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Pentagon of the F-35 vs A-10 close air support evaluation hits next phase

File photo – F-35A Lightning II aircraft to receive fuel from a KC-10 Extender from Travis Air Force Base, California, July 13, 2015, during a flight from England to the USA.
(U. S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Madelyn Brown)

The Pentagon-led F-35 us. A-10 Close Air Support assessment approaches are the next stage of the evaluation, after an initial “first wave” of tests in July of this year — designed to test which of the two aircraft that is best suited to engaging heavy enemy fire in the execution of high-risk CAS missions.

“The mission of the performance is under evaluation,” Vice-Adm. Mat Winter, Program Executive Officer F-35 program, told reporters earlier this year.

Pre – Initial Operational Test & Evaluation test phases are currently underway at Edwards AFB, and Naval Air Station in China Lake, officials said.

“The mission of the performance is judged on the presence of a robust set of ground threats and to ensure a fair and comparable evaluation of each system, the performance of both planes are allowed to configure their best weapons loadouts and use their best tactics for the mission scenario,” a statement from the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation said.

Long revered by ground troops as a “flying tank,” the combat-proven A-10 is indispensable for ground-war victory. The titanium hull, 30mm cannon, durability, built-in redundancy, and weapons range of the aircraft to keep track of large amounts of small arms fire and combat damage and continue to fly.

At the same time, as newer threats have emerged and the high-tech F-35 matures in the battle, many AMERICAN military weapons developers, and combatant commanders to believe that the JSF will be a better, new-generation of the CAS support to ground troops. So – the permanent Office of the Secretary of Defense comparison.

In the first study, what would be a stealthy, 5th-Gen F-35 as ill-equipped, or at least not suitable for close air support. However, a closer look seems to discover a few of the benefits.

Long-distance, computer-enabled F-35 sensors of the aircraft and destroy enemy ground targets with the precision of a much higher altitudes and much further to achieve more than an A-10 could; the speed of a F-35, compared to an a-10, would make it possible to better be able to maneuver, to escape enemy fire and in position for the attack; if the A-10s 30mm cannon, the F-35 has its own 25mm gun mounted on the left wing, which could be the attack of the army; given the sensor configuration, with things like a 360-degree Distributed Aperture System with cameras, the F-35 brings a drone-like ISR component-to-air-to-ground war. This can help targeting, terrain analysis, and the much-needed precision attacks if the AMERICAN soldiers are fighting at close range with the maneuver of enemy ground forces.

A F-35 may be better positioned to quickly respond to enemy force movement; in the case that the enemy air threats in a gunfight, the F-35 can they in one way or another an a-10 can, of course, not; an F-35 would be much better positioned to locate enemy long-range fires points of the control of meaning and destroy enemy artillery -, mortar-or long-range-fire launch points. Finally, while the A-10 has a surprisingly wide envelope of weapons, the F-35 would be able to travel with a wider range of air-to-ground attack weapons, armed with advanced targeting technology.

Also fighter-jet close air support is not unprecedented. F-22’s were used against ISIS, the F-15’s were deployed against insurgents in Iraq – and the F-35 recently had the combat debut in Afghanistan.

However, there are a number of unknowns likely to inform the current analysis. How much small arms fire could a F-35? It can rely on the “float” technology for loitering near high-value target areas? To what extent would it continue to fly in the event that important components, such as engines or hull components, were destroyed in the war? How much can A-10 weapons and targeting technology be upgraded?

Regardless of the conclusions of an ongoing evaluation, it is likely that both the A-10 and the F-35 will perform CAS missions in the immediate years ahead.

While the Army of the respect for the A-10 is a long established fact, the service is also known as the F-35 for Close Air Support.

“If you’re in a firefight, the first thing infantry wants to do it get on the radio to adjust fire for mortars and locate targets with close air support aircraft or helicopters. You want to burn. The F-35 has an increased chance of survival and it will play a decisive role in the support of the fighting on the ground,” the Army chief of staff, Gen. Mark Milley told reporters at the Association of the United States Army Annual Symposium in October.

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