BLUE WATER NAVY HELICOPTER OPERATIONS FACT OR FICTION AUTHOR MAJOR JAMES E. McCORMICK, USMC CSC 1988 SUBJECT AREA AVIATION EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TITLE: BLUE WATER NAVY HELICOPTER OPERATIONS--FACT OR FICTION? I Purpose: To illustrate the U.S. Navy has not ad- dressed in an adequate manner the threat, the training, or the equipping of helicopters to conduct "blue waters" opera- tions and to suggest possible remedies to this predicament. II. Problem: The majority of U.S. helicopter forces have acknowledged the need to train against an aerial threat and provided for the incorporation of aircraft survival equipment. The navy erroneously believes their forces will not encounter the enemy and thus do not require either training or equipping to do so. III. Data: Since 1978, the Navy has observed an increas- ing number of their helicopters coming under the threat of an enemy attack and has not addressed their inadequate ae- rial combat maneuvering training or helicopter survival equipment. Navy squadron aircrew fleet wide and senior ac- tion officers within the Pentagon and fleet commands have cited their belief that the threat to helicopters may be- come more prevalent. Recent articles by leading thinkers in government and the military have established the factual need to not only train all U.S. helicopter forces but also equip these same aircraft with survival equipment to defeat enemy aerial weapon systems. There are several sources from which to obtain knowledge on basic aerial maneuvers. These results run from conducting new Navy specific tests, to using lessons learned from other U.S. services which should be preferred. Additionally, the Navy could investigate new aircraft survival equipment for helicopters or justifiably use the ones in service with the Marines which have under gone extensive testing. IV. Conclusions: There exists a definite inadequacy in the conduct of Navy helicopter aircrew training and equip- ping of aircraft to survive an aerial threat encounter dur- ing the conduct of normal operations at sea. These short- comings must be addressed by the Navy now as the cost to procure the aircraft equipment is minimal and available on-the-shelf. Aerial combat maneuver training can be stan- dardized and safely conducted and will not be effected by current budget constraints as the instructors are in place and available to train squadron members once given direction by fleet commands. Recommendations: Fleet Headquarters Atlantic and Pa- cific should acknowledge the validity of these requirements and take the lead to incorporate appropriate training and equipment into the Navy helicopter community. BLUE WATER NAVY HELICOPTER OPERATIONS FACT OR FICTION? OUTLINE Thesis Statement: In today's world, the UPS. Navy's capa- bility to conduct "blue water" helicopter operations is no longer assured due to the Navy's inability to acknowledge the anti-helicopter threat, to train helicopter aircrew to fly basic air combat maneuvers, and to equip helicopters with aircraft survival equipment. I. The Threats Facing Helicopter Aircrews A. HIND B. HELIX B C. HAVOC D. HOCUM II. Locations of Current Helicopter Engagements A. Iran-Iraq War B. Persian Gulf C. Honduras-Nicaragua III. Development of Tactics and Basics in Meeting the Threat A. Marine-Army Manuals B. Intelligence Clearinghouse C. Five Basics IV. Incorporation of Aircraft Survival Equipment A. Lack of Escorts B. APR-39 C. ALE-39 D. ALQ-144 E. Air-to-Air Missiles Recommendations A. Investigate U.S. Marine Methodology B. Learn the Language C. Lessons Learned D. Standardize Training E. Develop Rules of Engagement F. Instructor Nucleus G. Leadership of Fleet Commands BLUE WATER NAVY HELICOPTER OPERATIONS FACT OR FICTION? In recent history, the United States Navy has had the luxury of conducting air, sea, and amphibious operations with relative impunity. Today, however, this same ser- vice's helicopter community's capability to conduct their traditional "blue water" missions is no longer one hundred percent assured. This constraint on helicopter mission success is due to the Navy's lack of acknowledging the threat, the lack of aircraft survival equipment (A.S.E.) and the lack of aircrew basic air combat maneuver training in meeting the current threat. An example of the shortcomings faced by these crews in the performance of a mission could have sounded much like this actual 1983 engagement in the Sea of Japan: Sir, bogey aircraft at five o'clock-six miles and now they are going behind us! The SH-2's crew chief called to his fellow aircrewmen of Silverfish 07 as they were com- pleting a one and one-half hour search for survivors of Korean Air Lines flight 007. No sweat, Jones. Probably a couple of those Marine helicopters from the USS Okinawa we passed an hour ago looking for flotsam bust like us. Belay that pilot! Those aircraft are definitely two armed HINDS and they have bust rolled on to our tail and are closing now at four miles. Almost simultaneously, the pilot accel- erates to maximum speed and heads towards home base, an am- phibious ship, miles away. The crew know their chances of outrunning these bandits are nil. As the pilot makes a ra- dio call to the ship to report being jumped, he contem- plates his options from a very short list. The HINDS assume attack formation and within three minutes are a quarter mile directly behind and bust a lit- tle above their SH-2 target that has expended all alterna- tives. Even with no shots fired, the Navy aircrew experi- encing this engagement were keenly aware at that moment of the menace the enemy posed, the limitations of their air- craft, and more important, limitations in their training to address this type of threat. Despite these encounters, many Navy detractors of air combat maneuver training for helicopter aircrews mistakenly believe that in "blue water" operations they will be where the enemy is not. In order to understand why this aerial combat maneuver (ACM) training is so essential, we need to identify the threat systems that Navy crews will likely face in accom- plishing their missions of anti-submarine warfare, down pi- lot rescue (Strike Rescue), resupply, and special opera- tions. One has only to look at the HELIX B, the Russian Navy's replacement for the aging ship based HORMONE heli- copter. High performance engines, maneuverability, a 180 knot airspeed, and a potential weapons mix as varied as the HIND make it a capable amphibious weapon system. Original- ly believed to be designed strictly for anti-submarine war- fare (ASW), the HELIX B has the capability to adapt easily to either a troop carrier role or a weapons platform. Of interest to the Navy-Marine team, this gives the Soviets the ability to conduct large scale amphibious helicopter- borne operations for the first time. Furthermore, the HELIX B could provide its own amphibious escort capability and, if necessary, act independently against U.S. Navy hel- icopters in "friendly" areas of operations. If the thought that over 4,000 HINDS are being flown over sea and land in the world by the Russians or their surrogates was not bad enough, a former Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, reported new revelations. His speech to the June 1986 Naval Helicopter Symposium stated "the Sovi- ets were in final testing and development of the HAVOC and the Kamov HOKUM."1 The HAVOC is a capable U.S. Army Apache equivalent that will give the Soviets enhanced night flying and ordnance delivery capability. Already in the test and evaluation phase in the USSR, the HOKUM is a formidable 200+ knot air-to-air combat helicopter whose mission will encompass local air superiority. Likely, the HOKUM will include not only air-to-air missiles and guns, but a heads up systems display for the pilot. Also included will be either or possibly both a passive infrared (IR) aircraft radar detector or an active high power track radar as found in their new generation of jet aircraft. Putting the role of the helicopter over land or sea in the proper Soviet perspective Captain Greg Hampton, an Army Cobra pilot, stated: They have carved a niche in their force structure for the employment of the armed helicopter. All indica- tions seem to point to an ever-expanding mission role for the Soviet rotary wing combat arm. Many combat missions are assigned to Warsaw Pact helicopters to in- clude: * Close air support * Ground attack * Anti-tank operations * Escort of airmobile assaults * Anti-helicopter operations 2 Another possible threat to Navy operations can be found in third world countries who view the helicopter as a high value target-asset as evidenced in the Iran-Iraq War. A number of Persian Gulf reports have verified helicopter versus helicopter and even a few fixed wing versus helicop- ter engagements. The problem faced here is the influx of western and Soviet block helicopters found throughout the world. Not only do we have to worry about known threat platforms but many of our own H-1 Hueys and Hughes 500s found in the Third World (Iran-Iraq-North Korea) now pos- sess "agricultural hard points" which are ordnance capable. Helicopters have also been engaged in the Arab-Israeli Wars and even Honduras and Nicaragua have not been immune to cross border flights and engagements. Especially in light of Persian Gulf operations, the potential for Navy helicop- ter aircrews to meet the enemy in an unfriendly air scenar- io remains high. Major P.J. Blemberg, a Marine COBRA pi- lot, currently with Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One said in a presentation to the American Heli- copter Society: Helicopter air to air combat is not a theoretical inev- itability - it is a historical fact. In order to sur- vive and operate effectively in the face of these per- sistent airborne threats, all helicopter crews must be familial with the modern concepts of air combat maneu- vering.3 Other than finally acknowledging the need to meet this anti-helicopter threat, there are three immediate tasks facing the Navy hierarchy: (1) establish the tactics and basics for the conduct of flight operations in possibly contested airspace; (2) identify specific aircraft survival equipment requirements; (3) establish a Navy wide standard- ized training plan to enhance aircrew readiness. The tactics must be based on the current threats faced by Navy crews and a ready source of tactical information is the MAWTS-1 Helicopter Air Combat Guide and the Army's Field Manual FM-107 on air combat. Additionally, the Navy needs a central intelligence clearinghouse on sea based threats to analyze, propose counters, and disseminate in- formation to Navy squadrons on these same threat systems.4 Despite which type or application of tactics are used, there are five basics for aerial survival in contested air- space 1. Seeing the enemy first. 2. Recognizing the enemy aircraft. 3. Giving the attack warning. 4. Avoiding detection. 5. Taking evasive action.5 Seeing the enemy first is the primary survival factor in any threat situation. Each aircrew and passenger must employ an outlook doctrine that provides for 360 degrees of mutually supporting coverage. Until positively identified as a friendly, each aircraft sighted must be considered hostile. Not only must aircrewmen know friendly and enemy aircraft types but they must be able to recognize aggres- sive maneuvers as this act alone may be their initial clue to their detection. An attack warning by members of a flight crew and within a flight are essential to successful evasion. Type, clock-code, distance, and any enhancement on defensive action to be taken is critical. Avoiding detection is a function that needs incorpora- tion into mission planning and training until it is second nature to the aircrew. By flying in non-predictable flight paths, and using camouflage paint schemes on aircraft, aircrew can enhance their ability to accomplish the mis- sion. Finally, taking evasive action is a decision that must be accomplished as soon as the aircrew is sure they have been discovered and attack is imminent. Early evasive action before an airborne threat has actually acquired you may only give your position away. A late reaction may put your aircraft in an untenable situation. The need to incorporate aircraft survival equipment in Navy helicopters is an integral part of the total plan in meeting the threat's weapon systems. The lack of specific helicopter escorts like the U.S. Marines have with their COBRAS requires each helicopter to be outfitted with the most basic types of self-defense protection. The means of defeating an enemy platform often starts with the knowledge that he is here and that his radar is trying to acquire you. The APR-39 radar detector is a system already in use by many U.S. aircraft that will identify to the helicopter aircrew the direction and type of enemy radar scanning. Additionally, the need to defend against infrared missiles has initiated the incorporation of other defense systems. The ALE-39 is an aircraft system that is capable of being programmed to dispense flares, chaff and radar jam- mers that will decoy the seeker head on inbound missiles. Another defensive system being used by the Marines is the ALQ-144. When turned on, the ALQ-144 creates false infra- red signatures that confuse IR missiles and hopefully gives the friendly aircrew an edge in an engagement. In the future and as John Lehman directed as SecNav in 1985, the Navy, like the Army and the Marines, must evalu- ate whether to incorporate self-defensive missiles like the air-to-air Stinger (ATAS) on their airframes.6 This will give these helicopters either the defensive ability to kill the enemy that is trying to kill them or at least delay the enemy long enough until supporting fixed wing aircraft or friendly ship weapon systems can neutralize the threat. Although modified from fixed wing supply assets for heli- copter use, these types of survival equipment are essential to mission accomplishment. Nonetheless, as we have dis- cussed, technology without tactics is doomed to failure. Since the funding of Navy helicopters has been last in the Department of Defense's procurement cycle, this priori- tization has bolstered the helicopter pilot's attitudes of having to fight tomorrow's war with today's weapons. This attitude of fighting with the equipment and training we possess now has to arise anew in a ground swell in the Navy in order to begin in earnest the business of training our helicopter pilots to survive aerial engagements. The Navy helicopter community has to determine exactly how they will introduce and establish the methodology of training. The Army and Marines have already taken a hard look throughout the 1970's and 1980's in pitting helicopters against aerial threats. The 1977 Air Combat Engagement (ACE) test and the 1979 Tactical Aircraft Effectiveness and Survivability Evaluation (TASVAL) were only two of many programs that es- tablished basic lessons learned that the Navy can expand on and incorporate into their own standardization program. A method to approach this training could be for the Navy to use much the same training program the Marines use in teaching aerial combat to their helicopter forces. Then tailor it to any of their specific concerns. This system uses some of the following concepts. One, all aircrew will become thoroughly familiar with the language of air combat, and the glossary of terms and definitions which are the in- dispensable elements of air combat training. This language and glossary provides a foundation which is the cornerstone for all training that would follow. Two, take the lessons learned from the experience that has been distilled from the many years of fixed wing combat and the lessons learned from other United States services. This includes the conceptualization of the many factors ge- neric to all air combat maneuver engagements: lookout doc- trine, flight leadership, crew coordination and engaged and free role responsibilities. Additionally, every pilot and crew must be capable of executing basic single and multiple helicopter flight maneuvers that degrade enemy weapon sys- tem firing solutions and place the enemy at a disadvantage. Surviving the first pass in aerial engagements has been shown to dramatically improve the friendly helicopters chances in an engagement. Three, a means of measuring and standardizing squadron training must be achieved. The Marine Corps uses a Train- ing and Readiness Manual with specific ACM flights incorpo- rated within which the Navy should consider mimicking. When flown, these same flights give numerical points which are computer monitored by the training officer in each squadron. He, along with the commanding officer and the operations officer ensures all pilots receive initial and refresher flights to stay proficient in this arena of flight. Four, in order to accomplish this peacetime training, rules of engagement (ROE) need to be established. Only ef- fective and carefully followed ROE will allow the fullest ACM training to be accomplished by all participating flight crews. The Navy may incorporate ROE into their Navy Flight Manual P3710.7K which then would standardize these rules fleet wide.7 Once the basics of instruction in aerial combat are determined, the decision of who will be the instructors and where this training will take place must be determined. Already in Navy fleet squadrons there are a few MAWTS-1 trained air-to-air qualified instructors. These individu- als could provide the nucleus of the training program and they could prepare the new generation of pilots and attend- ees at the MAWTS-1 school which is conducted twice a year in Yuma, Arizona. As far as a location is concerned for conducting this training, there are many possibilities. One option should be the establishment of their own school to conduct ACM training in Yuma using the same Marine flight and intelligence clearing house facilities. Another option should be establishing an ACM squadron on either the East or West coast and then have the instructors travel to any squadron to conduct extensive on-site training. Regardless of how it is approached, the Navy has over 30 helicopter squadrons flying H-ls, H-2s, H-3s, H-46s, and the new H-60 to train. Each one of these communities should look to apply basic ACM flight skills and survival equipment to their own peculiar flight regimes and air- craft. Whether the mission is Strike Rescue (Combat SAR), ASW, mine sweeping, or resupply, the threat is becoming an ever increasing danger to the conduct of the Navy helicop- ter mission. Unlike the 1983 HIND meeting with the H-2 and unless the Navy recognizes the need for helicopter air combat ma- neuver training, future encounters with enemy aerial threats can become all too real and disastrous to the Navy helicopter force. Over the years, the remark most often heard in quest of training Navy helicopter pilots for ae- rial combat is - while I agree the need is real, the cost is "too high" and the training may be "dangerous". These men are not looking to become the offensive Top Guns of the rotor arena. Navy helicopter aircrew are faced with limit- ed assets, a mission to accomplish, and a desire to be the best there is in their field. It is incumbent on each member of the Navy aviation community to realize the anti-helicopter threat, to make positive recommendations to begin ACM training in the squa- drons and to incorporation aircraft survival equipment in helicopter airframes. With the proper interest, the train- ing departments of the Navy Atlantic and Pacific Fleets can provide the leadership and impetus to ensure Navy "blue water" helicopter aircrews and aircraft are "combat ready". The Navy needs to train in peacetime like it will fight in war. Perhaps this best says it: "In no other profession are the penalties for employ- ing untrained personnel so appalling or so irrevocable as in the military." General Douglas S. MacArthur FOOTNOTES 1 John Lehman, Naval Helicopter Symposium, Group Inter- view about Future of Soviet Helicopters, Norfolk, Virginia, June 3, 1986. 2 Capt. Greg R. Hampton, "Aggressor Helicopter Training Unit," U.S. Army Aviation Digest, 4 (November 1987), 5. 3 Maj. P.J. Blemberg, "Marine Corps Helicopter Air Com- bat Development -- The First Ten Years," American Helicop ter Society, November, 1986, p. 8. 4 Cdr. Larry E. Larson, Navy Training OP-593F, personal interview about Navy helicopter training, Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, March 17, 1988. 5 Chief of Naval Operations, USN, Assault Support Heli- copter Tactical Manual, NWP 55-9-ASH (Rev C), (Washington, 1985), pp. 4-1,2. 6 Melinda N. Lacroix, "Helicopter Defense Update" Ma- rine Corps Gazette, 15 (March 1988), 8. 7 Chief of Naval Operations ltr to Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe/Atlantic/Pacific and the Comman- dant of the Marine Corps, dtd 30 Nov 1987 (TDA-25 File 3500 Ser 05G2/7U405417, Washington, D.C.). BIBLIOGRAPHY Blemberg, P.J., Maj, "Marine Corps Helicopter Air Combat Development -- The First Ten Years."American Helicopter Society, November, 1986, 8. Brogna, Anthony, Capt, USA, "Multitrack -- Posturing The Aviation Force To Meet The Challenges Of The Next Century." U.S. Army Aviation Digest, 4 (December 1987), 10-13. Chief of Naval Operations, USN, Assault Support Helicopter Tactical Manual, NWP 55-9-ASH (Rev C), (Washington, 1985), 4-1,2. Chief of Naval Operations ltr to Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe/Atlantic/Pacific and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, dtd 30 Nov 1987 (TDA-25 File 3500 Ser 05G2/7tJ405417, Washington, D.C.). Fyodorov, Aleksei, Col, USSR Aviation Army, "Fighter Avia- tion Tactics." Soviet Military Review, 21 (February 1987), Pt #1, 12-13. Hampton, Greg R., Capt, "Aggressor Helicopter Training Unit." U.S. Army Aviation Digest, 4 (November 1987), 5. Kemp, Ian, "NATO In The `90s: The Chopper Comes Of Age." Defense & Foreign Affairs, 7 (February 1987), 22-27. Lacroix, Melinda M., "Helicopter Defense Update." Msarine Corps Gazette, 15 (March 1988), 8. Lambert, Mark, "First HAVOC, Now HOKUM -- What Role For The New Soviet Helicopter." Interavia 40 (Jul 1985), 798-9. Larson, Larry E., Cdr, Navy Training OP-593F, personal in terview about Navy helicopter training, Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, March 17, 1988. Lehman, John, Naval Helicopter Symposium, Group Interview About Future of Soviet Helicopters, Norfolk, Virginia, June 3, 1986.
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