Johnny Bombmaker: Ok. Suppose the US Air Force flips out and buys some counter-insurgency aircraft? What do you think they’re going to do with it?
The DEW Line: Er, counter some insurgents, I guess.
JB: There happens to be a good reason for a counter-insurgency fleet, but it’s not what you’re thinking. It isn’t just about squadrons of networked Warbirds roaming the earth in search of combined arms engagements against lightly armed opponents.
TDL: Ok, go on.
JB: Have you heard of the 1,000-ship Navy? It’s the idea that the US Navy should muster the combined might of the allied navies into a relatively seamless operational force. Partly, that means their navies have to step up to play at the level of our navy. And, partly, it means that our navy has to step down to play at the level of some of their navies, which in reality are often coast guards and river patrols by another name. This is why the USN is suddenly buying high-performance fishing boats and converting them into "riverine vessels" for a new "riverine command".
TDL: So if the USN can buy fishing boats to play with less sophisticated foreign navies, the air force should buy single-engine turboprops to engage with the less sophisticated foreign air forces?
JB: Well, it’s an idea anyway. Buy turbo-props so the air force can not only engage with the air forces that fly fighters, but also the air forces in some of the so-called "gap countries" that you keep hearing about these days. It at least gives the counter-insurgency fleet a reason to exist in peacetime. It’s a little clumsy to call it the "1,000-aircraft air force", but maybe brand it the "Infinite Wing".
TDL: I kind of like that.