Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Aerial OP

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Aerial OP

    Guys, any comment on the feasibility of AOP ops from helicopters, i.e the calling of and adjustment of artillery fire from an air based observation post? With the inclusion of FLIR and SINCGARS, this could be a useful exercise to perform for both the artillery and pilots alike, IMO. The 135 for example is an ideal platform for this, somewhat lacking in the tech issues such as laser range finders and a roof mounted sight, but with a decent set of binos and proper training, I can see no reason why this cannot be achieved...

    It could result in a significant increase in flexibility for commanders and artillery CPs to have a fast, mobile asset such as an aircraft to observe terrain that would otherwise require an extended insertion of a covert standard OP. It could also be extended to other platforms such as 139, PC9 and cessna as has proved useful in historical contexts. In fact, why not extent it to Casa for naval gunfire support? Methinks that the G4 boys may crib if asked to do the same task though...

    The natural progression from this is to include training for Airborne Forward Air Controllers to eventually have a complete coverage of fire support from a mobile platform.

    Obviously, this is being aimed at an air corps context, as the theory is already practised elsewhere, but to support the full spectrum of missions overseas, considering our limited assets, a couple of 135s may increase their usefulness to the commander if they can do more than just shift 5 troops at a time and to have the flexibility to run out of ammo on a PC9 or encounter a target that is more appropriate to artillery and then adjust that fire as required would be a big advantage.

    Not waltering here. Just a realistic discussion topic.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Scorpy View Post
    Guys, any comment on the feasibility of AOP ops from helicopters, i.e the calling of and adjustment of artillery fire from an air based observation post? With the inclusion of FLIR and SINCGARS, this could be a useful exercise to perform for both the artillery and pilots alike, IMO. The 135 for example is an ideal platform for this, somewhat lacking in the tech issues such as laser range finders and a roof mounted sight, but with a decent set of binos and proper training, I can see no reason why this cannot be achieved...
    Its something the Brits are working with - snipers based in helos.

    It has a number of problems - Helos are notoriously vulnerable and rely on speed to stay alive. Standing still, observing the En from a distance for any length of time is a sure way to get yourself killed. They have been used in the past as scout helos but again rely on speed. Some helos have mast mounted sights and rely on stealth for survival.

    However what you are proposing has been used in the past to some extent.

    There is also the major problem that emerged during the Vietnam war - that of over focusing on Helo reconnaissance. It was often very demoralising for troops to be receiving orders from "the Eye in the Sky" which had little knowledge of the specific conditions the troops were facing - such as commanders chastising sections leaders for not being able to keep up the pace across what appeared to be an open grassy field, little knowing the troops were fighting through chest deep water and vines in the actual swamp that existed. Helos tend to isolate commanders from the battle.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Docman View Post
      Helos are notoriously vulnerable and rely on speed to stay alive.
      Not so. Helos are inherently slow by their nature and their main form of self preservation is low flight and effective use of battlefield topography to hide them from view; ie terrain masking.

      Therefore a helicopter's flight profile does not lend itself for safe use in the FAC role. To be able to effectively operate in this role it would have to do either of two things.

      1. Fly at higher altitudes and in doing so become much more vulnerable. A helicopter at say 2500 feet AGL traveling at max 145-150 kts would stay in the sights of any potential anti aircraft weapon for long enough to be a relatively easy target.

      Or...

      2. Continue at low level and in order to effectively direct fire, place itself at closer proximity to the target area.

      Neither of the above are acceptable risks.

      As for the PC-9's, well they certainly have a higher dash speed but in a loiter mode they would also be vulnerable. They are lacking in armour or any reasonable form of protection. Even in an attack mode their only chance of survival is the element of surprise and a quick exit from the target area. They are basically an all aluminum airframe and could succumb easily to small arms fire. Aircraft, unless intended specifically for operational military purposes, are designed to be lightweight, but at the same time structurally strong. This is achieved by using a lightweight stressed skin that in fact contributes to the overall structural integrity of the airframe(monocoque). Structurally strong, but you could still punch a hole in it with a screwdriver easily.

      Now you could correctly point to the US use of the Cessna Bird Dogs as a precedent to the use of slower aircraft, but you have to remember the specifics of the Vietnam conflict. Tropical jungle terrain, where in many cases aircraft would only be visible for no more than a few seconds through the foliage and the fact that the airframe could take unusually high levels of punishment that would have finished off other aircraft contributed hugely to their survival.

      Remember, these days the USAF uses the OA-10 in this role. Not the quickest of aircraft granted, but an M1A2 Abrams with wings in terms of armour.

      I do however see some merit in your idea. It has the potential to create a much greater degree of interoperability between the Army and Air Corps, while at the same time developing a new and possibly valuable disciple. However to use it as anything other than a training program without suitable aircraft would be madness. On that note also, it would be imperative not to foster an over reliance on aerial orientated fire control, when it could never be available operationally.

      We must also take into account the increasing use of UAV's in this role and the actuality that physically putting a body in an aircraft over a target area is becoming obsolete and will probably be completely phased out in many Air Forces in the short to medium term.
      Last edited by Jetjock; 17 July 2008, 03:15.

      Comment


      • #4
        On the Chad thread one of the pictures in the one of the latest videos there is a pic of a Irish sniper with what looks like a .5 sniper rifle in the back of what looks like a Puma.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Docman View Post
          Its something the Brits are working with - snipers based in helos.
          Quite correct. It's currently happening out in those hot sandy places.

          Comment


          • #6
            In a lot of respects a platform is just a platform.

            In a shooting war my money would however be on a platform that is expendable to a resonable extent, with a low noise/radar and visual signature, 12hrs+ endurance without refuel or fatique and the capability to carry an array of systems such as FLIR, Laser Rangefinder, Synthetic Apeture Radar.
            All weather capability, low human risk, high operational capability, transportability, maintainability and low cost of operation are also all important factors. These all point to a TUAV.
            You also get about 6 equipped TUAVs for the price of 1 equipped EC135.

            Its all the rage at the moment. Signs on it when most TUAVs are operated by artillery units.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would have thought it depends entirely on the type of conflict?

              In situations like Chad or Liberia where the threat level is relatively low, having a cheap aerial OP (or sniper platform) that could also be used for other things (like medevac or resupply) probably has its uses. But then you're back to the logistical difficulties of getting the AC to the point where they can deploy.

              In a more threat intensive situation, a large slow fixed or rotary wing aircraft may well be too vulnerable and UAVs would be the only realistic solution (or OA-10s!).

              So its probably back to cutting your cloth to measure - if you expect to be deployed abroad a lot in difficult high threat situations, UAVs would make sense. If on the other hand you expected to do a lot of lower intensity work, and needed the flexibility of a manned platform, then that would make sense then.

              In terms of which type of manned platform would be best, I would imagine you can rule out the Pc-9 immediately, not alone is it too vulnerable, it also lacks the optics of a dedicated CAS aircraft or attack/assault helo, and it can't be used for anything else. Really, there are three options. 1. A dedicated Surveillance asset - with optics/FLIR, several crew, and good endurance - ideally fixed wing 2. A cheap workhorse fixed wing, twin otter etc, with a good sized door and rough field ability and 3, a bundle of helicopters.

              Personally, I'd go with the helicopters.

              Comment


              • #8
                As well as the photo of the Ranger with the AW50, David Axe writes in his blog:

                "It’s the battalion’s job to ferry people and supplies to the remotest EUFOR outposts, to scout for bandits threatening refugees and aid workers and, if necessary, to attack the bandits with rockets, guns, missiles and snipers firing out the choppers’ side doors."

                Obviously somebody is thinking seriously about putting snipers in helicopters.

                http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/0...pacific-w.html
                You will never have a quiet world until you knock the patriotism out of the human race

                Comment


                • #9
                  One advantage of manned airpower, especially fixed-wing aircraft, is it's intimidatory appeal.If a toerag in a "technical" learns that an attack on a refugee camp will bring a COIN aircraft down on his head, especially if it can detect him with with cameras/IR, bring a shitstorm down on his head and loiter above him for many hours, then he'll think twice about attacking refugees in the first place.
                  In the case of Chad, I think the Mirages should be more "proactive" and a slower, COIN aircraft introduced.A few of those Super Tucanos, perhaps, with UAVs as the eyes at high altitude and the prop-driven aircraft loitering with intent......when you think about it, how did those rebels that attacked NDjamena do so, with such confidence that they would even reach the city, despite the presence of French airpower and a Chadian AF? Did they believe that the Sudanese AF would intervene?
                  regards
                  GttC

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I thought I was the only person who read Wired anymore ...

                    The idea of putting snipers in helicopters has been around a while, I know it was done in Vietnam, and it was certainly done in Somalia also (but for supporting operations in a built up environment). The FBI practice it as a means of stopping cars and trucks also, so I assume it has loads of applications also.

                    Also, in terms of question as to whether reactive close air should be available at short notice to EUFOR - of course it should. Given the threat level, a half squadron of French Eurocopter Tigers would be ideal, backed up by UAVs at a higher level, keeping an eye on things. And all of this backed up by fast air within 30mins reach. If the EU is to be taken seriously as a player in force projection terms, for whatever mission, this is the type of TOE it needs to be able to bring to the table.

                    As it is, clearly the existing assets are either too far away or not flexible enough.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OH-58Ds do a relatively good job of spotting with the mast-mounted sight. Using the inbuilt LRF, they can work out pretty accurate grids.

                      However, that's a pretty serious modification to a helicopter.

                      NTM
                      Driver, tracks, troops.... Drive and adjust!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I thought the IAC was already planning to train for the aerial recce/obs role with the 135?

                        It could certainly carry out the role, many inferior aircraft have been used operationally for similar roles in the past.
                        Including the Cessna O-1s in Vietnam.

                        The British as I recall had issues with the use of LOHs in the Falklands where people kept shooting at them. But given the success of the Gazelle in French use and the continued demand for RW observation craft it seems a pretty high yield area for the Air Corp to develop.

                        I seem to recall in the build up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq OH-58s were being pulled from KFOR and replaced with Apaches as the OH's were needed as a priority for Iraq.

                        UAVs can certainly perform the observation role, but I would imagine there are a lot of advantages to sell for having a small piloted helicopter that can also carry out litter urgent casualties or other urgent light lifts.
                        "It is a general popular error to imagine that loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for it's welfare" Edmund Burke

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Come-quickly View Post
                          I thought the IAC was already planning to train for the aerial recce/obs role with the 135?
                          That was my understanding too.
                          "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
                          Radio transmission, siege of Jadotville DR Congo. September 1961.
                          Illegitimi non carborundum

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There allready to a Arty fire control from helies, it was done at the combined shoot 2 years ago.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Given that the British and Germans were directing artillery from tethered balloons in WW 1, it's not much of a delay then...
                              regards
                              GttC

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X