Friday, June 12, 2009

For Your Consideration

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, one of you sent me a remarkable piece on Lee-Enfield Rifles, then secured the author’s permission for us to put it on our website. It is most readable and is what I call stream-of-consciousness writing … so be patient as you read it to the end. You can find it here.

Secondly, I recently came across three quotes for your consideration. The first is by the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen Daniel K. Inouye. He said this in a hearing to Secretary Gates:

“Your decision to terminate the acquisition of the C-17s the F-22s the DDG-1000 and the Future Combat System vehicles -- we have concerns that it may send the wrong signal to our friends and our potential aggressors that we are reducing our capability. It may also have a long-term impact on our defense industrial base. It may diminish our capacity to provide deterrence and reduce our strength that we provide to our allies. We hope that this is not the consequence, but some of us are concerned.”

A second quote is from Gen (Ret) Richard E. Hawley, former Commander of Air Combat Command. He said:

“But institutions can have short memories too. And in the early 60s we entered another Asian war, this time in Vietnam, without a capable air-to-air fighter -- without pilots schooled in the fine art of air-to-air combat -- and without weapons to neutralize the emerging threat of surface-to-air missiles -- and we paid a terrible price against a third-rate power. In the six months from 23 August 1967 to 5 February 1968, Vietnamese MiG-21 pilots racked up a 16 to 1 kill advantage. In all, we lost 2,448 fixed wing aircraft to a third world military whose Air Force deployed fewer than 200 aircraft.
How easily we forget.”

The final quote is from a discussion between two Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan:

"Tanks and armor are not a big deal--the planes are the killers. I can handle everything but the jet fighters."

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn


Unknown said...

It seems to me that I have been down this path before. When WWII broke out, our air arm was practically non-existent. We had no first line fighters to field against the enemy and our bomber force was terribly lacking in capability. We were virtually on our knees combat-wise.

It is clear that the present administration has a short memory and are not aware of the terrible consequence of being inadequately prepared to meet any potential threat to our defense and safety.

We need to adapt a 'What if' mentality and stay prepared for the just in case situation.

Jesse R Callahan
86 year old retired USAF TSgt
Brookeland, Tx

Gordon said...

The American Government is very shortsighted. They always attack the services everyone needs to reduce spending on them because they are highly visible and it looks like they are trying to reduce spending. Then they come along and cut services and OUR military because it hides how much money the government is wasting on PORK! The present government says it is at war with terrorists. They introduce a bunch of legislation and think the paperwork will make it harder for these people to get into the country. It hasn't stopped the illegal immigrants! So, like before VietNam. They cut the military and then find out, Too Late!, that all the stuff they cut is essential and we are beaten again, like VietNam. The government doesn't like to read and pay attention to past history, they are more interested in what kind of history they can create of themselves.

Frank Dare said...

I agree 100% with the experts, including in part, with the Taliban insurgents, (air forces are one of the major weapons platforms that they can't handle, but not the only ones). The problem is with the fellow in Our White House who is intent on destroying our defense system while turning "a blind eye" at best, toward anti-U.S. nations so they can develop nuclear weapons to be used to help destroy our and other freedom loving nations. First our economy, then nationalizing our banks and major industries, and selling assets to other nations, then demanding we take care of everyone, including 20 million illegals and their anchor babies, setting limits on how much executives can make. Doesn't leave much doubt about the fellow's true allegiance. To whom will he bow next and what systems will he refuse to support?

Norm on Aviation said...

Sen Inouye comments to Def Secty Robert Gates about his decision to terminate production of the Air Force C-17 and F-22 may result in a long term adverse affect on reducing our future defense industrial base I don't think ring true. The C-17 transport is now produced by Boeing and Boeing will continue to have design and production capabilities to produce new Air Force transport aircraft for many years in the future as the new programs will be based on past military transport designs and airliner designs. Military transport aircraft are evolutionary and not revolutionary. The C-17 is an example as it fits between a C-141 and C-5 size wise and use much civilian airliner technology (such as F-117 engines which are civil PW2040 that power the 757 airliner, Navigation sytems, Radios Hydraulics, etc. I'll pass on DD-1000 and Future Combat System Vehicles

Regarding the F-22, Lockheed Martin produces this fighter and as well the later multi-service F-35. The industrial base will remain for at least 20 more years with F-35 production with an anticipated order from the three services for up to 2443 aircraft plus potential foreign sales.

The second item from Gen (Ret) Hawley seems very factually flawed to me. He says the Vietnamese (North I presume) MiG-21 pilots racked up a 16 to 1 kill advantage between 23 August 1967 to 5 February 1968 and in all, we lost 2,448 fixed wing aircraft. This seems way too high to me. I would like to see a specific aircraft type loss breakout, i.e., F-100, F-F-101,F-102, F-104 F-105, F-4's, F8U, etc shot down with their only 200 aircraft. May be the A-4 and A-6 attack jet are included?

The third comment attributed to two unknown Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan seems to be totally worthless. Would any Air force General,high DoD offical go before Congress, other military services or the American general public and state this is justification to purchase large quantities of $150 Million dollar each jet fighters. I would guess that the Taliban insurgents probably fear the A-10 Warthog more than any jet fighter.

Norm on Aviation

FoxHole said...

Having participated in a number of industrial base studies until my retirement in 1992, I can understand the dilemma. I wonder when Secretary Gates will be placed in a position to say something like the following. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld (Camp Buehring, Kuwait, December 8, 2004): “It isn't a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the army of desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it. As you know, ah, you go to war with the army you have---not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”
Tony Fox, USAF / Vandenberg Village, CA

Anonymous said...

It is about time people start to question the "conventional" wisdom and conclusions from the Vietnam War that the USAF "Fightpilot" leadership has pushed for 40+ years. Perhaps these are some points history should remember:

The PRIMARY threat to aircraft in Vietnam was the the same as it had been in WWI, WWII, and Korea -- that is ground-to-air fire (a.k.a. AAA). SECOND was the fairly new surface to air missile (e.g. the SA-2, later the SA-3, and the new SA-7 manpads). Putting a gun back into the fighter and spending time and money relearning how to dogfight did NOTHING to negate those threats. Sorry General, the MIG accounted for comparably tiny loses -- nothing to justify the "Air-to-air" brainwashing of the USAF that helped create a myth.

Unfortunately because of this myth, the USAF drew the "wrong" conclusions from Vietnam. It took the SUPPORT fuction of Offensive Counter (OCA)and turned it into the PRIMARY mission ofthe USAF. It subsequently wasted billions on an art that is obsolete.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting tired. I'm getting tired the way my kids used to wear me down when they started whining about getting something that I had already told them that they were not going to get.

In the AFA daily updates, the whining has been almost exclusively about not getting all the F-22s that the fighter pilots want. I will not debate the merits of the F-22 here. The bottom line is cost. The Air Force asked for too much.

To me the insult to the injury is that we are trying to replace our older aircraft who have seen their technological advantages eroded by our exporting policies. We have 'allies' who saw it fit to share these tax payer funded advantages with our potential enemies (Thanks Israel). Yet we are already looking for ways to export our F-22... the erosion of it's supremacy will begin almost before we get to use it in combat.

Today I opened an e-mail from AFA and it sent me to an article about the Lee Enfield Rifle and how it was like the F-22. I'm sure if the author had used the need for a new tanker as his analogy, it would have gotten ZERO traction from the AFA. One thing the author AND the AFA missed was that without bullets, the Enfield is nothing more than a club.

As the AFA beats the drums about getting F-22 to almost full exclusion of everything else. Yes, we need air supremacy. There is no doubt, but we also need to keep the fight at bay. We need to get to the fight and sustain the fight. Why not the outcry for the C-17? Why do the crews flying 135's have to wait until they start dying as a result of 50 year old structures being flown to failure? Heavy Bombardment, Heavy Airlift and Efficient in-flight refueling are what make the Air Force the answer, on today's battlefield.

The Navy could fly F-22 variants from their carrier decks but could they sustain an air bridge like we did in Berlin?

I sometimes wonder if the AFA shouldn't change it's name to Tactical Air Forces Association. There seems to be no voice for anyone else.