Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The US Navy should have had the tool Obama needs in Libya--long ago
Our assault carriers--much smaller than the big ones you always see on TV--are designed for choppers and Harriers, so they don't have a catapault. UAVs could fly off them just fine, and we've had the technology to mate assault carriers with UAVs for a long, long time. But flyboy top brass don't like planes without people inside them.
But imagine if we had just one assault carrier off the Libyan coast with a complement of reconnaissance and hunter/killer UAVs. Then we could make Libya a no-fly zone without risking live pilots and without having to bomb anti-aircraft emplacements (UAVs are so stealthy it's really hard to hit them--and if they do, no American pilot is lost or captured.)
Reconnaissance UAV circling high overhead can spot Qaddafi's mercenary-piloted choppers and fighter/bombers and hunter/killer models could do the rest.
We wouldn't even have to announce a policy, but just do it on the down low, like we do in Pakistan. We can even take them out on the ground when no one's inside them.
Tanks can be hit the same way. And one thing about using mercenaries--they're a lot less willing to die for you. Once aircraft and tanks start disappearing, we don't have to get them all.
That's if the Navy had done its job instead of lavishing most of its attention on manned fighters and giant carriers. Assault carriers with UAVs are far less, well...romantic.