Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Close Air Support

Close air support uses aircraft (such as the A-10) to engage ground forces that are already in contact with friendly forces. Conversations within the Pentagon and NATO continue about establishing a no-fly zone in Libya. I doubt any of those conversations will address this problem:

"Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces are reportedly using tanks and warplanes to attack the rebel-held town of Zawiyah in western Libya. "This is a completely full attack. Approximately 50 tanks have been bombarding the city, crushing everything in sight."

No-fly zones are about keeping enemy aircraft on the ground. In the case of Libya, the intent is to prevent Gaddafi from bombing his people. No-fly zones are useless against armored vehicles that are in contact with civilians. You have to use the right tool.

During the Serbian conflict, I saw video of a British Chieftan tank trying to engage insurgents. The tank tried to swivel its main gun but the dense forest kept is from moving. A few weeks later, I saw another video of the US Marines on a wheeled vehicle with a swivel mounted SAW. This time when the insurgents behaved badly, the Marines was able to immediately point his weapon at the group and good behavior ensued.

Libyan Tanks Moved in to Crush Rebels

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