Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Does McCain's plan for 300 "brush war" fighters make sense?

via AOL Breaking Defense.
A key part of Sen. John Mclain’s alternative defense budget proposal is the rapid purchase of 300 “low-cost, light-attack fighters that would require minimal work to develop.”
I asked Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein today what he thought of McCain’s proposal, contained in Restoring American Power. “Great idea,” he said, pointing to the long war we’ve fought against Islamic terrorists and other violent extremists. While America needs F-22s and F-35s in case of war with China, Russia, Iran or North Korea, Goldfein said those aircraft need a break from flying the regular missions into permissive environments such as those found in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other theaters where US aircraft execute Close Air Support (CAS) and other operations that don’t require stealth, high speed or other expensive and sophisticated capabilities.
Then this.
I asked Goldfein if the Scorpion aircraft, built on spec by Textron AirLand, was one of the aircraft under consideration and he said yes. The other planes already being considered for OA-X are Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucanos and Beechcraft’s AT-6. With ardent A-10 supporter Sen. Kelly Ayotte having lost her seat, it will be interesting to see how Congress shapes the CAS decisions the Air Force hopes to make.
Sorry guys but McCain's plan makes no sense.  Think about it like this.

1.  We already have the superb A-10 for the down and dirty fight.  If we don't already have 300 of them then we should easily reach that number by refurbishing those in the boneyard.

2.  Remember during the F-35 debate when everyone said that it was too vulnerable to do CAS?  We were told that those missions would be performed at 15K feet due to all the great sensors and precision weapons we have.  Are we suddenly gonna risk losing pilots to ISIS by having them get in the weeds with a Super Tucano or an AT-6 or even Bronco?

3.  What about the MQ-9 Reapers (and the early model) that we have access to?  Those are all armed, can stay on station for hours and not only can drop bombs and fire missiles but also provide the vaunted "sensor node" that the USAF is all wet about.

4.  If CAS has evolved then we have long range, high flying, massive load carrying, can stay on station an awful long time B-52s.  Lets be honest.  They're no longer part of the nuclear mission.  Not realistically anyway.  Time to redesignate them as AB-52's (attack bombers) and go back to the big belly modification used in Vietnam.

This plan is nothing more than a money grab by the Air Force.  Toss fly guys a new toy and they get happy.  We don't need 300 new low end fighters.  That base is already covered by assets we already have in inventory.

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