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Airpower Through the Cold War

Airpower Through the Cold War

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Airpower Through the Cold War

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  1. Airpower Through the Cold War Part II

  2. Overview • Vietnam • Rebuilding the Air and Space Force

  3. Intro to Vietnam

  4. General Causes of the War in Southeast Asia • Regional power vacuum existed in Southeast Asia after WW II • South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia politically unstable • North Vietnam wanted to reunite North and South Vietnam under communist rule • America wanted to prevent the spread of communism, by force if necessary

  5. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution: August 1964 • Passed by Congress 5 August 1964 • Radically altered War in Southeast Asia • Empowered President Johnson to… • “take all necessary steps to repel armed attack against US forces” • “take all necessary steps, including force, to assist S Vietnam and any member of SEATO” • Committed US to fight for S. Vietnam President Lyndon B. Johnson firmly believed in the use of military force to help achieve the country's foreign policy objectives and escalated American involvement in the Vietnam War.

  6. Gulf of Tonkin to Vietnamization

  7. US Build-Up: 1965 to 1968 • March 1965—US Marines and Army arrive • Rolling Thunder bombing campaign began • By 1969, US troop strength reached 543,000 (500,000 supported the war from other Asian countries and Pacific bases) • US became heavily involved in fighting a guerrilla war for which we were not prepared • 30 Jan 1968—North Vietnam launched Tet Offensive

  8. Horner 1

  9. Events Surrounding the Paris Peace Talks • Talks began in 1968; achieved nothing • North Vietnam knew time was on its side • US units continued to withdraw from Vietnam • By 1972, 200,000 US troops had left • March 1972—North Vietnam launched Easter Offensive against South Vietnam • Attack repelled by US airpower (Linebacker I)

  10. Events Surrounding the Paris Peace Talks (cont’d) • Talks resumed following Easter Offensive; again, little movement occurred • Late 1972—Nixon ordered massive bombing of North Vietnam (Linebacker II) • Linebacker II forced the North to negotiate in earnest • 27 Jan 1973—Peace Accords signed • Called for US to withdraw all units by Mar 1973

  11. Linebacker II and Beyond

  12. The Fall of South Vietnam • Between 1973 and 1975, North Vietnam continued to build strength in violation of Peace Accords • Nixon was preoccupied with the Watergate scandal • US Congress tired of Vietnam and refused to help • Feb 1975—North Vietnam launched the Ho Chi Minh campaign against South Vietnam • South Vietnam was easily defeated without US air support • Laos and Cambodia fell quickly thereafter

  13. Uses of Airpower: Background • Vietnam War was primarily a land war • Most air power was used in conjunction with ground ops • North stayed above DMZ, so air superiority over the South was never a concern • In-country operations centered around • Interdiction • Close Air Support (CAS) • Airlift • Reconnaissance • Search and Rescue (SAR) • Air-to-Air Refueling • Command and Control (C2)

  14. In-Country Air Operations: 1964-73 • After Gulf of Tonkin, air units built up rapidly • USAF occupied 10 major air bases • All built and defended by the Air Force • Huge logistical effort • USAF also flew from six bases in Thailand • Navy flew from carriers in Gulf of Tonkin • B-52s flew from Guam; at times even from the United States

  15. Uses of Airpower during Vietnamization • Train South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) • Support South Vietnamese Army • Prevent enemy attacks against withdrawing American units

  16. Uses of Airpower: Interdiction • Major mission during SEA war • Aircraft used: F-4 Phantom, F-100 Super Sabre, F-105 Thunderchief (Thud), AC-130 Gunships • B-52—nuclear bomber modified to carry conventional weapons—was best known interdiction aircraft • Arc Light: Name for B-52 interdiction missions F-100 Supersabre

  17. Uses of Airpower: Close Air Support (CAS) • Missions to support forces on the ground • Aircraft used • Gunships—cargo aircraft armed with rapid-fire machine guns—were very effective • Forward Air Controllers (FACs) were used to locate the enemy and mark targets for faster flying jets • A-4 Skyhawk • F-4 • F-100 • A-37 Dragonfly • A-1 Skyraider • AC-47 Gunships A-4 Skyhawk A-1 Skyraider

  18. Uses of Airpower: Close Air Support (cont’d) • B-52 Arc Light aircraft were occasionally used for close air support • Used extensively in close air support at Khe Sanh • Flew 2,548 sorties • Dropped bombs within 300 yards of US Marine perimeter • Credited with saving Khe Sanh and repelling the Tet and Easter Offensives

  19. Uses of Airpower: Tactical Airlift C-123 Provider C-7 Caribou • Vital to successful US operations because of poor security on roads • Aircraft used—UH-1 Hueys, C-7 Caribous, C-123 Providers, and C-130 Hercules • Missions often flown while under attack • Supplies often air-dropped because of enemy fire and poor landing facilities • A major factor in keeping Khe Sanh alive

  20. Uses of Airpower: Reconnaissance RB 66 Destroyer • Aircraft used—RF-4C, RB-57 Canberra, and RB-66 Destroyers • Aircraft were equipped with variety of cameras and sensing devices • Missions—Locating lucrative targets and assessing battle damage • Valuable player in repelling Tet and protecting Khe Sanh RB 57 Canberra

  21. Uses of Airpower: Search and Rescue (SAR) • Extremely important part of air support mission throughout Southeast Asia • Strengthened aircrew morale; fliers knew every effort would be made to save them if shot down • Aircraft used—HH-3 Jolly Green Giants and HH-53 Super Jolly Greens • By 1973, USAF had rescued 3,883 Americans

  22. Uses of Airpower: Air-to-Air Refueling • Indispensable! Extended range of combat aircraft and enabled many to return safely • C-130s refueled helicopters; KC-135s refueled fixed- wing aircraft • Strategic Air Command tankers flew 195,000 sorties, unloaded 9 billion pounds of fuel, and took part in 814,000 individual refuelings

  23. Major Campaigns: Rolling Thunder • Officially began 2 March 1965 • Objectives • Interdict flow of supplies from the North • Force the North to stop supporting Vietcong and quit the war • Raise South Vietnamese morale RF 4 Phantom

  24. Rolling Thunder (cont’d) • Strategic bombing and interdiction campaign • Strategic because it was aimed at the North’s will to wage war • Interdiction because the North had few large industries and got most of their material from China and the Soviet Union • Employed mostly tactical aircraft: F-105s, F-4s, and F-111s. In 1966, B-52s were used in southern part of North Vietnam F-105 F-111

  25. Rolling Thunder: Restrictions • Johnson administration controlled campaign tightly • Targets declared off limits by civilians included… • Targets in Hanoi, Haiphong, China border area • MiG bases and nonfiring SAM sites • Dams, dikes, hydroelectric plants • White House selected targets, weapons, and flying routes with little military input

  26. Rolling Thunder: Effect of Restrictions • Graduated increases in bombing intensity worked to advantage of N. Vietnamese • Gave them time to recover from damage • Enabled them to establish world’s most intense antiaircraft defense system • Provided them will to fight on and a sense they could survive • By 1965, it was clear that Rolling Thunder did not work!

  27. Rolling Thunder: Conclusions • Impacts • South’s morale improved as the North suffered under bombing • North used frequent halts and restrictions to repair damage and resupply forces in South • Criticism grew at home and internationally • Johnson ended Rolling Thunder prior to 1968 elections • Rolling Thunder campaign, America’s longest, was a failure

  28. Major Campaigns: Linebacker I • Easter Offensive (Mar 1972) made it apparent the North was not willing to negotiate • Objectives of Linebacker I • Initially—Close air support effort to aid retreating South Vietnamese forces • Later—Changed to interdiction campaign against North Vietnam • Unlike Rolling Thunder, a systematic campaign with little civilian control B 52 Stratofortress

  29. Linebacker I (cont’d) • Civilian casualties a consideration, but not the determiner of how missions were flown • Haiphong harbor mined for first time to restrict delivery of supplies to the North • Strikes flown over Hanoi and Haiphong • B-52 strikes on Haiphong began in April 1972 • “Smart bombs” used extensively

  30. Linebacker I: Successes • Linebacker I was the most successful US bombing campaign of the war • Had more impact on the North in 9 months than Rolling Thunder did in 4 years • Successful largely because Easter Offensive was a conventional, mechanized attack • Peace Talks resumed in July 1972 • Nixon restricted Linebacker I attacks to below the 20th parallel

  31. Major Campaigns: Linebacker II • Peace Talks stalled again in Dec 1972 • Nixon ordered Linebacker II to run concurrently with Linebacker I • Purpose of Linebacker II—Force the North Vietnamese to negotiate and sign peace treaty • Ran from 18 Dec to 30 Dec 1972; referred to as “The Christmas Campaign”

  32. Linebacker II (cont’d) • Very intense and logistically complex • Specific targets in Hanoi and Haiphong • B-52s used for first time over Hanoi • By end of Linebacker II, N. Vietnam was defenseless • 1,200 SAMs were fired • 80% of the North’s electrical systems and 25% of their POL facilities were destroyed

  33. Linebacker II: Results • North Vietnam returned to the bargaining table on 30 Dec 1972 • All bombing ceased on 15 Jan 1973 • Peace treaty was signed on 27 Jan 1973 (http://www.davka.org/what/theleft/peoplespeacetreatyvietnam.html) • Linebacker II was a success • Some believe that if Rolling Thunder had been conducted like Linebacker II, the war would have ended in 1965—unlikely

  34. Interim Summary Vietnam Service Medal • Uses of Airpower • Rolling Thunder • Linebacker I • Linebacker II

  35. Post Vietnam

  36. Vietnam War Results • US reluctance to enter military conflicts that don’t directly threaten national interests • Congressional restriction on President’s ability to commit US military forces • Lowered public opinion of government and military • The all-volunteer military force • Increased emphasis on military resources, training, and weapons

  37. Results for Southeast Asia • North Vietnam and South Vietnam joined into one country dominated by North Vietnamese communists • Saigon renamed Ho Chi Minh City • Exodus of boat people, many to America • Hundreds of thousands of US supporters sent to "reeducation" camps • Over 6.5 million displaced Vietnamese war refugees • Expected postwar blood bath never materialized

  38. The Vietnam War: Lessons Learned • US can’t win a counterinsurgency war in another country; only people of that country can • Force and technology of limited value in a “people’s war” • Realistic assessments by national leaders required before forces are committed • “Know your enemy and know yourself” • “Graduated Response” is an ineffective way to employ airpower

  39. Lessons Learned (cont’d) • In a democracy, congressional and public support are critical and difficult to get • Modern war is open to public scrutiny • Let those who understand war conduct it • Need for revolutionary not evolutionary technology • Need for precision munitions

  40. Review of CFD Model • Distinctive Capabilities: Air and space expertise, capabilities, and technological know-how that produces superior military capabilities • Functions: Broad, fundamental, and continuing activities of air and space power • Doctrine: Fundamental principles that military forces use to guide their actions in support of national objectives

  41. Review of Distinctive Capabilities • Air and Space Superiority—With it, joint forces can dominate enemy operations in all dimensions of land, sea, air, and space. • Global Attack—Because of technological advances, the USAF can attack anywhere, anytime and do so quickly and with greater precision than ever before. • Rapid Global Mobility—Being able to respond quickly and decisively anywhere we're needed is key to maintaining rapid global mobility. • Precision Engagement—The ability to apply selective force against specific targets because the nature and variety of future contingencies demand both precise and reliable use of military power with minimal risk and collateral damage. • Information Superiority—The ability of joint force commanders to keep pace with information and incorporate it into a campaign plan is crucial. • Agile Combat Support—Deployment and sustainment are keys to successful operations and cannot be separated; agile combat support applies to all forces, from those permanently based to contingency buildups to expeditionary forces.

  42. Review of Air and Space Functions • Strategic Attack • Counterair • Counterspace • Counterland • Countersea • Information Operations (IO) • Combat Support • Command & Control • Airlift • Air-to-Air Refueling • Spacelift • Special Ops • Intelligence • Surveillance and Reconnaissance • Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) • Navigation and Positioning • Weather Services

  43. CFD Model

  44. Rebuilding the Air and Space Force

  45. Rebuilding for Air and Space Video

  46. Weapon Systems • Two key fighters developed • McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle • General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon • Close Air Support led to A-10 Thunderbolt • Rockwell B-1B Lancer • Boeing E-3 Sentry (AWACS) • Peacekeeper Missile

  47. Second Generation Weapons • Stealth aircraft • Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk • Northrop B-2 Spirit • New airlifter • McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster • Boeing/Grumman E-8 Joint STARS • New advanced fighter • Lockheed Martin F-22

  48. Boyd 1

  49. Military Operations in the 1980s

  50. Grenada • Prime Minister killed in coup in 1983; increased Russian/Cuban influence • US Objectives • Protect US citizens—1000 medical students • Neutralize hostile Grenadian/Cuban elements • Restore legitimate government • Operation URGENT FURY • Army Rangers and 82d Airborne Division • Supported by USAF resources