Read Armed Forces Journal for an extraordinary article in which a US Air Force colonel attempts to explain to army pilots how they should be flying their helicopters in Iraq.
(That thundering sound you hear right now is the mob of club-wielding army pilots en route to the good air force colonel’s office to register a few of their intellectual objections to his considered opinions.)
The most extraordinary thing about the article is that the air force guy — Colonel Jim Slife — may actually be right. His point is that army helicopters are using the wrong tactics — flying low and fast — to answer the shoulder-fired missile threat in Iraq. Slife says there are four reasons to make helicopters fly at high altitude. They are: MANPADS envelope is reduced by 20% to 30%, helicopter pilot has four more seconds of reaction time, the pilot also has more energy with which to maneuver and using low power at high altitudes reduces infrared signature.
Slife adds: “Some elements of the US military have begun to employ high-altitude helicopter tactics with great success.” Hmmm: I wonder which elements of the US military that the air force colonel is referring to?