Sunday, February 07, 2016

Aim Higher

We will build a bomb truck:

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has revealed the existence of a program to develop a so-called "Arsenal Plane." Designed to back up fifth generation fighters such as the F-35 with a large number of conventional weapons, backing up the high-tech fighters with tried-and-true ordinance.

We already have a bomb truck. It's called the B-52.

Actually, it isn't a bad idea for a low-threat air defense environment. And the B-52 is rather old.

What I wonder is if we can build a plane that carries a butt load of air-to-air missiles:

It occurred to me that we have gunships that turn large transport planes into ground support aircraft. They work very well. Couldn't Taiwan use the same concept for air defense?

Taiwan has AWACS-type planes to watch the Taiwan Strait and Chinese air bases near their coast.

Would it be possible for Taiwan to pair up air-to-air missile-planes consisting of a large transport plane carrying lots of long-range radar-guided missiles?

If Taiwan's E-2s spot a Chinese air armada heading across the strait, the "air gunship" could fire off volleys of air-to-air missiles even as Taiwanese fighters were scrambling. Given that the Chinese aircraft would be closing with Taiwan at high speeds, the air gunships could fire while well out of range of Chinese missiles, counting on the Chinese aircraft to close within the missile range even if the missiles are fired while the Chinese planes are out of range.

If air-to-air volleys and then anti-aircraft missiles fired from the ground disrupted the Chinese air armada before it reaches Taiwan, Taiwan's outnumbered planes would have a far better chance of inflicting damage and surviving to continue the fight.

Which has also been mentioned (which I spotted a year after proposing it) in defense circles.