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Armed Helicopters: How the Army Fought Its Way into Attack Aviation

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Technical Report

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Air Command And Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States

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Aviation and the US Army have had a unique and turbulent relationship since aircraft sputtered into military service in the early 20th century. Leadership found it challenging to embrace the evolution of combined arms warfare while an over-zealous drive by aviation proponents within the Army created a rift, but the Army continued to struggle for over a half century to define the role of aviation within its ranks, particularly that of attack aviation. Inter-service rivalry with the Air Force in its infancy coupled with its overly strategic focus on the role of airpower in warfare failed to meet the needs of maneuver commanders on the ground. Fortunately for Army aviators and ground commanders alike, a few key leaders saw potential where the Air Force saw competition, and they were able to bend the rules between the services and the bureaucracy enough to give the concept of armed helicopter technology and doctrine room to develop and take hold.

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