The Soviet Air-to-Air Threat: Are Theater Airlift Aircraft Vulnerable?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MIL ITARY STUDIES
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Theater airlift aircraft play a critical role on the modern battlefield for both the Army and the Air Force. The soviets now possess an impressive array of aircraft, both fixed wing and helicopters, armed with air-to-air weapons that pose a significant threat to theater airlifters. The Air Force does not possess sufficient fighter assets to escort every theater airlifters. The Air Force does not possess sufficient fighter assets to escort every theater airlift mission in a conflict with the Soviet Union. Theater airlift crews need to be aware of the threats and where they are vulnerable to them. these threats need to be recognized and addressed if the theater airlifters are to survive on a mid-to-high intensity battlefield in the future. This monograph examines aerial theory and several historical examples as they relate to this threat to airlift. It briefly looks at the aircraft and employment of theater airlift aircraft and the Soviet aircraft that could be arrayed against them. This paper poses various mission scenarios to illustrate where airlifters are vulnerable to specific threats. Keywords Theater airlift, Air to Air, Soviet fighters, Soviet attack helicopters, Airlift operations, Stalingrad, The hump, Air Force.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics