Replicating the AC-130's Urban Close Air Support Capabilities Around the Clock
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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Given that half of the worlds populace currently resides in urban environments, the United States armed forces find themselves at odds with the challenges urban combat imposes. For example, dense terrain features, noncombatants interspersed with enemy forces, and restrictive rules of engagement combine making urban operations problematic. To meet current and future urban combat demands the USAF must develop an airframe or system specifically designed for urban close air support situations. The central question is therefore Given the current urban operating environments, what capabilities would be required to replicate the AC-130s ability around the clock The study analyzes the AC-130s capabilities and defines them in terms of desirable urban battlefield effects. Using the AC-130 as an urban close air support effects benchmark other USAF close air support aircraft are qualitatively compared to determine which could best replicate the AC-130s effects during times when the gunship is not available. This study contends that no single aircraft can currently replace the AC-130, however, a combination of airframes can adequately encompass the AC-130s ability to provide persistence, precision low collateral damage on call fires, integrated command and control, and exceptional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support to ground forces in the urban environment.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics