Note: After proofing this, I decided it may come over as gloating. Be advised it is actually just glee!
“Meanwhile a new bird appeared in the sky. Not exactly new but one that’s been absent since the end of major operations in 2003. In fact this is the first time I’ve ever seen the B-1 flying over Baghdad. Since Tuesday, the long-range huge bomber appeared several times over — the city spending as long as 75 minutes in some cases.”
While the article is probably not completely accurate, I can’t describe how gratifying this development is to me. It is now one of several (three I can think of off the top of my head anyway) instances where a major analysis I performed was vindicated after initially receiving resistance from decision makers in the AF and DoD.
Sometime around 2000 I was doing concept and employment analyses on one of the Air Force’s iterative ‘Next Generation Bomber Studies’ contracts. I developed scenarios whereby a high-subsonic aircraft would loiter in orbit near or over a battle area in order to service time-critical targets of various stripes, including Close Air Support. When this was briefed to the AF’s program office responsible as part of a package of different concepts, a senior AF representative was heard to say:
(Sniff)…we don’t loiter bombers.A short while later in the same meeting, in a discussion on time-critical target model scenario assumptions, another senior representative was heard to say:
(Sniff)….we don’t use bombers for close air support.When Operation Enduring Freedom hit, one of the big news items (in the trade anyway) was the use of Long-Range Strike assets as direct fire support of Special Forces operators working with Northern Alliance ‘warlords’. At the time, it was a single instance of modern bombers being used in this manner, and it could always be claimed to be an exception.
So I guess (Sniff)….the AF DOES loiter bombers.