Wednesday, March 09, 2011

No-Fly Zones

By now everyone is familiar with the term, but as I watch the talking heads and the administration puppets posture on this, I'm confused at the obfuscation. But, that of course, is the entire purpose of obfuscating in the first place, isn't it?

Hillary Says US Can't Lead It

We've heard about how a carrier air wing is inadequate to handle the 24/7 tasking. Probably true. We've heard about the basing issue. Arguably not true. Crete is close enough with great RAF facilities. NAS Sigonella on Sicily is close enough. Decimomannu on Sardinia is close enough. Goia del Colle at the toe of Italy is close enough. All have extensive tactical aircraft support capability.

The 24/7 issue is bogus. Libya's Air Force is not a day/night, all-wx operation. They have neither the weaponry nor the training for night ground attack ops. You don't have to be overhead all the time.

Area of operations is not a factor. The airspace of concern is strictly coastal. Overflight issues are not of concern. It primarily Mediterranean operations and all neighboring nations are supportive and certainly will not be obstructive.

Probably the most serious consideration is the one that SecDef Gates raised. He stated that before you could operate a no-fly zone you needed to suppress the Libyan air defenses and that required ground attack. Clearly a level of escalation we don't want to reach.

But that is a bogus argument as well. We have operated many no-fly zones without prior ground attack. You declare the zone then you simply put the eyes out on any radar that comes up. Anti-radiation missiles have been excellent at this for a very long time. You can also deny radar targeting information with effective jamming. The Libyan air defense system is far from sophisticated and could not be resistant to such controls.

The most important ace in the whole deck is the one that they don't want to use because it would make the argument strongly that we need to buy much more of the system. The whole justification for the 187 aircraft contract termination on F-22 has been that the system is unnecessary with the current threat environment. Application here would belie that entire flimsy argument.

The F-22 is ready to deploy at Langley. Put them into Sigonella or any other base you'd like on the Mediterranean littoral. They operate with impunity. They are undetected and therefore the Libyan AF never knows if and when they are airborne. They patrol and with their self-generated data plus shared info from other platforms such as the carrier aircraft and AWACS they can detect and engage anything airborne. They can also effectively destroy it. And the enemy never knows they have been had. No need to die all tensed up.

This is exactly the sort of force multiplier and air dominance mission which the aircraft was built for.


thrill said...

The reasoning for a no-fly zone is simple to me ... do we expect it would make a measurable difference in supporting the vector that is better for us? Unlike the tremendous waste of resources the decade over Iraq cost us before we finally decided to finish the operation we started there, there is now a desire in the region for more self governance from the people, and we could from the outset have the Brits working with us (well, with what's left of their emaciated military).

bongobear said...

I may catch hell for this opinion but I think we need to stay out of this mess. Sure, we could establish a no-fly zone over Libya...and then what? Let them slug it out on the ground and hope the good guys win? Who exactly are the good guys and how do we know if they won?
We are spending thousands of lives and billions of dollars helping Iraq and Afghanistan attain freedom of choice and I have a bad feeling that we are going to be terribly disappointed with the choice they ultimately make.
Or maybe I'm just an old fart who remembers Viet Nam too vividly.

Anna said...

I think the entire non-involvement of the US was summed up by Sec. Clinton last week when she told Congress that the US does not want to be perceived as going into Libya for the oil. This administration makes a pick-up game of stick ball seem major league.

Anonymous said...

I am with you 100%. I have been ranting about this issue for a week. My wife is tired of hearing about F22's and Sigonela. The airwar would effecting be over in 48 hours especially if we actually shot some bad guys down. To me this is a no brainer and we would improve our image in the Arab world immeasurably. We would be standing with them for once. Candy ass President! Don't get me started on the Sec of State-say what. You make me scream at the TV.

Anonymous said...

We are more interested in a certain upcoming wedding in England that the slaughter of the people of Libiya by their own leader. No country will be concerned about what we say for a long long time. Bread and circuses-what Charlie Sheen saying is more important to the stupid masses led by a stupid president. Does anybody know who will be on Dancing with the Stars? Nevermind -I did read that-not impressed.

Old NFO said...

We did it before in the Med, against Libya, with no problem. The REAL problem this time is the Administration, NOT the military...

Tam said...

"We would be standing with them for once."

Yeah! We need to prove to the Arab world that we're with them by showing that we're willing to topple a dictatorial tyrant! Once we've done that, they'll see we're their friends!


Dweezil Dwarftosser said...

I'm on Tam's side with this. (My son-in-law just came back from his second tour in Afghanistan.)

Screw 'em all. Let them blow each other up for a change, uninterrupted by us.

If they come here again, nuke 'em.