Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Army Air Force Grows

The Army (and the Marines to a lesser extent) is building its own air force of UAVs to supplement helicopters to conduct missions over the battlefield that the Air Force never really made a priority. I remain pleased with how well the Air Force has adapted to providing accurate bombing and recon support to the Army, but it is much better if this aerial capability is organic to the Army combat units. With UAVs, recon and strike missions become organic capabilities of Army combat brigades.

And the UAVs are providing another service--mini satellites to extend FM radio range during operations:

The U.S. Army, seeking to improve communications ranges in Iraq and Afghanistan, had a 20 pound communications relay device built for use on its Shadow 200 UAVs. This enables FM radios, used by ground troops, to increase their range (several times) to over 150 kilometers. More importantly, obstacles like mountains and tall buildings would less frequently interfere.

Recon, strike, and communications. And all organic to brigades and battalions. Not to mention that smaller UAVs that give companies and platoons local aerial views.

It is not a bad thing that the Army can do all these things on their own. The Air Force needs to get over this and become our Space Force.