Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Army Fire Corps

As the Air Force continues to demonstrate that it isn't really committed to providing air support to ground troops except under the conditions that the Air Force thinks is appropriate, let's look at one way the Army is making air support less necessary on the battlefield.

Precision is moving down the food chain to the squad level:

An American firm (Raytheon) has successfully tested a new revolutionary weapon; the Pike 40mm laser guided missile. Pike is another step in the constant shrinking of precision guided munitions, much like the miniaturization of personal electronic devices everyone is familiar with. 40mm Pike is a major step in further miniaturization of laser guided missiles especially for infantry and ground vehicles. Pike will be much cheaper than heavier existing systems like Javelin. The tiny 0.7 kg (1.5 pound) and 43 centimeter (17 inch) long Pike can reach targets up to two kilometers distant and come within 4.5 meters (14.5 feet) of the designated target. The major advantage of this missile is that it can be fired from some of the already existing 40mm grenade launchers, like the M320 and FN EGLM. All that is needed is a second soldier with pistol sized laser designator illuminating a target for the missile, and thanks to the semi active laser homing and parabolic trajectory of the missile, the target needs to be illuminated only about 15 seconds after the missile is launched.

We have precision at the platoon level.

And don't forget company-level precision.

All this precision being pushed down will speed up the tempo of operations (at the battalion level in that case), which will put a world of hurt on our enemies (although as this precision proliferates, we will eventually fight enemies with similar capabilities).

I'm starting to think that the retention of the A-10 is necessary only to bridge the gap between needing air power for precision support to having the Army provide precision fire support from long-range rockets and artillery to drones and infantry weapons.

The Air Force wants to aim high, as their recruiting slogan once held. Perhaps they should.