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Urban Offensive Air Support: Is The United States Military

Urban Offensive Air Support: Is The United States Military

Prepared And Equipped?

 

CSC 1995

 

SUBJECT AREA - Strategic Issues

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Executive Summary i

 

Illustrations and Tables ii

 

 

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO URBAN OFFENSIVE AIR SUPPORT 1

 

 

 

CHAPTER 2: MILITARY OPERATIONS IN URBAN TERRAIN (MOUT) 6

 

The Urban Terrain 7

The Nature of Urban Combat 13

Summary 18

 

 

CHAPTER 3: THE LAW OF WAR AND PUBLIC OPINION 19

 

Jus ad Bellum 20

Jus in Bello 20

Discrimination 20

Proportionality 24

The Media and Public Opinion 24

Summary 26

 

 

CHAPTER 4: URBAN OAS: EVOLUTION AND CASE STUDIES 27

 

World War I 28

Post-World War I 28

World War II 29

Korea 32

Vietnam 33

 

1914 to 1968 Summary 34

Case Study: Peace for Galilee 36

Case Study: Operation Desert Storm 43

Case Study: Operation Restore Hope 51

Case Study: The Russian Invasion of Grozny 59

Summary 66

 

CHAPTER 5: REQUIREMENTS FOR EFFECTIVE URBAN OAS 67

 

Air Superiority 68

Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) 68

Effective Targeting 69

Responsive Command, Control, and Communications 77

Effective Weapons 80

Capable Platforms and Sensors 92

Cooperative Weather 93

Proficient and Trained Participants 94

Summary 96

 

 

 

CONCLUSION 97

 

NOTES 101

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 113

 

ENCLOSURES

 

Enclosure 1: Overhead Imagery of Mogadishu 127

Enclosure 2: City Maps of Mogadishu (1:12,500 scale) 128

2A: Dense, Random Development 129

2B: Close, Orderly Development 130

2C: High-Rise Development 131

2D: Industrial and Transportation Area 132

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

Title: Urban Offensive Air Support: Is the United States Military Prepared and Equipped?

 

Author: Major Jon M. Davis USMC

 

Thesis: Will doctrine, training, and equipment shortfalls force fixture joint force

commanders to deny offensive air support (OAS) to their ground units in urban areas?

 

Background: While all trends point to the fact that the fixture military battlefield will be

urban, the United States is woefully ill-prepared to conduct it. According to current

doctrine, the United States military will attempt to avoid urban areas in the conduct of a land

campaign. This doctrine has been steadfast over the last 40 years, and has resulted in a

military machine that lacks the training, and equipment to conduct urban warfare effectively.

Unfortunately, our opponents have identified this deficiency and have recently exploited it

(Mogadishu) for their tactical and strategic advantage. Traditionally, OAS has been a key

component of our ground-combat fire-support. Our current weapons work very well in rural

environments but have limited applicability in urban environments. This deficiency

represents our critical vulnerability in conducting urban ground combat operations.

The keys to success in conducting urban OAS are effective weapons and delivery

platforms, integrated fixed and rotary-wing attack platforms, media education, and training.

The OAS platforms must have accurate navigation and a self-designation capability for

precision-guided munitions. The weapons for urban OAS must allow for accurate target

discrimination and low collateral-damage. Our current inventory is deficient in both fixed

and rotary-wing capabilities. The attack helicopter's shaped-charge warheads (TOW and

Hellfire) have a poor effect on targets in an urban environment. Our fixed-wing ordnance

has problems with discrimination and collateral damage. Currently the only ordnance

allowed by the rules of engagement (ROE) in urban close air support (CAS) scenarios are

weapons weighing 500 pounds or less. A potential problem for fixture efforts lies in the fact

that our procurement prods for fixture tactical fixed-wing precision munitions have a

minimum weight of 1,000 pounds. Both fixed and rotary-winged OAS platforms involved

in urban fire support require a low-yield, precision, blast-penetration weapon. The

integration of fixed and rotary wing OAS aircraft is essential in urban combat. If our

opponent can deny the low altitude regime to our attack helicopters, our fixed wing aircraft

must be able to fill in the void. Media education concerning our urban OAS capabilities,

limitations, and the law of war is essential to ensure that they project an accurate picture to

the American people. All of the services must initiate aggressive integrated fixed and rotary

wing urban OAS training programs. They can utilize existing DOD urban training areas and

possibly some bases that the Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) Commission has

scheduled for closure. Additionally, training and readiness manuals must reflect these

requirements for both fixed and rotary wing OAS communities.

 

Recommendation: In order to conduct effective urban combat, the United States must

specifically focus its training, procurement, and doctrine on the conduct of Urban OAS.

This urban OAS must allow for discrimination, proportionality, and a positive media

representation.

 

ILLUSTRATIONS AND TABLES

 

 

 

Table 1A: Projected World Population Growth 1

 

Table 1B: Urban Population Density Projection for Year 2000 2

 

Table 1C: 20th Century Urban Combat 4

 

Illustration 2A: Street Diagram 11

 

Illustration 5A: Pioneer UAV 73

 

Illustration 5B: Predator UAV 75

 

Illustration 5C: RBS-17 Blast-Penetrator Hellfire 89

 

CHAPTER I

 

Introduction to Urban Offensive Air Support

 

Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war, not

upon those who wait to adapt themselves after the changes occur.

 

 

- Giulio Douhet (1922)1

 

The arena for land combat is evolving. Historically, the preponderance of military

 

operations have occurred in rural landscapes. The future area of military operations is

 

now emerging. Accelerated by the fusion of two demographic phenomena, the battlefield

 

is shifting to urban, vice rural, terrain. First, the global population explosion (table 1A) is

 

experiencing a disproportionate rate of increase in the third world. By the year 2025, 80

 

percent of the world's population will reside in third world nations.2 Second, the inability

 

of the rural areas of these third world nations to support the population explosion has led

 

to massed migrations to urban areas. This migratory trend will increase the percentage

 

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of people living in urban areas to 50 percent of the world's total population.4 The

 

population explosion when combined with an equal explosion in urban population will

 

create cities in the third world that have a population density (Table 1B) 10 to 25 times

 

greater than Washington, D.C.5

 

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Compounding the urban density problem will be chronic shortages of food and

 

water that will increase the frequency of unrest. This unrest will manifest itself in urban

 

armed conflict and terror campaigns as recently witnessed in Somalia. As a result, we

 

must be able to conduct combat operations in urban environments.

 

Cities have become lucrative targets for groups desiring to create unrest and

 

destabilize governments. They target the urban areas because they many times represent

 

the economic, political, and cultural centers of national power. A successful campaign in

 

an urban environment allows instant access to the national center of gravity, the people.

 

Consequently, we are observing a greater emphasis from potential adversaries on urban

 

military operations. Militias and guerrillas operated effectively in Sidon, Tyre, Panama

 

City, Mogadishu, Sarajevo, and Grozny because they realize the importance of the city in

 

achieving their strategic goals. Additionally, insurgencies target urban areas because it

 

provides them with their sources of power; people, money, and social unrest.

 

The United States has fought in urban environments (table 1C) in virtually all of its

 

recent conflicts. Each of these urban combat operations were costly in resources and time.

 

As a result, the United States generated a system of warfighting that attacked and defeated

 

conventional armies in rural terrain, intentionally bypassing urban areas. This system

 

featured the application of massive firepower to overpower our opponents while

 

minimizing friendly casualties. A key ingredient to this system of warfighting has been use

 

of offensive air support (OAS). During the Second World War, extensive use of OAS

 

reduced enemy positions inside urban areas. Allied fighter-bombers destroyed cities and

 

villages with little regard for collateral damage or non-combatant casualties.7 The Second

 

World War was a total war, prosecuted by the military, and supported by the government

 

and the people of the United States. This support lessened the public's aversion to the

 

excessive force applied in Allied air attacks. Since 1945, the United

 

States participated only in limited wars. In these wars, the limited nature of the military

 

and political objectives also limited the people's acceptance of unlimited destruction.

 

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The United States military's aversion to urban combat stems from a combination of

 

many factors. Historically urban combat involves: high casualties, the loss of operational

 

tempo, negative press coverage, and negative public opinion. Urban combat plays to our

 

weakness and our opponent's strengths. The United States' conventional force is superior

 

in firepower, mobility, and logistics in a rural battlefield. The urban environment will

 

impose limits on our mobility and firepower, allowing the defender to control the tempo of

 

operations. By forcing a fight in an urban environment, our opponent's weaker

 

conventional force can level the playing field. The American people will demand low

 

casualties (both friendly and non-combatant), and low collateral damage. Desert Storm

 

demonstrated to the world how superior the United States is in conventional rural

 

warfare. General Aideed's military forces in Mogadishu exposed our weakness in urban

 

combat. It is for exactly these reasons that our opponents will force the future military

 

confrontations to occur on urban terrain. According to the 1994 Defense Science Board

 

study on Military Operations In Urban Terrain, "We can no longer choose to avoid urban

 

areas. Our missions will specifically focus on them."9 An operational dilemma confronts

 

the United States military. While all trends point to the fact that the future military

 

battlefield will be urban, we are woefully ill-prepared to conduct battle in it. Our weakest

 

link in current capability is in the ability to provide urban OAS. Some military leaders

 

believe that current technological and political limitations will make OAS in urban

 

environments too difficult. They maintain that future urban fights will have to be infantry

 

only fights. That position is unacceptable. If the future battlefield is an urban one, we

 

must prepare to support the ground forces with all of our combined-arms. In order to

 

conduct effective urban combat, the United States must specifically focus its training,

 

procurement, and doctrine on the conduct of urban OAS. This urban OAS must allow for

 

discrimination, proportionality, and a positive media representation.

 

CHAPTER 2

 

MOUT

The attack or defense of a built-up area should be undertaken only when

significant tactical or strategic advantage accrues through its seizure or control.

 

 

- U.S. Army Field Manual (FM) 90-10 MOUT.10

 

 

The purpose of this chapter is to describe the impact that urban terrain has on

 

combat operations. At the conclusion of this chapter, the reader will realize that the

 

dynamic nature of both the terrain, and the ground combat element's (GCE) fire support

 

requirements, lend themselves to air delivered fires.

 

The acronym MOUT (Military Operations in Urbanized Terrain) "classifies those

 

military actions planned and conducted on a terrain complex where manmade construction

 

impacts on the tactical options available to commanders."11 The United States' military

 

doctrine currently stresses the need to isolate or bypass urban environments in the conduct

 

of its tactical operations. Our potential opponents are aware of our lack of training,

 

equipment, and doctrine to accomplish urban combat operations. Third world powers may

 

view this lack of capability and will in this area as our Achilles heel. Our adversaries

 

recognize the need to operate in, and control, the cities since they represent the center of

 

political, economic and strategic power.12 In order to understand the unique requirements

 

for operational and tactical success in urbanized areas, we must first define the urban

 

terrain.

 

The Urban Terrain

 

 

The 1994 Defense Science Board study on Military Operations in Urban Terrain,

 

defines a built-up area as a "concentration of structures, facilities and people that forms the

 

economic, political, and cultural center of a region."13 If not accustomed to looking at an

 

urban area as military terrain, it might look very confusing and disorderly. In fact, most

 

urban areas display quantifiable order. There are seven characteristics of urban terrain that

 

affect military operations:14

 

1. Density of structures and population

2. Building Construction

3. Street Patterns

4. Ports and waterways

5. Subterranean features

6. Function of urban area

7. Size of urban area

 

The density of the urban terrain is a major determinant in the selection of tactics

 

and fire support for a military operation for three reasons15. First, the urban terrain will

 

never allow the same potential for conventional maneuver and may render certain

 

firepower systems (i.e., armor, artillery) as inappropriate in their traditional roles. Second,

 

urban terrain density will limit the firepower support that we have traditionally enjoyed to

 

minimize collateral damage, non-combatant casualties, and loss of public support. Third,

 

density of the urban terrain will force the meeting engagement to occur at such close

 

ranges (25 to 100 meters) that supporting arms must be ultra-precise and yield controlled.

 

The urban terrain will display one of, or combinations of, the following structure densities:

 

dense random, close orderly block, dispersed residential, high-rise, or industrial and

 

transportation development.16

 

Dense random development is typical of old inner city construction in third world

 

countries. The density of the structures brings with it the highest population density. The

 

narrow (7-15 meters), twisting, irregular streets limit the use of tanks, assault amphibian

 

vehicles (AAVs), and indirect fire artillery. Clear fields of fire and arming distance are

 

generally insufficient for the use of ground-based wire-guided missiles.17 Typical building

 

structure will include thick walls that will require penetrating weapons. These penetrating

 

weapons should not have excessive explosive content that would cause excessive

 

rubbling18, further reducing mobility. Limited explosive yields will also factor heavily in

 

trying to minimize the non-combatant casualties. The urban terrain will limit line of sight

 

communications, and favor the defender's use of ambush techniques. The random nature

 

of the terrain can lead to great confusion for the ground combat units and its fire-support

 

assets.

 

Close, orderly block development consists of mixed residential and commercial

 

type buildings common to central areas of cities and towns. The streets are generally

 

wider and form rectangular patterns with buildings frequently forming a continuous front

 

along a block.19 The orderly lay-out of the streets helps in reducing the confusion

 

associated with random development. The proximity of the buildings will limit: armor

 

mobility, ground-based precision guided munitions, and communications. Typical building

 

structure will include thick walls that will require penetrating weapons of limited yield as

 

required for the dense, random development structures.

 

Dispersed residential development consists of rowhouses, or single dwellings

 

where average street width between buildings is about 30 meters. Street patterns are

 

normally rectangular or curving in this type area.20 The proximity of the residential

 

buildings will limit fields of fire for precision guided munitions. Fire-support weapons

 

effect and requirements will vary due to the wide variety in construction quality. Due to

 

the constrained nature of this type development, fire-support planners will need to avoid

 

weapons that will generate excessive rubbling or fires. Even though the buildings are

 

close together, the relatively wide streets will afford a greater degree of mobility and

 

coordination than dense, random development. Recent combined-arms combat operations

 

in dispersed residential developments have occurred in Grozny, Chechnya.

 

High-rise development is "...typical of modem construction in larger cities or

 

towns. It consists of multi-storied apartments, separated large open areas and one story

 

buildings. Wide streets are laid out in rectangular patterns."21 Recent combined-arms

 

combat operations in Beirut and Grozny have occurred in high-rise development areas.

 

During Desert Storm, coalition aircraft and cruise missiles flew successful strategic strike

 

missions in such parts of Baghdad. Yet, the tactical use of conventional combined-arms

 

weapons is relatively inefficient when addressing defensive positions located inside

 

high-rise buildings. A precision, deep-target penetrator is necessary if a high-rise building

 

is itself a target, or contains embedded targets, requiring destruction. The Russian Air

 

Force recently demonstrated this capability against the Presidential Palace in Grozny.

 

Traditional conventional air and ground precision weapons that have a low-yield (i.e.,

 

Hellfire, cannon) will attrite the exposed armor targets and personnel in this environment.

 

Fields of fire will generally be relatively unrestricted for both sides, with the defenders

 

using the cover of buildings to employ anti-tank weapons. Collateral damage is a prime

 

concern in the high-rise development due to the high post-conflict reconstruction costs and

 

negative media exposure. Enemy air defenses positioned on the tops of tall buildings will

 

modify the required sanctuaries for attack aircraft in this type area.

 

"Industrial and transportation areas are usually found in the older sections of the

 

cities, on the fringes and in the new industrial areas beyond the suburbs. The buildings are

 

new, large, and functionally designed. Buildings are laid out unevenly with considerable

 

space between them and provide multiple vehicle routes."22 Strategic interdiction strikes

 

against targets in these areas may reduce an opponent's capacity to continue a conflict.

 

Coalition air forces conducted precision strikes against power plants and weapons of mass

 

destruction facilities during Desert Storm. These types of targets require precision,

 

high-yield weapons. Ground forces tasked with attacking enemy forces in this type of

 

urban terrain, will need precision, low-yield weapons for fire support. The low-yield

 

requirement is necessary for two reasons. First, the weapons must be low-yield to

 

minimize the rubbling of the objective area, allowing unrestricted friendly maneuver and

 

denying enemy forces additional refuge. Second, planners may need to minimize the

 

collateral damage to these industrial and infrastructure facilities to allow a rapid transition

 

to post-conflict normalization. The combat operations in the city of Grozny (before the 1

 

January 1995 invasion) have cost the Russians 400 billion rubles. To fix the damage from

 

combat operations it was going to cost 3.5 trillion rubles.23

 

Other factors that define the urban terrain are building construction, street patterns,

 

ports and waterways, subterranean features, function, and size. Building construction

 

plays an important role in the selection of ordnance. Newer construction tends to be

 

multi-story and have more windows and thinner walls. The explosive yield and

 

penetration requirements of ordnance will be different for these structures than the older

 

type. The older building construction tends to have thick walls constructed of wood,

 

stone, stucco, or brick. Again planners must balance the fire support weapon's explosive

 

yield and penetration requirements in relation to the requirement to kill targets inside

 

buildings with minimal collateral damage.

 

Street patterns will effect our ability to maneuver, coordinate fires, and exercise

 

command and control over a combined-arms urban operation. The street patterns may be

 

one of or any combination of six different types, radial, radial ring, rectangular, combined,

 

ray, and random.

 

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Ports or waterways further help in defining urban terrain. Both attacker and

 

defender will covet these facilities in an urban conflict. The presence of ports and

 

waterways will assist the urban combat force in establishing easily recognizable control

 

features for both ground and air assets. They may assist mobility by using AAVs, but may

 

also create opportunities for defensive ambushes at choke points. The integrity of the port

 

facility will be important for an attacking force for lodgment and sustainment during an

 

assault phase of operations. The port's integrity is also important for post-conflict

 

normalization efforts. For these reasons, fire-support planners should exercise extreme

 

care in the selection of appropriate ordnance to support the military objectives.

 

Fire-support planning in urban terrain will many times need to include a city's

 

subterranean networks. Most conventional weapons will have difficulty with this type of

 

target because of the deep penetration requirements. Deep bunkers and command and

 

control facilities represent strategic type target sets whose destruction will require deep

 

target penetrators. Tactical target sets, requiring less penetration, may require tactical

 

blast-penetrator weapons such as the AGM-65E (Laser Maverick).

 

The function that the urban area serves may have a major effect on the amount of

 

force that the political leaders will allow the military force to expend. An urban area's

 

function may be political (such as being the seat of government), an industrial facility or

 

port, or it may be a religious or cultural center. An urban area's function may limit an

 

attacking military's fire-support options. During the battle for Hue City (Tet 1968),

 

artillery and close air support (CAS) "was not allowed out of fear that this historic and

 

symbolic city would be damaged beyond repair."25

 

Population and size classify an urban area into one of four general categories:

 

large cities, towns, villages, and strips. Large cities have populations in excess of 100,000

 

and can cover more than 100 square miles. Towns (small cities) have populations between

 

3,000 and 100,000 and are not a portion of a large city. Villages have a population of less

 

than 3,000 people surrounded by rural areas. Strip areas are the urbanized terrain along

 

roads that connect villages and towns.26 The military and political risks will increase in any

 

urban combat operation as the size and population of the urban area increases. Collateral

 

damage, non-combatant casualties, friendly infantry attrition, and negative media coverage

 

will directly correlate to the size of the urban area.

 

 

 

The Nature of Urban Combat

 

 

The traditional United States military strategy and doctrine call for avoiding urban

 

areas for many factors such as:

 

1. Intensive manpower requirements.

 

2. Slowing the tempo of maneuvering forces (i.e., an obstacle).

 

3. Level of difficulty in conducting operations in urban terrain.

 

4. Desire to minimize non-combatant casualties and damage to population centers.

 

5. Lack of detailed pre-conflict intelligence for urban centers.

 

6. Uncertainties regarding behaviors of indigenous population elements.

 

7. Impact of conflict upon the political, ethnic, religious, and economic elements.

 

8. Ability to control urban centers without entering (surround and quarantine).27

 

Western nations that currently field large conventional armies (United States,

 

Russia, United Kingdom, France) stress the need to avoid urban warfare because the urban

 

terrain is not conducive to maneuver. Additionally, urban terrain's man-made and natural

 

obstacles hinder mobility, command, control, communication, and most importantly,

 

supporting fires.

 

Urban areas tend to favor the defender. The urban battles fought in Beirut,

 

Mogadishu, and Grozny attest to the fact that urban terrain provides the defender with a

 

force multiplier. Given the doctrinal aversion to urban combat, a competent defender will

 

do everything in his power to draw the fight into the city. Ramzan Maltsegov, a Chechan

 

fighter in Grozny, stated that; "We were very happy they [the Russians] came into the city,

 

because we cannot fight them in an open field."28 Once in urban terrain, the defender has a

 

much better opportunity to control the tempo of operations. The defender accomplishes

 

this by creating an operational and moral dilemma for the attacking force in terms of:

 

attrition, delay, discrimination, proportionality, and negative media coverage. If the third

 

world urban defender can control the clock until CNN shows up, his chances of winning a

 

political victory increase exponentially.

 

"The very nature of urban warfare requires decentralized control of assets due to

 

degraded communications, limited fields of fire, and reduced mobility."29 Decentralized

 

control allows small unit leaders and individual ground and aviation combat elements to

 

use their imagination, initiative and training to seize or defend a specific urban objective.

 

This is not to imply that integration of supporting arms is no longer critical. The

 

integration of supporting arms remains paramount in an urban environment. Battle plans

 

and orders need sufficient detail so that even small unit leaders understand the objective

 

and the intent of the commander. However, plans must be sufficiently flexible so that

 

subordinate leaders can quickly take the initiative under rapidly changing situations.

 

Major General Carl Ernst USA (JTF Somalia Commander) stated that "urban combat

 

operations require detailed planning. The planners will identify fire support needs through

 

analyzing the mission and its branches and sequels. The commander can approve the

 

fire-support assets for the operation based on the its potential requirements."30 This

 

pre-approval of the fire-support plan allows greater flexibility and subordinate initiative at

 

the tactical level.

 

Considerations such as collateral damage worries, ROE compliance, and

 

immobility may limit the utility of artillery fire-support in an urban environment. The

 

dynamic nature of urban terrain and its associated combat in conjunction with strict

 

gun-target-line restrictions (to minimize problems associated with long and short rounds)

 

requires a more flexible fire-support system. This is not to say that artillery systems have

 

no utility in an urban environment. Poor weather conditions or a degrading tactical

 

situation may require these fires.

 

The defender will use mutually supporting strong-points throughout his urban

 

defense in depth. He will attempt to break up the attacking unit's cohesion and isolate

 

individual elements for annihilation. The random layout, proximity, and robust

 

construction techniques of older third world cities will create a formidable defensive

 

position. This urban terrain many times will deny mutual support between attacking

 

ground units.

 

One of the age old characteristics of urban combat is the presence of snipers.

 

According to the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-One (MAWTS-1)

 

MOUT handbook:

 

A trained sniper is not only an extremely lethal weapons system, but also an

effective psychological one. Properly employed snipers will disrupt command

and control, slow armored advance, and attrite assault support assets. Snipers

have the ability to infiltrate any part of an urban area with relative ease....During

the battle for Stalingrad, the 62nd Russian Army had 400 snipers who collectively

killed over 6000 Germans. During the battle for Seoul in 1950, over 30 percent

of the United Nations' casualties were caused by snipers.31

 

For offensive ground combat operations in urban terrain there are two types of

 

attack: deliberate and hasty. The operational commander will initiate a deliberate attack if

 

the attack of the urban area is unavoidable. The three phases of a deliberate attack are:

 

isolation of the battlefield, assault, and clearing.32

 

The isolation of the urban area will cut off or control the lines of communication

 

into the objective area. If possible, the objective will be to deny the urban defender any

 

logistics resupply; Additionally, we must isolate the urban battlefield to deny the urban

 

defender the ability to evacuate or introduce refugees. Aviation attack assets will play an

 

important role in this effort. The goal of the isolation phase is to isolate and fix the enemy

 

forces.

 

After the attacking force isolates the urban battlefield, a combined-arms assault

 

phase will commence. The nature of the urban terrain will probably require a dismounted

 

infantry attack to find and fix the defender. On-call supporting arms will provide a means

 

to destroy any strong-point if required. The defender will do everything in his power to

 

strip the infantry from the armor assets. It will be his goal to isolate the armor where he

 

can ambush and annihilate them. A coordinated attack is essential and air power will play

 

a key role. Fixed and rotary-wing attack assets armed with appropriate ordnance will be

 

major participants in supporting the GCE with fires.

 

The clearing operation is potentially the most costly in terms of attrition and public

 

support. This phase will involve initial detailed planning and coordination, followed by

 

decentralized, violent small unit actions. In the clearing operation, the GCE will

 

methodically clear small areas of the urban objective requiring timely and accurate fire

 

support. The CAS targets may be extremely close in this phase of the fighting. With our

 

current fixed-wing OAS weapons inventory, the GCE may need to pull back before calling

 

for fire.

 

When the element of surprise offers substantial benefit to the GCE, the

 

commander may opt for a hasty attack. This does not release the participants from the

 

responsibility of having a solid combined-arms game-plan before commencing the attack.

 

It is in the hasty attack where a force's competency and training will show: good or bad.

 

In the hasty attack the attacking force will use pre-planned missions to get the air on

 

station over the objective area. OAS assets can assist with CAS if required. Additionally,

 

they can also provide armed-reconnaissance missions to attempt to isolate the objective

 

area and provide cuing to enemy or non-combatant activity entering the objective area.

 

 

Summary

 

The urban battlefield presents enormous problems for the attacking force. Current

 

doctrine stresses the need to avoid urban combat if at all possible. The United States

 

military has not rained or procured adequately for an urban combat environment.

 

Unfortunately, our opponents realize our weakness in this type of warfare and will

 

intentionally force an urban confrontation. The GCE may or may not require fire support

 

to achieve its objective in an urban environment. The commander is responsible to ensure

 

that the GCE has access to fire support if it needs it. The unique terrain associated with

 

an urban environment presents major problems for indirect fire-support, but is well suited

 

to attack aviation. If the GCE needs this type of fire-support, do we currently train and

 

equip our OAS force to provide it?

 

Even if the United States trains and equips its force to conduct urban OAS

 

operations, it must account for the additional strain on public opinion and support. A

 

negative media representation of the urban effort will quickly seed doubt in the mind's of

 

our allies and the American people. This negative media representation can dwarf the

 

tactical complexities associated with urban combat operations if the military does not

 

follow the precepts of just war theory.

 

 

CHAPTER 3

 

The Law of War and Public Opinion

 

 

We have learned at considerable expense that when a nation endeavors to make

war nice, or accepts limitations on the use of force beyond those required by war

treaties, it does so at its own peril.

 

- COL Hays W. Parks (Retired USMC Lawyer)33

 

 

The purpose of this chapter is to identity the constraints imposed by the people of

 

the United States on the use of urban OAS. The law of war concerning the use of OAS in

 

urban warfare, is nebulous at best. Each nation has signed different conventions that

 

supposedly act as guides for conduct in war. Historically, it seems as though the more

 

powerful force will abide by the law of war as they see it, and the weaker force will

 

disregard the law of war in an attempt to survive. Instead of a long discourse on the

 

intricacies of the law of war, this chapter will define the limits on the use of air power in

 

urban areas in terms of the just war concepts of discrimination and proportionality.

 

Given these concepts, this chapter will attempt to derive requirements for an urban OAS

 

effort.

 

The law of war reflects an attempt by nations to establish certain minimum

 

standards of conduct that will protect innocent persons from intentional or incidental

 

injury to the greatest extent possible.34 The military use of air power has been subject to

 

legal regulation since the First Hague Peace Conference in 1899. In that conference,

 

European diplomats tried to limit the military attack potential of the hot air balloon. The

 

law of air warfare has evolved steadily since 1899 due to rapid changes in technology and

 

capability. Obedience to the laws of war will present immense challenges to urban

 

attacker and defender alike. The attacking force will use its advantage in air power to

 

impose its will on the defender. The defender will do everything in its power to deny the

 

advantage of air power to the attacker. Intentional violations of the law of war were

 

common in previous conflicts to achieve or deny victory. The foundations for our current

 

law of war reside in the just war principles of: jus ad bellum (justification for use of force)

 

and jus in bello (the restraints and limits on use of force).

 

Jus ad Bellum

 

 

The United States national leadership will decide whether the resort to armed

 

conflict is just. For the purposes of this paper, we will assume that the resort to arms is

 

just and that the national leadership is providing proper guidance to the military leaders in

 

the field. The national leadership is responsible to ensure that the resort to arms and the

 

force applied to achieve victory will serve the national interest and secure the future peace.

 

Jus in Belio

 

The major tenets of jus in bello theory are discrimination and proportionality.

 

These two concepts and their impact on public opinion will constitute the remainder of the

 

chapter.

 

Discrimination

 

The just war concept of discrimination means that the belligerent parties will make

 

every effort to distinguish between military targets and civilian objects. The principle of

 

discrimination prohibits intentional air attacks on non-combatants or non-military objects.35

 

OAS efforts in urban terrain will need: accurate targeting, precision weapons, and realistic

 

training to discriminate successfully between military and civilian targets. On paper the

 

rules appear simple enough, but in war nothing is simple. In war (to include operations

 

other than war) the old fighter pilot's adage of "if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying"

 

seems to be the rule instead of the exception. In war, the weaker belligerent does not

 

want to lose and will do everything possible (including violating the law of war) to

 

magnify the difficulties associated with discrimination.

 

The first task in the effort to discriminate in urban combat is deciding who is a

 

combatant and who in a non-combatant. The Geneva Convention of 1949 states that

 

persons are civilians if they do not belong to any of the following categories:

 

1. Prisoners of war

 

2. Members of the armed forces

 

3. Members of militia and resistance movements

 

4. Inhabitants of a non-occupied country who take up arms on the approach of an

attacking force.36

 

Additionally, any civilian or structure that produces services or warfighting equipment for

 

the fighting force is a valid military target. In conventional rural warfare discrimination

 

can be problematic. Once the fight enters the urban area, successful discrimination

 

becomes more difficult. If our opponent chooses to fight in the urban area as a guerrilla

 

or non-uniformed militia, discrimination is incredibly difficult. Targeting a militia

 

anti-tank team located in an rowhouse surrounded by non-combatant housing makes

 

discrimination much more difficult.

 

If the attacking force has difficulties in distinguishing between combatants and

 

non-combatants and military targets and civilian objects in an urban terrain, will it be able

 

to employ its fires? If the attacking force employs its fires and kills non-combatants, is it

 

culpable? The law of war accounts for this dilemma by placing the responsibility with the

 

defender to remove the non-combatants from its defensive area.

 

 

A party to a conflict which places its own civilians in positions of danger by

failing to carry out the separation of military activities from civilian activities

necessarily accepts, under international law, the results of otherwise lawful

attacks upon valid military objectives in their country.37

 

 

The history of urban warfare demonstrates that the defender will attempt to deny

 

the attacker the ability to employ offensive air support (OAS) by mixing his fighters

 

among the non-combatants and using civilian structures. While this practice is illegal

 

under the law of war, recent combat experiences show that the court of world opinion will

 

judge the attacker guilty of attacking civilians. Is current world opinion condemning the

 

Chechan fighters for using residential areas for anti-tank ambushes which result in massive

 

Russian retaliation?

 

When the Israelis invaded Lebanon in 1982, the Palestine Liberation Organization

 

(PLO) military leadership immediately shifted its defensive positions into Lebanese towns

 

and villages. The PLO emplaced its artillery and anti-aircraft weapons on top of or next to

 

hospitals, schools, churches, or mosques.38 Additionally, the PLO moved equipment and

 

forces to the lower floors of high-rise apartment buildings, while forcing the civilian

 

tenants of those buildings to remain in the upper floors.39 The PLO did this for the

 

following reasons: to shield itself from attack, and to negate the firepower advantage

 

enjoyed by the Israelis. Additionally, if the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) failed to restrain

 

its fires, its tactics would turn world opinion against the operation because the IDF was

 

attacking civilian targets. As the PLO predicted, the international press denounced the

 

IAF urban air attacks even though it was the PLO that was violating the law of war.

 

Air defense activities may impact the ability of the attacker to discriminate. If the

 

defender launches a surface-to-air missile (SAM) at an attacking aircraft, the pilot will

 

have to take evasive action to defeat the threat. If during his defensive maneuvering he

 

has to jettison his bombs, they will very likely not hit the intended target. In this case the

 

defender is culpable for the non-combatant casualties and collateral damage created by the

 

jettisoned bombs because he denied the attacker the ability to discriminate. During the

 

Gulf War, Iraqi air defense systems hit, and disabled, a cruise missile. The stricken missile

 

veered off course and impacted a civilian structure. In this case, the Iraqis were

 

responsible for the errant impact according to the law of war.

 

The international media will very likely not report that the defenders were at fault

 

for an errant bomb, or cruise missile impact, caused by threat defenses. For this reason the

 

commander may have to establish additional restrictions (ROE) on his forces to minimize

 

the potential for this type of media manipulation. During the Gulf War, the joint force air

 

component commander (JFACC) decided to restrict the F-16s from strike missions near

 

Baghdad. The JFACC introduced this restriction out of the fear that a pilot may jettison

 

bombs indiscriminately while avoiding an Iraqi SAM.40 Even though the pilot's actions

 

would have been legal within the law of war, the mere fear of negative public opinion

 

generated by media reports negated the value of the F-16 contribution to the strategic

 

effort.

 

Proportionality

 

The concept of proportionality essentially means that the application of combat

 

power, and resulting destruction of life and property, should not be disproportionate to

 

the military or political advantage gained.41 Destroying an entire city block to kill a sniper

 

is disproportionate. The national and military leadership must balance this concept with

 

the tactical requirements for success. One of a commander's primary responsibilities is the

 

protection of his force. While a military commander should exercise care to minimize

 

collateral civilian casualties and damage, he must also provide the fire support his forces

 

need to be successful (with minimal friendly casualties).

 

The concept of proportionality applied to tactical urban combat situations implies

 

the need for weapons that contain just enough explosive yield to achieve the desired target

 

effect. Excessive explosive yield weapons may create excessive non-combatant casualties

 

and collateral damage. The United Nations (UN) is currently applying this concept in

 

urban CAS operations in Bosnia. The current ROE limits the CAS platforms to weapons

 

that have an explosive yield of 500 pounds or less.42 If the force commander used

 

higher-yield weapons when lower-yield weapons were more appropriate (and available),

 

then he could be violating the concept of proportionality.

 

 

 

The Media and Public Opinion

 

Post-war history suggests that the media will report the disproportionate

 

application of force regardless of the actions of the defenders. The media can sway public

 

opinion against the application of overwhelming force, as in the reported wanton slaughter

 

of retreating uniformed Iraqi forces on the Basra road. Media misrepresentation can

 

quickly sway public opinion against the use of force even if it is legal with the law of war.

 

It seems as if the media is not necessarily misrepresenting the facts in reporting military

 

strikes on civilian targets, but rather it may not know what the law of war is. The

 

following two examples highlight the media's lack of understanding of the law of war.

 

During Desert Storm the United States Air Force (USAF) conducted a strategic air

 

operation against command and control facilities to isolate the Iraqi leadership. The Al

 

Fidros bunker was a command and control facility built for the Iraqi military and

 

considered a perfectly legitimate military target. Unknown to the coalition targeteers, the

 

Iraqis were using the facility as a protective shelter for women and children. When USAF

 

F-111s destroyed the bunker "the consequences quickly went well beyond the tragic loss

 

of life claimed by Iraqi officials. Using the magnifying glass of television to project around

 

the world the horror of women and children maimed and killed by coalition bombs, the

 

Iraqi leadership immediately exploited the situation to attempt to constrain the air

 

campaign through political pressure."43 The Iraqi leadership was successful in that all

 

future strikes in Baghdad required Commander in Chief(CINC) approval, further

 

constraining the strategic bombing effort.

 

The January 4, 1995, Washington Post contained a front page story titled "Russian

 

Jets Focus on Civilian Targets."44 This article went on to describe a Russian air attack on

 

a market place that sold assault weapons to the Chechan fighters. It also described

 

another air attack that caused a car loaded with grenades and bullets to explode. The

 

media reported these targets as civilian. In fact, both these targets were valid military

 

targets.

 

 

Summary

 

The law of war represents those limitations imposed on the waging of war by

 

international law and national policy. The law of war should not impede effective military

 

operations. The purpose of the law of war is to ensure that the use of force and violence

 

is not excessive, disproportionate, purposeless, or unnecessary. It attempts to protect

 

combatants and non-combatants alike. A combat action may be absolutely legal in terms

 

of international law and national policy, but it may be disproportionate in the eyes of the

 

American public. Additionally, the national leadership may restrict legal combat power in

 

an attempt to foster world opinion or to achieve a better peace after conflict resolution.

 

The law of war, and the theories of discrimination and proportionality serve as a moral

 

compass for the national leadership and the military in the conduct of combat operations.

 

CHAPTER 4

 

Urban Offensive Air Support: Evolution and Case Studies

 

 

From its baptism of fire in the First World War, attack aviation has evolved from a

 

strategic weapon (i.e., Gott Strafe England) to a weapon applied across the operational

 

spectrum. The study of 20th century conflict provides numerous examples of urban

 

ground combat involving the use of supporting attack aircraft. The purpose of this

 

chapter is to identify the recurring requirements and problem areas encountered in urban

 

OAS operations. To do this we will investigate some of the lessons learned from early

 

urban OAS efforts in World War I, the Spanish Civil War, World War II, Korea, and then

 

Vietnam. The problems encountered in the conduct of urban OAS in these conflicts

 

provide valuable insight into the nature of this type of combat. The second portion of the

 

chapter will deal with four urban OAS case studies reflecting recent developments in

 

tactics and technology. The case studies we will investigate are: Operation Peace for

 

Galilee, Desert Storm, Restore Hope, and the Russian invasion of Chechnya. These urban

 

OAS case studies all have three major characteristics in common: each involved military

 

conflicts with limited objectives, in each the defender violated the law of war in an attempt

 

to deny the attacker the use of OAS, and each involved instantaneous feedback from the

 

public through the mass-media. Throughout the chapter, I will attempt to extract lessons

 

learned that are applicable for future urban operations.

 

World War I

 

Then, on August 26 (1914), occurred the incident that shocked a naive world and

brought to brisk ferment the long simmering British dread of German dirigibles.

Antwerp, already badly damaged by an unremitting artillery siege, was bombed

from the air. Twelve civilians were killed, many more injured, and part of a

hospital damaged.

 

-The Great Air War45

 

The German Air Service targeted urban areas during the First World War to break

 

the will of its opponents. Kaiser Wilhelm directed that his air service only attack "docks,

 

shipyards, armories, and other prime military objectives." Unfortunately, the accuracy of

 

the weapons and delivery systems rendered this directive impossible. Although the urban

 

air attacks during the First World War were strategic strikes, they demonstrated the

 

problems associated with discrimination in air delivered weapons. The relatively untrained

 

aircrew when matched with bombs with poor ballistic accuracy made the discrimination

 

between military and civilian targets next to impossible.46

 

 

 

Post-World War I

 

Post-war theorists such as Giulio Douhet and Billy Mitchell wrote extensively on

 

the use of air power as a strategic weapon. Operational reality and fiscal constraints in the

 

post-war world brought forth another application of air power, tactical attack aviation.

 

Most notable in these efforts were the United States Marine Corps in the Banana Wars,

 

the Royal Air Force conducting air control in the Middle East, and the German Condor

 

Legion in the Spanish Civil War. Of these tactical efforts, only the Condor Legion's

 

involved extensive tactical air operations in urban environments.

 

The German Air Force conducted urban CAS operations during the battles of

 

Bilbao (1936) and Ebroin (1938). During these operations the Germans found that

 

coordinating their attacks was extremely difficult in an urban environment. Poor radios

 

limited air-to-ground communications, and the German pilots had difficulty in

 

discriminating between friend and foe. The Condor Legion made no attempt to achieve

 

proportionality in its air attacks, which created tremendous international outrage towards

 

the German effort. The Condor Legion did make progress in air-to-ground urban CAS

 

coordination in that it used panels, pyrotechnics, colored lights, and signaling mirrors to

 

assist the attack pilots in identifying targets and friendly positions.47 The German army

 

resorted to some of these techniques in Poland, France, and the Soviet Union during

 

World War II. More importantly, the Germans determined that OAS would be an integral

 

part of their future urban combat operations.

 

 

 

World War II

 

The Second World War involved extensive urban OAS. We will limit our

 

discussions to the urban OAS experiences in France (1944), Stalingrad (1942), Cassino

 

(1944), and Saipan (1944). The most extensive and notable urban OAS operations in the

 

Second World War occurred in the European Theater. The Second World War was a

 

total war, in which collateral damage and non-combatant casualties were secondary

 

concerns. Throughout this conflict, the Germans and the Allies developed innovative new

 

techniques in weapons delivery and control in urban environments. To counter these

 

advances, the defenders developed innovative tactics to deny the use of tactical air support

 

in these environments.

 

The Allies progressively improved their use of OAS throughout the European

 

campaign. The allies used fighter-bombers (P-47s, P-51s, and Typhoons) very effectively

 

in urban OAS during the Normandy break-out. Fighter-bombers would range in front of

 

advancing ground forces reporting enemy activity (armed reconnaissance) and attacking

 

them in coordination with ground controllers (CAS).48 The lack of concern for collateral

 

damage and non-combatant casualties reduced the requirement for precise target

 

discrimination and proportional weapons.49 This same lack of concern for proportionality

 

created tremendous problems for the advancing ground troops. The indiscriminate use of

 

high-explosive aviation ordnance rubbled the streets of the French towns delaying the

 

ground advance and creating excellent cover for German snipers. In this case, a more

 

proportional attack on the French towns may have assisted the ground advance.

 

The defending forces were also a source of innovation in urban operations. During

 

the battle for Stalingrad (1942-1943), the Soviets realized that the German forces relied

 

heavily on OAS for their urban assaults. To counter this, the Soviets generated new urban

 

ground combat tactics that forced the meeting engagements to occur at extremely close

 

ranges. These close range engagements cost the Soviets heavily in terms of casualties, but

 

the tactic denied the Germans the use of attack aviation out of fear that they would engage

 

their own troops. General Chuikov, the Soviet commander in Stalingrad stated:50

 

I came to the conclusion that the best method of fighting the Germans would be

close battle, applied day and night in different forms. We should get as close to

the enemy as possible so that his air force could not bomb our forward units....It

seemed to me that it was precisely here, in the fighting for the city, that it was

possible to force the enemy into close fighting and deprive him of his trump card

--his air force.

 

One of the most important lessons in urban OAS application occurred during the

 

assault on Cassino and Monte Cassino (6th century abbey and cultural landmark) during

 

February to May 1944. "Cassino was a well built city of strong stone buildings with the

 

four story abbey standing as a fortress above it."51 In this battle, air attack assets

 

conducted an extensive urban bombing raid that was uncoordinated with the ground

 

force's attack. The first attempt at taking Monte Cassino involved a massive air strike by

 

254 medium and heavy bombers dropping 576 tons of bombs on the abbey. At the

 

conclusion of the bombing, the ground forces were not ready to assault, nullifying the

 

effectiveness of the air support. The air strike reduced the abbey to a pile of rubble, but

 

the German defenders were able to move into the ruins and set up impregnable positions

 

among the shattered masonry.52 On March 15, the allies flew 1,000 bombing sorties

 

against the city of Cassino. When the bombers departed the area, the Allied troops began

 

their assault. The defenders made very good use of the "rubbled" terrain for fighting

 

positions and were able to beat back the allied attack, inflicting heavy casualties. The

 

rubble created by the bombing...

 

created a paradise for German snipers who grew overnight like weeds in different

parts of the rubble. The allies were clearly going to pay for their failure to

coordinate these air strikes with follow-up infantry forces.53

 

The Pacific theater operations rarely required urban OAS. One exception was the

 

assault on Saipan in 1944. Marine Corps attack aircraft attempted to provide urban CAS

 

with mixed results. After action reports noted that out of 76 attacks against urban targets,

 

only 17 were effective. The rugged construction of the urban targets highlighted the

 

deficiencies of the aviation ordnance in hard-target penetration. The Marines felt that

 

three factors reduced the effectiveness of the urban CAS: lack of precise targeting,

 

inappropriate ordnance, and poor weapons accuracy.54

 

The major lessons learned from World War II urban OAS concerned:

 

1. The need for proportionality in balancing the requirement to kill targets and to

minimize urban rubbling.

 

2. An urban defender can deny the attacker the use of OAS if the defender forces

the meeting engagement to take place inside the range that the pilot could

discriminate friend from foe.

 

3. Urban OAS requires ordnance appropriate for the urban target sets.

 

 

Korea

 

During the Korean War, major urban OAS operations took place in Seoul after the

 

Inchon landing. Prior to the ground assault, Marine attack aircraft conducted armed

 

reconnaissance and interdiction missions against North Korean Army targets in the city.

 

One of the results of these attacks was the rubbling of the urban terrain. According to

 

Colonel Robert Heinl (retired USMC historian):

 

As the infantry advanced on Seoul, deep air support strikes were conducted in,

and around, the city to attrite the enemy and prevent reinforcement. These strikes

contributed to the rubble in the city which hampered the infantry's advance in a

manner reminiscent of the Monte Cassino campaign of World War II.55

 

Marine Corsairs provided essential CAS to the assault troops once they entered Seoul.

 

Using tactics the Russians used during World War II, the North Korean defenders forced a

 

meeting engagement that was too close for the Marines to employ CAS. The rubbled

 

urban terrain provided excellent cover for snipers that accounted for 30 percent of the

 

casualties during the Seoul assault.56 The major lessons learned from the urban OAS effort

 

in Korea concerned proportional weapons that limited rubbling, and the need for pilots

 

and weapons that could discriminate friend from foe in very close meeting engagements.

 

 

 

Vietnam

 

The low-intensity conflict nature of the military objectives during the Vietnam War

 

limited the application of urban OAS. The major urban ground battle of the Vietnam War

 

occurred during Tet in 1968. The battle for Hue City started when two North Vietnamese

 

Army (NVA) battalions invaded and occupied the urban terrain on January 31, 1968. Hue

 

City consisted of old stone buildings and had a population of about 140,000 citizens. The

 

NVA "defensive positions were strongpoints several blocks apart. Each strongpoint was

 

normally a three story building surrounded by a courtyard with a stone fence."57 Since

 

Hue City was the historic capital of Vietnam, the military and political leadership of the

 

United States was reluctant to allow artillery and air support to the counter-attacking

 

Marines. As the tactical situation on the ground grew worse, the weather started to

 

deteriorate. Once the United States national leadership realized the gravity of the situation

 

and sanctioned the necessary fire-support, the weather and tactical situation limited the

 

opportunities for effective OAS. The Marines resorted to artillery and mortar support but

 

found that the city's vertical obstructions reduced the effectiveness of these types of

 

fire-support. Additionally, the artillery support rubbled the urban terrain, inhibiting

 

friendly maneuver and creating sanctuaries for enemy snipers. "By February 13th the city

 

was a shambles -- nearly every building in the populous area was shattered by rockets,

 

mortars, or artillery."58 The battle became one of small units fighting through the rubble

 

with organic infantry weapons. When the weather was good enough for OAS, the tactical

 

situation limited its utility. According to LtCol. E.C. Cheatham (CO 2Bn/5th Marines),

 

the NVA forced the meeting engagements at a range that was inside the CEP of the

 

fixed-wing aviation attack assets (250 feet). Additionally, the utility of attack helicopters

 

was minimal because the "NVA 12.7 machine guns probably would have defeated the

 

gunships."59

 

The major lesson confirmed concerning urban fire support from the Hue City battle

 

was that urban combat will reduce the capability of a force to employ its supporting arms.

 

Rubble stops tanks, and urban vertical structures mask artillery and mortar fire. The

 

weather, air defenses, target identification problems, poor communications, ordnance

 

inaccuracy, and fear of excessive collateral damage reduced the effectiveness of CAS. The

 

Marines still felt, even given these deficiencies, that the ground combat element (GCE)

 

needed CAS in an urban battle.60

 

1914 to 1968

 

Summary

 

With each new conflict in the 20th century, the belligerents found new ways to

 

employ air power in urban environments. Belligerents sometimes incorporated the lessons

 

learned from previous combat and other times had to re-learn the same lessons over again.

 

Analyses of urban OAS efforts from the Second World War through Hue City highlight

 

several recurring problem areas. First, excessive rubbling of the urban environment will

 

lead to problems for the attacking ground forces (Cassino, Stalingrad, Saipan, Seoul,

 

Hue). Second, the pilot and ordnance must be able to discriminate between opposing

 

forces (Stralingrad, Seoul, Hue). Third, the verticality of urban terrain will reduce the

 

effectiveness of indirect fire assets (artillery and mortars) but will not affect the air

 

delivered weapons. Lastly, in every conflict the weaker power forced the stronger power

 

to conduct urban combat operations even though its doctrine called for its avoidance.

 

These historical examples provide valuable insight into the problems encountered

 

by forces attempting to conduct urban OAS. World War I's, II's and Korea's belligerents

 

did not worry about the problems associated with excessive collateral damage and

 

non-combatant casualties. The United States military does not have that luxury anymore.

 

Therefore, more detailed analysis of urban combat where these factors were (or should

 

have been) key concerns is necessary.

 

 

Case Studies

 

For the purposes of this paper, I chose four examples of urban combat that utilized

 

attack aviation. Each OAS effort had to deal with collateral damage and non-combatant

 

restrictions for political and tactical reasons. In each example we will discuss:

 

1. The nature of the conflict and the associated urban terrain.

 

2. The requirements for effective OAS and how the attacking force met them.61

 

3. The results and lessons learned.

 

 

Peace for Galilee (1982)

 

 

The 1982 war in Lebanon pitted the Israeli military machine against the military

 

forces of Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The Israeli goals in

 

Lebanon for this war were to:

 

1. Establish a 25 mile buffer-zone in southern Lebanon to eliminate the terrorist

haven for cross-border attacks.

 

2. Destroy the PLO as a military threat and political adversary.

 

3. Expel Syrian peacekeeping forces from Lebanon.

 

4. Stabilize the Lebanese political situation and promote an Israel friendly

government.

 

5. Improve Israel's ability to control the West Bank.62

 

 

The fighting in Lebanon took one of two forms for the Israelis. The first form

 

was the wide open combined-arms armor battle that the Israelis had trained and equipped

 

for following the lessons learned from the 1973 War. The second form took place along

 

the coastal line of advance, including urban combat operations in Tyre, Sidon, and Beirut.

 

The Israelis had not trained or equipped for the urban combat they encountered along the

 

coastal line of advance. The political failure resulting from the protracted urban

 

operations in the West dwarfed the brilliant success against Syrian forces in the East. For

 

our discussions we will limit ourselves to the western operations, specifically the

 

operations in the cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Beirut.

 

The urban terrain in Tyre and Sidon consisted of well-constructed stone or

 

concrete structures in a dense random development typical of older third world villages.

 

Beirut was a historic trade and cultural center that contained a mixture of high-rise,

 

industrial, close-orderly block, and dense random development. "Destroying the PLO

 

meant occupying or dominating Beirut -- the political and military center of PLO strength

 

in Lebanon..."63

 

The assault along the west coast of Lebanon was an infantry fight. The coastal line

 

of advance contained urban areas that favored defensive anti-armor ambushes. The major

 

operational error committed by the Israelis was that they initially committed their armor

 

and APCs before the infantry troops in close urban terrain.64 The PLO ambushed the

 

Israeli APCs and tanks in urban areas such as Tyre and Sidon, inflicting heavy casualties.

 

Israeli Defense Force (IDF) infantry should have spearheaded the assault, calling for

 

armored support as required by the tactical situation.

 

 

 

Requirements for Effective OAS

 

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) established complete air superiority over the battlefield

 

early in the operation. IAF aircraft operated without prohibitive interference from Syrian

 

fighter aircraft throughout their urban OAS missions.

 

Israeli targeting efforts in Tyre, Sidon, and Beirut had difficulty throughout the

 

operation in separating PLO positions from the non-combatants. The Israelis dedicated

 

the majority of their UAV sorties (Tadiran Mastiff and IMI Scout65) in the East against the

 

higher threat Syrian forces. The IAF photo-reconnaissance assets were able to get

 

excellent imagery of the Syrian air defense and army locations, but they "lacked the

 

targeting and intelligence to precisely identify and characterize targets in urban

 

environments."66 The IAF was able to provide overhead imagery of the urban objective

 

areas to assist the ground commanders with navigation and coordination. Additionally,

 

even though the Israelis had infrared (IR), synthetic aperature radar (SAR), and

 

side-looking airborne radar (SLAR) sensors, they lacked the ability to integrate the

 

information for night targeting into the battlefield decision making system. As a result, the

 

IDF forces in the West fought blind in their protracted urban advance.

 

Target marking for CAS missions required unique solutions in an urban

 

environment. The Israeli forward air controllers (FACs) marked enemy targets with

 

colored smoke during day operations and spot-lights at night. Since collateral damage

 

was a concern for the CAS strikes, the aircraft carried a mix of live and inert ordnance.

 

The pilot first dropped a practice bomb. From the practice-bomb impact, the FAC

 

confirmed that the pilot had the right target and allowed the live ordnance delivery, or

 

provided a correction for the pilot.

 

The Israeli command and control system grew progressively more responsive as

 

the fight moved into Beirut. To limit command and control problems in urban

 

environments, the IDF placed wire lines in sewer and around telephone poles. It used

 

UAVs for radio relay, and placed flags on top of buildings to mark friendly positions.67

 

Intelligence elements of the battle staff coordinated the pre-planned CAS missions. The

 

ground units needing the support forwarded the immediate requests for CAS. In spite of

 

these techniques, the IDF complained about excessive response times for CAS.68

 

The intent of the ROE for OAS operations in Lebanon was to limit collateral

 

damage, non-combatant casualties, and international condemnation. The ROE the Israeli

 

pilots operated under in Lebanon's urban areas was:

 

1. The pilots had to have highly detailed urban target maps to distinguish

military objectives from civilian objects and other protected property.

 

2. Pilots and FACs had to positively verity all objects as military targets prior to

any attack. A FAC had to mark each target to verify it.

 

3. If the CAS aircraft lost its bomb-aiming equipment, the pilot had to abort the

mission.

 

4. Attack aircraft had to deliver a single bomb per attack, at the minimum

possible safe altitude, under visual conditions (no radar bombing).

 

5. The pilots were to make absolute maximum use of precision guided munitions

(PGMs)69 and bombs no bigger than the MK-82 (500 pounds) for CAS

operations.

 

The IDF divided Beirut into two sectors. The ROE limited IAF bombing

 

operations North of Corniche due to concern over collateral damage and civilian

 

casualties. The ROE South of Corniche required less discrimination from the IAF. High

 

casualties in Tyre and Sidon convinced the IDF that they did not want to conduct a house

 

to house fight in Beirut. Therefore, they isolated the portions of the city that they felt

 

were mainly PLO and gradually intensified the artillery, air, and naval gun-fire

 

bombardment.70

 

The enemy air defenses that the IAF had to deal with over the urban target areas

 

were generally low-threat for fixed-wing aircraft and medium-threat for rotary-wing

 

aircraft. The PLO air-defense systems consisted of SA-7s, ZSU 23-4s, and other AAA

 

systems.71 The-fixed-wing aircraft could avoid the threat by remaining above a certain

 

minimum altitude and dispensing decoy flares during target attacks. The rotary-wing

 

aircraft could use IR jammers or decoy flares to deny the IR missile threat but needed to

 

avoid the threat area for the AAA.

 

The IAF employed both lethal and non-lethal weapons during Operation Peace for

 

Galilee. The non-combatants in Tyre, Sidon, and Beirut greatly outnumbered the PLO

 

fighters. One of the IDF's goals was to separate the civilians from the PLO fighters. To

 

accomplish this the first phase of each urban attack was a psychological operation aimed at

 

the non-combatants. Through leaflet drops and loud-speakers72 the IDF warned that the

 

IAF would bomb the area and that the non-combatants should vacate the area

 

immediately. The IDF encouraged people to leave the urban areas and left open multiple

escape routes.73

 

The purpose of the lethal weapons the IAF had at its disposal was to fight the type

 

of conflict they experienced in the 1973 War. That conflict convinced the IDF that it

 

needed ordnance such as the AGM-65A Maverick, Cluster Bomb, Walleye Glide Bomb,

 

TOW, and HARM missile to attrite large, SAM-protected, armor forces in open terrain.

 

These weapons had very little applicability in Tyre, Sidon, and Beirut in 1982.

 

Throughout the conflict, ground forces used OAS when they could not bring tank

 

or artillery fire to bear on the enemy.74 The urban terrain provided the PLO fighters

 

excellent cover and concealment, hoping that it would force the IAF to limit its attacks in

 

order to minimize civilian casualties. The IAF had to resort to using MK-82 (general

 

purpose) bombs in urban operations for several reasons:

 

1. The IAF's AGM-65A TV Mavericks displayed poor accuracy and target effect

in urban environments. The TV seeker would break lock in urban clutter forcing

the missile to miss the target. The AGM-65A's shaped-charge warhead had

minimal effect on urban structures.

 

2. The shaped-charge kill mechanism of the cluster munition bomblet had a poor

effect on targets in urban areas. Additionally, the IDF was concerned that

unexploded cluster munition bomblets could cause friendly casualties during an

assault.75

 

3. The IAF felt that the TOW was vulnerable to hostile countermeasures76 and

was only good against armor targets due to its shaped-charge warhead.

 

 

The anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) threat forced the IDF to keep the Merkava

 

tank out of heavy combat in Beirut, increasing the reliance on fixed-wing CAS. As a

 

result of these factors, the IAF used the MK-82 general purpose extensively in all urban

 

environments. This is a free-fall bomb and is only as precise as the delivery platform and

 

the targeting information.

 

 

The IAF and IDF experienced serious problems in executing combined

operations in urban and built-up areas where there were large numbers of

civilians. Throughout the war the IAF was called upon to attack small bands of

PLO or Syrian troops who were fighting in close proximity to IDF troops and

Lebanese civilians.... Accurate targeting and delivery were often impossible and

fratricide and civilian casualties resulted.... IAF pilots either hit civilian targets or

refused to drop their bombs because they had no way to distinguish ground

targets.77

 

 

 

The IAF's lack of low-yield precision weapons generated higher non-combatant

 

casualties than necessary.78 Compounding the IDF's problem, the international media

 

reported large civilian casualties in IAF urban bombing raids. The negative publicity

 

generated by a large strike on August 12, 1982, caused the Israeli cabinet to rescind the

 

military's authority to conduct bombing operations without prior cabinet approval.79 This

 

further restricted the commander's tactical options in the field.

 

The IAF's attack platforms consisted of A-4 Skyhawks, C-2 Kfirs, F-4 Phantoms,

 

and AH-1 Cobras. These platforms could deliver air to ground ordnance during daylight

 

conditions with fair accuracy by 1982 standards. The IDF regular forces trained in

 

MOUT for 10 years prior to Peace for Galilee. They integrated infantry, armor, artillery,

 

and engineers, but failed to include OAS assets. When the ATGM threat reduced the

 

survivability and usefulness of the Merkava tank in urban environments, the IDF called on

 

CAS to fill the void. The Israeli pilots are some of the best in the world, but they had not

 

trained to the urban standard, and their ineffectiveness highlighted this deficiency.

 

 

 

Lessons Learned

 

The lessons learned by the IDF in Lebanon's urban OAS operations were:

 

 

1. Planning for urban operations requires great detail and will involve a combined

arms approach.80

 

2. To be successful in future urban combat situations, aircrew training must adapt

at every level, from private to commander, to stress realism, operational

challenges, battlefield initiative and innovation.

 

3. The IDF relied excessively on firepower, at the expense of more

innovative solutions to tactical problems (i.e., large scale use of artillery barrages

in urban environments vice low-yield precision weapons).81

 

4. Low-precision weapons are not suitable in urban environments where

non-combatant discrimination is a priority.

 

5. Tactical urban operations deserve a priority in the allocation of overhead

RSTA assets. The high probability of tactical set-backs and ambushes require

overhead information at the tactical level.

 

6. Favorable media coverage is essential in urban operations. The military can

shape the effects of media coverage by steadfast ROE compliance, appropriate

weapons, and media education and training.

 

7. The military must employ its force in a proportional and discriminate manner

to retain the support of its people in a limited war.82

 

 

 

A major premise of Israeli strategic doctrine is that the effects of war are judged

by their impact not only on the battlefield, but on Israeli society.

 

 

 

Operation Desert Storm (199O-1991)

 

 

During Desert Storm ground combat operations in urban environments were

 

relatively rare. USMC AH-1Ws and AV-8Bs provided urban CAS during the Iraqi attack

 

at Khafji.83 Once the ground campaign started, the sparsely populated desert terrain

 

permitted a ground scheme of maneuver that did not have to deal with significant urban

 

combat. The terrain was perfect for the air-land battle that the NATO forces had been

 

training to for over ten years. Additionally, this air-land battle did not have to contend

 

with towns and trees as it did in a European scenario. What Desert Storm did provide was

 

an excellent example of precision urban interdiction by air power in the Iraqi capital,

 

Baghdad.

 

Although, the strategic air strikes flown against Baghdad were not in direct

 

support of a ground assault, they must receive attention in this paper for the following

 

reason. The outstanding capabilities in accuracy displayed by the coalition air forces, and

 

then televised to the world, changed the level of expectation for future conflict. Our

 

future urban OAS missions must display the same level of discrimination that the public

 

witnessed during Desert Storm.

 

The United States and its coalition allies conducted combat operations to achieve

 

limited objectives in Desert Storm. The coalition goals were to expel Saddam Hussein's

 

military from Kuwait, to restore the Kuwaiti government, and to weaken the military

 

potential of the Iraqi armed forces. The objectives did not include the occupation of Iraq,

 

the devastation of the Iraqi people, or the destruction Iraq's future economic viability.

 

The coalition decided to employ strategic air strikes against targets inside Baghdad to

 

destroy the command and control capability of the Iraqi leadership. The coalition wanted

 

to "exploit air powers reach and lethality to achieve operational and strategic objectives...

 

by striking key elements of the enemy's society, will, or overall national power."84

 

Baghdad served as the political, cultural, and religious capital of Iraq. The urban

 

terrain in Baghdad contained a mix of development types. The older sections of Baghdad

 

contained dense random and close-orderly block development with the typical stone and

 

concrete construction. Iraq was a major oil producer and, as a result, Baghdad's urban

 

terrain included modern high-rise and industrial development. The majority of the

 

coalition targets were in areas of high-rise and industrial development.

 

 

 

Requirements for Effective OAS

 

In the opening days of the air offensive in Iraq, the coalition quickly established air

 

supremacy. As a result, the Iraqi fighter threat was insignificant after the third day of

 

operations. Coalition air assets carried out a comprehensive attack on the Iraqi integrated

 

air-defense system (IADS). Coalition air attacked command and control centers, early

 

warning radars, and SAM sites early in the campaign. Coalition attack and electronic

 

warfare (EW) aircraft continually suppressed the SAM sites throughout the campaign.

 

Non-stealth strike packages would include a SEAD capability with jammer aircraft (EA-6B

 

and EF-111) and HARM and ALARM (anti-radiation missiles) shooters. The primary

 

missile threats in the skies over Baghdad were the SA-2, SA-3, and SA-6 missile systems.

 

Iraqi AAA was always present, forcing attack aircraft to remain at high altitude in the

 

target area. Coalition aircraft suffered minimal attrition from SA-2s and SA-3s over

 

Baghdad and still managed to accomplish their mission.

 

The strategic nature of the targets in Baghdad tied the command and control and

 

targeting effort directly to the national leadership. The United States national leadership

 

did not micro-manage the air war as President Johnson did during the Vietnam War. The

 

national leadership did exercise control over the targeting effort in that President Bush

 

approved the strategic target list generated by coalition planners before the air war started.

 

Additionally, the national leadership participated in the formulation of the ROE that

 

ensured that the strategic attack effort would not damage the cohesion of the coalition or

 

national prestige.

 

The national leadership informally articulated five formal restraints to serve as

 

guidance for the conduct of the strategic strikes.

 

 

1. The planners should plan the air strikes so that they minimize Iraqi

non-combatant casualties.

 

2. The strategic strikes should not damage Iraqi cultural and religious structures.

 

3. The planners and pilots must limit the damage to the Iraqi economy and

capacity for post-war recovery.

 

4. The coalition planners must protect the lives of any hostages to the maximum

extent possible.

 

5. The coalition will not use nuclear weapons.85

 

 

The coalition air planners used this guidance in the formulation of their target list and

 

strike plans. The national command authority was able to review and approve the target

 

list before the air war started. This centralized control was essential for the success of the

 

strategic air effort. The Secretary of Defense (SecDef) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

 

of Staff(CJCS) received briefings on: attack missions, target categories, munition effects,

 

and estimated collateral damage.86

 

The targeting effort was able to use the extensive international data base

 

concerning Baghdad's urban terrain. Overhead satellite imagery, national and international

 

intelligence, and contractor construction reports helped planners to create an accurate

 

picture of the targets in Baghdad. While the targeting effort was on the overall a

 

resounding success, there was one notable exception. The attack against the Al Firdos

 

bunker, a valid military target, created an international embarrassment for the national

 

leadership. USAF penetration bombs destroyed the bunker that Iraqi military officers

 

were using to protect their wives and children from air attack. According to the law of

 

war, the Iraqi government was culpable for the deaths of these non-combatants. The Iraqi

 

government should not have allowed non-combatants to use a military facility and still

 

expected them to enjoy immunity as civilians. Legal or not, the attack still generated

 

negative public opinion towards the United States.

 

The strategic strikes conducted in Baghdad used a variety of the following

 

precision guided and precision delivered weapons:

 

 

1. Tactical Land Attack Missile (TLAM) cruise missiles (blast and non-lethal

warheads)87

 

2. Paveway II and III series of LGB (both GP and penetration warheads):

GBU-16 (1,000lb), GBU-10 (2000lb), GBU-24 (2,000lb), GBU-27 (2,000lb for

F-117), and the GBU-28 (4,700lb deep penetrator)88

 

3. Extended-Range Data-Link (ERDL) Walleye glide bombs

 

4. Stand-off Land Attack Missiles (SLAM)

 

5. MK-83 and MK-84 General purpose bombs.89

 

 

The precision strike capabilities offered by coalition weapons were exceptional. The 282

 

US Navy TLAM strikes (180 in the first two days) demonstrated a very credible capability

 

throughout the campaign to strike strategic targets with precision.90 Additionally,

 

coalition air forces used deep-penetrator LGBs with a high degree of success. Some

 

analysts believe that the strategic bombing effort in Baghdad had little effect on the Iraqi

 

war effort.91 What is certain, however, is that the coalition hit the targets it wanted to. At

 

a minimum, the nightly CNN videos of precision weapons slamming into key government

 

buildings in the Iraqi capital had a psychological impact on Saddam Hussein and his

 

military.

 

Except for the TLAM strikes, the key to the-weapons' high precision was the high

 

capability of the manned delivery platforms. The LGBs required precise and steady laser

 

illumination for successful terminal guidance. Likewise, the Walleye and SLAM missiles

 

required highly capable delivery platforms to guide them successfully to the target.

 

Initially, strike aircraft such as F-15Es, F-16s, F/A-18s, A-6Es, and Tornados delivered

 

non-precision ordnance against targets on the city periphery as part of the strategic air

 

campaign. As the campaign progressed, senior Air Force officers decided that the risk of

 

collateral damage associated with employing systems without a laser self-designation

 

capability was too high.92 Additionally, the strategic target set required the use of deep-

 

target penetrators to achieve satisfactory results. As a result of this assessment, only the

 

F-117 and F-111 conducted strategic strikes in Baghdad.

 

Except for the TLAM cruise missile, inclement weather could interfere with the

 

precision guidance systems employed during Desert Storm. This interference could lead

 

to a significant miss distance, increasing the probability of non-combatant casualties and

 

excessive collateral damage. Inclement weather in the target area would force a mission

 

abort for these reasons.

 

The high standard of excellence demonstrated by the aircrew conducting the

 

strategic strikes confirmed the value of their extensive training. The most successful of

 

these were the F-117 aircrew that specifically trained to an urban scenario in peacetime.

 

Other attack communities will need to study the F-117 strategic urban strike training

 

programs and apply the appropriate techniques at the tactical and operational levels.

 

One training anomaly that could surface in future urban environments concerned

 

tactical PGM employment. Prior to the air campaign, the USAF attempted to identify the

 

numbers of F-16 sorties it would take to attrite Iraqi armor. The planners configured the

 

F-16s with AGM-65 Maverick missiles and fed this information into a planning computer.

 

The answer the planners received turned out to be inaccurate because, although the F-16

 

could carry the AGM-65, the pilots did not routinely train with it. As a result, the F-16

 

pilots had great difficulties in tactical Maverick employment and eventually resorted to

 

dropping MK-80 series general purpose bombs. During the conflict the F-16s flew only

 

130 Maverick missions, compared to 8,700 missions dropping "dumb bombs."93 The US

 

Marine Corps experience with PGMs was nearly identical to the USAF F-16s. The

 

Marine Corps AV-8Bs and F/A-18s could both carry variants of the Maverick missile, but

 

lack of pre-war training led to poor employment in combat. All attack aviators must know

 

the limitations of, and train with, the PGMs their platforms can carry to be effective in an

 

urban environment. Currently, the USMC fixed-wing squadrons expend less than 60

 

percent of their Maverick and GBU-10/16 annual training allocation.94

 

 

 

Lessons Learned

 

The national leadership, military planning, and tactical execution demonstrated

 

during the air attacks in Baghdad were exceptional. International viewers were able to

 

witness the successful employment of precision guided munitions throughout the air war.

 

The national leadership reviewed and approved the target lists and the general ROE,

 

allowing the military commanders in the field the ability to execute their missions as they

 

saw fit. While many debate the overall utility of Desert Storm's strategic air campaign, no

 

one disputes the accuracy of the weapons employed. This is not to say that there were no

 

shortcomings. A Rand Corporation study highlighted several cases of weather aborts, lack

 

of deep target penetration, and collateral damage from malfunctioning LGBs and cruise

 

missiles hit by AAA.95 Additionally, the American public and international viewers were

 

able to see on television the discrimination that the coalition was able to achieve in their

 

urban air attacks. They will definitely expect that same level of discrimination in the

 

future.

 

The major lessons learned from the urban strike efforts in Baghdad were:

 

 

1. Sound and reasonable ROE are crucial to successful urban strike operations.

 

2. RSTA efforts must be continuous. Targets identified pre-conflict require

pre-strike validation (Al Fidros bunker).

 

3. The media and international critics may not agree on the legitimacy of a target

if non-combatants become casualties (Al Fidros bunker).

 

4. The military should educate the media on measures taken to reduce

non-combatant casualties and collateral damage.

 

5. Non-precision weapons have little utility in urban environments.

 

6. Delivery platforms incapable of night-targeting and self-designation will have

little utility in urban environments.

 

7. Due to the success witnessed in Desert Storm, the international press and

public expect perfection in all urban precision strikes from now on.

 

 

An attack pilot who recently participated in urban CAS operations in Bosnia highlighted

 

the increased emphasis that the public and media place on precision bombing when he

 

stated; "This is a trial-by-television situation, and we cannot afford to make mistakes when

 

dropping live ordnance."96

 

Operation Restore Hope (1992-1993)

 

 

If we go into the vicinity of the Bakara Market there's no question we'll win the

gunfight. But we might lose the war.

 

- Major General William Garrison USA (Commander

of Task Force Ranger - September 1993)97

 

 

 

The United States' military operations in Mogadishu, Somalia ranged from

 

humanitarian assistance to high tempo urban combat. In 1992, a combination of intense

 

Ban fighting and famine created a condition where thousands of Somali citizens were

 

starving to death. The world humanitarian agencies provided food and medical assistance,

 

but the clans attacked the relief workers and pirated the food shipments before

 

distribution. The United Nations asked member nations to provide military forces order to

 

enforce the peace, protect the relief workers, and to ensure the security of the food

 

distribution.98 In response to this request, President Bush ordered United States military

 

forces to Somalia in December of 1992.

 

Multiple and redundant fire support assets protected the initial deployment of

 

Marines. Marine planners were not sure what the Somali clans might do and therefore

 

planned for the worst. Other than small clashes, the initial operations went very smoothly

 

until the United Nations took command of the humanitarian operation. One of the Somali

 

militia leaders, Mohammed Farah Aideed, considered the U.N. action a threat to his power

 

and began intensified combat operations against the U.N. forces. On June 5, 1993,

 

Aideed's Somali National Alliance (SNA) militia ambushed and killed twenty-four

 

Pakistani peacekeepers in downtown Mogadishu. Then on 8 August a

 

command-detonated land-mine killed four United States military policemen, prompting

 

President Clinton to order the deployment of Army Special Forces to Mogadishu to

 

capture Aideed.99 It was during this phase of military operations that the urban combat in

 

Mogadishu became most intense.100

 

The urban terrain in Mogadishu was typical of older third-world construction and

 

layout. The city had a normal population of 500,000 that swelled to 1,500,000 with

 

refugees. The city was a hybrid of industrial development near the port facility, and dense

 

random structures throughout the rest of the city. Buildings were rarely more than three

 

stories high, and street layout was mostly rectangular-block, with very narrow streets.101

 

The Joint Task Force's (JTF) mission was to protect the troops, support U.N.

 

operations, and to ensure that the lines of communication remain open and secure. During

 

the course of the operation, the JTF in Somalia included fire support assets such as

 

M1A1C tanks, M2A2/M3A1 armored personnel carriers, 155 mm artillery with

 

Copperhead (laser guided) ammunition, AC-130 gunships, AH-1 gunships, and OH-58

 

reconnaissance helicopters, AV-8Bs and a Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) equipped with

 

A-6Es, F/A-18s, and F-14s.102 If engaged, the force was to employ overwhelming,

 

precision combat power while attempting to minimize or avoid casualties.103

 

The urban combat in Mogadishu that developed in the summer of 1993 was mostly

 

an infantry fight taking place in the dense, randomly developed portion of town.

 

Mogadishu's urban terrain favored the defender, providing ample opportunities for ambush

 

followed by disengagement. Additionally, the urban area denied the attacker his

 

traditional means of mobility and firepower support. Ground combat operations ranged

 

from small arms exchanges to the Task Force Ranger combined-arms battle on 3 and 4

 

October 1993 that lasted 15 hours.

 

 

 

Requirements for Effective OAS

 

With no fighter threat to contend with, air superiority over Mogadishu was never a

 

factor. Additionally, inclement weather never hindered OAS operations during Restore

 

Hope. Overhead imagery from satellites and manned platforms provided the JTF with

 

excellent information on the urban terrain (Mogadishu - Enclosure 1). The JTF used this

 

imagery to update the 1:12,500 scale city maps (Mogadishu city map - Enclosures 2A-D).

 

The lack of buildings taller than three stories rendered the GPS information more accurate.

 

While the JTF had up to date representations of the urban terrain, its targeting effort

 

required much more than that. The nature of the conflict, and the urban terrain, called for

 

a reactive targeting process that exceeded the JTF capabilities. The decentralized nature

 

of the urban military operations required that the overhead imagery be provided real-time

 

to the tactical user. Whether conducting an escort operation or a complex raid, the fluidity

 

of the situation required low-level access to imagery. The 10th Mountain Division

 

after-action report stated that there was a strong need for real-time imagery that had an

 

on-site processing capability (possibly on assault unit helicopters). Highly technical RSTA

 

capabilities are important in operations other than war (OOTW) efforts but require equal

 

efforts in developing human intelligence (HUMINT). In Mogadishu a robust HUMINT

 

collection effort aided the targeting effort very successfully.

 

However, opponent countermeasures hindered the technical targeting efforts of the

 

JTF. The SNA's tactical commander, General Giumale received his military training from

 

the Soviets and Italians. He knew that, if his forces used electronic means to disseminate

 

information, then the Americans would be able to target his command and control

 

network. To counter this capability, he resorted to written orders and used messengers to

 

pass information. Additionally, Giumale gave the SNA mission type orders and a solid

 

commander's intent that allowed them to concentrate forces quickly for a decisive

 

engagement.

 

The command and control system facilitated the decentralized operations that the

 

JTF forces conducted. The ROE served to protect the force and ensure that any force

 

applied was appropriate for the situation. The ROE for military operations in Somalia

 

included the following dictums:

 

 

1. US Forces have the right to use force to defend themselves against attacks or

the threat of attack.

 

2. US Forces may return hostile fire effectively and promptly to stop a hostile act.

 

3. When attacked by unarmed hostile elements, mobs and/or rioters, U.S. forces,

should use the minimum force necessary under the circumstances and

proportional to the threat.

 

4. Remember: - The United States is not at war.

- Use minimum force to carry out the mission.

- Always be prepared to act in self-defense.104

 

 

The SNA also possessed a robust command and control capability. The SNA

 

divided south Mogadishu into eighteen military sectors, each with a duty officer on alert.

 

When an alert officer in one sector discovered JTF military activity, he alerted the others

 

indicating the position and vector of the threat.105 This crude system allowed the SNA to

 

minimize the chance for JTF surprise attacks and to mass forces if required.

 

Helicopter gunships were the primary delivery platforms for the OAS weapons

 

employed by the JTF. This ordnance included Hellfire and TOW anti-armor missiles, 2.75

 

inch rockets, 20 mm cannon, 5.56 mini-gun ammunition, and .50 caliber sniper

 

ammunition. When available, the AC-130s used guns and cannons very successfully in

 

night attacks. Problems with accuracy and discrimination forced the JTF commanders to

 

deny the use of 2.75 inch rockets in urban environments.106 The Hellfire and TOW

 

weapons worked well against vehicles in the open but had disappointing results when

 

employed against targets inside buildings. The majority of the target buildings had

 

concrete and wood construction, and provided good defensive positions. The

 

shaped-charge warheads created holes in the walls of the buildings but did not have the

 

desired effect on the target. "Five minutes after firing a TOW at the target building, the

 

snipers were back up and firing."107 Additionally, the lack of target damage evidence made

 

post-strike assessment more difficult. In one mission, attack helicopters employed over 70

 

TOW missiles against a building because they could not validate the destruction of the

target.108

 

The only air defenses the JTF aircraft had to contend with were small-arms fire and

 

rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). The hasty nature of the JTF offensive efforts made

 

SEAD efforts more difficult. Snipers and helicopter mini-guns could effectively deal with

 

SNA RPG gunners as long as they could detect them. The Task Force Ranger raid on

 

October 3, 1993, however, turned into a disaster after SNA forces were able to shoot

 

down two helicopters and damage two others by employing their RPGs in a barrage-fire

 

mode. It is virtually impossible to deny an opponent the ability to use these weapons

 

systems against low flying rotary-wing assets. The loss of the four support helicopters

 

denied the engaged ground forces desperately needed CAS. Unfortunately, the JIF had

 

sent the AC-130s back to the United States before the raid and did not request back-up

 

fixed-wing CAS assets. In any case, the raid was to be a daytime raid that would have

 

ruled out the use of the AC-130s for survivability reasons even if they were available. The

 

entire CAS plan revolved around the attack helicopters. The threat the SNA RPG gunners

 

posed would have been negligible to high-performance fixed-wing attack aircraft.

 

Concerning the utility of fixed-wing OAS in Mogadishu, LtCol John Keenan

 

USMC (Executive Officer of the 7th Marines during Restore Hope) felt that fixed-wing

 

platforms would have to have a precision guidance capability to be effective. He felt that

 

the explosive yield could not exceed that of a 500 pound bomb in order to meet

 

proportionality and collateral damage criteria. Additionally, the "tactical commander does

 

not want you to use a 2,000 pound bomb because the ruin will make good defensive

 

positions for the bad guys."109 LtCol Keenan stated that there is definitely a requirement

 

for fixed-wing OAS in urban environments because the threat to helicopters may prohibit

 

or limit their use in direct fire support missions. In response, following the Task Force

 

Ranger battle on 3 October 1993, the JTF trained extensively with carrier based A-6Es

 

armed with 500 pound LGBs.110

 

The JTF also used non-lethal, air delivered weapons during Restore Hope. JTF

 

aircraft dropped leaflets and conducted PSYOPS operations. AV-8Bs, A-6s, and F/A-18s

 

conducted high speed, low level runs over Mogadishu to intimidate the rival factions.

 

Additionally, BGen Emil Bedard USMC (CO of RLT 7) stated that the JTF developed a

 

plan to drop a non-fuzed (non-explosive) laser guided bomb into the SNA headquarters to

 

demonstrate our targeting efficiency and destruction capability.111

 

The platforms and sensors employed by the United States in Somalia varied in

 

their capability to precisely locate and engage urban targets. The USAF Special Forces

 

and the U.S. Army 160th Task Force operated the most advanced platforms. The AC-130

 

could provide accurate targeting and fires in a night, low-threat environment. The JTF did

 

not use the AC-130 in the daytime due to survivability concerns. The Task Force OH-58

 

helicopters were able to identify targets at long range through the use of long-range optics.

 

The AH-6s and MH-60s had excellent night targeting systems and laser designators

 

allowing day and night precision weapons employment.

 

None of the OAS assets operated by the JTF forces possessed an all-weather

 

attack capability. The OAS platforms that the USMC operated in Somalia were AH-1W

 

attack helicopters, UH-1N utility helicopters and AV-8Bs. The AH-1Ws did use cannon

 

and TOW effectively on targets in the open but, at the time of the initial assault, did not

 

have the night targeting system (FLIR and laser designator) installed. The UH-1Ns could

 

carry a mini-gun and 2.75 inch rockets (which due to accuracy problems saw little use).

 

The AV-8Bs, armed with 25mm cannon, conducted daytime long-range reconnaissance

 

and convoy escort missions along food supply routes but never fired any weapons.112 The

 

JTF did not use naval carrier aviation in urban attack missions.

 

The Rangers, the 160th Task Force, AC-130s, and the USMC helicopters trained

 

in urban combat situations prior to actual operations in Mogadishu. The combat

 

experience in Mogadishu highlighted the need for even more training by United States

 

forces. Other than the AC-130, the fixed-wing attack assets were untrained and

 

ill-equipped for urban OAS operations in a LIC environment.

 

 

Lessons Learned

 

The lessons learned by the military forces involved in urban combat operations

 

during Restore Hope were:

 

 

1. Hellfire and TOW were ineffective when used against hardened urban

structures.

 

2. Small arms and other ground attack weapons (RPGs) can create prohibitive

interference for attack helicopter missions in urban operations.

 

3. Even though OOTW evolutions involve limited military objectives, the

commander's primary duty is the protection of his force. The commander must

ensure that adequate firepower is available, the participants trained in its use, and

the ROE allow for its application if the conditions warrant.

 

4. The ROE will not allow the employment of current fixed-wing ordnance

weighing more than 500 pounds in an urban CAS evolution. The public and the

press will want to know why the military used a 2,000 pound bomb when a 500

pound bomb was available.

 

5. All aviation ordnance employed in an urban environment must be

precision guided (bombs and missiles) or directed (guns).

 

6. The tactical ground commanders need access to real-time, all-weather overhead

imagery during the course of their operations.

 

7. The possible threat to rotary-wing assets requires that fixed-wing attack assets

be able to conduct CAS in an urban environment. To do this, they must be

equipped (laser designator and night targeting system), armed (low-yield

precision weapons), and trained in urban CAS operations.

 

8. "The inability of supporting arms to effectively engage some urban targets may

also have a demoralizing effect."113

 

 

The Russian Invasion of Grozny (1994)

 

 

Incompetence mixed with brutality is a pitiful combination.

 

- Strategic Studies Institute's opinion of

Russia's Invasion of Chechnya (1995)"114

 

 

Chechyna, located in the Caucasus, declared its independence from Russia in 1991.

Five failed Russian-sponsored coups115 and three years of negotiations prompted Boris

 

Yeltsin to order the invasion of Chechnya. In November 1994, one month before the

 

Russian invasion of Chechnya, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev declared that,

 

"one regiment of paratroops would need just two hours to solve the whole issue."116

 

When the Russian military commenced their invasion of Chechnya, it believed that a

 

demonstration of overwhelming combat power would force the Chechans to capitulate

 

quickly. Unfortunately for the Russian forces, two factors combined to deny a quick,

 

painless victory. First, the Russian military failed to apply any of the appropriate lessons

 

learned from its urban combat experiences in Aghanistan. Second, the Chechan defenders

 

used the same urban defensive techniques that the Soviet army used in Stalingrad

 

(1942-1943) to exact a heavy military and political toll on the invaders. They sucked the

 

mechanized Russian invasion forces into protracted urban combat for which the Russians

 

were ill-equipped, ill-prepared, and totally ill-trained.

 

As of this writing (April 1995) the fighting in Chechnya is still underway. The

 

press coverage of Russia's first television war is providing an opportunity to examine

 

Russian urban combat techniques, specifically the use of attack aviation, and to question

 

just what we would have done in the same situation.

 

In appearance Grozny is a typical northern European city, with high-rise, industrial,

 

close-orderly block, dispersed-residential, and dense-random development. Grozny serves

 

as the political and cultural center of Chechnya and has a population of 400,000117.

 

According to LtGen Bernard Trainor USMC (Retired), the tactics the Russians

 

used in their assault on Grozny were atrocious. The Russians committed their tanks and

 

APCs ahead of the infantry to spearhead their assault. The Chechan fighters armed with

 

Russian made anti-tank missiles promptly destroyed the tanks and APCs in urban

 

ambushes. The Russians did not coordinate the use of attack aviation to assist infantry

 

assault, and they have been indiscriminate in the application of fires. The prohibitive threat

 

created by the anti-tank weapons and the lack of coordination between infantry and CAS

 

has led to over 5,000 Russian casualties in Grozny's streets. Additionally, the Russians

 

have lost over 350 tanks and APCs in the urban ambushes.118

 

To make sense of what the Russians are trying to do in Grozny, we should look to

 

what they tried in Afghanistan. Except for the Soviets' use of chemical weapons and high

 

altitude heavy bomber strikes against suspected Mujahideen villages, their tactics are

 

almost identical in Grozny. During the initial phase of fighting in Afghanistan, the

 

Russians committed armor units into urban areas without infantry or air support. The

 

Mujahideen quickly destroyed them. The Soviets responded to the armored failure with a

 

policy of "massive firepower and large scale air attacks to minimize Soviet casualties, and

 

on attacks on the Afghan people to compensate for an inability to target and destroy the

 

Mujahideen."119 This is essentially the policy they employed in Grozny with one notable

 

change. This change is the presence of the international media reporting Russian tactics

 

and failures for the world and the Russian people to witness. This is not the sort of fight

 

the Russians expected.

 

 

 

Requirements for Effective OAS

 

The Russian Air Force never encountered any interference from Chechan fighter

 

aircraft during the invasion, and therefore air superiority was not a factor. Russian

 

targeting has relied extensively on HUMINT and national intelligence agency archives

 

concerning Grozny and the government of General Dzhokar Dudayev. At the tactical

 

level, forward observers and reconnaissance troops observe their sectors of responsibility

 

and request air or artillery strikes. The success of the Russian targeting effort is highly

 

suspect due to the indiscriminate application of fires in the city (including non-combatant

 

residential areas). As one Chechan reported, "The planes send in cluster bombs, and other

 

bombs in a checkerboard pattern. But they can never find our positions, so they are forced

 

to bomb bazaars and cars and highways."120 At the tactical level there seemed to be no

 

real-time overhead tactical imagery support for ground forces. The Chechans consistently

 

lure the Russian ground forces into urban "fire sacks" with little warning of the impending

 

ambush.

 

The Russian command and control during the urban operations in Grozny were

 

totally dysfunctional at both the strategic and operational levels. The military initially

 

publicly refused to participate in combat operations in Chechnya. Once they commenced

 

military operations, they refused to obey Yeltsin's command to stop bombing Grozny.

 

The Russian military appears to be operating under a ROE that cannot serve the national

 

interest or facilitate post-conflict political resolution. At the tactical level, the assault

 

troops conducted uncoordinated attacks punctuated by Chechan ambushes that inflicted

 

heavy casualties. A Chechan fighter described the failed 31 December attack on Grozny,

 

where the "Russian troops were sent into the city without adequate maps, battle plans or

 

the means to communicate with reinforcements or superiors."121 The lack of integration

 

between air attack assets and ground troops negated the possibility of any effective CAS

 

during these ambushes.

 

In Grozny, the Russians applied urban OAS tactics that they learned in

 

Afghanistan. The Soviet Air Force lost 1,500 to 2,000 aircraft (mostly helicopters) in

 

Afghanistan to the Stinger IR (infra-red) SAM. This threat drove the Soviets to avoid

 

using attack helicopters in an IR SAM threat area. It shifted the attack mission

 

responsibility to the fixed-wing attack aircraft who used a medium-altitude sanctuary and

 

IR counter-measures during their attacks. The accuracy of their urban OAS fires in

 

Afghanistan never concerned the Soviets because they never integrated their fixed-wing

 

fires with urban ground offensives and probably did not care about non-combatant

 

casualties. Additionally, Afghanistan combat operations were off-limits to the Russian

 

media. The public outrage may have been tremendous if reporters televised the Russian

 

losses and collateral damage in Afghanistan. The combination of high-altitude attacks and

 

non-precision weapons led to a large CEP for their urban attacks, killing non-combatants

 

and creating tremendous collateral damage. The economic problems the Russian military

 

experienced after the end of the Afghanistan War hindered the procurement of many

 

PGMs. The Russian Air Force assumed that the Chechans had IR SAMs and applied the

 

tactics in Grozny that they learned in Afghanistan. As of this date, the Soviets have lost at

 

least one fixed-wing and numerous rotary-wing attack aircraft during the fighting in

 

Grozny.

 

As with the US forces in Mogadishu, the Russian Air Force primarily employed

 

weapons designed to counter NATO forces in a high-intensity land battle to the urban

 

targets in Grozny. Some of these weapons were useful in an urban environment but, for

 

tactical and political reasons, many were not. The Russians used two deep-target

 

penetrators (possibly KAB-1500L-Pr) in their successful attack122 against the Presidential

 

palace. The list of weapons that the Russians employed with less than satisfactory results

 

included: 1,100 pound (500 kilogram) general purpose bombs, 57 and 80mm unguided

 

rockets, cluster munitions, Green Parrot anti-personnel mines, FAE (fuel air explosive),

 

and AT-6 missiles. The Russian Air Force employed the general purpose bombs in a

 

wholly indiscriminate manner, creating excessive non-combatant casualties and collateral

 

damage. First, the rubbling created by these weapons have given the Chechans additional

 

cover for snipers and defensive positions. Second, the negative press the Russians

 

received as a result of the indiscriminate nature of their bombing attacks brought

 

additional pressure on the national leadership to control the military operation in

 

Chechnya. Third, the massive infrastructure damage caused by these non-precision,

 

high-yield bombs will cost the Russian government over 3.5 trillion Rubles ($800 million

 

dollars U.S.)123to rebuild Grozny post-conflict.

 

The public outrage over the bombing forced Boris Yeltsin to prohibit the Air Force

 

from using unguided bombs in Grozny, so it shifted to unguided rockets.124 The

 

inaccuracies of the observed 57 and 80mm rocket attacks had the same effect on the

 

non-combatants and the media. The international and Russian media instantly picked up

 

on the absurdity of the Russian response, further eroding confidence in military

 

competence.

 

The Russians learned in Afghanistan that cluster munitions and mines in urban

 

areas made little tactical sense, and very possibly, would incite non-combatants to become

 

combatants. The Russians got the same results with air delivered cluster munitions and

 

mines in Grozny. The Chechans are fighting in prepared defensive positions and the

 

cluster munitions and mines do not seem to have any effect on these positions, but have

 

produced casualties among the non-combatants. As expected, the press denounced the

 

Russians for using cluster munitions and mines in Grozny.

 

The platforms the Russians are using in Grozny are the same ones they used in the

 

Afghanistan War. The primary OAS platforms are the Su-25 Frogfoot, the Su-17 Fitter,

 

and to a lesser extent the Mi-24 Hind. The Su-25 is capable of employing precision

 

weapons, but there is little evidence that the Russians have.

 

A major factor in the conduct of OAS in Grozny is the weather. The fight for

 

Grozny is taking place during the winter season that typically brings low ceilings and fog.

 

Many reports of Russian air strikes mention that the attack aircraft appeared out of the

 

clouds just before weapon release or that the ground observers could only hear the jet

 

through overcast skies before the ordnance impacted. Weather conditions such as those

 

will make it very difficult to employ unguided as well as precision weapons. If the attack

 

pilot had to descend below the clouds to employ weapons, he entered the IR SAM

 

engagement envelope, reducing his effectiveness and accuracy. Additionally, like the

 

United States, the Russians do not have a weapon that they can accurately deploy through

 

inclement weather.

 

The training of the Russian military as a whole is highly suspect, but the Russian

 

Air Force training is notably bad. Economic problems have forced a cutback in flight

 

hours for training that evidently led to a reduced level of competency in normal ground

 

attack operations. Add in the complexities associated with urban OAS conducted in bad

 

weather, and the chance for success decreases exponentially.

 

Lessons Learned

 

The major lessons learned from the Russian's urban combat operations in Chechnya

 

are still unfolding. As of this point, the key lessons learned are:

 

 

1. To be successful in a ground assault of a city, you must integrate OAS fires

with your scheme of maneuver. Additionally, tanks and APCs should never fight

autonomously. The infantry should lead the attack supported by armor and air.

 

2. Ground forces need real-time overhead imagery at the tactical level to avoid

urban ambushes and to facilitate maneuver.

 

3. Urban combat operations will test the national leadership and will to the

maximum. To be successful the military force must have clear operational

objectives and ROE to guide their operations.

 

4. Winning the tactical and media battles for the moral high ground requires the

use of precision-guided, low-yield weapons. Indiscriminate application of

massed fires will create over-whelmingly negative public opinion.

 

5. An all-weather urban OAS capability is essential for future operations. The

enemy may take advantage of our weakness in all-weather discriminate attack

capability to deny the ground force OAS fires.

 

6. Urban combat, including OAS operations, requires the highest standard of

training to be successful.

Summary

 

The examples we investigated provided a few recurring themes throughout. The

 

GCE will need OAS fires if the urban defender decides to decisively engage them. The

 

defender can deny OAS to the attacker if he forces the fight inside the range that the OAS

 

platform can discriminate. Additionally, if the only OAS platform is attack helicopters, the

 

defender's use of low-technology air defense weapons can easily deny OAS for the

 

attacker. The OAS assets need to be able to discriminate between friend and foe. Once

 

the pilot discriminates, he must be able to deliver a weapon that achieves an appropriate

 

amount of damage to kill the target but minimize the collateral damage. If the OAS effort

 

does not discriminate and its weapons are inappropriate for an urban environment, the

 

resulting casualties and collateral damage will undermine the public's support. The case

 

studies provide valuable insight into the problems associated with urban OAS. The study

 

of these conflicts also identifies the potential solutions. Chapter five will identify the

 

solutions to the historical problem areas in urban OAS.

 

CHAPTER 5

 

Requirements for Effective Urban OAS

 

The next war is not going to be won by the side that possesses the better technical

array of systems, but by the side that best knows how to integrate them into its

overall conduct of war.

 

-The Future Battlefield and the Arab-Israeli Conflict125

 

 

Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron (MAWTS-1) maintains that in

 

order to conduct effective offensive air support (OAS) planners must satisfy the following

 

eight requirements126:

 

1. Air superiority

2. Effective targeting

3. Responsive command and control

4. Suppression of enemy air defenses

5. Effective weapons

6. Capable platforms and sensors

7. Cooperative weather

8. Proficient and trained participants

 

Attack aviators may conduct OAS operations without these requirements being

 

satisfied, but the ordnance delivered may be less effective and unwarranted aircraft

 

attrition may result. For OAS operations in urbanized terrain, these requirements become

 

even more important. Military operations in urban terrain require a combined-arms

 

approach to ensure tactical and operational success. OAS will be an integral part of the

 

combined-arms team in future urban operations. It is imperative that planners tailor the

 

OAS to the unique requirements imposed by the nature of urban terrain. This chapter will

 

identify the requirements of effective OAS in urban terrain and our current capabilities and

 

weaknesses to provide this support.

 

Air Superiority

 

Historically, OAS operations conducted without air superiority resulted in poor

 

weapons accuracy and unnecessary attack aircraft attrition. Unlike the other requirements

 

for effective urban OAS, the current doctrine and weapons systems available provide more

 

than adequate capability to create air superiority. This requirement poses no unique

 

problems in an urban environment. For the purposes of this study, we will assume that the

 

United States will maintain the ability to establish air superiority over the urban

 

environment prior to the initiation of OAS operations.

 

 

 

Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD)

 

Effective OAS requires an operating sanctuary to allow the attack aviators the

 

ability to employ their weapons accurately and reduce aircraft attrition. The proliferation

 

of hand-held man-portable SAMs poses the greatest threat to attack aircraft in the urban

 

environment. Seventy-one percent of fixed-wing losses during operation Desert Storm

 

resulted from infrared (IR) SAMS and AAA as compared to 16 percent for radar directed

 

SAMS.127 While all attack aircraft will employ self-protection measures, they may still

 

require SEAD to increase their effectiveness. Urban combat operations pose some unique

 

requirements to traditional SEAD operations concerning collateral damage. Traditionally,

 

the GCE supplies SEAD for CAS, and the air combat element (ACE) provides it for deep

 

air support (DAS) operations (with the ACE supplying ECM for both efforts with the

 

EA-6B). The GCE will use direct-fire (tank) or indirect-fire (artillery or mortars) to create

 

an operating sanctuary for CAS aircraft. In an urban environment, the direct fire weapons

 

may not have a clear field of fire due to vertical obstructions. The ROE may not permit

 

indirect-fire weapons use due to a lack of precision, lack of gun-target-line (GTL)

 

flexibility, or collateral damage (proportionality) concerns. The GCE will rely on OAS to

 

provide its fire support in an urban environment.

 

Rooftop snipers or attack aircraft providing imbedded suppression128 with low

 

collateral damage weapons (cannon, low explosive yield PGMs, non-lethal techniques,

 

etc.) may be the best assets to provide SEAD in an urban environment. The strategic

 

strike nature of urban interdiction missions lends itself to ACE-delivered fires or support

 

systems to create an operating sanctuary for the attack platforms (aircraft or cruise

 

missiles).

 

The requirements for SEAD will vary depending on the threat and the platform

 

types available to the Joint Task Force (JTF). We can minimize the effect of enemy air

 

defenses through the integration of our fixed and rotary-wing attack assets in the urban

 

environment. If the opponent chooses to defend against one type of platform

 

(rotary-wing), we can utilize the other (fixed-wing).

 

 

 

Effective Targeting

 

Targeting in an urban environment presents multiple new problems for military

 

forces. The nature of urban terrain requires extensive pre-operation intelligence collection

 

efforts and a highly flexible and capable reactive targeting capability once the operation is

 

underway. The reactive targeting effort in support of ground combat operations will be

 

the most difficult. Effective targeting in an urban environment requires: an aggressive

 

multi-dimensional reconnaissance-surveillance-and target acquisition (RSTA) effort, an

 

ability to rapidly fuse and process information to intelligence, and a rapid dissemination of

 

information and intelligence for decentralized operations.

 

In order to target effectively, the RSTA effort must have accurate maps and

 

imagery. Additionally, it must be able to provide timely information and intelligence

 

through the integration of human intelligence (HUMIT), signals intelligence (SIGINT),

 

magnetic and acoustic signature intelligence (MASINT), ground sensors, unmanned aerial

 

vehicles (UAVs), satellite imagery, and manned airborne platforms. The decentralized

 

nature of urban tactical operations will challenge traditional intelligence systems. Many

 

times the tactical commanders need immediate access to information (i.e., UAV or Reef

 

Point imagery) before intelligence elements use and process it.129

 

The terrain in the urban environment makes the intelligence preparation of the

 

battlefield (IPB) for urban operations more difficult. This constantly changing urban

 

landscape may render newly published city maps totally inaccurate. Part of the intelligence

 

preparation for an urban operation is to ensure that all members of the combined-arms

 

team possess accurate and current maps and overhead imagery of the urban area of

 

operations. Overhead imagery from satellites or UAVs can augment large scale (1:12,500

 

and 1:15,000) city maps. This overhead imagery can update city maps, and refine the

 

targeting game-plan by supplying a global positioning system (GPS) registered urban

 

template. The Tactical Aviation Mission Planning System (TAMPS/version 6.3) will take

 

overhead imagery, and ortho-rectify it.130 Then given several known positions, it will

 

provide a registered GPS map or image of the urban environment. TAMPS operators can

 

electronically disseminate this image to provide a common operations reference for ground

 

and air elements. Once a common GPS accurate image is available, mission planners can

 

further define the urban environment by establishing target reference points (TRPs) on

 

significant buildings or features to aid in reactive targeting efforts. In the United States,

 

efforts are underway to create urban databases complete with overhead imagery for

 

possible future contingencies.

 

Many of the targeting requirements in urban environments require highly technical

 

and automated systems. High-tech systems require integration with, and enhancement by,

 

the human element. Reconnaissance elements, special forces (SOF), tactical air control

 

parties (TACPs), and HUMINT sources enhance the overall targeting effort. Other

 

government (i.e., CIA, DIA, FBI, NSA) and non-government organizations (NGOs) may

 

assist the intelligence collection (deliberate targeting) effort by contributing information

 

from their extensive intelligence resources.

 

TACPs and airborne forward air controllers [FAC(A)s] can provide invaluable

 

targeting assistance for the OAS effort. Traditional methods of "getting the pilot's eyes on

 

the target" will not be appropriate or useful in an urban environment (i.e., "From the mark

 

[155mm white phosphorous] South 100."). Laser spots, Talk-ons, and colored smoke to

 

identify friendly positions will have more utility than artillery or mortar marks. The

 

verticality of the urban terrain can inhibit accurate employment or may mask the impact of

 

artillery and mortar marks. The Israelis used a technique in Lebanon where they armed the

 

OAS platforms with MK-76 inert practice bombs (25 pound) and "live" MK-82 bombs.

 

The pilot would take the mission brief from the FAC and would then drop a practice

 

bomb. The FAC would confirm that the pilot had the correct target in sight, then he

 

would allow the attack aircraft to drop the live ordnance. Additionally, the Israelis used

rooftop panels and communication relays to aid in air to ground radio connectivity.131

 

Unattended ground sensors (UGS), if employed and deployed properly, should

 

allow adequate reaction time to target the enemy before he can influence the ground

 

combat element. Future technologies will include mini television cameras, passage

 

monitors, microphones, and seismic devices to provide target cuing.132 These sensors

 

require integration into the overall collection effort.

 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) offer tremendous possibilities for urban

 

operations. The use of UAVs will enhance interdiction, armed reconnaissance, and close

 

air support (CAS) operations in urban environments. For the interdiction and armed

 

reconnaissance efforts our current employment doctrine will suffice. UAVs can search

 

named areas of interest and target areas of interest to cue armed reconnaissance efforts. In

 

strike operations, UAVs can observe and validate interdiction targets before strike assets

 

launch and provide post-strike bomb damage assessments. UAV imagery can validate

 

ROE compliance and military efforts to minimize collateral damage for the media. More

 

than our current limited platform capability, our current doctrine and mindset limit our

 

ability to assist urban CAS operations with UAV imagery. The Marine Corps currently

 

operates the Pioneer UAV. The Pioneer normally operates at three to five thousand feet,

 

produces optical or infrared (IR) imagery, and has a time-on-station of approximately 3 to

 

4 hours. The Pioneer does not have an all-weather capability, neither can it see through

 

battlefield obscurants. However, the remote receiving station (RRS) allows the reception

of real-time imagery from the UAV cameras.133 The decentralized nature of urban ground

 

combat operations makes it desirable that the tactical commanders have access to UAV

 

imagery to make tactical decisions. Marine Corps units have already experimented with

 

placing a RRS in a command and control, or FAC(A), UH-1N. This imagery requires

 

further dissemination to the tactical ground commanders and their FACs. Currently, only

 

one RRS is available per Pioneer unit.

 

Click here to view image

 

The lack of UAV imagery reception capability poses a critical deficiency for lower

 

echelon field commanders in urban environments. If our doctrine locates the sole RRS to

 

facilitate centralized command, it will deny overhead imagery to the forward combat units.

 

Desert Storm highlighted several limitations associated with the Pioneer UAV;

 

 

1. Pioneer did not have the range and endurance required for all ground

operations.

 

2. At night, an inadequate forward looking infrared (FLIR) cooling system

reduced mission endurance.

 

3. Lack of precision navigation and geo-location capabilities prevented provision

for precise information for the targeting of weapons.

 

4. Imagery dissemination from the ground control station (GCS) to the using units

was not satisfactory.

 

5. The operators felt that the RRS was deficient in both operating range and

dissemination capability.135

 

Several joint development programs are addressing the limitations in sensor

 

coverage and time on station for our UAVs. The Department of Defense Joint UAV

 

Program has identified four operational categories of UAVs: close range, short range,

 

medium range, and endurance.136 The Joint Tactical UAV program is addressing the close

 

range and short range requirements. The Endurance program is addressing the medium

 

range and endurance UAV requirements.137

 

The Defense Science Board stated that the UAVs required for MOUT would need

 

to have sensors that included imaging IR, optical television, moving target indicator (MTI)

 

radar, and synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Currently, the program that has shown the

 

greatest promise to deliver this sensor capability for application to urban combat

 

operations is the Predator UAV.138 In 1994, the Joint UAV Project concluded that:

 

 

The Predator program was initiated because recent military operations have

demonstrated a tactical commander's need to locate, identify and target in near

real time small, mobile threats such as persons, small vehicles (Somali

"technicals"), artillery/SAMs (Yugoslavia/Iraq) and theater ballistic missiles

(SCUDS). Due to a combination of competing collection requirements, political

constraints (manned overflights of foreign territories) and technical issues e.g.,

limited loiter time), existing national, theater and tactical reconnaissance systems

have not been able to satisfy the military commander's requirement for tracking

these types of small, mobile targets.139

 

The Predator system can deliver exceptional RSTA capabilities to the tactical commander

 

in an urban environment. A time-on-station in excess of 24 hours, accurate and

 

unclassified multi-spectral imagery, and all weather operations will revolutionize urban

 

Click here to view image

 

operations. Unfortunately, the new generation UAV employment doctrine optimizes

 

centralized control where urban operations require decentralized control and execution.

 

An urban combat operation will realize these advances at the tactical level only if the

 

command element shares the information real-time with the ground combat units executing

 

decentralized operations.

 

In addition to UAV imagery, satellite imagery is an integral part of the RSTA

 

effort. Before deploying to the area of operations, planners can update city maps using

 

satellite imagery. Targeteers will load overhead imagery into the JTF's mission planning

 

systems to create ground and air common targeting aids. The major drawbacks of satellite

 

imagery are its security classification (which leads to restricted dissemination) and the

 

lag-time for dynamic re-tasking141. The lag time for dynamic re-tasking limits current

 

satellite technology to a pre-mission collection effort. According to General Walter

 

Boomer USMC (Marine Expeditionary Force commander), Desert Storm demonstrated

 

some limitations of satellite systems. "The satellites were overworked and failed to meet

 

the expectations of the lower level commanders."142 An aggressive RSTA effort will

 

attempt to integrate the UAV and satellite imagery to cover these deficiencies.

 

In regard to manned RSTA, the P-3 Reef Point143 and AC-130 Spectre systems

 

offer excellent capabilities in low-intensity conflict (LIC) and OOTW operations. The

 

advantage of these systems is their time-on-station and dynamic re-tasking ability. The

 

RSTA contributions afforded by manned high-performance platforms are currently

 

minimal. The F-14 Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) is the only fielded

 

system, but it requires the aircraft to land before downloading and processing imagery.

 

Intelligence analysts can detect targets from TARPS missions within 3 hours of landing,144

 

but this is not going to help for CAS missions. Desert Storm exposed the weaknesses of

 

current manned systems in fast-moving, fluid, warfare since the imagery was only available

 

after the aircraft had returned and the film processed. The Marine Corps is currently

 

awaiting the Advanced Tactical Air Reconnaissance System (ATARS) for our F/A-18Ds.

 

The ATARS will provide low and medium-altitude electro-optic sensors and an infrared

 

line-scanner to support imagery requirements. Thus equipped, the F/A-18D will have the

 

capability to provide real and near-real time reconnaissance via data-link to a ground

 

receiving station.145 The F/A-18D ATARS is due to the fleet in 1997.

 

The RSTA effort for future urban operations must provide the mechanism to

 

reduce battlefield uncertainties. The goals of the future urban RSTA effort should be:

 

 

1. To provide a robust processing, production, and delivery capability equal to the

collection capability to attain a seamless flow of imagery.

 

2. To utilize a worldwide communications network with a digital imagery

database.

 

3. To utilize a balanced and integrated mix of collection assets.

 

4. To focus on electronic dissemination to the lowest echelon.

 

5. To provide an enhanced order of battlefield intelligence.

 

6. To provide advanced near real-time information.

 

7. To utilize advanced sensors for automatic detection, recognition, classification,

and accurate target location.

 

8. To acquire computers that process, analyze, sort and disseminate intelligence

and targeting information automatically.146

 

 

 

Responsive Command, Control and Communications (C3)

 

For attack aircraft to provide effective OAS fires, they require integration with a

 

command and control system that is responsive to the needs of the GCE. The dynamic

 

decentralized nature of urban ground combat operations requires decentralized control and

 

execution. This is due to several factors unique to urban terrain:

 

 

1. Weapons employment and target acquisition ranges are greatly reduced by

urban features.

 

2. Urban features increase the difficulty of maintaining effective communications.

 

3. Operating from, within, or through urban areas isolates and separates units.

 

4. Urban terrain reduces mobility, inhibiting GCE mutual support.

 

5. In combination, the general characteristics of urban warfare make it more

difficult to apply basic tactical fundamentals and maintain control. Military

operations on urbanized terrain require detailed planning that provides for

decentralized control and execution.147

 

Of all the requirements for effective OAS, responsive C3 may prove to be the most

 

difficult to attain. This is true even though the solution is at hand and requires no real

 

technological breakthroughs or additional procurement. To decentralize control and

 

execution, simply requires that the commanders of military forces engaged in urban

 

operations allow those forces to apply combat power as the tactical situation requires.

 

During the battle for Stalingrad in World War II, General Chuikov, the Russian 62nd

 

Army Commander, noted that "...fighting in a city...is much more involved than fighting in

 

the field. Here the big chiefs have practically no influence on the officers and squad

 

leaders commanding units and sub-units."148 This type of warfare requires a highly trained

 

and disciplined military force and reasonable Rules of Engagement (ROE). Although, the

 

impact of the media and public opinion weigh heavily on the commander's mind in urban

 

operations, his primary task besides mission accomplishment is the protection of his force.

 

Will television scenes of extensive collateral damage or civilian casualties effect his

 

decision making process and his willingness to delegate fire-support responsibility? As the

 

intensity of expected combat operations reduce from major regional contingency (MRC)

 

to lesser regional contingency (LRC), the temptation to centralize control intensifies. The

 

lowered expectation of high-tempo combat action may temper the commander's normally

 

aggressive fire-support plan. The danger in this phenomenon is that an expectation of

 

low-tempo combat operations can rapidly change to a situation that desperately needs fire

 

support. The tactical unit may not be able to communicate with the command element but

 

very definitely may require combined-arms support to accomplish its mission or extricate

 

itself from an urban ambush. The tactical commander must be able to coordinate his

 

fight, with the firepower he deems appropriate.

 

For urban OAS to be effective, requires a robust and redundant command and

 

control system. As in all military operations, the commander's intent will drive all

 

subordinate efforts. In-depth analysis of past urban combat indicates that control and

 

communication will break down. Commanders must plan for this in urban combat

 

operations. To compensate, our pre-operation planning must be much more detailed than

 

rural operations. At the tactical level of war the GCE will be the primary warfighting unit

 

in urban attacks, with aviation serving as a supporting arm. The commander should view

 

the limitations imposed by urban terrain in communications, organic fire support, and

 

mobility from the ground combat element's perspective. The planners should include

 

integrated supporting arms to cover all fire support needs and possible contingencies

 

within the limits imposed by the ROE and considerations of proportionality. A detailed

 

and centralized fire-support plan will allow the necessary decentralized control and

 

execution in urban operations. During Desert Storm, LtGen Walter Boomer USMC had

 

the following thoughts on decentralized operations:

 

 

Why is it that decentralized efforts repeatedly paid higher dividends than

synchronized? The broad, overarching reason is that at the squad, platoon, and

company levels, Marines knew what was going on. Synchronizing headquarters

did not.149

 

 

Urban terrain presents severe problems in maintaining communications.

 

Man-made structures create problems in urban environments by inhibiting the line-of-sight

 

radio communication by absorbing and reflecting transmitted signals.150 While these

 

problems will force a higher degree of decentralization, the combat force should make

 

every attempt to minimize them. The use of aircraft (DASC[A], TAC[A], FAC[A], attack

 

aircraft)151, UAVs, and rooftop communicators can minimize our ground based

 

line-of-sight communication limitations in urban environments. The plan for urban

 

operations should include these techniques as requirements for mission success and

 

allocate resources accordingly.

 

The commander's intent must drive the command, control, and communications

 

(C3) system to effectively support the OAS effort. The C3 system must be flexible enough

 

to support the inevitable decentralized nature of the ground combat. Additionally, it must

 

foster subordinate unit initiative through the formulation of reasonable ROE. The ROE

 

should accommodate the force necessary to achieve the mission and reflect the

 

commander's overarching responsibility to protect his force with the means he has

 

available.

 

Effective Weapons

 

We cannot destroy or significantly damage the infrastructure of a foreign urban

center in pursuit of mission attainment and expect the population to remain

friendly to either U.S. forces or those we support. Neither can we

indiscriminately use force in imprecise ways that cause unnecessary

non-combatant casualties.

 

- Defense Science Board Report on MOUT152

 

 

We are procuring weapons for the worst case versus the most likely.

 

- LtCol John Keenan USMC (XO 7th Marines Mogadishu)153

 

 

In order for OAS to be effective, planners must match the weapons that the attack

 

aircraft deliver to the targets they are attacking. Additionally, they must ensure that these

 

weapons produce effects commensurate with the commander's intent. For example,

 

attacking a runway with anti-tank cluster munitions is an ignorant waste of assets and

 

time. Of all the requirements for effective OAS, the weapons we currently possess and

 

our future procurement programs may identify our major limitation in an urban

 

environment.

 

The aviation ordnance requirements for urban combat operations vary greatly with

 

those for conventional rural operations. Planners for urban OAS operations must consider

 

proportionality, low collateral damage (for political, economic, and tactical reasons),

 

non-combatant casualties (discrimination), and ultra-precision for level of effort weapons.

 

The OAS mission profile and ROE will determine the requirements for aviation ordnance.

 

Interdiction

 

The USAF fixed-wing aviation ordnance and the USN Tactical Land Attack

 

Missile (TLAM) cruise missile capabilities demonstrated in the Desert Storm strategic

 

strikes in Baghdad were excellent. Deep-penetration bombs (such as the GBU-28, a 4,700

 

pound precision bomb capable of penetrating 20 feet of concrete or 85 feet of earth prior

 

to detonation154) in conjunction with TLAMs (equipped with Block III titanium

 

penetration warheads155) will provide a credible strategic strike capability for U.S. military

 

forces when collateral damage is not a factor. The introduction of the 1,000 and 2,000

 

pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) will enhance our capability to conduct

 

strategic strikes in urban environments. The JDAM guides to the target via GPS, steering

 

in the bomb to achieve a circular probability of error (CEP)156 less than 40 feet. The bomb

 

will have either a conventional blast and fragmentation warhead (MK-83 or MK-84) or a

 

deep-penetrator warhead (BLU-109 or BLU-110). On the whole, our future interdiction

 

and strategic strike weapons programs are quite adequate.

 

Armed Reconnaissance and CAS

 

The armed reconnaissance and CAS mission profiles represent where our current

 

and projected aviation weapons are inadequate. The requirements for armed

 

reconnaissance and CAS weapons must focus on: rapid employment, the target set,

 

minimum collateral damage, minimum rubbling, the ability to employ in proximity to

 

ground forces, and high precision. The target set in urban tactical operations will include

 

troops in the open, armored vehicles, and enemy forces using the urban terrain (buildings)

 

as firing positions. A minimum collateral damage capability is essential to protect

 

non-combatants, preserve whatever local and international support might exist, and to

 

reduce the cost of rebuilding the urban area upon conflict termination. Minimum rubbling

 

is an important requirement any time that the operation involves a post-strike GCE

 

advance through the impact area. If OAS destroys the urban area (as in Stalingrad 1942,

 

Cassino 1944, Seoul 1950, or Grozny 1995), it will create obstacles for friendly infantry

 

and sanctuaries for enemy snipers. Moreover, the nature of urban ground combat will

 

require the ability to employ air delivered weapons in very close proximity to friendly

 

forces. To solve both problems, procurement programs for OAS weapons with urban

 

tactical applications must key on minimized explosive yields and ultra-precision delivery.

 

Fixed-wing

 

The aviation weapons we currently possess for fixed-wing armed reconnaissance

 

and CAS missions in urban environments are:

 

1. The MK-80 series bomb (MK-82 500 pound, MK-83 1,000 pound, MK-84

 

2,000 pound).

 

2. The Paveway Laser Guided Bomb systems (GBU-12 500 pound, GBU-16

1,000 pound, and GBU-10 2,000 pound.

 

3. The AGM-65 Maverick series [AGM-65A(TV-Anti armor), AGM-65B/D

(IR-Anti armor), AGM-65E(Laser-Blast Penetrator), AGM-65F/G(IR-Blast-

penetrator)].

 

4. The 2.75 and 5.00 inch rocket series.

 

5. Anti-armor and Anti-personnel cluster munitions.

 

6. 20mm/25mm/ 30mm/40mm/ and 105mm cannon.

 

7. Fire-bombs.

 

Out of this ordnance list we will remove the following ordnance from consideration for

 

the following reasons:

 

 

 

1. The urban OAS platforms will not use the MK-80 series bombs because they

are not precision guided weapons. GPS-equipped platforms will increase the

delivery accuracy but not to the degree required for urban operations

ROE.157

 

2. The urban OAS effort will not use the GBU-16 and GBU-10 Paveway LGB

due to excessive explosive yield as compared to the GBU-12 (500 pound).

Currently the 500 pound bomb is the largest yield that ROE allows in current

urban CAS operations.

 

3. The 2.75 and 5.00 inch rockets have a nominal dispersion of 12 to 14

milliradians rendering them too inaccurate for discriminate urban employment.

 

4. MK-20 and CBU-87/89 series cluster munitions will have relatively little

applicability in urban environments, and any unexploded rounds will pose a

severe restriction for follow on friendly ground combat operations.

 

5. The OAS effort will not employ MK-77 fire-bombs because they are relatively

inaccurate and may start uncontrollable fires in urban environments where wood

is a primary construction material. Additionally, the increased smoke will

hamper overhead observation and follow on smart weapon employment by

increasing atmospheric interference.

 

 

These exclusions leave the OAS planner with the GBU-12 (500 pound) LGB, the

 

AGM-65 Maverick series, and (air delivered) cannon for fixed-wing ordnance. The

 

GBU-12 LGB requires reflected laser energy to guide with precision to the target. If

 

delivered correctly, the GBU-12 should provide a hit within a CEP of 10 feet. Desert

 

Storm operations validated the accuracy and utility of LGBs, but they are not foolproof.

 

If smoke, clouds, or countermeasures breaks the laser line of sight to the target, the bomb

 

may not hit the intended target. During Desert Storm a Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado

 

dropped three Paveway (GBU-16) LGBs on a bridge. A cloud broke the laser line of sight

 

and two of the bombs hit the river next to the bridge but the third bomb impacted in a

 

residential area causing non-combatant casualties.158

 

The AGM-65 Maverick series of weapon has either TV, IR, or Laser guidance

 

systems and one of two different type warheads. The AGM-65A, B and D series have

 

shaped-charge warheads designed to kill armored vehicles and tanks. The shape-charge

 

warhead will cause minimal collateral damage but has a relatively limited application

 

against troops in the open or hardened structures. If either of these weapons breaks lock,

 

the weapon will detonate on whatever it hits. The AGM-65A guides on optical contrast

 

and the AGM-65B/D guide on reflected IR energy.

 

The AGM-65F and G guide on a target's reflected IR energy and have a 300 pound

 

blast-penetrator warhead. The weapon's fuze allows for instantaneous or one of two delay

 

settings that allow for penetration of up to four feet of reinforced concrete before warhead

 

detonation. For the IR Maverick to guide successfully, the target must reflect enough IR

 

energy to maintain a seeker-head lock-on. If at any time the seeker breaks lock during

 

employment, the missile will detonate on whatever it hits.

 

The Maverick missile with the most applicability for urban operations is the

 

AGM-65E (laser guidance). It contains a 300 pound blast-penetrator warhead and has the

 

same fuzing options as the AGM-65F/G. If the target is correctly laser designated the

 

AGM-65E has a CEP of less than 4 feet. The target must be laser designated throughout

 

the missile employment for a successful hit. If at any time something interrupts the laser

 

line of sight, or the FAC turns off the designator, the AGM-65E will de-arm the warhead

 

and send a climb-up signal to the missile. The AGM-65E is the only PGM in the U.S.

 

inventory to embody this feature. The AGM-65E has applicability to virtually all urban

 

target sets, unless the ROE rules out even a 300 pound warhead.

 

All fixed-wing CAS assets have on board cannons varying from 20mm to 105mm

 

in caliber. While the cannon rounds are not precision guided, they can attack infantry or

 

air defense weapons with minimal collateral damage. The dispersion of these weapons

 

rarely exceeds 5 milliradians.

 

Rotary-wing

 

The aviation weapons we currently possess for rotary-wing armed reconnaissance

 

and CAS missions are:

 

1. The BGM-71 TOW.

 

2. The AGM-114 Hellfire.

 

3. The 2.75 and 5.00 inch rockets.

 

4. 20mm and 30mm cannon, 7.62 and .50 caliber ball ammunition.

 

Out of this list we will remove the 2.75 and 5.00 inch rockets from consideration for the

 

same reasons that we removed them from the fixed-wing list. In 1993, LtGen. Wilhelm

 

USMC denied the U.S. Marine forces in Mogadishu permission to use unguided rockets as

 

a result of helicopter 2.75 inch rocket attacks in Mogadishu that killed noncombatants.159

 

Additionally, rocket warheads can take anywhere from 330 to 3,500 feet to deploy or arm,

 

and these distances may not be available in urban terrain.160 Rocket proponents argue that

 

the rotary-wing attack aircraft will employ the rockets at a shorter slant range than the

 

fixed-wing aircraft, reducing the effect of the large dispersion. But even at the shorter

 

ranges, discrimination can be a problem.

 

The BGM-71 TOW is a combat proven anti-armor weapon. It is wire guided and

 

has a shaped-charge warhead. "Due to the numerous structural obstacles, the urban

 

setting may require special considerations when employing the wire guided TOW

 

missile....The TOW missile requires a minimum distance of 500 meters (1700 feet) to

 

properly capture."161 The shaped-charge warhead will destroy exposed armor targets but

 

will have little applicability against troops or buildings. This limitation stems from the fact

 

that the hot-jet kill mechanism "tends to deviate and lose energy rapidly beyond 1 to 2

 

meters (3 to 7 feet), causing little, if any, damage to the inside of the target."162 In

 

Mogadishu (1993), U.S. Army forces shot 72 TOW missiles at one urban structure with

 

relatively little effect on target. The Army forces stated that they would start receiving

 

effective fire from the target building within 5 minutes of each TOW strike. Additionally,

 

the small entry hole and lack of blast effect hampered post-strike bomb damage assessment

 

analysis.163

 

 

The AGM-114 (Hellfire) that the U.S. forces utilize guides on laser energy and

 

also employs a shape charge kill mechanism. The Hellfire will fly an up and over

 

trajectory and is a very efficient tank and APC killer. For exposed armor targets, the

 

Hellfire will be a primary OAS weapon in urban environments. However, the Hellfire

 

warhead is subject to the same target set limitations as the TOW.

 

The rotary-wing cannon and gun ammunition offer the same utility as the

 

fixed-wing cannon ordnance. While not precision guided, the rotary-wing cannon and gun

 

fire can provide accurate and low-collateral damage fires to suppress air defenses or attrite

 

infantry. The rotary-wing attack aircraft's time on station, large ammunition magazines,

 

and low collateral damage makes the cannon one of their most effective urban combat

 

weapons. The attack helicopter offers an exceptional capability up to the point that the

 

opponents challenge their presence with rudimentary air defense weapons (i.e., Task Force

 

Ranger).

 

 

 

Procurement Programs

 

 

The conception of a weapon starts with the definition of a target, and trends in

weapons development parallel the changes in the target.

 

- International Defense Review164

 

The major fixed-wing weapon procurement programs currently underway are the

 

JDAM and the Joint Stand-off Weapon (JSOW).165 The JDAM has a 1,000 and 2,000

 

pound variant and utilizes GPS guidance to the target. The military decided to trade the

 

accuracies associated with Mavericks (3 feet) and LGBs (10 feet) for an all-weather

 

capability with the JDAM series of weapon (30-40 feet). The JSOW (Joint Stand-off

 

Weapon) has 3 proposed variants:

 

 

1. JSOW Baseline: contains 145 BLU-97 shaped-charge anti-tank submunitions.

 

2. BLU-108: contains 24 "Skeet" Sensor Fuzed Weapons optimized for

anti-armor operations.

 

3. JSOW-Unitary: contains a 500 pound warhead with a multi-spectral seeker and

a JDAM GPS guidance kit.

 

 

Of the JSOW series of weapon, only the Unitary variant will have applicability in an

 

urban environment. The JSOW-Unitary will cost approximately $400,000 a copy166 which

 

might limit its use to a strategic strike, vice CAS, role. At present no procurement efforts

 

are underway to provide the operating forces with low-yield OAS weapons that

 

fixed-wing attack aircraft can use in urban environments.

 

The major rotary-wing procurement program currently underway is the Joint

 

Advanced Weapons System (JAWS), designed to replace the Hellfire and TOW. This

 

weapon will utilize a shaped-charge kill mechanism. The canceled Advanced Rocket

 

System (ARS)167 would have provided a hyper-velocity rocket capability to the attack

 

helicopter and fixed-wing force that may have provided the target effects required in an

 

urban environment. Additionally, the Rockwell Corporation built 1,000 RBS-17 Hellfire

 

missiles for the Swedish Navy. This Hellfire contains a 20 pound blast-fragmentation

 

warhead that could address some of the limitations associated with the shaped-charge

 

Hellfire and TOW.168 Additionally, it could minimize the collateral damage associated with

 

fixed-wing ordnance but has attracted little attention from the U.S. military.

 

Click here to view image

 

 

Non-lethal Options

 

In war the best policy is to take a state intact, to ruin it is inferior to this.

 

-Sun Tzu170

 

 

OAS operations in support of urban operations may require the application of

 

non-lethal weapons. This is especially true in operations other than war (OOTW).

 

Non-lethal weapons are "discriminate weapons explicitly designed and employed so as to

 

incapacitate personnel or material, while minimizing facilities and damage to property and

 

the environment"171 Non-lethal weapon categories include; optical (flash), kinetics,

 

acoustics, chemicals (anti-personnel), pyrotechnic stun, electric stun, entanglements, radio

 

frequency (EMP), and psycho-technology.172

 

Non-lethal weapons will become more prevalent in the not too distant future.

 

They offer the following advantages:

 

 

1. The combat force can work under less restrictive ROE with non-lethal

weapons.

 

2. Non-lethal weapons aid in discrimination problems such as dealing with a few

hostiles hiding in a crowd of non-combatants.

 

3. Non-lethal weapons can confuse an enemy with new effects against which he is

unprepared.

 

4. Non-lethal weapons allow the force to minimize casualties to our own troops,

to non-combatants, and to combatants.

 

5. Non-lethal weapons can neutralize equipment such that repair is more difficult

that it would have been under a "lethal" attack.173

 

 

 

The capability to employ non-lethal weapons should allow for the employment of several

 

different kinds of techniques to deny our opponents the ability to develop field expedient

 

countertactics. Additionally, the intent to employ lethal weapons should accompany the

 

non-lethal weapons as part of a combined-arms approach to the urban area. For non-lethal

 

weapons to contribute to the mission, it is essential that the opponents believe that the

 

force will employ lethal weapons. If the opposing force discovers that all we have to offer

 

is non-lethal sticky foam or doughnut guns, our weapons will lose their deterrent effect.

 

 

Weapons Effectiveness

 

 

We can no longer choose to avoid urban areas. Our missions must specifically

focus on them.

 

- 1994 Defense Science Board report on MOUT174

 

 

From the above analysis, it is clear that we currently optimize our attack helicopter

 

weapons for anti-armor operations. Additionally, our fixed-wing ordnance programs are

 

increasing the explosive yield beyond the point that current ROE allows in urban CAS

 

operations. The frequency of military operations in urban environments is notably on the

 

rise, but our ability to provide urban OAS at the tactical and operational level of war is

 

declining. Why is this the case? The United States military has prepared and procured to

 

fight the Warsaw Pact and its surrogates for the last 45 years. At the same time we stated

 

our doctrinal intention to avoid or bypass urban areas during combat operations. Ground

 

combat operations took place in mostly "rural" environments during Desert Storm. The

 

relative lack of tactical urban combat operations served to mask our deficiencies in

 

appropriate urban OAS weapons. All the United States military services have initiated

 

weapons procurement programs that stress the need for high-yield, precision,

 

deep-penetration weapons. The United States Navy and Marine Corps JDAM program

 

calls for a 2,000 pound JDAM of which a full 50 percent will be deep- penetration

 

weapons175. The Marine Corps argued for the inclusion of a 500 pound JDAM, but the

 

U.S. Navy and Air Force felt that it had minimal utility against the target sets they felt

 

were important. The aviation ordnance deficiencies identified from our tactical combat

 

experience in Somalia is not receiving anywhere near the attention of the strategic strike

 

deficiencies identified during Desert Storm. The 1994 Defense Science Board (DSB)

 

study on military operations in built-up areas (MOBA)176 concluded that:

 

 

1. Urban combat operations require high precision, terminally guided munitions

(i.e., Copperhead, Hellfire, Maverick, LGBs). OAS weapons programs should

modify these weapons for reduced collateral damage by decreasing the explosive

content, or by replacing the explosive with non-lethal mechanisms such as

aerosols.

 

2. Due to the characteristically short MOBA engagement ranges (<1000m),

precision-guided small-warhead weapons would have significant utility in cities.

Further work should be encouraged on ultra-precise delivery systems to provide

high lethality and low unwanted damage.177

 

Unfortunately, our current CAS weapons inventory is deficient in its applicability to

 

urban target sets, and our current procurement programs are further limiting our

 

capabilities. We might as well ask, as did the book, The Technology Trap: Science and

 

the Military:

 

 

Do the new technologies improve the versatility of the military machine....New

weapons systems can be more flexible or more specialized....Worst of all,

weapons can be designed around a specific contingency or scenario which today

may appear likely, but in the future, or in the event of war, may come to seem

tragically ridiculous.178

 

 

 

Capable Platforms and Sensors

 

To provide effective OAS, the weapons delivery platform must have adequate

 

sensors to deliver weapons to a high degree of accuracy. At a minimum the platforms

 

should have:

 

 

1. Navigation systems augmented by GPS accuracy.

 

2. The ability to deliver precision munitions.

 

3. The ability to change ordnance fuze settings from the cockpit.

 

4. A night attack capability.

 

5. A self-designation capability for weapon guidance and targeting.

 

 

The United States military services currently possess the finest OAS platforms in the

 

world. Navigation accuracy is paramount for an effective urban OAS platform. If the

 

FAC gives the pilot a perfect GPS target coordinate, but the attack platform is only

 

capable of inertial navigation system (INS) accuracy, mission effectiveness may decrease.

 

If the attack platform is incapable of delivering precision munitions, the ROE may not

 

allow its use in urban OAS operations. The dynamic nature of the target set involved in

 

urban OAS requires that the pilot be able to change the weapon's fuze setting. This

 

allows the pilot to vary the degree of target penetration before warhead detonation. All

 

urban OAS platforms must have a night-attack system to aid in targeting and

 

discrimination. Finally, all urban OAS platforms should have a laser self-designation

 

capability. Desert Storm demonstrated the utility of having a laser self-designation

 

capability. In an urban environment the OAS platform may utilize a laser spot from

 

another asset, but the verticality and restricted attack directions in an urban OAS attack,

 

adds to the complexity. Currently, the F-15E, F-16, F/A-18, AH-64, MH-60, AH-6, and

 

the AH-1W have a self-designation capability. Currently, the AV-8B, A-10, and F-14 do

 

not have a laser self-designation capability, limiting their utility in an urban OAS

 

operation.179

 

 

Cooperative Weather

 

For OAS operations to be truly effective, the weather in the target area must be

 

good. With our current weapons systems and platform technology, bad weather is going

 

to adversely effect weapons accuracy and delivery platform survivability. Currently, our

 

most precise precision weapons are our laser weapons, yet bad weather severely affects

 

them. Water vapor or moisture from clouds will reduce the range at which the laser

 

seekers will receive enough energy to command a lock-on. If a Hellfire or Laser

 

Maverick enters a cloud on an up-and-over profile, it will break lock and fail to guide to

 

the target. Additionally, the Paveway LGB requires minimum ceilings of 3,500 feet to

 

ensure precise guidance to the laser designated target. The twenty-four hour weather

 

patterns in the target area will affect IR guided weapons. Anything that can change the IR

 

reflectivity of the target in relation to the background will affect IR weapon and sensor

 

employment.

 

The JDAM series of weapons will provide an all weather capability, but it will not

 

be available in anything smaller than a 1,000 pound unit. Industry representatives claim

 

that through software changes to our GPS satellites, they can improve the JDAM's

 

accuracy to a CEP of approximately 11 feet.180

 

 

Proficient and Trained Participants

 

Good training recognizes only one standard -- the combat standard -- and is

derived from mission analysis and contingency plans solely focused on preparing

for combat through tough, realistic, performance-oriented tasks....Bad training

gives no consideration to the next conflict, but only occupies space on the training

schedule, and follows whatever standard happens to be convenient at the time.

 

- 1Lt Clarence Briggs USA (Operation Just Cause)181

 

 

OAS requires highly trained and proficient participants. These participants

 

include the attack aviators and the rest of the combined-arms team. CAS missions are

 

some of the most demanding mission profiles in any military endeavor. Add the

 

complexities of a decentralized urban combat situation, and the need for realistic training

 

and proficient team members becomes even more important. The current standard of

 

training for urban OAS is poor. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps attack helicopters train

 

to a fair standard in urban OAS, but they do not integrate their training with fixed-wing

 

attack aircraft. A peace-time integrated fixed and rotary-wing urban OAS training

 

program might have been decisive in Somalia. Task Force Ranger would have been able

 

to use fixed-wing OAS support in their ground combat in Mogadishu once the threat

 

condition became too intense for helicopters. The proliferation of low altitude air-defense

 

systems mandates that planners include fixed-wing OAS as an essential element of the

 

future urban battlefield. Currently, fixed-wing urban OAS training is non-existent. The

 

US Navy complex at Fallon, Nevada has an urban target on its range, but it does not offer

 

a representation of most types of urban development, nor the integration requirements for

 

ground combat training. More importantly, the U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 and AV-8B

 

Training and Readiness manuals have no sorties dedicated to urban OAS operations. The

 

fixed-wing pilots never train to this standard. How can we expect them to conduct it

 

when the GCE mission calls for it?

 

In order to be proficient in urban OAS operations, the Service Chiefs need to

 

insist on developing training programs and facilities that will allow their units to apply

 

combined-arms techniques in a realistic environment. According to the Defense Science

 

Board, the following training requirements are necessary to train to this task:

 

 

1.Training small unit leaders and individuals on tactical flexibility, decentralized

C3, improved use of intelligence for tactical and small unit benefit, and

innovative tactics.

 

2.Training on restrictive ROE.

 

3. Training to prevent fratricide, especially target engagement by supporting arms

(air).

 

4. Increased and improved urban live fire training facilities.

 

5. Virual reality training aids and systems.

 

6. Increased training with reduced collateral damage, precision weapons.

 

7. Boilerplate ROE for lethal and non-lethal force to which forces can train, and

can serve as a foundation for future urban ROE.

 

8. Unit peacetime training requirements for target identification and terminal

control in urban environments.182

 

 

 

Summary

 

In an urban OAS effort the planners and participants must satisfy these eight

 

requirements for the OAS to be effective. Before we can implement any hardware

 

changes, a change in mindset is necessary. The military leadership must acknowledge the

 

need to conduct this type of fire support. Once the military leadership accepts the need,

 

and gives it the priority it deserves, the mission will mandate the required hardware and

 

training changes.

Conclusion

 

The increased frequency of urban ground combat represents the genesis of a

 

revolution in warfare, matched in importance by its requirements for offensive air support

 

(OAS). The recent combat operations in Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, Mogadishu, and Grozny

 

highlights the weakness of conventional armies in urban environments. The restrictive

 

nature of urban terrain rules out many of the traditional rural fire-support assets.

 

However, urban terrain does not restrict the fire-support attack aircraft can provide.

 

Unfortunately, United States military attack aviation does not adequately train or equip to

 

conduct effective urban OAS. More importantly, the military's traditional aversion to

 

urban combat operations has led to a total absence of doctrine for urban OAS that could

 

drive procurement and training. World trends towards a new urban battlefield must force

 

a change in United States military priorities.

 

The solution to our weakness in urban OAS lies in doctrine, equipment and

 

training. The lack of urban OAS doctrine will be the easiest portion to rectify. The 1994

 

Defense Science Board Study on MOUT recommended that the Joint Chiefs of Staff

 

designate the U.S. Atlantic Command (USACOM) to be in charge of MOUT as a system.

 

The designation of MOUT as a system is the first crucial step in correcting our urban

 

OAS deficiencies. If the military accepts that it must be able to conduct e