ISW presents low-cost effective way of crippling Assad’s air power
“Specifically, the ISW study reports that Assad’s forces are only flying a maximum of 100 operational strike aircraft at present, an estimate that ISW concedes is likely very generous to the Assad regime. The real figure, they maintain, is more likely around 50. What’s more, these aircraft are only being flown out of 6 primary airfields, with an additional 12 secondary airfields playing a supporting role. What this means is that the real-world military problem of how to significantly degrade Assad’s air power is very manageable – again, as I and others have maintained.
“ISW calculates that U.S. and allied forces could significantly degrade Assad’s air power using stand-off weapons that would not require one of our pilots to enter Syrian airspace or confront one Syrian air defense system. With a limited number of these precision strikes against each of the Assad’s eight primary airfields, we could crater their runways, destroy their fuel and maintenance capabilities, knock out key command and control, and destroy a significant portion of their aircraft on the ground. The ISW study estimates that this limited intervention could be achieved in one day and would involve a total of 3 Navy surface ships and 24 strike aircraft, each deploying a limited number of precision guided munitions – all fired from outside of Syria, without ever confronting Syrian air defenses.”
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