Defence From the Air
Ever since I first saw the film TOP GUN, how many of you from that moment on thought that you were going to be a Fighter Pilot when you grew up? I used to love putting together model aeroplanes and hanging them from my bedroom ceiling, but hang them in such a way that when you looked up, it looked like Battle of Britton had just kicked off in my bedroom. In this article I'm going to give you a brief insight into some of the hardware that is defending the skies today.
The Good Stuff..........
First up, we have the A10 Warthog.
In some ways this the Apache of the plane world. It's cannon is extremely accurate and delivers a much more powerful punch, and with air to air refuelling it can stay over head a lot longer. The only downside to this asset is that it works at a higher altitude then the Apache so it takes a bit longer to get the air below them cleared before any attack.
If Calsburg done helicopters.......... AH64 Apache.
A fantastic aircraft, this is the number 1 fighting machine in the skies today (In my opinion). I disagree with the weapon of choice, though. The 30mm cannon is great for anti-armour operations and getting rounds down quickly but it is definitely not a sniper rifle. The Hellfire missile, which is extremely accurate and has a small blast radius, deserves top billing.
This is no quicker to respond than any other jet in theatre because when you get in trouble the powers that be, send the closest asset available. The GBU-12 is carried by the F15, along with a lot of other weapons, but it is not the only munition that can be set to airbust.
Next its the AC130 Spectre Gunship.
Reserved for Special Forces, it holds 105mm Howitzer, a 40mm Bofors and a 25mm Bushmaster. This asset is very rarely used so it is saved for the very special missions.
F16 Fighting Falcons
In addition to American, Dutch, Norwegian and Danish forces, Belgian personnel operate this fighter jet in the skies over Afghanistan, the GBU series. The F16 carries GBU-38s and GBU-12s, both 500lb weapons.
B1B Lancer Supersonic Bomber
This is not a specialist asset, we routinely get allocated B1B Lancers for operrations. They have a great targeting pod and are able to give persistent coverage due to their large fuel tanks.
The Weapon of choice on this platform is the AGM-114 Hellfire but it is definitely not a "fire-and-forget" missile. The pilot guides the munition by semi-active laser all the way on to a target, which allows for a strike to be aborted should something move into the target area.
This jet carries nine 500lb Mk-82 bombs, which are un-guided and therefore have limited use in the current theatre of operations. The aircraft is armed with GBU-12, GBU-38 and GBU-49 bombs, all of which are 500lb and guided by laser or GPS.
Good old faithful, The Lynx
A very good helicopter, the Lynx is better suited to convoy and support helicopter escort.
As you can see the Armed Forces have quite a selection of big boy toys to play with. I hope you enjoyed this article and I look forward to your comments. I would like to ask you to spare a thought for our guys and girls over seas. Keep up the good work lads come home safe.
Remember you can Help our Heroes if you just visit the web site and see what you can do.