A-10 replacement almost ready.

Tedminator

Former Staff
Jun 2010
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South Florida
#11
The A-10 was questioned about it's survivability, can't imagine this thing having any.
I think the survivability of a light attack turboprob is more than a rotary but less than that of a jet. Just need to be mindful of the threat environment when using it to minimize casualties.

The T-26 has a good track record of zero losses after years of combat duty fighting insurgents in South America and the Middle East.
 
Last edited:
Jan 2007
34,044
7,316
#12
An advantage these turboprop attack planes have is it's lack of any significant heat signature.. so a heatseeking missile has difficulty locking on to it.

Last year the 81st Fighter Squadron’s A-29s participated in Green Flag in the Nevada desert. Playing part of “Red” air defense was a platoon of Marine Stinger operators — some of the best-trained operators in the world with the finest MANPAD ever built. The Marines were offered a weekend pass to anyone who got a valid shot on an A-29. No takers.
OA-X Strikes Back: Eight Myths on Light Attack
I could envision this in addition to an A-10 type aircraft. Use either for the mission at hand. Low speed. light payload have it's own set of problems. Surprised by the cost .
Ground fire would do this thing in. Pilot armor, flight control redundancy. Single engine.
 
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Tedminator

Former Staff
Jun 2010
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South Florida
#13
I like the focus on cost-effectiveness, both in terms of procuring the aircraft and in terms of operational costs. But, I'd like to focus even more on that. According to Wikipedia, Super Tucano's can cost as much as $18 million each. That may be a bargain relative to an F-22 or F-35, but it still seems absurdly expensive for a small turboprop plane. Even the very low-end quotes of cost, in the $5 million range, seems somewhat extravagant.

To put it in perspective, the P-51 Mustang, which looks eerily similar to these, cost $50,985 back in 1945, which works out to about $710,000 in today's money. You could build a fleet of 25 P-51's for the cost of one high-end Super Tucano. I get there are going to be electronics and weapon systems on one of these modern turboprops that push the price up relative to the rough-and-ready WWII equivalents, and many of those are probably fully cost-justified. But I'm betting there's a whole lot of fat there, too. To put it in context, the Russians have a new turboprop, the Yak-152, which costs about $200,000 each. A rough Chinese equivalent airframe is the CJ-6, and a CJ-6 can be bought for as little as $75,000. Even if you take base airplanes like that and add on a million bucks of advanced electronics and another million of advanced weapons, you're still talking about a small fraction of what we're looking to pay.

I suppose the rejoinder will be that we should never cut corners on cost when spending more can make our service members even a little safer. I disagree. I think that money spent in one place is money not available to spend elsewhere, and that includes on alternate life-preserving options. A decent rule of thumb is that saving a life with a reasonably efficient government program or regulation tends to cost around $2 million. So, if we have a choice between buying a $18 million plane and a slightly inferior $4 million plane, we can think of the difference as seven American lives -- seven Americans who could have been saved if we'd gone with the cheaper option and then spent the money saved on more efficient life-saving efforts. The expected benefits of the slightly better plane need to be weighed against those seven lives when deciding if it's worth it.
I'm ok with the price tag of these light attack planes... I'd rather not give our pilots the product from the lowest bidder ;)
As you mentioned, the electronics are a big part of the package and these are basically fourth generation combat jet avionics & ejection seats shoehorned into a P-51 Mustang on steroids.

cockpit of the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano



Bottom line is the turboprops are still much cheaper than using jets which is akin to using the Ferrari to delivery pizzas when a Toyota Camry can do that same job just fine, so I'm all for it.
 
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The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
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Toronto
#14
I'm sure all this stuff will be done by remote controlled (or even straight up AI) drones anyway, in future, anyway... lol
 

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