFSOC shot itself in the donger when it passed on the Viking and Scorpion. Everything else is a consolation prize so that the C-130/Pave mafia can get something with a propeller. 

AOW is a different animal form Lite Attack and while I love the Scorpion Jet for the Lite Attack Role, it does not fit with the AOW construct...neither would Viking.  AOW is about expeditionary operations and while the jets have long endurance, they will never operate off a dirt strip.  Sky Warden is NOT Archangel or Thrush...the mission systems and weapons collapse the stack into a single entity that can fly 10 hour missions off the dirt with very deep magazines and three sensors.  Will be see how this plays out, the funding was in the 2023 budget so they are going to buy something.

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What's "Viking?"  Not familiar with that system, and couldn't find anything on the interwebs.

Also, at the risk of stating the obvious: It's troubling to see the AF planning any kind of aircraft divestitures due to a "pivot" to peer/near-peer, or "pivot" to anything else.  Several quotes below, but most succinctly: "We have a perfect record in predicting future wars.  And that record is 0 percent."

Quote

 

1. In October 2010, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen acknowledged: "We’re pretty lousy at predicting where we’ll go. We’re pretty lousy at predicting the kind of warfare we’ll be in, if the last 20 years, or so, serve as an example."

2. In February 2011, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told West Point cadets: "When it comes to predicting the nature and location of our next military engagements, since Vietnam, our record has been perfect. We have never once gotten it right, from the Mayaguez to Grenada, Panama, Somalia, the Balkans, Haiti, Kuwait, Iraq, and more — we had no idea a year before any of these missions that we would be so engaged."

3. In March 2011, General James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee: "I think, as we look toward the future, I have been a horrible prophet. I have never fought anywhere I expected to in all my years."

4. In May 2012, Major General H.R. McMaster admitted: "We have a perfect record in predicting future wars — right? … And that record is 0 percent."

 

 

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1 hour ago, Blue said:

What's "Viking?"  Not familiar with that system, and couldn't find anything on the interwebs.

There was discussions awhile back about pulling old S-3 Vikings out of the boneyard and turning them into an Armed Overwatch Concept. Obviously nothing came of that.

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  • 2 months later...
2 hours ago, pvbell said:

Has anyone seen anything regarding the source selection for AO? Is this the best kept secret in the DoD?

The decision has been made and supposedly will be released in the next month or so. 
 

And they’re keeping it very close hold so i doubt it’ll come out early. I don’t even know what they picked.

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On 4/17/2022 at 7:41 AM, tac airlifter said:

If we select the AT-802 we will crash several of them as new pilots learn the idiosyncrasies of flying a tail wheel.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s different enough to surprise you if your habit patterns aren’t defaulted that way.

Not knowledgeable enough to have an opinion on which LA platform we choose, but for the love of god let’s not throw out a potential option just because it has a tailwheel. Once upon a time, EVERYONE learned to fly in conventional gear airplanes. This can be taught, effectively, even to knuckle dragging fighter pilots. It’s a skill, just like multi engine or instrument flying & the methods for teaching it are sound and have been around a LONG time. 

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58 minutes ago, Prozac said:

Not knowledgeable enough to have an opinion on which LA platform we choose, but for the love of god let’s not throw out a potential option just because it has a tailwheel. Once upon a time, EVERYONE learned to fly in conventional gear airplanes. This can be taught, effectively, even to knuckle dragging fighter pilots. It’s a skill, just like multi engine or instrument flying & the methods for teaching it are sound and have been around a LONG time. 

Agree 100%, and of the options in the running I like AT-802 best (Scorpion should have been in the running but wasn’t).  However there is a segment of our leadership class that believes no risk is ever worth it.  This is the same leadership that recently lost a war, and cannot put 2 and 2 together.  Caveat: I’m 0% involved in the decision; just offering an informed opinion.

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2 hours ago, Prozac said:

Not knowledgeable enough to have an opinion on which LA platform we choose, but for the love of god let’s not throw out a potential option just because it has a tailwheel. Once upon a time, EVERYONE learned to fly in conventional gear airplanes. This can be taught, effectively, even to knuckle dragging fighter pilots. It’s a skill, just like multi engine or instrument flying & the methods for teaching it are sound and have been around a LONG time. 

 

 

They also used to ground loop the shit out of planes back in the day...even with a multiple runway configuration that mean they rarely had a huge crosswind.  However, though I think Tac's post is likely the case, I'm 100% in a agreement with you on this.  Then again, I own tailwheel aircraft and love flying anything TW.   

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, tac airlifter said:

Agree 100%, and of the options in the running I like AT-802 best (Scorpion should have been in the running but wasn’t).  However there is a segment of our leadership class that believes no risk is ever worth it.  This is the same leadership that recently lost a war, and cannot put 2 and 2 together.  Caveat: I’m 0% involved in the decision; just offering an informed opinion.

lost? i disagree. didn't you just witness the most magical and successful airlift in HUMAN HISTORY!?!? what a glorious operation! /s

 

sorry for thread derail...i'd love to fly a TW again too. hope they invest good TW training for the aircrew! maybe push shopping carts backwards at walmart

Edited by BashiChuni
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On 4/18/2022 at 8:00 PM, Danger41 said:

There was discussions awhile back about pulling old S-3 Vikings out of the boneyard and turning them into an Armed Overwatch Concept. Obviously nothing came of that.

Thank goodness...and I'm a former S-3 Viking aviator (and DRACO plankowner).  

 

ATIS

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