2011/03/22

Yet another embarrassing air war in a fair weather scenario

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At least some of the combat aircraft involved in the current air campaign against Libyan loyalists are taking off as far away as from Germany and the UK.

This reminds me of the 1999 air war against Yugoslavia when combat aircraft took off in Northern Italy, not in the more close Southern Italy. This time it's just more extreme.

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Well, is this about a fetish for tanker aircraft? Europeans such as the French are generally not the usual suspects for this.

Is it about an inability to deploy quickly to Mediterranean airfields, such as on Sicily? The whole affair developed over days, and my expectation is that a lag of several days should be enough for the deployment of a squadron or two.
That's what air forces buy transport aircraft for, after all!

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A similar observation is about the campaign being led by some U.S. air force staff so far. Several participants want to transfer command to a NATO staff.
WTF? Why isn't it possible to form an ad hoc staff? Air campaign operational leadership is not quantum physics, after all. Most of the planning can be done (and is usually done) by the involved wings and squadrons - the pilots - themselves, anyway.

Again, I have substantially higher expectations here than the European air force officer corps seem to be able to meet.

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And then there's the cruise missile salvo, which seems to have addressed the stationary air defence batteries. Let's face it; by now all combat aircraft can be expected to be invulnerable to the 1960's air defence missiles which are way beyond their shelf life and serviced by as far as is known ill-trained and ill-motivated troops, if any.
This "destruction of enemy air defences first" mantra has developed its own life, is able to sustain itself even in face of paper air defences.



Thus we have yet another air war in near-perfect terrain and weather conditions, against a de facto defenceless target and still lots of behind the scenes embarrassments for air forces from "the West".

S O
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5 comments:

  1. "WTF? Why isn't it possible to form an ad hoc staff? Air campaign operational leadership is not quantum physics, after all. Most of the planning can be done (and is usually done) by the involved wings and squadrons - the pilots - themselves, anyway."

    I agree. Unfortunately the USAF idea of air operations is a vertical stovepipe for planning and control of flight ops. Their ideas have probably poisoned NATO air staff also.

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  2. I guess you spoke too soon about the quality of Libya's air defences, a US aircraft was just shot down.

    It makes you wonder what would happen against a half-competent opponent. Maybe all of that noise about the superiority of Western military technology is a bit overstated.

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  3. A single aircraft. It's not even clear why, maybe it was fratricide.
    A capable opponent would have downed much more.

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  4. Mechanical failure they say. Were those F-15 flying out of Aviano? Or did the Turks allow them to use Incirlik??

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  5. It was mechanical failure, not a shootdown. The footage of the wreckage lone tells you it was mechanical. If it was shot down there would be far less fuselage to capture on film.

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