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Viper Ordnance for Runways


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Yeah maybe. Another big thing is that by the early 90s the technology was starting to just make it unnecessary to do low level.

 

If I remember correctly, during DS about 10% of weapons dropped were guided, which went up to like 80/90% during Allied Force. I also remember reading about a Jaguar pilot doing an exchange with a USCM A-4 squadron druing the 80s, going to Red Flag, and being surprsied because they were going in at medium level with Walleyes rather than doing the usual low level thing, and even more surprised when it actually worked.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

A cool thing about retail "gaming" simulations, is that we can do those risky missions all on the deck, for historical and for "funsies", without the ACTUAL cost of reality! 

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On 10/5/2021 at 3:08 PM, whiteladder said:

When the decision to go to medium level was made we did a lot of testing at Spadeadam, without going into details there were some Electronic Warfare systems on aircraft deployed to the Gulf that worked sub optimally at medium level.  There was a lot of very hasty work done.

 

No doubt!!  I remember we had to scramble many times during those months for this or for that... sure, it seems "easy" in hindsight, but when it was all going on, success didn't seem like a guarantee, and I know many of us were waiting for things to "go pear shaped" as Englishmen like to say!  

 

Thank you for your whole post, it helps to paint a picture that's more complete. 

 

One afternoon during that time in early 1991, the Sgt called me over, and informed me that we'd be heading to Ramstein AFB early in the morning. The Pentagon brains were suddenly very concerned about nitty gritty details about problems that could occur between the airbase and the hospital.  Why? Because they were planning to send 2500 casualties PER DAY (24hr), from Saudia Arabia to the US Military hospital in Germany... and when they discovered all their ambulances and motorpool support had been already sent to the Gulf... they made some (anxious?) calls to the Canadian military to see if we could support their casualty plan on the German side, which we did in the largest effort we could muster (all hands on deck).  I was a part of that effort. 

So after a very long all-day drive, we got there, and some USArmy lady gave us some quarters for rest, we were then asked if we were going to the party?  PARTY?!?!  The ground war had just kicked off that morning... I was expecting an endless few months of working 22 hours per day, seeing some horribly mangled military people clinging to life... and they are having a PARTY?!?!  I figured, ok, may as well, won't be having any fun tomorrow or "forever". 

I fully expected to be awoken at 03:30, mildly hung over, and have to start the drudgery and after effects of modern war...  instead I woke up to bright sunlight... and silence. Could hear a pin drop. WTF?! Where'd everyone go? Wasn't there a war to mop up after or something? So I got dressed and started wandering the halls of the large barracks buildings. Two floors later at the other end of the building, I finally found some young ladies from the US Army in a common area TV room. Ok that's weird, so I asked them what was going on, and one of them said "we won the war! It's over!". For a second I thought she was still drunk from the night before... and just then I saw on the TV showing Kuwait, some specops commandos were fast-roping from a Sikorsky Sea King onto an embassy roof...  

"wait... is she right?! Is the war actually over??!?! How the... WHAT?!?!?"

It wasn't actually completely over, but she and many others who had watched the ground war unfold, could all clearly see the outcome it was concluding to. I'd missed it, having made preps and then deploying to Rammstein for the "worst case scenario". The party was for celebrating the victory that came a day or two later. So very extremely surreal. The weirdest part was riding one of the Canadian Army busses to and from the party... made by Mercedes to German Army specs, it had been rapidly converted into a mass casualty carrier/ambulance, so we rode on beds or stretchers... Like I said, sureal!!  

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So when I was a little kid, my dad was teaching Canadian soldier's sons and daughters, in Germany, we came from Vancouver to Germany and lived there for three years. The busses, I rode to school on base from my town.  Ok fast forward to 1995, those same busses that I rode as a kid, and then in "stretcher ambulance mode" to and from the party in 1991, took me from a peacekeeping base in the civil war formerly known as Yugoslavia near Zadar on the Adriatic coast, to Zagreb where we secured weapons and changed into civies, and then got to the beautiful city of Budapest in Hungary, where we enjoyed a few days of R&R before going back to stray shots, goats, landmines, night vision, reading pocketbooks and 2 month old newspapers...  

 

So one day I was at an observation point that had a clear view of Zadar airfield, on the Croatian coast. I was stunned to see what I thought was a stricken Colt AN-2 comming for an emergency landing... I mean it was spooky silent. Nah, it was fine, it was just very silent when doing a power-off landing!  I had seen one or two Mig-21's way way off in the distance, at least I thought they were 21's, but really bummed I never saw them fly. Probably just as well though, as NATO jets would have Slamrammed them out of the sky in minutes, probably. On a couple of occasions we heard airstrikes from a long ways off... truly incredible how such MASSIVE sound carries for dozens of miles.  Weeks before we returned to Canada I started to hear a small engine now and then, and one day I saw a UAV fly out of the Zadar airfield!  I've no idea of what type it was, or who made it or what the Croatians bought or borrowed, but from 2km away through optics, it kinda resembled an RQ-2 Pionneer UAV.  A few months later I discovered what it was up to: intel gathering to prepare for Croatia's "Operation Storm" where they assaulted and seized lands from the Serbian forces.

 

There was many times I wondered why the runway at Zadar didn't get bombed out of action. I never actually saw defenses, but I'd guess they probably had a couple ZU-23-2 and not much else. But such efforts would get hammered by NATO jets. Also, the airport did seem to have a tiny civilian traffic even in the civil war there, and I think everyone was very aware of how the optics of any action might be viewed by the rest of the world... so that maybe tempered some behaviors now and then. Nowdays the whole region is transformed into a nice place to visit or live, the airport in great shape. As interesting as my service was, I'm glad that they eventually got past their war to build a new nation.

 

 

 

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I'm reminded of a pilot from those days over a collapsing Yugoslavia describing a typical air to air engagement. He suggested the fight wasn't between friendly/enemy... but rather the radio fight to get permission to get the intercept order, and then to get permission to fire ze missiles! 

 

"This is UZI 11, we have a lock on the bogey"

"This is Baguette 33, we have ze lock and closer!"

"I say old chaps, this is Britannia 65, we have a visual ID, it's a Boeing 747 cargo!"

"Ok knock off the engagement, Britannia, please escort them to land at Zagreb Intl"

 

... or something like that!  

To me the takeaway was that long range air to air missiles were not always very useful if the situation required positive Vis ID for every engagement... maybe a great "heater" was of better use, like the newer Pythons, Archers and 9X (though I think the X was still in development at that time, not yet fielded).

 

I seem to think that this was also an issue during Vietnam days too, where sometimes a Sparrow shot was not taken, due to target uncertainty needing a VisID. Similarly, I've heard that some F-15 Eagles and Phantom drivers featured a powerful rifle scope, so that the intercept pilots could do a VisID from earlier/further away, giving an edge/advantage a few seconds earlier.

 

Nowdays we have IRST, we have radars that compare the return signal against a library of enemy/friendly radar return shapes/signatures. We also slave targeting pods to give an image of flying targets from further than the bare eye can see... not sure exactly if there are limitations to that, but I know it's sometimes done.

 

I have to imagine though that in today's world of JDAM's, not to mention other standoff wpns, the ability to precisely place iron on runways and taxiways, HAS shelters and fuel farms... an airfield attack done by a well equiped air force must be downright crippling these days. Maybe not so much if they have really nice SAM systems like say TOR or something, but even then... some will surely get through, at least I'd think some would. 

 

Years ago there were fold-out wing glide kits for the JDAM to extend high altitude standoff range... were those ever actually bought or put into service?! Or did that get dropped? I think they doubled or trippled range, but maybe they found they weren't needed or something?

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Hmm. Well I guess the minute you switch from enemies with Toyotas and MANPADS, over to real SAM systems like BUK and TOR (among other capable systems), suddenly radar stealth becomes a major factor?  Or the S-300 and 400 with the tower radar for low flying cruise...

 

Kinda makes me wonder how common or uncommon the S-300 is, around the world, and in what kind of relevant quantities/coverage?  That's probably Pentagon/Moscow HQ type info though, unless there's some great open source int ?

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On 10/18/2021 at 5:37 PM, Rick50 said:

 

Hmm. Well I guess the minute you switch from enemies with Toyotas and MANPADS, over to real SAM systems like BUK and TOR (among other capable systems), suddenly radar stealth becomes a major factor?  Or the S-300 and 400 with the tower radar for low flying cruise...

 

Kinda makes me wonder how common or uncommon the S-300 is, around the world, and in what kind of relevant quantities/coverage?  That's probably Pentagon/Moscow HQ type info though, unless there's some great open source int ?

https://missilethreat.csis.org/defsys/s-300/#:~:text=The system entered operational service,with nearly two dozen nations.

 

S-300P Development

Designed to replace the aging Soviet S-25 Berkut and S-75 Dvina mobile SAM systems and to address the emerging threat of long-range air-based cruise missiles, development of the S-300P began in 1967 under the direction of the Almaz Central Design Bureau.1 The system entered operational service in 1978. In 2000, deployment of the system peaked, with Russian air defense forces fielding approximately 1,900 S-300 launchers.2 By 2017, however, the number of active launchers dropped to around 800.3

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