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Surviving The Modern Iads

Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:28 pm


The United States and its Allies have relied since the end of the Cold War upon the ability to quickly overwhelm an opposing IADS, and the ability to then deliver massed precision firepower from the air, as the weapon of choice in resolving nation state conflicts.

The reality of evolving IADS technology and its global proliferation is that most of the US Air Force combat aircraft fleet, and all of the US Navy combat aircraft fleet, will be largely impotent against an IADS constructed from the technology available today from Russian and, increasingly so, Chinese manufacturers.

If flown against such an IADS, US legacy fighters from the F-15 through to the current production F/A-18E/F would suffer prohibitive combat losses attempting to penetrate, suppress or destroy such an IADS.

The IADS technology in question is currently being deployed by China, Iran, Venezuela, and other nations, most of which have poor relationships with the Western alliance.

Until the US Air Force deploys significant numbers of the intended New Generation Bomber post 2020, only aircraft types in the US arsenal will be capable of penetrating, suppressing and destroying such an IADS – the B-2A Spirit and the F-22A Raptor.

There are only twenty B-2As in existence and retooling to manufacture a B-2C is an expensive approach given the commitment to the New Generation Bomber.

The United States therefore has only one remaining strategic choice at this time. That strategic choice is to manufacture a sufficient number of F-22A Raptors to provide a credible capability to conduct a substantial air campaign using only the B-2A and F-22A fleets.

The expectation that the US can get by with a small “golden bullet” fleet of stealth aircraft to carve holes in IADS to permit legacy aircraft to attack is no longer credible. The difficulty in locating and killing the new generation of self propelled and highly survivable IADS radars and launchers presents the prospect of a replay of the 1999 OAF campaign, with highly lethal SAM systems waiting in ambush, and mostly evading SEAD/DEAD attacks.

The F-22A Raptor will therefore have to perform the full spectrum of penetrating roles, starting with counter-air, and encompassing SEAD/DEAD, penetrating ISR and precision strike against strategic and tactical targets. The B-2A fleet can robustly bolster capabilities, but the small number of these superb aircraft available will result inevitably in very selective use.

If we assume an aircraft configuration reflecting the planned F-22A Block 40 configuration, and a contingency of similar magnitude to Desert Storm in 1991, then the required number of F-22A aircraft to cover the spectrum of penetrating roles is of the order of 500 to 600 aircraft in total.

The United States no longer has any real choices in this matter, if it wishes to retain its secure global strategic position in the 2010 – 2020 time window. Any other force structure model will result in a nett loss of strategic potential, and produce strategic risks, which neither the US nor its Allies can afford.


What do you guys think?
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RE: Surviving The Modern Iads

Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:16 pm

I don't think international dental students pose much of a threat.

IADS Integrated Access Devices
IADS Integrated Air Defense System
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IADS International Association of Dental Students
IADS International Agricultural Development Service (New York, USA)
IADS Interactive Authoring and Display System
IADS Icelandic Air Defense System
IADS Integrated Air Defense Simulation (US DoD)
IADS Interactive Analysis and Display System
IADS Integrated Audio Distribution System
IADS Integrated Active Drive System

This is a global forum... Try to overcome your local jargon.

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RE: Surviving The Modern Iads

Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:51 pm

Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 1):
This is a global forum... Try to overcome your local jargon.

It is, so you should realize he was referring to the Icelandic Air Defense System, which uses steam generated deep inside the earth to pressure-charge cannons that fire volcanic rock projectiles at incoming hostile aircraft.

Lighten up, pal, we're all friends here, right?
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RE: Surviving The Modern Iads

Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:46 pm

Perhaps with heavy jamming, the F-35 (which we should have in quantity) could penetrate newer IADS?
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RE: Surviving The Modern Iads

Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:37 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 2):
Lighten up, pal

Sorry, good advice!

Peter Smile
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RE: Surviving The Modern Iads

Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:48 am

Disagree a bit. High altitude supersonic release of masses of SDBs on IADS sites. Say, 2 bombs per target. A thousand or so ( if you pack a few B-2s to the gills too) targets would saturate the system, plus add jamming/spoofing/decoys/drones/cruise missiles). Let the system light up and try to destroy the incoming. The launch aircraft will already be on egress.

This could already be achieved with legacy systems such as F-15E, B-1 and B-2. Throw in B-52 and F-16/18 with standoff weapons and many countries (Iran/Venezuela) would have their IADS back broken in half a week.
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RE: Surviving The Modern Iads

Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:22 pm

Complex AD networks have been overcome before, without LO aircraft too.

1982, the Syrian one by the Israelis. (And they eventually managed to overcome the SAM network in 1973 too, though at a cost, the then new SA-6 SAM being a particular threat).
1991, the Iraqi one, yes F-117 was available, but only in limited numbers.
Most SEAD was with conventional aircraft.
(Arguably Iraq too in 1981, allowing those F-16's in to bomb that reactor).

The Libyans had a fairly decent set up in 1986 too, for all the use it was.

Going into the almost abstract, the massive Soviet IA-PVO network of SAM's, radars, interceptors-which has never been anywhere near matched, still allowed a Cessna flown by a young, rather unstable German man, to land in Red Square in 1987, FFS!
(At that year's Paris Airshow, a USAF officer produced a diagram comparing the radar signature of the Cessna with a B-1B, guess which was larger?)

The weakness in all of these was in command and control.
A future adversary might have improved here, but the attackers are not standing still either.

The flexibility of the attackers, to change tactics, adapt, is also a significant plus, by their nature, very sophisticated IADS are rather static entities.
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RE: Surviving The Modern Iads

Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:34 pm

With all of the money going into the EA-18G, as well as organic jamming on certain platforms the US still feels that electronic warfare is a viable tactic. Especially moreso than the days of chaff corridors. LO aircraft aren't really required, however they can change the speed and way you do the deed.

One thing to remember is that a very sophisticated system means a much greater price tag, or conversely fewer units at the same price. You're not going to face thousands of SA-2s anymore, but hundreds to dozens of higher tech higher price ordinance, and fewer more capable control systems. Saturation is therefore easier an in my opinion the only way to go!
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RE: Surviving The Modern Iads

Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:59 pm

Of the major IADS systems encountered so far (and I had missed out North Vietnam's circa 1972), they've been centralized networks usually requiring some sort of ground control - for the interceptor element.

Rather like missile age Maginot Lines, and we know what happened to that!

A bigger threat could come from more dispersed systems.

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