Cover: Airpower in U.S. Light Combat Operations

Airpower in U.S. Light Combat Operations

Published 1994

by Ken Watman, Dan Raymer

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The United States engages more frequently in light operations (operations of light infantry in close, rough, or urban terrain) like Panama or Vietnam than in heavy operations like Desert Storm. Yet most recent improvements have benefited heavy forces, not light. In seeking concepts to give light forces advantages over their adversaries akin to those enjoyed by heavy forces, the authors identify reconnaissance and combat as the most problematic aspects of light operations. Although they find no concepts to improve reconnaissance, follow-on research will investigate extending the reconnaissance capabilities of individual infantrymen, perhaps using remotely piloted vehicles. With regard to combat, they find that fire support could be improved at low cost by equipping infantrymen with global positioning system technology to target precision stand-off support munitions.

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