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#41 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 0303 AM

I dont think we have enough specialized rounds for AT work, but yes, it certainly could be done. Ive a document in my collection of a SP 120mm mortar that could carry either Laser designated rounds, or a MMW top attack antitank round. That was in 1989. Technology has made that considerably more achievable now.

 

I get the impression (and this may be an erroneous impression on my part) the real reason the US Army wants attack Helo's is to go after deep strike targets. Largely because they dont trust the USAF to do it for them. And whether you do that in a 160 knot machine, or a 250 knot machine, you are quite possibly going to take significant losses doing that. There is a book by Hans Halberstadt on US Army airpower in the cold war, and he interviewed one crewman who said of deep strike 'If you got the target, you did good. But that spear you sent isn't coming back, or if it is, its coming back in pieces.

 

16 years later, he was seemingly proven right.

https://en.wikipedia...tack_on_Karbala


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#42 Chris Werb

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 0525 AM

Stuart, the helicopter can also hover. It can use its dash speed to get from point to point using NOE profile flying to a far greater extent than an A-10. The main advantage oc the jet over an AH-64 is that it can get to where it is needed much faster. It can also be based much closer to where it is needed and is not dependent on runways or highway basing. It can even land and await further orders. The Apache is much more maintenance intensive than the A-10, but it cramps in systems the A-10 lacks, so that is a somewhat unfair comparison. In some ways the Apache is an order of magnitude more effective vs a conventional threat than the A-10, just as MMW HELLFIRE is beyond Maverick. The latter requires a suicidal flight profile to use. No one is going to be plinking Russian tanks from a safe distance with them. What is needed is a much faster, more easily maintained two seater rotorcraft.
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#43 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 0629 AM

I know Chris, I regularly fly the Huey in DCS. :) I regularly make a habit of flying down the strip in Las Vegas to prove what a crazy pilot I am. And thats difficult to do, even at 90 knots vmax. Try doing it at 300 knots in the A10 and you come badly unglued.

 

Here is the thing, there are fish and fowl. Fish swim very well. Fowl (well some of them) fly very well. You mix the two and end up with a flying fish that does nothing very well.

 

Here we have an Apache that can do something like 250knots. At that speed its ability to manoeuvre is not going to be as good as an Apache. At top speed, it would not even be as fast as an A10. Yes, if you are fighting something like Afghanistan again, it would be very useful. At which point I would say drop the armour entirely and go with the baseline Boeing machine which you can use for other things as well as rocketing and strafing jihadi's.  Even the baseline Blackhawk was perfectly good at taking and flying with battle damage, it didnt need the ability to shrug off 20mm hits.

 

I truly mean no disrespect, but I think you have missed quite how many upgrades the A10C has gotten.  it has JDAMS, E model Mavericks and a gps intertial navigation system. They even shoehorned a helmet cueing system in it if I remember rightly. It truly is not your grandfathers Hog. Yes, even that is going to have questionable survival if it does go over an envisaged Russian front line, I quite agree. I just do not see how a helicopter that is going a hundred knots slower is going to do any better. Its not fast enough to improve on the A10's survivability. Its not going to be manoeuvreable enough to improve on the Helicopters NOE flying. Which as we saw over Iraq, is sometimes more mythical than reality.

 

 

For all these things, I think we probably either or preferably two different things. I think we want a stealthy rotorcraft, preferably manned, to behave like a Kiowa, preferably armed. And you want a shooter, laden with rounds, preferably a drone, perhaps also with some stealthy features. Id keep the Kiowa analogue back designating targets, and Id have the drone taking the advance and usually taking the shots. Yes, you could make the kiowa analogue agile, but with stealth it usually wont need it. It will utilize its manoeuvrablity more than speed, to fly NOE where possible. The drone, well it shoudl be as cheap as possible, and relatively throw away.

 

Thats the hideously expensive way of doing it. But the right way usually is.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 18 May 2019 - 0629 AM.

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#44 Chris Werb

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 0723 AM

Stuart. I havent missed anything. Did you even read my post?

Speed is useful to transit to and from targets or patrol areas faster. It increases practical combat radius directly as well as sortie rate. It can increase survivability in certain types of attacks vs certain types of opponents (ragheads). Lack of speed has proven to be a huge minus in Afghanistan and is one of the two main drivers towards fixed wing prop driven COIN.

As to A10 upgrades, the aircraft is still not capable of non line of sight engagements of precision targets, except perhaps with E mode Maverick and third party targeting. It cannot near simultaneously shoot 16 MMW guided ATGW from cover having detected its own targets. Even the 65E is mostly used self designated. Maverick, JDAM, guided 70mm rockets, you name it all impose attack profiles that woukd be suicidal against Russian GBAD. The fact these things work against the Taleban where they can stay high and use their targeting pods does not make the tactics viable against a 1st World military. They found the gun was non viable as far back as 1991 when pilots were told to stop using it.

The A10C is a wonderful, but very overengineered COIN aircraft. It is kept on largely as the fleet represents a sunk cost and the infrastructure is there to support it. It is not what you would design for its intended role if you were starting with a clean sheet of paper today.
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#45 Mr King

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 0748 AM

There is lots of interesting information on Silent Hawk in here, I found this in the discussion in the link from Mr King above:

https://www.dropbox....Pages..pdf?dl=0

 

Good read, thanks for posting. 


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#46 shep854

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 0815 AM

RE:A-10 vs AH-64, etc., there's also the matter of control.  Army wants assets it can directly manage, not go hat in hand to another service that would really rather be going other, zoomier things (at the management level, at least).

N/LOS plus advanced AAA feeds to my contention that direct air support will eventually be supplanted by ground-based arty, whether rocket or tube.


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#47 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 0947 AM

You are probably right Shep.

 

I was noting that the AV8B now has 2.75 inch rockets with laser seekers on them. I idly wonder if a Toyota with a bed on them would, if you fire them into the right footprint, be just as effective as far more expensive and complicated systems like Brimstone.

After all, drones are getting simpler and more sophisticated. I have to wonder if its ever going to be feasible to mount a laser designator on something as small as a camera drone. At that point you are really ending up in uncharted territory.


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#48 Chris Werb

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 1001 AM

The A-10C has laser guided 70mm rockets too now. Whether they would be "better" than Brimstone (and I take it you mean at least DMB level Brimstone) depends on the circumstances and the target.

 

Advantages of 70mm laser guided rocket.

 

1. Considerably cheaper - probably only 1:5 the cost of Brimstone.

2. You can carry lots of them*

3. They have comparatively low collateral damage.

 

Advantage of Brimstone.

 

1. Bigger, multimode warhead capable of taking out MBTs whereas 70mm would generally have HE FRAG and be limited to non-armoured targets. Not sure if HEAT still available, but that would be limited to anything up to older IFVs

2. Vastly better range.

3. Ability to attack autonomously (killbox capability).

4. Ability to attack multiple targets near simultaneously.

5. Not weather limited vs AFVs. 

6. Non line of sight capable.

 

If you are blowing up technicals in Iraq from outside the MANPADS envelope, the 70mm rocket is the way to go. On a dark rainy night in Poland vs hordes of T-80s, Brimstone would be infinitely better.

 

To designate, all current and all likely small, cheap UAVs are going to rely on a comparatively high bandwidth connection to a human controller. If you are going to go truly autonomous with small drones (and despite repeated refutations by our side, someone on their side will do it and we will use that as a decision to follow), you are probably better off putting a warhead on the drone.

 

The problem with launching missiles off the back of a Toyota is the Toyota has to be in the right place at the right time. That was the primary reason EFOGM was cancelled. It couldn't displace fast enough to re position to counter enemy armoured incursions.  I don't discount the idea, but it needs a missile with a sensor in it - something like the Korean truck mounted Spike NLOS, although that has a vulnerable RF datalink. Spike LR dual-mode on a Landcruiser makes a certain amount of sense.

 

*I have so far only seen them used with the 7 round launcher, but, as the APKWS II locks on after launch, it can use any launcher so there is no theoretical reason you couldn't see 19 rounders used. If the F-4 had still been in service we could have seen a loadout with 12 x 19 round launchers for a total of 228 guided rockets per airframe.


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#49 Dawes

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 1013 AM

I believe that Brimstone was pitched to the US (as well as being manufactured in Alabama) but it seems to have fallen through.

 

From talking to some RAF types, Brimstone (as is common with many missles) has a flight hour limitation, which is/was 100 hours of captive carry. Not that big of an issue. What would be an issue for the US is that it also has a road travel limitation of a certain amount of miles before it's considered unserviceable. Don't know if that is due to the container design or the missile itself. Since, in the US, munitions are often trucked coast-to-coast distances, that would be a significant problem. I would think that a solution could be somehow found, though.

 

This was related to me a couple of years ago, so maybe that problem has since been sorted?


Edited by Dawes, 18 May 2019 - 1015 AM.

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#50 Paul Lakowski

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 1015 AM

So maybe the Silent Hawk could be adapted to provide an extended range FO to target distant threats, or dispatch mini drones to investigate/explore such threats..


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#51 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 1033 AM

There is lots of interesting information on Silent Hawk in here, I found this in the discussion in the link from Mr King above:

https://www.dropbox....Pages..pdf?dl=0

 

Thank you, thats really good.

 

 

There was a photo on the Deep Black Horizon blogspot showing another configuration for the new recce helicopter.

http://deepbluehoriz...ion-for-us.html

AVX
NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The AVX Aircraft Company and L3 Technologies (NYSE:LLL) announced today their innovative compound coaxial helicopter (CCH) design, which is competing for Phase 1 of the U.S. Army Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA)-Competitive Prototype (CP) program competition.
 

The innovative design solution will exceed the reconnaissance and light-attack mission of FARA with a high-performing and survivable platform. AVX-L3 CCH will meet 100 percent of mandatory requirements and exceed 70 percent of them. The CCH design, combined with rigorous engineering and production processes and certifications, will deliver a safe, performance-driven, affordable aircraft capable of operating in highly contested airspace and degraded environments for extended periods.
“This FARA-CP solution provides L3 and AVX an opportunity to demonstrate the agility and innovation that sets our team apart in support of the U.S. Army’s modernization priorities,” said Christopher E. Kubasik, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of L3 Technologies. “We are collaborating to deliver a prototype that provides powerful leap-ahead capability for our warfighters at an affordable life-cycle cost.”
“We are extremely pleased to reveal the design for this very important U.S. Army program,” said Troy Gaffey, AVX CEO and Chief Engineer. “AVX and L3 provide unique engineering design skills and manufacturing expertise that will provide the Army with an advanced, lethal and affordable reconnaissance and light-attack platform.”
The companies’ next-generation single-engine design, paired with a wing for lift during high-speed forward flight, provides leap-ahead capabilities in a faster, lighter and more lethal aircraft that requires less maintenance through its life cycle, featuring:
  • A fly-by-wire, side-by-side cockpit optimized for pilot efficiency
  • Two ducted fans that provide forward and reverse thrust for both high-speed operation and agility
  • State-of-the-art modern open systems architecture (MOSA)-based digital backbone and avionics systems
  • A small form factor that meets C-17 loading and Navy DDG shipboard size limits through manually folding blades and wings
  • Modularity that provides for component reuse and a high degree of systems commonality across all of the U.S. Army capability sets

AVX-L3_helicopter.jpg


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#52 Chris Werb

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 1411 PM

That's really interesting Stuart. I confess I'm decidedly dubious about the claim it can operate in highly contested airspace. I guess their definition of highly contested might well differ from mine though.

 

PS: If you haven't seen it before (you may have been the one that posted it), I think you'll find it really interesting.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=ycXEgIRWGqs


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#53 Dawes

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 1546 PM

As far as the A-10 vs Apache in real-world combat, Iraq and Afghanistan would be the obvious unit of measure. Although I don't know if one has outshone the other in terms of overall effectiveness, number of enemy KIA/friendly troops saved, etc.


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#54 rmgill

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 1616 PM

The fire from cover maneuver of the AH-64 allows the crew to sneak a peek at the enemy with an exposed sensor mast and THEN, carefully designate all the targets prior to firing.

Doing this in an A10 would need a back seater AND a fast back seater at that.

Edited by rmgill, 18 May 2019 - 1616 PM.

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#55 shep854

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 1628 PM

LockMart is playing around with a ground-launched DAGR (laser-guided 70mm rocket) system:


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#56 CaptLuke

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 1757 PM

Speed is useful to transit to and from targets or patrol areas faster. It increases practical combat radius directly as well as sortie rate. It can increase survivability in certain types of attacks vs certain types of opponents (ragheads). Lack of speed has proven to be a huge minus in Afghanistan and is one of the two main drivers towards fixed wing prop driven COIN.

 

The design changes may not be just about speed; they may be about efficiency and thus range as well.

 

For helicopters, wings are used to unload the rotor, which increases flight efficiency, but wings on a "normal" helicopter have a problem.  The faster the helicopter wants to go, the more it needs to tilt the rotor disk and, the more the helicopter tilts forward, the more drag the wings create.

 

A compound helicopter doesn't have this issue: it can move at speed while always keeping the wing in position to get the most lift, with the least drag, possible.  This means longer range, particularly at higher speeds.


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#57 Chris Werb

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 1923 PM

The fire from cover maneuver of the AH-64 allows the crew to sneak a peek at the enemy with an exposed sensor mast and THEN, carefully designate all the targets prior to firing.

Doing this in an A10 would need a back seater AND a fast back seater at that.

 

Yes. With Brimstone, formerly on Tornado and now on Typhoon,  they get around this problem with a mode whereby the missiles are sent to a designated kill box and seek out their own targets therein, using an algorithm to ensure they don't attack the same target. It is not necessary to to assign missiles to individual targets, as you would do with the AH-64 with Longbow and MMW HELLFIRE, although this can be done. The former mode has been used in combat, in Libya, with legacy (MMW only) Brimstone*. 

 

*The single-mode missile was not fired in combat until 15 September 2011 when a pair of RAF Tornado GR4 of IX(B) Squadron fired 22 missiles (including a salvo of 12 by one aircraft) against an armoured column near Sebha/Sabha, 400 miles south of Tripoli.


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#58 KV7

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 2031 PM

 

Speed is useful to transit to and from targets or patrol areas faster. It increases practical combat radius directly as well as sortie rate. It can increase survivability in certain types of attacks vs certain types of opponents (ragheads). Lack of speed has proven to be a huge minus in Afghanistan and is one of the two main drivers towards fixed wing prop driven COIN.

 

The design changes may not be just about speed; they may be about efficiency and thus range as well.

 

For helicopters, wings are used to unload the rotor, which increases flight efficiency, but wings on a "normal" helicopter have a problem.  The faster the helicopter wants to go, the more it needs to tilt the rotor disk and, the more the helicopter tilts forward, the more drag the wings create.

 

A compound helicopter doesn't have this issue: it can move at speed while always keeping the wing in position to get the most lift, with the least drag, possible.  This means longer range, particularly at higher speeds.

 

Why not just pivot the wings to adjust the angle of attack ? I think you could do it just with control surfaces.


Edited by KV7, 18 May 2019 - 2138 PM.

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#59 Ivanhoe

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 2233 PM

RE:A-10 vs AH-64, etc., there's also the matter of control.  Army wants assets it can directly manage, not go hat in hand to another service that would really rather be going other, zoomier things (at the management level, at least).


Not strictly a matter of control, a matter of doctrine. Army has boots on the ground. If a target or threat gets identified, they want it prosecuted in minutes or hours, not days. The USAF's ATO thing in OIF was efficient but not necessarily effective.

N/LOS plus advanced AAA feeds to my contention that direct air support will eventually be supplanted by ground-based arty, whether rocket or tube.


For long-term and slow-moving conflicts, probably. But in that critical first week in theater, air-to-ground has the advantage.\
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#60 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 0152 AM

The fire from cover maneuver of the AH-64 allows the crew to sneak a peek at the enemy with an exposed sensor mast and THEN, carefully designate all the targets prior to firing.

Doing this in an A10 would need a back seater AND a fast back seater at that.

 

Agreed, but with remote sensors, you dont really need to do that anymore. In Iraq AV8B's were able to download the information from their Litening pod to ground observers equipped with a terminal, to either work as an ersatz drone, or work with deconfliction. The guys on the ground could see exactly what the pilot was seeing.

 

Turn that on its head, what if you could do this? You have a small drone in the infantry squad, you utilize that, and the pilot can pick up the imagery in his cockpit. He can see exactly that the guys on the ground see, and they can be the ones that select the targets. You really dont need a second guy or a sensor mast to do any of that now. Sure, such capabilities are still useful.  Can you do without if you mount the sensors off the airframe? I believe you could.

 

And all it takes is money to make it happen. :)


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