Applicability of Lasers to Close Air Support for the United States Marine Corps
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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A brief discussion of the rationale for having an aviation branch in the USMC precedes a more detailed background on the concerns and objectives of Close Air Support CAS. This leads to the requirement for increasing the accuracy of the weapons in the CAS arsenal hence, the exploration of laser designators, laser receivers, and laser guided weapons for employment in the conduct of CAS. The Marine philosophy for fire support coordination and the doctrinal prerequisites for the conduct of effective CAS are examined to assess the degree to which they have been impacted by the introduction of lasers. A description of the laser equipment in the Marine inventory is presented with an analysis of some operational considerations which derive from the characteristics of that equipment and laser energy in general. Following that background, two potential applications for lasers in CAS are analyzed The use of laser technology for the terminal guidance of weapons, and the use of laser equipment as an augmentation to the communication process necessary for the conduct of CAS. The author presents his recommendations for using lasers in CAS and suggests a course for the USMC to follow in the future.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Directed Energy Weapons