Combat-Support Air Operations
Q. What are Combat Support Air Operations? ANS: Combat-Support Air Operations 1. Combat Support air operations provide support in air operations to deploy and operate operations of an airbase and the linked services. Air Combat support is essential to the delivery of other warfare functions and may also support and enhance the capability of inter related elements from the deep or ground forces or other agencies.
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Combat Support capabilities include the provision of aircraft and civil engineering, logistics, airport facilities, workforce and health facilities. A successful combat support air operation relies greatly on personnel interoperability achieved through appropriate training. Under mention are some of the combat support air operations substantiating the significance of these operations. Search and Rescue Operations 2. Search and Rescue operations really have evolved to great extent in the modern days.
With its speed and coverage, the aircraft can search large areas previously unreachable or difficult to reach over by any mean. 3. Also referred to as combat search and rescue (CSAR) operation uses aircraft usually helicopters to locate and rescue personnel in distress and, in particular, to recover aircrew who have abandoned their aircraft. CSAR operations contribute to the prosecution of the air campaigns by: (a) Denying the enemy a potential source of intelligence (b) Promoting high morale amongst aircrew . Today special versions of aircrafts and helicopters are used for the search and rescue purpose like H-60 in the search and rescue mode and occasionally used special operations versions of the Sikorsky CH-53 Stallion heavy-lift helicopter in the rescue role. Heavily modified versions of the CH-53 are also used for this mission. Equipped with the latest in navigation and sensor gear, they can fly deep behind enemy lines to rescue downed airmen. They were used to rescue a downed F-117 stealth fighter pilot in
Yugoslavia in 1999, rescue pilots in the Persian Gulf War and to rescue F-16 pilot Scott O’Grady when he was shot down over Bosnia in 1995. Surveillance and Reconnaissance 5. In conflict and war strategic and tactical reconnaissance missions are vital for timely information exploitation. Surveillance and reconnaissance is an observation of air, space, surface, or subsurface areas, places, persons, or things, by visual, aural, electronic, photographic, or other means. Surveillance is a continuing process, not oriented to a specific target, while reconnaissance looks for specific information and generally has a time constraint.
It is the acquisition, processing, analysis, fusion, exploitation and dissemination of accurate, timely, relevant and assured information to provide the battle space awareness essential to successful planning and conduct of operations. It integrates capabilities from all components and sources to increase the flexibility, effectiveness, and responsiveness of coalition forces by reducing uncertainties in the decision-making process. Air and space forces will be involved in the collection of information, and play a key role in its analysis and dissemination.
Equally, accurate post-attack reconnaissance and battle damage assessment are essential, not only to determine whether to mount further attacks, but also for assessing the likely impact of the results achieved and the process also known as combat assessment. 6. 1996, Canberra PR9 detachment was sent to Zaire in support of Operation Purposeful. The aim was to provide high quality imagery to determine the location of refugees in central Africa, as part of a multi-national force which was being assembled for a perceived humanitarian aid mission to eastern Zaire.
A reconnaissance intelligence cell formed part of the detachment, allowing rapid interpretation of the data and fast transmission. When non-governmental organizations reported large concentrations of refugees in the area the Canberra’s mounted searches, but their reconnaissance revealed far fewer refugees than reported. Thus the mooted multi-national force was deemed unnecessary and consequently was not deployed. Air transport 7. Air transport provides a facility to deploy forces, equipment and provide coverage quickly and over large distances. Transport is absolutely essential for armed forces with global commitments.
The swift operation, supply or migration means the ability can compensate for a smaller force or lack of numbers. . Air transport operations can be conducted to provide strategic, operational and tactical level support for all types of sea, land and air forces. Following are the examples of air transport operations 8. Argentina started the war in Falkland and had a plan on how to defend the islands. The military dictatorship that governed the country at the time regarded the seizure of the Falklands as a political act to obtain a diplomatic bargaining position, and not as an act of war.
Consequently they were taken by surprise when the United Kingdom responded and took back the islands. 9. In 1990 more than thousands of personnel were deployed During Operation Desert Storm by US Air force. They in turn were supported by thousands of their paisano throughout the Air Force who kept supplies, food, equipment, communications, information, plans, and medical support coming to them throughout the clash. In addition, thousands of medical personnel were deployed to Europe for support. 10. It was due to the Air Transport that Berlin sustained the winter of 1949.
Therefore, air power was engaged in a mission with striking tactical blow. On other occasions such as Eritrea in 1984 and Sarajevo in 1993, air transport has been the dominant role for air power. 11. Airlift. Airlift is the ability to transport personnel and equipment through the air. Airlift offers a high degree of speed, range, and flexibility. Airlift allows commanders to respond and operate in a wide variety of situations and time frames that would be unfeasible through other modes of transportation. Airlift is defined by the nature of the mission i. . (a)Special operations support (b)Combat employment and re supply (c) Passenger and cargo movement, (d) Aero medical evacuation 12. Air refueling. Air refueling allows air assets to rapidly reach any trouble spot around the world with less dependence on forward staging bases. Air refueling extends the range, consignment, time-on-task and suppleness of aircraft. The refueling of an aircraft in-flight by another aircraft supports the military strategy across the spectrum of conflict, from peacetime operations to nuclear war.
It can be used to support all categories of air operation. Still, air refueling significantly expands the force options available to a commander by increasing the range, payload, loiter time, and flexibility of other Aircraft. US strike on Iraq and NATO operations in Afghanistan both had support of air refueling for rapid reach and timely deployment. 13. Airdrop. Airdrop allows commanders to contrive forces and material directly into otherwise unreachable areas including those behind enemy lines.
However, airdrop requires extensive training, management, dedicated equipment, ropes, and suitable drop zones. This delivery method can be successful in accommodating and vague environments. 14. Air land. Many times air lifters offload their payloads after they have landed. This method is usually preferred because it minimizes the risk of injury to personnel, eliminates payload dispersal and reduces damage to equipment, and offers an increased availability of resources. This method requires convenient locations. Electronic Warfare Support 15.
Electronic Warfare (EW) can be used to disrupt the enemy’s command and control links and facilities, his electromagnetic surveillance capabilities, his electromagnetic acquisition and targeting capabilities and his electronic combat capabilities. Airborne operations often take place well beyond the range of some intelligence assets, which otherwise could support the airborne force. EW operations involve the military use of electronics to determine, exploit, reduce or prevent the hostile use of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the actions taken by friendly forces to ensure they are still able to use it effectively.
Military intelligence units provide the airborne force with teams for interrogation, EW, and signals intelligence collection as well as CI support. They also provide a key part of the system designed to quickly collect, analyze, and disseminate information to the airborne force. Electronic warfare is increasingly important to the success of all types of military operations. Specialist manned aircraft and unmanned air vehicles for EW support may be critical factors in support of air operations within the joint campaign. EW operations can be divided into three main roles: (a)Electronic Protection Measures.
Electronic protection measures (EPM) involve active and passive measures taken to ensure the friendly use of the electromagnetic spectrum despite an opponent’s use of electronic warfare techniques. (b)Electronic countermeasures. Electronic countermeasures (ECM) involve the use of electromagnetic or directed energy to attack personnel, facilities and equipment with the intent of preventing or reducing an opponent’s effective use of the electromagnetic Spectrum three sub-categories of ECM are, Electronic jamming, Electronic neutralization and Electronic deception. (c)Electronic support measures.
Electronic support measures (ESM) involve action taken to search for, intercept, identify and locate radiated electromagnetic energy to provide electronic warning and surveillance data for the commander. ESM are passive and therefore available for use in peace, crisis and war. 16. A fleet of Boeing E-3A ‘Sentry’ Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) aircraft operated by NATO, provides the Alliance with an immediately available airborne Command & Control (C2), air and maritime surveillance and battle space management capability. NATO Air Base (NAB) Gelsenkirchen, Germany is home to 17 E-3A aircraft.
The NE-3A is a modified Boeing 707 equipped with long-range radar and passive sensors capable of detecting air and surface contacts over large distances. The plot-extracted track data can be transmitted directly from the aircraft to other users on land, sea or in the air. NATO AWACS performs a unique and valuable role for the Alliance by conducting a wide range of diverse missions such as air policing, counter-terrorism, consequence management, Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), embargo, initial entry, crisis response and demonstrative force operations.
In recent years, the force has been increasingly deployed on complex and demanding tactical missions, including support to maritime operations, Close Air Support (CAS), airspace management, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), disaster relief, counter piracy and numerous others. Since it commenced flying operations in 1982, the NAEW Force has proven to be a key asset in crisis-management and peace-support operations.
Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, aircraft from NATOs AWACS Component deployed to eastern Turkey to help reinforce NATOs southern flank during the war. Operation ANCHOR GUARD included monitoring air and sea traffic in the eastern Mediterranean and providing airborne surveillance along the Iraqi-Turkish border. The mission was conducted from August 1990 to March 1991. Aero Medical Evacuation (AME) 17. Aero medical evacuation is the rapid transportation of sick or injured personnel under medical supervision to appropriate medical care.
Movement of patients normally requires specially qualified aero medical crewmembers to accompany the patient, special air traffic control considerations to comply with patient driven altitude and pressurization restrictions, and special aircraft systems medical equipment. 18. More than one million patients were successfully moved by air during World War II. During World War II the U. S. armed forces had their first extensive experience with aero medical mass departure, in which 712,000 Americans were wounded i. e. almost four times of the number in World War I.
Because unbearable wounds or illnesses frequently occurred in remote areas very far from modern medical facilities and soldiers and airmen often required aero medical evacuation. Even in Western Europe, aero medical evacuation offered both medical and logistical advantages. Unusual Operations Support 19. Provision of airdrop support to special operations for mutual training, contingencies, operations other than war, and other missions. Since there are a limited number of airlift assets dedicated, therefore while performing special operations missions, highly trained airlift crews normally act as an integral member of a larger joint package.
Extensive planning, coordination, and training are required to minimize risk. Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses 20. Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) is any activity that destroys, neutralizes or temporarily degrades an opponent’s surface-based air defenses by destructive or disruptive means. SEAD missions are also flown to maintain the degree of control of the air which is required and SEAD is depending on the level of SAM and AAA threat, however, SEAD operations may also be important as a combat support mission type.
SEAD may be an essential pre-cursor to strategic and ant surface air action and may be achieved electronically, by air action or by land and maritime artillery. Composite Air Operations 21. Composite Air Operations (COMAO) is the combination of aircraft into force packages to concentrate combat power and achieve force protection. Force packaging considerations particularly in coalition operations require knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the forces available.