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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dear Big Navy: Take a Hint from the Air Force

Yes, it might have had a little prompting from Senator McCain, but someone at the Air Force seems to have seen the light - not every job requires the most expensive weapon in the tool box or, as Aviation Week puts it, U.S. Air Force Chief Backs Idea Of Low-Cost Fighter Fleet
The U.S. Air Force chief of staff endorses the idea of buying 300 low-cost, light-attack fighters for counterterrorism missions as a “great idea.”
In a white paper out this week, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, suggested that in addition to using the A-10 for close air support, the Air Force should buy 300 light-attack fighters. They could help perform close air support and other missions where air defenses are not a problem and help bring pilots up to speed. “The Air Force could procure the first 200 of these aircraft by fiscal year 2022,” the paper says.
I would suggest moving faster.

Payloads and flexibility.

Now, Navy how about Trump's Gunboats?:
Instead of continuing to use the wrong tool for the job, it is logical to
develop a diverse force of smaller naval ships to handle numerous, smaller missions, leaving the blue water navy to pursue the larger, vital warfighting role that it was designed to do. Smaller navy vessels working in squadrons may be more cost-effective in responding to global maritime incidents, patrolling coasts, and deterring similar forces. While the threat of Somali piracy has diminished the destabilization of other economies and nations could cause new threats to shipping to emerge as off Venezuela. Larger threats continue to loom as small Iranian boats swarm U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz and China’s maritime militia in the South China Sea have harassed ships in the past. Rather than offering larger, single targets of opportunity, dispersed squadrons of smaller vessels provide greater opportunities to counter asymmetric operations.


  1. Anonymous5:40 PM

    Oh no, that makes too much sense. It will never happen.
    Unless the new administration has a fit of sanity.

    Paul L. Quandt

  2. I'm not military, so I beg a little grace for the question prior to asking it.

    It seems that the main point of CAS is to get explosives on bad guys.

    We've been losing the financial war to ISIS et. al. in the sense that we're burning the wings off of ~$80 million Superhornets to shoot guys with AK's and Hi Lux's.

    While I support the idea of a light attack craft (I wonder even if you could make something like a modern day Hellcat that could even fly off of 'phibs) to shift the cost effectiveness of that fight in our favor; wouldn't it make more sense to invest in a ton of tube artillery?

    If its a permissive environment and we can land the troops we want, that would seem to be *much* cheaper. And to my inexperienced eye maybe even faster?

    Is tube artillery not accurate enough?

    1. Jim, in the Third World, sometimes the hardest job is to identify who it is you've just met. They all look the same (sorry, came out wrong, but YKWIM). A fly-by can be sufficient to tell them to behave. A short blast from Puff the Magic Dragon from an A10 is more eloquent than hours of yackety yack.