Airlift Capabilities for Future U.S. Counterinsurgency by Robert C. Owen

By Robert C. Owen

Does most likely endured U.S. involvement in counterinsurgencies demand including really expert airplane, education, or different assets to the final airlift fleet? quite often, present U.S. airlift forces can accomplish so much such missions successfully. yet persisted operations most probably would require reinforcement of the overall airlift fleet and, might be acquisition of a small fleet aspect optimized for definite counterinsurgency missions.

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37 In the face of advanced and future generations of light antiaircraft systems, the uncertain ability of rotary-wing aircraft to penetrate, egress, and survive over the urban “canyons” of modern war presents food for tactical thought that should be undertaken and acted upon expeditiously. There are numerous options for improving MOUT airlift or reducing the need for it. Units conducting MOUT could move their supplies and evacuate their wounded on the surface, perhaps in armored transport vehicles.

Failure to use conventional operations sparingly carries the risk of offsetting military gains by losing political legitimacy among citizens suffering the consequences of those operations and may generate outside sympathy and support for the insurgents as well. The Use of Airlift in Counterinsurgency The base of historical counterinsurgency airlift experience is substantial. Following World War I, the British, French, and other colonial powers quickly discovered that airlift, along with aerial bombardment, allowed them to govern their possessions with increased efficiency.

Moreover, the rotors, engines, transmissions, tail booms, and crew stations of the typical transport helicopter give enemy gunners far more opportunities to achieve single-hit catastrophic “kills” than they would have against fixed-wing aircraft of similar size and weight. So far, creative tactics, modernized defensive systems, and damage-tolerant construction have kept the helicopter viable in urban combat. Even so, helicopter shootdowns have been unexpectedly frequent in Iraq, which has forced the 35 36 Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1995, p.

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