Jimmy Wu at Defense Tech:
The Secretary of Defense, Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, dropped in at our FOB in Iraq on Saturday, and I got to ask him some questions. On the subject of the Key West Agreement — the one that splits the skies between the Army, Air Force, and Navy — Mr. Rumsfeld said that people in the Pentagon do not operate under “antiquated agreements.” So I guess that means the Key West Agreement is no longer in force. It’s open season for Army Aviation!
But what, exactly, is the current status of this? I cannot imagine that any real change has occurred, and I cannot imagine that any real change will be forthcoming. With current military commitments and those in the foreseeable future so “ground heavy”, it’s unlikely that anyone will be willing to allow the Army to take on additional roles, particularly roles that would not only be heavily-utilized but roles that would lessen the role for the other services.
I’m not saying that this is right. I’m just saying that’s how it is. There’s a lot of defense budget money being tossed around these days, and no else is going to want the Army to add light attack aircraft to its inventory. The move would just reduce the justification for Air Force budget requests, for instance.
I, for one, would welcome fixed-wing light attack aircraft back into the force. Whichever force. But, as Wu points out, something along the lines of the OV-10 could come in very handy in Iraq and Afghanistan right now.
In fact, why not start production of a new OV-10 with some slated for the Army (or Air Force or whoever) and some for the new Iraqi Air Force? I’ve got to think that not only would this sort of plane come in handy, but that there would be a decent export market for it. I know there are alternatives to an updated OV-10, of course. I’d be open to them as well.