Warplanes: March 22, 2001


Throughout the 1990s, the U.S. air force moved towards a new style of bombing. Obsessed with avoiding losses to ground fire, bombing was done from 15,000 feet. This kept aircraft out of range of anti-aircraft guns and portable heat seeking missiles. Longer range missiles were avoided using extensive electronic warfare efforts. But there was one major problem that no improvements in guided bombs and sensors could overcome; you had a hard time hitting anything from that far up. Moreover, operating that high made it easier for the enemy on the ground to use deception. This was seen with embarrassing effect when NATO ground troops moved into Kosovo in 1999 and found only a handful of destroyed armored vehicles. The NATO air forces had claimed hundreds of vehicles destroyed. Many air force officers now admit there is a problem and are looking hard at solutions. The most painful solution is to depend on countermeasures for portable and low altitude missiles. Aircraft would then be able to go in low and hit real targets, not decoys. Other solutions include better high altitude sensors, but so far this approach has consistently failed. 


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close