Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Deep Strike or Distant Standoff?

A few months ago, our friend Robert "Barney" Rubel put out an article in The National Interest questioning the focus on "deep strike."

I encourage you to read it all, but I would like to break with him a bit; the real argument for extended range for our carrier strike aircraft isn't so much so they can reach deep, but so that the carrier can stand off further and as a result, complicate enemy targeting.

That being said, here's a money-quote for you;
If the Navy wants increased range, the first place to look is longer-range air-to-air missiles. Russian-made variants outrange our best right now. If a new tactical aircraft is needed, it should be a modern air-superiority machine a bit like the old F-14 Tomcat, which was long range and carried many missiles, or perhaps an unmanned version. Such a fighter would not require the intense and expensive level of all-aspect stealth that a penetrating bomber would need, and thus would likely cost far less.

The advent of artificial intelligence and long-range missiles has altered the logic of strike warfare. There is a very simple logical syllogism that should govern Navy investments in aviation and strike warfare going forward: do not do with aircraft what missiles can do; do not do with manned aircraft what unmanned aircraft can do; only use manned aircraft when the first two options are not suitable. The application of this logic will save lives and money, and actually serve to enhance the lethality and staying power of the fleet.

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