Monday, October 05, 2015

What happened to "Helicopter Offensive/Defensive Counter Air" Doctrine?

Above you see an AH-1W Super Cobra firing a Sidewinder air to air missile.  Pretty impressive in my opinion, but we haven't seen it demonstrated in the last 20 or so odd years.  Why?

What happened to "Helicopter Offensive/Defensive Counter Air" Doctrine?

Step back in time to the late 80's-mid/late 90's and you'll see vids and find all kinds of info on helicopter air to air combat.  During the preliminary stages of the first Gulf War (planning), it was considered within the realm of the possible...A-10 pilots were licking their lips and Super Cobra, Apache, Kiowa and Huey pilots were steeling themselves to possible engage Iraqi Helicopters in what many envision as the ultimate low speed furball.

It never happened.  The military lost interest.  The Russian KA-52 turned out to be a "regular" attack helicopter instead of the feared dedicated anti-helicopter helicopter.

Fast forward to today and we see the Chinese developing a new light weight attack helicopter (read the story here), the proliferation of UAVs worldwide and stories out of Ukraine where infantry is not only worried about enemy patrols, checkpoints and minefields (this was from the story of a Ukrainian squad E&E back to their lines) but also those low flying UAVS.

Is it time to bring back the helicopter offensive/defensive counter air doctrine?  Should we give this additional task to our AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys?

I think so...with perhaps a concentration on destroying enemy UAVs to keep the situational awareness advantage that HQMC is betting everything on.

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