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Marine Aviation: Relevant in MOUT?

 

CSC 1997

 

Subject Area - Aviation

 

Executive Summary

 

Title: Marine Aviation: Relevant in MOUT?

 

Author: Major Mark. P. Everman, United States Marine Corps

 

Thesis: Where is the Marine Corps likely to fight in the 21st century? Is Marine aviation presently prepared to wage war in this environment? What are the current shortfalls and what should the Corps do to insure Marine aviation is capable of being employed in the battles of the 21st century.

 

Discussion: Throughout history, many nations (to include the US. and FSU) military doctrine sought to, and continue to avoid confrontations in urban areas. Two big reasons include slow tempo of operations and high casualties. Since World War II, there has been a steady shift from an agrarian based society to a service oriented society all over the world. By the year 2015, 85% of the world's population will reside the littorals with over half living in urban areas. Adversaries will attempt to negate superior US. firepower by seeking engagements in the confines of the urban environment. Presently, Marine aviation is capable of providing adequate support in 5 of its 6 functions. These 5 functions all have improvements on the board that will increase their effectiveness in the future. Aviation's current shortfall is in providing offensive air support, and there are no initiatives underway to correct it. To do so requires a change in the mindset of its leaders, the procurement of weapons that are suitable for that environment, and the acquisition of training areas that allow truly tactical training.

 

Conclusion: The US. Marine Corps will be engaged in urban conflicts in the future. To maintain operational tempo and reduce casualties in urban areas requires a true air-ground combined arms concept of warfighting. Aviation is not presently able to perform offensive air support in this arena. Aviation must admit this and tell the Commandant what is required to become relevant in the urban terrain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 21st Century, US. Marines are most likely to fight in urban environments. The seed of unrest is already planted in many areas throughout the world[1]. Insurgencies that threaten the US. or our allies will seek to exploit this situation. The insurgents are aware that these urban areas house the centers of national power; political, economic, and cultural. More important, most people live in cities, and they ultimately are the source of all power. Our potential adversaries witnessed the Persian Gulf War where the US. led coalition systematically dismantled the Iraqi army in the open, rural desert area. From this future conflicts will occur in urban areas.

This is not to say that the world and US. have not operated in urban environments in the past, for it has and continues to do so (Table 1). Operations in urban environments have been difficult and very costly in terms of time and resources. Due to the natural and man made features of the urban environment, mobility, communication, and observation of fields of fire have been severely restricted. Thus, the urban environment acts as a force multiplier for a defense. A small force with proper training, equipment, and coordination can defend effectively for an extended period of time against a larger, more sophisticated aggressor. Mogadishu, Beirut, Hue and Stalingrad all support this fact. Israel, in the "Peace for Galilee" campaign in 1982, sought to capture the city of Beirut, defeat the 20th

CENTURY CONFLICTS IN CITIES

RIGA

1917

MADRID

1936

EBROIN

1938

WARSAW

1939

ROTTERDAM

1940

MOSCOW

1942

STALINGRAD

1942

LENINGRAD

1942

WARSAW

1943

*PALERMO

1944

*BREST

1944

WARSAW

1944

*AACHEN

1944

ORTONA

1944

*CHERBOURG

1944

BRESLAU

1945

*WEISSENFELS

1945

BERLIN

1945

*MANILA

1945

*SAN MANUEL

1945

*SEOUL

1950

BUDAPEST

1956

*BERIUT

1958

*SANTA DOMINGO

1965

*SAIGON

1968

*KONTUM

1968

*HUE

1968

BELFAST

1972

MONTEVIDEO

1972

*QUANGTRI CITY

1972

*AN LOC

1972

*XUAN LOC

1975

*SAIGON

1975

*BEIRUT

1975-8

MANAGUA

1978

KABUL

1978-87

TYRE

1982

SIDON

1982

*PANAMA CITY

1989

*KHAFJI

1990

*MOGADISHU

1992-4

SARAJEVO

On-Going

GROZNY

1994

CHECHNYA

1994

 

* DIRECT U. S. INVOLVEMENT

Table 1[2]

PLO, and drive the Syrians out. Tanks, artillery, and air delivered weapons were employed to destroy targets; a by-product of their success was large amounts of rubble that the PLO utilized to strengthen their defensive positions. The Israelis gained ground


but it was by the yard. It took 45 days of fighting until the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) gained the offense. However, in a rural area with the same forces the offensive would have been gained in only a matter of a few days.[3]

Because of the high cost, especially in terms of lives, traditional doctrine has been to avoid or bypass the urban environments and seek victory in the open rural areas. This is not just true for the United States, but applies to numerous countries including the Former Soviet Union. The Former Soviet Union had two key operational concepts when assaulting a built up area. The first was that unless able to defeat the force in a swift surprise attack, the enemy force had to be isolated from the outside by envelopment or encirclement. This practice permitted the Soviets to defeat the enemy or entice them to retreat out into the open and be defeated there. The second Soviet principle was to operate as small units in coordinated attacks on key enemy resistance points in the area[4].

The United States prefers to operate in rural areas so as to be able to mass firepower at a decisive time and place. This practice permits minimizing casualties, friendly and non-combatant, and collateral damage. One key arm in the massing of firepower has been aviation. Air is very mobile and powerful. In the Second World War, tactical air repeatedly struck urban areas in Europe and Japan without regard to damage in infrastructure or the cost of lives, non-combatant or combatants. The United States public


accepted this type of operation and resulting destruction in a total war which was conducted by the military with the support of the government and the people.

Since the Second World War, the United States has been engaged in only limited wars for limited objectives, militarily and politically, which have not directly threatened our national existence. Correspondingly, the public no longer accepts that level of destruction. Equally, the public is very much concerned about casualties, US. first and non-combatants second, as well as the perception of needless destruction of infrastructure. Thus, one can see why the US. military prefers to avoid conflicts in urban environments. Our superiority in firepower and mobility lends itself to the rural area. Urban combat generates slow tempo, high casualties, and bad press. Urban terrain negates US. firepower as seen with General Aideed's military forces in Mogadishu.

According to FMFM 5-1, "Marine aviation's primary mission is to participate as the FMF's supporting air component."[5] The six functions of Marine aviation all apply in urban warfare. FMFM 5-1 further states that "The single overriding success of any future operation is the achievement of air superiority."[6] Marine aviation's current doctrine and technology provides the MAGTF with air superiority over the urban battlefield. Air superiority allows follow on ground and air operations to proceed without prohibitive interference from enemy air power. An additional benefit of air superiority is that, by refusing the enemy the use of the air, we will deny him the opportunity to conduct airborne reconnaissance and therefore degrade his intelligence picture. These benefits


allow the MAGTF Commander to decide when, where, and how to act. Urban environments vertical terrain degrades ones ability to neutralize the air threat (especially rotary wing) by surface to air weapons. Aircraft (fw/rw) will be our most effective platform for locating and destroying enemy helicopters masking within the urban terrain as the Russians did in Grozny.[7]

The USMC Conception of Future Operations

The future battlefield will use dispersed forces in great depth and breadth, acting independently to achieve the commander's intent. In minimizing the logistical footprint the MAGTF Commander will remain sea based. He will require an extensive communication network that will connect all individuals, sensors, and systems and is fast, reliable, secure, redundant, and robust. Primary communications will be data; voice will be secondary and for use in emergencies. The current communication system is based on voice radio communications which is dependent on line of sight (LOS) for transmission. Man-made vertical structures within the urban environment will significantly "inhibit LOS radio communications by absorbing or reflecting transmitted signals."[8] Aviation platforms act as radio relays and airborne coordination centers (DASC[A], TAC[A], FAC[A],and attack aircraft) to minimize this effect. The Israeli Defense Force introduced the remote piloted vehicle (RPV) as a radio relay[9], and the US. is vigorously pursuing the


usage of long duration unmanned aerial vehicles for this role. During the Commandant's Warfighting Laboratory's advanced warfighting experiment (AWE) Hunter Warrior, the special purpose MAGTF will attempt to employ a dirigible or aerostat to transmit information (digital data and voice) throughout the dispersed forces faster and more efficiently.[10] Aviation, manned or unmanned, increases the situational awareness of the commander, his staff, and the individual Marine by connecting individual systems of the network. This connectivity is of vital importance in the urban environment.

Air reconnaissance provides the MAGTF Commander and his subordinates with the ability to collect raw data on specific areas of interest. All aircraft (rotary and fixed wing, manned and unmanned) currently in the fleet practice visual reconnaissance and relay their information via voice communications to a specific element. They also possess means to record on tape what their sensors (television, infrared, or radar) see allowing post flight data retrieval for analysis. Unmanned aerial vehicles provide a real time data-downlink at this time. The F/A-18D equipped with advanced tactical air reconnaissance system (ATARS) will provide near real time delivery of battlefield imagery. Overhead imagery of the battlefield also comes from satellites. This imagery can then be processed into the Tactical Aviation Mission Planning System (TAMPS version 6.3) to then produce a current, registered GPS map or image of the urban environment. TAMPS can then electronically disseminate its product (map or image) throughout the MAGTF supplying everyone with a common database to work from.


Airborne sensors provide a wide area of coverage that is less affected from the vertical obstructions of the urban terrain than ground-based sensors. They provide updated information on the enemy's composition, disposition, and activities. With real time links to the combat operation center (COC) ground commanders situational awareness is increased. These real time links must include the small units operating in the urban area. Decentralized execution requires that the small unit leader is aware of crowd formations, barrier erections and ambushes, mine emplacement, and vehicle movements. Armed with this information he can maneuver not blindly against the enemy's strength but rapidly through gaps choosing when, where, and how to engage. Maneuvering in this fashion will reduce casualties on all sides.

One of the biggest advantages of air over ground reconnaissance assets is the ability to see and in the future electronically hear what is on the roof tops, and then to direct fires on it to suppress or destroy it. Sniper, mortar, and rocket propelled grenades (RPG 's) have been employed from a position of vertical elevation, frequently rooftops. The ability to precisely locate these prior to, or immediately upon firing, and bringing accurate counterfire to bear for suppression is crucial in minimizing their effectiveness and our casualties. This is best accomplished from the air. Thermal, radar, acoustic, and/or TV detection technologies are being incorporated into UAV's to accomplish this mission.

In the future, the preponderance of the reconnaissance-surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) effort will be performed by UAV's. The Marine Corps and the Navy operated the Pioneer UAV during Operation Desert Storm with mixed results. Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) provided early warning, wide area coverage of mobile targets. The Pioneer was used to confirm these targets via a passive optical or infrared sensor with great success. As a result of Pioneers performance, Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO) officials plan to spend $1.59 billion on UAV's in the years 1998 - 2003.[11] A team concept of tactical short range systems (Pioneer, Hunter, Outrider), medium range systems (Predator), and long range systems (Global Hawk and Dark Star) would provide blanketed coverage of the urban battlefield.[12] Further enhancements being studied include synthetic aperture radar (SAR); moving target indicator (MTI) radar; signal intelligence (SIGINT); measurements and signatures intelligence (MASINT); meteorological (MET) sensors; automatic target detection, cueing, and recognition; laser designation; and delivery of aerial munitions[13]. These enhancements would provide the commander with continuous, all weather, accurate, unclassified imagery that could detect the full spectrum (theater ballistic missiles to individual vehicles/combatants) of threat activity. The commander and services must require that this information be disseminated throughout the force in real or near-real time basis for optimal benefit.

In coming over the horizon, from the sea, to the battlefield (urban or rural) the primary means for rapid insertion of the force will be from the air. Airspace benefits from being devoid of sea states, mines, and terrain (man-made or natural). Assuming we possess air superiority as previously stated, the only current limitation is weather. The


MV-22 will provide our troops increased mobility in terms of time, distance, and terrain over which it can maneuver. Requirements for all weather operations could, and should be included in its capabilities. This would include the ability to automatically fly coupled approaches to a designated spot. Designation capabilities from ground forces or itself (GPS or radar) should be incorporated.

The urban environment presents additional considerations. One is that the preponderance of the force will be foot mobile infantry. For their personal mobility and survivability, the load they carry needs to be light. In minimizing the MAGTF's threat exposure, resupply will come from the sea. Aerial delivery will be the primary means to resupply the small dispersed forces. Helicopters currently provide this capability. As the NEF moves back over the horizon, the MV-22 Osprey will become the most efficient manned resupply vehicle. Hunter Warrior will examine the potential ability of unmanned aerial delivery systems (UADS)[14] to rapidly resupply units without undue exposure of logistic elements and aircrew.

These foot mobile infantry forces will further require the ability to shoot and scoot. Ground mobility assets require forces to be at ground level for embarkation and debarkation. Air mobility significantly enhances the forces ability to scoot. Air mobility can cover greater distances in less time. It provides flexibility; pick up and delivery can occur at either ground or roof top level. This alleviates unnecessary physical demands on


the forces (i.e.: going up and down stairs). Air mobility provides the commander with the speed required for gaining the advantage in operational tempo.

OAS in Urban Settings?

Tactical offensive air support (OAS) operations use aviation in coordination with ground or naval forces to-

+ Prevent movement of enemy forces into and within the objective area.

+ Locate and destroy enemy forces and their supporting installations.

+ Join with ground or naval forces to help them achieve their objectives.[15]

In the urban environment air interdiction efforts are directed at isolating the area. This will involve attacks directed against their lines of communication, resupply and evacuation routes, and command and control systems. Armed reconnaissance primary purpose is to locate and attack targets of opportunity. Urban construction will cause mobile targets to be very fleeting to those on the ground. Aviation has greater freedom to maneuver in the airspace above the terrain and as a result be able to maintain contact long enough to identify, and engage the target. The aim of interdiction and armed reconnaissance is to shape the battlefield, creating conditions for successful follow on operations. An example would be interdiction attacks on sources of electrical power to create a blacked out night time environment so as to exploit our night system capability.

Despite our interdiction and armed reconnaissance efforts, our ground forces will inevitably become engaged with the enemy. In supporting the ground forces in achieving their objective, and protecting them, aviation will be summoned for close air support


(CAS). CAS must be responsive. Due to the nature of the urban terrain, engagements will occur at short ranges. The enemy will attempt to bring these ranges inside weapon sensors discriminatory range (North Vietnamese at Hue City, Soviets at Stalingrad) to deny the use of air support. Aviation possesses the ability to be on scene overhead to provide this timely, prompt response but currently falls short on being able to distinguish friend from foe.

Target Aquisition

Traditional methods of walking the pilots' eyes onto the target will not be sufficient in the urban area. Talk-ons will be of greater importance. For this to be successful requires an accurate and universal urban map/image that could be provided by TAMPS. A typical urban targeting grid will quickly focus the aircrew in the direction of the target. Further amplification will be provided to the pilot as to the exact position of the target in relation to the urban grid. An example might be "Stone 01, small arms fire, A4, third story east side." The aircrew can then plan his approach to minimize the masking of the target by the urban terrain and maximize the probability of target acquisition. This acquisition process is enhanced by an accurate mark. Indirect fires will be constrained by the vertical terrain. Designation device (visible and laser) effectiveness may be reduced due to the specular reflective surfaces on and within urban structures.[16] Traditional direct fire marking rounds of smoke or white phosphorus can be utilized for ground targets but have little use in marking vertical targets (i.e., 3rd floor of a building). In this context the mark would fall to the surface or penetrate the building and may not be

observable. A paint-ball marking round would satisfy the requirement to stick to the building at the proper vertical level. An additional benefit to this type of round is that it could be used to mark buildings near roof top level to indicate the forward line of troops[17]. For night operations, an infrared round could be used that is compatible with night vision devices.

CID

In the future all military personnel and equipment could be outfitted with some form of combat identification device (CID) that could be interrogated or scanned by the sensor or weapon prior to engagement. Requirements of a CID system are near 100 percent accuracy, reliability under all operating conditions, security to prevent enemy interference or mimicking. To accomplish this would require a combination of active-cooperative and passive systems. The US. Army is testing an active-cooperative system on vehicles called the battlefield combat identification system (BCIS). This system uses transponders to interrogate and reply to similarly equipped vehicles. This system is proving accurate (99%) but may not be practical in battle. Fires could destroy necessary external mounted gear (antennas); electronic warfare could degrade the signal as well as target its source. Passive systems would complement active by reading a tag or label on the object (similar to bar code scanners at grocery stores) or processing natural emanations from the object (acoustic, thermal, magnetic). The active-passive mix could provide accurate (near 100 percent) discrimination of friend, foe, and non-combatant.[18]

 

The Problem of Munitions

Aviation's biggest shortfall in conducting urban operations lies in its arsenal of weapons. To be effective and utilized, the weapon delivered must produce the desired effect on the target. OAS must also conform to the laws of war, specifically proportionality, and to the current rules of engagement (ROE). Current weapons were designed for conventional, high intensity, rural conflicts against a highly mobile armor force, the Former Soviet Union. This ordnance performed well in the Persian Gulf War since it was primarily delivered in interdiction strikes. Our current development and procurement efforts have been on precision engagement and getting a "bigger bang for the buck." This approach may be correct for the type of conflict mentioned above but is ill suited for urban warfare. Urban warfare munitions require precision engagement with low collateral damage and minimal casualties (friendly, non-combatants, and even enemy). This ordnance disconnect is why aviation is considered by many not to be applicable or suitable to the urban environment.

To correct this deficiency aviation must change its future requirements. This will be difficult since other services must agree. Most procurement processes are done jointly for commonality and cost reduction. The USN emphasis is on a Tomahawk Mobile Target Attack Capability (TOM TAC) cruise missile that would have the ability to be diverted inflight to strike mobile targets[19]. The USAF is pursuing two systems; the joint direct attack munition (JDAM) and the joint standoff weapon (JSOW). JDAM is a GPS guided MK-83 (1,000lb.) or MK-84 (2,000lb.) bomb with either a conventional blast-fragmentation warhead or a deep penetrator warhead. Accuracy would be to within forty feet circular error of probability (CEP).[20] The disconnect is that in the most recent urban involvements, ROE has limited the munitions to 500 pounds or less. JSOW is designed to carry lethal anti-armor submunitions or a 500 pound unitary warhead. Grozny demonstrated that lethal submunitions often have their greatest effect on non-combatants and as such are not optimal for urban involvements. The JSOW unitary is JDAM GPS guided but costs could drive it to be a strategic interdiction weapon, not as a CAS weapon. To date there are no efforts to supply low yield weapons for fixed-wing OAS in urban environments.

Rotary wing weapon emphasis is on replacing the Hellfire and Tow with the Joint Advanced Weapon Systems (JAWS). JAWS warhead is a shaped charge designed to destroy armor vehicles. In Somalia this type of warhead proved ineffective when employed against targets inside a building. "Five minutes after firing a TOW at the target building, the snipers were back up firing."[21] These programs are attempting to correct perceived deficiencies from Desert Storm and should be in the fleet by 2003.

The issue is not that we do not require these weapons, but rather that we also need to develop weapons designed to satisfy the unique requirements of the urban environment. First, the munition and its employment must create the desired end state which will vary (destroy, damage, fix or immobilize, suppress, and influence). Second, it must be tailored to the target, which in urban areas will predominantly be ground forces in the open and in buildings or armored vehicles. Third, while affecting or destroying the target, it must inflict a minimal amount of collateral damage to protect non-combatants, maintain public support, minimize reconstruction costs, and rubbling. Lastly, employment will be at short range with the impact in very close proximity to friendly troops.

Current fixed wing ordnance applicable to the urban environment is limited to the GBU-12 ( Mk-82 500lb.) LGB, AGM-65 Mavericks, and cannon. The GBU-12 is accurate with a CEP of ten feet and thus could be employed in interdiction or armed reconnaissance missions. Due to the blast frag pattern, its employment in close proximity to troops would be undesirable except in dire circumstances. It also requires continuous laser line of sight for proper guidance, which could be interrupted by terrain, atmospheric conditions and countermeasures. Airborne designating would help, but not all platforms are capable of self-designating at this time.

The AGM-65A (TV), B, and D (IR) all carry shaped charge warheads that are effective against armored vehicles and tanks but have minimal effect on troops in the open or to buildings. The missile, if successfully guided, will cause minimal collateral damage, but if it breaks lock it will detonate wherever it strikes. The IR AGM-65F and G contain a 300 pound blast-penetrator warhead and selectable delay fuze setting enabling penetration of four feet of concrete prior to warhead detonation. The warhead has great potential in urban conflicts but missile applicability is reduced due to the same guidance problem as the A, B, and D. The AGM-65E uses the same warhead as the F and G but guides via laser energy. With proper guidance, its CEP is within four feet; if guidance fails the missile will proceed to climb and de-arm causing minimal damage. This capability makes the AGM-65E an appropriate munition for urban conflicts.

Fixed wing cannons are not precision guided but due to their velocity are quite accurate. Directed fire nears precision, with dispersion generally within 5 milliradians. The munitions can affect the target sets with minimal impact on the surrounding area and thus are pertinent to urban areas.

Rotary wing ordnance currently applicable to the urban conflict include cannon, BGM-71 TOW, and AGM-114 Hellfire. The rotary wing cannon (20 and 30mm cannon) offers all the same characteristics as the fixed wing cannon. Additional benefits of the

rotary-wing cannon include a larger ammunition magazine and a longer time on station (TOS).

The BGM-71 TOW is wire guided and requires 1640 feet to properly capture and guide to the target. The warhead is a shaped charge similar to that of the AGM-65A, B, and D. As such, it is suitable against armor vehicles in the open but is of only limited use against troops or buildings as previously discussed. The Hellfire uses the same warhead but is laser guided and flies an up and over profile that enhances its destructive ability making it the primary weapon for exposed armor in urban areas.

Munition Recommendations

In correcting these deficiencies we will start with a look at the past. MK -82 (500lb.) bombs are presently in the inventory but are not in future procurement plans of any service. The inventory used to include the MK-81 (250lb.) bomb. Outfitted with a laser guidance package for precision engagement, this munition would have satisfied the requirements demanded by the urban environment for fixed-wing aircraft. The Advanced Rocket System (ARS) was designed for fixed and rotary-wing aircraft but was canceled. ARS utilized a hyper-velocity rocket that brought its accuracy close to that of a cannon/gun enabling employment in the urban conflicts. RBS-17 Hellfire was produced for the Swedish Navy as an anti-ship missile. The US Navy tested the missile on H-60 but opted not to procure the system. This missile used a 20 pound blast fragmentation warhead vice the shaped charge of its predecessor. The warhead's low explosive yield created the desired effects on the target while minimizing collateral damage. The two Hellfires would have complemented each other, covering the most probable urban targets. Aviation could quickly enhance its urban contribution by procuring these proven, tested munitions. Future weapons need to be designed to cover the requirements. The ability to adjust the explosive yield and select fuze settings from the cockpit would enhance target effectiveness while minimizing collateral damage.

The CWL states that the commander will require the flexibility of employing non-lethal fires, particularly at the low end of the spectrum of conflict and in urban areas where collateral damage and non-combatant casualties are unacceptable.[22] Non-lethal weapons (NLW) have been around for a while. EW and Psyops are part of this family and will not be discussed here. The US. is currently employing/developing the following types: acoustic signals, microwaves, sticky and slippery foams, lasers, optical (flash), chemicals, radio frequency (EMP) and entanglements to name a few. In minimizing the logistical footprint ashore and the burden to ground forces these munitions must be adapted to aerial delivery as well. Currently this is not being investigated. Examples of some quick solutions for fixed wing are:

1. Napalm canisters filled with a foam that makes the surface sticky or slippery.

2. FAE being filled with non-lethal aerosols.

3. Cluster munitions filled with soft balls of a harassment type substance.

All three have current flight and delivery clearances and ballistics. NLW's must not detract from our ability to deliver lethal force when required. If our opponents believe that we will not employ lethal force our ability to deter conflict or escalation will diminish.

Training For How We Will Fight

Aviation's other shortfall is in training. MEU (SOC) Training in Urban Environment (TRUE) is the only place where MOUT is emphasized for aviation. This training occurs in areas such as New Orleans, Miami, Atlanta, and San Francisco. These areas are realistic but have limitations. Day operations are non existent and night operations are not able to be done without cultural lighting under night vision devices. Additionally, fixed wing is prohibited from any tactical profiles. All they are permitted to do is to fly over the area on an IFR clearance. The training facilities that allow tactical operations, such as the MOUT facility at Camp Lejuene, NC., are not representative of actual areas of engagement. The smaller scale may be adequate for ground forces but does not pose the problems aircrew will face in actual urban conflicts. Training and Readiness (T&R) manuals for all Marine fixed-wing type/model/series aircraft do not designate any sorties to the urban environment.

Provided with the proper weapons, aviation must ensure their effective employment. To accomplish this, aviation needs to improve their ability to train. This entails better simulators as well as actual training areas. Training center(s) need to be accurately constructed, of sufficient size (horizontal and vertical development), and in locations that permit all participants to train tactically during the day and night. We must demand the capability to train so we can fight.

Conclusion

With the National Security Strategy of engagement and enlargement, we can expect to be called upon to enter into the urban arena for conflict resolution. We must not accept that urban environments will be limited to infantry only, for this will lead to high and unacceptable casualty rates. We see ourselves as a Marine Air-Ground Task Force, so why leave ground forces without aviation support? We must not. Our leaders need to realize the contribution that aviation can provide in the urban environment. Once acknowledged, they will make OAS in MOUT a requirement and allocate the necessary funding to correct the current shortfalls.

Title 10 U.S.C. 5063 states that "The Marine Corps shall be organized, trained and equipped to provide fleet Marine Forces of combined Arms... The Marine Corps shall include not less than 3 Combat Divisions and (3 Air Wings)...[23]" The MAGTF warfighting doctrine is based on a combined arms concept to maximize combat power. For the enemy to reduce his vulnerability to one arm, he will make himself vulnerable to another arm. Additionally, it provides an increase in force protection over employment of a single arm alone. Aviation is one of the arms and OAS is a major contributor.

The Commandant has stated:

"We must not be lulled into complacency because we have always been ready, relevant and capable. What might be ready, relevant and capable today may be less so the day after tomorrow. We must anticipate change, adapt to it, and foster it. We shall remain relevant only if we are willing to meet future challenges and adapt to new needs."[24]

The future Marine battlefield will likely occur in the urban littorals. Aviation must be brutally honest with itself and tell the Commandant that it is not relevant, ready, or capable of providing OAS to the ground commander in our most likely future conflicts. It must also educate him as to its present capabilities and of the necessary changes required for it to become relevant, ready and capable. The Commandant has stated that it is his intention to outfit each Marine with the proper gear so he can accomplish his mission. It is up to aviation to tell him what their proper gear is. Aviation must garner the requisite support (weapon procurement & training) to make itself relevant and effective on the future urban battlefield. This will enable the MAGTF to employ all arms, maximizing its combat power. The synergistic effect is superior combat power that is more than the sum of the individual parts. Ultimately, the MAGTF's capability to deter conflict will be increased, and if not able to deter, will bring about conflict resolution quicker with less casualties and damage.


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Staff Reporters. "Corps Launches Satellite Plan." Navy Times, 7 October 1996, Downloaded from AOL, 8 January 1997, 1.

 

Unterreiner, CDR Ronald, USN, MAJ Jeffrey A. Brelsford USAF, MAJ Richard J. Findlay USMC, MAJ John F. Hunnell USAF, and MAJ Michael F. Wagner USAF. Close Air Support (CAS) in 2025. Master Thesis. Maxwell, AL: Air University, June 1996.

 



[1] COL Ray Cole, USMC, Land and Littoral Warfare, Overhead Briefing Slides (Washington, DC: Joint Warfighting Capabilities Assessment Division, October 1996), 3; MAJ Gary Schenkel, "Urban Warrior Orientation," brief presented at the Marine Corps Research Center, Quantico, VA, 12 February 1997.

[2] Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1), Aviation Combat Element: Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT), (Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, AZ: 1996) Draft edition IV, 1-4.

[3] MAWTS-1, 1-4.

[4] Lilita I Dzirkals, Konrad Kellen, and Horst Mendershausen, Military Operations in Built-Up Areas: Essays on Some Past, Present, and Future Aspects, R-1871-ARPA (Santa Monica, CA: The Rand Corp., June 1976), 32.

[5] Fleet Marine Force Manual (FMFM) 5-1, Organization and Function of Marine Aviation (Quantico, VA: Department of the Navy, October 1991), 1-1.

[6] FMFM 5-1, 1-2.

[7] CPT Kevin W. Brown, USMC, Historic Close Support in MOUT, unpublished research paper (Quantico, VA: Studies & Analysis Division, MCCDC, December 1996), 10.

[8] MAWTS-1, 1-11.

[9] MAWTS-1, 1-12.

[10] Staff Reporters, "Corps Launches Satellite Plan," Navy Times, 7 October 1996, Downloaded from AOL, 8 January 1997.

[11] Pat Cooper, "U. S. Readies UAVs for New Battlefield Roles," Defense News 12, no. 2 (13 - 19 January 1997): 26.

[12] Pat Cooper, 26.

[13] Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Program Plan, (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, April 1994) 8-2.

[14] "Hunter Warrior Media Packet," (I MEF Joint Public Affairs Office) Downloaded from Internet, http//ismo-www1.mqg.usmc.mil/cwl-main/html/huntwar.htm, 28 February 1997, 7.

[15] Fleet Marine Force Manual (FMFM) 5-40, Offensive Air Support (Quantico VA: Department of the Navy, October 1992), 2-5.

[16] MAWTS-1, 4-14.

[17] During the Peace for Galilee conflict, the Israeli Defense Force placed flags on top of buildings that had been cleared to highlight friendly positions to aircraft while conducting urban CAS.

[18] CDR Ronald Unterreiner USN, MAJ Jeffrey Brelsford USAF, MAJ Richard Findlay USMC, MAJ John Hunnell USAF, and MAJ Michael Wagner USAF, Close Air Support (CAS) in 2025, Master Thesis (Maxwell, AL: Air University, June 1996), 3-5.

[19] Robert Holser, "Funding a more mission-flexible Tomahawk," Marine Corps Times, 24 February 1997, 31.

[20] MAJ Jon M. Davis, USMC, Urban Offensive Air Support: Is the United States Military Prepared and Equipped?, Masters of Military Studies, (Quantico, VA: USMC Command and Staff College, May 1995) 81.

[21] Davis, 55.

[22] Commandant's Warfighting Laboratory (CWL) "Long Poles in the Sea Dragon Tent-Fires and Targetting," Downloaded from internet on 28 February 1997: http://ismo-www1.mqg.usmc.mil/cwl-main/html/fires.htm, 3.

[23] LTCOL C. S. Hudleston, USMC, "Ground Combat Element," lecture presented at the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Quantico, VA, 16 December 1996.

[24] Chris Lawson, "Taming the Dragon," Navy Times, 25 March 1996, downloaded from AOL: 11 January 1997, 1.



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