AN F-16 COMMUNITY PUSHED TO THE LIMIT: CAN THEY HANDLE ADDING COMBAT SEARCH AND RESCUE (CSAR)
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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There have been many changes to the way the US Air Force and other Services operate and new plans are being developed for the way forward on a regular basis. There has been much discussion regarding retirement of the A-10, which fulfills a Combat Search and Rescue CSAR role along with Close Air Support CAS. The question remains, how does the Air Force integrate CSAR into the F-16C community without significant impacts to their current capabilities A problemsolution methodology was used throughout this paper to determine the most feasible course of action by presenting multiple alternatives and comparing them to a set of criteria that highlight the pros and cons related to each specific alternative. Through research and interviews, it was understood that there is a heavy burden that has been placed on the F-16C community with the large number of missions they are required to train to and be prepared to execute. Adding to that requirement, especially when referring to such a complicated mission set like CSAR, could be extremely detrimental to the effectiveness of the F-16C community. Key factors when determining the best course of action include training requirements, upgrade timelines, rescue vehicles traditionally helicopters, airspace, and deployment requirements. Multiple alternatives are presented and after analyzing the above criteria, the conclusion most likely to allow integration of this new mission set without dramatically diminishing current capabilities is to dedicate three to four Reserve or Guard squadrons to CAS and CSAR similar to the way the A-10 community is currently structured.
- Military Forces and Organizations