1 post • joined 30 Nov 2007
A10 and other comments
The A-10 was supposed to be phased out by the Air Force just before the first Iraq war (didn't suit THEIR mission). But they hung on to them because the Army wanted to take them over (unsubstantiated source). After the first Iraq war (particularly on the highway of death), it became obvious of the need, so the AIr Force kept it. As a ground pounder (combat engineer) there was a big difference watching an F-4 make two passes (two bombs each) and leave, and have an A-10 hang around the battlefield, turning tight circles for what seemed like forever. We called it a flying tank.
Don't look now but the Army is already flying UAV's down at the company level. As for the Air Force, the story I heard is that the AF was not interested in UAV's until the CIA started loading them up with weapons and bombs and having great success (from an obviously biased source).
As for helicoter pilots, the Army uses commissioned officers, and warrants ... officially. Unofficially, there are a lot of crew chiefs (NCOs)who have the skills and experience (at least during Viet Nam).