Although as far as aircraft are concerned, I'd much rather have the Air Force flying drones, cargo and bombers and the Navy flighting close air support & ground fighters. Naval & Marine Corps pilots kick ass in fighter jets, from everything I've seen.
Not to mention the Army. I don't have a problem with the Air Force having strat air, but tac air needs to belong to the ground commanders. That means A-10s or the next generation version of it under Army, Navy or USMC control. True, that will cost more, as each service will now have to maintain a more robust aviation branch, and there will be some redundancies, but the critical issue is having the right platform for the job. The Air Force has been trying to get rid of the Warthog for decades, replacing it with the F-16, which is completely wrong for the role (it's too fast, doesn't have enough armor and carries far less ordnance).
Meanwhile, the C-5 is only one aging airframe. The C-130 is similarly antiquated, but the Air Force doesn't want to look at new solutions. One of the reasons that the Stryker program was such a pain is that they had to be transportable by C-130, which meant compromising the vehicle weights and sizes to fit the cargo plane, rather than modifying the plane to carry the payload. Result? A vehicle that was originally supposed to be able to fight the minute that it hit the ground now requires remounting weapons, an expensive hydraulic suspension system (to lower the profile for flight and raise it for ops) and separate armor appliques that are mounted on arrival at theater. True, these modifications don't take that long per vehicle, but when you're moving a whole brigade, that adds up, and the per vehicle cost does, too. Instead of trying to fit the next generation of combat vehicles into old airframes, they need to update the air fleet to meet the needs of the force.
BTW, the Navy has a similar attitude towards sealift capacity, but nowhere near as bad as the Air Force's.
|« Previous Thread | Next Thread »|