The Air Force is studying new, simpler bases to fight in the Pacific

The Air Force is studying new, simpler bases to fight in the Pacific
  • The vast distances in the Pacific and the growing reach of Chinese troops have prompted the United States to look for ways to disperse its troops and bases.
  • For the U.S. Air Force, this means scouring the area for runways and facilities that can support its aircraft as they seek to expand and maintain potential combat operations.
  • Visit the Business Insider home page for more stories.

Possibility of war with China, which has a rapidly modernizing army Can reach farther across the PacificThe US military is trying to expand.

According to General Kenneth Willsbach, commander of the Pacific Air Force, for the US Air Force, this means moving areas to new locations, but building new bases, whatever is working there.

“What we’re doing is taking advantage of the airspace that already exists,” Wilsbach told reporters last week. “If you are going to wear [in] An F-22 or an F-15 or a C-130, the airfield must have certain parameters, and so we’ve actually studied every piece of concrete in the Pacific and Indo-Pacific … so that Will they meet or not. Our criteria. “

Air Force Brass developed campaign-based plans in the 1990s, and a new focus on strategy is emerging.

Air Force Alaska F-15 employs smart combat

US aircraft from Kadena Air Base, Japan prepare an F-15 for takeoff during a smart combat employment exercise at Fort Grayley, Alaska on August 8, 2019.

US Air Force / Senior Airman Isaac Johnson


“We actually started working with this beauty about four to five years ago,” Wilsbach said. “I was the commander in Alaska at the time … we really started to get into Alaska first and then it spread all over the Indo-Pacific.”

2018 National Defense Strategy Quoted Russia and China, the main strategic opponents of the United States – the latter, have stated that they will continue to pursue a military modernization program that seeks Indo-Pacific regional sovereignty in the future. “

The kind of conflict described in the document “cannot have fixed contracts, infrastructure, checks and established command and control,” meaning the Air Force needed to return to its “roots of the campaign,” General David said. Goldfinch, then a senior Air Force official, said in a 2018 Speech.

These aspirations are reflected in the agile combat employment, in which major locations, or hubs from aircraft gift locations, or speakers, without an established support network, re-refill, rearm and re-launch in a comparatively short time.

Wilsbach said: The bases are behind some small bases, we disperse the forces and we become much smarter and more mobile, “Willsbach said.” Edibles will allow airplanes and airplanes. Come and go with an opponent who seems like random.

Marine Corps Japan employs smart combat

US Marine Corps Lance CPL. Noah Gulzan inspects JP8 fuel during an agile combat employment exercise at the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Japan on February 20, 2020.

US Air Force / Staff Sergeant. David Ovisanka


The ACE has been around for some time, and is now part of the “almost every exercise” command, Willsbach said. During Exercise In September, Airman extended it with additional duties.

“We were going to have F-22s, we call it Base X, so not one of the hub bases.” [to] “We can send a small team to an out-base and, instead of being an airplane, what they do, they say, is to refuel an airplane, we have to teach them many skills,” Wilsbach said. Asked for. “

“Being able to do a lot of work means you need fewer people on the speakers, but being flexible can also mean making it thicker,” Willsbach said.

“When I was in Alaska, we literally did it on a bare base, and everyone was camping in ‘store-tent tents and taking MRIs in front of the runway,'” Willsbach said. . “We worked from that bare base for two weeks.”

‘Lots of competition’

Air Force Guam employs smart combat

U.S. and allied personnel during the Agile Combat Employment Exercise at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam on March 6, 2019.

US Air Force / Master Sergeant. JT May III


Wilsbach did not elaborate on the plans of those hubs and speakers where they might be, but the Air Force and other service branches are. To practice Cross Pacific’s comprehensive arsenal.

The United States has territories in the region – such as Guam, which has a large air force base, and the Northern Mariana Islands – but some countries are also eager to play hosts.

The president has to move out of Palau Repeatedly encouraged the US military To expand the facilities there. Willsbach a “The desire to expand options“In Palau, where there are airfields Well located But it will take “quite a bit more work” to spread.

Along with Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, there are free association contacts with the United States, under which their citizens benefit in the United States and the U.S. military has greater authority to operate in their territory.

Air Force Guam C-130 employs smart combat

At Anderson Air Force Base, Airmen unloaded the C-130 on March 6, 2019 to establish a operations base during the Eagle Combat Employment Exercise.

US Air Force / Master Sergeant. JT May III


The Pacific Air Force conducts “regular site assessments” for “operational, training and exercise objectives” and “regular” trains in the Indo-Pacific region, and a public affairs agency in the northern Mariana Islands, the federal states of Micronesia and Palau. The officer told the insider that the officer and the operations around it.

According to Derek Grossman, a senior defense analyst at Rand Corporation’s think tank, interest in the field is growing due to the convenience and proximity of such hub and speaker models on both sides of the Pacific.

“You want to develop power in potential war theaters – the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait – and as China develops its ballistic and cruise missiles and other capabilities to attack from afar, you want to be able to.” Spread a little, ”Grossman said in an October interview. Told Insider in.

It has not lost on China, which has given court to the countries there Advancing its own military and diplomatic goals.

“That’s why there’s been a lot of competition between the US and China in this area recently,” Grossman said.

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Muhammad Wayne

About the author: Muhammad Wayne

Wayne is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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