Late Flightline Friday: USAF running out of smart bombs? December 7, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, disconcerting, Flightline Friday, foolishness, huh?, non squitur, pr stunts, technology.
The lede is really hyperbole. What Chief of Staff Welsh is saying is that if funding does not improve USAF could start to run low of precision guided munitions, not that they are presently running out. Nevertheless, given the really low level of operations over Iraq and Syria over the past 18 months or so that doesn’t speak well for overall reserves – though I have read USAF currently has approximately 150,000 precision-guided munitions (PGMs) of all types in stock. That may sound like a lot, but if USAF is still capable of carrying out a Gulf War I level of operations, that is only a reserve for about 60-90 days of high intensity combat. The bigger issue – and I know this is a really hot button topic with many readers – is that the military has been starved of adequate funding in many areas due to sequester and other political gimmicks (and overall hostility towards the military from the Obamanation). Even though overall spending has remained pretty high, it’s been squandered on worse than useless foreign adventures that have not improved the overall security of this nation to any significant degree, and may have weakened it in a number of ways, even after spending literal trillions of dollars.
Not that I trust much of what these politicians in uniform say these days. Welsh is one of the four uniformed service chiefs who okay’d opening all combat slots to women – probably under extreme duress, but still – at Obama’s behest last week. I regard these men as near traitors for so doing.
One last little bit before the article. It came with this photo:
Mind, that’s from Fox News. As if we needed more evidence of the staggering ignorance of the media when it comes to anything military-related, this photo surely adds to the pile. First, that’s a Navy, not an Air Force plane. Secondly, it’s an intelligence-gathering type, the EP-3E Aries, not even a strike aircraft. The Aries itself is derived from an anti-submarine warfare aircraft that is rapidly being phased out of service. Did not the propellers give it a way a bit? Why on earth we think the media gets any other subject at all right, when they invariably reveal ignorance in those fields we may know a bit about, I have no idea:
The U.S. military says its 15-month bombing campaign on the Islamic State is depleting its munitions supply and that additional money and other support is “critical” for “the long fight.”
“We’re expending munitions faster than we can replenish them,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Friday. “We need the funding in place to ensure we’re prepared for the long fight. This is a critical need.” [So the takeaway is this: they aren’t buying enough to fully replace consumption.]
The Air Force has reportedly fired more than 20,000 bombs and missiles in Syria in the fight to dismantle the self-proclaimed Islamic State. [I’m skeptical of this, or most of those $100,000-multi-million dollar bombs have been dropped on herds of camels or empty desert. We haven’t had results anything like what the expenditure of 20,000 munitions (are they counting rounds of 20 mm ammunition in the total?) would indicate.]
Air Force officials say they have enough munitions right now but project a shortage and want more long-term planning and funding to meet future needs. [The larger problem is not necessarily the total number of PGMs, but of certain types. Some are much more useful than others. Depends on the need. I suspect this may be the larger problem, they are running short of certain important types but don’t want to broadcast which types for reasons of operational security.]
“B-1s have dropped bombs in record numbers,” Welsh also said. “We are able to manage inventories to sustain operations against ISIL at this time. We do need funding in place and the ability to forecast for production to be ready for the long fight… We continue to work on a longer term funding strategy which is absolutely required.”…….
…….The Air Force now has an estimated 142,000 “smart bombs,” or guided munitions, and 2,300 Hellfire missiles, used in drone strike to kill terrorists.
Shorter Welsh: give us more money. Gotcha. Been saying that for years. I still believe it in part. But you’ll misspend it on diversity training and surgical mutilation for mentally ill “transgenders.”
IOW, you’ve finally broken trust to even rah-rah types like me with this women in all combat slots initiative.