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Old 03-08-2007   #21
LawVol
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Air Force leaders feel airpower can and should be more effectively used in the irregular warfare and counterinsurgency fights in ways other than supporting ground power.

"We need to espouse our views of airpower, to include capabilities to operate in the air, space and cyberspace domains, in this type of fight," General Peck said. "We've proven airpower can effectively support other agencies combating counterinsurgency, but can also operate in a supported component role. It doesn't always have to be about having lots of 'boots on the ground.' Airpower brings asymmetrical advantages to the fight that can be effectively leverage by joint force commanders in counterinsurgencies, support for insurgencies, and other forms of irregular warfare."
If you had any doubt about how the new doctrine will shake out, read this quote from an AFNEWS story. The key phrase is "operate in a supported component role." Air control anyone?
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Old 03-08-2007   #22
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Default COIN, Interdiction, and CAS

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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Ask Tom what an EC-130 could have done to mitigate the genocide in Rwanda. The hate/kill message was propagated primarily from one radio station.

Lift is almost always the biggest shortfall when it comes to AF support for this ground pounder.

For COIN we have sufficient fire support, I would like to hear more ideas on non-lethal fire support that the AF could provide. We won't hear it from their generals, nor will see it on their budget proposals, unless they intend to put it there to get Congressional support, then shift it to bombers and fighters later.

To answer: tremendous effect. I spent hours on the phone in Goma--after the genocide was supposedly over (it was not in the French zone) and aside from beating the drum for water distrubution I raised the IO war repeatedly. And we never got it right--or better said we could never get across just how critical it was.

For me as a boots on the ground guy in Africa--it was airlift. And Special Ops airlift and collection assets were in second place. It was largely the same in the 1960s--although much was made of "COIN" ground attack aircraft (T-28s, T-6s, and A26s) in the Congo in 1964. Those were used as straight interdiction and limited CAS assets--there was no "COIN" as we know it in the Congo then. We--the US, Belgians, mercenaries, and the Congolese--beat the Simbas into submission or extinction. And a key tool was air support.

Even as recently as Somalia--airpower advocates get confused about what is COIN and what is straight interdiction and CAS. AC130s were most definitely needed in Mog; we were not doing "COIN". We were seeking to beat the warlords into submission and we went in like we were doing a simple support operation. TF Ranger was not winning hearts and minds. Even in the support operation we were not trying to win hearts and minds--we were trying to make sure the Somali warlords knew we would seriously hurt them if they tried to disrupt the feeding.

One of the key indicators that the French intent behind Op Turquoise in Rwanda was less "humanitarian" than advertised was their dispatch of Jaguar ground attack aircraft to the AO. How Jaguars were going to stop genocide remains unanswered.

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Old 03-13-2007   #23
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The real problem is optimizing loiter time with payload capacity with performance. Funny how the best aircraft tend to be turbo prop driven for this. There is a need, but the problem turns into "is it sexy". One of my MC-130 friends told me there are some great designs and such out there, but getting the fighter mafia to buy off on it will be hard. The other problem is gettin past the Armi/Air Force fixed wing friction. If the Army were to buy some Tucano's and arm them to use as an ISR and lisght attack aircraft, the ariforce would go nuts. Conversely, if the Air force were to buy these same aircraft, they probably wouldn't operate them at low altitudes. Maybe the Marines will coem through.
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Old 03-13-2007   #24
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Default The Army's Mohawk

The Army retired Slapout's OV-1 Mohawk, AKA the Widowmaker, over a decade ago. The following details are lifted from
http://www.ov-1mohawk.org

Mohawk Details
The Mohawk was developed by Grumman Aircraft as a photo observation and electronic reconnaissance airplane for the US Marines and the US Army. Due to budgetary constraints, the Marines bowed out early in the development cycle. The first Mohawk (YAO-1) prototype flew on April 14, 1959, and entered production in October 1959. It served the US Army standing watch in Europe, Korea, the Vietnam War, Central and South America, Alaska, and during Desert Shield/Desert Storm in the Middle East. The US Army retired it from service in September 1996. A total of 380 original OV-1 Mohawks were produced. All types were built between 1957 and 1969.

Four basic models of the OV-1 were produced, not counting the prototype or pre-production OF-1, YAO-1, and AO-1:

OV-1A This model was used for photo observation and reconnaissance and employed a forward-looking panoramic camera; 64 were built.
OV-1B This model was used to conduct electronic reconnaissance with a SLAR (side looking airborne radar) pod mounted under the fuselage; 101 were built.
OV-1C This model provided electronic reconnaissance by using an IR (infrared) imaging system; 133 were built.
OV-1D This model provided photo observation and gathered electronic intelligence with SLAR and IR; 37 examples were built.

Following are variations or conversions of the original production models:

JOV-1A This model featured XM-14 .50 calibre gun pods and 7- or 19-round 2.75 inch rocket pods; 27 of these were adapted from OV-1As.

JOV-1C These gunships were the same as the JOV-1A but began as an adapted short wing OV-1C with the IR gear removed.

OV-1 "Super C" These had an "A" fuselage, "B" wings, T53-L15A engines, nose and belly cameras, and IR gear. All "Super Cs" except the American Wings Air Museum's S/N 68-15936 which is pictured in flight on the front page and those lost in accidents or in Vietnam were later converted to "D" models.

OV-1 SEAMORE There were only a few Hawks converted in the SEAMORE project.

RV-1D The ELINT (ELectronic INTelligence) version of the OV-1D had all cameras, SLAR and IR gear removed and newer electronic surveillance equipment installed. OV-1Bs were later converted to "D" models and RV-1Ds.

OV-1E This model was an OV-1D with a "glass" cockpit. It was to be the next generation of Hawk with GPS (global positioning system) integrated flight system, 704 engines at 1800 SHP (shaft horsepower), new SLAR package, updated avionics, storm scope, with a corresponding gross weight increase. Two or three prototypes were flown.
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Old 03-13-2007   #25
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I like the OV-10 Bronco, better.
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Old 03-13-2007   #26
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I'm with you 120mm, although Piper was making a turbo-propped Mustang in the early 1980's as a COIN aircraft, might be acceptable to the fighter jocks.
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Old 03-17-2007   #27
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In terms of optimizing loiter time vs. payload (both sensor and weapons), I'm starting to think that UAVs and UCAVs are far superior to virtually any TACAIR out there.

Their sensors are just as good as those available on any F-18/16/15/B-1 (take your pick of manned fixed wing CAS), and their loiter time is enormous. I recall working in IZ with an armed predator. I asked the predator pilot (who was probably some AF reservist) the amount of playtime remaining. When he said 8+30, I was sold. He was armed with hellfires, which is as good as pretty much any other PGM for COIN ops (good firepower, not going to level a city block and shatter windows a mile away).

At the same time, I'm still a huge fan of rotary wing aviation for COIN. Cant beat the guns of the H-1s.
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Old 03-17-2007   #28
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I read many glowing USAF report's about the OV-10 COIN test conducted in Thailand. The minute it got to VN off came the guns and bomb racks, strictly a FAC aircraft.
SOG/CCS had 2 A/C at Quan Loi. They install the guns and replaced the WP rockets with HE. The AF went into a nut roll until someone told them to shut up. We had 6 slicks and 4 guns. Sometime's when we were really strung out we could get a couple of Corba's from the 1st Cav.

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Old 03-18-2007   #29
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imho, the armed UAS like the Predator has all the drawbacks of the Tomahawk, LGB and LGMs do: You're "guessing" that the truck are the bad guys and not a truck full of women and kids.

I'm not a big air support fan in COIN, but there is some utility in a small, manned and armed COIN aircraft. The kind that can slow down to 100 kts and go "eye-ball to eye-ball" with the target.

It also "personalizes" taking out the bad guys to a point the can understand and respect. Which takes away from the image that US soldiers are cowards who hide behind their technology and only win because they cheat. Which takes away one more I/O advantage for the bad guys.

Having said that, the UAS is a great intel "tool", and armed UAS would have a terrific role in taking on high profile threat in a higher intensity environment.
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Old 03-26-2007   #30
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Default UAS great for USA..problematic for partner nation

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imho, the armed UAS like the Predator has all the drawbacks of the Tomahawk, LGB and LGMs do: You're "guessing" that the truck are the bad guys and not a truck full of women and kids.

I'm not a big air support fan in COIN, but there is some utility in a small, manned and armed COIN aircraft. The kind that can slow down to 100 kts and go "eye-ball to eye-ball" with the target.

It also "personalizes" taking out the bad guys to a point the can understand and respect. Which takes away from the image that US soldiers are cowards who hide behind their technology and only win because they cheat. Which takes away one more I/O advantage for the bad guys.

Having said that, the UAS is a great intel "tool", and armed UAS would have a terrific role in taking on high profile threat in a higher intensity environment.

While I think UAS (i.e. Predators) are great for a US military-involved COIN fight, remember that most partner nations do not usually have the ability to operate, support, and employ technically advanced unmanned systems. In a resource constrained environment, would you rather buy a UAS system OR buy a cheaper manned option and, with the left over money, pay your monthly salaries to your military?

Operating under the notion that, in the end, the partner nation will either win or lose the fight and the US is just an enabler, pushing UAS on a partner nation may just cause more problems. I think the better answer, and the one being pursued right now in Iraq, is to use manned ISR platforms like a King Air/Cessna 337/Caravan for the host nation...its easier and cheaper to employ over the long term. While UAS do offer amazing persistance, they creat HUGE problems with air space control, maintenance, communication bandwith, etc. Just one Airman's thoughts....
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Old 03-27-2007   #31
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Default Your conventional mindsets are showing!

When I saw the subject line for this thread I naively thought I was going to see a discussion of the venerable O2-B and its use as a platform for launching leaflets and loudspeaker messages (yes, that's right) at insurgents. Perhaps some talk of the C-130 flying broadcast transmitters.

BUT NO!

The entire thread dealt with steel-on-target, Widow-makers, A-37s etc.

Gentlemen, your conventional orientations are showing!

And it has always been this way. When I was involved in PSYOP campaigns in Central America, a crusty old Air Force officer once confessed about the way he remembered the difference between the O2-A and the O2-B (the PSYOP version). "A is for attack, B is for Bull####."

This is why we don't do very well in this kind of conflict. We claim to understand that it is all about hearts and minds, but the organizational DNA is so biased toward "steel-on-target", that that is what we ALWAYS end up doing. Even here in SWJ.
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Old 03-27-2007   #32
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We already have a thread on what kind of requirements that non-kinetic airpower should bring to the battlefield.

As the first step to fighting an insurgency is breaking up formed counterinsurgent groups and providing basic security, I think there might be a small role for a "kinetic" counterinsurgency aircraft. Light weight, lightly armed and capable of flying 100kt speeds with a good loiter time. An O-2 or something like it "might" do the trick; (I, personally, detest that POS. I've worked on them, and they are nothing but one continuous maintenance problem after another.) but whatever we do have needs to be capable of multirole ops.

Just because kinetics shouldn't be the centerpiece of a coin fight, doesn't mean you don't need to concern yourself with them. And because you aren't looking for a gross overmatch, you MUST put an inordinate amount of brain-power into thinking out the kinetic scenarios so that you are prepared with the minimum force necessary but be capable of big/small fights.
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Old 03-28-2007   #33
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I hate to reply to my own post, but I thought it important to point out that "sophisticated 'Uninhabited Aerial Systems" (replaces UAV) are no longer out of reach of even the most primitive countries.

I could build you a live-link UAS for under a grand, and a 500 pound payload UAS for under $10,000, (with a CEP of under 10 m.) ordering materials over the internet. UAS technology is within reach of nearly anyone who cares to acquire it.
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Old 03-30-2007   #34
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Default piston vs turboprop

A little off the subject but I have a question on COIN aircraft. I'll grant that from a pure performance perspective a turboprop would be the way to go in a COIN aircraft but wouldn't a piston aircraft have a smaller heat signature and less vulnerable to shoulder fired heat seeker missiles? I would also think it would be easier to mod the exhaust to make the signature even less. Just curious. Thanks
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Old 03-30-2007   #35
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Turboprops give you the benefit of very low maintenance and use of a common fuel. Piston aircraft require much more maintenance and use special fuel.

It's important to remember what a COIN aircraft is supposed to do and be; it is NOT a fighter, and it is NOT there to drop JDAMS. Other folks can do that.

At the altitudes you need to fly to be effective at COIN and the typical state of insurgent resupply, SAMs are not the biggest concern. Your biggest worry should be RPGs, Snipers, lucky riflemen and thrown spears, arrows and rocks....

Walter, a Czech company, makes a 600 hp turbine engine capable of propelling just about anything you really need in a COIN aircraft. I really haven't put much thought into the idea sense Burt Rutan floated his ARES concept in front of the US Army and got a bunch of officers and warrants fired for violating the Key West Agreement.
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Old 03-30-2007   #36
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Turboprops give you the benefit of very low maintenance and use of a common fuel. Piston aircraft require much more maintenance and use special fuel.

It's important to remember what a COIN aircraft is supposed to do and be; it is NOT a fighter, and it is NOT there to drop JDAMS. Other folks can do that.

At the altitudes you need to fly to be effective at COIN and the typical state of insurgent resupply, SAMs are not the biggest concern. Your biggest worry should be RPGs, Snipers, lucky riflemen and thrown spears, arrows and rocks....

Walter, a Czech company, makes a 600 hp turbine engine capable of propelling just about anything you really need in a COIN aircraft. I really haven't put much thought into the idea sense Burt Rutan floated his ARES concept in front of the US Army and got a bunch of officers and warrants fired for violating the Key West Agreement.
I must admit I'm not familiar with the Key West agreement. I do realize the issues about fuel maintenance etc. On that you are correct. When I was in Iraq we lost a number of helo's including two Apaches to MANPADS. They do put out a lot of heat from the engines. Funny though I saw where one of our Apaches had a windscreen cracked by a rock thrown by a 14 year old kid on the ground. No kidding!!! I tried to get him into college in the states on a baseball scholarship I do know the aquisition and operation costs for most COIN aircraft are MUCH less than an Apache and an armed Predator at 4.5 Million dollars.
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Old 03-30-2007   #37
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Default Aircraft vs UAS in COIN

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Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
I hate to reply to my own post, but I thought it important to point out that "sophisticated 'Uninhabited Aerial Systems" (replaces UAV) are no longer out of reach of even the most primitive countries.

I could build you a live-link UAS for under a grand, and a 500 pound payload UAS for under $10,000, (with a CEP of under 10 m.) ordering materials over the internet. UAS technology is within reach of nearly anyone who cares to acquire it.
While you might be able to build a cheap UAS (not doubting your capabilities), the potential second and third order effects on a partner nation are problematic. As an example, currently the United States is struggling to manage airspace issues in regards to UAS. This same problem is currently being wrestled with in Europe as well. If NATO nations are currently unable to solve this problem, it does not bode well for "more challenged nations" that are under going an insurgency. Besides, if the government was working well then they probably wouldn't have an insurgency in the first place.

Therefore, in most cases, it makes more sense to just employ a simple, rugged aircraft instead of unmanned systems. The only thing that UAS give you is endurance. In most COIN scenarios there is enough manpower to bore holes in the sky and you don't have to worry about penetrating distant enemy airspace. While I like UAS, I just hate the thought of a defense contractor selling a high tech platform when low tech will work. Believing in the "big sky, little plane" theory will eventually cause problems.

BTW, I just found out that according to the latest Army doctrine, UAS stands for "unmanned airplane system." Now I don't really know why they changed it (i'm USAF), but I thought I would at least point it out.
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Old 03-31-2007   #38
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Close, but no cigar: "UNINHABITED Aerial System. And I am no fan of UAS for COIN outside of the "eye in the sky". I was just pointing out that they were not that "advanced" technology. The tech has existed for 40 years.

I agree with you on airspace deconfliction and the desirability of using cheap, manned aircraft in COIN. I, like my favorite Food Channel personality, dislike "uni-taskers". And you can't haul a sick kid and mother in a UAS.

The Yugoslavs had the UTA 77, the Poles had the Wilga. Both were excellent COIN aircraft. Four seats, high wing, a 150 kt cruise, short, rough landing capabilities and hard points for light weapons seem to be useful characteristics.
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Old 04-03-2007   #39
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Default Rand Report

I may be over looking something but does anyone know where to find the report "COIN Aircraft Systems for the USAF and Friendly States Facing Insurgencies" Thanks
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Old 05-08-2007   #40
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Default COIN Aircraft for Iraq

I thought this thread was worth resurrecting with this Defense Tech post about the Iraqi Air Force's new COIN aircraft.

Quote:
The Iraqi air force in two years will be flying a new fleet of single-engine turboprops as counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft. See the contract solicitation, posted by the US Air Force, here.

The requirement limits the potential bids to companies that have an aircraft that a) is already in wide use and b) is powered by the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine.

That narrows the bidders to four that Defense Tech can think of: the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 Texan, the Korean Aerospace KO-1 Wong Bee and the Pilatus PC-9M.

Not to play favorites, but Defense Tech humbly suggests this means there are only two serious candidates: the AT-6 and EMB-314 -- with the AT-6 gaining a huge advantage from the "Made in America" sticker stamped on the program's marketing literature.

But don't count out the Brazilians with the Super Tucano. Expect the executives in Sao Jose Dos Campos to propose moving the EMB-314 assembly -- or opening a second production line -- to Florida, if they win the contract.

Keep your eye on this program. This could be the first of many such requirements for a dedicated counter-insurgency aircraft fleet to come down the line, both abroad and in the US.
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