Cover: Preserving man's role in battlefield air support operations

Preserving man's role in battlefield air support operations

Published 1979

by John W. Ellis

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In the last decade, air defense developments have culminated in systems that oppose tactical aircraft with a technically advanced and dense air defense. As evidenced in the 1973 Middle East war, this poses a severe threat to air support operations. The author argues first, that there is still need for battlefield air support in modern combined arms conflict and, secondly, that the vital contribution of man's unique intellectual capabilities to that function can be retained while avoiding much of his exposure to battlefield air defense required by current operational procedures. This paper proposes a remotely-manned, real-time surveillance, acquisition, designation, and fire direction capability combined with a conventional, manned strike aircraft to form a cooperative, complementary system. The remainder of the paper describes the components of a possible system, suggests how these might be integrated into a joint Army-Air Force operational concept, and speculates on benefits to be obtained.

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