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  #1  
Old 02-24-2004, 05:33 AM
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Military Aviation Folks: Comanche Gets Cancelled

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  #2  
Old 02-24-2004, 05:37 AM
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Yeah...i saw that...but i was biased against it for a long time...Give me a Hughes 500 with TOW and a door gunner.....
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Old 02-24-2004, 05:39 AM
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Its a program thats really not necessary anymore. The Apache can do almost everthing the Comanche can. About its only significant ability above and beyond the capability of its predecessor is its low radar signature,special acoustics design, high technology composites, and a buried exhaust system, making it less observable. But is that really needed in the futuristic wars with the current existing capability to knock out radar before interdiction? I don't think so.
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Old 02-24-2004, 05:40 AM
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More to the point, do our enemies really have the technology to make any of that useful? I don't think anyone we've fought recently has.
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Old 02-24-2004, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick325xiT 5spd
More to the point, do our enemies really have the technology to make any of that useful? I don't think anyone we've fought recently has.
Exactly. The Comanche's main object ( in 1983 pentagon think tanks) was stealth, to get in behind Soviet tank lines and search and destroy. This program should have been canceled with the Berlin wall fell.
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Old 02-24-2004, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick325xiT 5spd
More to the point, do our enemies really have the technology to make any of that useful? I don't think anyone we've fought recently has.
Not gonna really argue against the cancellation deal; I think that the services in general need to fund the systems they already have (spare parts shortages,) pay those folks more (soldiers on green stamps is just bs,) and train and equip folks to do their job.

HOWEVER. That being said, if I'm behind the glass, I don't care if my (potential) enemy has the technology. If it's available for a reasonable cost, I want it. If the cost isn't reasonable right now, work on making it so.

It's not about parity, it's about battlefield DOMINANCE.
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Old 02-24-2004, 08:13 AM
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Agree, that the current bad guys don't have the high tech to make the aricraft necessary any long.

In fact, in a low tech war, helicopters get into trouble by themselves. In Iraq the one big loss of helicopters was when the Army tried to do it without the help of A-10s. LOTS of helos lost.

A-10s and helos make an AWESOME combination, as long as you aren't on the receiving end.

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  #8  
Old 02-24-2004, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
A-10s and helos make an AWESOME combination, as long as you aren't on the receiving end.

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I thought a while ago the Air Force was planning to get rid of the A10--did they finally get a clue and decide to keep them?
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Old 02-24-2004, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by elbert
I thought a while ago the Air Force was planning to get rid of the A10--did they finally get a clue and decide to keep them?
Not sure, but I think they were shuffled to Guard units.
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Old 02-24-2004, 09:10 AM
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A-10s are awesome. Old technology but gotta love those warthogs.

And that whole Comanche program... where is all that money really going?
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Old 02-24-2004, 09:30 AM
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...where is all that money really going?

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Old 02-24-2004, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
In fact, in a low tech war, helicopters get into trouble by themselves. In Iraq the one big loss of helicopters was when the Army tried to do it without the help of A-10s. LOTS of helos lost.



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Pinecone.

Are you refering to the AH-64 squadron that went up againts a fortified tank laager alone and ran into a lot of trouble i.e. flak?....If so there was only one machine downed (both pilots POW). THe aircraft was in one piece with many bullet holes (not catastrophic) b=ut was destryed by a USAF airstrike as it was a war trophy. Other machines returend to base with holes in them...not a horrible failure...perhaps the enemy were lousy shots or the machines/pilots were good with evasive flight. I like to think the second however you cant shoot when you are busy ducking..hence the low hits on that mission.

The Cold War plans called for attack helicopters to stop the hordes of russian tanks invading western europe hence the requirement for the commanche and AH 64.

However, i think attack helicopters by themseleves are vulnerable but effective.

I have spent time in COIN ops to confirm effectivesness....however, a heavily armed and ready enemy is always a threat....A helicopter has a certain signature (sound)and flight envelope that begs to be shot at!...how ever much one hides behind trees etc like the Cayuse or Kiowa.


...and my experince was with the Bell UH-1N and Mil 24V NATO "HIND"
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Old 02-24-2004, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elbert
I thought a while ago the Air Force was planning to get rid of the A10--did they finally get a clue and decide to keep them?
The A-10's are still in active duty units and are planned to remain there for a LONG time.

In the new services that I can get into, there have been numerous articles where the AF is now looking at avionics upgrades, new engines, and additional smart weapon capability for the A-10. Initially, there were to be on the books until around 2010 (I believe). Now it looks to be around until 2020 when the A-35 JSF takes over fully.

On an interesting note...it was due to the A-10's performance in Afghanistan that the AF has now decided to buy some STVL versions of the A-35. Right now, the only fighters capable of operating out of Bagram are the A-10's. The runways are too short for any others.

I was never really conviced that the Comanche was really needed either. Yes it would be stealthy, but with only a fraction of the firepower of an Apache. The Comanche would carry a small payload on "wings" that would fold into the body and decrease the radar cross section. For it to carry an AH-64 type load, the "wings" would have to be fixed in the deployed position, and I don't think it would be any more stealty than the AH-64.
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2004, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertnate
On an interesting note...it was due to the A-10's performance in Afghanistan that the AF has now decided to buy some STVL versions of the A-35. Right now, the only fighters capable of operating out of Bagram are the A-10's. The runways are too short for any others.
I thought it was because many of the fields are too rough to stage F-16's out of.
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  #15  
Old 02-24-2004, 01:30 PM
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The Apache is to too big, heavy, and unreliable to be a reasonable recon plateform. What the Army needs is a modernized and uparmoured AH6.

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Old 02-24-2004, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertnate
On an interesting note...it was due to the A-10's performance in Afghanistan that the AF has now decided to buy some STVL versions of the A-35. Right now, the only fighters capable of operating out of Bagram are the A-10's. The runways are too short for any others...
Do you really see the F35B taking over the OA10's role? Sure it has STOVL, but it doesn't have OA10's armour and low attitude / low speed performance.

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Old 02-24-2004, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed328Ci
Do you really see the F35B taking over the OA10's role? Sure it has STOVL, but it doesn't have OA10's armour and low attitude / low speed performance.

Ed
Personnaly, I don't see it...but here is what I based my comments on. This is not the entire article.

Quote:
Inside The Pentagon
February 19, 2004
Pg. 1

by Elaine M. Grossman

Air Force Unveils Fresh Commitment To Supporting Ground Troops


ORLANDO, FL -- In perhaps their most striking departure yet from decades of lagging enthusiasm for supporting ground troops, Air Force leaders last week offered impassioned pledges and unveiled new funding initiatives aimed at bolstering land warriors.

Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hal Hornburg, under direction from the Air Force secretary and chief of staff, is studying how to extend service life for much of the A-10 fleet, the workhorse aircraft dedicated to close air support (CAS) for ground forces. The A-10 Warthogs likely will receive new and more powerful engines as part of a larger “bridging” strategy to ensure existing aircraft will remain usable longer, given a recent slip in the schedule to introduce the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) into the fleet.

The new A-10 initiative follows an interservice dust-up last summer in which critics alleged Hornburg’s staff was studying ways to retire A-10s early (Inside the Pentagon, June 5, 2003, p1).

“We’ve got to keep the A-10s on line until that JSF delivers,” Gen. Gregory Martin, head of Air Force Materiel Command, said in a Feb. 12 interview with ITP.

Air Force leaders are now making a virtue out of necessity, going well beyond the practicalities of mitigating the JSF setback to reach out to the land component in new ways.

“We believe it is important that our land forces see us demonstrate our obvious commitment to air-to-ground support, both deep interdiction and close air support,” Air Force Secretary James Roche said in a Feb. 12 speech to an Air Force Association symposium here. “We intend to be fully integrated with them, whether they are SOF [special operations forces], Army, Marines or coalition land forces. With this strategy, we will solidify our goal of developing evolving joint air-to-ground doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures.”

In his own speech a few minutes later, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper said the air and land components had done a poor job of coordinating before a major battle in Afghanistan in early 2002, Operation Anaconda (ITP, Oct. 3, 2002, p1). In meetings he initiated later that year with his Army counterpart, the two leaders realized they needed to “make sure that we understand clearly the way [the] other goes to war,” Jumper said.

He said generations of Army officers exercising at the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, CA, had watched Air Force jets fly overhead from nearby Nellis Air Force Base, NV, but had little idea what air power offered.

“Because [Army leaders] wanted to make sure that the ratios between the opposing forces on the ground . . . and maneuver elements of the Army units being tested were in the right ratio, air power was never allowed to have an effect on the opposing force,” Jumper said. “So generations of Army officers, what they learned was that they can look up and see the airplanes but they never did anything good for them.

“We’re going to fix that,” Jumper vowed. “We’re going to exercise our air and ground together in ways that assure that our Army leaders understand, they know, what air and space power can do for them.”

“We want to make sure that the Army and other land forces know that we feel very responsible . . . for making sure that we’re doing everything we can to make them successful,” Martin said in last week’s interview.

The Air Force recently decided to buy the Marine Corps’ short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) version of JSF, in addition to its earlier planned fleet of conventional JSFs. Martin said the new version will be particularly useful in support of ground forces, given it would be able to access smaller airfields closer to the ground fight.

Roche said his service would work with Congress to add a buy of the STOVL variant, stressing the growing importance of “short-takeoff-and-landing” capability. “These aircraft will be as special to our ground force colleagues as are the A-10s today,” Roche said.

Although the quantities and timing of this procurement -- like the A-10 modernization -- are subject to Hornburg’s bridging force study, Martin said his service has assumed JSF would first replace the F-16 fleet, before retiring the Warthogs. Hornburg expects to complete his study by July or August, in time to include its recommendations in the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2006 budget plans.

Hornburg told reporters Feb. 12 some have proposed using the Warthog modernization program to “create an A-10 on steroids.” Improvements may give some of the A-10 new avionics, better datalinks, greater precision weapons capability and new engines, he said. An initial effort to boost A-10 capabilities was unveiled in 2000 (ITP, Nov. 9, 2000, p1).

A new engine would likely use an off-the-shelf core, aimed at giving the A-10 a higher thrust-to-weight ratio, Martin said. More powerful engines would lend the A-10 “better performance in some of the areas that were [lacking] -- high-altitude [flight], heat, and heavy weapons loads,” Martin said. “I don’t think that you’ll get much speed out of it, but you’ll get more efficiency in its engines, more thrust. Which means you have better maneuvering potential against threats.”

In his speech, Roche highlighted close air support as a mission area receiving his special attention lately.

“Our airmen on the ground have been the key to many of the combat successes we’ve witnessed in Afghanistan and in Iraq,” Roche said. “Through their eyes-on-the-target assessments, they provide one of America’s significant asymmetric capabilities, and dramatically increase the effectiveness of our support to land forces.”

He noted that through the Air Force’s 2-year-old Battlefield Airman project, the service had reduced the weight of the ground controller’s standard 160-pound kit by half. The Air Force has also replaced much of the outdated equipment these forces use to help guide pilots’ munitions to ground targets, he said.

The new gear uses “machine-to-machine” communications that “reduce the time it takes to link sensors to shooters by 40 percent,” Roche said. “And we will equip these airmen with gear for every environment in extreme.

“We are investing in man-portable, tactical [unmanned aerial vehicles] to extend their sphere of influence and greatly increase their situational awareness,” he continued. “We are committed to providing them with power sources which last far longer and are significantly lighter.”

Roche said he and Jumper also envision “a near-term future where these combat controllers can designate a target precisely up to 10 kilometers away, automatically communicate those precise target coordinates to one of our aircraft, and receive expected time of weapons arrival in a confirmation message.”

This “focused investment, these new approaches and newer ways of thinking will enable us to produce a set of capabilities that will expand our Air Force portfolio of military advantages,” Roche said.

He also paid tribute to the A-10 in ways only rarely heard over the years from Air Force leaders. In contrast, the aircraft has been universally popular in the Army, where its ability to fly low and slow allows pilots to clearly visualize the enemy, distinguish adversary from friendly forces, and use a powerful 30 mm gun to hit both moving and static targets.

“Our A-10 fleet has served us well,” Roche said. “Our ground forces appreciate its capabilities and the airmen who bring these capabilities to their fight. Its ability to be based in proximity to land forces in battle, often in unimproved circumstances, its resistance to FOD [foreign object debris], its robust self-protection, and the skill of the airmen who fly it close to their ground colleagues in direct support of firefights are good reasons why this capability is appreciated.

“It is right, then, for us to commit to the near-term improvement of a portion of this fleet and to evolve this mission area over time,” he continued. “So we will call from the A-10 force some number -- yet to be determined -- of aircraft in the best condition for sensor system upgrades, re-engining and service life extension, to bridge the force to the new F-35 close air support fleet.”
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Old 02-24-2004, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed328Ci
The Apache is to too big, heavy, and unreliable to be a reasonable recon plateform. What the Army needs is a modernized and uparmoured AH6.

Ed
I don't think that there are plans to use the AH64 as a recon platform. Upgrading the AH6 is probably what they will do in the meantime.

That's what I find was kind of confusing about the Commanche; they called it a recon ship, but yet it had same offensive capabilities/systems (Longbow, etc) as the Apache. Except for the lighter weapons loadout of course.
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Old 02-24-2004, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by AJAX
I thought it was because many of the fields are too rough to stage F-16's out of.
The article that I based that on came from "Inside the Air Force" Unfortunatly that is a paid subsription website, and the news archive which provided the text only goes back two weeks. The article came out three weeks ago...
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Old 02-24-2004, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJAX
I don't think that there are plans to use the AH64 as a recon platform. Upgrading the AH6 is probably what they will do in the meantime.

That's what I find was kind of confusing about the Commanche; they called it a recon ship, but yet it had same offensive capabilities/systems (Longbow, etc) as the Apache. Except for the lighter weapons loadout of course.
The Comanche was a camel, a horse designed by a committee. It made very little sense.

I think the US Army is now thinking of buying more Longbow Apache Block III's in place of the Comanche. The Block III have the Comanche's radar, and ablity to downlink and control new UAVs. Doesn't solve the Apache's reliablity problem though. It takes more than an hour of repair / maintainence time for every hour of flight. Yikes!

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Old 02-24-2004, 02:50 PM
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Yes, the USAF tried to get rid of the A-10 prior to the first Gulf War. The aircraft did such a great job there and got such good press, they decided to keep them. Most are in the hands of ANG or Reserve units.

Heck before the first Gulf war the aircraft were fully manual bombing platforms, not fancy electronics, just a dot and skill.

WRT the helicopter situation in the recent Iraq conflict, this was a battle touside of Baghdad. I don't think many went down there, but over 50% were unflyable after RTB. Losses were much lower in concert with A-10s.

And yes, the USAF can never seem to figure out there is a need for a straight winged, low sped (realtively) tight turning airplane. They tried to do CAS in Korea with jets, it didn't work. They tried to do CAS in Veitnam with hgih speed jets, it didn't work. In fact they had to borrow aircraft from teh Navy, HORRORS (A-1 Skyraiders), rebuild old light bombers from WWII (B-26K) and modify a trainer (A-37).

So they finally built the A-10 and immediately started to try to get rid of it.

So here we go again, A-35s for CAS, yeah right. BT, DT, it don't work.

But working with the helicopters is a GREAT package. The helicopters unmask and shoot to cover our pop, then we roll in, tehen the helos cover our egress, mask and move, and we do it all over again. A few helos and a couple of A-10s can almost keep a group under continuous fire. No time to look around and shoot back.
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Old 02-24-2004, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
...WRT the helicopter situation in the recent Iraq conflict, this was a battle touside of Baghdad. I don't think many went down there, but over 50% were unflyable after RTB. Losses were much lower in concert with A-10s...
To be fair, the Army's chopper problems during OIF have a lot to do with doctrine. The Marines, with their older, lighter, much less armoured Cobras, had much LESS loses than the Army? Why? The Marine choppers did not HOVER in battle! Doesn't take a genius!

Ed
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Old 02-24-2004, 04:56 PM
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TOP TEN REASONS COMANCHE CANCELLED.

10. Offered in only one color.

9. So stealthy Army found out that it actually didn't exist.

8. Chinese could manufacture them in sweatshops for 15 Yen.

7. French thought they were great machines.

6. Digital hardware found to be based on operating system of Commodore 64
and Western Auto 8 track tape deck.

5. DARPA diverting funds to use on technology to hunt for intelligent life on Earth.

4. Comanche limited to no flying during rain....or sunshine, or darkness.

3. Limited use for helicopter that could fly sideways and backwards at 70 knots.
(note: French found 70 knot rearward flight interesting.)

2. Army putting savings into buying more Jimmy Deans.

and finally, the number one Top Ten reasons Comanche Cancelled:

1. To make Godfather 22 stop writing letters to the Congress complaining about the Comanche.

Not my best Top Ten, but am just greatful that the long stupid nightmare of funding this piece of junk is over.
God bless the decision makers.

Godfather 22, out


Not my list,(not responsible for spelling errors or content) but from an ecstatic e-mail I got from one of my good friends (AH-1 Cobra and now AH-64 (trained but waiting for the AH-64)pilot.
Sikorsky is still going to be really busy trying to produce all the UH-60's that the Active Army and Nat'l Guard need.
Most of the Army Aviation community is probably happy this exotic wet dream is cancelled and they can use the $$ to upgrade what is out there flying now (and replace everything lost in Afghanistan and Iraq)

Last edited by elfhearse; 02-25-2004 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 02-25-2004, 06:54 AM
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Old 02-25-2004, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed328Ci
To be fair, the Army's chopper problems during OIF have a lot to do with doctrine. The Marines, with their older, lighter, much less armoured Cobras, had much LESS loses than the Army? Why? The Marine choppers did not HOVER in battle! Doesn't take a genius!

Ed
Also the Mrines typically work with a fixed wing side. It is easier for them since they have both fixed and rotor winged aircraft. No inter service coordination required.
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