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Air Battle Force (Patrick McLanahan Series #11)

Air Battle Force (Patrick McLanahan Series #11)

3.7 16
by Dale Brown

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In military circles it's known as Air Battle Force -- an air combat unit of the future, under the command of aerialwarfare expert Major General Patrick McLanahan,capable of launching stealthy, precision-guidedfirepower to anywhere on the globe within hours. And now McLanahan and his warriors have their first target.

Driven from Afghanistan, the parasitic


In military circles it's known as Air Battle Force -- an air combat unit of the future, under the command of aerialwarfare expert Major General Patrick McLanahan,capable of launching stealthy, precision-guidedfirepower to anywhere on the globe within hours. And now McLanahan and his warriors have their first target.

Driven from Afghanistan, the parasitic forces of the deposed Taliban regime have decided to feed on a new host -- an isolated, oil-rich Central Asian neighbor that's ripe for the conquering. The battle for control of the world's largest oil deposits has begun, with unsteady alliances forming and opposing forces set to collide. And now a handful of American commandos half a world away, aided by McLanahan's unproven robotic warplanes, will have to triumph against overwhelming numbers in a war that nobody -- including "friendly" forces at home -- wants them to win.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This absorbing techno-thriller follows the author's established pattern of fast action in the air and on the ground, its hard-driving protagonists equipped with an arsenal of futuristic hardware. Patrick McLanahan is back again, this time as air force major general in charge of the First Air Battle Force, a secret experimental unit with the controls to a jackpot of high-tech toys, among them air-retrievable bomb-carrying drones, venerable B-52s packing brand-new, high-powered lasers, and B-1s (called Vampires) capable of carrying out unmanned missions. Supporting McLanahan are a respectable company of the other continuing characters in the author's air force saga, which has acquired (like Clancy's Jack Ryan volumes) some of the attributes of an alternate history. These include Rebecca Furness, with her first star; maverick Daren Mace, still under a cloud and still in love with Rebecca; cigar-smoking acting Secretary of State Maureen Hershel; and charismatic ex-President Kevin Martindale. All collide when a Taliban raid into Turkmenistan leads to the overthrow of the Russian-backed Turkmen government. Eager to set things right, the Russian chief of staff engineers a military coup in Russia, pumping up the threat of war between Russia and the U.S. At the end, Brown (Wings of Fire, etc.) has deftly set up his next book, with Turkmenistan ruled by Jalaluddin Turabi, a former Taliban bandit and now a budding statesman, while the Russians bare their fangs over the not-unexpected destruction of their bombers by the Air Battle Force. Brown fans will declare this a page-turning delight. (One-day laydown May 13) Forecast: The ins and outs of high-tech war are of particular interest now, and Brown's latest effort-his first novel with Morrow, which is launching a major ad/promo campaign-should have no trouble scaling bestseller lists. Simultaneous Harper Audio and Harper Large Print editions; film rights sold to New Millennium. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Au courant: a new U.S. air combat unit vs. the Taliban. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Old Dog Brown brings back his favorite technothriller heroes for what will likely be their 15th consecutive assault on the bestseller list, despite ever more unwieldy plots, laboriously detailed fantastic weapons, and bombastic action sequences. Forcibly retired US Air Force General Patrick McLanahan (Wings of Fire, 2002, etc.) and his unsanctioned Night Stalker special ops corps of freelance commandos (who work outside the government) have saved the world several times over from total destruction and always win the biggest stakes on the table. What is an Air Battle Force? Well, former child prodigy aeronautical and space engineer Jon Masters has devised the Vampire bomber, which carries StealthHawk Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles within it. McLanahan leads the 1st Vampire Squadron, and StealthHawks are the leading edge of the force he and Wing Commander Rebecca Furness use to launch a counterattack against Afghan Captain Wakil Mohammad Zarazi's Taliban troops, who capture a UN Afghan Relief and Rehabilitation unit in Northern Afghanistan. Air Battle Force is the future of air warfare and in part consists of robot warplanes launched from the Vampire bomber. Flying a B-1 over air space congruent to Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan, McLanahan loses a robot plane and goes searching for it through various hostile radars and air defense systems while running almost on empty. As it happens, the Turkmenistan oil fields have become the prime target of Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces no longer safe in Afghanistan. The novel bomber makes a pancake landing, skipping off the ocean onto a beach. The technoclimax comes with the Vampire in a dogfight while attacking an airbase in the RussianFederation. Tense pages hard-focused on aerial hardware as Brown pumps it up for fans-who know what they're getting. Film rights to Michael Viner/New Millennium. Agent: Robert Gottlieb/Trident Media

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Patrick McLanahan Series , #11
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Read an Excerpt

Air Battle Force

Chapter One

Arlington National Cemetery
The next morning

I apologize for holding this press conference in this kind of weather, with no shelter," former president of the United States Kevin Martindale began. As he did, the early-morning downpour seemed to intensify. "Out of respect for this place, I chose not to set up any tents or shelters and add any more to the circuslike atmosphere I'm already creating here. It's also why we're out here in the visitors' parking lot instead of on the grounds themselves, and why I requested that no cameras be aimed toward the cemetery itself. But I did come to Arlington for a reason."

Despite the weather, Kevin Martindale, standing on the running board of his armored Suburban, looked as groomed and polished as if he were in a television studio. In his early fifties, tall and handsome, a former two-time vice president and one-term chief executive, Martindale still looked every inch the political pro and commander in chief. He kept himself in good shape; he still dressed impeccably; he had shaved his beard and cut his hair for this appearance. The famous "photographer's dream" was still there, even in the rain -- the two locks of silver hair that automatically mirrored his mood. If he was angry, they curled enacingly across his forehead, as they did right now; when he was contented, they swept gracefully back across his salt-and-pepper mane.

"I asked you to meet me out here today so I might make an observation and an announcement," Martindale said. "The weather happens to match my mood pretty well."

"Today is a very solemn anniversary: the twelfth anniversary of the last postwar combat deaths of Operation Desert Storm. Two weeks after the Iraqi army was decimated and a cease-fire was declared, a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter went down in bad weather over Kuwait, and six brave soldiers were lost. Some of those heroes are interred here in Section H at Arlington National Cemetery. That these losses happened at all is a huge tragedy, but to suffer such a loss after such a great victory against the Iraqi army makes the loss even more grievous.

"Yet it was a great victory for freedom. The mission to release Kuwait from the clutches of Saddam Hussein took only six weeks to accomplish; Iraq surrendered just one hundred hours after the ground war began, after being pummeled into submission by forty days of continuous aerial bombardment. Coalition forces lost just five hundred brave soldiers, against nearly one hundred thousand Iraqi casualties. It was clearly one of the most lopsided wars in history. Those soldiers' deaths were tragic, but it was a mission I feel the United States needed to accomplish. They did not die in vain.

"I bring all this to your attention today to point out an alarming fact: that the United States does not now have the capability to perform that same fight for freedom," Martindale went on. "The United States mobilized two hundred and fifty thousand soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in six months to fight that last battle. Today it would take us years to mobilize and move the same number of troops and send them halfway across the world to fight. We have no ground forces stationed overseas -- none. We have a total of fifty thousand Marines deployed aboard ships around the world with aircraft-carrier battle groups. Those are the only ground forces that can respond to an emergency. We also happen to have two fewer aircraft-carrier battle groups operational, which in essence leaves one-fifth of the world unpatrolled at any given time.

"In addition, the forty-first president managed to commit, organize, mobilize, and direct another two hundred and fifty thousand troops from fifty-seven nations in the war against Saddam Hussein, including those from six Arabic-speaking nations and another seventeen Islamic nations," Martindale continued. "The current administration has managed to ignore, cancel, violate, and abrogate dozens of treaties; it has alienated most of our allies, created distrust among the nonaligned world, and angered our enemies.

"Thomas Thorn continues to cut the size of the United States military at a ridiculous rate, especially our Army,"Martindale said, his voice rising in anger. "The Army is now one-half the size it was just two years ago, and it continues to shrink. The size of the Reserves and National Guard has increased, but the overall force is still one-third smaller. We have abrogated numerous mutual-defense and cooperation treaties with dozens of nations, most important among them the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which in my opinion has ensured the safety and security of the entire world for almost half a century. Thanks to Thomas Thorn's shortsightedness, the United States is a friendless, futureless desert island hopelessly lost and forgotten in the sea of global geopolitical affairs. We are not adrift -- we are being purposely and maliciously steered around every tragedy, every responsibility, and every crisis, all in the name of splendid isolationism. It is time for that policy to end.

"Now for my announcement: I am hereby announcing the formation of an exploratory committee to become the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States."

Even from this group of Washington reporters, who had been hearing rumors about such an announcement for weeks, there was a loud murmur of surprise. Martindale's aide stepped toward the former president, whispering in his ear that several networks wanted to go live with this press conference. Martindale turned from the podium for several moments as if adjusting his trench coat, but he didn't need to do so -- everyone in attendance knew what was happening. Less than ten seconds later the networks gave the sign that they were ready ...

Air Battle Force. Copyright © by Dale Brown. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Former U.S. Air Force captain Dale Brown is the superstar author of 26 best-selling action-adventure “techno-thriller” novels: FLIGHT OF THE OLD DOG (1987), SILVER TOWER (1988), DAY OF THE CHEETAH (1989), HAMMERHEADS (1990), SKY MASTERS (1991), NIGHT OF THE HAWK (1992), CHAINS OF COMMAND (1993), STORMING HEAVEN (1994), SHADOWS OF STEEL (1996), FATAL TERRAIN (1997), THE TIN MAN (1998), BATTLE BORN, (1999), WARRIOR CLASS (2001), WINGS OF FIRE (2002), AIR BATTLE FORCE (2003), PLAN OF ATTACK (2004), ACT OF WAR (2005), EDGE OF BATTLE (2006), STRIKE FORCE (2007), SHADOW COMMAND (2008), ROGUE FORCES (2009), EXECUTIVE INTENT (2010), A TIME FOR PATRIOTS (2011), TIGER’S CLAW (2012), STARFIRE (2014), and IRON WOLF (2015). He is also the co-author of the best-selling DREAMLAND techno-thriller series and writer and the PUPPET MASTER series, and is a technical consultant of the Act of War PC real-time strategy game published by Atari Interactive, and the Megafortress PC flight simulator by Three-Sixty Pacific. Dale’s novels are published in 11 languages and distributed to over 70 countries. Worldwide sales of his novels, audiobooks, e-books, and computer games exceed 15 million copies.

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Air Battle Force (Patrick McLanahan Series #11) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Driftwood74 More than 1 year ago
EXCELLANT !!!! Tipical Dale Brown.....
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ACB80 More than 1 year ago
If you have been following Dale Brown and Patrick McLanahan you won't feel left out. Another great read.
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