GarryB wrote:Actually I would say the best bet would normally be an Su-24 with the G&T upgrade to allow it to operate with cheap dumb bombs making it cheap to buy and cheap to actually use.
The problem is that the Su-24 operating in your own airspace is overkill... penetrating enemy airspace at low altitude and high speed is what it is all about.
Fitting the G&T upgrades to Su-25s and MiG-29s would offer cheap point target capability in robust cheap aircraft. In the case of the MiG you can upgrade to semi MiG-35 level if you start with the MiG-29M2 model which should be affordable and also capable.
With the upgrade the Su-25 can hit hard with unguided bombs and rockets and survive return fire like few other aircraft can.
The critical thing is that with the upgrades... which are not expensive... they do their work with cheap simple ammo so you can actually afford to use them a lot... which is a critical thing most westerners ignore.
Some unmanned drones able to carry light weapons would be interesting too... perhaps a joint venture with a Russian company. The Soviets developed a range of ATGMs optimised for use from aircraft. ASCII codenames AT-2, AT-6 and AT-9 are all high speed command guided missiles with no wire guidance to slow them down.
Experience has shown these missiles could penetrate even the heaviest tank deployed in the region from the flank or rear and the HE equipped models would be rather more effective against targets like vehicles or rooms of a building make them even more useful.
A light high flying UAV with the equivalent of the G&T upgrade would allow cheap light bombs to be used effectively... FAB-50 in internal weapon bays would be devastating against light targets and limit collateral damage to the area.
i couldn't agree more, and i like the idea of UAV using existing missiles such as the AT-2, AT-6, etc, cheap simple and effective, and like you pointed out the munitions need to be cheap and used with the G&T make them pretty accurate so that they can be used in greater numbers and it won't break the bank in a conflict.