…and their impact on its procurement policies.
Security and support for overseas trade
Luchtburg is a regional power, but a world economy. Its armed forces must be able to secure sea lanes worldwide, and more broadly, have the capability to position air and ground forces around the world on short notice, whether to provide security assistance for its less-stable trade partners, or to participate in coalition actions where such participation is merited. Luchtbourgish procurement therefore focuses on air and ground platforms with good strategic mobility, and on naval units with strong multirole and independent operation capabilities.
Counterweight to Brazil and other large South American powers
As a small, Central American nation, Luchtburg remains leery of Brazil and its peers (as well as the US, but Luchtburg can less readily be a counterweight to US influence in Central America). Luchtburg therefore considers it important to possess conventional ground and air forces roughly on par with Brazil’s, in both size and technology. This objective, in combination with Luchtburg’s other objectives, places strict constraints on ground forces procurement, a topic to come later. (It also recommends Gripen even more heavily, given that it’s cheap enough to buy a lot of, and definitely on par with Brazil’s Gripens.)
Keep its own house in order
Central and South America mean ‘drug trade’. Luchtburg is, with its mountainous and heavily-jungled interior, a major center for illegal drug production and shipment, and requires platforms capable of combating the cartels. Vehicles must be sufficiently lightweight and agile to perform well in the jungle, and helicopter-borne light infantry and long-loitering, low and slow close air support are also necessities. Also handy are HMMWV-alikes, 4×4 armored trucks with room for infantry in back for patrolling remote jungle roads between tiny villages perched atop mountain cliffs.
Finally, a few notes on Luchtbourgish armed forces organization. After acquiring navalized Gripens and aircraft carriers, the general staff decided that an independent air force was superfluous: the Luchtbourgish Naval Air Service operates Sea Gripens from land bases and carriers to fulfill land-based air defense sortie requirements, while the Luchtbourgish Army operates close air support aircraft as necessary. This neatly solves the ‘fighter mafia’ issue, where CAS, despite its obvious importance, particularly in asymmetric conflicts like the ones Luchtburg is likely to find itself involved in, is played down by an air force which sees it as unglamorous. The Naval Air Service is free to pursue aircraft and weapon systems which support its role as the 10,000-feet-and-up air force, while the Army has the budget and the political clout to keep dedicated air-to-ground platforms in service.
Luchtburg’s particular situation does have some thought behind it. Like any real place, its circumstances force it to look at some platforms which aren’t top-of-the-line, but do fit its requirements better. Gripen was one such platform. When I get to choosing ground vehicles, there will be some others. Up next, though, the hunt for a hunter for Red October. By which I mean a frigate, not submarines.
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