[b]Gun Ship for Trinidad & Tobago?
Do you believe T&T needs this?
Cabinet has reportedly approved the purchase of a helicopter gunship for this country from Israel. But what exactly is a helicopter gunship and what are its uses? A helicopter gunship is a military aircraft armed for attacking targets on the ground, using automatic cannon and machine-gun fire, rockets, and precision guided missiles.
There are three things I am interested to know about this:
1. Who are they going to train to fly it? I can't imagine that they will have to also hire Israeli pilots to fly the thing as well.
2. How are they going to maintain it? Correct me if I am wrong, but the design of these aircraft require a considerable amount of maintainance and they have been known to go down quite a few times in non-combat maneuvers.
3. What are they going to be firing at? I hope it will not be civilians :spock:
Lastly, I wonder if making all these purchases from Israel somehow affects the emotions among Muslims here?
I see that you've quoted Daryl Heeralal's article. To me, the local media in general and Daryl in particular seem to be quite sensational, filling in the blanks when they exist, or made to exist when it suits their purpose. Sometimes they fill it in with unrelated news or news that is only remotely related but making it appear as though it supports the current news story. About the gunships, more was revealed by the Gov't a couple years ago. When the SAUTT was created, armed helicopters were announced.
Specifics won't be revealed because information about military assets are kept secret as much as possible.
The plan for the helicopters included a type of wet lease arrangement, whereby they would come with crews who would be responsible for flying and maintaining the equipment while training local personnel.
About air worthiness, our Air Guard (formerly the Air Wing of the Coast Guard) as well as the National Helicopter Services currently use aircraft around 20 - 25 years old. They also have a couple newer aircraft, but the older ones are still there. Is it possible that they would go down? It's always possible. But if we are getting Apaches as Daryl is suggesting, I think their safety record is quite good -- that's why they're still in use.
About their targets: Again going on the announcement made a couple of years ago, their main function is to aid in border/coastal security. Drug shipments come in by air as well as by sea, and we currently have no way of stopping aircraft used in such drops. How they engage such aircraft is left to be seen, but I'm for giving our guys the advantage. Air superiority in any war stacks the odds in any army's favour and if it is to be believed that our current levels of street crime
are linked to the drug trade... then we need to be at war.
As much as I don't agree with GWB and his foreign policy, I have to use his words here, we need to fight them there (in the air and at sea) so that we don't have to fight them here.
We already buy significant equipment from Israel. Our military's primary weapon is the Galil, an Israeli made weapon. I understand that the radar equipment recently installed was also supplied by Israel. The muslims in our military don't seem to have a problem with that.
Our local band of fundamentalists (if we can call them that) will get upset about anything they want.
Do We Need A Gunship?
New political party Movement for National Development (MND) has chastised the reported move. "As far as we are aware, Trinidad and Tobago is not at war with anyone and unless this government is planning on taking us to war, we have no need for combat helicopters at this time," MND said in a statement.. "On the heels of the most recent lease of a 14-year-old advertising blimp at a reported US$100,000 per month (without any security equipment) for security surveillance, the population is once again subjected to yet another ludicrous financial commitment by this government," said the statement attributed to MND leader Garvin Nicholas,
I have very little knowledge about this topic so bear with me, is it that necessary, for all this equipment and preparations for such a tiny island in the Caribbean? I am not trying to put Trinidad down but I do not see an urgent need to purchase anything, I do not see Trinidad engaging to war or fighting real terrorists anytime soon, what I am concerned about is all the money being spent and yet the local crime is escalating tremendously.
I just wanted to throw out an idea here. I like what JB had to say, about drug runners, but there also seems to be a growing problem with piracy around the world. This might be a good way for Trinidad to be able to combat such things in the area.
Of course, it MIGHT just be some government officials trying to flaunt their power.
You should know that I don't know much at all about the region, politics, or culture, except what I have learned on this forum.
|[Trinidad & Tobago is a ]transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; producer of cannabis |
CIA World Factbook - Trinidad & Tobago - Transnational Issues
A Gunship may be a good thing, however are they used by the US Coast Guard who do a great job at stopping many of the traffickers, pirates, illegal immigrants, etc.? I believe the only record of them doing so was based on old time tactical action in dropping bombs on enemy submarines as a test. I believe they (the US) use radar, recon planes, fast boats and larger armed ships - all things we already have at present. Didn't the current Attorney General or Military General (I forget which one) say that we should not expect any great reduction in crime because of the introduction of this new piece of equipment? For me the problem is lack of consistency. Patrols and recon needs to be done all the time, especially at night. Maybe even a floating rig or Coast Guards stationed by rigs may help. What I am trying to say is that having a gunship will not help if the administration behind it is not implemented. How many countries have gunships, fast fighter jets, battleships even and they still have drugs going in and out like water. Look at Venezuela, where most of the drugs / arms are trafficked from - they have a sophisticated military and yet all these things happen - someone is paid off, someone is bribed and no matter how many gunships you have it is worth nothing, it is the same thing going on here.