The A-10, Still Awesome, But Damn, It's Old.
Oct 02, 201503:35AM
Okay, first let's look at the numbers of combat aircraft in the USAF:
F-16 Fighting Falcon General Dynamics F-16C/D 982
A-10 Thunderbolt II Fairchild Republic A-10C 280
F-15E Strike Eagle McDonnell Douglas F-15E 219
F-15 Eagle McDonnell Douglas F-15C/D 193
F-22 Raptor General Dynamics F-22A 186
B-52 Stratofortress Boeing B-52H 78
B-1 Lancer Rockwell B-1B 62
F-35 Lightning II Lockheed Martin F-35A 47
AC-130 Lockheed & Boeing AC-130U/W/J 27
B-2 Spirit Northrop Grumman B-2A 20
See that? The A-10 is the second most numerous model, third most numerous airframe (since both F-15 variants are on the same frame).
Does that sound like something they're "trying to get rid of"?
Now, I keep hearing the same ignorant, and sometimes idiotic, comments about this, fueled by internet outrage, emotional stories, and instant expertise.
"The Air Force refuses to do CAS for the Army."
Really? In what battle did the Air Force refuse to do this? Please name the event, date and location.
"The Air Force wants to get rid of the only plane that can do CAS."
Really? What do the Army, Marines and Navy use for CAS, since they have no A-10s? What do other NATO allies use?
"The Air Force should be ordered to design a replacement."
You're an idealistic idiot and that's not how that works. The USAF doesn't design craft. First, it holds a forum to determine needs, which costs money and takes Congressional approval. Then, it takes the needs to Congress, and begs them for money for R&D. Then, it has contractors submit proposals, and has Congress assign money to develop prototypes. Then it tests the prototypes. Then it picks one, begs Congress to bless it, then begs them for money to build it. Then, Congress blames the cost on the AF, counts the R&D into the production cost, claims the production cost is too high, halves the numbers, complains the per unit cost has doubled, halves it again, complains how expensive new planes are, and cancels the project. And it takes 20 years.
BTW, we DO have such a replacement. It was even designed with the participation of the Navy and Marines. It's called the F-35. Oops.
"The Soldiers love the A-10, so the Air Force should be made to keep it."
Okay, and? Since when does a grunt's personal desires dictate air doctrine? HINT: Never. Marines liked the battleships for beach support. The Navy still got rid of them when they got old.
Then we get into really stupid territory.
"The Air Force should just give it to the Marines. They want it."
A: Cite, please, the USMC document stating their interest in this platform.
2) The Marines vastly prefer aircraft that are carrier capable, for forward deployment. This leads to the response of:
"So just put carrier landing gear on it and make the wings fold."
a} You don't "just" put carrier gear and folding wings on an airframe. It has to be DESIGNED for such. Even if it is
II] that adds a LOT of weight to the frame, typically about double, which reduces your payload, so you wouldn't have an A-10 anymore, and
C. it would cost a CRAPTON of money.
V| how do you think, btw, the Marines do CAS now, if they have no A-10s? Possibly they use other aircraft?
Then we go full retard.
"The Air Force should be made to give it to the Army."
Okay. So, assuming you revoke the Key West Agreements and give it to the Army, what then?
Hey, Army, that sure is a nice looking plane you have there. Looks GREAT!
Oh, right...the Army doesn't have any fixed wing CAS pilots. I wonder where they'll get those?
Oh, you think USAF pilots will just transfer right over and take the Army's bullshit to fly the plane? (All branches have bullshit, but they're used to USAF bullshit, and prefer it, or they'd have gone Army in the first place.) Well, SOME Hog drivers will, they love the plane that much. But others will say, "Fuck it, I'll go back to Vipers."
So, the Army will have to get trained pilots. And who will train Army pilots on the A-10? OH, right--USAF pilots. And that will take a year or so.
So, now they have planes and pilots...and where do they fly these planes from? Army FOBs are sorely lacking in runways.
Now, if you were stupid enough to propose this idea, you're probably stupid enough to think some poured concrete and planks makes a runway, and I'm going to laugh in your face.
Where is the Army going to get trained airbase engineers?
So, either beg, borrow, or steal them from the USAF, OR, add enough Army engineers to do the job, AND have the USAF train them in how to build airbases.
Get that? You have to ADD PERSONNEL to the Army to do this. And the USAF isn't going to lose any personnel, which I'll come back to in a bit.
Then, you need jet mechanics, airframe specialists, aircraft electricians, pneumatics-hydraulics specialists, life support equipment, munitions, PMEL and NDI specialists, ground support...
And all those troops need support troops--medics, supply, cooks, etc.
Some can be cross-trained from existing Army fields, but you'll still need more of them.
You're going to build 10 Expeditionary Air Wings for the Army.
And then you're going to give them a single 40 year old airframe that, best case, is going to retire in 13 years, and only does one mission, and the rest of the time, sits there as a target while the support element sits there waiting.
Oh, yeah--more MPs.
I've even heard from Army aviation troops where the Infantrytards wanted to pull them off duty, "park" the helos and just fire them up when needed. If you don't understand why that doesn't work, you probably are the type of person who proposed the idea above, so it would take too long to explain why you're an idiot.
More importantly, there's a very good chance you're in the Army, and have Dunning-Krugered yourself enough to think that operating aircraft is SIMPLER than driving trucks and shooting rifles (Yes, I was in the Army, I know there's more than that, but I'm responding with a like attitude. How does it feel?). Thanks. You've proven EXACTLY why we have the Key West Agreement and why the Army doesn't get to manage the Air Force.
Now, coming back around--it's ONE craft that does ONE mission. It was the best plane in the world at busting tanks, 40 years ago. It was one of the best at busting bunkers, movements and positions, 40 years ago. But that's all it does, and it's no longer as awesome and unique as it was.
You see, other aircraft can do those missions. Sometimes they have to overlap, but those craft also do other things, and the A-10 does not. So, the USAF will keep all its existing personnel for its other aircraft. All you'll have done is driven up Army costs and complexity.
These days, CAS is done by A10s, F16s, F15s, AC130s, B52s, occasionally B1s, but not, as far as I know, by B2s. It's done by Navy and Marine FA-18s, AV-8Bs, EA-6s, Marine and Army AH-60s, AH-64s, AH-1s, and various UAVs. Smart munitions make a lot of difference.
Now, let's look at the F-16. It has this cute trick where, if you try to attack it during its CAS mission, it suddenly goes supersonic, locks onto you, and splashes you with Sidewinder air to air missiles that it pretty much always carries for just such an emergency.
The A-10, in similar circumstances, has this cute trick where it calls for an F-16.
Which means your Army CAS wing would need a USAF fighter wing to cover its ass while it did its mission, assuming a modern enemy with an air force.
And if you're not fighting a modern enemy with an air force, you probably don't need A-10s to blow them up, most of the time.
It was originally designed to bust tanks in the Fulda Gap, when we were outnumbered 25:4. The plan was to go in slow, low, blow stuff up, take a lot of fire, duct tape back together, take more fire, and hope the aircraft lasted long enough to reduce the tank numbers so the Army could handle what was left. It wasn't expected to survive, just to die with style. And "Close" in this case is about 4000 yards. That's what the gun is indexed for.
Forty years later, neither the Russians nor Chinese would let an A-10 get that close. They know what it can do, and they have much better air defense. You're going to have to send high performance fighters anyway, and stand off and lob missiles. In which case, the fast movers can lob the missiles, and you don't need an A-10.
Oh, sorry, did you say "BRRRRRRRRRT!"? That's not quite the sound it makes, actually. It's more like a farting dragon. But it also turns out that if you get that close, you don't usually need 30mm to punch holes, and if so, Maverick missiles do it from 20 km away, and if you really think you need to get close, UAVs are cheap and don't risk pilot lives.
Now, are there missions for which the A-10 can't be replaced? Yes, a few. The combination of slow and lots of hardware does have its place (helos require more maintenance, have less loiter time, and smaller payloads).
But, then we come to budget.
The USAF is tasked with some essential but non-combat missions. Heavy strategic airlift, theater airlift, nuclear deterrence, intel and reconnaissance, refueling, transport. Those all move material and people into and around the war zone, and deter our enemies.
The combat missions roughly break down to interdiction-strike, interception, air superiority, and close air support. Four main categories.
So, hypothetically, if you have four missions, ten planes per mission, you have forty planes.
Then you get told your budget is 35 planes.
The strike craft can do CAS. The air sup can be equipped to do some, as can the interceptors. But, the CAS craft can't do ANY of the others. If you have to get rid of 5 birds, it's going to be the ones you can't cross-deploy. It's simple numbers. An F16 is not an ideal CAS platform, but it can and has done it. It can also intercept, strike and maintain air superiority. An A-10 cannot intercept, cannot do air superiority, and can do strike, but not long range (not quickly enough to matter in most engagements) and not without cover from the others. There is ONE recorded air-to -air kill by an A-10, of a hovering helicopter. Against any kind of modern fighter, it is steak.
You want to keep the A-10? The USAF needs more budget. Cut some of those handouts to non-productive people and put that money back into defense (and roads, and schools, and science, but DoD for this argument) and they can fly more missions with more aircraft.
Now, the USAF will continue to fly the A-10 for the next several years. And even when it doesn't, it will cheerfully kill anything the Army paints with a laser or has a JTAC identify. Because blowing shit up is cool.
It was doing that before the A-10 existed, and will do it afterward, and will probably do it better in the future.
But it won't be with the A-10 for long, because even though there are older aircraft, most of them don't take the heavy pounding of low altitude, high-G maneuvers, nor as many sorties.
In the meantime, new gunship packages are being developed to put even more firepower into them. They shoot sideways and poop bombs out the back ramp. Expect to see a lot of that doing CAS.
Now, the F-35 is almost an air parallel to the M-14 rifle. The M-14 was intended to replace the Garand, the Browning Automatic Rifle, the Thompson, the M3A1 Grease Gun and the M1 Carbine. In the end, it was a so-so replacement for the Garand at 3X the unit cost, but didn't do anything else worth a damn. It seems no one learned from that history.
The M-14 was a terrible replacement for the BAR, and all hopes had been pinned on it. It failed.
But we still got rid of the BAR. It was old, it no longer was as awesome as it had been in WWI, so it went away.
The M-60 was probably a terrible choice to replace the BAR. It was a general purpose machine gun, not an automatic rifle. But it's what we had.
So the A-10s replacement, if not the F-35, will possibly be some cobbled together C-17 Globemaster with forward firing 105mm howitzers.
New Book Now, More News Later
Sep 22, 201511:49PM
I need to catch up on a few things, now the panic season is over.
First, new book:
A contemporary mystery written by Travis Clemmons, with me as co-author.
A man awakens in a 21st century Illinois hospital, holding very distinct memories of being shot in Switzerland decades earlier. The nurse calls him Detective Crabtree and says the DuPage County Sheriff will be by to check on him shortly. Yet he remembers his name being Sherlock Holmes.
It's on Kindle for now, and may be in hard copy later.
To My Stalker
Aug 10, 201506:32PM
Congrats. I have to hand it to you. It takes dedication to focus so exclusively on my Fecesbook wall you can catch things to be offended by, like this image I posted:
Or, you know, you could just go to the Humorless Pussy Little Bitch section of Fecesbook.
But that's nothing. You were dedicated enough to scroll back through an ENTIRE FUCKING YEAR of comments, not posts, to find something even older to get offended at. One that used "faggot" in its correct usage referring to a bundle of sticks, and even used the format of "A faggot (a bundle of sticks) of wood." Thus proving that the Fecesbook monitors are retarded as you are obsessive.
Of course, that 12 hour ban was subsumed by the 30 day ban for the image above.
Not to rest on your laurels, you then went back to about the TWO YEAR MARK to find yet another comment to be offended about.
Now you're getting creepy.
Seriously, have you nothing better to do?
You went through possibly 50,000 comments. You COULD have been researching how to cure a terrible disease. You could have been creating great art. If you were worth anything at all as a human being, that is. Since you're clearly not, you could have been masturbating to My Little Pony bondage porn.
Nope. You have nothing better to do with your life than read tens of thousands of my comments trying to...do what, exactly? I have three backup IDs, and any number of people who'll post on my behalf.
You are truly the most worthless piece of shit the human race has ever produced. There's nothing I need to do in response to you. You've long since done it to yourself.
And may God continue to wipe his ass with you.
I have just voted NO AWARD across the board for the Hugo awards, including the category in which I am a finalist.
At one time, the Hugo WAS arguably the most significant award in SF, with the Nebula being the pro award with a different cachet.
The Nebula lost any credibility when it was awarded to If You Were An Alpha Male My Love, which was not only eyerollingly bad Mary Sue, but wasn't SF nor even an actual story. If that's what the pros consider to be worthy of note, it indicates a dysfunction at their level.
As for the Hugos, in the last twenty years or so, they've been less and less awarded for either literature or entertaining storytelling, and more and more awarded for trite fanfic. When not, it's been the same incestuous group awarding it within a circle of in-people, to the point where there are winners with literally 50 nominations and 30 wins.
This is just ridiculous.
There was some push back this year, and one could argue about the merits of doing so, or the merits of the works in question.
Instead, what has happened has been egregious ad hominem to the point of Godwin failure (Referring to us as "neo-Nazis") followed by false apologies ("I'm sorry it upset you to be called a neo-Nazi"), defense of the false apologies by alleged professionals in the use of language, with simultaneous denial that apologies were necessary or even actually took place (we agree. No apologies were actually made).
One former winner, whom I feel did in fact deserve his award, piled on to the point of equating us in exact words to domestic abusers, which is not only egregiously ridiculous, it is morally corrupt and a gross insult to actual victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Including me.
Another suggested we should create our own award, separate but equal, and then betrayed his position by failing to know anything about other SF awards. Perhaps we can have a Civil Award, that will be like a Hugo, but not like it, preserving the sanctity of the Hugo for the trufen.
The sheer, frothing, irrational vitriol aimed at us makes it clear that content will not be considered. We are Unclean, and many have stated they will not even look at our works.
Sadly, there are quite a few nominees this year who genuinely deserve awards for their work and creativity, including other members of my own category.
And perhaps someday, an award will come along that reaches the standards of credibility and accolade their works deserve.
But at present, no such award exists.
This was my choice. I am not telling my fans not to vote for me. If you feel my work is worthy, by all means vote for it. Just understand that if I win, it will be subject to the same scathing derision I give to any and all social and political issues. It deserves no less.
Some Fights You'll Never Win
Jun 24, 201512:32AM
So, even though some murderous little punk wore the flags of two defunct nations on his jacket, it inevitably became about the Confederate battle banner. Which doesn't fly over the SC capital, but what do facts matter?
Several major retailers stopped selling merchandise with that image, and, under pressure, eBay and Amazon folded, too. They'll still sell Swastikas, SS death's heads, The Turner Diaries, etc, but those are okay, I guess.
So it started with me telling Amazon, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!:
And I figured this one would have a nice cognitive dissonance, too, though someone pointed out Tennessee might actually do it:
And there's this variation, which definitely belongs on a wife beater:
To which someone responded with this:
And someone actually questioned the orientation of the Swastika, as if it isn't free to live the orientation it feels itself to be.
Well, we're up to THIS:
And at some point, one of these is going on a shirt.
But what if you "Enjoy Tasty Bacon"?
And it's going viral, and seems to have started a meme.
Someone just sent me these:
Cisracial People Need to Shut Up
Jun 21, 201503:05AM
I've become aware lately of a (renewed) trend of verbal attacks against transracial couples. Commonly, a white man will be attacked for having a minority girlfriend or wife, as a "shield," or some other morally corrupt crap.
When transracial relationships were less common, this was the venue of a few clearly backward social conservatives. Now, it's not only in vogue with alleged liberals, it is extolled.
The perpetrator is almost always either single, or in a cisracial relationship, usually white, yet claims some kind of moral authority to place themselves above the transracial couple.
It should be obvious why this is wrong, but I'll explain anyway.
First, if someone is involved transracially and you're not, you hardly have any room to criticize them at all.
Also, this isn't 1950, and those relationships are normal, as they should be. See above. WTF is wrong with you?
Second, your implication is that the only reason a white person is involved transracially is for some sort of dominance game over "lesser" races. And if that's what you think, then that puts you right there with the people who claim being gay is a "choice," thus admitting they've thought about it. You're flat out admitting that's what YOU think about romantic involvements with other races. IOW: You're a huge fucking racist piece of shit.
Third, your attack impugns the mental and emotional competence of the minority partner. You're stating that they lack the ability to identify racism, or escape from it, and are some sort of helpless prisoner. Now, there's no reason to believe this is any more common among transracial couples than cisracial. You're demeaning the minority member. IOW: You're a huge fucking racist piece of shit. And, since such attacks are overwhelmingly addressed at couples with a white male and minority female, you're a huge fucking sexist piece of shit, who doesn't believe women can make rational decisions for themselves. You have the conceit to believe you know their partner better than they do. Wrong.
Fourth, in many cases, there are children from these relationships. Your implication is that these children are somehow less worthy than cisracial children. Hearken back to the medieval practice of referring to out of wedlock children as "bastards" and blaming them for their parents' actions. That's exactly what you're doing. You're heaping your racism onto innocent children, and maligning their parents in front of them.
If you see a transracial couple and find flaw with it, you need to remember these very simple facts: They're probably not racist. You almost certainly are. And you need to shut your racist fucking mouth.
Butthurt: The Informative, The Amusing
Jun 19, 201511:36PM
So, today I made a tacky joke.
Try to contain your surprise.
It was like many of the thousands I've made before, and was received across the spectrum with, "Woah, good one." "Clever but too soon." "Ouch. I'm going to hell, but I'm laughing." "My god, that's dreadful," and "No, not funny.
Which is how my jokes are usually received.
Then it went semi-viral.
All of a sudden, a professional acquaintance I'm on decent terms with quotes it and asks into the ether if I'm the kind of person who (supports something bad). Said acquaintance should know better, and should have tagged me, if he wanted a debate, rather than to just have online troglodytes hurl invective.
I enjoy the discussions with said acquaintance. I find them informative, and I appreciate the differing viewpoint. I understand he was offended to the point of bypassing that.
He then basically wanted me to sign a manifesto he wrote by means of expiation. I have stated my position, vs my humor. Being forced to sign someone else's statement would be disingenuous and prove nothing. Request respectfully declined.
The thread itself was most enlightening. Comments included things like (paraphrase):
"So, you just like to make things all about you."
Well, since the thread cites me by name, it sort of is about me.
"I know from that comment that you're the worst kind of monster possible."
No, the worst kind of monsters shoot up churches and schools, or feed people into gas chambers. They don't make jokes on Facebook.
"You'r e a racist. I might tell a joke like that, but only in private."
"I do laugh at Blazing Saddles, but uncomfortably, because I know the humor is racist."
So, finding that humor funny doesn't make you racist, just "uncomfortable." Not finding my humor funny means you're not a racist, but I am, but Mel Brooks is not. Fascinating.
"You can't actually have any friends."
No? I may need to consult a therapist. I was sure I did and do. They say they're my friends, and support me.
"That comment tells me you're an ____, _____ and ___ with _____."
Fascinating. You can determine a stranger's entire personality from a single online comment? Have you consulted with scientists on this ability and had it tested? It could prove very beneficial and profitable.
"Comedians never joke about things like that."
Well, I'm not really a comedian, but a fictioneer. However, Monty Python did.
"They never joked about things like that, or the Holocaust, or..."
Excuse me, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Monty Python took the piss out of EVERYONE and EVERYTHING just because they could.
"You're not Monty Python."
So, do they have Fame Privilege or Wealth Privilege that makes this double standard?
"Get ready to lose readers."
Unlikely. I expect most of my tens or hundreds of thousands of readers will never see my jokes. In fact, most of the 5000 on Facebook won't. Nor would most of them do more than just sigh or move on to the next post.
"You can't exploit something so soon."
Why not? The politicians and news whores are.
"Everything you say just proves you're MOAR RACIST."
Well, if you go looking for it, you'll probably find it.
"You're denying racism exists. THAT's RACIST!"
A: I am not. 2) See above.
There was much more. but that's the more amusing ones.
I hope this answers all your questions. If you've taken offense, then by all means find other entertainers. I would never suggest you shouldn't. For myself, it takes more than an off-color joke for me to dismiss an entire body of work.
The Lesson Everyone Is Missing About Waco
May 19, 201509:14AM
I think what we can learn from Waco is that Assault Motorcycles cause crime. You never see Minivan gangs killing each other. If we just ban motorcycles, we'll prevent this kind of motorcycle-related killing. And it's not as if anyone really needs a motorcycle. Remember: The motorcycle you own is the motorcycle most likely to kill you.
Apr 21, 201512:18AM
Dear Fellow writers, particularly in SF:
My first novel featured a female lead, bunches of mixed race characters, and a positive portrayal of a sex worker who was a bisexual Asian/Hispanic.
I then wrote a trilogy where one of the two leads was black.
I stuck a female into a special ops team in a functional role.
More mixed race, discussions of reproductive choice, and of the excesses of Fascism.
The richest, most powerful person in my main universe is a mixed Asian/African/European woman. EDIT: And one of the recrurring supporting characters is transgender.
I've written atheists, Muslims, fundamentalist Christians, people with medical and physiological handicaps, Pagans, and others I don't keep track of, because I think of people as individuals, not stereotypes.
More importantly, my readers, of every one of those demographics, have written me fanmail about the accuracy and positiveness of those character portrayals.
So, unless and until you've done the same, take your statements about "ultraconservative," "right wing," "Read less white males" and "privilege," and shove them up your ass.
Then write the story where that was a pleasurable and positive learning experience for you.
Today, two writers pulled their names off the Hugo ballots.
Cited was the indirect association with Vox Day, who may be the most hated man in SF. Also cited was the harassment they were obviously getting. They each expressed their thoughts differently on these.
On the second: Congratulations, "tolerant" "liberals," especially those of you with multiple chrome phallus statues. You've successfully protected your precious award from a gay woman and an immigrant. You just keep on talking about tolerance. We hear you.
As to the first: I very much sympathize with the writers' positions. It's not easy taking flak for someone else who deserves it, even if it's misplaced.
However, this behavior is dangerous.
It gives Vox more control over the Hugos. All he has to do to prevent someone winning is have his psychophants (sic) nominate them, and they have to withdraw in shame. And he can even endorse someone AFTER they're balloted, and there will be a pall over their win.
Also, if his endorsement was genuine (He IS a sci fi fan, after all), then you've narrowed the number of potential candidates his fans will vote for, thus increasing the odds another of his nominees will win.
Yes, he's a troll and an asshole. He trolled SFWA into removing him, even though per their own bylaws the officers have no authority to do so. He might be planning a lawsuit as we speak. NEVER think you can win against a man like this. He is narcissistic, vicious, and an expert at manipulation.
The only way to win is not to play. If his endorsement was serious, then it's still real. You can't control the personalities of people who read your work. If he was trolling, you're playing into his hands.
Participants: Ignore the man. Vote as your conscience dictates, on the quality of the work, only. To do otherwise gives him what he wants.