TRANSITION IN ARMY AVIATION
1. Military aviation units established as force multipliers to allow arang to do better what they were already doing. Aviation include both fixed wing ac and helicopters, No one can ignore the what aviation did. Someday bigger, faster and better helicopters will carry the infantry into battle, forever freeing it of the tyranny of terrain and permitting war to proceed at a pace considerably faster than that of a man walking. The helicopter holds the possibility of making the battlefield a truly three-dimensional nightmare for an enemy commander.
2. Could troops and support carrying helicopters, as well as attack helis, affect a RMA atleast in Land-Air-Warfare in Vietnam in 1960s? That inquiry could not be concluded till to-date. However now, it is deliberated that, in any potential battle field this “Air-Army” has an effective and assertive role to play.
3. Ranging from asymmetrical conflicts to conventional feuds; from New Concepts of combat belligerents to Low intensity rivalries; from Non-linear maneuvers to humanitarian operations, rotors and wings phenomenon will be seen in each and every form of warfare as core character and primary role player. With revolutions in affairs of warfare there is always embedded some cultural, organizational, tactical and technological changes. Same evolution has to be passed on and experienced by flying machines and their employment and deployment techniques. Few following cardinals of RMA must be evaluated against future of Army Aviation to draw a rational, methodical and sagacious plan to develop this promising arm into a war fighting giant. When we talk about following strikes our mind:-
a. Force with Objective This concept requires capabilities to include responsiveness, employability, agility, lethality, sustainability, survivability, and versatility. Employment of this ‘Objective Force’ varies from TFR, to strategic and operational reserves. This contemporary force can be induced in any future theatre at point of influence at time of decisiveness to stall defensive or offensive operational cycle of enemy. Owing to the conceived mutli-dynamism in this cohort, air transportation supported by gunships can not be circumvented
b. Aviation in NCW. Where Net centric is all about bandwidth and bits it also deals with radio frequencies and communications. Digital mobile battlefield environments impose challenging obstacles to battle group communications. Aviation being continuous user of this medium will be affected utmost, and hence have to deliberate upon this EW threat.
c. Logistics Considerations. With the promptness and apparent swift varying scenarios in potential battle field the consequence of logistics consideration” will certainly find vital place in scripts of modern strategy makers. For this very rationale significance of cargo helicopters will amplify manifold. A larger fleet may not be the answer but compatible rightly placed transport birds will certainly attain the function.
d. Maneuver Dominance. “Maneuver dominance is the ability of forces to gain positional advantage with decisive speed and overwhelming operational tempo to achieve military tasks.” This American concept may be termed as modernized form of Blitzkrieg, and like any war of mobility and lethality the fastest and principal constituent which can match rapidity and changes of combat zone is aviation. Its inherent flexibility and intrinsic compatibility can alter TSR matrix and supplement ISR trinity for any field commander to outclass adversary outfits.
e. Night Operations. Limitations pertinent to aviation increased multifold with “Air Arm” attempting to be as affective in night as it is in day. Few initial problems were physiological conditions including night vision and illusions, interior lights, flashlight, use of aircraft and LZ lights, airport procedures, in-flight orientation, emergencies, approaches with and without landing lights etc. These problems were over come with lot of technological revolutions but what issues still unaddressed are Stealth and counter measures, night vision in zero visibility, coordination with ground troops, identification of friend n foe troops and area etc. Contemporary armies have developed ‘Day & Night’ squadrons who operate during hours of darkness on NVGs as professionally as during day hours due to real time training and practices.
f. Army Battle Command Systems (ABCS). Airborne Battle Command systems are becoming increasingly dependent on high bandwidth data communications in order to maintain situational awareness, direct forces, and receive intelligence. Aviation role in this matter will be central and demanding. Army Aviation aircrafts will be used as a suitable platforms to provide real time battle intelligence to field commanders and decision makers in shape of FLIR output and imageries.
g. Multi-Role Army aviation planners have come to realize that the next generation of capabilities may not simply be replacements for existing platforms; the aircraft of the future may not fit comfortably into the old categories of reconnaissance, attack, utility and cargo. The paradigm of a separate platform for each mission may be at an end. Instead, future aircraft may be multi-role, offering diverse capabilities, flexible options and significant cost savings.
h. Future Evaluation. The Army is currently engaged in a far-reaching transformation of its ground forces, and as this portion of the Army future takes shape, Army aviation must also adapt. Development of replacement aircraft must begin soon to ensure that replacements are available when older airframes reach the end of their service lives. Models acquired must be selected keeping in view expected requirements of coming two decades.
i. Add To The Cart. While we formulate our future shopping list, multi factor must be kept in mind like air borne C4I²SR systems, ABCS, multi terrain Battle zones and foremost the requirement of field commanders and his legions. Owing to limited resources, foreseeable appraisal and sanctions scenarios and logistic back ups issues, decisions must be inline with national and military strategies.
j. The 100 Feet Above The Battlefield. The concept of Air-Mobile Battle is required to be tailored and adopted keeping in sight our conventional and non-linear coercion. This concept will not only defy NCWF and Cold Start of adversary but will also lend a hand, to eradicate LIC problems. Air Battle Groups can be pondered upon to provide firm clout.
The exploitation of the air space just above ground forces is decisive in future wars and conflicts. As a professional outfit we must put in all efforts to acquire suitable capabilities and ensure their employment and use of present resources in befitting manner. To conclude, a force which fails to dominate space superiority at treetops will not be able to win any battle here on.
Joint Vision 2020, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington D.C, June 2000″,20.
Army Modernization Plan 2002, Headquarters, Department of the Army available from