Friday, August 14, 2009

3-star: Buzzing is part of Afghan air strategy

3-star: Buzzing is part of Afghan air strategy: "SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — A new military approach in Afghanistan may mean buzzing rather than bombing the enemy, according to the general taking over the air war there.It’s known as irregular warfare, designed to protect local people and then enlist their help defeating Taliban insurgents, Air Force Lt. Gen. Gilmary Hostage said Thursday.‘The first thing we do is fly over head, and the bad guys know airpower is in place and oftentimes that’s enough. That ends the fight, they vamoose,’ said Hostage, who will direct the air battle over Iraq and Afghanistan. ‘The A-10 has a very distinct sound. The cannon on an A-10 is horrifically capable and our adversaries know it. When they hear the sound of an A-10, they scatter.’Hostage says the Air Force can easily drop bombs with pinpoint accuracy. But in some cases, it may be better to fly over enemy forces with noisy warplanes to get them to disperse first, then try more force if that doesn’t work.Hostage said he supports the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who is shifting the philosophy toward irregular warfare.‘The challenge with irregular warfare is to empower and enable the people to the point where they don’t allow the adversary to hide in amongst them,’ Hostage said. ‘It really is a long-term effort.’Hostage said McChrystal has told his forces, ‘If you are in a situation where there’s a civilian at risk, he’d rather have us back away than pressing to engage the enemy and run the risk of damaging or hurting somebody.’The general said the irregular warfare philosophy may sound strange to some, but it gives military commanders more flexibility in fighting a war.‘In a circumstance where I’m only able to blow things up, I’m pretty limited in what I can do,’ Hostage said. ‘If I use graduated measures, then there are many things I can do to affect the situation.’Hostage, 54, took the job of overseeing Air Forces for the U.S. Central Command last week. He was heading Thursday from Shaw Air Force Base in central South Carolina to his new post at al-Udeid Air Base in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, the headquarters of all U.S. air operations in the Middle East.He is returning to familiar territory, having served as the commander of U.S. forces stationed at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia in 2001 and 2002. Most recently, he was the No. 2 in charge of U.S. Air Forces in the Pacific."

(Via Air Force Times - News.)

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