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A-10 pilots should have an edge next time they go downrange
Stars and Stripes ^ | November 22, 2007 | Charlie Reed

Posted on 11/21/2007 4:33:45 PM PST by Jet Jaguar

SPANGDAHLEM, Germany – Tracking and pursuing enemy forces on the ground should be easier for A-10 pilots with the 81st Fighter Squadron when they go downrange early next year.

By the time they deploy, leaders hope the unit’s 18 aircraft will be outfitted with new targeting systems. Three already have been installed with six more on the way.

The technology allows pilots to deploy laser-guided munitions, pursue moving targets at night with infrared imaging and stabilize points on the ground while maneuvering. The information is routed from a targeting pod attached under the wing to a monitor in the one-man cockpit. Ground forces also have access to the images coming from the plane.

“It’s like a super-powered binocular,” said 1st Lt. Stephen Bowen, who will be deploying for the first time with the unit. It is still unknown where the squadron will be sent.

But Bowen and the other pilots are learning to use the new systems with caution.

It’s apparently easy to get caught up watching the tracking screen, jokingly referred to as the “drool cup.” So pilots are learning to strike a balance between using the targeting system and their tried-and-true technique of simply looking out the window.

Watching the monitor too much can be dangerous because “it’s like looking through a soda straw,” Bowen said. “It’s a very limited field of vision … In some cases, it’s better not to use it at all.”

The unit just got back to Spangdahlem after a seven-week training mission at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. There they worked with the new targeting technology and participated in two close-air support exercises with the U.S. Army, Navy and Marines, and British forces.

The scenarios allowed the unit the rare opportunity “to integrate with all the different assets,” said Maj. Mark Lambertsen, the unit’s second in command.

Built to operate near the front lines, the A-10 can fly at low air speeds and altitude. It can survive direct hits from armor-piercing and high explosive projectiles up to 23 mm. Pilots are protected by titanium armor that also protects parts of the flight-control system.

Close-air support missions are expected to be the unit’s primary focus downrange, Lambertsen said.

“The toughest part is keeping track of all the moving parts to make sure everyone’s de-conflicted and to maintain situational awareness,” he said.

The key to close-air support is “finding the fine line between trying to support them with air power and to do things fast without messing up,” Lambertsen said. “We can’t afford any mistakes.”


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Germany; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: a10; airsupport; ang; cas; hogdrivers; tankkiller; thunderbolt; usaf; warthogs
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1 posted on 11/21/2007 4:33:46 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: Jet Jaguar

Dang! And just think, how long ago had the Air Force originally intended to retire the Warthog?


2 posted on 11/21/2007 4:35:47 PM PST by sinanju
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To: Jet Jaguar

Gee, I always thought they already had the edge!


3 posted on 11/21/2007 4:41:12 PM PST by Lockbar (March toward the sound of the guns.)
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To: sinanju

Just finished watching “Transformers” and there is a great scene at the beginning where there battling the scorpion transformer in the desert and they scramble the warthogs. But its the C- 130 with the cannon that does it in.


4 posted on 11/21/2007 4:43:41 PM PST by Geostorm
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To: sinanju

As aircraft are usually defined by the image of sleek, macho and sexy the Warthog is more than aptly named! Its no wonder those near sighted paperpushers ever allowed this ugly flying cannon to even be built, but it more than definitely gets the job done, and it brings home the pilot. There was news a little while back about these electronic upgrades, who knows maybe there might be a future for it even further, like a railgun?


5 posted on 11/21/2007 4:45:22 PM PST by Eye of Unk
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To: Jet Jaguar

I wanna see some danged pichurs!!!


6 posted on 11/21/2007 4:48:09 PM PST by SierraWasp (If Dems had brains they'd be Repubs. And when they learned to use 'em, they'd be CONSERVATIVES!!!)
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To: Eye of Unk

I personally believe they should have gone all the way and named it the Buzzard.

I’ll always remember the Baghdad footage from Iraqi Freedom—the was the A-10’s maneuvered looked exactly like a turkey vulture, leisurely circling at low altitude—first standing on one wingtip, then the other, then dropping down to let off a braaaap.


7 posted on 11/21/2007 4:49:34 PM PST by sinanju
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To: SierraWasp

8 posted on 11/21/2007 4:50:28 PM PST by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: Jet Jaguar
"The toughest part is keeping track of all the moving parts to make sure everyone’s de-conflicted and to maintain situational awareness," he said.

My late father gave me the same advice on my wedding night.

9 posted on 11/21/2007 4:54:25 PM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: Eye of Unk; All

There was also talk of upgrading the engines to get greater than 1:1 thrust to weight ratio to allow vertical climbs. Don’t know where that went. Anybody?


10 posted on 11/21/2007 4:59:39 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: 50mm

I understand they still suffer birdstrikes from the rear.

I am unsure if an upgrade was included in this upgrade.


11 posted on 11/21/2007 5:02:30 PM PST by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: 50mm

Well, they could be, but the A-10 design has always called for converted airliner engines to power it.

It made for a hell of a cheap and reliable ground attack plane.


12 posted on 11/21/2007 5:10:22 PM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Jet Jaguar; All
I understand they still suffer birdstrikes from the rear. ROFLOL!!!!


13 posted on 11/21/2007 5:16:19 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: SierraWasp
Ping to "kill the birds in reverse aircraft"

Enjoy the pics.

14 posted on 11/21/2007 5:18:47 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: Spktyr

I had the pleasure of sitting in the cockpit of one of these beauties a few years back at Davis-Monthan (contractor capacity not pilot.) I asked about a test flight, but sadly there are no two-seater models.


15 posted on 11/21/2007 5:23:42 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: Jet Jaguar

The Warthog: The gift that keeps on giving.

What an extraordinary craft, driven by extraordinary men.


16 posted on 11/21/2007 5:27:30 PM PST by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
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To: 50mm
"Go Ugly Early!"
17 posted on 11/21/2007 5:28:06 PM PST by Tainan (Talk is cheap. Silence is golden. All I got is brass...lotsa brass.)
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To: 50mm

> ... but sadly there are no two-seater models.

One A-10B was built.
http://www.warthogpen.com/naws.html
It’s on static display at Edwards.


18 posted on 11/21/2007 5:34:01 PM PST by Boundless (Legacy Media is hazardous to your mental health)
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To: Jet Jaguar
Loading the goodies:
19 posted on 11/21/2007 5:37:31 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: Boundless
I should have said "sadly there are no two-seater models left to fly".
20 posted on 11/21/2007 5:41:11 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: Jet Jaguar
Survivability.


21 posted on 11/21/2007 5:41:27 PM PST by FReepaholic (This tagline could indicate global warming.)
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To: TexanToTheCore

God Bless John Boyd.


22 posted on 11/21/2007 5:42:30 PM PST by Brucifer (G. W. Bush "The dog ate my copy of the Constitution.")
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To: Jet Jaguar

I love the A-10. When you really, really have to kill something right away, there is your aircraft.

Additionally, what’s not to love about bomblets?


23 posted on 11/21/2007 5:44:07 PM PST by alarm rider (Why should I not vote my conscience?)
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To: Jet Jaguar

The A-10 is one plane that needs to go back into production.


24 posted on 11/21/2007 5:45:37 PM PST by Lancer_N3502A
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To: Jet Jaguar; All
Great A-10 YouTube video at:

A-10 Action Video

25 posted on 11/21/2007 5:52:55 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: Lancer_N3502A

The 10s with the shark mouth are Conn ANG


26 posted on 11/21/2007 6:01:28 PM PST by straps (AN ANGRY VETRAN SICK OF THE LIARS IN POLITICS!!!)
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To: 50mm

Is that “party mix” being loaded?


27 posted on 11/21/2007 6:09:48 PM PST by rmh47 (Go Kats! - Got Seven? [NRA Life Member])
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To: Spktyr
Well, they could be, but the A-10 design has always called for converted airliner engines to power it.

It made for a hell of a cheap and reliable ground attack plane.

And lots of spare engine parts.

28 posted on 11/21/2007 6:10:06 PM PST by AFreeBird
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To: rmh47; All
Is that “party mix” being loaded?

Yup! 30mm U235 specials.

Smokin'!:


29 posted on 11/21/2007 6:16:21 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: AFreeBird; Jet Jaguar; Spktyr

As part of this last A-10 upgrade the engine pylons were changed. They are hoping “funds become available soon for engine upgrades.” Translated: “if the ‘rats don’t win the A-10 engine upgrade is possible.”


30 posted on 11/21/2007 6:29:29 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: SierraWasp
Ground forces also have access to the images coming from the plane. ..

coming soon to a television near you....

31 posted on 11/21/2007 6:31:04 PM PST by Loud Mime (The Democrats made people believe that govt. lawyers are victims, whatta country!)
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To: 50mm

You know it.


32 posted on 11/21/2007 6:31:50 PM PST by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: Jet Jaguar

The A-10 is an amazing, enigmatic aircraft. If you talk to the US ground forces, they first ask why we don’t have armadas of A-10s to blanket the battlefield and wreak havoc on their enemy. Then they ask why don’t we make drone A-10s to do that.

And if the answer to the first question is complicated, the answer to the second one is paradoxical.

That is, as part of its design, as much of the A-10 as possible has redundant systems. This means, and has been proven, that in combat, an A-10 can take an unbelievable amount of punishment and still return home. Aircraft missing big chunks of wing and tail, perforated with holes so much you can see through them, blasted, scorched, torn apart.

And they do. Beaten all to heck up, they still limp home, nursed by their pilot. And that is the key. While an A-10 is a devastating weapon at several altitudes, when it is severely wounded, it needs a pilot to bring it home.

A drone or remote pilot just doesn’t have the feel of the aircraft. And the A-10, or the Raptor, which comes pretty close, is too pricey to just casually throw away. This means that it can fly high, but unless the target is critical, it can’t fly above the treetops and do that voodoo that A-10s do so well.


33 posted on 11/21/2007 6:41:57 PM PST by Popocatapetl
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To: Loud Mime
Part of the SADL (Situational Awareness Data Link) upgrade:


34 posted on 11/21/2007 6:42:03 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: Popocatapetl

It is as amazing aircraft.


35 posted on 11/21/2007 6:46:14 PM PST by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: Jet Jaguar

As = an


36 posted on 11/21/2007 6:46:58 PM PST by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: straps

I think the tiger’s mouth A-10s are Pope AFB ships from the 21st Exp Wing — they have the AVG “Flying Tigers” in their lineage.


37 posted on 11/21/2007 6:55:47 PM PST by Snickersnee (Where are we going? And what's with this handbasket?)
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To: 50mm

Insurgent gets flying lesson from the USA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WlzUqifv_Y


38 posted on 11/21/2007 6:57:11 PM PST by listenhillary (You get more of what you focus on)
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To: listenhillary

I’d like to get the full story on that one! Is that really a body flying?


39 posted on 11/21/2007 7:06:40 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: 50mm

It sure looks like it. I just stumbled across it looking at the A-10 videos.


40 posted on 11/21/2007 7:15:23 PM PST by listenhillary (You get more of what you focus on)
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To: NavyDude; molette67
Not just a tank killer anymore.


41 posted on 11/21/2007 7:25:21 PM PST by do the dhue (They've got us surrounded again. The poor bastards. General Creighton Abrams)
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To: Jet Jaguar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJSk2Xc3Eq4&feature=related A10 Wartog - Thunderstruck

Awesome video.

42 posted on 11/21/2007 7:27:34 PM PST by do the dhue (They've got us surrounded again. The poor bastards. General Creighton Abrams)
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To: do the dhue
You're right.

The chorus in the AC/DC music "Thunder" at the beginning of the video sounds a lot like the 30mm on continuous. Probably why it was chosen.

43 posted on 11/21/2007 7:37:38 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: FReepaholic
The air force has no intention of building a new armored plane to replace the A 10. The plan is to replace the A 10 with some kind of variation of the F35.


This reminds me when the air force built a fighter plane with no cannon because ‘missiles’ are all you need. Now their bright idea is ‘stealth’ is all you need. These paper pushers are as dumb as a door nail.

44 posted on 11/21/2007 7:37:52 PM PST by Steve Van Doorn (*in my best Eric cartman voice* 'I love you guys')
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To: 50mm

I thought “Party Mix” was two DUs and one HE. Repeat as necessary.


45 posted on 11/21/2007 7:40:32 PM PST by rmh47 (Go Kats! - Got Seven? [NRA Life Member])
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To: 50mm
BTW, I love that aircraft! It is so blue-collar. Nothing fancy or snooty about it; just rugged and gets the job done.
46 posted on 11/21/2007 7:43:15 PM PST by rmh47 (Go Kats! - Got Seven? [NRA Life Member])
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To: 50mm

Center of gravity issues. The new engines are heavier and there is no place forward of the COG to put ballast. Their working on trimming the engine weight but the ideas I’ve read would mean the engines would then cost as much as the original aircraft.


47 posted on 11/21/2007 7:57:09 PM PST by Mamba56 ("You've got to kill people, and when you've killed enough they stop fighting." - Gen. Curtis LeMay)
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To: rmh47
I guess I didn't understand the "party" lingo. I had to look up the term. My contracting for the A-10 was avionics-related, not armament.

The picture does appear to have a 2,1,2,1 pattern. When I watched the loading of ammunition in person, all the rounds were DU (or at least they all looked the same,) but the aircraft was headed for target practice out of Davis-Monthan not real combat.

By the way, even though they told me the DU rounds were "safe," I never touched them or the gatling barrels. Can't be too "safe!" I was planning children at the time and didn't want them to come out glowing.

48 posted on 11/21/2007 8:05:39 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: Mamba56
Center of gravity issues.

Maybe that's why they changed the engine pylons in the last upgrade. Could be they went to a lighter metal like titanium to offset the increased weight of the possible new engines. Just guessing here.

49 posted on 11/21/2007 8:13:56 PM PST by 50mm (Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist - G. Carlin)
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To: Jet Jaguar
I understand they still suffer birdstrikes from the rear.

LOL. That is so so so so wrong! LOL

50 posted on 11/21/2007 8:21:50 PM PST by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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