Operation Iraqi Freedom and the future of the helicopter.There is a push in the Defense Department and the broader national security community to identify the lessons of Operation Iraqi Freedom rapidly in order to influence near-term programmatic, budgetary and even political decisions. Joint Forces Command, which had some 30 analysts in the field during the campaign, already is going around Washington with a lengthy briefing of lessons learned.
The rush to draw conclusions about the war creates a danger to arrive at conclusions the wrong lessons will be learned.
For example, as the result of a single incident early in the conflict, many experts came to believe that the day of the armed helicopter A helicopter fitted with weapons or weapon systems. had ended. The incident in question was a raid by 34 Apache AH-64D AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopter, D version, with Longbow radar improvements Longbow longbow
Leading missile weapon of the English from the 14th century into the 16th century. Probably of Welsh origin, it was usually 6 ft (2 m) tall and shot arrows more than a yard long. helicopters of the 11th Aviation Regiment on elements of the Iraqi Republican Guard's Medina Division on the night of March 24. The unit ran into an ambush, and 27 of the Apaches were so severely damaged that they could no longer operate. The Iraqis defeated the 11th not with sophisticated weapons and tactics, but with a few well placed scouts to warn them of the Apaches' approach and a fusillade of small arms small arms, firearms designed primarily to be carried and fired by one person and, generally, held in the hands, as distinguished from heavy arms, or artillery. Early Small Arms
The first small arms came into general use at the end of the 14th cent. fire from hundreds of individual weapons.
This single event sent shockwaves through the Army's aviation community and the halls of the Pentagon. Confronted by insufficient resources to transform all parts of the force structure equally, the Pentagon's leadership was looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. discriminators that would suggest where scarce acquisition dollars should be spent.
The obvious question raised by the events of March 24 was this: If aircraft flying well outside the range of enemy anti-aircraft fire can provide highly accurate close air support, is there still a role for vulnerable armed helicopters?
The answer is yes. The full story of the Apache's performance is much more positive than the events of March 24th suggest.
Other Apache units performed admirably and without significant losses in conjunction with tactical aircraft and Army indirect fire systems to shape the battlefield.
The enormous firepower of the Apaches and their ability to maneuver close to the ground enabled them to serve as a major ground force multiplier A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment. .
The real lesson from Iraq (this is the same lesson first experienced during the conflict in Afghanistan) is that the role for armed helicopters in this new kind of war is to help shape the close-in battlefield and to provide on-call fire support for ground forces.
The U.S. military has lots of ways of killing armored formations. The original role for the Apache and similar systems as tank killers is being changed by advances in long-range, high-altitude precision strike. Their role in the kinds of wars the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. is likely to fight for the next several decades is different, but still vitally important.
Before the Pentagon or the defense experts dismiss attack helicopters as "Cold War" weapons systems they would do well to examine the record of the Marine Corps' attack helicopters.
AH-1 attack helicopters performed extremely well. During the war in Iraq, they provided rapid, on-call fire support for Marine ground forces. None were shot down. The potential of the attack helicopters--when used in conjunction with fixed wing systems, both the F/A-18 Hornet The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is a modern all-weather carrier-capable strike fighter jet, designed to attack both ground and aerial targets. Designed in the 1970s for service with the U.S. Navy and U.S. and the AV-8B Harrier--was particularly striking.
Rather than abandoning rotary wing attack platforms, the Marine Corps plans to improve their existing attack helicopter fleet with the AH-1W Super Cobras and the AH-1Z. These are enhanced versions of the venerable AH-1 Cobra This article is about the single-engine models of the Bell Cobra family. For the twin-engine models, see AH-1 SuperCobra.
The AH-1 Cobra is an attack helicopter manufactured by Bell. and UH-1 Huey, respectively, that the Marines have employed for many years.
With new avionics, an enhanced airframe, improved engines and greater payload, the AH-1W and AH-1Z will carry a wide range of munitions mu·ni·tion
War materiel, especially weapons and ammunition. Often used in the plural.
tr.v. mu·ni·tioned, mu·ni·tion·ing, mu·ni·tions
To supply with munitions. and be able to respond rapidly to any possible combat situation. They will be the work horses "Work Horses" is the second episode of the first season of The Saddle Club. Plot
Trivia of the Marine attack helicopter fleet.
Attack helicopters will serve as a vital component of the joint and integrated air-land force. This too was demonstrated by Operation Iraqi Freedom.
When free to operate, attack helicopters pounded Iraqi fixed positions, bunkers and urban fortifications This is a list of fortifications past and present, a fortification being a major physical defensive structure often composed of a more or less wall-connected series of forts. . Close coordination with ground forces enabled attack helicopters to operate extremely close to the front lines. Where air defense fires were encountered, fixed wing aircraft, artillery and rocket systems provided suppressive fire that opened the way for the attack helicopters.
Operation Iraqi Freedom also demonstrated the value of the rapid movement of ground combat forces by land and air. Air-inserted Special Operations Forces Those Active and Reserve Component forces of the Military Services designated by the Secretary of Defense and specifically organized, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations. Also called SOF. seized critical terrain in Western and Northern Iraq. This type of warfare is what the transformational V-22 Osprey was designed to support
So, before hasty and incorrect lessons are drawn from Operation Iraqi Freedom, it would be well to examine closely the full record of Army and Marine Corps helicopter operations in that conflict. The results may surprise many.
Dr. Daniel Goure