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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 ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: aerospace; f22; gates; usaf
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To: GonzoGOP

We do need to build new ones.

The old tooling and molds would be almost useless anyway.

Modern manufacturing techniques (think Perceptron laser scanners and CAD/CAM) use other, far different, processes by which a computer can take the engineering drawings, or even actual parts, and create new molds and or actually control the manufacturing process.

They’re amazing.

81 posted on 08/27/2009 8:37:55 AM PDT by papasmurf (RnVjayB5b3UsIDBiYW1hLCB5b3UgcGllY2Ugb2Ygc2hpdCBjb3dhcmQh)
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To: Justa
I don’t think liquid-cooled engines are suitable for a ground-support role. Imo radial is the way to go.

Turbo prop or Turbo fan. Avgas is just too explosive and hard to get. All the airbases already have jet fuel, and it doesn't burn as easily. Also maintenance is a lot easier.
82 posted on 08/27/2009 8:43:48 AM PDT by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world, and they are all out to get me.)
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To: Little Ray

The goal of the CommuFascists (”Progressives”) running the government now is a homogenized “one-world”. They want everyone to have the same military capability as well as prosperity.

If they have 8 years in office, they will have the US piloting balloons. Is that good enough loiter time for you?

83 posted on 08/27/2009 8:46:48 AM PDT by AFPhys ((Praying for our troops, our citizens, that the Bible and Freedom become basis of the US law again))
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To: Little Ray
Another aircraft that would be perfect would be a buffed-up OV-10 Bronco.

Actually, it is being worked on right now, the OV-10X Super Bronco

84 posted on 08/27/2009 8:59:36 AM PDT by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: joe fonebone
there are times when only the most sophisticated 5th gen aircraft will do....there are times when overwhelming numbers of less sophisticated aircraft will do...the problem is and always will be balancing the 2 ideals

Whoa there buddy. What are you doing, pointing out that sometimes life is full of trade offs, and that there isn't an easy, flip, answer to every complicated problem? Are you trying to get banned or something?

85 posted on 08/27/2009 9:01:32 AM PDT by Pilsner
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To: GonzoGOP

Not too schabby...

I like it...

86 posted on 08/27/2009 9:19:34 AM PDT by stevie_d_64
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To: GonzoGOP
I agree that the use of Plywood in planes may have a purpose and certainly did in WWII with the advent of the Mosquito, much against the wishes of the government I might add. The Germans, however, lost out when their resin factory was bombed and therefore any building of Plywood planes had to be discontinued. They were working on their own version of the Mosquito(named the Moskito, spelling is off here, but close.)and of course their flying wing.

I am not sure how plywood would work today but hey, I think it would work quite well. A aircraft such as that would actually be far more effective at night, just as the B2 is, rather than a day strike craft although it would probably work there also.

The point is, and always has been, that if they have any fast movers, and believe me someone has them, then attack aircraft are useless. The Germans found that out when their JU87(Stuka)was shot out of the sky in vast numbers when they attacked great Britain without air superiority. Sturmovics(spelling?) only worked in Russia because of their armor and the fact they had control of the skys.

Without air superiority ground attack craft are useless, or next to it. A slow moving 200 MPH craft would be sitting ducks to ground fire(who needs missles with a plane that slow)and 37MM anti aircraft fire.

87 posted on 08/27/2009 9:23:34 AM PDT by calex59
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To: PapaBear3625

Not only that but low and slow in a sandy might sneak up on a
sam site. Blow them away before they knew that they had been


88 posted on 08/27/2009 9:35:44 AM PDT by doublecansiter (without cartridge, load in nine times, LOAD!)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

didn’t mean to sound like would be easy. But why go through the design phase, when there already is good design available.

89 posted on 08/27/2009 9:37:49 AM PDT by quikdrw (Life is's even tougher if you are stupid.)
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To: Paladin2

Let’s hope that Boeing does a much better job of rewinging the A-10s than they did the A-6s.

90 posted on 08/27/2009 9:40:25 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: Pilsner

and this is the second smile i have gotten off of this thread is going to be a good day after all..... :)

91 posted on 08/27/2009 9:40:38 AM PDT by joe fonebone (When you ask God for help, sometimes he sends the Marines.)
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To: calex59
The point is, and always has been, that if they have any fast movers, and believe me someone has them, then attack aircraft are useless.

BINGO. You have to have a mix of dedicated fighters (Not one pound for air to ground), attack aircraft to support the troops, and a capacity for strategic strike. There was a poster a while ago that had the configurations for the F-22 for Fighter, Attack, Recon, Cargo (using stealthy drop pods) and Electronic warfare it was the FARCE-22.

The F-22 can do a good job in the Air/Air battle, and it should specialize on that role. You still need a human brain for that role so if you are risking a pilot, you have to have the very best. For the Navy its the Super Hornet for now, the F-35 if it ever gets into production.

Have disposable drones to handle the dangerous fire suppression missions. If they other guy wants to play with SAMs send in RoboWeasel to deal with him. You don't have to write a letter home to a microchips mom.

For close air you need A-10s or whatever replaces them. And tons of cheap drones. And i must stress cheap. You have to be willing to risk them to enemy fire and you wont risk a billion dollar robot. A five or ten million dollar robot with a couple of JDAMs and a 20mm cannon you will risk and the SAM he uses to shoot it down costs as much as the drone itself.

For strategic the B-2 is incredible for that first night strike. The BUFF also has to figure in as a flying dump truck once the F-22s have cleared the sky and the drones have killed the SAMs. More expensive and more capable drones might augment, but not supplant, the manned bombers. For those jobs where you don't need to make the world shake, only one or two well placed bombs. Think like the old SM-62 SNARK. That missile had the ability to return to base and land. But for the new missile instead of crashing into its target it would just drop a couple of JDAMS. Doesn't need to be stealthy. Just fly high enough that the only SAMs that can hit you cost as much as the drone. Force the enemy to wage economic warfare on themselves.
92 posted on 08/27/2009 9:46:09 AM PDT by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world, and they are all out to get me.)
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To: Little Ray; ArrogantBustard
But, when was the last time an enemy shot a SAM at us?

It's a safe bet that they've fired SAMs since they downed that Sea Knight on 7 February 2007 with a MANPAD.

93 posted on 08/27/2009 9:49:33 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: Little Ray
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!”

Actually, the A-1 Skyraider (in the Navy) was always referred to as a 'Spad' by the Scooter jockeys on the USS Intrepid on Yankee Station. Redshirts always called it a Flying Dumptruck because of all the ordinance we had to upload to it. Scooters were a snap, a couple of racks of snake-eye Mk. 82's, and a belt of 20mm and you were done. Spads could take forever, and took a team all to itself. Gun Pods, AP Mine Pods, Daisy Cutters, Rocket Pods, and a freakin' butt-load of 20mm in the wing-mounts. Jeez ...

Oh, and 'Sandy' was the mission call-sign for RESCAP, (REScue Combat Air Patrol), not the nickname for the plane.

94 posted on 08/27/2009 9:51:10 AM PDT by Right Winged American (No matter how Cynical I get, I just can't keep up!)
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To: papasmurf
A-10's. There isn't anything more capable, efficient, and durable as a "Hog".

Perhaps in a low threat environment but they are IR MANPAD magnets and have lousy climb to altitude performance.

95 posted on 08/27/2009 10:02:43 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: ArrogantBustard

oooohhhh.....A-next! What a lovely vision that brings! Like a lfying Carcassonne castle with armaments bristling from every battlement!

96 posted on 08/27/2009 10:07:23 AM PDT by Loud Mime (barastikas = Obama's logos)
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To: GonzoGOP

Liked your post....but the Snark reference showed the age of both of us.

97 posted on 08/27/2009 10:11:30 AM PDT by Loud Mime (barastikas = Obama's logos)
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To: ArrogantBustard

The ‘Hog is low slow and armored, exactly what’s needed. Plus we have pilots already trained since we still have some in service which will be easier than training on a whole new aircraft.

Restarting production on them would be a good solution.

98 posted on 08/27/2009 10:28:02 AM PDT by Fire_on_High (One Big Ass Mistake America!)
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To: Justa

Might be a little tough finding a manufacturer of air-cooled radial aircraft engines. The only builder my quick search turned up was in Russia. There may be others, but if there were a domestic source my search probably would have turned something up.

99 posted on 08/27/2009 10:33:51 AM PDT by Tallguy ("The sh- t's chess, it ain't checkers!" -- Alonzo (Denzel Washington) in "Training Day")
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To: markomalley

Shoot, open back up the A-10 assembly line.

100 posted on 08/27/2009 10:36:17 AM PDT by AFreeBird
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