Skip to comments.The Air Force Seeks the F-22's Low-Tech Alternative (bring back the Mustang?)
Posted on 08/27/2009 7:17:59 AM PDT by markomalley
The Air Force spent years fighting to keep building the $350 million F-22 fighter, an airplane crammed with so much gee-whiz technology there's a law barring it from being sold to any other nation. But since no other nation is building such a plane to challenge it, the F-22 has become a costly investment with an uncertain payoff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates just killed it. That sent an unmistakable message to the two new top Air Force officials Gates recently appointed, and now the service is seeking 100 slower, lower-flying and far cheaper airplanes most likely prop-driven that it can use to kill insurgents today and use to train local pilots such as Afghans or Iraqis tomorrow.
The list of requirements for what the Air Force is calling its Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance plane is fairly basic, and harkens back to the Vietnam-era A-1 Skyraider. It must be capable of flying 900-mile missions at up to 200 miles per hour (compared with up to 1500 mph for the F-22), including at night and poor weather. It will carry guns and rockets, along with a pair of 500-pound bombs, according to an Air Force solicitation issued last month. It will have to fly to and from dirt airfields where the only ground support is fuel. The its two pilots will have warning systems for enemy radars and missiles, an armored cockpit and self-sealing fuel tanks and ejection seats if those protections fail. It should convert from an attack plane to a trainer by simply removing those weapons.
(Excerpt) Read more at time.com ...
“A contract to build 242 new A-10 wing sets was awarded to Boeing on 29 June 2007”
the skyraider was a kick ass aircraft....for the role of hunting and fighting insurgents and close ground support role, it is an excellent platform...just because it is not a jet does not render it useless by any means...i say buy a few hundred of them and turn them loose..
Just like that. No big deal, huh?
Prop driven, really? Nice fact free article.
Exactly, Bi-planes would be cheaper
That’s the plane we need!
Just add some all-weather attack capability - maybe in pods to keep the unit price down and increase flexibility. It’s time for “The Return of the Spad!”
The list of requirements must have a GE engine after all they own D.C.
Boeing is building something like 200 new sets of wings for the existing fleet of A-10's.
Last I heard, where the assembly line for the A-10 was once located, there is now a Home Depot. A-10s are being sent to Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona where their wings are being rebuilt and electronics are being upgraded. They are being returned to service as A-10Cs. A number of countries operate trainers that can be fitted up as light attack aircraft. We have had attack versions of the At-6, the T-28 and the T-33. However, in order to allow the âlittle guysâ to do their thing, it is necessary to achieve and maintain aerial superiority.
A prop aircraft might not have enough IR signature for many man-portable SAMs to lock on.
The Air Tractor...yep...thats right...the famous crop duster is being looked at for light attack and intel/time on station recon duty.
Its beating the pants of its competition.
Skyraider was great ... in the 1950s.
Do we really want to field an aircraft that burns avgas in a radial engine?
How do you think it would fare against modern air defenses, from ManPADS on up?
Is 8000lb really enough payload? Is an all-aluminum, riveted airframe really the way to build an aircraft in 2009?
I hate to agree with these folks when we really DO need more F-22s...
But, when was the last time an enemy shot a SAM at us?
It doesn’t make any sense to use a $350 million F-22 for “air to mud” in an environment where we have air dominance. It DOES make sense to use a slow, cheap aircraft with a good loiter time. We need NCO pilots and something equivalent to the A-1 Skyraider for COIN air support. Another aircraft that would be perfect would be a buffed-up OV-10 Bronco.
UCAVs armed with latest AAMs coupled with Raptor-like long-range look-up, look-down early detection sensors, etc.
2003. Coincidentally, that was also the last time we fought an organised enemy.
I think the USSR, after their experience in Afghanistan, might tend to question that assertion.