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Old 07-05-2011, 11:50 AM
James Langham James Langham is offline
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Default Air Tactics - the SAMbush

I'm not an expert on aircraft so please feel free to comment on any mistakes.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:44 PM
Adm.Lee Adm.Lee is offline
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Given the Soviets' past use of 'maskirovka' and the use of SAMs and Weasels from Vietnam forward, this is certainly something I could see happening. The use of dummy SAM sites, including unmanned transmitters, is something I think I remember reading about during the latter stage of the Vietnam War.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:45 PM
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You have that essentially correct -- the Vietnamese learned to launch their SAMs with a quick initial fix (and some Russian-built radar-guided SAMs can initially be aimed by eyeball-type sights -- the SA-2 can actually be guided by conventional sights the whole way to the target, but that method is extremely inaccurate), and then then on their radars for a second of two for a quick midcourse correction, then once more when near the target. Everyone, even NATO and the US, has been using that method ever since. Of course, this requires a skilled crew, and much of this procedure has become automated in later missile systems.

To counter this, the US, NATO, and later the Russians and Chinese invented missiles like the HARM, which can pick that initial or later radar bursts and home in on the target radar even after the radar is turned off. This of course leads to ECM and ECCM being protecting SAM radars, and missiles which have the capability to "home-on-jam" -- they can actually home in on a jamming source. And this tit for tat will probably never end. I can't remember the name, but there's a British missile in development which is simply fired into the vicinity of a radar site, flies up and away from the firing aircraft, then pops a parachute and hangs there waiting for a radar burst, at which point it fires a second motor and goes at the radar site -- and it has both memory functions and home-on-jam capability. And one rumored reason they retired the F-117A was because the Russians figured out how to track that design of stealth aircraft.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:46 PM
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Another thing pioneered by the Vietnamese, and now picked up by almost everyone -- A SAM site, particularly a fixed one, will be ringed by antiaircraft artillery guns or vehicles.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:54 PM
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Another thing various countries have been working on for years is high-acceleration heat-seeking missiles designed to take down other missiles, like SAMs. The problem is that the seeker has to be really, really sensitive to pick up the rocket exhaust from any angle, since the SAM isn't in flight long enough to develop much heat along its body, and then pick up the heat from the rocket after it shuts off, since most SAMs are powered for only 1-4 seconds of flight and then coast the rest of the way.
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:02 PM
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And here's another one -- the US, NATO, the Russians, and the Chinese are all developing a new class of missiles (or may have already developed them) which can be guided by heat-seeking or radar-guidance, and even switch between the two or use both in flight. This is useful in high-ECM environments or when antiradiation missile use is expected, and you can use both methods of guidance at the same time to achieve greater precision.
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:59 PM
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I like it.

This article calls to mind an Israeli tactic used against Syrian SAM sites around Lebanon during the '82 invasion. They used drone decoys carrying radar reflective material to get the SAM crews to turn on their targetting radars. Then, Israeli strike aircraft carrying ARMs would pounce and destroy the transmitters. Subsequent aircraft carrying cluster bombs would then destroy whatever was left.
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:17 PM
James Langham James Langham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
I like it.

This article calls to mind an Israeli tactic used against Syrian SAM sites around Lebanon during the '82 invasion. They used drone decoys carrying radar reflective material to get the SAM crews to turn on their targetting radars. Then, Israeli strike aircraft carrying ARMs would pounce and destroy the transmitters. Subsequent aircraft carrying cluster bombs would then destroy whatever was left.
It appears I know more about air tactics than I thought... :-)
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
I like it.

This article calls to mind an Israeli tactic used against Syrian SAM sites around Lebanon during the '82 invasion. They used drone decoys carrying radar reflective material to get the SAM crews to turn on their targetting radars. Then, Israeli strike aircraft carrying ARMs would pounce and destroy the transmitters. Subsequent aircraft carrying cluster bombs would then destroy whatever was left.
I didn't think of that. Was it something like a Quail, which B-52s fired ahead of them in Vietnam on bombing missions to decoy radar like SAMs? The Quail was designed to produce the radar signature of a B-52, even though it is only about half the size of the typical cruise missile.
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
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I didn't think of that. Was it something like a Quail, which B-52s fired ahead of them in Vietnam on bombing missions to decoy radar like SAMs? The Quail was designed to produce the radar signature of a B-52, even though it is only about half the size of the typical cruise missile.
Similar concept but slightly different RPV. IIRC, the Israeli's used ground-launched, prop-powered UAVs a bit smaller than an old VW bug. I'll have to do a little research to find out what kind.
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b View Post
And one rumored reason they retired the F-117A was because the Russians figured out how to track that design of stealth aircraft.
My understanding is (and this from the horses mouth so to speak - signals tech posted there) is that Australia had that capability from day one using our "over the horizon" radar network.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jindale..._Radar_Network
Reading through the article, it strikes me that NO aircraft is completely invisible - the thing is so sensitive it can at the very least detect turbulence, if not the aircraft itself, thousands of miles away!

Next stage of development seems to be the ability to detect pigeons and sparrows...
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
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My understanding is (and this from the horses mouth so to speak - signals tech posted there) is that Australia had that capability from day one using our "over the horizon" radar network.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jindale..._Radar_Network
Reading through the article, it strikes me that NO aircraft is completely invisible - the thing is so sensitive it can at the very least detect turbulence, if not the aircraft itself, thousands of miles away!

Next stage of development seems to be the ability to detect pigeons and sparrows...
From what I understand, the Australians have been able to track comings and goings of B-2s from Diego Garcia. But they're the only ones who have managed that (as far as I know). I'm guessing that they're working with the US right now on how to counteract that.
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:59 PM
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Now why would we do that?
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Old 07-05-2011, 06:03 PM
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Paul, these are the RPVs/UAVs the Israelis used to trick the Syrian SA-6 batteries into turning on their targetting radars for the waiting Israeli Wild Weasels.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tadiran_Mastiff

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAI_Scout

I recall seeing pictures of similar UAVs being launched from the fantail of one of the Iowa class battleships for use as a long rage artillery spotting platform for the ship's 16" guns. They used a crash netting type system to recover the vehicles. IIRC, such a set up was used against Iraqi shore positions in Kuwait during the '91 Gulf War.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:18 PM
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Quail wasn't used over NVN. EB-66 jamming, Wild Weasel F-105s, and the B-52s' own jamming did the job. Still, the NVN shot down 16 B-52s (all in 1972: one during the last month of LINEBACKER I, 15 during LINEBACKER II).

A lot of what the Navy calls IRON HAND (anti-SAM) is rightfully classified. My cousin (USN F/A-18 driver) has flown that mission in exercises and on Night One of OEF, when there were SA-2s around Kandahar that were believed to be operational. But if ODS is a guide: the use of TALD, ITALD, and MALD decoys helps the attacker: the decoys, often with blip enhancers, force the defender to turn on their radars, and that attracts the HARM shooters. Even if you're out of HARMs, just call "Magnum" over the radio, and that will make the bad guys turn off their radars-they don't know you're out of ordnance, and for all they know, there's a HARM (or other antiradar missile) inbound.

Many Soviet tactical SAMs (SA-6, SA-8, SA-11, SA-15, etc.) have EO backups in case the radar is jammed. As do their naval counterparts.
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b View Post
I can't remember the name, but there's a British missile in development which is simply fired into the vicinity of a radar site, flies up and away from the firing aircraft, then pops a parachute and hangs there waiting for a radar burst, at which point it fires a second motor and goes at the radar site.
It's called ALARM and is no longer in development, it's field certified and in active use.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:48 PM
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Came across this one in an old copy of Air Force magazine, from 1968, the article mentioned a tactic that the NVA was using to nail Wild Weasel aircraft. They would set up 23mm/57mm AAA guns around terrain features that allowed the Weasels to pop-down below radar, right into a gun battery or two.

It's not so much the ring of guns that paul mentioned, but still a nasty variation...
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Paul, these are the RPVs/UAVs the Israelis used to trick the Syrian SA-6 batteries into turning on their targetting radars for the waiting Israeli Wild Weasels.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tadiran_Mastiff

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAI_Scout

I recall seeing pictures of similar UAVs being launched from the fantail of one of the Iowa class battleships for use as a long rage artillery spotting platform for the ship's 16" guns. They used a crash netting type system to recover the vehicles. IIRC, such a set up was used against Iraqi shore positions in Kuwait during the '91 Gulf War.
Sometime in the future I'll work on that, but UAV updates are a while out for my site right now.
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
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Sometime in the future I'll work on that, but UAV updates are a while out for my site right now.
No hurry. You asked and I was trying to accomodate.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:29 PM
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ALARM was combat proven in 1991 (ODS), 1995 (Bosnia), 1999 (Kosovo), and 2003 (OIF).
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