USAF: flexibility the key to superiority


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Is it? What is key to air superiority?


USAF: flexibility the key to superiority

Michael Sirak JDW Staff Reporter

Overall, Roche said the air campaign is progressing well. The USAF is able to maintain high mission-capable rates for its combat aircraft and has combat-search-and-rescue assets positioned - having lost no aircraft yet.

The USAF is now playing a major role in weakening the combat strength of the Iraqi Republican Guard division south of Baghdad before a major coalition ground assault against them, he said.

He said USAF inventories of laser-guided bombs and global positioning system-guided weapons, like the Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), remain sufficient.

There is "no concern as of this point," he said. "Right now the JDAMs on the B-1 is the weapon of choice," noting the bomber aircraft's ability to carry 50% more of the precision-guided munitions than any other platform.

JDAM production currently hovers at around 2,500 units per month, he said.

The Iraqis have not frequently turned on their air-defence radars around Baghdad, instead firing anti-aircraft missiles in an unguided mode. This has allowed US bombers to operate over or near the Iraqi capital, he said

Roche said that the air force has approximately 200 inflight refuelling aircraft in the region. The refuelling 'bridge' has performed well, the secretary said, while acknowledging the initial difficulties in positioning tanker aircraft to support US Navy carrier-based assets in the Mediterranean Sea before the US had established overflight routes in Turkey.