Another Example of Tex's Kind of "Lesson"

The Pentagon has decided to test the A-10 against the F-35 in the role of close air support, to see which platform really serves the needs of forces on the ground best. Hot Air reports:
First, though, the Pentagon has to get its F-35s working properly. Tritten notes that the latest in a long series of “glitches” involves its radar system, which randomly stops functioning and requires rebooting in flight. That could complicate comparative war-gaming — as well as potentially put pilots and ground personnel at greater risk. It’s hard to run a test between an operational and well-known system and a mock-up.
No, it isn't. Far from 'complicating' the test, I think it simplifies it a great deal.


E Hines said...

Tritten notes that the latest in a long series of “glitches” involves its radar system, which randomly stops functioning and requires rebooting in flight.

There's an easy, controlled test for that. Whenever the pig's--I mean F-35's--radar system randomly stops and needs rebooting, just have the Warthog driver push the reboot button on his Maverick-controlling system.


Eric Hines

MikeD said...

There is literally no way a platform designed to fill every conceivable role will ever beat a purpose built airframe in the purpose built craft's role. Unless the test is rigged. And it will be. And they'll use the results of the rigged test to claim it is "just as capable, but with the ability to fill all these other roles too!" And it will be a blatant and obvious lie that everyone will simply ignore.

The sad and sorry thing is, this POS aircraft can't even make it to the starting line of its rigged test. Because it's simply that broken. And they're still touting this thing as a serious contender. Frankly, everyone involved with this project needs to be fired and the aerospace firms who took the government's money in this debacle should be blacklisted from ever competing for a contract again.

Grim said...

There is literally no way a platform designed to fill every conceivable role will ever beat a purpose built airframe in the purpose built craft's role. Unless the test is rigged. And it will be.

Speaking of which, you should really see this movie. A friend of mine who is at the National War College right now, studying defense procurement, says they were required to watch it the first day of class.

Grim said...

That's the Dread Pirate Roberts in the lead role, by the way.

MikeD said...

I recall it airing. I never watched it because I always felt it was stupid to ding the Bradley for not being a good enough "tank" when that is never what it was designed for.

Grim said...

Well, that's the funny part -- learning how it got twisted up into what it became from what it was intended to have been. Plus the cheating. That's also funny.

MikeD said...

And the Paveway they mock in the opening scene is this:

Literally, it is THE bomb we use standardly now. And it doesn't have any 60% failure rate. Also, would someone please explain to me why an Army general would have been accountable for a weapon that no Army platform would (or does) deliver? This is stupid propoganda at best.

Tom said...

Why all the hatred for the Hog? The USAF has been trying to get rid of it for decades, and it's a great aircraft.

Oh, and there's at least one pilot out there who disagrees with Mike: I Wish I Had a Gun Just Like the A-10.

douglas said...

"There is literally no way a platform designed to fill every conceivable role will ever beat a purpose built airframe in the purpose built craft's role. Unless the test is rigged."

Well, to be fair, there does come a point when technological and material advances make up for the specific vs. general platform differences, particularly when the requirements are for more of something like speed, range or maneuverability. One of the things helping the A-10 hang on so long is that it wasn't about more (except armor and durability) it was about less as in less speed and less complicated. But eventually, things catch up and pass on the whole, the products that preceded them. A WWII era trainer like the T-6 Texan could probably out dogfight a sopwith camel, out bomb a Martin MB-1, out attack a Junkers J.I., and so on.

All that said, the A-10 was designed so well, it's going to be a while before we have something that can do as well at that specific job as it has and hopefully will continue to do.

Grim said...


Even so.


So, you didn't care for the movie, I take it? Well, I thought it was fun and made some good points about the way the process twists designs up into knots. There are also some good lessons toward the end about what soldiers really value.

douglas said...

Good one, Grim!

MikeD said...

I'm still watching. But literally I don't know there's been a single soldier in this movie that is not a caricature of a villain (save perhaps for the SSG on Cary Elway's staff). And the changes in a Bradley were not due to a conspiracy of idiot generals but in response to the Soviet's development of the BMP-1 (the world's first Infantry Fighting Vehicle). What is described as the "original design" of the Bradley is an APC replacement for the M-113.

But I guess why should we let a little thing like "history" or "reality" get in the way of a good story (or hatchet job on the Army... which is what this really is)?

MikeD said...

Just finished it. Correction, it looks like the enlisted testing staff were "good guys" after all.

I still want to draw your attention to other items of dubious honesty:
a) The problem with aluminum. Funny, the M-113 was an aluminum vehicle, as were many, many other military vehicles (including most of the world's other IFVs).
b) The ability to take an RPG (or other ATGM hit). Never was intended. The hull of IFVs are designed to protect the troops from small arms fire, machinegun fire, and artillery fragments. Modern RPGs can (and have) destroy(ed) main battle tanks. The idea that an IFV should be able to take the same punishment is ludicrous.
c) Weaponry. One of the defining characteristic differences between an APC and an IFV is the armament. An APC is a "battle taxi". Take the troops to combat, drop them off, scoot away. An IFV is instead intended to take troops to the battlefield, deploy them, and provide supporting fire. The inclusion of ATGMs such as the TOW missile were an addition to recognize that deployed infantry have little to no defense against armor. Nothing is unusual or indeed odd about the armament on the M2 Bradley (or indeed, any of its variants). Soviet IFVs tended to carry even larger cannons (the BMP-1 had a 73mm smoothbore cannon, the BMP-3 carries a 100mm gun alongside its 30mm autocannon). And most IFVs carry ATGMs. The movie mocked all of this, implying it was instead a risible idea only dreamed up by idiot generals playing with plastic toys. "Won't it draw fire with that big gun?" Gee... and here I was pretty certain EVERYTHING on a battlefield draws fire.

Grim said...

Well, OK, the movie wasn't completely fair to the Pentagon. On the other hand, there's a book about the case that shows that a lot of the tomfoolery about testing really did go on -- which is where we came in:

"Unless the test is rigged. And it will be."

You and I both realize that the Pentagon not only has done this kind of thing, but that it's going to do it again in this very case. If one engages in this kind of tomfoolery, at the cost of zillions of taxpayer dollars and potentially many American lives, one can't complain that the resulting satire wasn't completely fair on every point.

MikeD said...

The book you're referring to is "The Pentagon Wars" written by the Colonel who is the protagonist in the movie. And again, he objected to the fact that this "Armored Fighting Vehicle" could not withstand hits from ANTI-TANK weaponry and insisted on tests to demonstrate that. A lot of folks in Congress (the same kinds of folks who refer to a collapsible stock on an "assault weapon" as "the thing that goes up") agreed with this Air Force Colonel that an "Armored Fighting Vehicle" should be able to withstand that kind of firepower. So he got his test. And as predicted, the Bradley failed to stand up to anti-tank weaponry. Surprise surprise.

This is a complaint along the lines of "why can an F-22 not withstand the same kind of ground fire that an A-10 can?" And then demanding that changes be made to the F-22 to enhance its survivability against a Soviet 23mm anti-aircraft cannon. It's ludicrous!

The difference between the Bradley and the F-35 is no one, and I mean NO ONE ever once tried to claim the M-2 Bradley was going to be a replacement for a Main Battle Tank. These lunkheads are claiming that the F-35 will replace not JUST the A-10, but the F-22, the AV-8B, the F/A-18, the F-16, the F-15 and a host of other airframes. And the sad part is, it is incapable of replacing ANY of them right now. And this plane has been in development since 1996, and flying since 2006. If 10 years isn't enough to have a flight capable airframe ready to even TEST, there's a major problem. According to the article you linked, the GAU-22 25mm cannon for the F-35 is still YEARS away from deployment.