Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Covered in Glory... NOT!

Ready for anything
Joint terminal attack controllers wave at an A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft during a show of force on the Nevada Test and Training Range July 19, 2017. The A-10 has excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and low-altitude, and is a highly accurate weapons delivery platform. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kevin Tanenbaum)
(Source)
Well, the caption from af.mil says "Ready for anything." Except apparently to obey Congress.

Yeah, yeah, I know, it ain't the kids in the photo. They're out in the field with the grunts, calling in Warthogs to put "warheads on foreheads," no, it's those perfumed princes in the five-sided puzzle palace on the Potomac who have, apparently, crapped the bed. Again.

Alert reader Rivetjoint sent me a link to this article, which starts off with -
Congress wants to keep the A-10 flying. Lawmakers have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to maintaining a dedicated ground attack aircraft and, more importantly, an effective close air support capability. They have done so through legislation in successive National Defense Authorizations Acts since 2013. In the most recent NDAA, Congress authorized $103 million for the Air Force to complete the job of installing urgently needed new replacement wings on the A-10 fleet. But a senior Air Force official recently told a meeting of A-10 personnel that the Air Force has no intention of fully implementing the re-winging effort and has no intention of keeping any more A-10s flying than the 171 that have already been upgraded, thus thwarting Congressional intent and legislation.
The key bit is in bold italic. Reading the article, I see that the "senior Air Force official" is a civilian, no doubt backed by a number of flag officers. I guess the old A-10 ain't glamorous enough for some people.

We don't need glamour, we need effective weapons systems which can take the fight to the enemy and make those sumbitches regret the day they took up arms against the U. S. of A.

The Air Force has changed since I walked the flight line last (which was 1982). When I became an office puke (computer programmer) I didn't miss the weather and the long hours out on the line. I did truly miss the maintainers and the air crews, what I always called "the Real Air Force." No glamour, just hard, rewarding work.

Perfumed princes, they're why we can't have nice things.

If it were up to me, heads would roll, stars would fall, and more than a few careers would end.

But it ain't up to me. More's the pity.

For once (he said in disbelief) I agree with Congress.

SMH



50 comments:

  1. Agree 100% with you Sarge. There are too many generals and admirals for the size of the military we have along with too many "assistants and deputy assistants" in the civilian side. Indeed, heads do need to roll.

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  2. Haven't had a chance yet to read your post source, but will, but it would be interesting to see who appointed the civilian. Especially in light of the swamp activities that have been going on in the last years. My experience 20 years ago was that most of the civilians in the pentagon had exactly the same political leanings as, oh say, DOJ or DOS. If you know what I mean.

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    1. Kinda confirms one of my suspicions.

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    2. Interesting, he's a program element manager (PEM). PEM's are low level number crunchers (or were when I was doing that back in the stone ages). I'm betting that happened at a low level planning meeting as they started the planning stage of PPBS (Planning, programming, budgeting, execution system). It's the 7 year budget cycle. 2 years of planning, 3 of programming, 1 of budgeting and 1 of executing (spending). The two years of planning, their are few constraints on the numbers, during the 3 of programming, the constraints start to apply and the cutting begins, in the budgeting years, THEORETICALLY Congress gets involved and the cutting really begins and then the Budget USED TO BE approved and the spending began.

      So, I'm betting this PEM mentioned this in a meeting when he shouldn't have and is probably looking for a job.

      As for the A-10, in my perfect, non-budget constrained Air Force, there would be several wings of A-10s, way more F-22s than we have available, and way more F-35s. More B-2s, C-17s, the new Tanker......

      All it takes is money, and the oomph to spend it on defense instead of obamaphones, obamacare, Obama.*

      * in this case is used to indicate wildcard, substitute any completely useless obama program that wasn't designed to do anything other than make the DNC leadership remain in power and become richer.

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    3. I like your take on things. A lot.

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    4. I like it as long as there is enough left over for the "A lot more" of the Navy's needs.

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    5. How about we sell LCS to Canada? I mean they've got one on ice as we speak.

      That should free up some money for the Naval Service.

      ;)

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    6. SoCal Pir8,
      My apologies... I meant to and thought I'd added a paragraph that said and if I were CJCS, my budget unconstrained would include more Carrier groups and...and...More Divisions and Helicopters and MEFS and ....And....
      DOD's budget is too small and filled with cruft that shouldn't be there (Hello diversity training). Either raise it or make intelligent decisions on what you want it to be able to do, then accept the inevitable bad press when bad things happen that the military is not able to handle anymore.

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    7. And no more $22 per gallon 'Green Fuel.' Go back to the old reliable crude derivatives, since we're back to being an oil exporting nation again.

      The only 'Green' in the military should be the color. (Unless and until actual green products are as good as their evil versions.)

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  3. USAF has always hated the A-10. They'd prefer to replace it with an aircraft like the F-35 (a maintenance nightmare) that is unsuited for that close support role.

    And more to the point, if USAF doesn't want the A-10, give it to the Army and Marines. They'll find people to fly it...but that's not how it works, is it?

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    1. I don't think they (Marines and Army) will have a problem finding people to fly it. But you need the maintenance folks as well. Transfer them over from the Air Force? They'll get out at their first opportunity. Different styles of doing business and quite frankly, the Air Force treats their troops a lot better than the Army.

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    2. Ok, but let's take the problem a little further. So, the Army and the Marines find people to fly it. Are these people doing nothing right now? If not, who's going to replace them? Does the Army and Marines have excess funds to pay for the Aircraft? If not, are they going to take it from the Air Force? What program is the Air Force THEN going to cut to make up for the loss.

      The problem is the DOD's budget is TOO SMALL for the missions it's being required to perform. All slack in the budget was gone by the time Billy Jeff last diddled Ms Lewinsky.

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    3. Until we can make Congress understand that defense costs money, cannot be deferred/skimped on/cheated then we're never going to overcome the problem. He who skimps on defense spending will eventually be overrun.

      Perhaps that's what the progs want.

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    4. While the Marines would love it, they can't afford it either. Keeping their Hornets running while trying to pay for their JSFs is wickedly expensive. Maintaining the GE TF-34 Turbofan engines (Same ones in the S-3B) wouldn't be tough- a fairly basic and easy to work on jet engine, but the rest of the airframe- that would take some skill and Airmen who probably don't want to become Marines.

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    5. It really is a problem of dollars and bodies. We are wasting money on certain programs that were rushed into production without a thought as to how to use them or whether or not they will actually work.

      We have too many chiefs and not enough Indians, too many bean counters and not enough operators. I'm not sure the problem is even solvable at this point without upsetting a vast number of rice bowls.

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    6. juvat/

      re your recommendations: Are you sure you're not my long-lost blood brother? :)

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    7. All Phantom pilots are related aren't they?

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    8. VX, Of course I am. Flew cool jets and have an affinity for Rum, how much more related could we be?

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  4. Well at this stage of life I imagine an A10 isn't exactly a maintenance dream either. Unless you're dreaming a nightmare. Heh

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    1. I haven't heard anything bad about how the maintenance is on the A-10, but yeah, as parts age, the maintenance can be challenging. Remember, I worked on the F-4 for seven years and that jet was already old before I met it for the first time!

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  5. This'll chirk ya up...Adorable Vintage Photographs That Show Special Relationship Between Cats and Marine Soldiers http://www.vintag.es/2018/01/adorable-vintage-photographs-that-show.html

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  6. From what I've heard, maintenance is really not an issue, yet. And the rewinging (and subsequent partial depot rebuild) would basically return 'new' airplanes to the flightline.

    One of the biggest reasons the AFIdiots are using to get rid of the A-10, the argument they have used since after the First Gulf War, is that, oh, no, the plane actually gets hit by AAA fire. Because it's slow. And flys low. Therefore it's vunerable. See? That plane is vunerable, it got hit during it's precision ground support mission which cut a mountain in half. We actually have to spend money to patch the holes in the plane. Oh, No! We need a super-secret-stealth-high altitude-low linger time stud-muffin and hey, look, here's the F-35 (Yes, I like the F-35, as a replacement for the F-16, not as a replacement for the A-10 and the B-52 (well, the perfumed Pentagon Prancing Princes talk like it can do the BUFF's job, don't they?)

    Well, pardon my French, but No Fucking Duh, Penta-weenies. Shit-on-a-Shingle!!!! Let's see. The specifications for the A-10 was a nimble, low flying bomb and gun tank that can fly into the enemy's face, spit in their eyes, poop down their necks, get back, land on some road somewhere, get fixed, fueled, rearmed under fire and during an evacuation, and then go do it again. It was designed to fly into and out of the Fulda Gap, surviving the AAA storm of the Soviets at their heights, while we were running and gunning and fighting for time and space to land troops from the States.

    Designed to survive the hell of the Fulda Gap, over and over and over again.

    So some dingbat in some sh#$hole nation shoots at it and hits it. Any other plane going to survive the hits an A-10 can take (well, that F-15 the Israeli flew and landed without his starboard wing.) Can any other plane be fixed, fueled and rearmed as easily as the A-10? Cost as low as the A-10 (remember, once the rewinging and rewiring is done, and all individual plane issues are resolved, you basically start at new for a plane?)

    For once, that idiot old ex-navy senator from Arizona is right. The A-10 is as relevant today as the day it was designed and the day it flew to protect us against the Soviet threat.

    All the Civilian is doing is acting as a mouthpiece for actual military idiots. Find them and shit-can them down the road. Yes, I know that the military is running hind-tit on money (especially the Navy) but for frack's sake, don't repeat the mistakes made after WWII and the Korean War by killing off the Tactical AF side.

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    1. But Andrew, it's what they do. (Repeat mistakes that is.) After all some staffer in DC won't die if the A-10 goes away. Nope, it'll be the grunt in the field watching the bombs fall from umpty-thousand feet and manage to hit the planet, but probably NOT the intended target.

      Close air support requires going in low and kinda slow to make sure the ordnance hurts the bad guys, not our guys, not some poor farmer, not some guy on his way to work. Precision is the name of the game.

      The A-10 gets you that and at a reasonable price.

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    2. As an institution the AF always seems to be that spoiled 4 year old in the toy shop. Shiny new? YAY? Who cares if it breaks in 15 seconds or if it looks so much better on the commercial. That old stuff? Just toss it away, it's old, which means not good. Yucky-poo. Now it seems like they are focusing on the B-21 and combat air-superiority drones over even the F-35. Like those guys you hear that get a new car every year, each one with a 6 year loan, so they end up with brand new with no bugs worked out and lots and lots of money spent for nothing.

      As to CAS, it takes a peculiar sort of cojones-grandes to fly into fire, circle the target, stay in the fire, and continue until you've done your damned job, no matter what goes wrong. Sure, the Juvats of the world swagger and have darned good reason to, but I've seen the way starry-eyed Marines and Army guys look up to the A-10 pilots as the Rock Stars.

      It goes back to that whole P-51/P-47 thing. Sexy sells, but the Jugs just kept going and doing the job over and over and over and over and getting the crap shot out of them (because they were where the guns were) while the sexy got all the press. Ask your typical GI from the ETO which he'd rather see, a Mustang or a Thunderbolt. The Bolt would win, 9 times out of 10. (Heck, most of them would ask what a Mustang looks like, as they stayed up high for most of the war years.)

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    3. No one wants the Clydesdale if a thoroughbred is available. Also the Mustang was intended to escort bombers, the Jug was almost tailor-made for ground support.

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    4. Remember I cut my teeth flying CAS and Battlefield air interdiction missions (essentially interdicting ground forces that are racing to the fight the CAS folks are involved in) in my first two tours. I was a CAS instructor at Holloman. I think it's an important mission. And in most of today's fights, it's probably THE most important mission.

      That having been said, this is a money decision, spend it on an airplane that can only do one thing, albeit quite well. Or spend it on an airplane that can do several things, albeit some not as well. It's a tough decision with only one "right" answer, DOD's budget must be expanded to realistically cover it's operations, or...the missions have to be reduced.

      As for the Mustang/Thunderbolt argument...That makes my point precisely. We had the money for both, and both did the other's mission when needed. The Mustang did CAS, but wasn't as good at it (and was particularly vulnerable to ground fire. It's hard to do good at CAS when you're hanging in a chute). The Thunderbolt did Air to Air, but wasn't as good as it (didn't turn very well, initially had range problems. It's hard to protect bombers when you're hanging in a chute.)

      War is filled with hard choices and limited resources.

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    5. "an airplane that can do several things, albeit some not as well" - like the Phantom!

      Your last sentence reminds me of Secretary Rumsfeld. A true statement indeed.

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  7. Y'all do understand that you are going to be visited by the FBIbers for trash-talking those fine upstanding anti-American, communist a**holes/ oh, no, no, I meant American patriots. Another great post.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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  8. First air show I attended in Redding had an A-10 demonstration flight... with live ammo.
    (Don’t know how they pulled that off)
    Anyway, I love that plane.
    Then, again, I am enamored of th P-38, too.
    Must be something about symmetry?

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    1. May have been practice ammo. It comes out of the gun but doesn't go "boom." So to speak.

      Symmetry is good, the P-38 was a very useful aircraft in the Pacific. Ask Yamamoto.

      Oh, wait...

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  9. I’m not too worried. The last time the Air Force brass showed their ass this badly they ended up simultaneously with a new sec Air Force and chief of staff. They were ordered to put a lot more effort into drones and blew off the sec of defense. Big mistake.

    That said, I’d love to see the analysis of how anything with wings fares in latest generation air defense scenario. This is not grandad’s Air defense world anymore and we need weapons that can survive in nonpermissive threat environments.

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  10. Everybody needs to drop a line to : U.S. Congresswoman(R-AZ) Col. Martha McSally(USAF Ret.) PO Box 97019 Washington, DC 20090-7019 . Ex-Hog Driver and the Scourge of the "'Stan". She's eat Songbird McCain's ass for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I believe, at one time, she offered to do a flyoff with an A-10 against that steaming pile F-35 and fly it into the ground. This lady is a Boss.......

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  11. "For once (he said in disbelief) I agree with Congress." Well, a stopped clock is right twice a day, Sarge!

    I have to say, I agree with you. I am admittedly biased because the A-10 has been my hands down favorite plane for a very long time. It is undeniable that it it the BEST plane for it's specific mission for a whole host of reasons.

    As with the H-53K, where Sikorsky built a modern version of the old H-53, wouldn't you love to see a new "A-10"? Essentially the same but with modern avionics built in rather than added on?

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    1. A modernized A-10, designed and built with upgrades rather than patchwork? Hhmm, you might have something there. I'm not really sure how out of date the A-10's systems are. Some of the new stuff is inordinately complex and not better than what it replaced. I'd need a pilot's take on that.

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    2. I'd think that would be mostly avionics and the smart boxes would need a lot of room. With that VW sized gun in the nose, I doubt there's much up there. I don't know what the fuselage behind looks like, that might be a possibility. That may also cause some center of gravity/center of lift issues though.

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    3. The more modern avionics (in my experience F-4D vs F-4E) take up less room, I think they'd weigh less too, if computers are any example. Wouldn't solve the CG/CL problem though.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)