Saturday, March 31, 2018

We've got to get the AH-1Z into the game. Can it fit an aerial refueling probe?

You've been following the news just like I have.  Doubts are being raised about the F-35.  The Marine Corps is pushing for an escort/close air support/recon tilt rotor UAV.  They're looking at the possibility of arming the MV-22 (I note with a bit of surprise that the aerial refueling pod that was planned for that airplane appears to have fallen by the wayside) and the beat goes on.

The reality?

The Pentagon got a plus up in funding for two years.

They can't count on increased funding forever.

Plans are nice but in the meantime we have to make do with what we have today.

It's time to get the AH-1Z back into the game with the regard to the Marine Corps fascination with deep strike missions.  Having said that the question becomes how?  Well we know that the MV-22 is faster so it would have to launch first and some bubba crunches numbers so that the escort arrives at the same time or slightly before the troop transports.

The speed issue can easily be nullified.  So what about the biggee that's been the show stopper.  The range issue.

I've chewed on this and the only answer I can come up with is to add a refueling probe to the AH-1Z.

Can this even be done?

I have no idea.

Will we probably lose weapons carriage?  Without a doubt.  Is it worth pursuing if it is possible (and that's a big if...I really have no idea, but I do know the Black Hawks do it with no degradation in troop carriage)?  You bet your ass!

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