Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Air Force Seeks the F-22's Low-Tech Alternative (bring back the Mustang?)
Time ^ | 8/27/2009 | Mark Thompson

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 ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: aerospace; f22; gates; usaf
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-141 next last
That should make our enemies cringe, right?

Wonder how a 200 mph plane would stand up to surface-to-air missiles? /sarc

1 posted on 08/27/2009 7:17:59 AM PDT by markomalley
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: markomalley

...yawn. Gates is a twit.


2 posted on 08/27/2009 7:18:57 AM PDT by VaBthang4 (He Who Watches over Israel will Neither Slumber nor Sleep.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley
Article starts out with blatant dishonesty, and goes downhill from there.

Par for the course over at Slime magazine, though.

3 posted on 08/27/2009 7:19:27 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

Bring back the A-10 Warthog!


4 posted on 08/27/2009 7:20:52 AM PDT by SpeedRacer (Where's your records, B-HO? What are you hiding?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

I have no doubt there is a place in our military for prop driven planes but we should also have the cutting edge technology.

Anyone who thinks we should give enemies and potential enemies a level playing field is a moron.


5 posted on 08/27/2009 7:21:13 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Seniors, the new shovel ready project under socialized medicine.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

6 posted on 08/27/2009 7:22:10 AM PDT by Vaquero ("an armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SpeedRacer

That is a very strange (and non-responsive) demand you just made.


7 posted on 08/27/2009 7:22:47 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: markomalley
Poor little Luddite!!
8 posted on 08/27/2009 7:23:09 AM PDT by org.whodat (Vote: Chuck De Vore in 2012.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SpeedRacer

I was thinking that the A-10 would fit the requirements. Might need some avaionics upgrades but for the most part already designed, built, battle tested and capable.


9 posted on 08/27/2009 7:23:33 AM PDT by taxcontrol
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: markomalley
News flash -in an effort to cut Defense spending, Obama announced Chariots to replace M-1A1 Abrams Battle Tanks.
10 posted on 08/27/2009 7:23:37 AM PDT by Apercu ("A man's character is his fate" - Heraclitus)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SpeedRacer
I was recently in the audience of a former F-16 driver now a Wart Hog Driver.

Tooling is gone, but a follow on to it would be sweet, I have some ideas, but that is just back of the envelope armchair aero-design and unfortunately may not go anywhere..

It is quite a machine.

11 posted on 08/27/2009 7:23:39 AM PDT by taildragger (Palin / Mulally 2012)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: SpeedRacer

Did the A-10 go anywhere?


12 posted on 08/27/2009 7:23:52 AM PDT by Constitution Day
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Constitution Day

Gotta love the A-10.


13 posted on 08/27/2009 7:25:42 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Seniors, the new shovel ready project under socialized medicine.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: SpeedRacer
Bring back the A-10 Warthog!

You can't. They closed Republic in 84. The people who designed and built it were dumped on the street. Actually, most of them retired to Florida. Nice, huh?

Bring back the Sandy in any case. That's what they're looking for.

14 posted on 08/27/2009 7:26:04 AM PDT by Regulator (Welcome to Zimbabwe! Now hand over your property)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: markomalley
"The first squadron to use the A-10 went operational in October 1977. In total, 715 airplanes were produced, the last delivered in 1984"

"Cruise speed: 300 knots (340 mph, 560 km/h)"

15 posted on 08/27/2009 7:27:28 AM PDT by Paladin2 (Big Ears + Big Spending --> BigEarMarx, the man behind TOTUS)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SpeedRacer

That’s what I was thinking. Just fire up the production lines for the A-10. Problem solved.


16 posted on 08/27/2009 7:27:37 AM PDT by quikdrw (Life is tough....it's even tougher if you are stupid.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Regulator
A-1 Skyraider AKA Sandy....


17 posted on 08/27/2009 7:29:32 AM PDT by Regulator (Welcome to Zimbabwe! Now hand over your property)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: quikdrw
Production tooling gone, however reverse engineering with CAD/CAM/FEA and laser scanning maybe more doable than we imagine.
18 posted on 08/27/2009 7:30:39 AM PDT by taildragger (Palin / Mulally 2012)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: quikdrw
Just fire up the production lines for the A-10

Oh yeah. No problem. Let's see....

The factory is a crumbling hulk in Bethpage, gone for 25 years...

The tooling, the mylars, the analysis, everything, gone gone gone (well, Northrop and the AF have the docs, allegedly)

And the people, who are absolutely the most important component, cuz they know where the bodies are buried in the design...dumped. Gone. Dead (really).

Good luck. Seeya in 5 years. And that's just to start up.

19 posted on 08/27/2009 7:33:04 AM PDT by Regulator (Welcome to Zimbabwe! Now hand over your property)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: markomalley
since no other nation is building such a plane to challenge it

(clears throat, raises hand) "How about the new MIG-35?"


20 posted on 08/27/2009 7:33:05 AM PDT by Dumpster Baby (Bacon,smokless powder,and boobs are proof that God loves us.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: taildragger

“A contract to build 242 new A-10 wing sets was awarded to Boeing on 29 June 2007”


21 posted on 08/27/2009 7:33:35 AM PDT by Paladin2 (Big Ears + Big Spending --> BigEarMarx, the man behind TOTUS)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

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..


22 posted on 08/27/2009 7:33:35 AM PDT by joe fonebone (When you ask God for help, sometimes he sends the Marines.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: quikdrw
Just fire up the production lines for the A-10.

Just like that. No big deal, huh?

23 posted on 08/27/2009 7:34:29 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: markomalley
most likely prop-driven — that it can use to kill insurgents today and use to train local pilots — such as Afghans or Iraqis — tomorrow.

Prop driven, really? Nice fact free article.

24 posted on 08/27/2009 7:34:42 AM PDT by Lx
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero

Exactly, Bi-planes would be cheaper


25 posted on 08/27/2009 7:35:03 AM PDT by faucetman (Just the facts ma'am, just the facts)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Regulator

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!”


26 posted on 08/27/2009 7:35:14 AM PDT by Little Ray (Obama is a kamikaze president aimed at the heart of this Republic.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero

The list of requirements must have a GE engine after all they own D.C.


27 posted on 08/27/2009 7:35:37 AM PDT by Vaduz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Constitution Day
Did the A-10 go anywhere?

They broke up the machine tools and jigs to build new ones. As the get use/shot up there are no new ones to replace the ones being lost. We need to build new A-10s before the last of the old ones are used up.
28 posted on 08/27/2009 7:36:48 AM PDT by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world, and they are all out to get me.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: joe fonebone
..i say buy a few hundred of them and turn them loose..

on Washington!

29 posted on 08/27/2009 7:37:15 AM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannolis. Take it to the Mattress.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: taildragger; SpeedRacer; markomalley
Tooling is gone, but a follow on to it would be sweet, I have some ideas, but that is just back of the envelope armchair aero-design and unfortunately may not go anywhere..

Boeing is building something like 200 new sets of wings for the existing fleet of A-10's.

30 posted on 08/27/2009 7:37:50 AM PDT by Paleo Conservative (I wonder why Solomon Ortiz (TX-27) is so afraid of talking with his constituents?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: taildragger

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 “little guys” to do their thing, it is necessary to achieve and maintain aerial superiority.


31 posted on 08/27/2009 7:39:24 AM PDT by JayVee (Joseph)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: markomalley
Wonder how a 200 mph plane would stand up to surface-to-air missiles?

A prop aircraft might not have enough IR signature for many man-portable SAMs to lock on.

32 posted on 08/27/2009 7:39:28 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (Public healthcare looks like it will work as well as public housing did.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

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.


33 posted on 08/27/2009 7:40:10 AM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: joe fonebone

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?


34 posted on 08/27/2009 7:41:03 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

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.


35 posted on 08/27/2009 7:41:10 AM PDT by Little Ray (Obama is a kamikaze president aimed at the heart of this Republic.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

UCAVs armed with latest AAMs coupled with Raptor-like long-range look-up, look-down early detection sensors, etc.


36 posted on 08/27/2009 7:41:15 AM PDT by cranked
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Little Ray
But, when was the last time an enemy shot a SAM at us?

2003. Coincidentally, that was also the last time we fought an organised enemy.

37 posted on 08/27/2009 7:44:17 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: PapaBear3625
In that case why not build the aircraft with twin engines for survivability, and heavy gun armament, good range, 400mph speed. Oh and build it out of some material that doesn't reflect radar.


38 posted on 08/27/2009 7:45:19 AM PDT by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world, and they are all out to get me.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: markomalley
We already have prop-driven aircraft being used to fight insurgents, currently being produced in large numbers. They're called Predator UAVs:


39 posted on 08/27/2009 7:45:28 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (Public healthcare looks like it will work as well as public housing did.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PapaBear3625
A prop aircraft might not have enough IR signature for many man-portable SAMs to lock on.

I think the USSR, after their experience in Afghanistan, might tend to question that assertion.

40 posted on 08/27/2009 7:45:34 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Dumpster Baby

Radar profile looks pretty high.


41 posted on 08/27/2009 7:45:45 AM PDT by ROTB (Love your enemies, in the name and faith of Christ.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: taxcontrol

A-10s fly over Lake of the Ozarks from the AFB just north of us nearly every day.


42 posted on 08/27/2009 7:46:08 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

Sounds like the Il-2 Sturmovik or the tank-busting version of the JU-87 Stuka. Not sure that this kind of aircraft is going to survive with radar-guided guns and MANPADS.

I guess it’s “Back to the Future” at Gates’ Pentagon.


43 posted on 08/27/2009 7:46:38 AM PDT by Tallguy ("The sh- t's chess, it ain't checkers!" -- Alonzo (Denzel Washington) in "Training Day")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: faucetman
Exactly, Bi-planes would be cheaper

I imagine they could build a decent biplane for about ... oh ... $200M each.

44 posted on 08/27/2009 7:47:54 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Play the Race Card -- lose the game.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Don Corleone

you just put a smile on my face!!!!!!!!


45 posted on 08/27/2009 7:47:58 AM PDT by joe fonebone (When you ask God for help, sometimes he sends the Marines.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Dumpster Baby

On point! We need the Raptor; the cost of NOT having enough is far, far greater that its total outlay.


46 posted on 08/27/2009 7:48:08 AM PDT by Loud Mime (barastikas = Obama's logos)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Lx; All
The two contenders mentioned -

Hawker-Beechcraft T-6

Super Tucano

Very similar looking....

47 posted on 08/27/2009 7:48:28 AM PDT by az_gila (AZ - need less democrats - one Governor down... more to go.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

A modified crop duster.


48 posted on 08/27/2009 7:49:56 AM PDT by RobinOfKingston (Democrats, the party of evil. Republicans, the party of stupid.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks

When I was an Army Infantry Sergent in Germany in the 80’s, one flew 100+ feet over our position. It came up from behind us and flew directly over my track. Never heard a thing till is was already flying past us. Damn scary to know that you would have been dead and never even see it coming.


49 posted on 08/27/2009 7:49:56 AM PDT by taxcontrol
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: GonzoGOP
WW2 fighters showed up on radar just fine. Their frames might not be metal, but their engines were. See my post #39 for a better solution.

Once the F-22 and such have eliminated air threats, we can hit the ground with next-generation UAVs. You can put guns and rockets on them too, besides missiles and bombs.

50 posted on 08/27/2009 7:50:01 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 (Public healthcare looks like it will work as well as public housing did.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-141 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson