Thursday, March 25, 2010

Things that make Φ cry like a big baby.

4 comments:

Professor Hale said...

Because this is London 1940 and Fritz is on the way? It isn't even the cold war any more. These guys are guarding against ...nothing.

I find the commercials where the Aif force is showing off their "ground force" capabilities interesting. They are trying to maintain relevency in a world where air power is uncontested.

Φ said...

These guys are guarding against ...nothing.

A fair point. OTOH, if we didn't have an Air Force, our enemies would find it advantageous to develop air attack capabilities, no?

But you're thinking too hard about this.

Elusive Wapiti said...

Not to take too hard a swing at my man Hale who I love like a brother and respect totally, it doesn't surprise me much that a former Army guy would say the air force is irrelevant in today's ground fight.

Of course the fact that our country has four military air forces, another in the Coast Guard, and many others sprinkled across FedGov (DHS, FBI, FAA, etc) probably obscures this fact a bit too.

American ground forces have basked in the shade in American air superiority for so long that they forgot what it was like to not have it.

Rommel lamented what it was like to not have air superiority in North Africa.

But let's assume that American air superiority continues through some crazy stroke of luck in every future fight. Air power isn't solely about kinetics, although most of the sexy stuff is.

Right now, from an airpower angle, the fight is primarily a UAV, airlift, helicopter fight, with some air-ground bombers mixed in. Nearly all of that is not fires, which is how the army tend to view aircraft anyway...very mobile and fast trucks or mobile fire platforms. Not their fault...they just think of the immediate job of killing hadjis and not much beyond that.

Thus, we're talking three things: airlift, which gets a goodly portion of the army where it needs to go quickly when sealift won't do it. Also persistent eyeballs over the battlefield through UAVs and manned observation platforms. And lastly, my personal fave (seeing how I am a dual rated pilot who spends most of his working time in the air in helicopters) helos performing medical evacuation and search and rescue.

Our fatality rates in GWI and II are way down when compared with say Korea or even vietnam. Why? Helos get our ground forces to help within the Golden Hour. And I'm told that air force dudes, because they have better toys than army guys, quite often take missions that the army turns down for weather, etc.

And yes, we are fighting against a thinking, flexible enemy who wants to win as much or more than we do. Drop the air superiority mission and watch jihadi UAVs or Cessnas appear to bomb our ground forces.

Professor Hale said...

You seem to dismiss the capability of the American ground forces to detect and destroy enemy aircraft. The Army has an entire (also irrelevent) branch devoted to this lost art.

I don't want this to devolve into an US vs them fight. As a career military analyst, I am more aware than most people the relative merits of each.

I commented only on the pitch in the commercial.

It would have been more relevent if it had shown an F-16 making a low pass over a mud village, and dropping a 500 pounder with laser precision on a children's birthday party.

Then show the pilots high-fiving each other back at the O-club for their fight against global trerrorism.