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Danger41

60 Minutes Segment on 2014 B-1 Friendly Fire in Afghanistan

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Anyone else watch that? Interesting piece that talked about the frat where an ODA inadvertently called a strike on themselves and the B-1 was unable to see the friendlies marked by strobes. 

Thoughts? Perspective from that incident?

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This is actually one of the scenarios they now use for B-1 CRM classes.  Plenty of blame to go around, but I will say it's a bit of a foul that the Army basically pushed the B-1 crew under the bus and the Air Force gave essentially no response.  The reality is that the JTAC calling in the strike lost SA on where his people were, pure and simple.

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6 minutes ago, pawnman said:

This is actually one of the scenarios they now use for B-1 CRM classes.  Plenty of blame to go around, but I will say it's a bit of a foul that the Army basically pushed the B-1 crew under the bus and the Air Force gave essentially no response.  The reality is that the JTAC calling in the strike lost SA on where his people were, pure and simple.

Also, overconfidence in the crews’ ability to spot IR markers with the SNIPER, which is physically impossible. 

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 I remember that incident also drove a Flash Bulletin from the JTS on the pod/ball capabilities. It really opened some eyes in Rescue (at least where I was) as well because we figured everybody could see what we saw.

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Damn, it’s almost as if CAS is the detailed integration of Ground and Air forces to avoid fratricide when forces get “close” and are fighting requiring a specialized skill set and weaponry.

Shocking that a low level supersonic nuclear bombing platform asked to do the job had issues.

Now some will say these are dickhead comments but I’ve tried CAS in a crewed B-1 type environment and it was tough.

Need a hillside leveled in the Stan or some BOC, B-1 is great.

Have a complex deconfliction problem requiring CAS and CAS weapons, you probably want a CAS aircraft with good vis, those weapons etc.




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So on Memorial Day weekend, CBS decides to honor American war dead by focusing on a tragic accident, and using it as a soapbox to turn military personnel, veterans, and the public against one another. Couldn't find any MOH or Silver Star types to hold up as examples of sacrifice and patriotism? Couldn't talk about the kids who made the valiant choice to take the fight to the enemy in OIF/OEF instead of crying in a closet on campus? Couldn't talk about the brass balls it took to fly into downtown Schweinfurt, Route Pack 6, Belgrade, or Baghdad? Couldn't just honor the sacrifices made on behalf of the American public?

I guess that would have been too hard. You stay classy CBS. 

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33 minutes ago, di1630 said:

Damn, it’s almost as if CAS is the detailed integration of Ground and Air forces to avoid fratricide when forces get “close” and are fighting requiring a specialized skill set and weaponry.

Shocking that a low level supersonic nuclear bombing platform asked to do the job had issues.

Now some will say these are dickhead comments but I’ve tried CAS in a crewed B-1 type environment and it was tough.

Need a hillside leveled in the Stan or some BOC, B-1 is great.

Have a complex deconfliction problem requiring CAS and CAS weapons, you probably want a CAS aircraft with good vis, those weapons etc.




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Well, one frat in 19 years is a better record than most platforms.

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12 minutes ago, pawnman said:

Well, one frat in 19 years is a better record than most platforms.

Has the B-1 been doing CAS continuously for 19 years?

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3 minutes ago, tac airlifter said:

Has the B-1 been doing CAS continuously for 19 years?

Well, 18.  Since October of 2001.

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1 minute ago, pawnman said:

Well, 18.  Since October of 2001.

I didn’t know that B1s had deployed continuously to execute CAS missions since 2001.  I thought there were years when they weren’t a player in the stack.  I’ve only seen them on station a few times.  Learn something new everyday.

Regarding the OP, there are a surprising number of ground folks who think IR strobes can be seen by aircraft irrespective of frequency spectrum limitations.  I think pre-deployment training isn’t as joint as it should be.

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Can that hard point carry a better/bigger pod than the Sniper pod now?


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42 minutes ago, Clark Griswold said:

Can that hard point carry a better/bigger pod than the Sniper pod now?


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There's talk about mounting a Lightning Pod instead.

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Well, one frat in 19 years is a better record than most platforms.

Dude, the honest answer to that is that was probably one of the very few times a B-1 has ever had to deconflict “close” fires in a complex situation and it went bad.

100% of the tine I saw employment was either BOC or a BOT well away from any friendlies with no time constraints.

I’m not knocking you guys. You do a helluva a job with what you can. You are just SEVERELY limited by your airframe in any slightly complex CAS scenario.











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4 hours ago, di1630 said:

Shocking that a low level supersonic nuclear bombing platform asked to do the job had issues.

What’s shocking to me is the fact it apparently was never done in training, in the ~33 year Ops history of the B-1, or 15+ year history of the Sniper.  Or if it was, the inability to figure this out in an operational training scenario... and debrief it... before it gets tried in combat is shocking.  

The continuing inability of the Services to communicate and employ together as well as they should falls square in to the lap of General Harrigian and others of his stature (in all the Services).  The AF puts Patches in the key leadership positions for a reason.  I’m sure it’s better than it was 10 years ago.  But that’s not good enough.  

We've been killing bad guys in the Middle East for almost 30 years.   How was this information not known?  Disgusting.  

 

 

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What’s shocking to me is the fact it apparently was never done in training, in the ~33 year Ops history of the B-1, or 15+ year history of the Sniper.....How was this information not known?  Disgusting.  
 
 

It is UFBelievable to me as well. I knew this type of stuff on my first night TGP sortie as did everyone else but then again in a jet with a basic CAS friendly design (being able to look outside) you could match your IR pointer on the pod to the flashing IR markers on the ground and even if you’d never been told, it’d be 100% obvious in 1 second.

Again, root cause was sending a airframe not suited for the scenario because we got complacent in having anything bomb capable slinging a PHM and declaring it an awesome CAS asset (Thanks Welsh)

I remember my first time running a TGP in the back of a Learjet, daytime trying to find targets coordinating with the pilot and another guy in back while getting SA from the small window outside.

Complete sh-tshow and my hats off to the bone guys that can do it but drove home that even at 100%, it’s a limited concept.






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If you can conduct CAS from a box in Creech you can do it in a B-1. With just the info from the story, the JTAC passed bad/confusing grids. That’s the root cause. I’m guessing the crew trusted the JTAC to much/wanted to help asap and didn’t question the confusing/wrong grids. Seeing IR strobes would have probably helped the crew realize they had bad grids but it’s not why these guys died. 

Lot of similarities to the AC-130 incident with the doctor without boarders incident in the ‘Stan. 

If you fly something that makes things go boom and don’t think you could get caught up in the heat of battle and make a mistake you are dead ass wrong. Just like the Swiss cheese analogy for aircraft mishaps these frat incidents can be looked at the same way. 

And ya, shame on CBS, run this story another week, so many better stories  they could report on for Memorial Day weekend. 

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23 hours ago, Danger41 said:

Anyone else watch that? Interesting piece that talked about the frat where an ODA inadvertently called a strike on themselves and the B-1 was unable to see the friendlies marked by strobes. 

Thoughts? Perspective from that incident?

There's a little bit of discussion on it in this thread from back when the episode originally aired if you're interested:

http://www.flyingsquadron.com/forums/topic/1825-b-1-bone-questions/?page=7

2 hours ago, viper154 said:

If you can conduct CAS from a box in Creech you can do it in a B-1.

Would be a true statement, except that you can't conduct CAS from a box at Creech.  At least not yet.  That is assuming you mean high quality, effective, CAS.

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4 hours ago, viper154 said:

If you fly something that makes things go boom and don’t think you could get caught up in the heat of battle and make a mistake you are dead ass wrong.

Among all of the institutionally-biased informed and uninformed opinions on the matter, this is really the bottom line.

War is an ugly business -- and it is meant to be.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Mark1 said:

 

Would be a true statement, except that you can't conduct CAS from a box at Creech.  At least not yet.  That is assuming you mean high quality, effective, CAS.

I’m not talking A-10 level, but it most certainly can be effective. Most of the MQ IQT course is centered around 9 line CAS. Granted, that is mostly for a building block for the bastardized way they typically utilize a 9 line, but any MQ-9 crew most certainly can do traditional CAS, and they have been since the -1s first got hellfires 15 years ago. 

 

1 hour ago, Guardian said:

RPA CAS (apples) v bomber CAS (oranges) comparison.

 

Not arguing, I’m a former drone guy, I’ve worked enough with the bombers in the stack to get a taste of the challenges that bombers have delivering weapons danger close. Bombers have been utilized for pretty much the entirety GWOT, with a fairly high success rate. While a bomber is probably not your best choice for CAS for a variety of reasons it most certainly can put warheads on foreheads if the guys on th e ground need it. 

Edited by viper154
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5 hours ago, viper154 said:

If you can conduct CAS from a box in Creech you can do it in a B-1. With just the info from the story, the JTAC passed bad/confusing grids. That’s the root cause. I’m guessing the crew trusted the JTAC to much/wanted to help asap and didn’t question the confusing/wrong grids. Seeing IR strobes would have probably helped the crew realize they had bad grids but it’s not why these guys died. 

Lot of similarities to the AC-130 incident with the doctor without boarders incident in the ‘Stan. 

If you fly something that makes things go boom and don’t think you could get caught up in the heat of battle and make a mistake you are dead ass wrong. Just like the Swiss cheese analogy for aircraft mishaps these frat incidents can be looked at the same way. 

And ya, shame on CBS, run this story another week, so many better stories  they could report on for Memorial Day weekend. 

Shack. At the end of the day, we should all remember any technological FF tracking mechanism (IR-whatever, BFT, link, gucci sensor of the day) can fail - they're no substitute for solid comms and building SA between the CAS team, then backing up the other members when we can tell they're losing SA.

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