Tuesday, August 16, 2011

USAF Strike Aircraft

The Gulf War demonstrated air power in a way that - with the possible exception of the Israeli Three-day War in 1967 - has not been seen since World War 2. For once, an entire campaign was planned meticulously, without political interference, and carried through in textbook fashion. To say that strike aircraft � aircraft directed against tactical ground targets � made it possible to win the entire ground campaign in 100 hours, and with amazingly light casualties, is to state what is self-evident. For many years until 1991 various influential people around the world, and most notably in Washington, had criticized modern airpower as something astronomically expensive that, in practice, would fail to work. These critics have now been so convincingly proved wrong that little will be heard from them until at least the next century. Of course, modern strike aircraft have to have powerful jet engines to thrust, powerful wings to lift, and strong pylons to carry ordnance. But what makes such aircraft so terribly effective is something far less obvious: avionics.