Multimission Squadrons; a small piece of my mind, by Juan Del Pozo Berenguer

Sir Humphrey Appleby was an intelligent man. Very intelligent even for a fictional character. But like any person who´s been in the business for a long time, he was obsessed with change. To that end, he was quite convinced that, if you start talking about something, eventually people will start thinking about it. But what Sir Humphrey probably ignored is that the opposite is quite frequently also very true. I have some trouble understanding multi mission squadrons because I can´t for the world of me imagine who can enjoy a nice pleasant flight at high level, slow speed, making circular patterns, and a low, fast tactical flight alike. Simply can´t be true. For one thing, I support specialization in the field of military air operations; squadrons with a long and distinguished list of “can do´s” usually are incapable of doing half of what they claim. However, those dedicated to specific tasks such as Search and Rescue, Close Air Support or Air Interdiction usually perform with excellent results, as all their training goes to one specific discipline. Nowadays almost every single helicopter squadron has MEDEVAC listed as a real capability, whereas not too many out there meet the necessary requirements for such a mission. But the situation becomes somewhat awkward when one of the responsibilities is an exciting one, and the other is sheer boredom (however important the capability may be). Take, to set a hypothetical example, a squadron which flies amphibious assault and Airborne Early Warning. To put it in a matter which is close to your heart (fliers especially), a squadron which flies exciting low level tactical transport or high level, slow circular patterns for endless hours, will soon find excuses to “limit” the number of boring missions. Not very professional, I know, but I know of one or two examples. Or a fighter pilot who eventually flies transport aircraft. Some change, don´t you think?. In the spirit of economic rationalization and money expenditure, I´m fully seized at the idea of maintaining costs low and sound, but developing helicopters (again, just a hypothetical example) which are suited for “any kind of mission” with just adding this or that kit may (just may) be a good idea, insofar as these missions are nor performed by the same pilots and crew. Otherwise, experience tells us one of these missions (the most “boring” one) will eventually be forgotten……because eventually they´ll stop talking about it. Some squadrons already have.

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