Rocket Attack Aircraft
A rocket attack aircraft could be one of the most lethal general purpose weapons in an army's inventory, which I will christen "Rockers". Take a tiny inexpensive simple aircraft like the BD-5 (below), and power it with a rocket which can be launched from a truck. Due to its small size, the best weapon mix is probably four 70mm rocket pods, allowing it to carry 76 rockets. It would have a range of around 50 miles and only a few minutes of "burn time". Ideally, several Rockers would be launched in a group to destroy anything in range. After an attack, they would head for home until their fuel burns out, then glide somewhere near their launch trucks and release a parachute to land nearby. The truck would have a winch to pick up the Rocker and remount it.
Fighter aircraft would find them difficult to engage since Rockers would suddenly appear without the usual radar warning. Small Rockers can turn much faster than big expensive jet fighters, and would normally operate in groups, so even fighters may flee the area. High flying bombers and transports would stand no chance as Rockers roar up from below, like guided missiles which cannot be fooled or jammed. Fighter escorts would have just seconds to attempt to engage Rockers before they unleash their deadly rockets. Rockers could also perform reconnaissance and chase down cruise missiles and helicopters. They could also use information from counter-battery radar to destroy enemy artillery units in minutes.
Rockers do not require airbases nor million dollar officer pilots, and could even operate from navy ships. This not a new idea, the Germans used some rocket fighter aircraft toward the end of World War II. They were superior fighters, but crude designs prone to crash on landing. (read Komet) Rockers could use safe, simple rocket engines like those already in service, although a throttle control would be useful to slow down when necessary. There is no reason why Rockers cannot work, and they cost just a fraction of a large, expensive anti-aircraft missile battery, an artillery battery, or a modern fighter-attack aircraft. A small American company XCOR is already testing cheap rocket powered aircraft. (right)
Carlton Meyer editorG2mil@Gmail.com