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USAF Woes

tomahawk6

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USAF will acquire 65 new submachinegun's there no doubt will be a followon order to equip the USAF Security Forces.

https://taskandpurpose.com/military-tech/air-force-submachine-gun-apc9k-procurement
 

MarkOttawa

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More on ABMS and other acronyms with which to win wars:

F-15EX, KC-46A to lead USAF rollout of ABMS ‘Internet of Things’

The Boeing F-15EX Advanced Eagle combat aircraft and KC-46A Pegasus tanker are the first platforms earmarked by the US Air Force (USAF) for the roll-out of its developmental Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) Internet of Things (IoT) capability.

Speaking under the Chatham House Rule on 18 November, an official with knowledge of the service’s plans said that the soon-to-be-introduced F-15EX and the recently received KC-46A will spearhead the USAF’s efforts to connect all the US armed forces through the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept.

“An example that we have [of our JADC2 effort] is our new F-15EX buy that will be replacing our F-15C models. It is going to be one of our first platforms that we will be bringing in some of the ABMS enhanced gateway capabilities on, we think. That, plus the [KC-46A] tanker”, the official said at the virtual Defence iQ International Fighter conference.

According to Janes C4ISR & Mission Systems: Joint & Common Equipment, the ABMS IoT will be designed to allow the USAF to co-ordinate with and direct joint operations with the US Navy (USN), US Marine Corps (USMC), and US Army. The ABMS is a ‘family of systems’ that includes both hardware and software, enabling the USAF to contribute to and link with their older JADC2. The ABMS is a C4ISR maximiser and is designed to improve the military’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) management.
https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/f-15ex-kc-46a-to-lead-usaf-rollout-of-ambs-internet-of-things

Victory through Acronym Power!
https://www.amazon.ca/Victory-through-Power-Alexander-Seversky/dp/B0007DP2B2

8109827.jpg


I actually have a copy of Seversky's book that I, er, acquired from the library (remember them?) as a kid at the Canadian embassy, Moscow mid-1950s

Mark
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dimsum

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MarkOttawa said:
More on ABMS and other acronyms with which to win wars:

I guess I've been using "Chatham House rule" to refer to the wrong concept the entire time  :facepalm:
 

MarkOttawa

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Head of USAF wants to phase out F-22 a lot sooner than expected replace with NGAD (fighter part)--also maybe some F-16s to be replaced by secret new plane already flying? Role of UCAVs? Lots of further links at original, excerpts from major article at "The War Zone":

Yes, It’s True, The F-22 Isn’t In The Air Force Chief’s Future Fighter Plans​

The Air Force has confirmed it’s looking at a radical reduction in tactical fighter jet types, but that’s easier said than done...​


Breaking Defense then reported that the four tactical jets that Brown was referring to were the NGAD, F-15EX, F-16, and F-35, but didn’t add anything about the plans for the F-22. However, that source did add that Brown sees a decision on the F-16’s replacement being made in the next “six, seven, eight years,” and that the Viper might be superseded by “more F-35s or something else.” That “something else” refers to the potential all-new fighter jet that Brown first disclosed back in February. At the time, The War Zone looked at the implications of a potential ‘clean-sheet design’ to replace the F-16 and its possible impact on long-held plans to buy 1,763 copies of the F-35A, originally intended as the F-16’s successor.
Finally, Defense One weighed in, reporting that Brown said specifically that NGAD would replace the F-22.

An Air Force spokesperson has now confirmed to The War Zone that, yes, the four platforms that the Air Force's top officer was talking about are the NGAD, F-35, F-15EX, and F-16, “plus the A-10 in the near/mid-term.”

Put together, however, it seems clear that the Air Force Chief of Staff currently favors trimming down the tactical aviation fleet to those four types, including the retirement of the F-22 (and the F-15E)...

Even if the Air Force were to decide that it could do without the F-22, a program to actually divest it would certainly meet concerted opposition — getting such legislation past lawmakers would likely be difficult in a similar manner as successive plans to retire the A-10 fleet or at least a portion of it...

In fact, the idea that the NGAD is being lined up, in some planning, at least, as a Raptor replacement is interesting in itself. The NGAD — or at least, the fighter-like element of it — will have to be able to do all the F-22 can do, and more.

At the same time, after its production run was cut short at just 187 examples, the Raptor today is seriously hampered by the small size of the fleet, which in turn impacts the costs of sustaining and operating the jets. The aircraft’s low-observable capabilities remain effective, but the technologies involved are now aging and are also increasingly difficult to maintain...

What is more, the F-22 has always been limited by its range. The addition of external fuel tanks significantly hampers the aircraft's low-observable profile and performance. While that might not be such a big deal for a North American Aerospace Defense Command mission, warding off Russian long-range bombers and their escorts [surely if Russian bombers have fighter escorts stealth would be very important in an actual engagement--or can the new cruise missiles now be launched at such a distance that the bomber is effectively beyond intercept range?], it means the F-22’s utility would be much reduced in a conflict against China over the Taiwan Strait, for example. Really any major conflict against a near-peer competitor would mandate tanker aircraft operate within a few hundred miles or so of the F-22’s target area, which may not even be possible without putting those assets at high risk. This is a major problem we have highlighted for years and has increasingly become an issue the USAF is acknowledging itself.

...It is expected that unmanned systems, as well as manned/unmanned teaming concepts, will play a huge role in NGAD, so it is not just a single unified aircraft system, but a family of systems. Inflight software updates enabled by open architecture, and perhaps even rapid prototyping and production of new design iterations, will all help make this a reality...

There is also the question of how the F-35 will fit into these still-emerging plans. Only recently, a senior Air Force officer said that there was no value in including the current fleet of F-35As in tabletop wargames simulating future high-end conflicts, such as one covering an American military response to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Moreover, the F-35 program, as a whole, is facing a new level of scrutiny, although Brown has said he sees the jet as the “cornerstone” of the Air Force fighter fleet.

But what of potential plans to retire the F-22? In the past, Brown has said he wants the TacAir study to be completed in time to help inform decisions for the Air Force’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget request. “In the budget for FY 23, that’s where I see that we’ll really make some key decisions,” he said, earlier this year.

While the Air Force may be looking at a future without the Raptor, there is still a long, long way before that becomes a reality. Right now, it’s simply too early to predict what kind of impact the TacAir study might have on the F-22, or any other Air Force fighter program, for that matter.

Mark
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MarkOttawa

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More on trimming the USAF fighter fleet, NGAD (one sort or another) to replace F-22, plus eventual F-16 replacement:

Air Force Wants to Cut 421 Old Fighters, Buy 304 New Ones​

The Air Force will ask Congress to retire 421 legacy aircraft through 2026, replacing them with just 304 new fighters, according to fiscal 2022 budget talking points obtained by Air Force Magazine. The savings derived from operating a smaller fleet will be put toward acquiring new systems such as the Next-Generation Air Dominance fighter later this decade, and a new Multi-Role fighter, called MR-X, in the 2030s.

“The information outlined in the talking points regarding future Air Force fighter force structure is pre-decisional,” said Brig Gen Patrick Ryder, an Air Force spokesperson. The document was not labeled as such, however. He declined further comment about potential future budget or resourcing decisions.

The 421 aircraft described in the talking points include a total phase-out of the aged F-15C/D fleet, numbering about 234 aircraft, by the end of fiscal 2026. The F-16 fleet would be reduced by 124 aircraft, mostly from what are called the “pre-block,” or oldest models, leaving a force of 812, also by the end of 2026. The A-10 attack plane would be reduced from 281 total aircraft to 218, for a reduction of 63 tails, but on a more aggressive timeline ending in fiscal 2023.

Over the future years defense plan ending in fiscal ’26, the Air Force would also bring on 84 new F-15EX and 220 F-35A fighters, resulting in a net reduction of 117 jets over the five-year period. The downsizing would be the largest since the “CAF Redux,” or Combat Air Forces Reduction of the early 2010s, in which USAF trimmed its fleet by about 250 airplanes.

Air Force leaders have been pushing for several years to be allowed to retire legacy systems in order to pay for new ones that will be more relevant to the future fight, particularly in the Indo-Pacific theater. Service officials in recent days have said they plan to start phasing out the fifth-generation F-22 in 2030, to be replaced by the classified NGAD family of systems, known to be at least one manned fighter and potentially several unmanned variants. Like the NGAD, the new MR-X would also be designed using new digital methodology to drastically reduce design, development and fielding timelines, while sharply reducing sustainment costs by baking in a short service life, with the expectation that successor aircraft will follow swiftly...

The F-22 fleet of about 180 aircraft would remain intact through the FYDP, receiving continuing funds for sensor upgrades and to remain fully viable until it begins transitioning out of the force in 2030. According to the talking points, though, the F-22 “cannot be made competitive against the threat two decades from today.”

The NGAD “family of systems” represents “our ability to fight and win in the highly contested environment in the future,” the document says. The new methodology of developing the NGAD “at a pace future threats cannot match” will allow the Air Force to maintain its advantage.

Even so, however, the Air Force seems to have accepted that broad control of the air in a high-end conflict is no longer achievable. It is aiming, rather, for “temporary windows of superiority” in “highly-contested threat environments,” with “complementary capabilities” for the Joint force and U.S. allies. To achieve this, USAF needs “full-spectrum survivability, high speed, advanced weapons, and extended ranges.”

To perform the “global strike” mission, USAF adds to those characteristics “sufficient payload” and resilience achieved through “the use of human-machine teaming and a mix of manned and unmanned systems.”..

Beyond the FYDP, and potentially into the 2030s, the Air Force expects about 600 “post block” F-16s—C/D models from Block 40 on—to remain in the force with with some upgrades, useful in both permissive and some competitive environments. The transition to the MR-X is expected “in the mid-30s.” This new airplane will be a “clean sheet” design, created by digital methods, and the “decision point” to launch the program is now expected to be “six to eight years away,” according to the document. The MR-X “must be able to affordably perform missions short of high-end warfare.” The F-35 could potentially fill this role, but only if its operating costs could be “brought significantly lower.”

The F-15E/X is described in the papers as “an outsized weapons truck,” useful for carrying standoff weapons in a contested theater or performing air superiority in less-contested airspace. Interestingly, while the Air Force has mentioned that the F-15EX could launch the hypersonic, air-to-surface AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, the talking points say it can also carry an “outsize … air-to-air” weapon, as well. Presumably, this is a long-range weapon meant to counter China’s long-range PL-15 air-to-air missile, but the documents don’t say whether the weapon referenced is the AIM-260, a classified developmental air-to-air missile revealed two years ago...

Mark
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CBH99

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Ummm can we get some of those??
Hey you — ssshhhhhh. You never know who is reading these, and will THINK they have a lightbulb moment 🤫🤫😬😬

I hate to say it. And I TRULY do. But ‘this’ time around, maybe retiring the A10 does make sense if it is replaced by an aircraft that can do CAS but is more survivable in a peer threat environment.

It’s a tricky crystal ball to try and predict the next conflict. 50% chance you make the wrong call, and the unsuitable aircraft available falls at your feet. Include UCAVs to the mix, and buying the ‘next version of the Air Force’ is even more of a guessing game.


If China or its proxies are realistically the next ‘big war’, or even if it’s a flashpoint with some tangible tension afterwards, chances are the conflict area will be somewhere with lots of water, some islands, and distances to be travelled for engagement. The A-10 might not even be able to get into the fight, depending on geography.

Either way, I hope they end up with a similar number of combat aircraft as they have now.

Shedding the oldest F-16s is a good idea. And hopefully replace the F-15C/D fleet with the new EX 1 for 1, and that fleet alone is a pretty formidable force.



Amazing now the USAF has a 1000+ combat aircraft mentioned in this article just between the F-16 and F-15 fleets. Not including the F-22 or the F-35.
 

MarkOttawa

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Reshaping USAF deployable combat wings (mainly for needs vs major powers it would seem):

New ‘lead wing’ deployment plan for combat aircraft is being tested, refined

The Air Force is mulling a major overhaul of how it deploys fighter jets and other combat planes overseas, in an effort that could eventually expand to its entire inventory.

Over the next two years, the service plans to hold a series of exercises that will help it decide how to bring that vision, known as “lead wing,” to fruition.

Last year, the Air Force released a directive to rethink how the service heads overseas — specifically, to mature new air expeditionary task forces that can smoothly jump around the world as threats arise. The lead wing concept is part of that broader effort.

Paired with the agile combat employment initiative — which aims to send smaller, multiskilled teams into combat rather than rely on a massive manpower footprint — the Air Force aims to become more effective and stop cherry-picking units to go to war.

Put simply, a lead wing would deploy as the main organization in charge of a set group of aircraft from different bases and wings. It could piece together F-22s from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; F-16s from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina; and F-15Es from Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, into one consistent package for a regional commander.

A lead wing would also oversee setting up in austere, remote locations, away from key regional installations like Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar or Andersen AFB in Guam…’
New ‘lead wing’ deployment plan for combat aircraft is being tested, refined

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MarkOttawa

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USAF wants to chop quite a few planes, note tankers:

US Air Force to mothball dozens of A-10s, F-15s and F-16s in FY22 budget​

The U.S. Air Force wants to send more than 200 aircraft to the boneyard with its fiscal 2022 budget request, freeing up $1.3 billion in savings that it can reinvest in cutting-edge technologies like its sixth-generation fighter and hypersonic weapons.

The Department of the Air Force, which released its budget request on May 28, requested a total of $173.7 billion — $156.3 billion for the Air Force and $17.4 billion for the Space Force.

Although research, development, test and evaluation costs for the Air Force increased from $26.6 billion to $28.8 billion, procurement fell from $26.1 billion to $22.9 billion.

The request could be a bitter pill to swallow for Congress. It asks lawmakers to approve the retirement of dozens of aircraft — including the beloved A-10 Warthog, F-15C/D and F-16C/D fighters, KC-135 and KC-10 refueling tankers, C-130 cargo planes, and RQ-4 surveillance drones — while, in many cases, funding fewer new aircraft than anticipated in the Air Force’s FY21 plans [emphasis added].

Despite the major changes, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown has said that FY23 would host the biggest overhauls to the service...

“To attain the desired fighter fleet, the Air Force must right size current aircraft inventories to expedite the transition away from less capable, aging aircraft and emphasize investment in future capabilities” such as the F-35 Block 4 modernization program and Next Generation Air Dominance, the service’s sixth generation fighter, said Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.

The service hopes to shed 42 A-10 Warthogs, which would bring the total inventory to 239 aircraft — the number the Air Force believes it needs for counterterrorism and low-end operations through at least 2030, Stefanek said.

It also plans to cut 47 F-16C/D and 48 F-15C/D fighters, which have “major structural issues” and will become unsafe to fly as early as 2023, Stefanek said.

The Air Force is continuing the trend from FY21 of retiring a portion of its legacy tanker fleet, divesting 14 KC-10 tankers and 18 KC-135 tankers. The retirement of those aircraft will allow the Air Force to invest more money toward standing up the KC-46, specifically the transition of KC-10 and KC-135 maintainers to the KC-46, Stefanek said.

The Air Force would retire a total of 13 C-130Hs, a move than Stefanek said “constitutes a low level of risk, given future joint war-fighting missions.”

The service also plans to retire four of its 16 E-8 JSTARS aircraft, which are used for ground surveillance and targeting, and 20 RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 surveillance drones...

The service stuck to its plan of buying 48 F-35A conventional-takeoff-and-landing models and 12 F-15EX Eagle II fighters in FY22, at $4.5 billion and $1.3 billion respectively [emphasis added].

It also wants to spend $2.4 billion on 14 KC-46 tankers — two more than projected in its FY21 plans [a very troubled project]...

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MarkOttawa

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I'm no expert but that A-10 is probably one of the toughest fixed wing A/C ever built. Why retire it? Because they are near their end of life?
The USAF has always hated close air support and does not want a dedicated CAS airframe--want multirole planes that can do what they really want to focus on, interdiction and winning wars by attacking key operational/strategic enemy targets.

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CBH99

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I'm no expert but that A-10 is probably one of the toughest fixed wing A/C ever built. Why retire it? Because they are near their end of life?
The USAF hasn't realized, nor do they seem willing to do so in the near future, that having a dedicated CAS platform actually helps them win wars.

They want the fast moving, missile slinging, high tech jets that can quickly take out enemy air assets, AD systems, and key buildings/bridges/infrasture that turns most of America's wars into "whack-a-mole" conflicts fairly early on. By taking out the enemies ability to attack from the sky, or move freely by taking out bridges and roads, the US can now attack the enemy from all dimensions - and US ground forces don't have to worry about being strafed by enemy airplanes.

Which is fair logic.

BUT... they haven't figured out that if they don't provide CAS to ground forces, especially in a timely manner, that the conflict can drag on much longer than required, with far greater casualties on their side. The Army can't always guarantee CAS in a timely fashion due to not having planes (just helicopters), and the USMC does their best to hold onto the fast moving CAS assets they do have.



With a conflict in the SCS slowly brewing, and with the enemy being of a nature that the US hasn't faced since WW2, the USAF seems to be hedging it's bets that if they will finally be allowed to get rid of the A-10, now is the time. The distances needing to be travelled, the speed of the A-10, and the suspected nature of the conflict all hint that fast movers & high tech will be in high demand - which it will. So, another opportunity to try and rid themselves of the plane they don't want.

(0.02)
 

tomahawk6

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The F15EX will replace F15's as needed. The F35 will be the hi mix with the F15EX as lo and throw in some F16's. With the DEm's in charge the USAF will have to makedo until they are out of office.
 

tomahawk6

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The results of the F15EX in alasKa this month are in. It seems the plane will need a role for optimum use. As a missile truck backing up the F35 might be one role. There are probably others. A follow on to the F22 is in the works but wont enter service until the 30's.


 

OldSolduer

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The USAF has always hated close air support and does not want a dedicated CAS airframe--want multirole planes that can do what they really want to focus on, interdiction and winning wars by attacking key operational/strategic enemy targets.

Mark
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Can the US Army not take on the A-10s or are fixed wing armed a/c the USAF responsibility? IS the Key West agreement still in effect?
 

Kirkhill

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In short, yes.
And yet


A New Spy Plane Could Spot Targets For The U.S. Army’s Thousand-Mile Weapons​

David Axe
Forbes Staff
Aerospace & Defense

uncaptioned

Artemis.
U.S. ARMY
The U.S. Army has new, experimental spy planes and the service is flying them over the western Pacific near China.
It’s pretty obvious why. The Army is trying to figure out its role in a possible war between the United States and China, and buying high-tech new equipment to support that role. Giant artillery pieces. Super-fast rockets.

But all the fancy new cannons and missiles need targets to shoot at. New surveillance planes could help spot those targets.

The Army revealed the Artemis spy plane in a social-media post on Aug. 6. Artemis is a Bombardier Challenger 650 twin-engine business jet packed with sensors. It’s the Army’s first jet-propelled surveillance plane. The service’s other aircraft are propeller-driven.




Here is the weapon the Army expects the Artemis to employ


uncaptioned

The Hypersonic Rocket

Air Force planes, U.S. Navy ships and U.S. National Reconnaissance Office satellites also could spot targets for the Army’s thousand-mile weapons. But the ground-combat branch likes to have its own targeting systems, just in case.

And it’s worth noting that the Army and Air Force strongly disagree on the usefulness of spy planes in a major war. The Air Force has decided that large surveillance aircraft—E-8 ground-scanning radar planes, in particular—are too vulnerable to survive in intensive combat, which is why the service is trying to get rid of many of its non-stealthy spy planes.

The Army disagrees—at least when it comes to Artemis. “When the risk is high, they’re probably going to fly this thing in a way where it’s going to maintain a safe distance and still be able to do its job,” Christian Keller, the Army’s project director for sensors and aerial intelligence, told reporter Steve Trimble.

The Artemises’ initial missions over the Pacific are a temporary proof of concept. The Challenger airframe itself could be temporary. The Army plans to field around 10 larger Artemis planes starting in 2028. The production Artemises could use Boeing 737 or Gulfstream G550 airframes.
 

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dimsum

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And yet


A New Spy Plane Could Spot Targets For The U.S. Army’s Thousand-Mile Weapons​

David Axe
Forbes Staff
Aerospace & Defense
It is definitely murkier now. The USMC just bought MQ-9 Reapers - the Key West Agreement says this from Wiki:
  • The Navy would be allowed to retain its own combat air arm "...to conduct air operations as necessary for the accomplishment of objectives in a naval campaign..."
So if the USMC MQ-9s get tasked for overland missions in Iraq, for example, are they violating the terms of the agreement? I'm not sure.
 
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