Gunship Diplomacy : carrier based close air support for joint expeditionary forces
Emanuel, Taylor C.
Wirtz, James J.
Brown, R. Mitchell, III
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This study examines whether current and future strategy, doctrine, and programmed systems are suitable to perform fire support and specifically, close air support (CAS)and close air support/troops-in-contact (CAS/TIC) missions for joint expeditionary warfare. Naval forces will provide the "enabling" power for this new come-as-you-are environment. To offset reductions in organic fire support, more frequent and sustained application of CAS and CAS/TIC will be required by joint expeditionary forces. To comparatively analyze selected CAS platforms, the study uses four air-to-ground measures of merit (MOM); (1) target detection/recognition; (2) lethality; (3) survivability; and (4) combat persistence. The results paint and bleak picture of current capability. Therefore, a Carrier-Based Gunship (CBG) concept is presented to fill this void. The concept is more important than the selection of one particular platform. For illustrative purposes, three CBG candidates were evaluated using AC-130 gunship systems and employment as a guide coupled with the four MOM as the baseline. The CBG would be situated on a forward-deployed carrier, close enough to the objective area to provide sustained CAS/TIC support for joint expeditionary forces.
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