Paying the Premium: A Military Insurance Policy for Peace and Freedom

By Walter Hahn; H. Joachim Maitre | Go to book overview

5
Tactical Air Forces for the Future

Gen. John L. Piotrowski, USAF (Ret.)

The Gulf War showed yet again that in the modern era tactical air power is virtually synonymous with the projection of military power. By design, shaped and honed by a half-century of experience, tactical aircraft make up the spearhead of rapid deployment, with the inherent capability of immediate engagement upon arrival at the target destination. That capability has been dramatically boosted by technological advances in weaponry and in the electronic "eyes and ears of the battlefield" that played such a key role in Operation Desert Storm.

Tactical air forces are embedded in three U.S. military services: the Air Force, the Navy and the Marine Corps. The United States Army commands an aerial capability of its own in a formidable force of attack helicopters, effective in the close air support of ground warfare and other missions, as will be brought out below. Still, attack helicopters have yet to achieve the needed speed, range, firepower, and survivability for coping with the fuller spectrum of tactical missions.

The United States Navy's tactical air arm is an important factor in power projection. Aircraft launched from the decks of carriers have the advantage of flexible deployment from operating platforms not dependent on access to facilities on land. The speed and effectiveness of their deployment, however, are a function of the proximity of the given carrier task force or battle group to the target area, along with the distance of the military targets to be struck inland. The experience of past contingencies, Desert Storm included, has pointed to the synergistic combination of land- and sea-based tactical air power.

This synergism had already been graphically demonstrated in an earlier contingency, the punitive action by the United States against Libya in 1986.

-71-

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Paying the Premium: A Military Insurance Policy for Peace and Freedom
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: In Search of an American "Defense Insurance Policy" 1
  • Notes 11
  • 2: Risks and Uncertainties in a Changing World 13
  • Note 31
  • 3: Army Forces for the Future 33
  • 4: Naval Forces for the Future 55
  • 5: Tactical Air Forces for the Future 71
  • 6: Marine Forces for the Future 93
  • Notes 109
  • 7: Strategic Forces for the Future 111
  • Notes 122
  • 8: Coping with Global Missile Proliferation 123
  • 9: The Pivotal Elements: Airlift and Sealift 141
  • 10: The Need for Forward Prepositioning 159
  • 11: The U.S. Defense- Industrial Base 173
  • Notes 184
  • 12: Conclusion: How the Challenges and Dangers of the Post-Containment Era Can Be Mastered 185
  • Notes 189
  • Index 191
  • About the Editors and Contributors 197
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