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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 08:51
photo USAF

photo USAF

10 février 2015 par Edouard Maire – Info Aviation

L’US Air Force (USAF) a déployé un détachement de Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog en Europe au sein d’un Theater Security Package (TSP) en soutien à l’opération « Atlantic Resolve » (source : U.S European Command).


Douze avions A-10 Warthog et environ 300 membres du personnel du 355th Fighter Wing, basée à Davis-Monthan (Arizona), seront affectés au 52e Escadron de chasse à la base aérienne de Spangdahlem en Allemagne. Tous les équipements devraient être opérationnels d’ici la fin février.

Selon l’USAF en Europe, le TSP accentuera la force de frappe aérienne de l’opération « Atlantic Resolve » pour améliorer l’interopérabilité entre les alliés de l’OTAN. Une fois en Allemagne, les A-10 pourront être déployés vers différents pays d’Europe de l’Est membres de l’OTAN.

Il s’agit du premier déploiement d’un TSP en Europe et d’un signal clair envers Moscou suite à la crise en Ukraine. Les rotations devrait durer six mois selon les missions et les exigences du United States European Command.

L’US Air Force mène déjà des rotations de TSP dans la zone du Pacifique depuis 2004, notamment en Corée du sud.

Le A-10 Warthog est conçu pour l’attaque au sol et la destruction des blindés. Il est équipé d’un turboréacteur à double flux General Electric TF34-GE-100 d’une poussée de 40 kN chacun. Il témoigne d’une excellente maniabilité à faible vitesse et à basse altitude. Son arme emblématique est un canon GAU-8 Avenger de 30 mm qui peut tirer jusqu’à 3 900 projectiles à la minute. Son utilisation en Europe était envisagé depuis les années 70 par l’armée américaine en cas d’invasion des blindés soviétiques durant la guerre froide.

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16 novembre 2014 7 16 /11 /novembre /2014 08:20
Fight Over A-10 Re-opens Hill, US Air Force Divide


Nov. 15, 2014 - By AARON MEHTA – Defense News


WASHINGTON — After a relatively quiet summer, the battle for the future of the A-10 Warthog exploded in the last two weeks, reopening deep fissures between Congress and the US Air Force that seem to show the two sides at a total stalemate.


The A-10 issue — the Air Force wants to scrap it, Congress wants to keep it — has aroused a passionate array of protectors in a way the Air Force seemed unprepared to deal with. At this point, neither side in the debate is willing to trust the other’s ideas or facts.


Deborah Lee James, service secretary, acknowledged in July that the service needs to do a better job of showing “consistency” to members of Congress, and the drive to better relations with the Hill was highlighted as a key part in the service’s newest 30-year strategy document.


While that is a noble goal, those in the trenches indicate trust is still a hard concept for the two sides, particularly when the A-10 is involved.


The relations between the Hill and the Air Force have been degrading since the middle of the last decade, said Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute.


“There is no doubt that is an issue, and this current crop of leadership has tried hard to steer the vessel in a new direction and to slowly move the organization back to a place of mutual trust with the Hill,” Eaglen said.


The current A-10 fight “just goes to show how deep the damage has been and how lasting the effects are,” she added.


Emotions are running high on both sides, creating a winner-take-all culture that is unlikely to result in any sort of compromise.


One Hill staffer who has been engaged with the service on the A-10 issue said there is a feeling the service plays with facts and figures to force its argument down the throat of Congress.


“Their arguments come up, don’t stand up to facts, we push back, we don’t get satisfying responses, and my assessment is the Air Force wants to retire the A-10 and they don’t want to find a solution to make it work,” the staffer said.


Rep. Ron Barber, an Arizona Democrat who made saving the A-10 a key part of his re-election campaign, expressed frustration with the service during a Nov. 13 rally in support of the plane.


“We’ve seen several attempts by the Air Force to go around our decisions, to make moves to divest even though we told them not to,” Barber added, his voice rising in anger. “We will continue to tell them to listen to the will of Congress.


“The Air Force, they are persistent. But so are we. We’re not going to give up this fight until we prevail.”


On the other side, two Air Force officials complained that the Hill ignores the service’s analysis supporting the need to retire the Warthog.


Those officials singled out Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., as particularly dug in on the issue, and complained that her office doesn’t offer any alternatives when it rejects options brought forth from the Air Force.


“The options, we’ve [explained] — in exquisite detail — why those aren’t feasible options,” one official said, “it comes down to, she just doesn’t believe us.”


“If they had something to offer, believe me, we would go take a look at it,” the second official said.


Maintenance Battle Lines


The latest fight over maintainers is a perfect summary of the situation.


The Air Force is claiming that its planned Aug. 16 initial operating capability (IOC) date for its fleet of F-35A joint strike fighters is now in peril because the A-10 cannot be retired, as a large chunk of the 1,100 maintainers needed for IOC on the stealthy jet were to be moved from the stood-down fleet of Warthogs.


Members of Congress who appeared at a Nov. 13 event supporting the A-10, including Ayotte, expressed skepticism over the sudden use of the F-35 as a talking point.


“The Air Force has continued to make this a false choice between the F-35 and the A-10,” Ayotte said, noting the argument has just appeared on the scene after previous talking points failed to retire the Warthog. “How many different arguments has the Air Force made along the way?”


“I’m not trying to impugn their motives,” the senator later told Defense News. “I just think they have been of the mindset from the beginning to retire this airframe, and that mindset doesn’t seem to have shifted despite the Congress weighing in pretty clearly on this.”


The service officials countered by saying they looked at 11 choices for how to handle this issue, and while it weighed them all, the A-10 retirement remains the best choice.


Take two of those 11 choices as examples of the “he said, she said” nature of the discussion.


One option would involve finding Air National Guard volunteers to come online and take over some F-35 maintenance work. The Air Force officials said that plan has many flaws, including requiring pulling Guardsmen from their units and the fact their civilian jobs would not be guaranteed without a full mobilization order from the president.


The staffer disagreed with that assessment, concluding that the service could find a way to make it work. “After interviews and exchanges I’ve had with the Air Force, I was left with the impression they have not fully explored the mobilization option,” the staffer said.


What about turning to contract maintainers? Could Lockheed Martin workers, already familiar with the F-35, chip in?


The Air Force claims it will take a year to spin up those contractors and establish a contract vehicle to get them on board. But the staffer believes there is a contracting vehicle in place through existing agreements with Lockheed.


Eaglen believes both sides have an argument, but are simply talking past each other at this point.


“The Hill is right the Air Force has lots of options, and the Air Force is right they probably chose the best one,” she said. “Just because there is another option doesn’t make it the best option that hurts the [least].”


Perhaps most telling, the Air Force is talking with members of the Hill about a partial retirement — shutting down three A-10 squadrons, or about 72 planes, which the service officials said would free up enough maintainers to handle F-35A IOC.


On the face, that would seem like a compromise. The Air Force gets enough planes retired for its requirement, while keeping the Warthog around to protect troops on the ground. But the Hill staffer derided that idea, calling it “just another version of the same plan to divest the A-10, and that is not a compromise.


“There is a pattern here of ‘give me what I’m asking for,’ but framing it as a compromise,” the staffer said. “This is not the first time they’ve done this. They tried to send some to the boneyard and called it a ‘compromise.’ That’s not a compromise. That’s how you divest things.”


Both Barber and Ayotte have rejected that option, leaving the service and Congress once again at loggerheads — and growing increasingly frustrated with each other.


“The Air Force doesn’t want to find a creative solution of fully [maintaining] the F-35A, which is a requirement they’ve known about for years and should not have been surprised by,” the staffer said. “The question is whether they want to.”


“We’ve gone through it and they haven’t been able to provide us with a viable option,” the first Air Force official countered.


At the start of the summer, Eaglen expected the A-10 fight to end as these things usually do — with the Air Force getting its way, even if it had to wait a year or two. Now, she’s not certain that is true.


“I’m surprised at the ferocity of the A-10 community,” she said. “They punch above their weight class. I’ve seen this fight play out a million times before and it doesn’t turn out this way normally. Eventually the services get their way. But there are always exceptions, and this may prove to be one of them.

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15 novembre 2014 6 15 /11 /novembre /2014 22:20
Obsolete A-10 Thunderbolt Becomes A Symbol Of American Air Power’s Decline (From Forbes)


November 14, 2014. Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D - lexingtoninstitute.org


The A-10 Thunderbolt II, affectionately known as the Warthog, has become a drag on American air power.  Conceived during the Vietnam War to provide close air support to ground forces, the 40-year-old tank killer is outdated — too slow to survive in contested air space, too focused on a single mission to give the joint force the flexibility it needs.  And yet a handful of legislators are seeking to block retirement of the aging Warthog, even though that means depriving the next-generation F-35A fighter of the experienced maintainers it needs to become operational in 2016.  Rather than letting fond memories of the Warthog’s former glory impede progress, Congress should give the Air Force the flexibility it needs to manage its fleet.  Failing in that, Congress should loosen spending caps legislated in 2011 so that keeping A-10 in the force doesn’t harm other facets of U.S. air power.  I have written a commentary for Forbes here.

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16 mai 2012 3 16 /05 /mai /2012 16:50
Les Britanniques envisagent de transférer 1 200 véhicules aux Afghans


16.05.2012 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense



Selon le MailOnline, l'armée britannique a décidé de ne pas rapatrier plus d'un millier de véhicules et blindés légers lors de son retrait d'Afghanistan en 2014. L'armée britannique déploie actuellement quelque 1 900 véhicules dans le sud du pays; sur ce nombre, 700 seulement (Ridgeback, Mastiff et Foxhound) seraient rapatriés au Royaume-Uni, le reste étant transféré aux forces afghanes.


La décision concerne des centaines de Land Rover blindées, des Jackal, Wolfhound, Warthog (photo ci-dessus). Selon le MailOnline, 132 Snatch Land Rovers et 198 Vector seraient aussi rétrocédés aux Afghans. Valeur du parc cédé: près de deux milliards (et non millions) de livres sterling.


On se demande si les Afghans apprécieront ce genre de don. Si tous les contingents isafiens font de même, l'armée afghane va hériter d'une panoplie dépareillée de véhicules. Futur casse-tête de mécanos en panne de pièces de rechange!

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