Saturday, July 14, 2007

Air War Iraq

The US Air Force is increasing its ground attack capability in Iraq and anti-war groups don't like it.

The escalation worries some about an increase in "collateral damage," casualties among Iraqi civilians. Air Force generals worry about wear and tear on aging aircraft. But ground commanders clearly like what they see.

Statistics tell the story: Air Force and Navy aircraft dropped 437 bombs and missiles in Iraq in the first six months of 2007, a fivefold increase over the 86 used in the first half of 2006, and three times more than in the second half of 2006, according to Air Force data. In June, bombs dropped at a rate of more than five a day.

The statistics tell a story, but not in the way the antiwar crowd might admit. Compared to Vietnam, for example, the bomb tonnages dropped are almost incomprehensibly small. An Australian veteran's site reminds us of how large they were. More than 800 tons of bombs per day were dropped on North Vietnam alone for a period covering years.

1. The US flew 1,899,688 sorties and dropped 6,727,084 tons bombs on Indo China, compared with the 2,700,00 tons of bombs dropped on Germany during the Second World War
2. US conducted 124,532 B52 missions, expending 2,633,035 tons of ordnance
3. 18 B52s were lost to enemy action with 13 more lost in collisions and accidents
4. 3,750 Aircraft(Fixed Wing) were lost in Vietnam.
5. More than 8,000 US Airmen were killed
6. Approx. 12,000 helicopters saw service in Vietnam(all services)
7. 4865 Helicopters were downed by Communist ground fire at a cost of $250,000 ea.

When the Lancet claimed that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had died and 15% of them to air strikes my first reaction was: 'not with the tonnages dropped'. No way at all.

Nothing follows.


Blogger KAC said...

I liked the part where the article described F16s as "big bombers".

7/14/2007 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

As the '90's proved, Air War doesn't provoke the "anti-war movement" in the MSM, Democratic Party or progressive thinkers.

There was no more murmur of dissent about this in the US than there was about the Waco immolation 3 months into the peaceful Clinton Administration, because Operation Desert Fox, with the Navy launching more Cruise missiles in 4 days than during all of Desert Storm) was designed to destroy Saddam's WMD programs (remember them?).

Operation Desert Fox, as remembered by the Navy League

More than 300 U.S. and British war-planes, spearheaded by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps squadrons operating at night from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise during initial missions on 16 December, flew over 650 strike and strike-support sorties against approximately 100 Iraqi military and military-related targets. Ten ships of the U.S. Fifth Fleet launched more than 325 Tomahawk cruise missiles, bolstered with an additional punch from more than 90 cruise missiles launched from U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers.

Then there was the unsanctioned war on Serbia, an independent country that posed no threat to America (and didn't even have oil!)

Cruise Missile Inventories and NATO Attacks on Yugoslavia: Background Information

Unlike the relatively short-ranged JDAM, CALCMs and TLAMs, with their long standoff ranges, are particularly useful for attacking heavily defended targets that would pose an unacceptable risk of loss of a manned aircraft and the loss or capture of its crew. CALCMs, with warheads reportedly of up to 3,000 pounds in weight (as opposed to 1,000 pounds for Tomahawks or 500, 1,000, or 2,000 pounds for bombs dropped by aircraft), are particularly useful in attacking strengthened targets whose destruction is best accomplished with one or more very large warheads.

You may remember, the US Congress and the UN Security Council didn't have a lot of input on the war on Serbia or Operation Desert Fox. Brave President Clinton also unilaterally attacked Sudan with Cruise missiles, to disrupt Saddam and Al Qaeda cooperation on WMD's (before we knew Al Qaeda and Saddam hate each other!).

But we had to convert strategic weapons to convention weapons to bomb Serbia. Probably Clinton doing us a favor and firing off all our ammo at nothing so we wouldn't be a threat to anyone in the future. Nice guy.

CALCMs are produced by converting existing nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) into conventionally armed versions of the weapon.

None of this elicited an "anti-war movement."

I guess that proves that liberal Americans are only against war when Bush Lies. Or if there is anyone on the other side who might get mad at us - and then they'll get blamed - as the 9/11 Commission Report memorializes Clinton inaction against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Now that we have begun fighting back in the World War that has been declared against us, you can't tell the difference between Al Qaeda and Democrat leadership press releases.

7/14/2007 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Please note also that in Vietnam only very small numbers of Precision Guided Munitions were used and in WWII even smaller numbers were employed (yes, we did have them back then, look up Project Aphrodite, Azon bombs, and the Bat missile as starters). In OIF virtually all of the bombs have been PGMS.

And we invented a weapon for OIF that sounds absurd: the concrete bomb. The idea is to take out a target by pure kinetic energy so as to limit collateral damage. An example was its use to destroy a tank without hurting the freeway overpass the tank was hiding under.

I think it was on The History Channel they had a show on Shootout: Fallujah. I was astonished at the non-use of airpower there, and found myself yelling at the TV "Idiots! Just blow up that building with a Mark 82!" Instead they went in, house to house, room to room, and did not even use tank fire to take out a whole structure unless it proved to be a very tough nut to crack. Most of the buildings destroyed there were knocked down with bulldozers after the fighting was pretty much over. I hope that the increased use of close air support indicated that kind of nonsense is over with.

In WWII we used sledgehammers. In Desert Storm it was more of a tack hammer approach. Now it is icepicks with magnifying glasses.

7/14/2007 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

To bad it only kills the target, but does not defeat the enemy.

That's the problem with bringing an icepick, to an criminal insurection.

When Saddam emptied the jails, 100,000 were reportedly released. With the current Iraqi prison population at 40,000, same as 2004.

Where oh where would those criminals go, if captured by US or a stand up Iraqi policeman ... well one in, one out.

60,000 to go to match Saddam's prison population, but to meet a really serious level of crime fighting... to meet the Texas Standard:
... the largest prison population in the country @ 163,190 on a population base of 21 million.

We would need capacity to hold another 120,000 detainees to meet the Texas Standard of criminal incarceration.

120,000 just to match Texas, where contrary to rumor, there is no Insurgency.

7/14/2007 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Perhaps the real story of this buildup has little to do with Iraq, and everything to do with potential air strikes on Iran.

7/14/2007 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

"Perhaps the real story of this buildup has little to do with Iraq, and everything to do with potential air strikes on Iran. ?

USS Entreprise has joined the USS Nitmitz and USS Stennis off the coast of Iran. A fourth is rumored on the way. Lots of firepower is being positioned. Perhaps for the war everyone expects in August in Lebanon.

7/14/2007 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

I have thought for some time that the news stories were devoid of airpower stories. Now I know the reason. Airpower seems not to be being used.

Now that I know that they are not spending all that money on sorties to help the troops, I'd like to know on what they are spending the money.

7/15/2007 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger flanok said...

What worries me is how inacurate air strikes can be within a city area. We know how devistating they are in the open, but how mnay inocent people will get killed to those they are aiming at?
As for Vietnam, we were at war. H,ere we are supposed to be creating peace and rebuilding a country.
I cant see how by bombing it more, will get the people hearts and mind behind teh USA.
I cant give you a solution, because there is not one. Its too late

General Motoring Blog

7/15/2007 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Another look at:

When the Lancet claimed that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had died and 15% of them to air strikes my first reaction was: 'not with the tonnages dropped'. No way at all.

While not a scientific review, we do have an understading of what a 3.5% national fatality rate during war is:

Japan in World War II

No way at all...

7/15/2007 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Panama Ed said...

BAGHDAD (Associated Press) -- A U.S. F-16 warplane crashed during takeoff at a base north of Baghdad on Sunday, but the pilot was uninjured, the military said.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, the military said in a statement.

The Air Force plane was taking off for a combat mission, to provide air support to troops on the ground fighting militiants, when it crashed at Balad Air Base, 50 miles north of Baghdad, it said.

This is the second F-16 to crash at takeoff in the past month or two. Those Air Force concerns, that their fleet is aging fast under the increased op tempo ...

On to Iran?

7/15/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

"On to Iran?"

Why not? I would much rather have our people die fighting back than to wait for the enemy to sneak up on them. Of course I've always considered the primary job of the military to 'win' regardless of the cost. That was the way I saw it when I was in the Corps and I still see it that way now.

7/15/2007 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"...but how mnay inocent people will get killed to those they are aiming at?"

So, you endorse the use of innocents as cover?

7/15/2007 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Mark -- we ARE at war. Not with Saddam but with Al Qaeda in Iraq (they've said they are at war with us and everyone who opposes an Islamic Caliphate run by them). They are executing people who put cucumbers and tomatoes in the same shopping bag because "the sexes are mixed" ...

We are also at war with Iran who are supplying weapons and troops to kill our guys in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You want something that isn't possible and never will be: humanitarian war. The US can and should do what it can to reasonably avoid civilian casualties. But as Sherman and Patton and others pointed out, decisively defeating the enemy saves lives in the long run by shortening the war.

The folly you want: worrying about innocent civilians at the cost of our troops lives and allowing the enemy to escape and kill again will only prolong the war and the misery, suffering, and killing.

Example: AQ beheads teachers of girls, often in front of their families. They recently shot to death 13 and 12 year old girls going home from school because girls are not allowed under Islam to learn.

7/15/2007 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

3case asks: Now that I know that they are not spending all that money on sorties to help the troops, I'd like to know on what they are spending the money.

Aviation Week answers: The Bush administration's massive fiscal 2008 defense budget request seeks $8.9 billion for ballistic missile defense - a $500 million reduction from the previous year's budget request, the Pentagon said Feb. 5.

Missile Defense Agency officials said the cut came near the end of the budget cycle as a cost reduction in the ballooning $481.4 billion defense request for fiscal 2008. Pentagon planners expect it to be just a one-year cut.

The missile project was one of the few programs to suffer even a small cut in the latest budget, which separately requests $141.7 billion from Congress to finance the global war on terror in fiscal 2008, and $93.4 billion more in emergency supplemental funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the rest of fiscal 2007, which ends Sept. 30.

Despite the wars' drain on the Pentagon and the Treasury, the '08 budget request included an $8.8 billion increase for future capabilities for ground, naval, air and space projects including the Army's Future Combat Systems, which got a $300 million boost from $3.4 billion last year to $3.7 billion. The budget also calls for spending $14.4 billion on eight ships over the next 30 years including the first new class of aircraft carrier, a Virginia-class submarine and three Littoral Combat Ships. Joint aviation programs getting a boost - for both research and development and procurement - include $6.1 billion for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; $4.6 billion for the F-22 Raptor and $2.6 billion for the V-22 Osprey.

But several naval aircraft programs would take hits over the next five fiscal years, service officials said. The cutbacks reflect a budget balancing act between Navy shipbuilding and paying for an increase in Marine Corps troops numbers and their equipment.

The Army was by far the big winner in both the baseline budget and the supplementals, which include $1.7 billion to pay for a start in a five-year plan to increase Army and Marine Corps end strength (DAILY, Jan. 24) and $5.6 billion for the "surge" of some 21,500 combat troops to assist Iraqi units in stemming violence in Baghdad and al Anbar province. The Congressional Budget Office recently questioned whether that amount would cover the estimated 15,000 to 28,000 support troops normally expected to accompany that many combat troops (DAILY, Feb. 5).

Calling the total defense request of $716.5 billion for defense "staggering," Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, promised to "closely scrutinize" the second '07 supplemental - Congress passed a $70 billion one last year - which seeks $13.9 billion to replace aircraft and other equipment lost in combat.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and other HASC Republicans, however, applauded what appeared to be "an excellent balance between the immediate costs associated with the war on terrorism and our long-term modernization goals."

In the baseline budget, the Army stands to get a 20.4 percent increase from $109.7 billion in fiscal 2007 to $130.1 billion. The Navy saw a 9 percent increase from $110.3 billion in fiscal '07 to $119.3 in '08. Close behind was the Air Force with an 8.2 percent increase ($128.4 billion to $$136.6 billion). The Marine Corps' share went from $70.9 billion in '07 to $74.9 billion, a 4.3 percent increase.

Meanwhile, the White House is seeking to increase the size of the intelligence community. The Defense Intelligence Agency said it planned to hire 2,000 people, mostly analysts, in fiscal 2008. Most would be new hires, the DIA said.

This is from Feb 2007, the latest news is Congress is pumping even more money into the next war - the one with China - with F-22, Aegis, missile defense, network war, etc.

Weird, eh?

7/15/2007 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Saudi jihadists now make up half the foreign fighters in Iraq
Saudi double game update. "Saudis' role in Iraq insurgency outlined," by Ned Parker for the Los Angeles Times
(thanks to Hot Air):

BAGHDAD — Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia, according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers.
About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.

Fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality

7/15/2007 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Tony -- if memory serves, Reagan spent something like 5% of GDP on the military. Bush 1 - Clinton spent about 3.4% of GDP. Bush is spending about 4%, a little less maybe. Under Ike-JFK spending was around 7-8%.

So we are underspending by historical terms.

We face real enemies, including possibly China which has massive amounts of young men who will never have wives (bare branches). Their only way out of another Taipeng Rebellion seems to be some sort of regional war.

7/15/2007 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Whiskey 199,

I don't know about the cultural particulars, but I do know that we sent our first active F-22 squadron to Okinawa a couple of months ago, and I know just last week we conducted missile defense (AEGIS) exercises with Japan.

As Eisenhower or someone said, land war in Asia is for assholes, if you'll excuse the expresson, or words to that effect.

Same goes for Fallujah and all the rest, the Air Force and Navy aren't made for this work. God bless the Army and our Marines, but let's relieve them of this duty asap.

Maybe that's the answer, America doesn't go to war until an enemy is worthy of the USAF or US Navy.

7/15/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mistrust as Iraqi Troops Encounter New U.S. Allies

As U.S. troops build alliances with Sunni ex-insurgents, mutual mistrust exists with Shiite Iraqi Army soldiers.

The gulf between Abu Azzam’s men and the Iraqi soldiers remains vast, with American troops sometimes having to physically intercede.
And it is an unmistakable caution that the full depths of the problems facing Iraq cannot be measured in the statistics about insurgent attacks and sectarian killings that carry so much weight in Washington.

Recently, and without warning, Colonel Pinkerton said, 80 Iraqi soldiers in armored vehicles charged out of their sector toward Nasr Wa Salam but were blocked by an American platoon.
The Iraqis refused to say where they were going and threatened to drive right through the American soldiers, whom they greatly outnumbered.

Eventually, with Apache helicopter gunships circling overhead and American gunners aiming their weapons at them, the Iraqi soldiers retreated. “It hasn’t come to firing bullets yet,” Colonel Pinkerton said.

Colonel Pinkerton’s experiences here, he said, have inverted the usual American instincts born of years of hard fighting against Sunni insurgents.

“I could stand among 1,800 Sunnis in Abu Ghraib,” he said, “and feel more comfortable than standing in a formation of Iraqi soldiers.”

7/15/2007 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The F-22s were in Okinawa for a training mission. They were only there for 3 months and returned to Langley. I think they are sending them to Alaska and I'm not certain, but maybe also Guam.

7/16/2007 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Not particularly easy, or cheap, to hide while monitoring test flights of F-22s over the ocean southeast of Okinawa.

7/16/2007 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Thanks Paul,

Maybe the deployment to Japan was a demo?

F-22 Raptors to Japan? - 15-Jul-2007

May 18/07: Bill Gertz, Washington Times: "Pro-China officials in the White House and Pentagon are quietly undermining Japan's request to buy 50 advanced F-22 jet fighter-bombers, to avoid upsetting Beijing's government, according to U.S. officials familiar with the dispute…. Both the Air Force and the F-22 manufacturer, Lockheed Martin Corp., favor building an export version…. The F-22 export is a major test of U.S. support for Japan and is being watched closely by Japanese government officials who are worried Washington will not back Tokyo and instead kow-tow to Beijing on the sale."

7/16/2007 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm not sure what the political reasons for the deployment were, but the Air Force says that it was part of a normal training rotation. From the Kadena website:

The deployment is part of an air expeditionary force rotation. While the first deployment overseas as part of the AEF, it is not the first time the unit has sent its aircraft to other locations. Most recently the aircraft deployed to Alaska.

7/16/2007 07:58:00 AM  

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