LY744
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U.S. Takes Over H-2, H-3, What Did They Find?

Sat Mar 22, 2003 8:23 am

U.S. Army forces have taken over the western Iraqi military airfields of H-2 and H-3 earlier today. This has me wondering about a few things.

- what kind of aircraft (if any) were captured on the ground?
- as the two fields are located outside the No-Fly-Zone and have a long standing history of service (well, H-3 anyways) I presume they retained some activity following 1991, or am I wrong?
- what about ballistic missiles that are supposed to be based there?
- helicopters must have been used to deliver troops to the area, but would they have had fixed wing transports land at the field immideatly after it was secured?
- could someone refresh my memory as to the methods that can be used to drop cargo from extremely low altitudes (or even a sort of touch-and-go manouver)?
- assuming the fields are not too damaged, do you think allied forces will use them for their aircraft before Iraq is completely liberated?
- this is probably another long shot, but does anyone know whether H-3's backup sites are also under allied control?


LY744.
Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
 
2912n
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RE: U.S. Takes Over H-2, H-3, What Did They Find?

Sat Mar 22, 2003 9:57 am

I can only address one of your questions...

LAPES (Low Altitude Parachute Extraction) is used to drop heavy cargo from low altitudes (about a foot and half!), usually within 20 feet or so of the ground. A C-130 with cargo ramp down comes in, a small drouge chute will pull the palated cargo out. It will skid along before coming to a rest. As long as it does not hit anything, trees, walls, ditch, etc...it comes out remarkably unscathed. LAPES is capable of delivering cargo, vehicles, light armor...

How the airfields were taken is still a matter of conjecture. A scenario could be:

Company + of Rangers is parachuted onto the field to secure it. Once an LZ is secure helicopters and or fixed wing assets with follow on troops can be brought in to secure the area and expand the perimeter until traditional ground forces come in contact with them. (obviously a very generic scenario...)
 
LY744
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RE: U.S. Takes Over H-2, H-3, What Did They Find?

Sat Mar 22, 2003 10:05 am

Thanks 2912n!

I seem to recall watching a video of something like that being done to an M113 out of the back of a C-130 (as well as small containers out of an IL-76). Is it just a regular flat bottomed pallet, or does it have wheels, skis or whatever to make for a smoother ride?

LY744.
Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
 
PPGMD
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RE: U.S. Takes Over H-2, H-3, What Did They Find?

Sat Mar 22, 2003 10:27 am

2912n,

Don't know about war time, but every cargo pilot that I have talked hasn't practiced LAPES is quite a while. The USAF decided to was too dangerous to practice *rolls eyes*
At worst, you screw up and die.
 
2912n
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RE: U.S. Takes Over H-2, H-3, What Did They Find?

Sat Mar 22, 2003 12:54 pm

PPGMD-

I know there are some dangers with the drop technique, involves some serious low level flying...But it is a hell of alot more precise in delivery than the standard air drop with parachutes. I can't tell you if it really is a current practice as I have been out of that loop for a long time. (last I saw was on a video a couple of years ago...) There was a nasty crash of a C-130 at Ft. Bragg's Sicilly Drop Zone a number of years ago. It was during a demonstration, full grand stand watching when the C-130 did the drop and then continued on into a stand of pine trees. Ugly video.

I don't remember what the pallets for LAPES were like. No wheels, they just skid along the ground.

Of course the other options are to air drop the supplies by parachute and hope they land in the right place and the cargo chutes work well. (Watched a Gamma Goat {who invented that thing and who named it!} burn in with a failed chute once. Pretty funny.)
Or you can secure the airstrip and airland C-130's and offload them.

Much would depend on how secure the area is, type of AAA to be expected and condition of a runway.

Tony
 
2912n
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RE: U.S. Takes Over H-2, H-3, What Did They Find?

Sat Mar 22, 2003 12:57 pm

Interestingly I found this website with information on how LAPES works. Even the C-17 is capable of doing it! (somehow I doubt they would put that asset to risk like that in a combat zone...)

http://www.parachutehistory.com/military/lapes.html
 
2912n
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RE: U.S. Takes Over H-2, H-3, What Did They Find?

Sat Mar 22, 2003 1:06 pm

Just in the vein of the C-130 go to this website and take a look at the video listed as "Credible Sport." If you think a JATO takeoff is cool, this is scary! )(What were they thinking?)
 
GDB
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RE: U.S. Takes Over H-2, H-3, What Did They Find?

Sat Mar 22, 2003 4:19 pm

These large airbases will probably be used as staging posts, in the past fixed ballistic missile launchers were based there (doubt if they last long after the start of the 1991 war).
Also bunkers, though at the end of the 1991 war newly developed 'bunker buster' bombs were used on two of them.
 
jwenting
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RE: U.S. Takes Over H-2, H-3, What Did They Find?

Sat Mar 22, 2003 4:30 pm

Most likely use for the bases will be to base aircraft and helicopters to support groundforces. The shorter travel to the front lines will mean shorter reaction times and higher payload and/or loiter time over the front.

That's standard doctrine anyway.
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