Examining current, future aviation trends

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

"Army aviation exists to support the ground soldier, and this is not a new thing. This is why we exist," the director of the Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Ala., told attendees Jan. 13 at the Association of the United States Army’s Aviation Symposium and Exposition at National Harbor, Md.

Commenting on the several current and future trends in Army aviation as the nation fights two wars – Iraq and Afghanistan – and to be prepared and ready to continue the fight if the need exists, Ellis W. Golson said, "We must be focused on fighting against hybrid, adaptive and unpredictable threats in an extended noncontiguous, nonlinear area of operations."

To engage in full-spectrum operations in complex terrain – the mountainous Afghanistan and urban warfare, for example, – the Army must continue to examine unmanned and manned aircraft operations and "increased air-ground coordination."

"Our operations must be designed to support small unit operations and our air assault operations must be more numerous, but smaller in size," he said.

As the force needs to be sustained as it fights the fight, the handling of time-sensitive, mission-critical cargo and heavier loads must be addressed and resolved.

Another important aspect of the aviation evolution is to advance network-centric architectures to "enhance the organizational combat effectiveness and joint, coalition interoperability."

The Army has established goals to include cost effectiveness – "more bang for the buck " – understanding the culture and the impact of the network and integrated warfighting functions to direct its efforts as the service focuses on these current and future trends.