The US Air Force wants to get rid of over 200 aircraft – here’s what it wants to send to the boneyard

A-10 Warthog
A-10.

  • The Air Force has put more than 200 aircraft on the chopping block in its new budget proposal.
  • The list of fighters includes dozens of fighter jets and attack aircraft.
  • The Pentagon is divesting of legacy capabilities to invest in newer systems for future warfare.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Air Force wants to mothball over 200 aircraft in the coming year to free up funds for new technology and weapons, according to the service’s fiscal year 2022 budget request.

The Department of the Air Force’s latest budget request asks for $173.7 billion, which includes an increase in research, development, test, and evaluation funding but a decrease in funds for procurement.

Speaking to lawmakers about the Pentagon’s $715 budget proposal this week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the Department of Defense is making sure it is “focused on acquiring the right kinds of capabilities that we need to be relevant in the future fight.”

“That requires us to take a hard look with the services with capabilities that will not be relevant in a future fight and really begin to no longer invest in them,” he said.

For the Air Force, that means retiring a couple hundred planes, most of which are fighter and attack aircraft. Here is what could be headed to the boneyard.

A-10 Thunderbolt II

A 10 Warthogs
A-10s.

Distinguished by its 30mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon, the A-10 is a ground-attack aircraft that has served the Air Force since the late 1970s.

The proposed cut would reduce the size of the A-10 fleet by 42 aircraft, from 281 to 239.

F-15C/D Eagle

F-15C Eagle refueling during deterrence patrol
F-15C.

The F-15C/D fighters are proven combat aircraft, having never officially been shot down in air-to-air combat, but the average age of the jets is now almost 40 years.

The Air Force plans to cut 48 of these aircraft, which are steadily being replaced by the F-15EX Eagle II. The Air Force plans to buy 144 of the new variant.

F-16C/D Fighting Falcon

US Air Force F-16C fighter jet in flight
F-16C.

The F-16C/D Fighting Falcon is a multirole and air superiority fighter. The proposed defense budget cuts 47 aircraft, bringing the overall size of the fleet down from 936 aircraft to 889.

The F-16, like the A-10, remains part of the Air Force’s vision of the future fleet, but the service is already considering replacements, which could be the F-35A. The service plans to buy about 50 of the fifth-generation stealth fighter in the coming fiscal year.

KC-135 Stratotanker

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing is parked on the ramp at the Sioux City, Iowa airport
KC-135.

The KC-135 is an aerial-refueling tanker that has been in service since the late 1950s.

The Air Force has proposed scrapping 18 of these aircraft, reducing the size of the tanker fleet to 376 aircraft.

KC-10 Extender

Tech. Sgt. Javier, 380th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Extender Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, marshals a KC-10 Extender
KC-10.

The KC-10 is a newer aerial-refueling tanker that has been serving the Air Force since the 1980s.

The Air Force is planning on cutting 14 of these aircraft, from 50 to 36, as it divests of older tankers and invests in the new KC-46 Pegasus.

C-130 Hercules

C-130 Hercules aircraft
C-130.

The C-130H is a military transport aircraft able to move troops and cargo. The Air Force intends to retire 13 of these aircraft, which would leave the service with 128 aircraft.

The service also plans to acquire five C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System

e-8c
E-8C.

The Air Force’s E-8 Joint STARS aircraft provide a variety of capabilities, including airborne battle management, reconnaissance, and command and control, giving it the ability to support attack operations through surveillance and targeting.

The service plans to cut four from its fleet of 16 planes.

RQ-4 Globe Hawk

RQ-4
RQ-4.

The RQ-4 is a remotely piloted high-altitude surveillance drone. The Air Force has 30 of these drones, but it plans to divest of 20.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers Thursday that the budget proposal “is biasing the future over the present,” Defense News reported.

“We are trying right now to put down payments on investments that are going to pay huge dividends, five, 10, 15 years from now, for a future force that will be able to compete successfully with any adversary out there, to include China,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Here’s how the A-10 Warthog’s legendary Avenger Gatling gun really works

GAU 8 vw a-10 gun
The GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling gun next to a VW Type 1.

  • Wanna know what’s behind the trademark BRTTTTT noise of the A-10 Warthog’s GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling Gun?
  • The video below, produced by the 3D Mil-Tech YouTube channel, shows in extensive detail how the Avenger works.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dubbed Warthog, Hog or just Hawg, the A-10 Thunderbolt II is, basically, an airplane built around the GAU-8 Avenger 30-mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-type cannon.

The Avenger cannon is the Hog primary weapon and is able to fire 3,900 bullets per minute.

“It’s a highly-accurate point-and-shoot weapon that grants our pilots superior firepower and flexibility in a close-combat ground fight,” a Warthog pilot once told us. The GAU-8 is rated at “5 mil, 80%,” meaning that 80% of rounds will hit within a 5-mil circle, with mils being milliradiants (at 1,000 feet five mils would be 5 m hence 80% of rounds would hit within a 5-m circle and that’s at 70 rounds a second).

A 10 Warthog
A US Air Force maintainer adjusts equipment on an A-10 Warthog at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, April 17, 2002.

Everything in the A-10 is designed to “make room” to the gun, including the nose landing gear, offset to the right of the aircraft so that the firing barrel lines up along the center of the airframe.

More in detail, as the gun’s recoil forces could push the entire plane off target during strafes, the gun itself is mounted laterally off-center, slightly to the port side of the fuselage centerline, with the actively “firing” barrel in the nine o’clock position (when viewed from the front of the aircraft), so that the firing barrel lies directly on the aircraft’s centerline.

The firing barrel also lies just below the aircraft’s center of gravity, being bore-sighted along a line 2 degrees below the aircraft’s line of flight. This arrangement accurately centers the recoil forces, preventing changes in aircraft pitch or yaw when fired.

Each of its seven barrels has an internal riffling groove which passes through the whole length of the barrel so that a spin on each round can be induced.

The 1,150 30-mm rounds of bullets stored in the drum weigh about 4,000 pounds: this means that the weight of the rounds and their shells has to be taken in consideration to position of the center of gravity of the aircraft. Without the rounds, you would actually have to put ballast in the nose on an empty gun to balance the airplane!

a10 damage a 10 gau-8 avenger rotary cannon
An armored vehicle after being hit by an A-10 providing close air support.

Other design features of the Warthog support the operation of the Avenger.

For instance, as explained by Maj. Cody “ShIV” Wilton, the commander of the A-10 Demo Team, in a pretty epic walkaround video we have published last year, the slat on each wing – that are not slats in the traditional airplane sense as they do not generate lift nor help the pilot land any slower it, but they smooth the airflow off the wing in the engine and prevent stalls when the aircraft flies at high AOA (Angle Of Attack) – also helps diverting the gun gas underneath the wing so it doesn’t suffocate the engine (as the gun gas does not have oxygen) when the aircraft uses the gun.

There’s also a wind fence that, when the gun is shooting, diverts the gas down the fuselage.

The stunning video below, produced by the 3D Mil-Tech YouTube channel, shows with unprecedented details, how the GAU-8 Avenger works: It gives an idea of the seven-barrel carriage assembly including the double-ended feed system which allows the spent casings to be returned to the ammunition drum.

What a fine piece of machinery!

Read the original article on Business Insider