Since it seems that there are never-ending roadblocks to providing Russian model fighter and close air support aircraft, from NATO countries, to Ukraine…..USNI Proceedings has a really interesting article regarding resurrect the American Volunteer Group [The Flying Tigers of Claire Chennault fame], in the skies over Ukraine. I’m a ground guy, so I may be missing something in the technical aspects, but overall……lacking the issuance of formal Letters of Marque and reprisal….I rather like this idea. In-depth article, so snips only below:
On 20 December 1941, just days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the first American pilots tangled with Japanese bombers over the skies of Kunming, China. Under the leadership of then-Colonel Claire Chennault and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, three squadrons of flyers and maintainers served in the American Volunteer Group (AVG) as a mercenary component of the Chinese Air Force. The famed “Flying Tigers,” originally comprising 100 P-40 Warhawks and 100 pilots, flew combat missions against the Japanese invasion forces in China and Burma from late 1941 to mid-1942 and are credited with 296 enemy aircraft destroyed in slightly more than six months of combat.
With the Russian invasion in Ukraine consolidating and regrouping in Ukraine’s east, the time has come to resurrect this hallowed unit, rebuilt for the modern age. In the weeks since the invasion began on 24 February, the United States and NATO have steadily increased their response from economic sanctions and other deterrence-oriented measures to lend-lease supply of arms to Ukrainian forces, particularly antitank weapons. The defenders have summoned a stiff and willful resistance, and the Russian assault—plagued by logistical and doctrinal shortcomings—stalled significantly in its first month. But it is not unreasonable to question how long the world’s 23rd-largest military force can feasibly hold off the predations of the 5th largest or to wonder how hard a floundering Vladimir Putin might push to save face by securing victory—perhaps with chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons.
If Russia’s withdrawal from the northern theater proves to be a feint followed by a greater reattack, the AVG should primarily focus its efforts on this region. If the areas surrounding Kyiv and Kharkiv remain clear of invasion forces, then the AVG should support the Ukrainian war effort in Donbas.
If the Russo-Ukrainian War were to spill beyond its current borders and draw outside powers into direct conflict, the United States would benefit from having an established foothold in the region. The AVG could be absorbed into the U.S. Air Force, as was its forebear in 1942 with the Army Air Forces. Seasoned aviators would be an invaluable resource as advisors to brief and train new personnel entering the theater or even to lead squadrons in the horrifying combat that would surely follow this worst-case scenario.