Murphy's Law: April 3, 2005

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Many countries are considering eliminating their independent air force, and just making the air force another part of the army. This is particularly true in nations with small armed forces. Many nations just go through the motions of having an independent air force, with most of the support services for the air force coming from the army, and only a few troops actually belonging to the separate air force. The problem has always been that it did not work to have an air force that controlled everything that flew. Many nations tried this approach, and you got situations like in the Royal Air force, which during World War II also controlled the specialized aircraft and pilots who operated off dozens of aircraft carriers. The Russians went in the other direction, and created several major independent air forces, based on the task to be accomplished. Thus the army had its own Tactical Air Force controlling the helicopters and ground attack aircraft. There was another air force for interceptors and air defense, one for transport aircraft, and yet another for long range bombing. The problem with that was the additional military bureaucracies, all spending much time to make the case why their particular flavor of air force deserved more money. The United States took something of a middle position, allowing the army to keep its helicopters, if only because the choppers lived out there with the ground troops, not at a more comfortable base to the rear. The U.S. Air Force almost changed that policy, and handed over its A-10 ground attack aircraft, but will not give up control of transport aircraft, which the army would like to have some of. But in many nations, its not really worth the extra cost and bureaucratic feuds to have a separate air force. 

 


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