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Thread: Aviation in COIN (merged thread)

  1. #381
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    Goprisko - simple question: is your proposed platform currently available for immediate COIN operations? You list a bunch of techno-babble and aeronautical big bang buzz words, but it's all moot if such an aircraft is only on paper.

    I think what would be the best of both worlds, for most of the COIN/CT environments these platforms are anticipated to be used in, is some sort of twin-engine light mobility aircraft, armed as a gunship, with some upgraded sensors and targeting systems, that still has cargo-carrying or troop-carrying capabilities, like a twin-engine Otter, C-27, etc.

    It can be designed with limited self-defense capabilities like armor and chaff/flares, but let's be realistic. In these types of COIN/CT environments, I don't think these platforms really need to have robust air-to-air capabilities. They're main mission will be offensive air-to-ground, insertion/extraction, and resupply. Another key component is the country that gets these platforms has to be capable of acquiring, flying, and maintaining them over the long-term, so they can't be overly sophisticated.

    Could some be lost to the occasional and highly lucky RPG or small arms fire, perhaps. Would I factor in MANPADs or maybe even SAMs into the equation? Maybe, but again, keeping in mind the anticipated COIN/CT environments these platforms would be operating in, I'd have to put those at the low risk end of the spectrum.
    "We're here to preserve democracy, not practice it." from the move, Crimson Tide

  2. #382
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    Quote Originally Posted by socal1200r View Post
    I think what would be the best of both worlds, for most of the COIN/CT environments these platforms are anticipated to be used in, is some sort of twin-engine light mobility aircraft, armed as a gunship, with some upgraded sensors and targeting systems, that still has cargo-carrying or troop-carrying capabilities, like a twin-engine Otter, C-27, etc.
    When you say "armed as a gunship" do you mean with side firing guns like and AC-130 or armed with something like GPS guided 120mm mortar shells and small missiles like Hellfire or a combination of all of the above?

    Allow me to put in a plug for the AN-28/M-28. It loads from an openable (sic) back and has the best forward visibility of any airplane I ever sat in. And since the Russians built it, it is built stout.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  3. #383
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    I'm thinking more forward-firing armaments, like gun pods, missile launchers, etc., which will be easier to train the pilots to use effectively, in more of a CAS and strafing role. There's another thread on here about the Rhodesian Light Infantry, and they had a pic of one of their helos outfitted with four .303 Browning machine guns, which replaced a 20mm gun. They said the Brownings were much more effective, since the 20mm rounds had a tendency to explode at tree-top level. So I'm thinking maybe .50 cal gun pods on hardpoints under the wings, or possibly on the fuselage, would be pretty decent for a COIN/CT platform like this. Maybe add a side-firing weapon on each side for self-defense purposes, like another .50 cal or 7.62 chain gun, and that should do it. So something like this should be able to come in to a hot LZ, provide suppressive fire while orbiting, offload some troops and cargo with engines running, then do a combat takeoff and make it home.
    "We're here to preserve democracy, not practice it." from the move, Crimson Tide

  4. #384
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    Small twins like the Twin Otter and AN-28/M-28 are small compared to a C-130 or Dakota and agile compared to those airplanes. But they are huge and clumsy compared to one of those Rhodesian helos. And they are dead slow compared to one of the old strafers like the B-26. Making a strafing run, which means getting fairly close I think, at 100 knots in a Twotter might not be such a good idea.

    That is why I asked about fixed side firing armament like all the AC airplanes. You could stay further away from the ground while still providing good fire support with the guns and whatever else you wanted to hang on the thing.

    That might require more skilled pilots but I would rather keep the systems simple and put the money into pilot training. To do a good job with whatever you have you must have skilled pilots, so I would rather have that known and concentrated on from the start.

    Do you mean the same individual airplane would do the fire support and the cargo and people carrying? If you do, I don't think that is such a good idea. Guns, ammo, bombs and rockets weigh a lot and would not leave much weight and room available for cargo and people. I think it would be a much better idea to have some of the M-28s set up as armed airplanes and others set up as cargo and people carriers, like the Huey gunships and Huey slicks from Vietnam. The pilots wouldn't have to divide their attention and training between different missions either.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  5. #385
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    Carl - understood, but a good take away is the same platform, configured a little differently, could do just about everything. Something like the Otter, C-27, or one of the Russian planes you mentioned, is already available. I'd think they could be configured as the minimally armed troop transport/resupply aircraft, along with the separate gunship version, and have the same general procurement, operation, and maintenance costs/requirements.

    What I'm getting at is, there's something available RIGHT NOW, that with minimal work, can be configured to do the COIN/CT mission for 99 percent of the projected operational environments they're expected to work in, without bankrupting those partner nations in the process. As they say, don't let perfect stand in the way of good enough...
    "We're here to preserve democracy, not practice it." from the move, Crimson Tide

  6. #386
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    We are agreed then. It makes perfect sense. Bob Jones' idea was a very good one. But I think we both know it will never happen. There is no cool tech. No trons to dazzle nerds with. No complex project that would need project officers whose careers could be made by seeing something complicated halfway through. And it would depend mainly on the men in cockpits and turning the wrenches. All it would have going for it is effectiveness, simplicity, sensibleness, flexibility and lack of big expense. Sigh. It would be a cool project though.
    Last edited by carl; 07-13-2012 at 03:56 AM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  7. #387
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    "...All it would have going for it is effectiveness, simplicity, sensibleness, flexibility and lack of big expense..."
    Yup...unfortunately, that's WAY too much common sense, and not sexy or Gucci enough for the residents in the Puzzle Palace...
    "We're here to preserve democracy, not practice it." from the move, Crimson Tide

  8. #388
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    Default Bull in a China Shop? Attack Aviation and the COIN Battlefield

    Bull in a China Shop? Attack Aviation and the COIN Battlefield

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  9. #389
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    Default Strafing, Etc:

    Experience during the Normandy, Ardennes Campaigns, and likely in Vietnam, showed strafing to be the most hazardous ground attack activity.

    Advances in missile and gun targeting via LASER designation, now permit targeting of ground targets at ranges up to 5 km, depending upon atmospheric conditions. Should all weather be necessary, LIDAR or similar RADAR technologies need be used, with the disadvantage of emissions which call attention to the aircraft.

    The pusher design was chosen to open the nose of the aircraft for targeting electronics, both LASER and RADAR, and for mid-air refueling to increase
    loiter time.

    A single engine, armoured was chosen to minimize drag, and to simplify handling. Earlier twin engine COIN designs suffered massively when one engine went out, to the point of an uncontrolled barrel roll leading to a flat spin. Further, the engine is aft and shielded by the wing from ground fire during low level attacks.

    I admit that this specific design does not exist. This is a concept based upon sound aeronautical design, to show what is immediately feasible, given current technologies.

    Note that the wing and tailplane is much simplified compared to the Stavatti Machete, the entire aircraft is much cleaner too.

    Note that spoilers and the air brake are specified, this permits control of dive speed to permit longer target acquisition, and facilitates short field landings at empty weight(s).

    INDY

  10. #390
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    Default The Twin Otter.

    The Twin Otter, the DHC-3, as offered by Dehavilland, is a fine bush plane.

    However, it will lose much of it's payload once armoured, and fitted with a gun and targeting system. Since, it is an aluminum airplane, and twin engine, it's empty weight is much heaver than my concept aircraft, and it's skin friction is far higher, too.

    Also, it's stall speed is above 70 knots, and the concept specifies a landing speed, empty of 40 knots. This crucial difference equates into much longer landing and takeoff runs, necessating larger clearings, which may not be practical. It also has a much longer wing than the proposal, and the wing is not laminar, thus higher drag.

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  11. #391
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    Default COIN Aircraft & Weapons

    I don't believe a COIN aircraft should be a multi-purpose vehicle. Specifically, my proposal is a ground attack aircraft, capable of defeating AAMs and SAMs using EW, including decoys and jammers. The proposed EW capability includes 360 degree scanning for incoming threats.

    My proposal is a fully automated aircraft, to lessen pilot workload, and improve defensive response.

    For troop insertion, my two favored methods are twin engine transports and helos. Both aircraft are available in STOL configurations, would operate under the umbrella of my proposal and current Air Supremacy assets, and
    have payloads many times that of my proposal. For instance a twin turboprop transport will operate at gross weights of 10 X hp. Given two 3000 hp engines this transport would operate at MTOW of 60,000 lbs, could carry a company of men, or a platoon complete with vehicles, ammo, and provisions.

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  12. #392
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    Default Coin Aircraft Flight Envelopes

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyroll View Post
    I'm guessing you like the Thunderbolt 2. The problem with the T-bolt 2 is that it has no turning radius= very poor manuverability compared to prop craft and can only hold a slow pattern for a few seconds before you have to dip back into the engines and give the stick a little tug. Atleast this is what my sisters boyfriend tells me. He flies Hornets in the Corps, but was a Hog (t-bolt 2) pilot before that.
    He also said that at those low speeds it was insanely rough and that hard jolting would sometimes cause the 30mm to jam. He said the feel is similar to flying a commercial jet at very low speeds and altitudes. But, he said it almost impossible to tear it apart with heavy fire, or, anything else for that matter( thanks to carbon fibre covered ceramic spawl plates). He said he's seen many of them get hit with SAM's in the stubs and still land. He said he has even belly landed one and it was back up and flying a few days later... didn't hurt it at all. That says ALOT for any jet powered craft. In that aspect that plane lives up to it's namesake.
    I like'em alot! Probably my favorite jet pack, but the not turning thing would make me sick. But, it is a flying tank and is designed to do exactly what it does, included in that is the fact that it has little manuverability. That is so you don't overshoot or, have to dip to keep your point of aim on a target when your coming in on top of it. This is what I'm told about that aircraft and it seems to make sense. He even said that turboprop "bug bashers" are better for serving alot of the roles that the A-10 serves and more. I called and asked him just to see what he said, but, this is only one opinion of one pilot. But, aside from the fact that you can't hardly take an A-10 down, I think a turboprop is just as good in it's own right.
    But the idea of recip engine "horse fly" planes was a little silly now that I think about it in terms of the US armed forces. Where in the hell would they get AvGas and why would they want to deal with that?! Although to me it still makes sense for the private sec.
    Cliff and others seem married to the above aircraft. I'm not. I think that modern computerized flight characterization programs can assist the design of a STOL, turbo-prop COIN aircraft with flight characteristics superior to the A-10. My submission is one such aircraft.

    A modern ground attack aircraft would take advantage of improvements in lightweight armour. Would simplify the gun system as I proposed. Would keep the hp to MTOW ratio at 5 or less to improve climb, shorten takeoff run, improve dash, and keep cruise in the 300-400 knot range.

    A modern ground attack aircraft would use slats and compound full span fowler flaps to reduce landing speed (empty) to 40 knots, and takeoff speed to 60 knots at MTOW. Roll control would be via the canard, spoilers, and the elevator. Both a canard and elevator would be present to maximize maneuverability, including a very tight turning radius at combat speeds, which are expected to be 100-200 knots.

    A bubble canopy with the pilot seated erect and high, so he can maintain situational awareness, which is armoured, is specified.

    The engine and prop are aft to open the nose for refueling probe, LASER target designator, and RADAR target designator.

    The gun is relocated from the chin to the wing root where the magazine is better protected from ground fire, and close to the CG so using ordinance does not change trim. Two recoil operated guns are specified to simplify maintenance, improve reliability, and maintain acceptable firing rate. Further the gun is no longer expected to KO tanks, the brimstone and Pars missiles deal with MBTs, while the gun deals with APCs, trucks, troop concentrations, and helos. 75mm Guided Rockets are in the inventory to deal with Light Tanks, pill boxes, and other suitable targets.

    The emphasis is on precision targeting using LASER and RADAR for all weather capability.

    The key components of the airframe and cockpit are armoured to improve survivability.

    MTOW is kept at 15,000 # max at 3000 Hp.

    Landing Gear legs are long to provide ground clearance essential for fast re-arming between missions, and at a forward base.

    30X113 ammo is specified for the gun because that ammo is used by other batallion level aircraft, (helos), and because recoil is much less.

    In short, the A-10 has proved itself a very useful aircraft, as did the AD1 Skyraider, the P-47 thunderbolt, and the F6F Wildcat. But time moves on, advances in technologies have been made, and it is time to field a successor.

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  13. #393
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    Surely Cas and coin aircraft are fundamentally different things? A tucano sounds more like light strike than anything useful for coin. Bronco more like it but right at the top end of what is actually needed.

    How many policing or counter insurgency engagements would be easily decided by a single aerial fifty Cal rather than the firepower of an a10? How many engagements which wouldn't be decided by such would be by accurate fires targeted by an aerial observer? Does the ability to rapidly extract singleton casualties give greater capability than firepower?

    Frankly the grasshoppers used to such effect in Burma or the Cessnas used by the Rhodesians arguably offered far more than the turboprop powered aircraft usually mentioned.

  14. #394
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    Default Air Power in Small Wars: three new sources

    Hat tip to a "lurker" for three previously unknown resources on air power, which will add to the large thread 'Aviation in COIN (merged thread)'. Two from the RAF and one by an academic with their support.

    Two from the RAF Historical Branch, first 'The RAF, Small Wars and Insurgencies in the Middle East 1918-1939', pub. 2011, 100 pgs. The focus is on 'Air Control':http://airpowerstudies.co.uk/sitebui...OINBooklet.pdf

    Then 'The RAF, Small Wars and Insurgencies: Later Colonial Operations, 1945-1975', pub. 2011, 164 pgs:http://airpowerstudies.co.uk/sitebui...AFAHBCOIN2.pdf

    Third is a 2009 edited volume 'Air Power, Insurgency and the War on Terror', with fourteen chapters, 155 pgs and covers several specific campaign threads here: Nicaragua, Yemen (Aden), Greece and the Soviets in Afghanistan. Note the editor has released it online:http://www.joelhayward.org/Hayward%2...0Book%20A5.pdf
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-02-2017 at 08:25 AM. Reason: 14,475v when a stand alone thread
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  15. #395
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    Default Jet fuel comes at a price

    Hat tip to WoTR for this article 'Logistical fratricide the cost of fast jet tacair measured in purple-hearts' and I think it fits here! Why? This is a clue:
    ... the heavy use of fuel in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom can be directly tied to casualties incurred by ground operations required to get the fuel to U.S. bases, particularly airbases.
    Link:http://warontherocks.com/2016/11/log...purple-hearts/

    Two interesting passages, which I don't recall spotting before:
    In Afghanistan, one U.S. serviceman or contract civilian was killed or wounded for every 24 sixteen-truck fuel convoys, and that number was one per every 38.5 convoys in Iraq.

    ...between 2001 and 2010 a whopping 39 percent of the total killed in action of U.K. uniformed personnel and contractors (over 190) was related to resupply efforts.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-15-2016 at 05:32 PM. Reason: 150,797v
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  16. #396
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    I agree, this was a good article. As a former military pilot, I've been arguing the need for a light, cheap, and decently armed fixed-wing aircraft for these very purposes. Unfortunately, it seems like our leaders have become intoxicated with all the super-expensive, shiny go fast toys. I believe one of the comments on that article was done by "Warlock" who I am presuming is the same poster over here that goes by Warlock. I thought he made a valid point about AC-130 style gunships, they would be ideal for overhead convoy support because of their long loiter time, ability to carry multiple weapon/sensor systems, and a large crew that can maintain prolonged periods in the air. I would even go so far as to argue for a hybrid arrangement, similar to the hunter-killer tactics used in Vietnam. An AC-130 could maintain top cover from 7-10K AGL while a section of A-6/A-27s provides direct low altitude coverage at 1-2K AGL. The low section could rotate out at pre-designated times or points due to aircrew limitations or aerial refuel if needed.

  17. #397
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    Default Back to Basics in New Mexico

    Hat tip to WoTR for this fascinating article as the USAF holds an experiment with real 'Light Attack' aircraft, all commercially developed. One jet and three turbo-props. It ends with:
    It’s easy to demand programs that are faster, better, and cheaper — making those attributes real is problematic. Nevertheless, it is possible, and we are out to prove it. Experimentation is a sensible and cost-effective measure; expect to see more of it.
    Link:https://warontherocks.com/2017/08/ba...riment-begins/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-23-2017 at 11:48 AM. Reason: 198,829v 48k up in 9 months!
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  18. #398
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    Default A-29 Super Tucano A Force Multiplier in COIN

    A-29 Super Tucano A Force Multiplier in COIN

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  19. #399
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    Default Aviation in COIN (merged thread)

    Props: Small Planes for Small Wars

    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-02-2017 at 08:25 AM. Reason: 221,447v

  20. #400
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    Default

    Hat tip to WoTR for hosting two USAF pilots on the OA-X competition, quite a "ding dong".

    For:https://warontherocks.com/2017/11/oa...-light-attack/ and Against:https://warontherocks.com/2017/11/false-promise-oa-x/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-28-2017 at 07:43 PM. Reason: 235,083v
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