Airbase Vulnerabiltity to Conventional Cruise-Missile and Ballistic-Missile Attacks: Technology, Scenarios, and U.S. Air Force Responses

By John Stillion; David T. Orletsky | Go to book overview

Chapter Five
STAND-OFF OPTIONS

Adopting a stand-off operational concept has benefits for countering the emergence of a cruise and/or ballistic missile threat to USAF operations from close-in airbases. This chapter explores the benefits and costs of the stand-off concept. It has two main sections. The first section deals with a fairly short-term stand-off operational concept the USAF could adopt with its current and projected combat-aircraft inventory. The second section examines the potential for a long-term stand-off strategy for operating and employing U.S. land-based airpower; this strategy would require aircraft with very different characteristics from anything the USAF currently owns or plans to acquire.


SHORT-TERM STAND-OFF OPTIONS

One of the simplest options for dealing with the cruise-missile and ballistic-missile threat is to simply avoid it by operating from bases outside the range of enemy missiles. Figure 5.1 shows the four alternative deployment bases the USAF could use in our hypothetical conflict with Iran: King Abdul Aziz, Taif, and Khamis Mushait in Saudi Arabia, and Thumrait in Oman. All of these bases are outside our proposed cruise-missile range and beyond the reach of ballistic missiles in the Iranian inventory in this scenario, with the possible exception of a few dozen CSS-5s, which cannot conduct militarily significant conventional warhead attacks against the stand-off bases because of their small numbers.

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Airbase Vulnerabiltity to Conventional Cruise-Missile and Ballistic-Missile Attacks: Technology, Scenarios, and U.S. Air Force Responses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Figure vii
  • Tables ix
  • Summary xi
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms xxi
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Emerging Threat Technologies 5
  • Chapter Three - Illustrative Scenario and Implications 19
  • Chapter Four - Defensive Responses to an Enemy-Missile Threat 29
  • Chapter Five - Stand-Off Options 49
  • Chapter Six - Conclusions 59
  • Appendix A - Damage Calculation for Parked Aircraft 61
  • Appendix B - Sortie-Rate Model 81
  • Appendix C - Fast, Long-Range-Attack Aircraft 85
  • Bibliography 95
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