Warplanes: Intimate Ground Support


August 1, 2008: As U.S. ground combat forces are withdrawn from Iraq over the next few years, the U.S. Air Force is planning on taking over the task of providing a lot more of the protection for the American troops still down there. Iraqi security forces will soon be able to take care of all the combat operations on the ground, and eventually the only American troops there will be for training. The air force plans to take care of these troops, who will eventually not have access to lots of American combat troops (quick reaction teams) ready to roll to the aid of any U.S. personnel under attack. The air force plans to replace the quick reaction teams with air power. This will consist of armed UAVs, that can quickly sort out the situation by providing live video to army commanders, and precise firepower in the form of Hellfire missiles and 500 pound smart bombs. There are even smaller missiles, than the 107 pound Hellfire, available for UAVs, and these will be used to minimize civilian casualties. The U.S. Army will also have AH-64 helicopter gunships available, but the air force jets will often arrive first, simply because they move faster.

It is expected that, for many years to come, there will still be Islamic radicals in Iraq, and that these groups will seek to kill or capture Americans. U.S. troops operating in Iraq will be armed, and trained to deal with this sort of thing, and the air force will be there to back them up. These techniques are already being used, so the air force is confident that, in the future, they will have proved that air power can be more than most ground troops currently believe it can be.




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