U.S. and Soviet Rotary Wing Aviation at the Operational Level of War
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U.S. and Soviet Rotary Wing Aviation at the Operational Level of War

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Stephen R. Baribeau
113 g
246x189x3 mm

This monograph analyzes Soviet and U.S. Army rotary wing aviation to determine their respective capabilities to support the execution of operational level war by Soviet and U.S. commanders. In order to analyze operational level capabilities, a common definition for operational art and level of war has been determined. Current rotary wing organizations and equipment of the Soviet division, army, front and theater and the U.S. division and corps are explained in some detail along with current tactical and operational employment doctrine. Analysis criteria include comparison of command and control doctrine, employment doctrine, relative force size and helicopter design. Among the many conclusions drawn from this analysis are: rapid Soviet progress since 1975 to close the gap between U.S. and Soviet tactical level rotary wing forces; that decentralization of Soviet rotary wing forces to division, army and front commanders has dramatically improved the ability of the Soviet operational commander to effectively employ helicopters in combat; the dramatic increase in the number of Soviet combat helicopters produced since 1975; the clear advantage enjoyed by the Soviets in operational level heavy-lift helicopters; the realization that Soviet rotary wing forces exist only to enhance the tempo of the all-important land battle while U.S. forces are considered maneuver elements and can establish their own combat tempo. This monograph concludes that the U.S. Army is on the threshold of dramatic change and can seize the initiative from its numerically superior enemy if it aggressively develops true air-ground maneuver doctrine. Air-ground maneuver will give tactical and operational commanders great flexibility and quantitatively increase the tempo of modern combat.