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Air Defense: China Clones the Tor M1
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February 15, 2008: China has apparently cloned another Russian weapon, in this case the Tor-M1 air defense system. The Chinese version is called HQ17. China has earlier bought 30 Tor M1 systems.

 

 The Tor-M1 is known to NATO as the SA-15 Gauntlet. It has a maximum range of 12 kilometers. It is only effective up to 6,000 meters altitude. The system was designed as a successor to the SA-N-8 Gecko. Each launcher carries eight missiles, and it is claimed to be capable of engaging two targets simultaneously. The system was designed to be a tactical battlefield air-defense system, designed to take out close-air-support planes like the A-10 or tactical fighter-bombers like the F-4, F-16, and F-18.

 

It is thought that China wants such a low altitude system for defense against new Taiwanese cruise missiles. However, cruise missile, which go as fast as 880 kilometers per hour, and comes in at very low altitudes, would be hard for the Tor-M1 to hit. A single Tor would have 49 seconds at most to engage a cruise missile if it detects the missile at its maximum range. That is a pretty big if, as radar performance declines against low-altitude targets. This assumes the missile will hit. If the missile misses (not an unthinkable occurrence in some circumstances), then more have to be fired.

 

There are vulnerabilities as well. Most Taiwanese combat planes can easily fly at altitudes above 6000 meters. These aircraft would have the option of either attacking the Tor systems themselves (and clearing the road for cruise missiles or combat aircraft to attack the main target), or going for the main target itself.

 

Tor could also be neutralized by sending in UAVs or target drones on a flight profile similar to that flown by combat aircraft or cruise missiles. This was the technique used in the 1991 Gulf War against the Iraqi air defense system. The Iraqis fired at the drones, revealing the location of the missile batteries and drawing very prompt attention from American Wild Weasels. The Iraqi system was neutralized very quickly.

 

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displacedjim       2/15/2008 11:03:09 AM
If they have any brains at all they'll use them as soon as possible as self-defense around their SA-20 sites.
 
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SOP919F3    Poetic Justice   2/15/2008 5:57:06 PM
I love hearing that the Chinese are stealing Russian technology, given all the copyright infringements Moscow encourages.  It's like watching rats eat each other.
 
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ker       2/15/2008 7:24:38 PM
Are there any (last 20 years) examples of successful ground to air kills against modern air craft with competent crews?  I think about the F-117 that was shoot down.  I may have heard a fake story but I thought that was done with flood lights and smoke from massive AAA cannon fire.  Turning the night sky gray made a black plane visible the the human eye.  Not sure if that was intentional. 
 
I think when buying (or appropriating) anti-aircraft missiles it is hard to know what your getting.  Are they expensive lawn ornaments?  Do the create uncertainty for possible opponents? 
 
IMHO the missiles need some kind of surprise to preform well enough to justify their cost.    So you either need to ahead of the field with tec or have a very novel way of employing them.  Second hand designs in rings around the target ain't cutting it.
 
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onceagrunt       2/15/2008 11:59:49 PM
I could be wrong, but I think I remember reading at the time, when the Serbs shot down the F-117, that what happened was the F-117 becomes visible on radar very briefly when it opens its bomb bay doors.  The Serbs became fairly good at spotting this and then predicting where the plane was heading. Also, I think some of the older, longer wave Soviet radars are supposed to work better at picking up stealth aircraft than newer radars.
 
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displacedjim       2/16/2008 5:25:21 AM

Are there any (last 20 years) examples of successful ground to air kills against modern air craft with competent crews?  I think about the F-117 that was shoot down.  I may have heard a fake story but I thought that was done with flood lights and smoke from massive AAA cannon fire.  Turning the night sky gray made a black plane visible the the human eye.  Not sure if that was intentional. 

 

I think when buying (or appropriating) anti-aircraft missiles it is hard to know what your getting.  Are they expensive lawn ornaments?  Do the create uncertainty for possible opponents? 

 

IMHO the missiles need some kind of surprise to preform well enough to justify their cost.    So you either need to ahead of the field with tec or have a very novel way of employing them.  Second hand designs in rings around the target ain't cutting it.



 
Yes, we lost something like about 20 aircraft during Desert Storm to SAMs, 2 to SAMs in the Balkans in the '90s, and 2 to SAMs (our own Patriots) during OIF.  No, the F-117 wasn't shot down by using any tricks or because of any special equipment anti-LO capabilities; it was caught by very sensible Serbian tactics of waiting until they had a sure thing at short range (LO does not mean invisible, it just means reduced detection and targeting ranges).  SA-15s are not second hand designs, they are very modern and very capable short range SAMs.
 
 
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EKAdams       2/16/2008 6:05:13 AM

I could be wrong, but I think I remember reading at the time, when the Serbs shot down the F-117, that what happened was the F-117 becomes visible on radar very briefly when it opens its bomb bay doors.  The Serbs became fairly good at spotting this and then predicting where the plane was heading. Also, I think some of the older, longer wave Soviet radars are supposed to work better at picking up stealth aircraft than newer radars.

 
Either 'time' or 'Newsweek', back then, ran an important story, where it was revealed the Serbs had been getting some very important information leaks from NATO command. I think it was through the Russians or some such. That, combined with flight paths which rarely deviated, allowed them to get a fix on where that particular aircraft was heading. This was apparently later rectified.
 
Hence, why no others were shot down, after!
 
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Herald12345    We were sloppy.   2/16/2008 8:31:33 AM
Predictable vectors and improper use of EW plus some very smart Serb tactics as DJ said, made it possible for a Serbian air defense tactician to set up a flak trap.  I don't care how LO you are, if you show up on the same smear track, again and  again at the same altitude and the trackers get the  same spot "blip"  at the same time and bearing day in and day out, all they need is a set of decent IR rockets and a cellphone binocular-equipped observer watching you take off. The SAM operator then starts his stop watch when he gets the word from the observer and points his rockets and WAITS.

Math KILLS.

Herald

 
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displacedjim       2/16/2008 9:13:03 AM
Yes, except that it wasn't any special equipment or missiles or anything.  The Serbs had/have a couple battalions (batteries) of SA-6 and about ten battalions (batteries) of SA-3s.  They shot it down with an SA-3 as he flew very close to it.
 
 
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