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Close Air Support in the CF: Bring back something like the CF-5 or introduce something with props?

Eye In The Sky

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Colin P said:
There is always money to be had, if you are the chosen ones, Who is the chosen ones depends on the government of the day, crisis dejour and political capital to be spent or gained.

I am not saying it is the fleet I am a part of.  I am saying it is across the not only the RCAF, but the CAF (the do less with more funding program).  IF you are adding multiple Sqns of aircraft, that is going to cost a few dollars.  Where are their hangers going to be, the hangers have to be heated...its more than just aircrew and maintainers and a bit of gas. 

These are niche capabilities...outside of the one-sie/twosie mission sets, what is their capability?  If you were going to do something like this, I'd expand it into the MAISR project instead of relating it to anything fighters...because fighters can do CAS.  I see this type of CAS (the little single prop bug smasher type airframe) and I think lower, slower and that makes it a target for...lots of stuff.

If the GoC isn't willing to use existing strike aircraft to drop iron on targets such as ISIS..why bother buying a lower/slower platform to do something we aren't even doing now?  ???

Fit a couple of '140 with the kit needed to do CAS, let the fighters do it, get attack helicopters and add them to the TacHel world (1 or a combo of any of those...doesn't matter)...I don't see a need or reason to have a one-of mission aircraft in an air force that isn't funded well.
 

Loachman

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Eye In The Sky said:
Ref buying a few Sqns of light attack prop airframes...they're more niche aircraft IMO, and we need multi-mission type ones because of our size and funding (or lack of it).

As I've said here multiple times over quite a long time...

Niche-push has zombie-like qualities.

YZT580 said:
Our current government has stated their desire to get back into 'peace keeping' and they have pledged resources to fulfil this goal.  Pursuing the purchase of said aircraft for support punts the issue into the next decade as they can promise as soon as we have the resources we will be there.  Both Mali and the Congo have demonstrated the requirement for light duty airborne support.  Purchasing new interim aircraft is resolved and it doesn't take money away from their favourite charities.  IMHO it is a win-win for the libs.

Campaign promises casually tossed out with no expectation of a need to fulfil, and which have since tapered off into silence after much wafflement, aside, we are currently operating much closer to Russia than Mali and Congo, at this government's whim.

How much deterrent value would a slow-moving putt-putt have in that area?

How would a slow-moving putt-putt fare in that area if the situation boils over?

And, if we're buzzing around, even in slow-moving putt-putts, and dropping/firing anything, it ain't peacekeeping.

Chris Pook said:
If all pilots are type qualified on the CT-156/T-6/AT-6 does that mean that the pool of pilots available to provide support in permissive environments is all pilots (including rotary wing), rather than just the pilots qualified to fly the F-18/F-35?

Thus reducing the workload on the F-18 pilots.

Thus increasing the workload on every other community.

Absent an increase in the number of Pilot positions (and techs, etcetera), who's going to get yanked out of their "pool" to flounder around in this one? I am not aware of a single CF flying community that has a large excess of potential candidates. Everybody is busy, and short of people, as it is.

In the Tac Hel case - and likely similar in other communities - a sustained op drives down general competencies in favour of op-specific competencies as it is, requiring a lengthy (one to two years) period to regain those competencies. At least we are operating the same machines, and not some completely different niche putt-putt, which would only make it worse.

Chris Pook said:
If the CT-156/T-6/AT-6 is a primary trainer does that mean that the time necessary to convert a pilot into a "useful" asset can be reduced?

Training somebody - and in this case, refreshing - to fly a given machine is not difficult. Developing tactical proficiencies, including multiple-aircraft operations, takes somewhat longer.

Chris Pook said:
What is the impact on Reserve Pilot employment and retention?

Unless there is a permanent unit established (with the necessary infrastructure and not-insignificant budget) at a suitable airport with a large-enough pool of ex-Regular Pilots and techs, etcetera, this is an irrelevant non-issue.

Simpler solution:

Buy the best multi-role aircraft available.

Don't waste scarce people and funds on a niche putt-putt.
 

Colin Parkinson

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My concern is that we use up airframe hours on a expensive resource we have to few of already. Frankly I would love to go buy 10 more ASW aircraft, it seems it's not happening either. If we get around 80 fighters, then we will be doing ok there, if we don't and the project gets locked in a death grip of political infighting a lesser "peacekeeping" CAS aircraft might be the only digestible game in town for awhile. Stranger things have happened.
 

Loachman

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To do that, one either has to build and maintain additional infrastructure somewhere and increase the establishment of Pilots, Techs, and other support pers, or cut something else out.

So - what are you willing to cut.

For absolutely no benefit.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Loachman said:
So - what are you willing to cut.

Any/every project that has to do with new ranks, DEUs, buttons, ties and socks for the next decade or two??

:blotto:
 

daftandbarmy

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Eye In The Sky said:
Any/every project that has to do with new ranks, DEUs, buttons, ties and socks for the next decade or two??

:blotto:

Plus 5 or 6 gigantic and semi-useful HQs, ex Maple Resolve and similarly frustrating exercises, all 'morale patch' programs and mandatory briefing programs, semi-professional military sports (and PSP while you're at it) and the Snowbirds....

oh.... oh.... and the Military Colleges, just for spite ;)
 

Loachman

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I'd leave the Snowbirds alone, but the rest - oh, yes.

How many of those other people are aircrew-fit Pilots, though?

We cannot train enough now, let alone even a small increase merely to support something that is not particularly useful.
 

tomahawk6

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Evidently the USAF is studying CAS on the cheap and here is the video of the options.Who would have thought a crop duster would be in the running ?  :camo:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-air-force-reveals-powerful-041956009.html
 

Karel Doorman

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tomahawk6 said:
Evidently the USAF is studying CAS on the cheap and here is the video of the options.Who would have thought a crop duster would be in the running ?  :camo:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-air-force-reveals-powerful-041956009.html

Well we know the reason behind "the on the cheap" part,don't we?

Everything is ok just to be able to "kill" the Warthogs.My belief is such that when they've decided(wich one for the USAF)they'll cancel the project,and the USAF has what it wants,"kill" the A-10's and do the CAS part with the F-35(as they wanted to do in the 1st place,btw the USAF is scrapping them fast,damaged ones, so that it isn't possible to bring them back,against the order from Congress i've heared)

Poor soldiers on the ground,they love the A-10's,the enemies "crap" in their collective pants when they hear 1 comming.And the USAF just don't care about CAS.

So here's an idea just transfer the A-10's to the Marines,they want to do CAS,and the most feared CAS plane stays. :salute:
 

a_majoor

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Slightly sideways look, but the rise of UAV's and UCAV's, and especially the potential for "swarming" attacks brings back the need for "low and slow" airframes. This article looks at the issue. Imagine a turboprop version of the Spitfire or Hawker Typhoon patrolling down in the weeds ready to unleash hails of machine gun or cannon fire against UAV class targets:

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/could-be-the-us-militarys-secret-weapon-stop-swarm-strike-24093

Could This Be the U.S. Military's Secret Weapon to Stop a 'Swarm' Strike?
Dave Majumdar
January 16, 2018

Last week’s massed attempted drone strike against Russian forces in Syria is a harbinger of things to come. Indeed, it is almost inevitable that American forces could come under similar attack. However, countering drones with surface-to-air missiles or interceptor aircraft is expensive, thus an airplane such as Embraer and Sierra Nevada’s A-29 Super Tucano might be a more cost effective option.

“The A-29 does have an air-to-air kill against drug runners so it can certainly be used very effectively against that class of target,” Taco Gilbert, Sierra Nevada’s senior vice president for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) told reporters on Jan. 16. “It has the ability to go slow like a slow-mover aircraft.”

Gilbert noted that during the last stages of the Second World War, piston-engine Spitfire fighters were very effective at intercepting the German V-1, the world’s first cruise missile. Indeed, once the Spitfire pilots learned more about the threat, they often would not even bother to shoot the target, but would fly alongside and tip the missile over with the wings of their fighters. Today’s pilots could apply the same principle to intercepting incoming drones. “When you look at a similar class weapon today, a slow-moving cruise missile or a slow-moving drone, this is a very effective aircraft in that type of environment,” Gilbert said.

Moreover, even if weapons had to be employed, the A-29 is armed with highly accurate .50 caliber machine guns that could quickly dispatch those threats. “It’s one of those things where you want to be efficient and effective and the A-29 is both,” Gilbert said.

The threat from swarming drone attack is here to stay.

“Looking at non-state actor drone operations in the last 2-3 years, I would expect to see more efforts to launch swarm drone attacks by non-state groups in the future,” David Knoll, an analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses told The National Interest.

“As with the improvised explosive device (IED) fight during the Iraq war, we’re seeing a cat and mouse game between the non-state groups employing drones and the states attempting to counter them. The key difference is that with drones, the commercial sector is driving the rapid development of drone technology. The non-state actors only have to modify the platforms—in many cases not at all—and figure out how to employ them effectively in a military setting.”

Samuel Bendett, another specialist researching drone technology at the Center for Naval Analyses, agreed that swarming drone attack and coordinated drone launches—such as the one that hit Russian forces—will become increasingly common. The best defense against such attacks is likely electronic warfare (EW).

“Robust EW defenses—in fact, the Russians are already talking about bolstering their EW even more following this Syria attack,” Bendett told The National Interest.

However, rather than using a platform such as a A-29 in a kinetic role against UAV swarm, a better use might be to use such an aircraft as a carrier-vehicle for an electronic warfare package.

“Any platform can be outfitted with enough sensors to either track or engage and destroy an incoming UAV of a certain type- after all, the Russians have already mounted an EW system on a small Orlan-10 UAV,” Bendett said. “So using a Leer-3 system as an example—it’s a cellular signal jammer that operates on an Orlan-10 UAV—other technologies can be developed that can be mounted on other airborne platforms.”

Thus, if the United States Air Force acquires a platform like the A-29 or AT-6, it might be able to use such an aircraft as a defense against swarms of drones in lieu of a $1.8 million AIM-120D AMRAAM launched from a F-22 Raptor or F-15C Eagle. Certainly, from a cost perspective, it would make sense.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.

Other seemingly retro plans call for rapid fire artillery (one article on NextBigFuture spoke of 50mm chain guns) as a counter to this threat. We might see layers of "retro" tech and very new tech working together against different target sets.
 

a_majoor

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Going back over some of this thread, it occurs to me that new developments can be leveraged for this and some other goals. I had opened the thread by asking if it were possible to supply CAS from austere and dispersed airfields using relatively inexpensive aircraft.

Since that time, the US Army has been asking for a new replacement utility machine to replace the UH-60 family, One of the early contenders which has already done demonstration flights is the Bell V-280 tilt-rotor. Since it is a replacement for a battlefield utility helicopter it is a bit larger than a dedicated gunship, but it has the sort of speed and range as some of the turboprop aircraft that have been mentioned upthread.

As a bonus, if we were to get in on a bulk purchase with the US Army to replace our rotary wing fleet, we could likely get the economies of scale to purchase them in larger numbers (I might even say bulk up the fleet by replacing some of the small SAR aircraft, and seeing if they are adaptable for the Navy and Coast Guard as well). While not a bomb truck, the Valor should be able to mount guided missiles, an automatic cannon or be capable of doing more out of the box things like launching and controlling UAV or UCAV's. Low and slow and loitering should not be an issue, and of course any reasonably flat field or surface can be used as a FARP.

 

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SupersonicMax

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The issue with VSTOL props is the downwash generated by the props when coming to slow speed/hover which makes unsuitable for any domestic SAR roles.  Its larger size makes it a fairly limited utility helicopter when it comes time to get into tight spots.  Time will tell what the US Army will get.
 

GR66

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It would seem to me that any "inexpensive" CAS aircraft would only be survivable in a fairly low intensity environment where we (i.e. the Americans) dominate the airspace. 

With all the desperately competing needs for the limited funding the CF has, I can't see us purchasing a dedicated CAS aircraft.  The best we could hope for would be either an armed version of a transport/utility helicopter (https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2018-02-06/armed-black-hawk-completes-qualification)  or possibly an armed version of a training aircraft (https://defense.txtav.com/en/at-6).

This would at least give us an aircraft to fill a needed non-combat role that could in a pinch also fill the CAS role when required.

 

Colin Parkinson

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Having our training aircraft equipped for CAS would allow them to be used for regular training (including CAS) and if absolutely required to fill a operational gap, which would impact training if for any length of time.
 

Loachman

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GR66 said:
The best we could hope for would be either an armed version of a transport/utility helicopter (https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2018-02-06/armed-black-hawk-completes-qualification)  or possibly an armed version of a training aircraft (https://defense.txtav.com/en/at-6).

Griffon can be armed - typically a GAU-21 (M3 Browning .50 cal) on one side and Dillon Aero M134D (six-barrel 7.62mm) on the other.

It is used for CCA (Close Combat Attack) vice CAS, which is a seized-wing role.

It's restricted to warm/dry environments, as lack of cabin doors in cooler/wetter ones is, as they say, "sub-optimal" - especially for the FEs.

If the Inuit suddenly rise up and seize the north, we're completely buggered.

Colin P said:
Having our training aircraft equipped for CAS would allow them to be used for regular training (including CAS) and if absolutely required to fill a operational gap, which would impact training if for any length of time.

Except "our training aircraft" are not ours. We do not own them.

But, if we did commandeer them and send them off to war (presuming that they have hardpoints etcetera; I really do not know), then who would train our new Pilots, and on what? We cannot keep up to demand in several areas of the aircrew (and Tech) training chain as it is. The wait between courses (for some guys - and one is too many - at least) is horrendous, ie up to two years for a certain relatively-new helicopter.

No recent government has elected to add PYs. Whatever we gain in one area has to be offset in another. What - again (I've asked a few times before) - are you willing to give up in order to gain a limited-use niche-role pseudo-capability, and why?
 

Colin Parkinson

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You are correct and I acknowledge the ownership up thread. If we have to bring these to a fight, you won't have time to train new pilots or supply new aircraft. Until the fight is over. Having the planes part of the fleet and having the air training near a decent place to live, might be a preferred posting. If done right, might help retention \. You can still hire civy (ex-RCAF) to assist in training.
 

Kirkhill

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Loachman said:
No recent government has elected to add PYs. Whatever we gain in one area has to be offset in another. What - again (I've asked a few times before) - are you willing to give up in order to gain a limited-use niche-role pseudo-capability, and why?

Legitimate ask (histrionics aside).  I am one that has come around over time to your position Loachman.  There is no push to hire pilots, mechanics or sailors.  Therefore there is no requirement for aircraft or ships of any type.

Soldiers are a marginally acceptable buy, so long as they are never used and don't require any weapons.

We might be able to find more Air Force PYs if the RCN were willing to reduce the number of sailors it needed to man ships, but that will never happen.  Just like the Institutional Army will never reorg itself.

Edit - On the other hand, arming trainers is still an idea I support.  The question of what we will do to train pilots once the balloon goes up is moot.  We will burn through both aircraft and pilots faster than either can be replaced.

 

MarkOttawa

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Ma Deuce
D5BpwW8WwAAUJf7.jpg


Mark
Ottawa
 

Colin Parkinson

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The AOP's are hulls with significantly less manpower for the same tonnage, so technically yeas the RCN has dropped PY's. An incremental increase in PY in the pointy bits of each service and reduction in HQ staff would make significant difference.

Frankly I too would prefer Attack Helicopters, but suspect arming training aircraft would be far more likely. 
 

Loachman

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Chris Pook said:
There is no push to hire pilots, mechanics or sailors.  Therefore there is no requirement for aircraft or ships of any type.

There is, and there is.

Recruiting for most, if not all, occupations continues, but retention sucks. Aircraft and ships are relatively cheap - politically, at least - things to quickly push overseas for a little flag-waving and, occasionally, achieving something useful. Demand exceeds capability for all of our fleets.

Chris Pook said:
Edit - On the other hand, arming trainers is still an idea I support.

And I never will. That's just a waste of valuable aircrew and ground crew. They're the bigger investment, by far. Equipment can be bought, but people need time for training and experience-gathering. If we are going to invest in such people, give them something useful to fly and maintain - a real aircraft, with real capabilities including a chance of survival and not just some short-range un(der)-armed putt-putt that does not even belong to the CF.

Chris Pook said:
The question of what we will do to train pilots once the balloon goes up is moot.  We will burn through both aircraft and pilots faster than either can be replaced.

Keep training anyway. Suicide tactics are not our style.
 
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