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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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Damn, this english word "battery" is so problematic... For both the S-3/400 and Patriot. Or all kinds of SAM system actually.

Partriot organisation structure is like this: You have a battalion hq, with an ICC (information and coordination center). This ICC commands 6 firing units (FU), and is linked to other battalions, AWACS, or radiotechnical units, but it has no radars on its own.

The FU is what we can call a "battery", it has an ECS (engagement control station), generators, launchers and a single MPQ-53 radar, for both target acquistion and tracking. If this single radar is lost, then the FU is useless. No redundancy here.

 

For the S-300P, it is a bit more complicated. Regimental hq has two main vehicles, a PBU(command post) and an RLO(main EW radar). RLO is the only such radar in the whole regiment! This Hq controls 4 divisions, all of which consist of an RPN fire control radar, a specialized NVO low altitude EW radar*, and 4 fire sections with 3 launchers each. We may call the division as "battery".

So basically this means, that the loss of the RLO means that the whole regiment loses its own general EW capability! Yes there are 4 NVO radars, but they are exclusively used for low altitude scanning, they have no other role. The RPN has an emergency scan mode, but it is extremely inefficient, and slow. And again, loss of an RPN means the loss of the whole division, no redundancy. The other RPNs of the regiment cant take its place.

* it is often mentioned that the S-300 is capable of "shoot and scoot" in 5 minutes. While it is true for most of the elements of the system, the NVO has a set up time measured in hours! 

 

S-300V has similar problems, but lets not get into it, thats an army air defense system.

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Austrian Orelikon 35mm Zwillingsfliegerabwehrkanonen 85 firing     

Some historical but relevant stuff. What could have been but was not. In Lešany museum near Prague you can find a prototype of Czechoslovak SPAAG Strop II. This system placed on a modified Dana chassi

AA forces training. Buk-M3 (rare to see), S-300V4, Tor-M2  

21 minutes ago, heretic88 said:

Damn, this english word "battery" is so problematic... For both the S-3/400 and Patriot. Or all kinds of SAM system actually.

 

Sorry, the scope of my knowledge is very narrow. I don't know the proper terminology for these type of land based units. :wacko:

 

As to the rest of your post, very interesting, thanks. Still though, these units don't operate in isolation, right? They should be networked with other medium and short range SAM units that provide overlapping coverage. 

 

To once again use the Burke as an example, CEC allowed us to engage tracks from other nearby ships using their sensor data in the event that we couldn't acquire the track on our own. 

 

Do Russian AD regiments not have similar capability? Does the whole "integrated air defense" concept really have such obvious single points of failure?

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IMHO the old Soviet era radars are rather useless against an enemy which has some EW, so the AD network will be broken just at the beginning. The Sentinel isn't powerful enough to bring the complex air situation awarness. Hence why for me an integrated network with more powerful radars than only those Sentinels is needed.  

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14 hours ago, ADC411 said:

Still though, these units don't operate in isolation, right? They should be networked with other medium and short range SAM units that provide overlapping coverage. 

Yes, and this is the only real effective way of operating systems like the S-3/400. The real problem with this, is the massive costs. Only a few countries are able to afford this. Russia, China, USA. I cant think about any others. Even then, the only real role of long range SAMs is just to force the attacker to lower altitudes. Shooting down aircraft is completely out of question. This is why these systems are conceptually obsolete, you get surprisingly little capabilities for the insane cost of all the infrastructure you need to use them. 

And if somebody tries to use them stand alone (not in an IADS environment), it is ridiculously easy to deal with these. A while ago I thought that Russia made a huge mistake of selling the S-400 to Turkey. Now I think differently. Turkey gained nothing with the S-400. They spent gargantuan amounts of money, and they got an ineffective, already obsolete system, because the S-400 is incompatible with any western IADS. Of course, it is good for them for yelling at the greeks "we have 250km range SAMs", but thats all. 

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7 hours ago, Beer said:

IMHO the old Soviet era radars are rather useless against an enemy which has some EW, so the AD network will be broken just at the beginning.

Well, against USA or Russian levels of enemy, yes. But we have good relations with both of them. Our potential enemies have no EW assets that are powerful, (or actually useful, they have nothing that can jam the P-18) enough. 

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2 hours ago, Ramlaen said:

Feels like a mistake to drop their remaining SPAAG in an age of cheap drones.

I do not think that the Gepard is particularly useful against them. In fact, no existing SPAAG in service is effective vs drones. You need one of the following: lasers, mini missiles, large caliber guns with guided, or the very least programmable munition. 

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The surplus Gepard used for test in Qatar in 2018 blew up one of the cannon breches before they even shot a first drone  then had turret drives cause problems etc, so shootign was done on one cannon only , Search radar was useless and targets were engaged at 1000-400m hardly usefull range to protect much in terms of infrastructure. To combat the drones most of legarcy SPAAGs will need some upgrades to make them more useful .

 

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2 hours ago, mr.T said:

The surplus Gepard used for test in Qatar in 2018 blew up one of the cannon breches before they even shot a first drone

That barrel failure was due to a mistake made by an operator.

 

2 hours ago, mr.T said:

then had turret drives cause problems etc, so shootign was done on one cannon only

They only used one gun after the second one malfunctioned, not due to turret electronics.

 

2 hours ago, mr.T said:

Search radar was useless and targets were engaged at 1000-400m

And multiple tests showed that Gepard was able to defeat drones at >1000m distance. 

 

2 hours ago, mr.T said:

hardly usefull range to protect much in terms of infrastructure

These systems are meant to defend frontline units.

The Luftwaffe uses the MANTIS system for close range air defense of infrastructure.

 

Mantis.jpg

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Our army uses interesting combo in this role. It's the SAAB RBS-70/70 NG V-SHORAD missile system combined with light 2D Retia ReVISOR digital radar (equipped with IFF). The radar can be placed up to 20 km away from widespread launchers and has around 30 km effective range (less for small UAV). It can be operated with the crew being hidden outside of the radar and it's integrated in our AD system. The antena rotates in two modes either 30 or 45 rpm. The system was tested to succesfully engage small UAVs in NATO excercises in Baltics (with the old-gen RBS-70 at that time). RBS-70/70 NG with the new Bolide missile has 9000 meters range and 5000 meters ceilling. Of course the missiles are more expensive than the SPAAG ammo but it has reasonable range advantage. I don't know if these laser-guided missiles are cheaper than the IR/UV ones but I guess they should be.     

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They were shooting at 400$ drones and missiles are quite useless(at least the radar and IR guided ones, conmand and laser guided are better )  no to mention expensive against these threats . Guns are the way to go , preferably big guns to get some more range , than you need some firecotrol that could handle these at extreme gun ranges. I  imagine  AI processing pixels in video feeds will prove usefull soon .

These drones are definetly an ideal target for lasers. 

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Some historical but relevant stuff. What could have been but was not. In Lešany museum near Prague you can find a prototype of Czechoslovak SPAAG Strop II. This system placed on a modified Dana chassis was being developed during late 80' and early 90' but ended with the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. 

 

I'm posting it because it had a completely unique targeting system which is IMHO still relevant for the future because it was completely passive. It combined passive radioelectronic locators with optical guidance. It had two passive locators, one for survilance (PRUS-P), the other for targeting which was used to direct the optical channel towards the target (PRUS-Z). The passive locators also worked as a passive IFF (there was active IFF as well). The system had only daylight channel but it was meant to be updated later. The system was armed with 2A38 autocannon and Igla-1 missiles (both for standardization with the WARPAC armies at the time when the development started). It could not fire on the move but just like the night channel this feature was planned to be added later. 

 

NQeGarv.jpg

Photo is my own (many more in the linked article). 

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On 12/4/2020 at 12:53 PM, Beer said:

I think that they need another modern radars between the RAT-31DL which is mainly for the general air situation and the battery target acquisition radar. It's same here in CZ but we already ordered Elta EL/M-2084 for that. 

 

Well, you were right, Hungary will procure ELM-2084 radars, similarly to CZ:

https://hungarytoday.hu/govt-army-development-defence-roces-radar-israeli-tech/

 

sorry about the source, these news had yet to be published at major defense sites, but are present at hungarian and israeli news sites

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   Russian anti-aircraft laser complex with a chemical oxygen-iodine laser manufactured by NPP Advent.

   Presumably, the installation provides a laser operation time of 100 seconds before reagents are replenished.

   The complex is designed for detecting, tracking, hitting air targets at a distance of up to 5 km. It can be used on any stationary and mobile objects of military and special purposes.

 

image

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21 hours ago, LoooSeR said:

 Some info about Sosna AA system with laser beam riding AA bicaliber missiles.

Now this is what I call an ultramodern SAM system. Russia should advertise this, not old, obsolete junk like S-300/400. Because Sosna uses only passive sensors, it is impossible to detect until missile launch, and thanks to guidance method, impossible to jam, there isnt any countermeasure that is effective against it. And if the attacked plane has no missile launch warning system, it is completely f*cked. The first sign of the attack is the detonation of the warhead. 

 

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4 hours ago, heretic88 said:

Now this is what I call an ultramodern SAM system. Russia should advertise this, not old, obsolete junk like S-300/400. Because Sosna uses only passive sensors, it is impossible to detect until missile launch, and thanks to guidance method, impossible to jam, there isnt any countermeasure that is effective against it. And if the attacked plane has no missile launch warning system, it is completely f*cked. The first sign of the attack is the detonation of the warhead. 

 

   Not ultramodern and S-300/400 are not obsolete junk.

 

1) S-300/S-400 are completely different class of AA system

2) Sosna is detectable by being an AFV mounted, which mean heat signatures and radar signals returns, can be spotted by radars on planes, UAVs, etc.

3) Launch itself can be detected by UV sensors, like Vitebsk and President-S active protection kits on Mi-35s and Ka-52s. Sosna missiles have big booster stage that looks like produce plenty of emissions in different spectrums to be spotted rather easily.

 

   Sosna is already kind of obsolete system even before getting into production, main advantages of Sosna are laser beam riding missiles being cheap-ish and ability to put module on different light chassis.

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20 hours ago, LoooSeR said:

   Not ultramodern and S-300/400 are not obsolete junk.

 

1) S-300/S-400 are completely different class of AA system

2) Sosna is detectable by being an AFV mounted, which mean heat signatures and radar signals returns, can be spotted by radars on planes, UAVs, etc.

3) Launch itself can be detected by UV sensors, like Vitebsk and President-S active protection kits on Mi-35s and Ka-52s. Sosna missiles have big booster stage that looks like produce plenty of emissions in different spectrums to be spotted rather easily.

 

   Sosna is already kind of obsolete system even before getting into production, main advantages of Sosna are laser beam riding missiles being cheap-ish and ability to put module on different light chassis.

 

1, yes I know S-3/400 are different. But conceptually, yes it is obsolete, anachronism from the cold war. For the gargantuan costs, you get surprisingly little capabilities. A single CM salvo, and millions of dollars went into the drain. 

2, of course, but this is true for any kind of vehicle. But enemy reconaissance cant separate it from other vehicles based on only radar or IR signature. That is the point. The enemy has no idea that it is a SAM, they cant pinpoint it like a radar based system. The Sosna can appear anywhere. You want to find it? Good luck... 

3, Yes it is true. But even if you detect the launch, it may be already too late. Radar jamming, chaff, flares, DIRCM, all utterly useless against it. The only countermeasure is trying to outmaneuver it. Which is very, very, very hard even for an 5th gen fighter. 

So no, the Sosna is not obsolete, in fact the absolute best in its class.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, heretic88 said:

 

1, yes I know S-3/400 are different. But conceptually, yes it is obsolete, anachronism from the cold war. For the gargantuan costs, you get surprisingly little capabilities. A single CM salvo, and millions of dollars went into the drain. 

2, of course, but this is true for any kind of vehicle. But enemy reconaissance cant separate it from other vehicles based on only radar or IR signature. That is the point. The enemy has no idea that it is a SAM, they cant pinpoint it like a radar based system. The Sosna can appear anywhere. You want to find it? Good luck... 

3, Yes it is true. But even if you detect the launch, it may be already too late. Radar jamming, chaff, flares, DIRCM, all utterly useless against it. The only countermeasure is trying to outmaneuver it. Which is very, very, very hard even for an 5th gen fighter. 

So no, the Sosna is not obsolete, in fact the absolute best in its class.

 

 

   Let's leave S-300 and other similar system out of discussion, then.

 

2. Nothing new here, old Soviet Strela-10s were exactly the same. Still, with modern optics and thermals they are detectable from bigger ranges than their missiles max ranges. For example in Karabakh TB2s were keeping eye on active Tor-2MKM from over 18 km away. Sosna range is about 10 km max.

 

 

3. It isn't too late, as with MANPADS targeted plane can do some things to survive.

   You are mixing up method of data transfer to a missile with what guidance system is. Claiming that flares, DIRCM, etc. is utterly useless against beamriding missiles is like claiming that Shtora is completely useless against Konkurs because Shtora doesn't physically cut a wire between missiles and launch unit. 

 

   Countermeasure are aimed at guidance sensors and system, and in case of Sosna i'm not sure that it is immune to countermeasures. Interesting question will be how hard is to confuse FCS of Sosna TEL that tries to guiade a missile from big ranges and even small mistake will lead to big deviation from target, compared to modern AA missile, that have sensors closer to target, for obvious reasons.

 

   Laser beam, emmited by Sosna, can be used by APS to track launch platform and use dazzling laser or fire flares in direction of launch platform to somewhat conceal it, in order to make plane/helicopter a harder target to guide missile to. This isn't exactly hard, for example Vitebsk/President-S is already equipped with laser warning sensors and laser "turrets" that are targeting sector in which missile launch was detected in order to suppress guidance accuracy or even completely dazzle missile/launch platform.

 

 

   So countermeasures against Sosna or system like it are pretty easy to make, and in-service active protection systems are probably already capable of doing that.

   And this is not the only reason why Sosna is outdated. Laser beam riding missiles are good as long enemy isn't fast and there are no terrain features around to cut LOS between launch platform and missiles. I suspect Soviet went with fire and forget AA missiles on Strela-10 for exaclty that reason - close air defense have little reaction time and little time to take best positions to launch missiles. In fact system like Sosna and Strela and reactionary in nature, which mean they will encounter enemy air units while being in whatever place enemy attack cought them.

   And this mean that after launching missile against visible target, target can move enough to get out of LOS, thanks to nearby terrain features, somebody's house roof, bushes, shit like that. F&F in that case are likely to be better solution.

 

   And i even didn't started to talk about max ranges of modern ATGMs and other toys that UAVs can carry vs ranges of Sosna missile (or better to say sensors, as i have doubts about how well Sosna can spot and track small flying objects at 10 km).

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I'm not sure about the countermeasures but for sure system like Sosna doesn't bring a major quality leap over let's say Tunguska. It's an evolution but not a revolution. If we take the current NKR war as a possible scenario than Sosna fails to intercept TB2 drones just like the half century old Osa simply because TB2 flies outside of its envelope even when Sosna stays undetected (TB2 flies too high). 

 

Systems like Sosna become really dangerous when the air "traffic" is forced to fly low. And that is by having those "obsolete" long range systems which clean the high altitudes and/or capable airfoce. I.e. everything has its place in a system and can not be taken out into an empty space and judged there. Comparing long range SAM systems (moreover with ABM capability) with frontline SHORAD is complete nonsense. 

 

This is the Canadian made Wescam MX-15 optical system from TB2. According to the video it is able to to detect vehicles at a range of 57 km in IR!

 

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18 hours ago, LoooSeR said:

 

2. Nothing new here, old Soviet Strela-10s were exactly the same. Still, with modern optics and thermals they are detectable from bigger ranges than their missiles max ranges. For example in Karabakh TB2s were keeping eye on active Tor-2MKM from over 18 km away. Sosna range is about 10 km max.

This is all true, but you should always make the enemy's job harder with every possible method, for example, camouflage or choosing the right travel routes, etc.

18 hours ago, LoooSeR said:

3. It isn't too late, as with MANPADS targeted plane can do some things to survive.

Not really. Now lets look at what options the attacked plane has:

Jamming - out of question, obviously.

Chaff - same

Flares - imaging seekers of the latest IR guided missiles are already capable of discriminate the target and even pyrophoric decoys, by analysing enrgy distribution change. Another method, is checking the deceleration of the flares. The Sosna FCS definitely has these capabilities.

DIRCM - it targets the missile seeker. Since there is no seeker, it is useless. (Element of Vitebsk system is a DIRCM)

Also big surprise - the RBS-70 and Starstreak, both laser beam riders, are also effectively immune to any countermeasure.

 

Yes, theoretically a dazzler might work. But we have two problems with it. 1; if the FCS has a

HOJ mode, it is contraproductive. 2; name just one plane that has such dazzler!

19 hours ago, LoooSeR said:

 Laser beam riding missiles are good as long enemy isn't fast and there are no terrain features around to cut LOS between launch platform and missiles.

Why would speed affect it? I didnt read any serious speed limitation for RBS-70, why would Sosna have it?

 

19 hours ago, LoooSeR said:

   And this mean that after launching missile against visible target, target can move enough to get out of LOS, thanks to nearby terrain features, somebody's house roof, bushes, shit like that.

Sorry but this is ridiculous. Tthe target has no time for that. Whole engagement is 20-25 seconds max.

 

20 hours ago, LoooSeR said:

And i even didn't started to talk about max ranges of modern ATGMs and other toys that UAVs can carry vs ranges of Sosna missile (or better to say sensors, as i have doubts about how well Sosna can spot and track small flying objects at 10 km).

This affects other short range systems too. And btw that is why there are layered air defense systems. :) 

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19 hours ago, Beer said:

when the air "traffic" is forced to fly low. And that is by having those "obsolete" long range systems

A modern medium range system can do that too. Additionally, these have real kill zones, long range systems have only suppression zones. S-300/400 arent obsolete because of long range. 

Its main problems:

- no 360 degree firing arc

- the system is not deployable over a wide area, because it need a dedicated fire control radar, and it makes very vulnerable.

- obsolete guidance method (TVM)

- no redundancy

- most of its capabilities are only theoretical.

- gargantuan costs. Price to value ratio is extremely low.

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5 hours ago, heretic88 said:

Flares - imaging seekers of the latest IR guided missiles are already capable of discriminate the target and even pyrophoric decoys, by analysing enrgy distribution change. Another method, is checking the deceleration of the flares. The Sosna FCS definitely has these capabilities.

   Didn't saw producer claiming that. Not sure how it will do that at 10 km either, or against targets that have low heat emissions in the first place, like drones.

 

5 hours ago, heretic88 said:

DIRCM - it targets the missile seeker. Since there is no seeker, it is useless. (Element of Vitebsk system is a DIRCM)

   Vitebsk targets sectors, not an individual missile as it doesn't track it (no radars like on AFV APS). UV sensors detects area of launch and hand over targeted area and assosiated volume to laser turret to work on. AFAIK laser turrets doesn't produce tight beam aimed at missile seaker, but saturate an area and associated volume of air. Sosna launching missiles will have significant UV signature and will get into sector of laser turrets suppression/dazzling.

 

5 hours ago, heretic88 said:

2; name just one plane that has such dazzler!

   Vitebsk/President-S in several configurations, laser projectors are working in IR spectrum AFAIK.

 

5 hours ago, heretic88 said:

why would Sosna have it?

 

Sorry but this is ridiculous. Tthe target has no time for that. Whole engagement is 20-25 seconds max.

    Reactionary nature of such systems means that they will get into situations when enemy isn't located in optimal range and in clear sector of fire. 20 seconds is sometimes enough to get out of sight for low-flying object, especially if area have trees or other objects around launching platform like buildings. This isn't as big of a problem for F&F missiles as it is for SACLOS ones.

 

  

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