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Anti-air thread: Everything that goes up must come down, and we'll help you go down


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A bit back to the UAV topic. 


I have a feeling that what we see now in NKR (and to some extent what we saw in Syria and Lybia) is something no air defence in the world is actually prepared for. The combination of heavy EW and oversaturation of the AD network with plenty of suicide drones and UCAV looks to me like a real game changer.


Even the strongest air force is not an answer to this threat because it simply can not track and hunt every loitering munition. In this regard I think that way too many western countries are prepared even much worse than the eastern ones which traditionally put a lot of emphasis on the ground AD for their field units. A lot is going to change in the following years for sure.


Also it would be interesting to know how much are the passive tracking systems (like VERA NG) able to change the situation. That is IMHO one of the few abilities of the existing ground AD networks that the UAVs can not cope with. 

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It's more complex IMHO. For example the most common Turkish UCAV, the Bayraktar TB2 can strike such system from outside of its envelope (it flies at roughly 7000 meters and its bombs have 8 km range). I don't think that any single system is an answer but a differently built layered defence than what is used today is necessary. 

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   Just a note - around 20 Bayraktar TB2s were shot down in Libya in 2020, in a country that don't have any sort of AA system. 



   Against small UAVs or suicide drones i think we can try to use counter-UAVs. Concept in my mind is a bit like a "fighter plane" UAV that Kalashnikov Concern showed some time ago. It can fly above troops in automatic mode and can receive targeting info from radar station or some sort of man portable optical scanner. System will in theory have short response time, which is important for coverage against kamikadze drones. Also, it can be made into 24/7 system, with at least 1 or more counter-UAVs being always in the air.







   Against MALE type of drones current systems looks like have problems actually detecting them, or at least reliably enough to not have Youtube full of certain types of videos. So i guess main problem is in detection and it is outside of my knowledge on a subject. Russian industry is already made small-sized counter-UAV AA missiles for Pantsir and work is on the way for Tor, to allow much higher "stored kills" vs small sized targets.


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Sure a lot of UAVs were shot down but that didn't stop them to change the situation on the ground in all Syria, Libya and Nagorno Karabakh. They are usually far cheaper than manned aircraft and expandable. If they are shot down it doesn't hurt the operator a lot, especially in terms of own population approval rate. 


I think that the main problem of detection is likely a work of EW units (Koral system possibly). Bayraktar TB2 has 12 meters wingspan. There is IMHO no reason why it shouldn't be normally detectable by the AD radars at a distance reasonably greater than its weapon range. If the enemy is able to disrupt the AD radars, it doesn't matter anymore which type of missiles or cannons you have as all are near useless. 


The idea of counter UAVs is interesting and in theory it could work however first it's necessary to solve the problem of detection under heavy EW and also a need to give an armed device a certain level of authonomy which is IMHO very problematic at several levels. If on the other hand such hunter UAV shall be piloted by a human operator it would loose the advantage of being available en masse to cope with mass scale attack. 


I don't know how difficult it is but I think that a way could be in massive use of EW also in defence targeting the UAV communication lines. However it may be an issue to design it so that own air operations aren't disrupted as well. Maybe (just thinking loud) the accuracy of passive tracking system localization of an UAV is good enough to create targeted EW attack in its direction to make it loose signal and make it sort of mission kill (or at least win some time to take it down by other means). 


EDIT: One more thing. While radar guided systems clearly suffer a lot when exposed to EW, we have also seen Houthis sucessfully taking down several Predators and Reapers by home-made AD systems using IR-guided R-73 and R-27T AA missiles fired from improvised ramps (in daylight and clear sky conditions). I think that currently no ground AD systems able to reach MALE UAVs are equipped with IR seakers but maybe I am wrong. 


I mean at least in theory a combination of passive signal tracking (to know where to look) and optical/infrared guidance (to lock the target and engage it) should work against the UAVs even under EW. 

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Spain wants to buy 100 second hand Mistral 3 from French stocks.




For 47,8 millions euros those missiles, actually in use by the French army, will be renovated by MBDA and then transferred to Spain.


It's becoming a habit lately to take from stocks of the army to sell to export customers who wants to receive their order immediately.

Between the 12 rafales and possibly the first FDI for Greece as well as the Egyptian FREMM all of this makes unexpected holes in our lineup, and the army have then to wade through bureaucratic red tape to get the funds back in order to replace what has been sold.


Ultimately it's a good thing since it generates good will with export customers, allow the army to regenerate their equipments at virtually no cost and increase the size of the series for our defense industry. But short terms it create a lot gaps in our capability while tensions are running high lately.

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34 minutes ago, LoooSeR said:

   I don't see situation in nearby future where French army will need high amount of AA systems.


Granted there is no need at the moment, but I think that those 100 missiles represent about 1/5th of the stock which is significant given our general propension to have barely enough ammo in stock for limited engagement times.


If I remember correctly the initial intervention in Libya, almost emptied our ammunition stock and it took two years to bring them back to pre war levels.





Were fired in Libya between 03/19/11 and 10/31/11:


  • 950 bombs
  • 240 air to ground missiles from planes (15 cruise missiles)
  • 431 HOT missiles from helicopters
  • 3000 shells of 100mm and 76mm in naval bombardment



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On 10/18/2020 at 6:32 AM, Beer said:

It's more complex IMHO. For example the most common Turkish UCAV, the Bayraktar TB2 can strike such system from outside of its envelope (it flies at roughly 7000 meters and its bombs have 8 km range). I don't think that any single system is an answer but a differently built layered defence than what is used today is necessary. 

57mm is your friend


VT fuzed or timed for cheaper UAVs


guided for longer range,    Bayraktar TB2 at 7000 meters alt and its bombs have 8 km range, is just at the range where a guided naval 57mm would hit, but an guided IFV 57mm would not.


lesson from WWII,  for every UAV type threat, a suitable projectile can be developed to deal will it.


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  • 2 weeks later...

   During Army 2020 this system was shown, for export.




   The 98R6Е "Abakan" highly mobile multichannel anti-aircraft missile system for non-strategic missile defense is designed to engage modern and advanced non-strategic ballistic missiles in the defense of strategic important military-industrial facilities, government and administrative buildings of the state.

   The Abakan air defense missile system is integrated into the air defense-missile defense system and ensures the fulfillment of combat missions in the conduct of both autonomous actions and as part of any medium and long-range air defense systems as an additional module that expands the capabilities of the air defense-missile defense group to repel massive attacks by ballistic missiles.
















Max range of destruction of SRBM - 30 km

Max height of destruction of ballistic targets - 25 km

The number of 9M82MDE SAMs on TEL - 2

SAM preparation time - 7.5 s

Interval between starts - up to 2s

TEL weight with ammunition - 53.5 t

Combat crew - 2 people

Deployment time - no more than 6 minutes

Max travel speed - 60 km/h

Max range on an asphalt road - 500 km


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hungary signed a contract with Kongsberg for unspecified number of NASAMS bateries. Most likely four. 



However Hungary still operates only ancient Soviet era radar network which means that the effectiveness of the system will be reduced until Hungary creates new radar network. Probably something is in the making but not public. 

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On 12/2/2020 at 10:10 PM, Beer said:

However Hungary still operates only ancient Soviet era radar network which means that the effectiveness of the system will be reduced until Hungary creates new radar network.

Not at all. Even old soviet radars fit perfectly to the picture. Radiotechnical units are linked with a central command center, and not with the NASAMS batteries. The FDC needs a link to the command only. But it is quite important that NASAMS is radically different than existing, conceptually obsolete systems like S-300/400 and Patriot. It is already very effective even with its small Sentinel radars, but of course if the FDC gets target data from elsewhere, it is even better. It is obviously best if they get that data with a compatible datalink system, but there is even possibility to get it from simple radio. Also, batteries are networked, and communicate with each other. From the point of view of an attacking aircraft, a NASAMS system is the worst nightmare of the pilots. Finding and destroying such overhyped, expensive and obsolete systems like the S-300/400 and Patriot is not hard at all. If you know where the radars are, you can be certain that the launchers are there too, so you know the engagement range, and can plan the attack accordingly. And if you destroy any of the radars, then game over. 

NASAMS is entirely different matter. A pilot never knows where the launhcers are, so he has absolutely no idea where is the engagement zone of the system. The missiles can arrive from any direction, and suddenly, since there is no vulnerable fire control radar in this system. And even if the enemy destroys the Sentinel radars, the NASAMS may still be fully operational because it is networked. Russian S-350 also has similar capability. These systems are the future, not old stuff like the S-3/400 and Patriot. 


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1 hour ago, heretic88 said:

And if you destroy any of the radars, then game over. 


I disagree with the notion that these batteries aren't operating with any kind of redundancy. That sort of goes against the entire concept of integrated air defense.


From my time serving on the Burke-Class, I know for instance that SPY-1D can provide terminal guidance if the illuminators aren't available, and I assume there are systems in a S-300V/S-400 battery thay can do the same. Aside from that, don't these units have dedicated C3 vehicles to provide high bandwidth data to/from other FC Radars in case one gets knocked out? 


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