Third World Traps and Pitfalls: Ballistic Missiles, Cruise Missiles, and Land-Based Airpower William C. Story

ISBN: 9781249328445

Published: September 11th 2012

Paperback

84 pages


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Third World Traps and Pitfalls: Ballistic Missiles, Cruise Missiles, and Land-Based Airpower  by  William C. Story

Third World Traps and Pitfalls: Ballistic Missiles, Cruise Missiles, and Land-Based Airpower by William C. Story
September 11th 2012 | Paperback | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, ZIP | 84 pages | ISBN: 9781249328445 | 4.36 Mb

Two examples from twentieth-century conflicts demonstrate the potential that missiles possess to disrupt an opponents land-based airpower and achieve significant political consequences. Iraqs use of Scud ballistic missiles in the 1991 Persian Gulf War produced nearly instantaneous political effects. The Scuds did not threaten the coalition military forces opposing Saddam Hussein, but instead threatened the existence of the coalition itself by nearly bringing Israel into the war.

Negating this threat demanded an urgent response from land-based airpower, and large numbers of coalition aircraft were forced to perform a new mission: Scud Hunting. Almost 50years before Desert Storm, the Allies in World War II had faced a similar threat from the V-1 and V-2.

Thousands of sorties were diverted to bomb missiles that were chiefly fired at London and Antwerp. In both conflicts, coalition and Allied forces possessed enough airpower that the diversion did not prevent them from performing other necessary missions. Yet, in the future, as the United States Air Force (USAF) dwindles in numbers, the ability of land-based airpower to deal with the missile threat becomes problematic. In addition, the improved capabilities of ballistic and cruise missiles threaten airpowers ability to achieve the staple of modern combat operations-air superiority.

The increased range and refined accuracy of missiles offers third world nations a chance to develop airpower on the cheap, and the missile forces created may well stymie Americas ability to apply conventional airpower in a crisis. Because of the lack of success in thwarting the missile threat in the past, combined with the projected capability of future missiles and the continued downsizing of the Air Force, American leaders must carefully consider whether they possess the wherewithal to commit airpower on a truly global scale.



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