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April 12, 2007

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Peter

Let me add another criteria Cost. Cheap and effective is better than expensive and effective. I was happy to read that the Air Force is upgrading the A-10.

Upgraded A-10s will be ready for combat soon
http://www.aviationnow.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/UPGR041207.xml&headline=Upgraded%20A-10s%20will%20be%20ready%20for%20combat%20soon&channel=defense

maybe the air force is finally getting it

but this quote killed that illusion
The aircraft should be in flying operations until 2028, Ratti said. Its replacement is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). "We'll ramp down when the JSF comes in," Ratti said. "But, of course, that's a bit of a moving target."

Could a F-35 survive this type of damage ?
http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/Stories1/001-100/0016_A-10-battle-damage/story0016.htm

Bigfoot

The most interesting byproduct of Key West is that it forced the Army to spend a massive amount of money on developing and procuring armed, protected helicopters. If the Army was to have it's own dedicated close air support aircraft, that was the direction it had to go. From the Army's point of view the Air Force was a separate service.

Key West also forced the Air Force to develop a dedicated CAS aircraft in the form of the A-10. Both services were forced into a "If we don't do it, nobody else will" position. The Army, banned from arming fixed wing, had no choice but to develop armed helicopters. The AF, saddled with the fixed-wing CAS role, solicited for and bought a really outstanding fixed-wing CAS aircraft.

Were it not for Key West, the Army might have split R&D and procurement funds for CAS between fixed wing and helicopters. Result? One could only speculate. The Air Force, looking at close air support as a part-time gig at best, might have been satisfied with procuring something along the lines of an A-4 or F-16 and thought, "Well, that's good enough." But they were the only game in town and the Army and Marines probably leaned on them heavily to built a dedicated CAS platform.

The question is: were it not for Key West, would the AH-64 and the A-10 ever have been built? More precisely: would anything as good as the AH-64 and A-10 have ever been built? Or would we have continued fielding kludges such as the armed UH-1 and the A-16?

Would we have a smaller Army ground forces if we were forced to maintain large fleets of both armed fixed wing and rotary aircraft? I'll bet we would.

Peter

Under the theme cheaper is sometimes just as good high tech, let me link to these reports
From Global Flight.
US Air Force starts bidding for Iraqi counter-insurgency aircraft fleet.
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/05/04/213671/us-air-force-starts-bidding-for-iraqi-counter-insurgency-aircraft.html

Then look at what our aircraft do in a typical day in Afghanistan.
May 5 air power summary
http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123052182

The Iraqi airplanes are certainly a cost effective way too meet the requirements for aircraft during counterinsurgency operations.

Can the US learn from this?

Sean Meade

i think there's a lot to be learned from cheaper systems, Peter, but no one's listening to me ;-)

Peter

If you look at the equipment the US is buying for the Iraqi government it is no-nonsense equipment that will be needed to fight a insurgency. (That I know of the planes and MARP vehicles.)

This is assuming that we are serious about equipping the Iraqi military to deal with COIN operations, which I am not sure we are

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