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Encyclopedia > Close air support
An Apache attack helicopter provides close air support to United States Army soldiers patrolling the Tigris River southeast of Baghdad, Iraq during the Iraq War.

In the U.S., close air support (CAS) is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are in close proximity to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.[1] Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 722 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1498 × 1244 pixel, file size: 451 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Photo taken by US Army officer while on duty, so it is in the public domain. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 722 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1498 × 1244 pixel, file size: 451 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Photo taken by US Army officer while on duty, so it is in the public domain. ... The Boeing IDS AH-64 Apache is the US Armys principal attack helicopter, the successor to the AH-1 Cobra. ... A Russian Mil Mi-24 attack helicopter. ... The United States Army is the largest branch of the armed forces of the United States. ... The Tigris (Old Persian: Tigr, Syriac Aramaic: Deqlath, Arabic: دجلة, Dijla, Turkish: Dicle; biblical Hiddekil) is the eastern member of the pair of great rivers that define Mesopotamia, along with the Euphrates, which flows from the mountains of Anatolia through Iraq. ... Baghdad (Arabic: ) is the capital of Iraq and of Baghdad Governorate. ... For other uses, see Iraq war (disambiguation). ...



The determining factor for CAS is the detailed integration factor, not proximity. CAS may need to be conducted not in close proximity to friendly forces, if the mission requires detailed integration with the fire and movement of these forces. . A closely related subset of air interdiction, battlefield air interdiction denotes interdiction against units with near term-effects on friendly units, but which does not require integration with friendly troop movements. The term "battlefield air interdiction" is not currently used in US joint doctrine.


Close air support requires excellent coordination with ground forces. In advanced modern militaries, this coordination is typically handled by specialists such as Joint Fires Observers, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, and airborne Forward Air Controllers (aka FAC). An artillery observer is a soldier responsible for directing artillery fire and close air support (ground attack by aircraft) onto enemy positions. ... A qualified (certified) Service member who, from a forward position, directs the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations. ... The forward air controller, a qualified individual, primarily provides terminal attack control of close air support in the vicinity of friendly forces, from the ground or air from a forward position on the battlefield. ...

Contents

History

World War I

The use of aircraft in the close air support of ground forces dates back to World War I, the first significant use of aerial units in warfare[2]. Since air warfare was in its infancy the tiny, 25 pound bombs had little effect, but the aircraft still had an extraordinary psychological impact. The aircraft was a visible and personal enemy - unlike artillery - presenting a personal threat to enemy troops, while providing friendly forces assurance that their superiors were concerned about their situation. Though air-ground cooperation was in its infancy by the end of the war, most successful attacks of 1917 - 1918 included planning for coordination between aerial and ground units. It was very hard at this early date to coordinate these attacks. Though most airpower proponents sought independence from ground commanders and hence pushed the importance of interdiction and strategic bombing, they notheless recognized the need for close air support. [3] “The Great War ” redirects here. ...


The British Royal Flying Corps and the U.S. Army Air Service saw CAS as another task for ordinary pursuit or fighter aircraft, such as the S.E. 5a and Sopwith Camel, and did not seek out specialized units or equipment until the late months of the war. Since pilots lacked specific training, and their aircraft were rather fragile, they suffered heavy casualties while flying low over enemy positions. For example, No. 80 Squadron RAF averaged 75% losses for the last 10 months of the war. The Germans and French, however, developed tactics, training, and formations for ground support. Germany would also modify aircraft by placing armor around the cockpits of German J-1 aircraft to protect from small-arms fire. By spring 1918, Germany had thirty-eight Schlachtstaffeln (battle squadrons) as support, trained to bomb and strafe below 200 feet.[3] The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the over-land air arm of the British military during most of World War I. // Formed by Royal Warrant on 13 May 1912, the RFC superseded the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers. ... The United States Army Air Service was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. ... The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 was a British biplane fighter aircraft of the First World War. ... The Sopwith Camel Scout was a British World War I single-seat fighter aircraft that was famous for its maneuverability. ...


Inter-War Period - Framing the Debate

During the inter-war period, airpower advocates crystallized their views on the role of airpower in warfare. Aviators and ground officers developed largely opposing views on the importance of CAS, views that would frame institutional battles for CAS in the 20th century. The inter-war period also saw the use of CAS in a number of conflicts, principally Spain and China. Observers and participants from the major parties of World War II would base their CAS strategies on experience and observation from these conflicts. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...


Aviators, who wanted institutional independence from the Army, pushed for a view of airpower centered around interdiction, which would relieve them of the necessity of integrating with ground forces and allow them to operate as an independent military arm. They saw close air support as both the most difficult and most inefficient use of aerial assets. Close air support was the most difficult mission, requiring identifying and distinguishing between friendly and hostile units. At the same time, targets engaged in combat are dispersed and concealed, reducing the effectiveness of air attacks. They also argued that the CAS mission merely duplicated the abilities of artillery, whereas interdiction provided a unique capability.


Ground officers contended there was rarely sufficient artillery available, and the flexibility of aircraft would be ideal for massing firepower at critical points, while producing a greater psychological effect on friendly and hostile forces alike. Moreover, unlike massive, indiscriminate artillery strikes, small aerial bombs wouldn't render ground untrafficable, slowing attacking friendly forces[3].


World War II

World War II marked the universal acceptance of the integration of air power into combined arms warfare as close air support. Although the German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe led the way, all the major combatants had developed effective air-ground coordination techniques by the war's end. Wehrmacht   (armed forces, literally defence force(s)) was the name of the armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, literally Air Weapon IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ...


Western Front

Luftwaffe
The Ju-87 Stuka provided close air support to the Wehrmacht during World War II and was an important part of the German Blitzkrieg doctrine

As a continental power intent on offensive operations, Germany could not ignore the need for aerial support of ground operations. Though the Luftwaffe, like its counterparts, tended to focus on strategic bombing, the Luftwaffe was unique in its willingness to commit forces to CAS. In joint exercises with Sweden in 1934, the Germans were first exposed to dive-bombing, which permitted greater accuracy while making attack aircraft more difficult to track by antiaircraft gunners. As a result, Ernst Udet, chief of the Luftwaffe's development, initiated procurement of close support dive-bombers on the model of the U.S. Navy's Curtiss Helldiver, resulting in the famous JU-87 Stuka. Experience in the Spanish Civil War lead to the creation of five ground-attack groups in 1938, four of which would be equipped with Stukas. The Luftwaffe matched its material acquisitions with advances in the air-ground coordination. General Wolfram von Richthofen organized a limited number of air liaison detachments that were attached to ground units of the main effort. These detachments existed to pass requests from the ground to the air, and receive reconnaissance reports, but they were not trained to guide aircraft onto targets. Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers. ... Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers. ... Wehrmacht   (armed forces, literally defence force(s)) was the name of the armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The defining characteristic of what is commonly known as Blitzkrieg is that it is a highly mobile form of mechanized warfare. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, literally Air Weapon IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ... Ernst Udet during World War I Ernst Udet (April 26, 1896 - November 17, 1941) was the second-highest scoring German flying ace of World War I. He was one of the youngest aces and was the highest scoring German ace to survive the war. ... The SBC Helldiver was a two-place scout bomber built by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. ... The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka was a Sturzkampfflugzeug (German: , literally plunging combat aircraft) in World War II, easily recognisable by its inverted gull wings, fixed undercarriage and wailing siren — though these were only fitted to a few aircraft because of the extra drag induced on the rather slow aircraft. ... It has been suggested that Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War be merged into this article or section. ... Generalfeldmarschall Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen (10 October 1895 - 12 July 1945) was a German fighter ace during World War I and a general and field marshal of the Luftwaffe during World War II. Von Richthofen was a distant cousin of the German World War I flying ace Manfred von Richthofen...


These preparations did not prove fruitful in the invasion of Poland, where the Luftwaffe focused on interdiction and dedicated few assets to close air support. But the value of CAS was demonstrated at the crossing of the Meuse River during the invasion of France in 1940. General Heinz Guderian, one of the creators of the combined-arms tactical doctrine commonly known as blitzkrieg, believed the best way to provide cover for the crossing would be a continuous stream of ground attack aircraft on French defenders. Though few guns were hit, the attacks kept the French under cover and prevented them from manning their guns. Aided by the sirens attached to Stukas, the psychological impact was disproportional to the destructive power of close air support. In addition, the reliance on air support over artillery reduced the demand for logistical support through the Ardennes. Though there were difficulties in coordinating air support with the rapid advance, the Germans demonstrated consistently superior CAS tactics to those of the British and French defenders. Later, on the Eastern front, the Germans would devise visual ground signals to mark friendly units and to indicate direction and distance to enemy emplacements. Polish Defensive War of 1939 Conflict World War II Date 1 September - 6 October 1939 Place Poland Result Decisive German and Soviet victory The Polish September Campaign or Defensive War of 1939 (Polish: Wojna obronna 1939 roku) was the conquest of Poland by the armies of Nazi Germany, the Soviet... The Meuse (Maas) at Maastricht Meuse near Grave The Meuse (Dutch & German Maas) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea. ... Combatants France United Kingdom Canada Poland Belgium Netherlands Luxembourg Germany Italy Commanders Maurice Gamelin, Maxime Weygand (French) Lord Gort (British Expeditionary Force) H.G. Winkelman (Dutch) Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Wilhelm von Leeb (Army Group C) H.R.H. Umberto di Savoia... Heinz Wilhelm Guderian (17 June 1888 – 14 May 1954) was a military theorist and innovative General of the German Army during the Second World War. ... The defining characteristic of what is commonly known as Blitzkrieg is that it is a highly mobile form of mechanized warfare. ...


Despite these accomplishments, German CAS was not perfect and suffered from the same misunderstanding and interservice rivalry that plagued other nation's air arms, and friendly fire was not uncommon. For example, on the eve of the Meuse offensive, Guderian's superior cancelled his CAS plans and called for high-altitude strikes from medium bombers, which would have required halting the offensive until the air strikes were complete. Fortunately for the Germans, his order was issued too late to be implemented, and the Luftwaffe commander followed the schedule he had previously worked out with Guderian. As late as November 1941, the Luftwaffe refused to provide Erwin Rommel with an air liaison officer for the Afrika Korps, because it "would be against the best use of the air force as a whole[3]." Interservice rivalry is a military term referring to rivalries that can arise between different branches of a countrys armed forces, such as between a nations land forces (army) and naval forces. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was one of the most distinguished German field marshals of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname “The Desert Fox” (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he... The seal of the Deutsches Afrikakorps. ...


Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Forces

The Americans and British entered the war woefully unprepared to provide CAS. In 1940, the Royal Air Force and Army headquarters in France were located at separate positions, resulting in unreliable communications. After the RAF was withdrawn in May, Army officers had to telephone the War Office in London to arrange for air support. The stunning effectiveness of German air-ground coordination spurred change. On the basis of tests in Northern Ireland in August 1940, Group Captain A. H. Wann RAF and Colonel J.D. Woodall (British Army) issued the Wann-Woodall Report, recommending the creation of a distinct tactical air force and liaisons (known colloquially as "tentacles"), to accompany Army divisions and brigades. Their report spurred the RAF to create an Army Co-Operation Command and to develop tentacle equipment and procedures placing an Air Liaison Officer with each brigade. The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ... Old War Office Building, seen from Whitehall, London - the former location of the War Office The War Office was a former department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1963, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence. ... Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... A Group Captains sleeve/shoulder insignia A Group Captains command flag Group Captain is a senior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. ... RAF Army Cooperation Command was a short-lived major command of the Royal Air Force during World War II. It was formed on 1 December 1940 when No. ...


Charged with the principal mission of strategic bombing, the U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF) operated independently of the rest of the Army. AAF doctrinal priorities for tactical aviation were, in order, air superiority, isolation of the battlefield via supply interdiction, and thirdly, close air support. However, in 1944, in response to the success of the Stuka and German CAS, AAF commander Lt. Gen. Henry ("Hap") Arnold acquired 2 groups of A-24 dive bombers, the army version of the Navy's SPD-2. Later, the AAF would develop a modification of the P-51 Mustang with dive brakes - the North American A-36. However, there was no training to match the purchases. Though Gen. Lesley McNair, commander of Army Ground Forces, pushed to change AAF priorities, the latter failed to provide aircraft for even major training exercises. Six months before the invasion of Normandy, 33 divisions had received no joint air-ground training. In 1943, the AAF changed their radios to a frequency incompatible with ground radios. General of the Air Force Henry Harley Hap Arnold GCB (June 25, 1886 – January 15, 1950) was an aviation pioneer and Chief of the United States Army Air Corps (from 1938), Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces (from 1941 until 1945) and the first and only General... The Douglas SBD Dauntless was the U.S. Navys main scout bomber and dive bomber from mid-1940 until 1943, when it was replaced by the SB2C Helldiver. ... The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range single-seat fighter aircraft that entered service with Allied air forces in the middle years of World War II. The P-51 became one of the conflicts most successful and recognizable aircraft. ... The North American Invader (not to be confused with the same name given to the Douglas A-26) was the name for the A-36 ground-attack/dive-bomber version of the North American P-51 Mustang, from which it could be distinguished by the rectangular, slatted dive brakes both... The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between the German forces occupying Western Europe and the invading Allies. ...


As a result, CAS was poorly executed, if at all, by the AAF in the North African campaign. So few aerial assets were assigned to U.S. troops that they fired on anything in the air. While the RAF sorted out its CAS doctrine in London, officers in North Africa improvised their own coordination techniques. In October 1941, Sir Arthur Tedder and Arthur Coningham, senior RAF commanders in North Africa, created joint RAF-Army Air Support Control staffs at each corps and armored division headquarters, and placed a Forward Air Support Link at each brigade to forward air support requests. When trained tentacle teams arrived in 1942, they cut response time on support requests to thirty minutes.[3]. It was also in the North Africa desert that the cab rank strategy was developed.[citation needed] Arthur William Tedder, 1st Baron Tedder (July 11, 1890–June 3, 1967) was a significant British Marshal of the Royal Air Force. ... Air Marshal Sir Arthur Mary Coningham KCB KBE DSO MC DFC AFC RAF (19 January 1895 – presumably January 29 or 30 1948) was a senior Royal Air Force commander and was the Air Officer Commander-in-Chief 2nd Tactical Air Force (and subsequently the Air Officer Commander-in-Chief Flying... A cab rank is a primarily British term for taxi stand, although the phrase has two other uses. ...


The situation would improve during the Italian campaign, where American and British forces, working in close cooperation, exchanged CAS techniques and ideas. There, the AAF's XII Air Support Command and the Fifth U.S. Army shared headquarters, meeting every evening to plan strikes and devising a network of liaisons and radios for communications. However, friendly fire continued to be a concern - pilots did not know recognition signals and regularly bombed friendly units, until an A-36 was shot down in self-defense by Allied tanks. Friendly fire from the ground prompted the black and white stripes painted on all Allied aircraft after 1944.


The AAF would see the greatest innovations in 1944 under Gen. Elwood A. Quesada, commander of IX Tactical Air Command, supporting the First U.S. Army. He developed the "armored column cover", where on-call fighter-bombers maintained a high-level of availability for important tank advances, allowing armor units to maintain a high tempo of exploitation even when they outran their artillery assets. He also used a modified antiaircraft radar to track friendly attack aircraft to redirect them as necessary, and experimented with assigning fighter pilots to tours as forward air controllers to familiarize them with the ground perspective. In July 1944, Quesada provided VHF aircraft radios to tank crews in Normandy. When the armored units broke out of the Normandy beachhead, tank commanders were able to communicate directly with overhead fighter-bombers. However, despite the innovation, Quesada focused his aircraft on CAS only for major offensives. Typically, both British and American attack aircraft were tasked primarily to interdiction, even though later analysis showed them to be twice as dangerous as CAS.


Eastern Front

The Red Air Force was not slow to recognize the value of ground support aircraft. Even as far back as the Nomonhan incident, Russian aircraft were given the task of disrupting enemy ground operations. This use increased markedly after the German invasion. Purpose-built aircraft such as the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik were highly effective in blunting the activity of the Panzers. Soviet Air Force, also known under the abbreviation VVS, transliterated from Russian: ВВС, Военно-воздушные силы (Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily), formed the official designation of the airforce of the Soviet Union. ... Combatants Soviet Union Peoples Republic of Mongolia Japan Manchukuo Commanders Georgy Zhukov Michitaro Komatsubara Strength 57,000 30,000 Casualties 6,831 killed, 15,952 wounded (stated estimate) 8,440 killed, 8,766 wounded (stated estimate) The Battle of Khalkhyn Gol (Mongolian: ; Japanese: ノモンハン事件 Nomonhan jiken), named after the river... The Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik (Russian: ) was a ground attack aircraft of World War II, and was produced by the Soviet Union in huge numbers; in combination with its successor, the Ilyushin Il-10, a total of 36,163 were built. ...


German CAS reached its peak on the Eastern Front during the period 1941-1943. Their decline was caused by the growing strength of the Red Air Force and the redeployment of assets to defend against American and British strategic bombardment. The introduction of improved Soviet tanks, the T-34 and KV-1 reduced the effectiveness of close air support, even after the adoption of 30mm cannon and shaped-charge bombs. While German procedures for CAS lead the way, their loss of air superiority and technological advantage, combined with a declining supply of aircraft and fuel, crippled their ability to provide CAS after 1943. The T-34 is a Soviet medium tank first produced in 1940. ... K. 1 is a designation given to two works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the original Köchel Verzeichnis. ...


The Pacific Theater

The Navy and Marine Corps would similarly use CAS in conjunction with or as a substitute for the lack of available artillery or naval gunfire. Marine Corsairs used a variety of ordnance such as conventional bombs, rockets and napalm to disloge or attack Japanese troops utilizing cave complexes in the latter part of WWII.


Korean War

From Navy experiments with the KGW-1 Loon, the Navy designation for the German V-1 flying bomb, Marine Captain Marian Cranford Dalby developed the AN-MPQ-14, a system that enabled radar-guided bomb release at night or in poor weather. The Vergeltungswaffe 1 Fi 103 / FZG-76 (V-1), known as the Flying bomb, Buzz bomb or Doodlebug, was the first modern guided missile used in wartime and the first cruise missile. ... The AN-MPQ-14 is a radar system used for Ground Directed Bombing (GDB), where a plane is remotely piloted from the ground with radar assistance, up to and including the point of bomb release. ...


Though the Marine Corps continued its tradition of intimate air-ground cooperation, the newly created Air Force again moved away from CAS, now to strategic bombers and jet interceptors. Though eventually the Air Force supplied sufficient pilots and forward air controllers to provide battlefield support, coordination was still lacking. Since pilots operated under centralized control, ground controllers were never able to familiarize themselves with pilots, and requests were not processed quickly. Harold K. Johnson, then commander of 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (later Army Chief of Staff) commented regarding CAS: "If you want it, you can't get it. If you can get it, it can't find you. If it can find you, it can't identify the target. If it can identify the target, it can't hit it. But if it does hit the target, it doesn't do a a great deal of damage anyway."[4] Look up interceptor in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The 8th Cavalry Regiment was organized as a regiment on 21 September 1866 at Angel Island, California. ... Categories: United States-related stubs | United States Army | Joint Chiefs of Staff ...


It's unsurprising, then, that MacArthur excluded USAF aircraft from the airspace over the Inchon Landing in September 1950, instead relying on Marine Aircraft Group 33 for CAS. In December 1951, Lt. Gen. James Van Fleet, commander of the Eighth U.S. Army, formally requested the United Nations Commander, Gen. Mark Clark, to permanently attach an attack squadron to each of the four army corps in Korea. Though the request was denied, Clark allocated much more Navy and Air Force aircraft to CAS. Despite the rocky start, the USAF would also work to improve its coordination efforts. It eventually required pilots to serve 80 days as forward air controllers (FACs), which gave them an understanding of the difficulties from the ground perspective and helped cooperation when they returned to the cockpit. The USAF also provided airborne FAC's in critical locations. The Army also learned to assist, by suppressing anti-aircraft fire prior to air strikes. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur KCB (January 26, 1880 – April 5, 1964), was an American general and Field Marshal of the Philippines Army. ... // Combatants United Nations: United States  United Kingdom  Republic of Korea Canada  Australia  Netherlands  France Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Commanders Douglas MacArthur Arthur Dewey Struble Syngman Rhee Jeong Il-Gwon Kim Il-sung Choi Yong-Kun Strength 40,000[1]  ? Casualties 566 killed 2,713 wounded 14,000 casualties... Marine Aviation and Training Support Group 33 (MATSG-33) is a United States Marine Corps aviation training group that was originally established during World War II as Marine Aircraft Group 33 (MAG-33). ... James Alward Van Fleet (March 19, 1892 - September 23, 1992) was a U.S. Army general during World War II and the Korean War. ... The Eighth United States Army—often abbreviated EUSA—(the acronym EUSA was deemed unauthorized by LTG Daniel Zanini in 2002; Eighth US Army is the authorized shortened version of the official name although EUSA is still widely used even within the command) is the commanding formation of all US Army... Mark Clark was a member of the Black Panther Party killed with Fred Hampton in an infamous police raid in 1969 Chicago. ... The forward air controller, a qualified individual, primarily provides terminal attack control of close air support in the vicinity of friendly forces, from the ground or air from a forward position on the battlefield. ...


The U.S. Army wanted a dedicated USAF presence on the battlefield to reduce fratricide, or the harm of friendly forces. The Air liaison officer (ALO) was born. The ALO is an aeronautically rated officer that has spent a tour away from the cockpit, serving as the primary advisor to the ground commander on the capabilities and limitations of airpower. The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces which has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the United States armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services. ... Fratricide (from the Latin word frater, meaning: brother and cide meaning to kill) is the act of a person killing his or her brother. ... Aerial warfare is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare, including military airlift of cargo to further the national interests as was demonstrated in the Berlin Airlift. ...


Introduction of Helicopters

The 1960's and 70's saw the adoption of attack helicopters in the CAS role. Though helicopters were initially armed merely as defensive measures to support the landing and extraction of troops, their value in this role lead to the modification of early helicopters as dedicated gunship platforms. Though not as fast as fixed-wing aircraft and consequently more vulnerable to anti-aircraft weaponry, helicopters could utilize terrain for cover, and more importantly, had much greater battlefield persistence owing to their low speeds. The latter made them a natural complement to ground forces in the CAS role. In addition, newly-developed Anti-tank guided missiles, demonstrated to great effectiveness in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, provided aircraft with an effective ranged anti-tank weapon. These considerations motivated armies to promote the helicopter from a support role to a combat arm. Though the U.S. Army controlled rotary-wing assets, coordination continued to pose a problem. During wargames, field commanders tended to hold attack helicopters out of fear of air defenses, committing them too late to effectively support ground units. The earlier debate over control over CAS assets were reiterated between ground commanders and aviators. A Russian Mil Mi-24 attack helicopter. ... An Anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) or weapon (ATGW) is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles. ... Combatants  Israel  Egypt,  Syria,  Jordan  Iraq Commanders Moshe Dayan, David Elazar, Ariel Sharon, Shmuel Gonen, Benjamin Peled, Israel Tal, Rehavam Zeevi, Aharon Yariv, Yitzhak Hofi, Rafael Eitan, Abraham Adan, Yanush Ben Gal Saad El Shazly, Ahmad Ismail Ali, Hosni Mubarak, Mohammed Aly Fahmy, Anwar Sadat, Abdel Ghani el-Gammasy, Abdul...


In the mid 1970's, after Vietnam, the USAF decided to train an enlisted force to handle many of the tasks the ALO was saturated with, to include terminal attack control. Now the ALO mainly serves in the liaison role, the intricate details of mission planning and attack guidance left to the enlisted members of the Tactical Air Control Party. In military service, an enlisted rank is generally any rating below that of a commissioned officer. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Forward air control. ... A Tactical Air Control Party, commonly abbreviated to TACP (pronounced TAC-P), is usually a team of two or more United States Air Force Tactical Air Controllers (AFSC 1C4X1), sometimes including an Air Liaison Officer (a qualified aviator), which is assigned to a U.S. Army combat maneuver unit, either...


The air contingent of the United States Marine Corps also specializes in close air support, using primarily the AV-8B Harrier V/STOL fighter, the F/A-18 C and D, and the AH-1 Cobra gunship in this role. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States military responsible for providing power projection from the sea,[1] utilizing the mobility of the U.S. Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces. ... See also Hawker Siddeley Harrier The Harrier II is a second generation, vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) light_attack jet aircraft used by the United States Marine Corps, Royal Air Force, Spanish Armada and Italian navy. ... V/STOL is an acronym for Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing. ... The F/A-18 Hornet is an all-weather fighter and attack aircraft. ... The Bell AH-1 Cobra is an attack helicopter. ...


Aircraft

Various aircraft can fill close air support roles. Helicopters are often used for close air support and are so closely integrated with ground operations that in most countries they are operated by the army rather than the air force. Fighters and ground attack aircraft like the A-10 Thunderbolt II provide close air support using rockets, missiles, small bombs, and strafing runs. A helicopter is an aircraft which is lifted and propelled by one or more horizontal rotors, each rotor consisting of two or more rotor blades. ... An A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-86 Sabre, P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang fly in formation during an air show at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. ... The Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft designed to provide air interdiction and close air support (CAS) of ground forces by attacking tanks, armored vehicles, and other ground targets. ... Strafing (adaptation of German strafen, to punish, specifically from the World War I humorous adaptation of the German catchphrase Gott strafe England), is the practice of firing on a static target from a moving platform. ...


In World War II, dive bombers and fighters were used in close air support. Dive bombing permitted greater accuracy than level bombing runs, while the rapid altitude change made it more difficult for antiaircraft gunners to track. The Junkers Ju 87 is the best known example of a dive bomber designed for CAS. It was fitted with wind-blown whistles on its landing gear to enhance its psychological effect. A dive bomber is a bomber aircraft that dives directly at its targets in order to provide greater accuracy. ... An A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-86 Sabre, P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang fly in formation during an air show at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. ... The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka was a Sturzkampfflugzeug (German: , literally plunging combat aircraft) in World War II, easily recognisable by its inverted gull wings, fixed undercarriage and wailing siren — though these were only fitted to a few aircraft because of the extra drag induced on the rather slow aircraft. ...


Other than the A-36, a P-51 modified with dive brakes, the Americans and British used no dedicated CAS aircraft in WWII, preferring fighters or fighter-bombers that could be pressed into CAS service. While some such as the P-47 Thunderbolt, performed admirably in that role, there were a number of compromises that prevented most fighters from making effective CAS platforms. Fighters were usually optimized for high-altitude operations without bombs or other external ordnance - flying at low level with bombs quickly expended fuel. Cannons had to be mounted differently for strafing - strafing required a further and lower convergence point than aerial combat did. The American Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, also known as Jug, was the largest single-engined fighter of its day. ...


Today, close support is typically carried out by fighter-bombers or dedicated ground attack aircraft, but even large high-altitude bombers can occasionally fill close support roles thanks to precision guided munitions. During Operation Enduring Freedom, the lack of fighter aircraft forced military planners to rely heavily on US bombers, particularly the B-1 and B-52, to fill the CAS role. Bomber CAS, relying mainly on GPS guided weapons, has evolved into a devastating tactical employment methodology and has changed US doctrinal thinking regarding CAS in general. Combatants United States Canada Australia United Kingdom Netherlands Philippines (in the Philippines theatre only) Northern Alliance GUAM Poland Italy Visegrad Group Hungary Ethiopia Somalia Estonia Latvia Lithuania Slovakia Vilnius group Croatia Albania Macedonia Romania Bulgaria Taliban al-Qaeda Abu Sayyaf Jemaah Islamiyah Islamic Courts Union Commanders General Tommy Franks Brig. ... The Boeing (formerly Rockwell International) B-1B Lancer is a long-range strategic bomber in service with the United States Air Force (USAF). ... B-52 can refer to the following: The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber aircraft A hairstyle popular in the 1950s and 1960s, named after the aircraft A rock band, The B-52s, named after the hairstyle A cocktail This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which... Over fifty GPS satellites such as this NAVSTAR have been launched since 1978. ...


In the Vietnam War, the United States introduced fixed-wing gunships, cargo aircraft refitted as gun platforms to serve as close air support and air interdiction aircraft. The first of these was the AC-47 Spooky. Later models include the AC-119 and the AC-130. The AC-130 has been used extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq during recent US operations there. Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000... The Douglas AC-47 Spooky was the first in a series of gunships developed by the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. ... The AC-119 Shadow and Stinger were developed during the Vietnam War. ... The AC-130 Gunship is an armed variant of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. ...


Technological enhancement

The use of information technology to direct and coordinate precision air support has increased the importance of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in utilizing CAS. Laser, GPS, and battlefield data transfer are routinely used to coordinate with a wide variety of air platforms able to provide CAS. Recent doctrine[5] reflects the increased use of electronic and optical technology to direct targeted fires for CAS. Air platforms communicating with ground forces can also provide additional aerial-to-ground visual search, ground-convoy escort, and enhancement of command and control (C2), assets which can be particularly important for low intensity conflict.[6] Intelligence is a property of mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Mixed reconnaissance patrol of the Polish Home Army and the Soviet Red Army during Operation Tempest, 1944 Reconnaissance is the military term for the active gathering of information about an enemy, or other conditions, by physical observation. ... Experiment with a laser (US Military) In physics, a laser is a device that emits light through a specific mechanism for which the term laser is an acronym: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. ... Over fifty GPS satellites such as this NAVSTAR have been launched since 1978. ... Low intensity conflict (LIC) is the use of military forces applied selectively and with restraint to enforce compliance with the policies or objectives of the political body controlling the military force. ...


The question still remains if CAS aircraft need to be played by highly sophisticated and expensive aircraft or whether perhaps more rugged / cheaper platforms may be more appropriate. This is particularly true when it comes to combat outside the First World. Some others would suggest that UAVs are going to take over the basic CAS role, and that this would be both cheaper and more sophisticated. However, as long as no substitutes are found to boots on the ground, it is unlikely that manned CAS will be replaced effectively by UAVs.[7]


References

  1. ^ (September 3, 2003). "Joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Close Air Support (CAS)". USDoD. Retrieved on 02:08, 11 August 2007 (UTC).
  2. ^ Hallion, Dr. Richard P. (Spring 1990). "Battlefield Air Support: A Retrospective Assessment". Airpower Journal. Retrieved on 2006-07-14. 
  3. ^ a b c d e House, Jonathan M. (2001). Combined Arms Warfare in the Twentieth Century. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1081-2. 
  4. ^ Blair, Clay (1987). The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953. New York: Times Books/Random House.  p.577
  5. ^ (September 3, 2003). "Joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Close Air Support (CAS)". USDoD. Retrieved on 02:08, 11 August 2007 (UTC).
  6. ^ Lt. Col. Phil M. Haun, US Air Force. The Nature of Close Air Support in Low Intensity Conflict. Retrieved on 2007-02-11.
  7. ^ 21st Century Combined Arms Operation: Integrating An Air Component.

The United States Department of Defense, abbreviated DoD or DOD and sometimes called the Defense Department, is a civilian Cabinet organization of the United States government. ... Airpower Journal may refer to one of the following publications. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 195th day of the year (196th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The United States Department of Defense, abbreviated DoD or DOD and sometimes called the Defense Department, is a civilian Cabinet organization of the United States government. ... In the U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a commissioned officer superior to a major and inferior to a colonel. ... Seal of the Air Force. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... February 11 is the 42nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

Counter-insurgency is the combating of insurgency, by the government (or allies) of the territory in which the insurgency takes place. ... Tactical bombing uses aircraft to attack troops and military equipment in the battle zone. ... Air interdiction is the use of aircraft to attack tactical ground targets that are not in close proximity to friendly ground forces. ...

External links


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