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11 March 2014


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different clue

I recently read an article by a former analyst for the air force making his case for why the A-10 remains a provenly valuable system and should be retained. I have no background enabling me to judge the value of this article but it seemed interesting so I offer it to those who have that background. If it is indeed valuable and correct, maybe the A-10 will be retained if enough all-the-right people read or hear analyses like this one and can force the political system to act on them.


There's a decent presentation of those and duck decoys at the St. Michaels Maritime Museum on the Eastern Shore.

Mike C

A little esoteric bit of aviation history: The OV-10 Bronco was initially conceived as a CAS aircraft that lived with the infantry. To ease logistics, the designers preferred to use infantry-type weapons, 7.62mm machine guns primarily. But their very favorite was the 106mm recoilless rifle, if they could get one with an auto-loader. A single shot RR wouldn't be worth its weight. The cargo bay aft of the cockpit was to house the magazine and loading mechanism.

The 106 RR was tested on a flying aircraft in 1974. A Cavalier Mustang at China Lake had a pair of the weapons fixed to the wingtips. The back blast wrinkled the fabric covered rudder, and according to one anecdote may have overstressed the airframe. There was also a feasibility test done from a static OV-10 slinging an unmodified 106, and with a similar result of slight damage to empennage. To the bureaucrats, that was enough reason to cancel the project.

The OV-10 as produced only slightly resembles the original concept. It was a much larger, more conventional aircraft and always operated from a runway or carrier deck. Oddly, they retained four sponson mounted M-60s.

Image of the recoilless Mustang here:



The Bundeswehr thinks so too, and, while adding a 'Bunkerfaust' warhead to the Panzerfaust 3, they have added some lighter, smaller calibre expendable variants (along the lines of the Armbrust) of the Panzerfaust 3 to their inventory for use urban fighting (no backblast with those).

Last I looked the Bundeswehr still retained the Carl Gustav for battlefild illumination.

I don't know whether the KSK and similar units are using more modern Carl Gustav variants, or at least the more modern ammunition, just like the US.

I think it likely, given that they have the weapon lying around in depots, are familiar with it, and considering the 'mingling' of Western special forces.

Richard Armstrong

Exactly now what is the mission of the United States Air Force? Their mission as the airborne arm of our nuclear Triad strategy has been passed by advances in antiaircraft artillery. The use of high-altitude B-52s and B1 bombers in support of ground troops is somewhat efective. I have never heard of the use of the B2 spirit bomber in the conflicts in the Middle East flying all the way from Whitehead in Missouri to the Middle East is a really really long haul and the amount of maintenance required after each mission kind of makes using these on a frequent basis difficult if not impossible.

The new darling of the Air Force the F 35 is the first aircraft since the early mustangs and P47 that was designed in such a way that it absolutely prohibits the pilot from being able to "check his six".

Modern Soviet fighter aircraft carry nearly 2 1/2 times as many beyond visual range missiles as does any aircraft in our arsenal. These missiles rely on radar and infrared and can be launched in at least two volleys beyond visual range at our incoming aircraft. Perhaps a better idea to counter the Soviet threat would be upgraded F-16s and F-15s that can carry three times as many missiles for beyond visual range attacks against probable Soviet and Chinese adversaries.

The agreement between the army and the Air Force dividing responsibilities such that the Air Force got the airplanes in the army was stuck with helicopters seriously needs to be revisited. All of the A10s in inventory should immediately be transferred to the Army just as the Marine Corps has their own integrated air force the army should also such that they will now be able to provide their own ground support without asking the permission of some Airdale way back in the Pentagon.

The F35 & F22 will never be allowed to perform ground support because the cost of replacing one aircraft and pilot dwarfs the cost of replacing a company of boots on the ground,


Infantry ownership of 106s is key - real fire support not under someone else's control. At Phu Loc 6, a modest and vulnerable "bump in the road" to An Hoa, a battery of 105s (which could use flechette rounds in direct fire) faced out one side of the small fire base and the supporting infantry platoon had 106's in place facing out of then other side - in both cases across wide cleared areas. Not sure that this site could have been held without the 106s.

I later taught the 106 at Marine Officer's Basic School (TBS). The best student company commander during my TBS tenure made quite a splash on his company's "106 shoot" as he offered up his relic of a car as target - which was well received by his second lieutenants and the selected gunner blew the car into very small pieces with a spalling round.


For what it's worth, my father spent most of his life developing military weapons. I grew up around weapons designers. They were very smart and very creative people, physicists, engineers, and chemists mostly. Many had PhD's. As you say, any comparison with what they made to hunting equipment is absurd.

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