Jump to content

Combat Effectiveness Vs. Conventional Army


Recommended Posts

This thread's question is aimed at trained pilots and aviation aficionatos.

 

As an Infantry vet (light Infantry), my experience here is minimal, some of you may remember I just received my Branch as Aviation so please ignore my ignorance here.

 

I was wondering how effective the Blackhawk would be in a conventional war.

 

From what I understand, the duty's of the Blackhawk are essentially medevac and air assault. But how would a flight of birds, even escorted, be able to cross enemy lines to drop a bunch of hard ass door-kicking freedom lovers to do their business without getting shot down in the process? I just don't see how air assault ops could be feasible in this scenario, and if it's not, would the Blackhawk serve as medevac only?

 

Of course I'm aware that popular opinion states that a conventional war will never happen again but you know what, they said the same thing after WWI. Not saying I really think it will happen, just that I accept it as a distant possibility.

 

Obviously air assault was effective in vietnam and has been my personal favorite mission type since I joined up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just like we did when it kicked off in Iraq. Apaches took out a section of their air defense radar, the Air Force conducted strikes that reduced the air defense to a step above useless, and then we had pretty much free reign in the air.

It's not exactly that simple, but the general idea is to quickly assert air dominance.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just like we did when it kicked off in Iraq. Apaches took out a section of their air defense radar, the Air Force conducted strikes that reduced the air defense to a step above useless, and then we had pretty much free reign in the air.

 

It's not exactly that simple, but the general idea is to quickly assert air dominance.

That was going on 30 years ago. It's a little different against Pantsirs and Tunguskas.

 

That said, the answer is combined arms. SEAD isn't just a mission for F-16s with HARMs. All you need is a FO or a high speed 19D (ahem) to spot the air defenses and coordinate some arty on it.

 

Asserting air dominance over Iraq was easy. Over China or Russia, that'd be a whole different job.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you want a good perspective on how vulnerable helicopters are in combat read "Chickenhawk". It's Vietnam era but is an eye opener considering that the enemy air defense network was almost non-existent.

 

Then take a look at the 11th AVN REG debacle from OIF 1 (2003). That one incident ended the army's pipe dream of conducting deep attacks with Apaches.

 

Cross-FLOT operations are only feasible when there's an assailable flank or gap in the enemy IADS that's been created by the Air Farce/Navy e.g. Desert Storm. It's not impossible to throw Blackhawks deep but any enemy with a credible air defense will have to be worked over pretty hard first. Fortunately we have a huge fleet of armed UAS, cruise missiles, and stealth bombers to do that for us at low risk to our aircrews.

 

Hawks have many other missions besides the 2 you mentioned but I'll let one of them talk to that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread's question is aimed at trained pilots and aviation aficionatos.

 

As an Infantry vet (light Infantry), my experience here is minimal, some of you may remember I just received my Branch as Aviation so please ignore my ignorance here.

 

I was wondering how effective the Blackhawk would be in a conventional war.

 

From what I understand, the duty's of the Blackhawk are essentially medevac and air assault. But how would a flight of birds, even escorted, be able to cross enemy lines to drop a bunch of hard ass door-kicking freedom lovers to do their business without getting shot down in the process? I just don't see how air assault ops could be feasible in this scenario, and if it's not, would the Blackhawk serve as medevac only?

 

Of course I'm aware that popular opinion states that a conventional war will never happen again but you know what, they said the same thing after WWI. Not saying I really think it will happen, just that I accept it as a distant possibility.

 

Obviously air assault was effective in vietnam and has been my personal favorite mission type since I joined up.

In the event that a conventional war would happen, and it isn't fought by robots and UAVs. There would be an extensive air and bombing campaign prior to any conventional air assaults happening.

 

Without getting into specifics, there are ways that a flight of helicopters could cross a FLOT. You may learn some of those techniques in flight school, some others at your unit.

 

The real issue with these deep insertion missions isn't the aircraft but, the approval and risk a command is willing to accept, as well as the endurance of the aircraft and the ability to recover to a FARP. Apache guys example is exactly what I was thinking about.

 

As apache guy stated the blackhawk has a lot of other mission types. In a conventional war, it would more practically be used as a general support role, then in direct combat.

 

Of course, there's always an exception, I think if anyone is crossing the FLOT first it would be SOF and they would be using their air not regular army Blackhawks.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to what has already been said,

 

I think one of the biggest concerns as far as not-so-far-off-future threats to helicopters are energy weapons (i.e. laser weaponry). Nevermind all the crazy radar, laser, or IR threats... just wait until China gets its hands on 100+ kW laser weapons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to what has already been said,

 

I think one of the biggest concerns as far as not-so-far-off-future threats to helicopters are energy weapons (i.e. laser weaponry). Nevermind all the crazy radar, laser, or IR threats... just wait until China gets its hands on 100+ kW laser weapons.

For every new weapon, there's going to shortly be armor to protect against it. That's the way war has worked since Ugg and Ogg first picked up bone clubs to fight with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with you, but this is going to present an unprecedented set of challenges. For years it has always been countermeasures against kinetic weapons. However, directed-energy weapon defense is an all-new arena and definitely won't be as simple as upgrading armor.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unlike SAMs, direct energy weapons require LOS. Without going into specific tactics, at the altitudes helicopters fly at they are pretty masked from LOS for a majority of thier flight profile. I forsee that being a short term fix until we can develop some kind of laser armor or force field generator.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your arguement could be put to any helicopter that would fly in harms way in combat, not just Black Hawks.

 

It's all about planning. Besides the comments above with SEAD, your aircraft are equipped with aircraft survivabiliy equipment (ASE). Combine that with tactics such as terrain flight NAV and good reliable S-2 and you have a fighting chance.

 

Are aircraft going to be shot down? Yep, there's been a substantial beef up of ADA in countries like North Korea since OIF / OEF. It wouldn't be a walk in the park. In some cases it would be similar to another Vietnam. Don't know how many helos were lost to enemy fire but the Army lost over 5,000 helos due to various reasons. Those are staggering numbers and that's what we could face with some of these potential enemies. So when young motivated Army Aviators talk big about getting involved in another war, I say be careful what you wish for.

 

Oh yeah, direct energy weapons would scare the crap out of me as well. Terrain is your friend.

Edited by Velocity173
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your arguement could be put to any helicopter that would fly in harms way in combat, not just Black Hawks.

 

It's all about planning. Besides the comments above with SEAD, your aircraft are equipped with aircraft survivabiliy equipment (ASE). Combine that with tactics such as terrain flight NAV and good reliable S-2 and you have a fighting chance.

 

Are aircraft going to be shot down? Yep, there's been a substantial beef up of ADA in countries like North Korea since OIF / OEF. It wouldn't be a walk in the park. In some cases it would be similar to another Vietnam. Don't know how many helos were lost to enemy fire but the Army lost over 5,000 helos due to various reasons. Those are staggering numbers and that's what we could face with some of these potential enemies. So when young motivated Army Aviators talk big about getting involved in another war, I say be careful what you wish for.

 

Oh yeah, direct energy weapons would scare the crap out of me as well. Terrain is your friend.

Thanks for the response, although no "talking big" was occuring. Simply sitting here pondering my near future and a random thought occured. Though I do appreciate the need for disreputing war-mongering.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...