So, I usually keep my gripes to myself (or at least only share verbally among friends), but this has gotten so far under my skin I have to bring it up.
For the purposes of comparison I will be using the Ground RB BRs as that is what I primarily play.
With the release of the A-10A aircraft I was excited for the addition of such an iconic ground attack aircraft. When it was teased and initially explained, it was implied that the Early version (premium) was not as capable as the Late version. This is mostly due to lack of night vision and less AAMs.
As someone who really dislikes dogfighting, going into Air battles is a last resort option used only to grind aircraft to use in Ground battles. So I spent the time to grind to get what I considered to be my ultimate aircraft for CAS. Only to realize that the Late version does not have the same weapon options as the Early. So in short the Late is higher Rank, higher BR, and took a helluva lotta work to get and it is technically not as capable and the Early which is lower Rank, a lower BR, and has more weapon options.
When I discovered this, I remembered reading something about Gaijin claiming that premium vehicles do not have any major combat advantages in game. I went back and checked the FAQ and found this:
Question: Can I get some in-game advantages by paying real money?
Answer: “…you can buy premium vehicles which come prepackaged with all upgrades. But they aren’t any better than regular vehicles…”
Comparing research vs premium vehicles I found that generally premium vehicles were the same or even slightly less capable than their tech tree counterparts. In the few instances when that was not the case, the premium had a higher BR to compensate for the potential combat advantage, i.e. Calliope vs M4.
Looking at the USA aircraft, a comparison shows that for the AV-8, F-5, and F-4 airframes the research version is better or at least very similar. The F-5 is a great example as the F-5E (10.7) has better flight characteristics and most noticeably has access to AGM-65s where the A and C versions (both 10.3) only get AGM-12s.
Back to the A-10s. In contrast to the previous example, the A-10A Late (10.3) has similar flight characteristics to the Early (10.0) but does not have access to the GBU-8 or GAU-4 weapons. There is no good reason why the A-10A Late shouldn’t have access to the GBU-8 or even the entire Paveway II family.
I understand that the AGM-65 is likely the most effective weapon but as stated in Shooting Range #344, best is the enemy of good enough. Also, I might point out that the cover image for that video is of an A-10A Late showing the GBU-8 and GAU-4 displayed as weapon options.
Gaijin please… do better.