"All of Vlad's forces and all of Vlad's men, are out to put Humpty together again." (5 Viewers)

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My prediction: He's gonna 'win'. Any takers?.... ;-P
It might be close...

Additionally, just imagine Russian troops standing on the wreckage of a downed F-16 taking selfies...
Propaganda is propaganda. In Russia and to Putin's global supporters it is a powerful weapon. The issue for the West is how the USA feels about this scenario. F-16s are one thing and they have been shot down before, but the A-10 has an aura around it in the minds of the American people, which, busting that could be detrimental to its future, unlike the F-16. As I mentioned earlier, there are political forces acting in favour of and against the A-10 and sending it into a combat zone in a foreign country against an enemy of the USA in a conflict the USA is not directly involved in represents enormous political weight.

Regarding its precision potential. to date the use of PGMs in the conflict has been far less than other modern conflicts, and the use of cheap disposable drones has demonstrated that in terms of cost-effectiveness and utility a suicide drone built from a 3D printer cannot be beaten by a sophisticated modern combat aircraft. The end result is the same, but the disparity in manpower, training, resource consumption etc. is incomparable. For an asset strapped Ukrainian armed forces, Ukraine's unmanned air force represent far greater value than A-10s ever could simply because the outcome is the same.

What would you rather lose, a Bayraktar or an A-10? More to the point, pound for pound, which represents a better investment in the conflict as it stands, a Bayraktar or an A-10? The Bayraktar hands down, simply because of the outcome of using it is the same as an A-10 regardless of how the A-10 does what it does. A hundred dollar suicide drone can destroy a Russian vehicle. Why spend millions and divert sparse resources to achieve exactly the same outcome? Not every country has the budget and resources of the US military.
Additionally, just imagine Russian troops standing on the wreckage of a downed F-16 taking selfies...
The F-16 series is older than both the MiG-29 and Su-27. These are old birds, so they're bound to down one eventually.

Now, when we see Russian troops standing over a F-22, F-35, B-2 or B-21 that will be a series propaganda victory.
  • what does it cost to train a FPV drone team versus an A-10 crew?
  • how long does it take to train a drone team versus an A-10 crew?
  • how much does it cost in dollars and manhours per tank/vehicle destroyed to operate a drone versus an A-10?
  • how many manhours does it take per tank destroyed to operate a drone versus an A-10?
  • what is the cost to maintain a drone versus an A-10 per flying hour or per tank destroyed?
  • how much money/time do you waste if you wash out a trainee drone operator versus an A-10 flight or ground crew member?
  • how much does it cost to create a operational base for a drone versus an A-10?
  • how many drones can you make and operate for the cost of operating one A-10 for an hour?
  • what special facilities do you need to house and maintain a drone and it's team versus an A-10 and its flight and maintenance crew?
  • etc
I know that drones cannot individually make up for the brrrrt that the A-10 can provide but on almost any cost basis - money/time/training/etc - the drone wins hands down in almost every scenario.
re the potential A/OA-10C capabilities in Ukraine

Some reposts to get some background continuity:

"All of Vlad's forces and all of Vlad's men, are out to put Humpty together again."

"All of Vlad's forces and all of Vlad's men, are out to put Humpty together again."

"All of Vlad's forces and all of Vlad's men, are out to put Humpty together again."

In addition to the above:

Link 16 has been added to "a significant number" of A/OA-10C aircraft, beginning in the middle of 2022, as has the capability to carry the AN/ASQ-236 Dragon's Eye radar pod. Link 16 and the Dragon's Eye pod allow real time exchange of information (including targeting data) between similarly Link 16 equipped aircraft (in the USAF that includes the F-35, F-15E, and some later F-16 blocks, plus C2/C3 and AWACS types). The following is a link to a description of the Dragon's Eye pod capabilities - in a 2019 article related to the F-15E.

"Nearly All F-15Es Photographed Arriving In Middle East Carried Dragon's Eye Radar Pods"

Also the SDB (Small Diameter Bomb) munitions have now been integrated with the A/OA-10C - part of the package with the Link 16 and Dragon's Eye radar pod. The Dragon's Eye pod allows night & all-weather multi-target tracking and indication (stationary or moving targets) either through the data link or through direct radar imaging by the AESA radar in the pod. The A/OA-10C can carry upto 16x SDB (4 each on 4x pylons).

The currently operational SDB variants are:

The GBU-39B and -39A/B FLM use a combination of GPS and INS navigation to hit the target.
The GBU-39B/B SAL uses terminal Semi Active Laser designating for hitting moving targets.
The GBU-39 HOG-J (Home On GPS-Jammer) is a variant of the GBU-39B with the addition of a home on GPS jammer mode, along with different fuzing.
The GBU-53B has 3 modes of targeting - MMW Radar, SAL, and IIR. The Dragon's Eye pod can indicate upto 18x targets simultaneously) and the A/OA-10C can fire against upto 16x separate targets - as quickly as the pilot can manipulate the weapons system cueing and launch controls. The GBU-53B SDB is also known as the 'StormBreaker'.

On the A/OA-10C the data provided by Link 16 and the Dragon's Eye pod can also be used with the AGM-88 HARM, as well as the 500 lb and 2000 lb JDAM.

The A/OA-10C has also been cleared for the 2.75" APKWS laser guided rocket.

There have been a few other improvements for the A/OA-10C in the last couple of years, including - but not limited to - significantly improved night-vision helmet/visor and other situational awareness displays.
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I can't help but wonder if in spring 2023, Ukraine would have had more success if they'd thrown everything at taking Melitopol before Russia could lay their minefields, instead of diluting their forces on three different pushes. Yes, Wagner would have taken Bakhmut sooner and then progressed further, but Ukraine would have a strategic victory that cuts off Crimea and all the Russian forces in Kherson Oblast, and from which to launch a counteroffensive in Spring 2024. As it stands now, Ukraine is little further ahead than they were in March 2023, see maps March and Dec below, any difference?


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