Somewhere between the OV-10 Bronco and A-1 Skyraider

Defense Tech: Mattis Still Supports Light COIN Plane Air Force Wants Dead

This should have happened years ago. But it didn’t and any optimism I ever had has pretty much evaporated.

Hopefully, UAVs can do the job. Because F-35s won’t.


  1. Imagine the embarrassment of any Air Farce jockey driving such an unworthy steed. Obviously it would be too much to ask of our brave airmen.

  2. It’s too late to come out with this now. The wars in A-stan and Iraq are ending, and I doubt the US public is going to want to get involved in another worthless occupation in an attempt to transform a third world backwater.

      1. Speaking of Mexico, I was shocked to see in wikipedia that their AF has only 10 (TEN) jet fighter planes, and they are aging F-5s at that.

        Mexico has the 11th highest GDP in the world yet they only have 10 relic jet fighters.

        Given the state of their military, it’s hard to imagine them being able to take territory from us. But given the blocking of the AZ law yesterday, the wheels continue to be in motion for that to happen.

        1. I would argue that that’s pretty smart on the Mexican’s part.

          Who do they have to fear attacking them from the air, where the US wouldn’t be there in an hour or so? Same for the sea for that matter.

  3. The USAF needs to grab this idea with both hands and run with it … because it may be the only way to keep fighter jocks in cockpits with the leaps and bounds UAVs are making.

    There’s a great “modern” ground-attack P-51-based design in the USAF museum at Wright-Pat if they don’t want to bring back a dinosaur or adopt some furrin design.

  4. Feh, the Osprey can fill that role. It can poke along and hover like a helicopter, AND fly like a P-51.

    I saw one flying at full tilt about a month ago, an it was an inspiring sight. Plus it can carry an impressive load.

    OK, so maybe it costs 100X (or maybe 1000X) what a Blackhawk (or Huey)and Cessna and Mustang and Chinook would cost combined. But it only requires one pilot and support team instead of 4, so there are some savings there, right???

    1. The V-22 Osprey has no provisions for armament, no space for it, no free payload for it (it can barely lift it’s own weight), no way to aim it, and there are no possible means within the laws of physics to correct these deficiencies.

      For one thing, it’s payload (6000lbs) is 1000lbs lighter than an MH-60S, and it only carried 2 more passengers — despite being more than twice as large and three times as heavy. In short, it can barely lift it’s own weight.

      You also can’t mount weapons on the wings, because the wing structure isn’t part of the airframe, it can barely support the weight of the engines, and the proprotor diameter is too large anyway. It’s landing gear sits too low to the ground, so there’s no way to attach weapons to the belly either, and the rotor tips venture too close to the sides of the fuselage to allow weapons to be fitted to the middle or rear of airframe.

      A chin-mounted weapon was already been ruled-out more than 5 years ago as a possible solution. The cockpit is already too heavy, and too crowded with avionics to add the proposed 600lb GAU-19 turret. This also would have sharply increased drag (increasing it’s already high minimum top speed), and upset it’s already too-delicate longitudinal balance (reducing stability while hovering).

      The “solution” was to design a retractable belly turret, but this can’t work either — this would weigh at least as much as the already-too-heavy GAU-19, would cost more than $1 Million (too much for a 7.62mm machine gun), would force the Osprey to crash-land with massive structural damage is stuck in the “deployed” position (thus writing-off the whole airframe; it’s body is a single piece of injection-molded plastic, just like a cheap lawn chair, which thus cannot be repaired if cracked). It would also be unable to track targets while the V-22 passes them at 200mph — that would entail that the Gunner has hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and an ability to see fast-moving objects that would all be several timed the limit of the human body.

      The bottom line is that an airframe that has no room ANYWHERE for external equipment — and which can hardly lift itself, let alone external stores — isn’t suitable for COIN use… let alone for anything else at all.

  5. Instead of building new planes, what is wrong with taking 50 or so A-10’s out of the bone yard and use them. We boug them , might as well use them.

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