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Feedback: Skyhawks Were An Air Combat Arm??

Ross Ewing's contradictory bleating about the retirement of the fast strike and training arm of the air force is as contradictory as it is imaginative.

Apparently the remaining Airmen, LAC's, Corporals, Sergeants, Warrant Officers, Pilot Officers, Flight Lieutenants, Squadron Leaders, et al are no longer going to be military either. I'm sure that will come as a surprise to them, but at least the "baggies" will be saved the exercise of saluting!!

Now onto the loss of this air combat arm. What air combat arm? Dr Ewing correctly states that the "Kahu" equipped our Skyhawks to fire the "latest model "Sidewinder" defensive missiles". "Defensive" missiles?? What on earth are they??

Last I remember reading about the Sidewinder was that it was a heat-seeking short range air-to-air missile designed to shoot down enemy aircraft. How is that "defensive"?

And why cannot the Air force exist without a strike wing anyway? Is Dr Ewing suggesting that the remaining aircraft perform no useful role? Well dammit let's get rid of them too!

I'm also intrigues by the deterrent aspect of the good Dr's article. He seems to be saying that the presence of NZ's A4's or their pilots was a deterrent to Iraq (that one didn't work too well!!), Indonesia (yeah - they were undoubtable terrified of the A4's in Singapore...never mind the RAAF's 70-odd F-18 interceptors and F-111 bombers!!), and apparently the war in Afghanistan was started despite our presence in Singapore - who was it we were deterring there?? The Americans??

The final pitiful rendering of a rather nice poem is an idyllic touch. I'm rather interested in who the foeman is whose face we are disarming in though?? World Terrorism?? If the USAF couldn't defend New York is he really suggesting the A4 squadrons could defend NZ??

And as a last note I watched the A4's fly over Wellington today with a note of sadness. Yes they are still a good little strike aircraft, capable of doing all that is asked of them and more, and will be missed. It is just that they are largely useless for New Zealand, and no amount of chest beating by defence idealists will make it otherwise.

Mike Campbell


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