Attack Helicopter Operations in Urban Terrain.
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MIL ITARY STUDIES
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Todays Army faces an environment much different from that which it prepared for in the Cold War. Massed armor battles, for which the Army was trained and equipped, have become much less likely while involvement in smaller and more limited conflict has become more probable. Future conflict is more likely to resemble Grenada, Panama, or Somalia than Desert Storm. As world demographics shift from rural to urban areas, cities can not be avoided as a likely battlefield, and have already played a prominent part in Army combat operations in the last decade. To keep pace in this changing environment, the Army must look to the cities when developing doctrine, technology, and force structure. Attack helicopters are inextricably woven into the fabric of combined arms operations. But for the Army to operate effectively as a combined arms team in an urban environment, both aviators and the ground units they support must understand the capabilities and limitations attack helicopters bring to the battle. To avoid the high casualties and collateral damage likely in an urban fight against a determined opponent they must train and prepare before they fight. This paper presents a historical perspective of how attack helicopters have already been used in this environment. It also discusses the factors that make city fighting unique, and the advantages and disadvantages for attack helicopter employment in an urban environment, as well as implications for future urban conflicts.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics