Despite obvious icing-related problems, there is debate as to the severity of
icing's impact on Army aviation. One reason is that it is possible for career Army
aviators to never be in the right place at the right time to experience in-flight or
ground icing. The occurrence of low-altitude icing is restricted by season and
geographic location. A second reason is that Army aircraft are restricted as to the
severity of icing conditions in which they can be flown. An aircraft will not be
scheduled for a mission if actual or forecast icing conditions exceed its rating
(no, trace, or light icing), which leads Army aviators to state that icing does not
negatively affect their mission. That reasoning sidesteps the basic point--that
not being able to conduct aviation operations under all or most icing conditions
significantly alters the Army commander's options for mission accomplishment.
If icing deprives a commander of even part of his aviation assets for any of the
roles listed above, from attack to evacuation, then his mission has been affected.
As a basis for assessing the impact of icing on Army aviation, the U.S. Army
Engineer Research and Development Center's Cold Regions Research and Engi-
neering Laboratory (CRREL) has queried Army aviators in the fields of general
aviation, special operations, and medical evacuation. The CRREL aviation icing
team has also investigated current and planned capabilities of Army's unmanned
aerial vehicles (UAVs) under icing conditions. This report presents an analysis
and synthesis of the information obtained. It also documents the nature and
severity of icing-related problems experienced by aviation commanders and their
flight operations and maintenance personnel, as well as the challenges weather
support personnel face in forecasting icing conditions.