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Turn Back at the Border - Airlift IMC Operations in Enduring Freedom
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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This research answers the question, Why werent airlift instrument meteorological condition IMC procedures for key airlift nodes, Bagram and Khandahar, Afghanistan, established from the inception of Operation Enduring Freedom OEF This is a case study that uses historical data from a variety of sources, including interviews of key participants, and covers the time from crisis action planning just after 11 September 2001, until airlift instrument procedures for Afghanistan were approved in 2002. A doctrinal examination relative to establishing instrument procedures identifies potential gaps, provides insight into the process used, and describes how as one problem was solved, another would stand in its place. At first, combat operations took up large amounts of airspace, so no airspace was allocated for airlift IMC operations. Next, with no air traffic control facilities in Afghanistan, congested airspace required the continued use of visual aircraft separation. Finally, a credible threat, an increased flow of unpredictable IGO and NGO aircraft, undulating high terrain, challenging flight checks, and lengthy terminal approach procedures reviews all delayed instrument procedure implementation. The paper concludes with suggestions to improve future airlift operations.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE