ramana wrote:Prashant, Do look up the opening war sequences of Desert Storm and OAF.
And had it been so critical to taking down radars, wouldnt the Usaf have ordered some for itself?
The USAF and the US Army are bound by Johnson-McConnell agreement of 1966
As per this, most choppers became domain of US Army and most planes that of US Air Force (there are a few exceptions like transport aircraft etc) . So they can't do that. Else US armed forces would have massive duplication with Army, Navy,Marines Air Force each demanding their own planes and choppers. Instead unified combatant commands took care of co-ordination. (As Shwarzkopf told them : "Gentlemen, it all belongs to me"). India has no joint service commands (except Andaman) or Joint service chiefs despite a committee recommendation to set them up. (Thus adding to dysfunction and poorer co-ordination.), In any case, the agreement doesn't apply to India; both the Army and the Air force are staking their claim for Apache, raising possibilities of a power struggle and differing use cases.
As for Desert Storm/Desert Shield, the initial strike was Apache,followed by stealth aircraft (F117) which was responsible for an outsize proportion of targets. Fixed wing non-stealth aircraft also performed SEAD, including with low level flights (low level flights can help you get lost in ground radar clutter in absence of look down radar & AWACS but also leave you vulnerable to MANPADS etc. Planes commonly fly higher than 10,000 feet (eg Kargil) to reduce manpads risk, while choppers commonly hide behind trees, hills and mountains ). Worth noting that SEAD/DEAD is commonly performed by air forces.
The US GAO was tasked with assessing
the performance of the Apache
(1) during Operation Desert Storm, Apaches proved their combat effectiveness by destroying 278 tanks and about 900 other targets;
(2) during the air campaign, Apaches primarily flew armed night reconnaissance missions in enemy territory because of their night vision and videotape capabilities, which provided timely intelligence information to Army division commanders;
(3) Apaches flew only a total of 83 missions during the war, primarily because of the perceived enemy threat to low-flying helicopters during the air campaign and because the use of Apaches could have divulged the location of allied forces;
(4) Apache use was also limited during the ground campaign, because ground commanders, who controlled the Apache's use and roles, chose not to use it more and the Army was restricted in where it could use the Apache due to agreements with the Air Force
(5) the Apache was capable of performing its assigned missions during the war, but component problems, sometimes intensified by harsh desert conditions, adversely affected the performance of the Apache's essential weapons and other subsystems;
(6) during the 100-hour ground campaign, little maintenance was performed on the Apaches because units advanced through enemy territory so rapidly that maintenance support could not keep up with the aircraft; and
(7) Apache pilots and maintainers cited the lack of spare parts as the most frequent reason some aircraft were not available to carry out missions.
Worth pointing out that Gulf War had a massive issue of decongestation of airspace, ie the air controllers had to plan how to use airspace, for which aircraft, at what times, how to get them there etc. (relevant to point 4 "agreements with air force")
The Apache should be great at CAS, attacking enemy tanks, etc, with night vision equipment.
India also covets the functionality of the Apache 64 E, wherein Apache pilots control drones, including for sensor inputs and for weapons/attack. India has the Apache 64E,but not the corresponding drones or integration equipment. it almost certainly requires COMCASA to be signed, though.