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.The B1-B was not used in the Gulf War, and the mission was left to thevenerable B-52.The B-2 Spirit, the flying wing, is a subsonic bomber that can deliver a largepayload of conventional or nuclear weapons.Its ability to penetrate enemy airdefense is attributable to its employment of stealth technology.Like the B-1B,it was not used in the Gulf War.Air Force aircraft employ a variety of missiles and bombs.The simplestare the gravity bomb and the glide bomb.66 The air-to-ground missile arsenalalso includes missiles that can be remotely guided to high-value targets fromstandoff range by transmitting a television or infrared image back to the cock-pit.Smaller and less expensive air-to-surface guided missiles can be fired from 122 Shaping U.S.Military Forcesstandoff range at tactical vehicles.Larger aircraft like the B-52 can launchlow-flying cruise missiles against ships or ground targets.One type of air-to-surface missile is guided by the enemy s own radar thehigh-speed anti-radiation missile (HARM).Ground-based radar is the  see-ing half of an air defense system and is coupled to the surface-to-air missile shooting half.The radar serves as a beacon to guide anti-radiation missilesfrom the aircraft to the radar.For aerial combat, supersonic air-to-air missiles are carried to defeat enemyaircraft at short and medium ranges.Short-range missiles are guided by track-ing the heat from its target s engines by using infrared seekers.Medium-rangemissiles are radar-guided and greatly extend the range from which a pilot canfire on the enemy.Newer medium-range missiles are smaller, lighter, andfaster than their predecessors.A missile s internal radar guides the missile toits target.This fire-and-forget capability allows the pilot to engage multipleenemy targets in rapid succession.Existing missiles and bombs continually improve, and new munitions continueto enter the inventory.As their cost, precision, range, and destructive capacitygrow, munitions are gaining in importance relative to the delivery platform.Table 4.2 shows the combatant aircraft found in the Air Force inventoryand their spread through the active and reserve component in the decade fol-lowing the Cold War.Table 4.2Air Force Combatant Aircraft in the 1990sFirst NationalAircraft Service Active Guard Reserve TotalFightersF-15 Eagle 1972 403 126 529F-16 Fighting Falcon 1979 804 634 150 1,588F-111  Aardvark 1967 225 225F-117 Nighthawk 1982 54 54Strategic BombersB-52 Stratofortress 1964 85 9 94B-1B Lancer 1971 94 94B-2 Spirit 1983 20* 20*Ground AttackA-10 Thunderbolt II 1976 72 64 24 160OA-10 Thunderbolt II 1976 72 30 12 114Command and ControlE-3 Sentry (AWACS) 1977 29 29EF-111 Raven 1981 29 29*Planned operational aircraft Air Force 123The Air Force also procures and operates aircraft for command and con-trol and electronic warfare purposes.These aircraft carry a large payload ofsophisticated electronics.The E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system (AWACS, a-wax) isan airborne command post.It provides the capabilities of an air traffic con-trol center, monitoring a large airspace, to a military decision maker whocan prioritize threats posed by enemy aircraft and vector fighters to themas well as coordinate refueling operations.The RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraftcarries equipment to monitor the electromagnetic spectrum including com-munications traffic.The E-3 AWACS and the RC-135 are modified Boeingpassenger liners.The E-8C, also based on the Boeing 707, coupled to Armyground stations is collectively referred to as the joint surveillance target attackradar system ( JSTARS, jay-stars).JSTARS was rushed from prototype intooperations in the Gulf War to provide a surface picture to the ground forcecommander.It is designed to detect slow-moving targets and can distinguishbetween wheeled and tracked vehicles.Systems like the AWACS and JSTARSmay be at the heart of a true revolution in combined-arms warfare.Surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) constitute a major threat to aircraft oper-ating in enemy airspace.Before firing a SAM, the target aircraft must bedetected and tracked and the SAM guided to its target by radar.Electronic-countermeasures aircraft often accompany a multiship strike formation todetect, sort, identify, and nullify enemy radar by a variety of means, includingjamming.The EF-111A Raven is such an aircraft carrying three and a halftons of electronic equipment.In addition to its electronic countermeasures,the Raven has the day-night, terrain-following capability of the F-111.TheEF-111 was retired without replacement, leaving the mission to naval avia-tion.The Air Force invested in stealth technology at the expense of electroniccountermeasures.The Air Force provides a large fleet of airlifters including the C-5, C-141,C-17, and the C-130 and it provides specialized aircraft to refuel the rest ofthe air fleet, giving it global reach without resort to intermediate land bas-ing.The C-5 Galaxy can carry the Army s heavy equipment including tanks(although only one at a time) and helicopters.It can also be used to deployAir Force maintenance and support equipment so that, for example, a fighterwing can deploy to a forward operating base by air.The C-141 Starlifter isa broad-spectrum airlifter used to deploy forces over intercontinental dis-tances by airlanding or airdrop, to resupply forces, and to extract wounded [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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