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Subject: Air defence Philosphies
Thomas    4/20/2004 7:28:35 AM
Having just read a communist defectors report from the Soviet Army (published 1982) I would like to draw attention to a matter of principle: The Soviet considered Airdefence as defence of POINT TARGETS. I my experience the NATO considered Air Defence an area defence: The question was: The bad guys fly, WHÈRE can we kill them? A totally different approach. The defence of points leads to static SAM's supplemted with fighters. If you have mobile systems, they have great difficulty keeping up with the armour and these SAM vihicles are very very expensive. I've allway been very pro combined arms in the air as well. This lead to the attitude: 1.Free air defence asset from specific objects (guns at air station, can at best reduce hostile accuracy), as they will be taken out - one at the time - anyway. 2. Get cheaper SAM vihicles - that move (like all other artillery pieces) to a different position when they have shot. 3. Light up dummy radars at funny places, to let the enemy waste missiles, preferably at garbage dumbs, ministry offices and swedish embassies. 4. This is controversial: Train your SAM crews and AA gunner in recognition, so you can fly with impunity among your own missiles. Give the enemy 2 problems at the same time. 5 Issuing MANPADS to everyone is a mistake - keeps you own fighters from persuing hostiles over own formations - instead give them to small mobile groups with radio. Your thoughts??
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   RE:Air defence Philosphies   4/20/2004 5:29:53 PM
My LCBA formation would have a recon and airdefense capability concentrated within the squad with the use of avengers and armored HUMVEE's. Sincerely, Keith
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Final Historian    RE:Air defence Philosphies   4/20/2004 6:51:14 PM
Taiwan presents a good case example. The Taiwanese need to create something along the lines of a multi-layer Air Defense Network. Fighters at the outer edges, with certain zones and paths open so they can head back to base. A mid-range area where long range fixed and Mobile SAMs can engage incoming planes, and then a close in defense system, consisting of mobile SAMs, Flak and teams of infantry with MANPADs, ferried by jeep and trucks.
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Final Historian    RE:Air defence Philosphies   4/20/2004 6:54:11 PM
Addendum: Use Flak and the MANPAD groups to protect point targets, because their range is so low. With a shorter range they are better off moving around in a circle around the target that they are protecting. Mobile SAM vehicles and some fixed SAMs would be better at the mid-level area defense. Fighters would be used to break up attacks, ruin co-ordination, and to pick off survivors. Another thing to consider would be the role of VSTOL aircraft, as their shorter runway requirements make them easier to operate when the enemy possess the ability to destroy your airfields. They could be used as interceptors, aiding the Mobile SAMs when it comes to area air defense.
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Ex98C    RE:Air defence Philosphies   4/20/2004 8:08:04 PM
Thomas - SHHHH jeez man..the problem with a lot of the Soviet air defenses was not the equipment but the operating procedure. You start giving them ideas on how to be effective, then suppressing them becomes a heck of a headache
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Thomas    RE:Air defence Philosphies   4/21/2004 2:15:40 AM
Ex98C: I'm not worried, because when have they ever listned? In fact the entire Soviet idea of the overwhelming superiority of the offensive over the defensive lost out to a well conducted defensive over 50 years by NATO. The advantage of MANPADS and AA-guns is they are cheap and "supplyable". Their disadvantage is they are unprotected and accuracy is severly affected by lack of advanced warning. If you could build up a general warning picture from a variety of sources - and you can - you can move the light weapons around (be where the bombers are, but not the bombs). Instead of using movement as a mere defensive measure, You could move them so they are in place for the next raid. Another thing is: With PGM the idea of static objects is not a very good one, so You will have to give up the notion of defending a fortress anyhow. The idea of a layered defence is better than no idea, but aircraft have the mobility in the timeframe of an airraid, which SAMS do not have. So instead of excluding the fighters from Short range missile engagement zones (for the fear of freindly fire), train in aircraft spotting and live with the casualties that will come due to the reduced number of mistakes. On the plus side You will get more weapons (both quantity and quality) where the action is. Futher more the idea, that you on a long range mission (from say Poland to England) would be harassed all the way, was probably the reason for the inordinate amount of vodka drunk on Soviet airstations.
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leoatwork    RE:Air defence Philosphies   4/23/2004 4:23:14 PM
As far as the issue of deconflicting airspace to minimize blue-on-blue casualties in air defense, I can think of a number of possible technological solution that might work better than just training people in target recognition. Various "black-box" type solutions, etc. The one that makes the most sense to me would be to equip friendly aircraft with a sort of "missile IFF" that would be very low powered. With a signal that doesn't propagate beyond about 20 feet, you wouldn't be giving away the position of you aircraft or the IFF coding, but if someone accidentally takes a shot a friendly aircraft, the missile won't detonate. Would that work?
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Thomas2    RE:Air defence Philosphies   4/23/2004 4:40:06 PM
I'm all for technology, but it is expensive, so it often doesn't get implemented. Besides I like the warning aspect of visual reporting - positive ID of aircraft type for one.
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Thomas    RE:Air defence Philosphies   4/29/2004 4:26:59 AM
Having just read the news item of the Tipsy 75 "mobile" radar, which takes 100 men and 6 trucks to operate. When will you have a radar on one truck, that just move out, take a GPS fix, plug into the nearest telephone line or mobile or radio. Work with 10 men, have a range of 200 km (cuts power requirement with 95%)????
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displacedjim    RE:Air defence Philosphies   5/2/2004 3:03:46 PM
The Soviet/Russian concept of air defense was/is not just point defense--however, attention certainly was/is focused on potential targets given the capabilities of the weapon systems available. They certainly had/have a layered approach, with interceptors, long range SAMs, and medium range SAMs under a structured, centralized C2 for protecting regions of airspace, while AAA and other longe range, medium range, and short range SAMs are under tactical control of the facilities/formations they are assigned to protect. Defending a point target is about the simplest case in air defense, while defending a movable point target (e.g., an armor brigade) is about the same except it requires the air defense assets to be mobile. The USAF tends to look at that as tactical air defense about which little can be done other than including some SEAD assets and employing countermeasures (jamming, chaff, flares). AAA and MANPADs contribute very little to national air defense, but MANPADs and radar-guided AAA can be a significant nuisance threat in tactical air defense of their grunts that can limit our CAS aircraft from making low altitude attacks. The Soviets did not just issue MANPADs willy-nilly to everybody. They had MANPAD air defense platoons with C2 vehicles tying the MANPAD teams into the tactical air defense network for their division. Defending a geographic region is much more complex, and the key to success in any air defense is command and control. That's what provides the backbone that pulls a bunch of air defense assets together to become an Integrated Air Defense System, or IADS. The Soviet/Russian model had/has a distinct separation between assets that are part of the strategic air defense of a geographic region and those that are part of the tactical air defense of individual formations. Strategic air defense assets, while usually individually relocatable to one degree or another, tend to be employed from presurveyed sites because that makes the job of C2 much simpler. The heart of an IADS is the battle management of assets, and that is complicated by uncertainties in location, status, etc. of your assets. Constant two-way communication between the air defense commander and his sensors and shooters is the goal. Using Camoflage, Concealment, and Deception (CC&D) is very much a part of most nation's air defense efforts. The use of dummy launch sites, equipment, and even emitters has been around for a long time. False targets often are designed to appear real even in the IR and RF spectrums. Visual recognition is only a factor in very short range systems that by their nature are only point defense. Your air defenses have largely failed by the time you're worrying about that. On top of that, relying on visual recognition is notoriuosly hazardous to the health of friendly pilots, which in the case of most air forces around the world immediately leads to a break-down in friendly air support low overhead of the front line troops, as undisciplined, undermotivated pilots quickly loose their aggresive edge in that arena. Displacedjim P.S. Thomas, the Swedes are gone. Let it go! :-)
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Thomas    RE:Air defence Philosphies   5/3/2004 9:10:44 AM
Good Post displacedjim! I differ from you in the evaluation of visual identification. It is indeed possible in a reasonably well populated area to have area warning from visual observers. The problem is it is primarely a lewlevel system, as the target position becomes uncertain with high altitude. Furthermore it degrades in darkness and bad weather, though not as much as one should think. I would say that a visual system in norther Australia would be difficult, unless you have some means of making observation lines or belts. The primary objective of manpads in my view is to "lift" the opposition up, where they cannot avoid the radar. We are much more in agreement considering visual recognition of people who are about to be attacked, they are liable to err on the side of the gunslinger - understandably enough. The value of manpads in my humble opinion is the greatest where the fire unit is forewarned (WITH TYPE ID), get the enemy in the sight and on that ID concurs or disagree with resulting decision for the trigger.
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