Aerial equivalent of a fit-for-purpose MRAP: COIN aircraft, Past & Present

Past, a French AD-4 somewhere in Algeria, c. 1961. Present, a Colombian A-29B SuperTucano

Counter-insurgency air operations are being carried out by high-intensity, high-cost assets. Dr K Huckerby argues that there may be more cost-effective, low-intensity ways to address the insurgent threat

It is a basic fact that virtually all active military operations around the world today largely comprise counter-insurgency (COIN)-type operations.

Against a landscape populated by the mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP)-type vehicles designed and rapidly acquired for the current operational situation, one could be forgiven for thinking that the aviation domain would have undergone a similar rationalisation in thinking.

After all, if the main battle tanks and armoured personnel carriers designed for high-intensity warfare proved inappropriate, vulnerable or overkill during operations in cities and against fleeting, low-intensity targets, surely the same could be said of fast jets and attack helicopters.

Some would argue that is exactly the case, citing any number of occasions when ordnance dropped from fast jets has caused 'collateral damage' among unintended targets. Sceptics would also point to apparent vulnerabilities within the rotary-wing community, pointing to the relatively large numbers of helicopters and fixed-wing transports damaged or knocked down by ground fire since operations began in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So, in the shadow of the vast sums of money spent on MRAP - USD10.4 billion and counting in the US alone, as of early March 2009 - it is perhaps surprising that virtually nothing has been spent on dedicated COIN platforms better suited to the role.

(El resto del texto es de pago, pero no duden que el futuro pasa por aquí también en España, tanto con aviones tripulados como con aviones no tripulados)

2 comentarios:

Lobo Estepario dijo...

La U.S. Navy ha empezado a operar 4 EMB-314 SuperTucano para misiones COIN adquiridos en régimen de leasing. En la operación está implicada cierta empresa que debe ser de las pocas o la única que registró un SuperTucano con matrícula civil no hace mucho.

madisonrepublicano dijo...

Bien posicionados también están los pilatus artillados, o el A-67 Dragon. Pero la dureza y potencia de fuego de un A-4 no tiene parangón.