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This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. Cargo gliders and their recovery technique offer proven capabilities that can revolutionize tactical sustainment. The technique also provides comprehensive expeditionary resupply that is fast, safe, and economical. This technology overflies the improvised explosive device threat as well as terrain lacking sufficient airports, seaports, and roads. Improving the speed, range, and efficiency of resupply hastens operational success and reduces casualties and materiel loss.
The increasingly nonlinear expeditionary battlefield stretches current resupply capabilities, including the entire seabased supply chain; rotorcraft ranges, capacities, and speeds; and tactics involving beachheads and ground convoys. The ship-to-objective maneuver and distributed operations of expeditionary maneuver warfare are effective vanguard multipliers to frontline strategies. However, the security, operational availability, throughput, timing, and expense of their rearguard logistical support are issues when considering counterstrike, maintenance, higher elevations, and weather. Resupply across the "last tactical mile" to the warfighter is a challenge for tactical heavy airlift. The issues include unsecured lines of communication, seabase connectors, and unsophisticated ambushes.
The surprising delivery vehicle proposed for these challenges is derived from the World War II U.S. Army Air Force Cargo Glider, which predates helicopters, precision technologies, and intelligence preparation of the battlefield. Cargo gliders are usually remembered for their invasion application, and those aboard have earned a respected place in military history. While the system's delivery effectiveness during early vertical invasion remains an emotional topic, the modern logistical implications of a cargo glider system were unrecognized until now. Cargo gliders were a multiplier to air cargo transport, and they can be considered an austere transport capability when combined with an effective operational recovery technique.
This report discusses a launching technique that was used more than many realize. With reconsideration, it could become a modern force multiplier. Herein the incomparable U.S. snatch pickup history is described from a systems engineering viewpoint, with two World War II pilots, Gerald Berry and Lee Jett, providing invaluable insights. Right out of flight training, they became specialized tow pilots. The experience of these and other tow pilots offers fresh insight into the use of a historical system. It is given from the perspective of snatch pickup recovery. Its influence on the development of the largest cargo gliders is described, and a future concept is conceived.