The Army After Next (AAN) concept of rapidly deployable mechanized battleforces in a tactical environment requires the forces to be readilytransported by vertical, or near-vertical, lift aircraft. In the nonlinearAAN battlefield, this may require the forces to be deployed near the enemy1ssecond echelon. The authors examined the performance of the notional AANadvanced airframes to survive this initial air maneuver/insertion under avariety of conditions. These included level of situational awareness andintelligence provided to pilots, level of SEAD (suppression of enemy airdefenses), flight tactics and ingress routes used by the pilots, andsignature characteristics of the airframes (both RF, IR, and optical). Theauthors used high-resolution constructive simulations to explore and assessthe airframes1 survivability against an integrated air defense systemoperating in mixed terrain. The air defense system was one the Russians arecapable of deploying today. The results of the analysis indicate that noone approach can guarantee aircraft survivability. Combinations ofaggressive SEAD, use of stealth technology, and enhanced situationalawareness can, under certain conditions, result in good survivability ratesfor the aircraft. The large size and slow flight speeds of the aircraft,however, make them susceptible to optically guided munitions. These weaponsare difficult to both find and counter. New technologies, tactics, andtechniques will be needed to deal with this threat if the AAN air insertionconcept is to succeed.
About the Author
John Gordon IV (Currently enrolled in the Public Policy PhD program at George Mason University) is a RAND researcher.