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The A-10 Groundhog Variant.

        There can be little argument that the Avenger GAU-8 cannon of the A-10 Warthog has proved to be an effective anti-armour system. Less certain is how effective it is against light infantry. Certainly a direct hit from a 30mm round will take a soldier out of a fight, but how effective are the near misses? Such high velocity rounds probably bury them selves several feet underground before exploding, which can be less than ideal. In another article I've suggested new types of ammo that might address this problem. This page has an alternate approach that has other potential benefits.
        Suppose we build a variant of A-10 that does not have the Avenger cannon and instead has a lesser weapon such as a .50 or 20mm gatling. Such a move saves a lot of space and weight. Instead we fit this variant, which we will call the "Groundhog", with a turret mounting a laser designator and thermal imager. The aircraft can therefore "paint" a target at any bearing. Ideally the turret would also hold the new gun armament, allowing an all around field of fire. To exploit this new system to its maximum potential we'll use some of the weight that we've saved to add a second crewman to operate the turret. The Groundhog can still carry a full range of hardpoint mounted weapons and can carry a greater quantity of ammo for its gun.

        The Groundhog has several potential roles:-        The Groundhog therefore has a complimentary role to its Avenger armed sister. Not only can it designate targets more effectively, but it also helps defend Warthogs from air defenses. Groundhogs would operate in mixed squadrons with Warthogs. If the tactical situation should change the Groundhog can still mount the podded 30mm GAU-13 cannon system and would use this weapon more accurately than high speed F-16s.

Other Support Aircraft Ideas.
The Buzzard and other aircraft.
The Superbronco
The Ground attack Horten
Autogyros and Light Helicopters
ATT Gunship
Mudfighters
A10 cactus airforce
Rotary Close air support
Maneuver Air Support (MAS)
Maneuver Air Support 2
Air Mech Strike-Close Support Aircraft

UPDATE
"….for indulging in the kind of work we are describing (Maneuver Air Support), there is no airplane in the world that is better than the A-10, however, having said that, I must point out our failures (loss of control in its development):

  1. It grew to nearly three times the size we originally had in mind:

    1. We wanted protection for the pilot. We know that most of the bullets will come in from below and forward hemisphere. That was ignored so we got a wrapround bathtub of titanium. Keep in mind that for airplanes in this performance category, they grow about five pounds for every pound you add.

    2. We wanted a powerful gun and we got it but the uneducated (about tactics} technical types assumed that pilots would typically make about ten passes and that on each they would hose for 2 or 3 seconds. At 4200 rpm, that creates a gigantic ammo bay (1350 rds of 30mm). What we know is that pilots may make two or three passes and, when well trained, will fire for about a half second on each.

    3. The killer: with a Vietnam mentality, the "system" decreed that the AX should have a capacity to carry about 14000lb of bombs. The MAS proponents say NO bombs. (utilize Missiles and Rockets)

        The end product has poor thrust to drag ratio ergo POOR Acceleration, that will assure you get hit a lot.

        However, not bad for our FIRST attempt to design an airplane for this badly needed kind of war work. Next time, we should do better.

The legacy of the program:

  1. The GUN --- fantastic. Almost always fires when you press the button (has not always been the case for our combat aircraft). Penetrates 3.5" of Brenel 500 steel at muzzle velocity. Gun system yields 5mil accuracy.

  2. A community of pilots who never dreamed they would like this kind of work and not believe it is important and love to perform.

        Challenge is to get them into a smaller, more agile ASP and let they go to work with the grunts (full time).

Desired characteristics include:
        Hard to beat turbo-prop and the best configuration for that is pusher or unducted-fan pusher.

Chuck E. Myers, Jr.
President
Aerocounsel, Inc.

A-10 for MAS, the quick fix
For the standard single seat A-10, the main changes are proceedural rather than structural:
Further UPDATE
        One common suggestion of the MAS Working Group is the need for an aircraft like the OA-37, both for Forward Air Control and as a Attack plane to supplement the A-10s. A two-seater Groundhog version of the A-10 may be the answer. Primary Systems would be the laser designator and FFAR pods, particularly when loaded with laser guided rounds. Starstreak may be another option. This aircraft may have a fixed or turreted .50 GECAL, or it may carry such weapons in pods. For harder targets the Groundhog can carry 25mm or 30mm ADEN cannon pods or larger missiles such as Maverick.

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