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Subject: Do Western SAMs fare much worse than Eastern?
MasterCaution    7/11/2004 12:44:11 AM
I find that in a true full on battle, with a totally dynamic scenario, that the western built SAMs and tactics would not be able to cope well, just as with the '73 Yom Kippur war. Have we learnt our lesson?
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Siddar    RE:Do Western SAMs fare much worse than Eastern?   7/11/2004 1:04:55 AM
North Vietnam Gulf War Kosovo Iraq In all above cases lumbering B52s have been able to bomb almost at will. In end history has shown that eastern missiles are garbage when put against any comptent Airforce.
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displacedjim    RE:Do Western SAMs fare much worse than Eastern?   7/11/2004 2:41:53 PM
In Vietnam we took plenty of losses to strategic SAMs (SA-2s). In the Gulf War I'm not sure how many were lost to strategic SAMs (SA-2/3), but it was only a few. In Kosovo we only lost one, an F-117, to a strategic SAM (SA-3), although now something about an AV-8B is ringing a bell, so maybe it was two. In Iraq we didn't lose any aircraft to strategic SAMs. The difference was that in Vietnam we had ROEs in place that ought to have been called criminal, and both the LBJ and the Nixon administrations (president, SecDef, SecState, NSA, etc.) ought to have been impeached and jailed for what they did to our fliers. Since then, we've been allowed to disable the IADS *first*, not fight our way through it every mission. Displacedjim
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Roman    RE:Do Western SAMs fare much worse than Eastern?   7/11/2004 6:34:31 PM
displacedjim - I have a vague feeling that it was 4 manned aircraft lost in the Kosovo conflict - the F-117, the AV-8B, an F-16 and one I cannot recall. I could be wrong on that, though, it is just a vague recollection that seems to come to mind. All crews, however, survived, that much I am certain of. There were also about 20-30 unmanned aircraft lost. Still, that does not change the overall picture in that the Serbian strategic SAMs were rather spectacularly unsuccessful against the might of the NATO airforces. Just out of interest, since you are an airforce/airdefence analyst would it be possible to check whether the NATO airforces have encountered the S-300 yet? It is touted as an excellent SAM, but I am not aware of any operational experience it has, so the claims might well be overblown.
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ex-98C    RE:Do Western SAMs fare much worse than Eastern?   7/11/2004 8:14:51 PM
I doubt its seen actualt combat Roman. Jim might have more details, but it is a fairly recent(1980's I belive)system that was close held by the Soviets/Russinas for quite a while. It was developed after Vietnamso I can think of only four places in might have encountered Western aircract Libya (1986), Iraq (1991), Syria (80-83), Serbia (mid 90s). I am alost certain that the Libyans and the Iraqs did not have it, almost as sure about the Syrians. The best chace for it to see service was in the Balkans, and even that is highly unlikely.
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displacedjim    RE:Do Western SAMs fare much worse than Eastern?   7/11/2004 8:19:48 PM
IIRC, there was an F-16 shot down by an SA-6 over Serb-controlled Croatia in 1996, but not over Kosovo. I haven't been involved in analyzing Serb air defense command and control structure, so I don't know whether their SA-6s are directly linked to their IADS, but under typical FSU doctrine the SA-6 is used tactically and is not integrated into the overall air defense. I seriously question that US/NATO lost 20 to 30 UAVs. I'm sure we lost some, but I don't recall hearing anything about having that many shot down in any operation. Admittedly, I don't know the exact number. We have never engaged an enemy equipped with S-300 SAMs. Off hand I can't think of any aerial combat that has involved S-300s. Displacedjim
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displacedjim    RE:Do Western SAMs fare much worse than Eastern?   7/11/2004 8:32:13 PM
I should amend my earlier comments a bit. The fighting over Kosovo/Serbia in 1998-1999 was perhaps a slight throughback to Vietnam, and was definitely not exactly like GWI and GWII. Once again, we were operating under somewhat more strict ROE, and we did not really ever take out the Serb IADS. Rather, we degraded it somewhat, and relied heavily on F-16CJs (for sure) and EA-6Bs (I assume, but am not positive off-hand) for SEAD during strikes. The Serb IADS is well dug-in, redundant, and distributed, and was a tough nut to crack. They even tried to come up against us with MiG-29s, but in the face of our air superiority that was a brave but foregone conclusion, and were shot down 6-0. Regarding S-300s, neither Libya, Iraq, Syria, nor Serbia have them. In fact, they really are not widely exported at all even today. It's a mystery to me, as I'm sure they're for sale. I'm assuming our State Department must lean pretty heavily on the Russians to quash prospective sales. Displacedjim
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Roman    Kosovo War   7/11/2004 8:55:11 PM
Thanks for the info on lack of operational experience of the S-300. As an analyst, do you nonetheless consider it to be capable enough to live up to the hype or not? As for the losses in Kosovo I found this: "Military casualties on the NATO side were remarkably light - the alliance suffered no fatalities as a result of combat operations. The alliance reported the loss of three helicopters, 32 unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and five aircraft - all of them American, including the first stealth plane (a F-117 Fighter Bomber) shot down by enemy fire. Several of these were lost in accidents and not by enemy action. The Yugoslav armed forces claimed to have shot down seven helicopters, 30 UAVs, 61 planes and 238 cruise missiles. However, these figures were not verified independently and have little support among non-Yugoslav analysts." The info comes from here: In any case, if I recall correctly all of the helicopters were lost to accidents and I think the same applies to one of the five manned fixed-wing aircraft lost. As to UAVs I am guessing some of the losses have also been to accidents, so my original claim of 20-30 shot down is probably accurate.
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davoj    RE:Do Western SAMs fare much worse than Eastern?   10/4/2004 4:35:45 AM
Hi, I'm not sure about the comment that the Russian AD stuff is bad, Vietnam caused some pretty heavy losses and B52s got some hammerings, sorry for those lost I'm not knocking the USA or the old USSR. Soviet doctrine was AD umbrella's, and during Yom Kippur it took the resupply of aircraft and a major ECM overhaul to counter the problem. The F111 strikes into Libya back in 86? how many F111 were downed there was a couple and the strike package was nt that big'and that was a suprise job. In air war you can't afford losses above 10-15% per mission. I can't remember but a few of the tornado's in GW1 were lost either to Radar SAMs or controlled AAA due to incorrect ECM settings. I have to say that the USAF, RAF etc do n;t spend so much time attriting AD if it's not a problem, it's just the forces used were overwhelmingly strong and there's only so many spare aerials and radar bits available, and lets face it Iraq had been embargoed for how many years, and so had Serbia. I think coming up against a well resourced Russian AD system would be a tough nut to crack, the layers IR/Radar and then guns.......working in different are going to need a few ECM jammers which even the US is short of and the HARM is n't the tool either. Davoj Davoj
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displacedjim    RE:Do Western SAMs fare much worse than Eastern?   10/4/2004 9:40:53 AM
Davoj, we lost one F-111 in ElDorado Canyon (out of about 24), which may or may not have been due to enemy fire. In any future air campaign, reducing the IADS first will be the standard operating procedure. The Russian companies make some excellent systems, but thankfully so far nobody's really buying them and deploying them in the concentrations and combinations that would make our job impossible. In a few cases, it would be pretty dicey, though (like penetrating to Beijing, for example). Roman, yes the S-300 is as good as the hype, and we surely will make destroying them the first priority in any campaign in which we face them. Thanks for the info on all the UAV losses over Kosovo; I had no idea it was so many. Displacedjim
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davoj    RE:Do Western SAMs fare much worse than Eastern?   10/6/2004 1:16:47 AM
DisplacedJim, sorry I thought the looses were a couple more, but the lineback raids etc got pretty expensive at one point. I do n't how accurate this site is but these are n;t and I know the US forces were constrained somewhat by targeting and other constraints. David
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