No air support for weeks in Europe if war with Russia would begin - US Army

New US strategic report: Russia would have significant advantage in terms of numbers and all aspects of ground combat for weeks, because Russian air defenses would make US/NATO air support impossible for the ground combat forces. At the same time Russia has also a larger number of superior artillery systems than the U.S.

According to Military.com, Senior U.S. Army officials on Monday mapped out a plan to dramatically increase the range of the service's artillery and missile systems to counter a Russian threat that would leave ground forces without air support in the "first few weeks" of a war in Europe.

"Currently, Russian air defenses are effective enough to keep fixed-wing aircraft from conducting close-air support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and other support missions vital to ground combat forces", said John Gordon IV, a senior policy researcher at Rand Corp. Report was published by Military.com.

The Army has named long-range precision fires as its top modernization priority in a reform effort aimed at replacing the service's major weapons platforms.

"We've got to push the maximum range of all systems under development for close, deep and strategic, and we have got to outgun the enemy," Gen. Robert Brown, commanding general of United States Army Pacific Command, told an audience during a panel discussion on "improving long-range precision fires" at the Association of the United States Army's Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.

"We don't do that right now; it's a huge gap. ... We need cannons that fire as far as rockets today. We need rockets that fire as far as today's missiles, and we need missiles out to 499 kilometers."

Russia would have significant advantage in all aspects of ground combat

"The Russians would have very significant advantage in terms of numbers and all aspects of ground combat", said John Gordon IV, a senior policy researcher at Rand Corp.

Rand conducted a study for officials at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, concluding that in the first seven to 10 days of a conflict with Russia:

"Because of the power and the range and the lethality of these Russian air defenses, it's going to make all forms of air support much more difficult, and the ground forces are going to feel the effects," Gordon said.

"It's certainly going to put a premium on U.S. Army field artillery. It's going to put a premium on long-range fires to compensate for what will, at least initially, be a significant degradation in the amount of air support -- less joint ISR, less CAS, less interdiction, less offensive and defensive counter-air, so all that is going to have an effect on Army operations because of the quality of these Russian air defenses," he said.

Russia also has a larger number of superior artillery systems than the U.S., Gordon said.

"The Russians take this stuff seriously; artillery has been the strong suit of the Russian Army since the days of the czars. They've got a range advantage over us in a number of different areas, particularly cannons. Typically, modern Russian cannons have got 50 percent to 100 percent greater range than the current generation of U.S. cannons," Gordon said.

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According to: Military.com