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Friendly Fire - After The War

Mon Apr 07, 2003 10:42 pm

I was wondering how relations between the Army and Airforce will be after the war has finished. There has been several more occurances this time compared to the last Gulf war and the excuse that 'it happens' seems to me to be wearing a bit thin. There are still incidents happening and they are not finished yet so it is not unreasonable to think more will happen (although I hope not).

I wonder how the Army are jugding their airforce colleagues, we already know that some of the British Forces are none too happy with certain 'cowboys' and I don't know if that feeling is spreading.

I do realise that an awful lot of things are happening out there and you don't get to hear all the good things that go on, but it is the negative things that tend to get publicised more in the media.

Do you think that there is likely to be a big rift between the forces and will that be a problem in future conflicts or will they get together, analyse what went wrong so that it doesn't happen so often next time?
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RE: Friendly Fire - After The War

Mon Apr 07, 2003 10:58 pm

They will probably be a bunch of studies down on how to lower that rate.

I think the actually number of incidents seems pretty exagerated due to the lack of actual battlefield casualties.

We have lost only two thirds of the people we did in the 3 days of the first gulf war and this is day 17 on this one.
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RE: Friendly Fire - After The War

Tue Apr 08, 2003 12:12 am

Quite right L-188. The numbers are pretty low but pulled way out of proportion due to the extremely low cusualties by enemy fire (and the fact that there were reporters with several of the hit units).

In part that's luck, but in good part it's due to increased training and technology.
I wish I were flying
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RE: Friendly Fire - After The War

Wed Apr 09, 2003 1:41 am

One area of real concern has to be Patriot, as well as downing a RAF Tornado, and locking on to a USAF F-16 (who was fortunate to have a HARM to take out the radar), it looks like a USN F-18C was shot down by one as well.
Some A-10 pilots need some serious training in non-US vehicle recognition, all the IFF in the world might not have prevented the attack on the Scimitar light tanks, as it was a visual 30mm cannon attack.
That incident is the one which has caused real consternation, the rest we don't know much about (apart from the attack on the Kurds/US Forces which was filmed).
If what the survivors of the Scimitar attack say is accurate, a court martial maybe (they had a big Union Jack on the vehicle).
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RE: Friendly Fire - After The War

Wed Apr 09, 2003 5:44 am

I should add that the A-10's have done well in this conflict, incredible footage of then firing the GAU-8 cannon, lots of anti air assets in Baghdad, they've done well to lose only one aircraft.
Bad though the A-10 'friendly fire' incident was, I'm sure once the sortie rates are known, and the support they gave to the ground troops, it will be seen in context.
But if someone (from any armed service) is found to have been negligent, then the investigation and if necessary, trial and punishment process, must be transparent.
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RE: Friendly Fire - After The War

Wed Apr 09, 2003 6:49 am

Don't underestimate the difficulty of air to ground recognition...I can tell you that it is a bear at 50 knots and low altitude and no one shooting at you...Mulitply that for an A-10 pilot at 250 KTS and fire coming up at you, alarms going off in your ears...SUch is the difficulty that we are probably stuck with blue on blue incidents in any type of war fare.

The best antidote for it is constant training combining ground and air assets. Sadly that costs money, and in between wars, well, we know the bucks won't be there.

Negligence is a difficult thing to prove in combat. So many things are happening so quickly and there is such am incredible amount of information to process under the stresses of combat how do you show that someone was negligent or just a tenth of a second too quick or too slow in making a decision? Better than going on witch hunts to lay blame the problem should be addressed before the encounter by proper training.
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RE: Friendly Fire - After The War

Wed Apr 09, 2003 2:18 pm

Actually the same type of A-10 friendly fire accident happened in the first Gulf War as well.On a clear day a USAF A-10 took out 2 UK Challenger tanks despite the fact that they were flying Union Jacks.The DOD and MOD managed to cover the whole thing up though.

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