Pesquisar neste blogue

segunda-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2014

In the XXI century make sense a COIN/FAC aircraft?

Absolutely. And the LAS programe who saw the Super Tucano victory for Afghanistan proves that.

In Korea lots of propeler planes were used in close suport and FAC operations, but if the F-51or the A-1 show that make sense slow planes for a suporting close to the US militarys (and minimize the risk of kill own troops) the number of aircrafts lost for AA justify the use of jets. But was a problem dropping bombs or rockets from a fighter with high velocity, so for the first time the FAC not only give the radio location to fast planes but also signal the target position with rockets to jets (the At-6G was one of the first armed FAC).  

Vietnam saw the jets take the control of the majority of the missions. The props were considered obsolete and only the US Navy and VNAF (who fly the Bird Dog and the Trojan we see in the down picture) had such "reliquary" in support roles dreaming to see their substitution soon by the A-4 and A-37. The Army was testing the helicopter in assault and atack and the USAF think that fighters like the F-105 will dominate the "poor" equiped Vietcong and North Vietnamese trops. All discovered in a few years that were terrible wrong. 

The US military intelligence don't evalueted properly the enemy who fight and won first the Japonese and then the French. Soon the americans realised that in the jungle was very hard to see the vietnamese and even when they were descovered the distance of 10-15 meters from US trops make impossible the used of fast aircraft.  

Once again the FAC was need. The controlers were training in emergency and the planes were all that US and Allied forces had that could make such role (like the Bird Dog or the trainig Trojan showed in the two pictures). 
But several times the FACs were shooting down or the jets intervention was not possible (whether condicions, poor visuallity of the combat field, very close fight, etc), so the closed support was made by a  Korea veteran "flight tank" named A-1 Skyraider.
Probably the best plane in Vietnam War, the heavy armour "Spad" manage to carry 3.600 Kg in 15 external hardpoints plus four 20 mm internal guns with a cruise speed of  319 km/h (basically doesn't need a FAC to see the targets). All US troops appreciated the abillity to close support for severall hours (the range was 2,155 km), with unguided bombs, rockets and several pods of machine guns righ in the enemy.
Was famous in the role of the "Sandy", escorting helicopters on the rescue missions and for two times he manage to shoot down the North Vietnamese Mig-17. The price was high with 266 aircraf lost, but the success in diferent roles manage to leave the last Skyraiders with VNAF and sponsored  the development of his sucessor, the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
It is interesting fact that A-10 was a COIN aircraft for Vietnam, not a Anti-tank, FAC or Close Support plane. The project was so good that today Tunderbolt II is to stay in USAF, doing all the missions and beeing upgraded for allmost 40 years. So, the COIN/FAC it make sense in modern war, but not all the projects are the A-10 and can carry with success so many missions.

Two examples: 1- Several OV-10 Bronco (the plane was made for LARA/FAC missions in a guerilha war) in FAC missions were lost against Iraq (everybody nows that was a convencional war). That was a big mistake becouse with so many AA guns and missiles in Gulf, use a slow plane (without anti-IR missiles devices) when was a role for A-10 or FAST FAC like biplace F-16s and F-18s (there were no problems with the more powerfull OV-10D of the MARINES). So, the problem was the type of misson not the aircraft. 
2- Puccara is a COIN aircraft used by Argentina in 1982 Malvinas/Falklands covencional war (once again there was no flares, chaff or electronic contramesures), with napalm has main weapon in two islands without one single tree. Of course it was a disaster. Once again the problem was not the aircraft, one of the best in is class.   
So, in resume, the concept of COIN and FAC missions is still on. The problem is the aeroplane to chose. Brasil make Super Tucano (who sell to lots of nations and see how he figh good in Central America) from Tucano, Colombia still uses the Dragonfly (who was born from the T-37) but USA (who fight since 2001 in Iraq and Afeganisthan) only when Embraer won the LAS programe make the AT-6 fly (developed in a flash from the Beechcraft T-6).

So it is a "mind thinking" problem not a concept or mission obsolence. If all the aircraft company developed the COIN / FAC variant from the training version, maybe the sucessor of A-10 was flying today and the good military were relax about the future in COIN/FAC/LARA and other missions (since the UAV is still a "litle baby").

Sem comentários:

Enviar um comentário