What an inspiring title, I know. But I have a few things to share with you, two from around the web and two related back to the post I did on the A400M/Atlas. So lets get started;
-- First off, Sir Humphrey over at the "Thin Pinstriped Line" has finished the third and final part of his series on the decision to remove Harrier from service. Here you can find Part One, Part Two, and Part Three, all of which combine to make an excellent read with some very valid points. And as I know some of the readers on here are from the US, this should give you some more context on who the fictional character "Sir Humphrey" is.
-- Think Defence has now finished his series of five articles on the A400M/Atlas. The first two I linked in my response on Friday, now here are the links for Part Three (dealing with the multi-role potential for Atlas and I think unwittingly furthering my case for the C-130 ;) ), Part Four (dealing with the export potential for Atlas and how that affects the UK) and Part Five (dealing with filling the gap left by Atlas for small, in-theatre movements, again strengthening my argument against him ;) )
-- Although, having said that, I did think yesterday of something which might work in the favour of Atlas when it comes to in-theatre roles. A cargo bay of that size should be able to hold more air drop pallets than a C-130 or C-27, which in theory would allow an Atlas to perform multiple re-supply drops to different locations as part of one large, multi waypoint mission. I wonder.
-- And last, but not least, I have to correct myself for something. The other day in my article about the realtive merits of Atlas vs Globemaster I conceeded that the Globemasters ability to airlift a full Main Battle Tank (MBT) or something like multiple Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) was a mission that was unlikely to ever crop up and was something of a false piece of prestige and marketing for the Globemaster. Turns out, I was wrong.
On March 26th, 2003, nearly 1000 men of the United States 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team parachuted onto Bashur Airfield in Northen Iraq as part of the ongoing campaign Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were dropped from C-17's and having secured the airfield they then had supplies and reinforcements air landed on the field by further C-17's. Among those reinforcements were Abrams tanks and Bradley IFV's.
So there actually is at least one recorded case of the use of rapid armour deployment by air. The number of vehicles delivered was not huge, but important in adding combat punch to the men of the 173rd ABCT. Another win for the C-17 over Atlas I think!