There are a lot of different roles that aircraft in the military fulfill. Of course, the most famous ones are those that the well-known fighter aircraft provide for each branch of the service. These make up a large part of the force, but there are also many important support aircraft that should not be forgotten too because they fill roles that are every bit as important as the roles that fighter aircraft have. It seems that, if the Marine Corps have their way, soon all of their aircraft would be outfitted with some sort of offensive attack capability. It is part of a Marine Corps initiative that would see their entire aircraft inventory have some sort of combat, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.
Does this mean you will see cruise missiles being fired from C-130’s soon? Not hardly, but there are weapons systems that are being developed that could certainly be used by such platforms as a C-130. New and more capable drones are being developed all the time because they are much cheaper and faster to build than fighter aircraft. So it’s only natural that all branches of the military service would look at other ways to add force multipliers to their aircraft inventory; arming what were traditionally transport and other types of non-combat aircraft would fit the bill nicely here.
What is one of the aircraft that the Marines are specifically looking at to do this? One of them is the V-22 Osprey. This aerial platform that was much maligned for many years for its cost overruns and mechanical failures has gotten much more reliable lately. It is now more than a capable troop transport and supply aircraft. It would be nice for it to have some offensive capability after it drops off troops or supplies, because it is already present in the theater of operations. If the Osprey had some offensive capabilities, it could use those in support of the troops on the ground before exiting the theater of operations.
Don’t look for the Marines to add any gun turrets or racks of bombs to the Osprey, but hand launched attack drones are a definite possibility. One of the drones that are often mentioned for use in this role is what is known as the Switchblade Tactical Missile System. It is a single use ‘Kamikaze’ drone that is built to pack quite a punch. It is a high precision strike drone that has the capability to engage both stationary and moving targets. It also has reconnaissance, intelligence gathering and surveillance capabilities. It currently is controlled by what is known as a GCS (ground control system) but the manufacturer believes this can easily be retrofitted for use aboard aircraft such as the Osprey.
It will be interesting to not only keep an eye on what the final decisions are as to the weapons systems that the Marine Corps eventually chooses for the Osprey, but also to see if other services install them on some of their aircraft too if these systems prove to be successful.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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