The Instigator
TyJack11x
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Jingle_Bombs
Con (against)
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A-10 Thunderbolt Mk. 2 VS F-35 Lightning Mk. 2

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 2/21/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,854 times Debate No: 70467
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
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TyJack11x

Pro

Rules: Round 1 is acceptance
Round 2-4 is for debating
Round 5 is for your conclusion

This debate is about which jet is better for the U.S military. I am pro and for the a-10 you will be con or for the F-35. Good Luck!
Jingle_Bombs

Con

I accept. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
TyJack11x

Pro

Thanks for accepting.

Basically the A-10 was created to fight World War 3 and live to tell about. It is the best C.A.S aircraft ever invented, it's saved countless American and allied troops lives in it's time in service. The F-35 is fast and it will have trouble spotting enemies on the ground, possibly resulting in friendly casulties. Also the A-10 is thick-skinned, the cockpit has a thick titanium bathtub, to protect the pilot. The A-10's low level capability may give it a decisive edge for battlefield interdiction when compared with the F-35, especially if laser countermeasure systems were to be installed throughout the A-10 fleet. In other words, the A-10 may have a better chance of surviving the threat of infrared guided short-range surface to air missiles while flying low over enemy territory than the F-35 has flying stealthily at altitude in hopes of sneaking past long-range radar guided missiles that are being supported by a "data-fused" network of various radars operating at different bandwidths.The F-35 cost about 150 million per plane while the A-10 cost about 9 million per plane, you could buy about 16 warthogs for every lightning!

Sources:
http://www.fool.com...

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com...
Jingle_Bombs

Con

Basically the A-10 was created to fight World War 3 and live to tell about.

Or to be more precise; the A-10 was designed for European engagement against Soviet tanks when everyone was still using 80s tech while pilots were still jamming to Bon Jovi, Madonna, and Michael Jackson on their head-sets.

It is the best C.A.S aircraft ever invented, it's saved countless American and allied troops lives.

So what. The F-15 Eagle has an undefeated 104-0 air-to-air record; yet even 5 of them can't compete with a single 5th generation aircraft like the F-22 Raptor when stacked 5 vs 1 in Red Flag exercises. The past service history of an airframe says nothing about its current combat capabilities.

The F-35 is fast and it will have trouble spotting enemies on the ground, possibly resulting in friendly casualties.

The F-35 is equipped with a state of the art Distributed Aperture System (aks DAS) which features multiple integrated IRST sensors on different parts of the plane that provides a near perfect 360 degree sphere of Infrared visibility in all directions / day or night. Combine this with the F-35's exclusive Helmet Mounted Display (HMDS) and it's Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) for multiplex air-to-surface tracking, and the F-35 pilot can literally see the ground through the floor of the plane or the IR off a cow fart over a 100 miles away.

The F-35's 5th generation sensor suite featuring advance laser rangefinding and IRST cueing should thus have no trouble at all at spotting ground targets.

In contrast the A-10 needs to have integrated 3rd party targeting pod attached under one of its wings to even come close to this kind of visual acuity.

Also the A-10 is thick-skinned, the cockpit has a thick titanium bathtub, to protect the pilot.

Do not confuse survivability and structural toughness of an airframe for vulnerability. The A-10 has absolutely NOTHING -and I mean nothing- going for it in the event of a dogfight with another plane or a surface to air missile launched from some of the newer sophisticated SAMs (SA-13 & SA-17) or next-generation shoulder-fired MANPADS.

Here, what's slower, low-flying, and less advanced A-10 to do? It can't climb, can't hide, can't run away, can't fire back, it can't do the loopy-loop maneuvers you've seen at Top Gun or in Air Shows needed to dodge a missile, and can't possibly see what's coming at them without without first modifying its lack of sophisticated air tracking and radar jamming sensors.

In contrast, the F-35 was built from nail to nose for electronic warfare; missile evasion; and aerial dogfighting. The F-35 will carry the next-generation Aim-9x Sidewinder and the Aim-120 AMRAAM air missiles; the former when combined with HMDS cueing is capable of firing on aircraft trailing BEHIND the plane. Meanwhile, its electronic warfare suite and stealth coating gives it the technological edge it needs to defeat detection and jam enemy radar/missile tracking.

The A-10's low level capability may give it a decisive edge for battlefield interdiction when compared with the F-35,

Again, do NOT mistake survivability for vulnerability. In the 1991 Gulf War, FOUR A-10s were shot down to Iraqi SAMs, and dozens more came limping back to base due to enemy AAA.[1]. The vulnerability of the A-10 was so bad against high-threat SAM environments that USAF General Chuck Horner formally ground the plane from attacking Elite Republican Guard divisions {2}. And in 2003, another A-10 was lost to small-arms fire (3)

Thus the point of the F-35 replacing the A-10 is to have a plane that avoids being hit in the first place.

especially if laser countermeasure systems were to be installed throughout the A-10 fleet

WTF, lasers??? As in point-defense -like in star trek- or as in range finders and retroreflective cueing? The former doesn't exist yet and the latter schematic is used primarily for precision ground targeting. Hardly a countermeasure against air missiles or AAA fire.

The F-35 cost about 150 million per plane while the A-10 cost about 9 million per plane, you could buy about 16 warthogs for every lightning!

The F-35 is meant to replace the aging A-10, F-16, F-18, and harrier jumpjet across four branches of the military as well as provide NATO allies an exportable 5th generation fighter jet that will supplement our own air-forces. The F-35 will be a much more intricate part of the DoD and national security strategy than the Fairchild A-10 will in the years to come.

Sources:
1)http://en.wikipedia.org....
2) (http://www.dailykos.com...#)
3)http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 2
TyJack11x

Pro

When everyone is still using 80s tech

That's true, but our enemies are still using crappy tech, ISIS, Russia, and China just to name a few. Even countries with high tech seem to be lagging behind us. Also the A-10s purpose was to fight in the ultimate hostile air combat situations.


So what.

I don't think saving thousands of lives is a "so what" issue.
But the F-22 is meant to knock planes out of the sky from a distance, tell me where these the F-15 strike eagle or the average run of the mill F-15 eagles?

The F-35 is equipped with DAS

DAS still exhibits high false-alarm rates and false target tracks, and poor stability performance, even in later versions of the software.(http://defense-update.com...) Next time your driving 60 mph down a road look out your side window and try to focus on stuff that's on the side of the road, not easy is it? Now imagine flying at 1,000 mph at 850 feet.

The A-10 has absolutely nothing going for it in the event of a dogfight.

The A-10 wasn't designed for dog-fighting, that's when the F-22 or the F-15 comes in. Although the A-10 is excellent against helicopters as this war game shows ( https://medium.com...). Although the scorpion helmet and sidewinders would make a good addition to the A-10 giving a significant boost in AA capabilities. "The A-10 is a high-survivability and versatile aircraft, popular with pilots for the 'get home' effectiveness." (http://www.airforce-technology.com...)

Dozens more came limping back.

Again, "The A-10 is a high-survivability and versatile aircraft, popular with pilots for the 'get home' effectiveness."

The F-35 is meant to replace the aging A-10, F-16, F-18, and harrier jumpjet

The A-10 does need upgrades, but thats the thing the air forces refuses to upgrade it. If the A-10 got its much needed wing upgrade,Scorpion helmet, integrating the AIM-9x sidewinders with it would give it a massive jump in air-to-air abilities and situtional awarness, also much more fuel efficent and powerful engine versions of the A-10s exsist now. The A-10 has finally been cleared to fly with external fuel tanks. This plane dosent need a replacement it just needs an upgrade!


Sorces:
http://www.airforce-technology.com...

https://medium.com...

http://defense-update.com...

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com...


Jingle_Bombs

Con

That's true, but our enemies are still using crappy tech, ISIS, Russia, and China just to name a few.

Russia and China are already developing 5th generation fighters

Russian T-50 : http://upload.wikimedia.org...
Chinese J-20 : https://chivethebrigade.files.wordpress.com...

Whereas paramilitary groups like ISIS and Ukrainian rebels have demonstrated proficiency at shooting down aircraft when supplied with MANPADs and SAMs.

F-16 shotdown by ISIS: http://www.cnn.com...
Malaysia Airlines flight shotdown: http://www.independent.co.uk...

Even countries with high tech seem to be lagging behind us.

And yet China was able to hack Lockheed-Martin computers and effectively clone the F-35 while simultaneously improving on the original design by adding a second engine.

J-31 vs F-35: http://www.infotechgarage.com...

Also the A-10s purpose was to fight in the ultimate hostile air combat situations.

The ultimate 21st century air-threat environment is an integrated air defense matrix complete with overlapping layers of mobile SAMs, entrenched AAA, CAP patrols by high-flying jet interceptors, and long range early warning radar detection provided for by AWACs and on-site air radar stations. Under these lethal conditions, the A-10 by itself is spotted, intercepted, and shot-down long before it even reaches the battlefield. The A-10 is slow moving, low flying, has no stealth or radar jamming capabilities whatsoever, and can't fire back at intercepting aircraft.

I don't think saving thousands of lives is a "so what" issue.

I admit, I should have been more clear on this point: "The past service history of an airframe says nothing about its current combat capabilities when compared to current threats"

tell me where these the F-15 strike eagle or the average run of the mill F-15 eagles?

The strike eagle is not an optimized air-superiority fighter; the regular eagle is. But since we seem to be curious; while at Red Flag's Operation Northern Edge, the F-22 achieved a 144-0 kill/death ratio against all other legacy platforms, including the F-15, F-16, and F-18. :http://www.flightglobal.com...

The point of touting the F-22 though, is to prove that 5th generation fighters (like the F-35) will have a significant combat advantage when going up against less advanced 4th generation aircraft (like the A-10).

DAS still exhibits high false-alarm rates and false target tracks

AFAIK, the one glitch within DAS is that it will sometimes mistake a flare for a missile launch. This problem though is true with just about every other IR sensor out-there - including missile guidance systems which can be fooled when a targeted aircraft launches its own flares and chaff. The flare trick -which I have proved not to be unique to DAS- can be mitigated through block upgrades, more testing, and continued software updates against missile threats. DAS meanwhile, has proved that it could detect and track missiles in ranges exceeding 800 miles and has the ability to track multiple suborbital rocket launches simultaneously (http://en.wikipedia.org...). No other strike aircraft in the Air Force inventory has any system quite like this.

Next time your driving 60 mph down a road look out your side window and try to focus on stuff that's on the side of the road, not easy is it? Now imagine flying at 1,000 mph at 850 feet.

Comparing driving an automobile to flying a jet aircraft is like trying to compare an apple to an orange. But if I still need to make a case here, then finding ground targets through an F-35 is made simpler by autopilot, a highly-advanced IR sensor package and laser designator (DAS & EOTS), helmet mounted displays (an F-35 exclusive), stealth coating (to get in close), and a Multifunction Advanced Data Link which allows me to communicate and share radar imagery secretly with other stealth aircraft (also an F-35 exclusive) http://en.wikipedia.org....

The A-10 wasn't designed for dog-fighting

Then you will admit that the A-10 has nothing going for it in the event of a dogfight, and is therefore vulnerable to fighter intercepts.

that's when the F-22 or the F-15 comes in.

The F-35 will not need fighter escorts for the majority of its missions. F-35 > A-10.

Although the A-10 is excellent against helicopters as this war game shows

The problem for strike aircraft is not helicopters, but surface to air missiles and electronic warfare. In both desert storm and the recent Iraq conflict, the Iraqi military demonstrated that it could shoot down an A-10 using last gen missile tech, Here, the A-10 has nothing going for it expect run-of the mil flares and chaff. But don't even get me started on what happens to an A-10 in the event of a coordinated cyber attack.

Again, "The A-10 is a high-survivability and versatile aircraft, popular with pilots for the 'get home' effectiveness."

The point of the F-35 is to NOT get hit in the first place. Vulnerability > Survivability.

The A-10 does need upgrades, but thats the thing the air forces refuses to upgrade it.

Because the AF, Navy, and Marines are in badly need of newer planes that aren't old and racking up mileage. They shouldn't have to spend $7 million per A-10 just to keep it on life-support.

Oldest AF Fleet Ever and $7 Million/A-10:
http://www.military.com...

This plane dosent need a replacement it just needs an upgrade!

It needs replacing because its old and future threats (as I've hopefully explained) have made it obsolete.
Debate Round No. 3
TyJack11x

Pro

The ultimate 21st century air-threat environment...

You seem to be under the misconception that the A-10 can only survive under low threat conditions. Again it was designed to survive the Fulda Gap, not really a hospitable place, one teaming with Soviet armor, infantry equipped with MANPADs, these armies supported by the Soviet air force and anti-air regiments, all while NATO air forces were struggling for air superiority. Only 5 A-10s have been destroyed in combat (only ONE pilot has DIED), but the first four planes were destroyed during the first Gulf war, a place not exactly lacking of SAMs, but they were inevitability pulled off the line but only after 8,100 combat sorties.

144-0 kill/death ratio

I didn't know that about the F-22 and that is amazing.


Continued software updates

DAS is in later versions of the software, how long tell it's operational? The F-35's gun already won't be working until 2019.(http://www.thedailybeast.com...)


Comparing driving an automobile to flying a jet aircraft is like trying to compare an apple to an orange.

The point of this example is objects are very blurry to the eye when traveling at 60, let alone flying at 1000 mph at high altitudes, little objects on the ground will be hard to identify, even with sophisticated equipment. The A-10 has the lowest number of friendly fire incidents (excluding the AC-130).

But don't even get me started on what happens to an A-10 in the event of a coordinated cyber attack.

What of the F-35, it is highly sophisticated and computerized.


The F-35 will not need fighter escorts

Actually the F-35 needs the F-22 "If I do not keep that F-22 fleet viable, the F-35 fleet frankly will be irrelevant. The F-35 is not built as an air superiority platform. It needs the F-22,” says Hostage to Air Force Times. (http://theaviationist.com...)


The A-10 is slow moving, low flying

Slow moving is an advantage in C.A.S missions, (which the A-10 excels at), and low flying planes are harder to pick up on radar.


Vulnerability > Survivability

SAMs can shoot planes down at altitudes of 30km or 98,425 ft, the ceiling of the F-35 is about 45,000 ft (http://www.globalsecurity.org...). So when the F-35 is picked up on radar ( some, sadly,will be) it will be shot down with no armor to protect the pilot or get the plane home safely.


They shouldn't have to spend $7 million per A-10 just to keep it on life-support.

The AF, Marines, and Navy shouldn't have to spend 68, 87, and 92 million dollars respectively, (only the flyaway cost) on a plane whose combat effectiveness is constantly dropping. (http://www.wired.com...)



The A-10 is old but has been barely upgraded, if it was given the wing replacements, laser counter-measures*, precision engagement mod (already being implemented), new data-link, integration of the AGM-114 Hell fire missiles, scorpion helmet mounted sights, AIM-9x sidewinders, and the NG34 general electric engines. This plane would reach new heights that its creators didn't even dream!

* I didn't mean point-lasers (as cool as that would be), but directional infrared counter-measures to protect aircraft from infrared man portable homing missiles.
Jingle_Bombs

Con

Again it was designed to survive the Fulda Gap, not really a hospitable place, one teaming with Soviet armor, infantry equipped with MANPADs, these armies supported by the Soviet air force and anti-air regiments, all while NATO air forces were struggling for air superiority.

…Soviet armor, Soviet infantry, Soviet MANPADs, Soviet Air Forces = 1980s Tech.

Whereas I did say per verbatim: “The ultimate 21st century air-threat environment is….” and that the A-10 is ill-suited for this type of high-tech/high threat environment.

Only 5 A-10s have been destroyed in combat (only ONE pilot has DIED), but the first four planes were destroyed during the first Gulf war, a place not exactly lacking of SAMs, but they were inevitability pulled off the line but only after 8,100 combat sorties.

The historic A-10 grounding in Desert Storm came after 2 A-10s in a row were downed after engaging elite Iraqi Republican Guard divisions in a single day (whose destruction was purposely saved for last by CENTCOM commanders) (http://en.wikipedia.org...). During that same week, dozens of A-10's also came limping back to base after heavy flak and coordinated AAA fire, and some were unable to return to frontline service. You’ll remember too that the Republican Guard was the only reliable/well-equipped SAM forces Saddam had in the entire Gulf War campaign, which should prove something about the A-10's performance against legit surface to air missile threats.

DAS is in later versions of the software, how long tell it's operational?

Northrop Grumman has just delivered its 1,000th AN/AAQ-37 distributed aperture system (http://www.airforce-technology.com...). Which proves the system’s maturity.

The point of this example is objects are very blurry to the eye when traveling at 60, let alone flying at 1000 mph at high altitudes, little objects on the ground will be hard to identify, even with sophisticated equipment.

When’s the last time a fighter pilot has ever locked on to a ground target with a radar seeking missile just by using eye sight? The pilot in this case, either had an advanced helmet mounted display, sensors, or a super advanced radar-avionic suite – both of which are featured more prominently (and in more advanced forms) in the F-35.

The A-10 has the lowest number of friendly fire incidents (excluding the AC-130).

Which allows me to bring up an interesting point. Why not have the AC-130 complete the slow-loitering CAS role that features gatling guns and oversized cannons? The Air Force doesn't need the A-10

What of the F-35, it is highly sophisticated and computerized.

The F-35 was designed for electronic warfare and features built-in countermeasures against radar jamming, hacking, and EMP. In contrast, the A-10 lacks even a basic countermeasure against radar jamming and GPS tampering without first attaching an electronic warfare mod (or pods) underneath the wings.


The F-35 is not built as an air superiority platform. It needs the F-22

You’ll notice again in Round 3 that I said “The F-35 will not need fighter escorts for the majority of its missions.” In contrast, the A-10 needs an escort for ALL of its missions whenever air sumpremacy is contested by enemy aircraft.

Slow moving is an advantage in C.A.S missions, (which the A-10 excels at),


Are you really trying to say that the ability to perform CAS at supersonic speeds isn’t?


and low flying planes are harder to pick up on radar.


In general yes, but there’s a tradeoff. Low flying planes are much more vulnerable to small arms fire, AAA, shorter range SAMS, and can be spotted by the naked eye. Low-flying planes also tend to lack significantly in range and suffer from their own radar/sensor impairment when flying near the ground.

SAMs can shoot planes down at altitudes of 30km or 98,425 ft, the ceiling of the F-35 is about 45,000 ft, So when the F-35 is picked up on radar ( some, sadly,will be) it will be shot down with no armor to protect the pilot or get the plane home safely.

That's quite an assumption considering all the speed, acrobatics, computer gizmos, and stealth features I’ve been touting on the F-35 that make it impervious to radar lock by surface to air missiles. Unlike the A-10, it has a lot more defensive counters than just flare and chaff.

The AF, Marines, and Navy shouldn't have to spend 68, 87, and 92 million dollars respectively, (only the flyaway cost) on a plane whose combat effectiveness is constantly dropping.


The only airframe whose performance is constantly dropping is the A-10 – which you’ve even admitted “needs upgrading.” Rather than blow millions on upgrading an obsolete and aging platform, it makes sense to procure a newer and better weapon systems that maintains are tech lead while our enemies continue to make technological advances themselves. The F-35 does that and more.

Debate Round No. 4
TyJack11x

Pro

This is my conclusion so I would like to thank Jingle_Bombs for accepting and doing a fantastic job at presenting his argument.

So without further hesitation, I would like to summarize my points and why I think the A-10 should not be retired.

-Its unparalleled when it comes to CAS missions, the A-10 has been quoted by air force brass to do the dirty job "excellently", while other planes (such as the F-35) will be doing it "reasonably well". The warthog has saved allied lives and took those of the enemy with great prejudice.

-The A-10s survivability is paramount. It's true that the original Warthogs lacked the capabilities to find targets at night or in adverse weather, but today's A-10C has digital avionics and targeting sensors that greatly enhance its capabilities. And the idea that the A-10 is not survivable is laughable, given the aircraft's original task of killing Soviet tanks; the Warthogs would have faced a plethora of Warsaw Pact anti-aircraft gun and missile systems in performing its role.

- The F-35 is not suitable to replace it because of: cost, the F-35 is over 60 million dollars and that's just its flyaway cost, CAS capability, the F-35 will not be able to directly provide CAS (the air force probably won't let it fly under 10,000 feet because of its thin-skin), leaving our troops without support within 500m of their position, due to the F-35 only being able to drop bombs or fire missiles. The F-35 only carries enough ammo for 2-3 "trigger pulls", the A-10 potentially has a dozen.

- The Ac-130 would not be a suitable replacement because it is to thin-skinned and to slow to outrun MANPADs, at night time for specops it is awesome but during large battles during the day, well the A-10 can't be beat.

-Finally I believe the A-10 should not be retired because it's what the grunts want, those who truly win our wars. If anything I believe the law dictating whether the army should have fixed wing aircraft should be repealed and the army should get the A-10 Thunderbolt.
Jingle_Bombs

Con

Henry Ford once said "If I had listened to what people wanted, they would have said a faster horse!" whereas the majority of military professionals advocating for the A-10 nowadays continue to incorreclty assume that the airforce will continue to operate in the same 80s and 90s tech threat environment that the A-10 was designed for. Word of caution to all, it's not.

The A-10 has proved its vulnerability and ineffectiveness against surface to air missile threats in Desert Storm and the Iraq War (loosing a total of four airframes) where we should not confuse this facet for evidence of survivability. The point of the F-35 Lightning will be to not get hit in the first place.

The A-10's much acclaimed CAS mission that requires low speed loitering and oversize gatling guns can also be accomplished by the AC-130 gunship, Predator drones, or Army attack helicopters armed with hellfire missiles and 20mm cannons. There simply is no reason now to keep the A-10 in service at the cost of more F-35s when three branches of the military (Army, Airforce, and Marines) are badly in need of newer aircraft to replace thier aging fleets. We can thus believe that the F-35 is better airframe for the US military.

--

Congrats to Pro for his work and a side well argued.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by 18Karl 2 years ago
18Karl
You guys are comparing apples to oranges.
Posted by airmax1227 2 years ago
airmax1227
Vote by MasterDbater18xray in favor of Pro removed

RFD:

"Pros argument was better because he raises good points such as money, excellence at its job, and survivability. The push button war is just a dream, pro understands this. Pro also points out many flaws in the f35 program while cons points have all been proven false by the a10s deployments"

Reason for removal: The accounts share an IP which invalidates any vote placed by either account for the other. The members are encouraged to contact me as soon as possible.

-Debate.org Moderator
Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
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>Reported vote: MasterDbater18xray // Moderator action taken: removed<

Voted for Pro. RFD = "Reasons for voting decision: A-10...boom, nuff said."

*Reason for removal.* Failure to explain why Pro had better arguments.
=====================================================================
No votes have been placed for this debate.