Way of the Gun

Maj. Gen. Allen Peck, the lead on the Air Force’s updated irregular warfare doctrine, explained for attendees at AFA’s Air & Space Conference on Tuesday afternoon the impact of IW in today’s fight. Command and control, information operations, and non-kinetic (read, no bombs) plays heavily into a type of warfare that is quite different from a traditional fight, he said. One big difference—an aircraft’s gun, not its bombs, are far more suited to IW. “The gun is a very effective irregular war weapon,” Peck said, noting that more than a quarter of air attacks downrange today are prosecuted with an aircraft’s gun. To illustrate the point, he displayed a video of Afghan insurgents on bicycles attempting to appear as civilians on a road to make their escape after they had killed a Canadian soldier. A quick flash of 174 rounds from an A-10s 30mm gun put an end to that. “Tactical weapons can have strategic effects,” Peck said, noting that gun rounds as opposed to Joint Direct Attack Munitions can be used in far more tight irregular situations. When bombs are used, they are usually smaller than 500 pounds or their fuses are changed to minimize the chance of unwanted collateral damage.