Forces: December 22, 1999



The Pentagon is considering a plan to establish Joint Rapid Reaction Forces that could respond quickly to international emergencies. The first of these might be ready as soon as 2005. It is not entirely clear if these forces would be tailored to specific types of potential emergencies (war, peacekeeping, natural disaster) or if a "one force fits all missions" philosophy would be adopted, nor is it clear what size such a force would be. The plan is to form an experimental headquarters, evolve this into a preliminary force, and then convert other units into the specific rapidly deployable type of units needed. In theory, this Joint Rapid Reaction Force would:
@ deploy by military and commercial transportation within 96 hours.
@ enter into combat very quickly after its arrival.
@ operate without large overseas bases by using "austere local facilities".
@ contain forces with increased lethality over current units, allowing a smaller and more easily transported force to have a greater impact on the battle.
@ integrate with local allied or coalition units, providing unique US warfighting abilities to support their efforts rather than carrying the main combat burden.
@ use extensive sensor systems to know more about the enemy, allowing the force to avoid enemy strengths and exploit enemy weaknesses.
@ maximize survivability by a number of means, including force agility, destroying enemy forces before they can come within range of US units, and information warfare. --Stephen V Cole

South Africa finally signed the expected orders for $5 billion worth of new weapons on 3 Dec. The various deals include:
@ Four MEKO A200 patrol corvettes for delivery in 2004-2005.
@ Three Type-209 diesel-electric submarines from Germany for delivery in 2004-2005.
@ Nine two-seat Gryphon fighters from Sweden for delivery between 2006-2009, with an option to add up to 19 single-seat Gryphons.
@ Twelve British Hawk-100 trainers for delivery in 2005, with an option for 12 more to be delivered in 2006.
@ Thirty Agusta- A109 light utility helicopters for delivery in 2002-2005. 
A planned purchase of Super Lynx helicopters for the Navy has been delayed. --Stephen V Cole


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