15 January 2018

The B1-B Bomber Is A Poor Close Air Support Aircraft

The Air Force, which continues to hate the A-10 fighter, officially wants to replace it with the F-35A, which is too expensive and also ill suited to the task, and now wants to divert some of its work to the B-1B bomber

The last time that this was attempted, it was one of the biggest fails of the Afghan war when it led to a friendly fire incident, for the very reason that the A-10 was preferred (the A-10 has better target identification at close range than the B-1B can secure at long range) and the A-10 was put back on the job.

In addition to operational performance issues, the B-1B is also too expensive to make it a cost effective way to support ground troops. It is an attempt to swat flies with a steel press originally designed to make car parts.

The B-1B has its place (it is a good system for attacking enemy surface warships, for example), but close air support for ground troops in the midst of battles is not that place.

The U.S. Air Force still needs a purpose built, inexpensive, close air support aircraft that is designed for circumstances when U.S. forces don't face air-to-air combat threats or sophisticated ground to air missile capabilities, to serve as a successor to the A-10.

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