The author of December's "Bombers Away" must be the same person who assisted the French in constructing the Maginot Line. Don't get me wrong: Bombers are a requirement in today's military. They are not, however, the first choice when it comes to close air support. True, they can carry many more 2.000-pound JDAMs than an F/A-18 or F-16 can. But a variety of weapons is required in combat. Among the most utilized today are strafing (yes, strafing) weapons and smaller munitions such as laser-guided Mavericks. Interestingly, the author argues we buy fighter planes because they're cool. Tools are bought for their ability to meet the requirements. For a fighter pilot, nothing is cool about
unmanned aerial vehicles, but they are coming. Instead of preparing for the last war or learning false lessons from any current war, the American people expect us to prepare for the next war. one that will likely require close air support in urban environments.
Jose Fierro Phoenix. Arizona
The information in "Bombers Away' is wrong. The idea of sending bombers into a combat area without fighter escorts is enough to make my blood cold. The first thing the fighters and Tomahawk missiles did in the Gulf War and previous battles was to remove antiaircraft systems that could target bombers. In Iraq before the invasion, Saddam Hussein had around 850 ground-to-air launchers. (Iran already has Russian SA-12A antiaircraft missiles, which can reach an altitude of 82.000 feet, far higher than any of our bombers in service.) B-52s could operate in Iraq only because F-15Es. F-ltis. F/A-18s. F-14Ds and EA-6B Prowlers had already reduced the enemy's antiaircraft ability in areas where bombers subsequently flew. Fighters also made sure no enemy aircraft came near our bombers. Long before the bombers arrived, Allied fighters had destroyed enemy fighter
planes on the ground or in I lie air and had also destroyed the runways the enemy fighters would have needed to take off. Afghanistan did not have major antiaircraft ability, so it is not a good example. Most other nations hostile to the U.S. are in much better condition to kill a large number of unescorted bombers in a hurry.
Robert (Mouse Cincinnati. Ohio
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