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Integrated Air Defence Systems (IADS)

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by Todjaeger, Apr 1, 2011.

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  1. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    Given the recent rash of posts about air defence systems, and their relative strengths, weaknesses and failures it seemed appropriate to open a specific thread for discussion on this topic which has ground, air and maritime-based elements.

    IADS, or integrated air defence systems, is essentially a series/set of independent platforms/subsystems, which when working together are tasked with providing air defence over a (generally large) area. As mentioned above these individual platforms or subsystems can be ground-based air defence (GBAD), maritime-based, or airborne, or a combination of the above. Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) is in many cases a subset of an IADS.

    At a very basic level, there are IMO four elements which are required for air defence. These are sensors, shooters, command and comms/communications. The sensor(s) are used to detect and track potential targets. The shooters are just that, they shoot at targets. Command makes the decisions on which targets are to be engaged and when. Meanwhile, comms relays information and orders back and forth between the other three.

    Depending on the scale, the above can be met quite easily. Take something like a ZSU-23-4 SPAAG for instance. It has a crew of four consisting of a driver, radar operation (sensor), gunner (shooter) and commander (command). Given that the crew is so small and are in the same vehicle, communications between the crew can managed by speaking to one another. At the same time however, the area which something like a ZSU-23-4 can effective provide air defence for is quite limited. While the radar could detect targets are far away as ~20 km, the radar often encounters problems with clutter if a potential target was at low altitude (60 m>target altitude). Potentially even more important, the 23 mm AA guns had a max range of ~2.5 km.

    As mentioned above, a ZSU-23-4 or any other SPAAG for that matter, can only defend a relatively small area on its own. This is where additional units, and Integration comes into effect.

    By the inclusion of additional units, greater areas can be defended, and potentially with increased effectiveness as well.

    Additional sensor units, be they radar, EO, acoustic or some combination thereof, can aid in the detection and track management of targets. This can also expand the area of situational awareness needed for air defence.

    Additional shooters, as well as different types of shooters (missiles or guns, ground/maritime or airborne, predominantly) can then have the ability to engage more targets and/or over a greater area than a single shooter potentially could.

    As more sensor and shooter units are added, additional command elements are required to make decisions and manage the units involved.

    Lastly, as the network of command, shooter and sensor elements expand, the various disparate elements need to be able to pass information back and forth, or perhaps upwards, as required. This in turn requires expansion of communications capabilities.

    Now, as has been mentioned repeatedly, some or all of these four basic unit types and be ground, maritime or air-based. There are some advantages, disadvantages and limitations to all of these.

    Ground-based units can be fixed/stationary, or mobile. They can also very greatly in size, ranging from as small as a 15 kg. 1.5 m long SA-7 'Grail'/Strela-2 manpad, to as large as a building like airport ATC radars, or larger. A significant limiting factor for GBAD systems, at least amongst the sensors and to a lesser degree shooters, is the (negative) impact that ground cover, terrain and the horizon/curvature of the earth have upon line of sight (LOS). Areas where LOS is blocked are 'blindspots' where targets could potentially ingress/egress, or perhaps break any target locks upon themselves. The only way to reduce or eliminate these 'blindspots' is with the inclusion of additional systems to provide coverage of the area(s) and have a comm system capable of relaying information back from the offboard sensor. There are a few examples of Over the Horizon Radars (OTHR) where LOS is not an issue, however such radars are suitable for target detection and tracking, but not engagement since such radars do not provide 'target quality' data. IIRC the major limitation of such systems is that they only provide a 2D location of a contact and are unable to provide the third dimensional component of the contact's altitude.

    I will not go into much detail for maritime-based units, as the limitations they encounter are quite similar to those of ground-based units, although they are more likely to run into curvature of the earth issues rather than clutter. Unless of course the vessel(s) is operating in the littorals or brownwater environs.

    The last major area of coverage is for airborne systems. In many respects, airborne systems are the preferred type to utilize for sensors and shooters, due to systems capabilities. Airborne sensors (AEW, AWACS, etc.) still encounter potential issues with LOS due to clutter and curvature of the earth, however due to the comparatively high altitude (E-3 Sentry service ceiling is ~12 km) vs. ground-based sensors, the radar horizon is much less of an issue. Also, airborne shooters in a CAP can provide 'shooter' coverage of a significantly larger area than the same number of ground-based AA or SAM units could. Some of the disadvantages of airborne systems are the increased per unit costs, limitiations in availability due to pilot/operator and equipment fatigue and maintenance, as well as generally requiring a greater amount of technical and logistical support due to the increased complexity of such systems.

    More to follow later, including examples showing areas of weakness in the GBAD system that Turaqistan uses for its IADS, as well as that of the US.

    Please post any questions, comments or corrections.

    -Cheers
     
  2. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Turaqistan, you mean Turkestan? Or is Turaqistan our hypothetical third-world SAM-nest?
     
  3. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    I meant Turaqistan. If one would like to know more about the country, there is a movie about the situation there one can watch. Information about the movie can be found here.

    Incidentally, currently working on (re)locating my copy of the 9/11 Commission report, to extract the relevant areas of CONUS air defence.

    -Cheers
     
  4. Abraham Gubler

    Abraham Gubler Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Well no where did you mention altitude beyond reference to curvature of the earth. Target altitude is the most important issue in relation to air defence. Like all air battles it is three dimensional and GBAD is at the bottom of the gravity well which is a real crap place to be in an air battle.

    Understanding the role altitude plays in the air defence fight is why it is so seriously misunderstood by amateurs who haven't had the 3D battlespace training. This is why people draw engagement circles around GBAD locations and imagine an impenetrable wall for aircraft. Yet when the air versus ground battle happens the air force thumps the ground systems…
     
  5. STURM

    STURM Well-Known Member

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    Come to think of it, since 1945, I can't think of a single conflict in which an integrated ground based air defence system/network, though having a tremendous impact on how air arms operate, has prevented air arms from operating or denying them the use of one's airspace to conduct operations.

    All of the conflicts listed below involved 'integrated' AD systems and all share one thing in common - ground based AD was forced to bear the brunt of the effort, with the countries involved, with the exception of N.Vietnam, either unwilling or unable to commit their fighters in the air apart from token sorties.

    1. The various Arab/Israeli wars including the War of Attrition.

    2. Vietnam.

    3. The 1st Gulf War

    4. Kosovo

    Not only do you need ''shooter's'', you also need ''sensors'' - all integrated and all requiring regular and realistic training. And then there is the question how susceptible ones AD network is to an opponents jamming/EW. With regards to 'sensors', I've find it strange that many armies have chosen not to equip their MANPAD/V-SHORADs units with passie alerting devices like the British ADAD.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
  6. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    Actually Abe I had not gotten to it yet, this thread topic is still a work in progress and I was only really starting out to try and show the basics. The rest is to be covered in further posts.

    You do manage to get to one of the main goals I have with the IADS thread though, in that air defence is a 3D battlespace, which is something lost on most.

    I do not quite agree on target altitude being the most important issue within air defence. I would feel more comfortable describing it as target position relative to sensors and shooters myself. Then again, there are a number of influencing or deciding situational factors which might be involved.

    On to discussing the Turaqistani GBAD-based IADS:

    The major objective of the Turaqistani IADS is to provide protection for the Emerald City, a fortified central enclave of the capital city. More specifically, it is to defend the Viceroy. Now given the location of Turagistan, in South Central Asia, it consists of areas of mountainous high desert, with the cities located in valleys.

    In order to have a properly constructed IADS, sensors need to be positioned to monitor air traffic. Given that the Emerald City is located within a valley, a minimum of two radar sites are needed. These radar sites would need to be located at high points outside of the valley to minimize blindspots which intervening terrain would cause if the radars were only located within the valley itself. In order to provide more complete coverage, a total of four such sites (Sites A, B, C and D) are located around the Emerald City, 'boxing' it in, as well as the Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar located at the airport/base next to Emerald City.

    Making things potentially more complicated, would be if there were a series of intervening terrain which could mask inbound air strikes. This could be anything from a series of ridgelines, to mountain ranges. The only way around a terrain feature issue like this would be to have sensors positioned to also look into these 'blindspots'. It is germane to point out here that in order to accurately determine where terrain induced coverage gaps occur, it is often necessary to setup and calibrate the sensors/radar and then have aircraft fly patterns in and around the terrain features. This is a issue of determining the field of view (FOV) of the sensor system, this particularly important to keep in mind with respect to mobile radar systems, since by being mobile, the systems' FOV can change which each location/relocation. Each time the system moves, in order to accurately plot maximum coverage, testing needs to be done. The other alternative is to just position the system at a location and accept that there will be gaps, and approximately where they might be found but not necessarily know exactly where they are located or how large the gaps might be.

    With respect to FOV, radars are not all omni-directional. While large complexes like ground stations, shipbourne radar arrays, and some mobile radar systems are or can be omni-directional, many of the smaller radars like fire control systems (FCS)have a very limited FOV. This in turn would require either enough such systems to provide complete all-around coverage, or have separate radar systems and comms to queue FCS to 'look' along the proper vector.

    Now the GBAD radar pickets around Emerald City are all going to have some form of control system onsite, but in order for decisions to be made properly (i.e. is the inbound a hostile strike package, or Oil Minister Omar's private jet...). Command and control facilities would be tasked with receiving contact returns from the sensors around Emerald City, and comparing them with what the command facilities knows should be in the in a given area and where. Now the command and control could be at a single, centralized location or could be broken up with separate facilities in different locations responsable for their specific region, districts or what have you.

    For the sake of simplicity, there is a single command and control facility for Emerald City, which is co-located with the Viceroy's command centre. Now, in order for the C&C facility to be useful, communications links need to be in place to get the information gathered by the radar pickets surrounding Emerald City to the C&C. Now, there are a number of forms the comm links can take, these could be wired/cabled links, radio, laser, or SATCOMM (which itself is really a specialized form of radio/laser). Given the nature of the area around Emerald City, the links between the C&C and the radar stations are made up of wired links, specifically EDT lines. What that means is that the data is being pushed from the radar pickets to the C&C via copper wiring, basically piggy-backing off the Turaqistani phone network. Here some effort was made towards providing system redundancy, so the EDT lines are setup in a star-mesh network, allowing each site to communicate not only directly with the C&C, but also with the two closest radar sites. That way a break or failure with a site's direct link to the C&C can be routed around, with data traffic being transmitted from one site to another, which can then relay the data to the C&C. There is only a single EDT link direct from the nominally civilian ATC system located at the airport to the C&C.

    So far, that covers two of the four elements completely, and part of the third element. The rest of the third element, as well as the fourth are as follows.

    For GBAD, Turaqistan has deployed four S-300PMU systems, with each system consisting of ~5 units; a surveillance radar, a FCS/command post, a low altitude radar, a master transport erector launcher (TEL) and a slaved TEL equipped with 5V55U missiles. Each of these systems are located at Sites A through D, with the associated radars being the sensor elements of those sites. Additionally, each site is also defended by a battery of six 2K22M Tunguska SPAAG/SAM for low altitude and close-in target engagement.

    As a more of less last line of defence there is 9K37M1-2 Buk battalion located within the valley itself. One Buk battery and the targeting radar located at the airport, a second battery at the C&C, the third located an equal distance away from the other two batteries to form a triangle in/around the Emerald City.

    Each of the Buk battery locations are also tied via EDT lines into the C&C, but this time in a mesh network as there are so few nodes. Each of the Tunguska batteries are dependent on the S-300 system/Site which they are co-located with for C&C. In the case of the Tunguska though, the vehicles themselves 'talk' via wireless network.

    I will end this for right now, so that the post does not turn into a book. More to come later, including discussion on altitude. Again, please put in any corrections, comments or questions.

    -Cheers
     
  7. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's a shiny IADS there, 2S6s, S-300PMUs, and Buk... What's the airforce of this place look like?
     
  8. EXSSBN2005

    EXSSBN2005 New Member

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    Turaqistan from the movie War Inc is a fictional country but we can discuss the RL potential and limitations of its IADS as though it were a real place. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War,_Inc.

    So for the most part Turaqistan has alot of the shiney newer russia hardware, I didnt get to see the movie but Ill watch some trailers/whole movie if I can find it and will try to help add to the discussion after I see it.:daz
     
  9. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    Given the situation within the country after a recent 'change' in administration... I would imagine the air force looks something like this.

    [​IMG]

    Given time (and funding, and willing vendors) an actual air arm could be reconstituted. For the time being (and sake of discussion) let us assume that the Turaqistani Air Force is currently limited to providing lift and perhaps CAS missions.

    With discussion of the Turaqistani IADS, I would like to essentially keep it restricted to GBAD, so that the capabilities of such systems can be thoroughly discussed, as well as their limitations.

    Watching the movie likely would not help furthering the discussion, but by all means do so if in the mood for a comedy. I selected it because there are parallels (it is a political satire after all) which can be drawn between Turaqistan and a number of 3rd world nations.

    -Cheers
     
  10. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I understand the purpose of the discussion at hand, but for the sake of bringing a little context into this, the S-300PMU is a post-Soviet development. Assuming Turaqistan isn't ex-USSR, the Buks and 2S6 would also have to be a post-Soviet export. I.e. the country had a multi-billion GBAD shopping spree, with (from what you describe) a very competent IADS on the ground level. I imagine the whole thing was put together in the late 90s, or early 00s. If they have that much money to play with, and are competent and capable enough to have built what you describe there is no way they would have ignored their air arm. Second-hand MiG-29s (refurb and modernized) or Su-27SKM new-builds, or any Su-30MK variant, are affordable for our Turaqistan. It's also more then likely they already fly (key word FLY, not rust in hangars) MiG-21/23/25.

    In other words I understand the logic of demonstrating that even a very high end third-world IADS, that lacks air-power and (ab)uses GBAD will run into major problems. But any country with the money and desire to shell out for what you describe will also invest in the necessary air arm. The relevance of my point is that purely GBAD, or predominantly GBAD-dependent states are not the kind that can afford this. Perfect example, Venezuela has been doing it. They bought 24 Su-24MKV Flankers, 5 S-300PMU2s (the ones meant for Iran), a handful (I don't have a number) of Tor-M1, and iirc some Igla MANPADS. Granted they haven't invested (to the best of my knowledge) in additional radars, C4I, etc. I.e. what this means is that a country doing much less investing then our Turaqistan is investing into modern fighters.

    If our dear Turaqistan can't afford a flying airforce, then its SAM network (best case scenario) is an impressive late 80s vintage one, built with Soviet military aid. Their long-range arm is S-200s, their close-range is Osa, S-75, ZSU-23-4, and their mid-range is Kub, Kvadrat, S-125, etc.

    Anyways, please continue, don't mind my little aside. :)
     
  11. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    Just a point of clarification, and also tying in with the movie War, Inc. It occurs essentially very shortly after an invasion and regime change, during a rebuilding/reconstruction phase. The selection of the GBAD systems was actually quite deliberate, as they are high-end exported Russian systems from the post-Soviet era. Not unlike systems which might be sought by a nation seeking to build/rebuild its IADS. In time (and of course with money) flight elements could be added to the IADS, but for the immediate postwar period, CAP, interceptors and similar would be 'out of reach'.

    The current state of its flight elements would be owing more to the adage, "the best way to sweep the enemy from the skies is to destroy them on the ground..."

    -Cheers
     
  12. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    So this is an impromptu IADS set up out of necessity, where money is ample supply but time is not? Interesting. That would tie in well with the earlier argument we had in regards to Libya. Still, this is an awfully impressive IADS. Delivery time frames for this sort of set up are not months, but years, plenty of time to acquire at least some fighters. But that also means that the new regime feels immediately threatened by a large, and powerful, hostile power with tons of aircraft but maybe not the necessary ground forces showing.

    To be honest it seems like the likely opponent for our Turaqistan is Russia. A Western air power would not be stopped by this. Russia on the other hand would be more then just inconvenienced, and stuck with a fat bill for the whole thing. And they may not have the ground presence to risk a long term occupation, or even major conflict without the necessary CAS or interdiction.
     
  13. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    I would appreciate it if someone would check my numbers, but the basic figures I have are as follows.

    S-300PMU is ~$100 mil. per battery
    Buk is ~$28-100 mil. per system
    Tunguska is ~$25 mil. per system.

    Now for Buk and Tunguska, I am uncertain what was being considered a 'system'. The price seems rather high IMO for a system to be considered an individual vehicle. That sort of pricing would be comparable to the per aircraft price of something like an Su-30MK. Additionally, there are a total of ~15 vehicles within a S-300 battery.

    For total numbers the IADS breaks down into:
    4 S-300 surveillance radars
    4 S-300 low altitude radars
    4 S-300 FCS radars
    8-12 S-300 TEL systems
    1 Buk CP
    1 Buk radar
    6 Buk launchers
    24 Tunguska SPAAG/SAM launchers

    Just wanted it clear that there not four S-300 batteries, but a single battery or perhaps demi-battery distributed across four different sites. While this number of systems would present a definate threat to air forces belonging to nations of comparable power to Turaqistan, it should not present much hinderance to many middle powers or greater.

    -Cheers
     
  14. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    There is no such thing as an S-300 battery. An S-300 battalion (дивизион in Russian) is 1 surveillance radar, 1 low-altitude radar, 1 FCS radar, 1 command vehicle, and 4 TELs. So what you have is ~3 btlns, with an extra set of radars. If you have 16 launchers, then what you have would be 4 btlns. The S-300 does not exist below the btln level. In other words 1 S-300 is 1 btln.

    iirc every battery of 6 Tunguskas has a 9S912 command post vehicle (BTR-80) that not only ties together the batteries vehicles, but allows it to communicate with other units.

    I'm not sure where you're getting prices on the Buk system. There are several varians (Buk, Buk-M, Buk-M1, Buk-M2), and very few have ever seen export. A Buk battery has two TELAR and a loading vehicle. 6 TELARs is a btln. I.e. 3 batteries, + a 9S470M1 btln command and a 9S18M1 Kupol FCS radar. There are also various technical support vehicles. Each Buk launcher has a radar on it fyi.

    Here's a Buk TELAR: http://pvo.guns.ru/images/other/bel/buk_mb/miro/p0585641.jpg
     
  15. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Recently 5 S-300PMU2 btlns for Iran were estimated at 800 million to 1 bln USD, so what you have here S-300 wise could be estimated at 650-800 million? This of course includes spares, munitions, and probably operator and maintenance training.
     
  16. Duffy

    Duffy New Member

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  17. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That picture is a single S-300 btln, with 12 launchers. 4-8 launchers is more typical, but 12 is possible also, for an increased rate of fire.
     
  18. Duffy

    Duffy New Member

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    The photo was more for the basic structure, Todjaeger is going with ,
    4 S-300 surveillance radars
    4 S-300 low altitude radars
    4 S-300 FCS radars
    8-12 S-300 TEL systems

    Its all arbitrary. I wish he had a topo map to go with this.
     
  19. STURM

    STURM Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for claryfing. I've been very curious as to how an S-300 battalion was organised and how many launch vehicles it had.
     
  20. Duffy

    Duffy New Member

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    Feanor this was the explanation under the photo. I would guess it could be configured several ways. I don't know if the distances are accurate or if it even matters?

    "S-300PMU / SA-10B[C] Grumble battery tie-in chart. Four 83P6 Fire Units, each comprising a 5P85SE TEL, and two 5P85DE TELs, must be located within 120 metres of the 30N6-1 Flap Lid B engagement radar, which contains the battery command post. The ST-68UM Tin Shield and 76N6 Clam Shell acquisition radars must be located within 250 metres and 500 metres, respectively, of the Flap Lid. Connectivity to a 5S99-M Senezh-M or 5N37/73N6 Baikal ADCP is via landlines or a mobile microwave relay link, such as the telescopic mast equipped FL-95 microwave relay link on a ZiL-131 chassis"