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Thread: Aviation in COIN (merged thread)

  1. #81
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    Default regarding coin aircraft

    Hi Tom:

    Yup.

    Are there still any left in the USAF boneyard?

    If not, how much would it cost to revive production lines?

    The engines would of course have to be turboprops this time.

    But that alone would be enough for the modest but immediate needs of the Philippine Air Force. Together with the Philippine Coast Guard, these planes could also be used to patrol against pirates and smugglers.



    Cheers.

  2. #82
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Are there still any left in the USAF boneyard?

    If not, how much would it cost to revive production lines?
    I would seriously doubt it. The boneyards only keep air frames so long and then they are sold for scrap.

    Tom

  3. #83
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    At the altitudes you need to fly to be effective at COIN and the typical state of insurgent resupply, SAMs are not the biggest concern. Your biggest worry should be RPGs, Snipers, lucky riflemen and thrown spears, arrows and rocks....
    I have never flown any but commercial aircraft in peacetime but it seems to me that in order to orient yourself and find your target, you would have to fly at altitudes, say between 1000 and 3000 feet, that would put you in grave danger from small shoulder fired guided missles. When putting something on target then perhaps you would be so low it wouldn't matter.

    The following is a list of general comments about this subject that may or may not be pertinent:

    A COIN airplane would greatly benefit from having two seats for two sets of eyeballs. Really tough terrain requires full attention to not hitting the ground and having somebody else to look outside would be a big help.

    Turboprop engines are great for this mission but you should consider what kind of heat signature the engine produces. The PT-6 has two very hot exhaust stacks exposed all the time. Something like the PW-120 series is more powerful and it might be easier to shield the exhaust.

    F-82's are long, long gone. If you could find one, or even the remains of one, it would be worth far more to a collector than any government would be able to pay. Besides the last thing you would want on a low and slow airplane is two radiators exposed at the bottom of the airplane for all the world to shoot at.

    I wonder if vertical dive bombing might not be reinvestigated. I read the JU-87, in 1939, could put a bomb with 30 ft of a target, without the benefit of gee-whiz electronics. Combine that capability with the new small diameter bomb, or even a specially fitted 120 mm. mortar shell, it might be a way to put fire support very close to troops without as much expense.

    Some kind of cannon, 20 mm. or better, is indispensable. There are many accounts of aircraft like the mighty A-1 Skyraider laying down cannon shells within feet of troops in contact.

    One last thing. I recently read an article by an AC-130 aircraft commander lamenting the fact that when he was in Iraq, his airplane was tied to one ground unit all night and it was hell to have it re-assigned. The article also stated that in VN gunships were just flown in a general area till they were needed then away they went. Does anyone know if the AC-130's are still tied down to just one unit in Iraq? It seems that is a waste.

  4. #84
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinoyme View Post
    The engines would of course have to be turboprops this time.
    Disregard my comment above about radiators being vulnerable. You already addressed that problem.

  5. #85
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    One last thing. I recently read an article by an AC-130 aircraft commander lamenting the fact that when he was in Iraq, his airplane was tied to one ground unit all night and it was hell to have it re-assigned. The article also stated that in VN gunships were just flown in a general area till they were needed then away they went. Does anyone know if the AC-130's are still tied down to just one unit in Iraq? It seems that is a waste.
    Do you have a link to the article? If so, I might be able to answer if I could grasp the context of the statements.

  6. #86
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default altitude does matter

    Carl posted good points about susceptibility to shoulder-launched projectiles. Mogadishu '93 definitely highlighted the danger of an enemy who employs new TTPs against you with a dated weapons system.

    On the matter of flight profiles for aircraft, I'll share this interesting moment, even though it occured with Kiowa scout a/c, and not a fixed-wing platform. I recently served as an umpire during Exercise Talisman Saber 07, and the Aussies made excellent use of scout helicopters against light armored recon and tank formations. On more than one occasion, a section of Kiowas would fly nap of the earth and identify our elements on the ground.

    On two occasions, once they spotted a cluster of vehicles, they made a direct run overhead and dropped a smoke grenade on the position to mark it for follow-on Cobra or F-18 airstrikes. It's an old Vietnam/Rhodesian tactic, and I have to admit that I had a smile on my face even though I knew I'd be assessing casualties against our side.

    What is notable about all this is the fact that the Kiowa aircraft were difficult to pick up and even track due to the single canopy vegetation. We could get a bead on them for only a short window, and typically when they directly overhead. I'm no SAM guy, but I can hazard a guess that it would be very difficult to achieve a lock with such a short exposure window.

    I'd have to add to my previous list of required capabilities, and in addition to the leaflet pod, a good COIN aircraft would need a smoke projectile pod to designate targets or the center point of a ground contact. Done right, the pod could be configurable to support both leaflets and smoke devices.
    Last edited by jcustis; 07-19-2007 at 12:56 AM.

  7. #87
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Default AC-130 article

    Here is the address of the AC-130 article to which I referred:

    http://www.ndu.edu/inss/Press/jfq_pa...ons/i45/19.pdf

    Regarding the low altitude flight of the Kiowa: at the begining of the current war I read an article by a VN helicopter pilot in which he expressed surprise at the altitudes the Army helos were flying in Iraq and Afghan. He said that way back when they flew one of two ways; either as absolutely low and fast as they could or above 4000' agl. Low and fast for the reason you state and high to be above .30 cal range.

  8. #88
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    Default New A-10 CoIn Squadron?

    http://aimpoints.hq.af.mil/display.cfm?id=20181

    US Air Force ( USAF) Chief of Staff General Michael Moseley has told Janeís he is considering the creation of a new counterinsurgency (COIN) squadron of A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft for the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).
    -john bellflower

    Rule of Law in Afghanistan

    "You must, therefore know that there are two means of fighting: one according to the laws, the other with force; the first way is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first, in many cases, is not sufficient, it becomes necessary to have recourse to the second." -- Niccolo Machiavelli (from The Prince)

  9. #89
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    Default AT-6 COIN Concept paper

    Folks,
    I have posted a Concept paper on acquiring the AT-6 for COIN operations at my site here: http://www.excaliburrd.com/projects/

    Also, I have also stood up a collaboration and innovation national security thinktank, please take a look at http://excaliburrd.com/cs/

    and join or let me know what you think. I love this site and have it linked over at mine,
    Thanks
    Otto

  10. #90
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Otto,

    Interesting A/C. I have to confess that I was wondering why drag out the T6Texan and again try to hang weapons on it. we did that in the Congo in the 60s and there were problems.

    Keep posting and welcome. Tell us more about you here.

    Tom

  11. #91
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    Very interesting. The A1 Skyraider was used very well for CAS in Vietnam et al. My dad used to convert the Skyraider at Alameda Naval Air Station for service in Southeast Asia when I was just a kid. I think they went straight to the RVN Air Force.
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


  12. #92
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  13. #93
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    Default A-1's and T-28's

    That A-1 was a beast, another similar aircraft was the T-28, initially used by both the Navy and USAF for training and later by the USAF as a close air support weapon. I've attached a link to my friend Brian Shul's Q&A on his background with training foriegn pilots, his deployment and subsequent shootdown in Vietnam, and what he thinks on modern day concept of using a prop driven airplane. If you are interested, please take a look here

    http://www.excaliburrd.com/docs/AT-6...6BrianShul.pdf

  14. #94
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    Default What was the "monkey's" role in a Skyraider?

    Just one question about the Skyraider.

    The warbirds association I was member of owned one Skyraider (and two T-6 each of them propelled with 2 blades propellers). It was the biggest and the most powerful one propeller plane of the club; still bigger than the F-4 (though the Antonov AN-2 seemed to be the biggest, but that curious Russian bird was neither a fighter, nor a fast plane, by far).

    So, this Skyraider was equipped with one 20mm cannon in each of its two folding wings, whose mechanisms were accessible for maintenance purpose once the wings were folded.

    But there is something else about that plane I didn’t find much allusion to on the web, eventually. It consisted of a little door located on the let side below and behind the cockpit. Once you opened that door you could see quite a Spartan seat on which, strangely enough, one should find himself looking at the rear of the plane, that is not at all what a co-pilot or a crew bomber would be supposed to do! Moreover the infortunate guy who was supposed to seat here couldn’t see much of what could happen outside; for, thus "trapped" he had no cockpit and just, if my recollection is correct, one or two tiny round shaped windows: one on this small door, and the second located at the opposite side on the fuselage.

    I once asked to someone what this second passenger was supposed to do in that plane, and I was just answered in an humorous and purposeful tone: “oh, that’s where the “monkey” seats down, but I don’t know what he was supposed to do while the plane was flying, actually.” It was certainly awful to be the monkey because this guy couldn't by no means anticipate on what the pilot could do!

    My question is, does anyone know something about that, or was this Skyraider a special version?
    Last edited by Dominique R. Poirier; 07-29-2007 at 10:24 PM.

  15. #95
    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    From what I understand, all the Skyraiders acquired by the USAF and RVN were supplied by the U.S. Navy. The USN was replacing a lot of their Skyraider squardrons with jet aircraft. I do know that over the years there were some counter electronics types with a second seat. Other than that I would assume you are describing one these special types.
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


  16. #96
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    Default Skyraider versions

    Thatís actually a great question Dominique! I knew there was a door on the left side of the fuselage and never knew what it was for either. On this site:
    http://www.boeing.com/history/mdc/skyraider.htm

    "Different configurations carried a pilot in an enclosed cockpit, a pilot and another person (either a radar operator or a co-pilot), and a pilot and two other crew. The AD/A-5 could carry a crew of four, plus four passengers or 12 troops, four stretchers, or 2,000 pounds of cargo."

    There were versions with 1, 2,3, and 4 seats, talk about designing a versatile aircraft! It's funny to me now, with all of our incredible computers, with modern production designs, all that, back in the "day" we made weapons systems that could be modified into other versions and today our F-22's couldn't cross the International Date Line without their computers tumbling.

  17. #97
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    Default Air Force Doctrine for Irregular Warfare

    Air Force Doctrine for Irregular Warfare - The US Air Force recently (1 August) signed off on its latest doctrinal publication - AFDD 2-3 Irregular Warfare...

  18. #98
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    Cavguy made some very interesting comments about what a CAS aircraft needs in another thread. He mentioned guns and JDAMs (preferably 250 lb).
    He also noted the tactical value of having a loud jet buzz the enemy at low altitude, a "show of force."

  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Here is the address of the AC-130 article to which I referred:

    http://www.ndu.edu/inss/Press/jfq_pa...ons/i45/19.pdf

    Regarding the low altitude flight of the Kiowa: at the begining of the current war I read an article by a VN helicopter pilot in which he expressed surprise at the altitudes the Army helos were flying in Iraq and Afghan. He said that way back when they flew one of two ways; either as absolutely low and fast as they could or above 4000' agl. Low and fast for the reason you state and high to be above .30 cal range.
    Kiowa's hard to see, but the OH-6 is harder to see. Quieter, too, on the whole.

    I just got a research publication done in 1970 that compiled questionnaires done by scout pilots and observers who'd been in Vietnam. Interesting stuff, and I wonder how much of that actually made it into the training and doctrine? Somehow I doubt that much survived the 1980s....
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Do you have a link to the article? If so, I might be able to answer if I could grasp the context of the statements.
    carl, I finally got through the article, and I think the author forgets that when he references "being tied down to a single unit" he is dealing with brigades and regiments. These gunships aren't tied to single companies or battalions. Take the regimental combat team that is oriented on Fallujah. That RCT owns an area that encompases areas of the peninsula, the next town to the west, east to Abu Ghraib, etc. His portrayal of being tied down to a single unit is a tad misleading.

    While I applaud the major's desire to get out and hunt, I don't think any of the ground commanders are willing to have Spectre roaming about on a loose leash, no matter how self-assured the author is about effectively applying C2 to any engagement. Maybe the ground guys need to get their act together better, but so long as we control that ground, air folks need to be patient with the box we put them in.

    The Al Hayy vs. Najaf argument is a non-starter, and the statement, "...it was obvious to the crew that the chance of engaging insurgents was slim to none," is a dangerous one that ignores the reality of the ground fight. The enemy's ability to aggregate and conduct attacks is measured in seconds and minutes, and although Al Hayy seemed benign at the time, a commander requested the ASR for a reason. If the author had delved into the nature of the ASR and its justification, he might have a stronger argument.
    Last edited by jcustis; 08-14-2007 at 04:21 PM.

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