Author Topic: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates  (Read 4428 times)

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Offline KJ_Lesnick

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SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
« on: October 05, 2015, 06:33:50 pm »
I was reading a book called "Clashes" and am ordering one called "The 11 Days of Christmas": It's quite fascinating to find that it would appear SAC didn't seem to do much regarding the effectiveness of the SA-2 guideline system and much SAM testing was done with the MIM-23 Hawk which was superior to the SA-2.

I'm curious why they used the MIM-23 and not something like the MIM-14: Supposedly the MIM-14 was comparable in some ways to the SA-2. 

Did we not know that at the time?
That being said, I'd like to remind everybody in a manner reminiscent of the SNL bit on Julian Assange, that no matter how I die: It was murder (even if there was a suicide note or a video of me peacefully dying in my sleep); should I be framed for a criminal offense or disappear, you know to blame.

Offline rickshaw

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Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2015, 07:30:03 pm »
I was reading a book called "Clashes" and am ordering one called "The 11 Days of Christmas": It's quite fascinating to find that it would appear SAC didn't seem to do much regarding the effectiveness of the SA-2 guideline system and much SAM testing was done with the MIM-23 Hawk which was superior to the SA-2.

I'm curious why they used the MIM-23 and not something like the MIM-14: Supposedly the MIM-14 was comparable in some ways to the SA-2. 

Did we not know that at the time?

Nope.  All the west knew was that these missiles had destroyed Gary Powers' U-2, an aircraft that was supposedly invulnerable to other interception efforts.  The SA-2 wasn't widely encountered by a Western Airforce until the last quarter of the Vietnam War.   It would have been better to train and test against the latest the West had to offer so as to prepare for what the East was planning...
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Offline KJ_Lesnick

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Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2015, 10:54:54 am »
rickshaw

Quote
Nope.  All the west knew was that these missiles had destroyed Gary Powers' U-2, an aircraft that was supposedly invulnerable to other interception efforts.
Even the RAF?  I remember they seemed much more confident in their ability to penetrate the USSR than we did?

Would the lack of knowledge have explained why some had little faith in the XB-70...

Quote
It would have been better to train and test against the latest the West had to offer so as to prepare for what the East was planning...
It would be best to train against actual threats and projected ones.  

While I'm on the subject: Was there any SIGINT/ELINT work to collect information on the missile radar system?  Was there any intel work to attempt to collect data on the weapons system?  Furthermore, was there any rule of thumb to estimate how far the missile could fly based on it's size, estimates on weight and warhead size and stuff?

Was the MIM-3, and MIM-14 tested against US bombers?
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 11:31:24 am by KJ_Lesnick »
That being said, I'd like to remind everybody in a manner reminiscent of the SNL bit on Julian Assange, that no matter how I die: It was murder (even if there was a suicide note or a video of me peacefully dying in my sleep); should I be framed for a criminal offense or disappear, you know to blame.

Offline rickshaw

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Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2015, 06:51:27 pm »
rickshaw

Quote
It would have been better to train and test against the latest the West had to offer so as to prepare for what the East was planning...
It would be best to train against actual threats and projected ones.  

Why?  When you train only to meet the expected threat, then you are less capable against the unexpected.  As your Defence Secrety so famously put it, "there are known unknowns..."   If you train against the best, then the not-best is easier to fight.

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While I'm on the subject: Was there any SIGINT/ELINT work to collect information on the missile radar system?  Was there any intel work to attempt to collect data on the weapons system?  Furthermore, was there any rule of thumb to estimate how far the missile could fly based on it's size, estimates on weight and warhead size and stuff?

Yes, there were numerous electronic "ferret" missions flown by the USAF and RAF against the fUSSR.

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Was the MIM-3, and MIM-14 tested against US bombers?

Yes.  How else did the SAM crews train?   I well remember driving past my local airport in Australia, watching the missile crews from 16 AD Regt. training against civilian airlines and aircraft.   It gave them good practice on how to track and maintain visual and radar lock ons.  If you watch many of the USAF training videos on Youtube, you'll see defensive units training against USAF units.
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Offline KJ_Lesnick

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Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2015, 02:53:39 pm »
rickshaw

I'm curious about several things, provided they are not classified
  • Was the fact that we overrated enemy defenses the reason why some had little faith in the B-70?
  • Why was the RAF more confident in their ability to penetrate USSR air defenses?
That being said, I'd like to remind everybody in a manner reminiscent of the SNL bit on Julian Assange, that no matter how I die: It was murder (even if there was a suicide note or a video of me peacefully dying in my sleep); should I be framed for a criminal offense or disappear, you know to blame.

Offline rickshaw

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Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2015, 06:53:42 am »
rickshaw

I'm curious about several things, provided they are not classified
  • Was the fact that we overrated enemy defenses the reason why some had little faith in the B-70?
  • Why was the RAF more confident in their ability to penetrate USSR air defenses?

1. Yes.  The U-2 had been downed.  It had been considered "invulnerable".  What was the point of the B-70 then?

2. The RAF had won WWII (in their eyes), and as they were tasked with carrying the fight to the enemy homeland, they had little choice.  They switched from high-altitude to low-altitude penetration.  They also had less distance to fly than the USAF, so their targets were closer and easier to find.
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Offline sandiego89

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Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2015, 09:35:44 am »

    • Why was the RAF more confident in their ability to penetrate USSR air defenses?

    I do not think anyone thought penetrating the USSR interior would be easy- both the RAF and USAF went to low level when they realized that high altitude was no longer safe. Losses were expected to be high.   

    The west did conduct significant ELINT, SIGNIT on defenses.   
    Dave "Sandiego89"
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    Offline KJ_Lesnick

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    Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
    « Reply #7 on: December 07, 2015, 06:05:22 pm »
    sandiego89

    Quote
    I do not think anyone thought penetrating the USSR interior would be easy
    I'm not saying that, but it would appear the RAF seemed more confident than the USAF did.  I talked to a guy on PPRuNe who flew the Avro Vulcan's and he seemed a hell of a lot more confident than most of the politicians in the US of the same era.

    Quote
    The west did conduct significant ELINT, SIGNIT on defenses.
    If it's not classified, would this mean that they could tell if the missile was command-guidance line-of-sight, beam-riding, or SARH?  Regardless, I remember that a lot of estimates of SAM's were based on the MIM-23 Hawk which was SARH; the MIM-3 and MIM-14 were command-guided.
    That being said, I'd like to remind everybody in a manner reminiscent of the SNL bit on Julian Assange, that no matter how I die: It was murder (even if there was a suicide note or a video of me peacefully dying in my sleep); should I be framed for a criminal offense or disappear, you know to blame.

    Offline rickshaw

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    Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
    « Reply #8 on: December 07, 2015, 11:22:09 pm »
    sandiego89

    Quote
    I do not think anyone thought penetrating the USSR interior would be easy
    I'm not saying that, but it would appear the RAF seemed more confident than the USAF did.  I talked to a guy on PPRuNe who flew the Avro Vulcan's and he seemed a hell of a lot more confident than most of the politicians in the US of the same era.

    Comparing apples with oranges Kendra/Robyn?  How about finding out the opinion of B-52 pilots and comparing their confidence with the Vulcan pilot's or British politicians versus the American politicians instead.  It might make a more valid comparison.

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    Quote
    The west did conduct significant ELINT, SIGNIT on defenses.
    If it's not classified, would this mean that they could tell if the missile was command-guidance line-of-sight, beam-riding, or SARH?  Regardless, I remember that a lot of estimates of SAM's were based on the MIM-23 Hawk which was SARH; the MIM-3 and MIM-14 were command-guided.

    They could tell what radar was illuminating them, they could often figure out which SAM system it was attached to and how it was guided.  They could perhaps tell you how accurate the missile was, if they were lucky (or unlucky).   That is what ELINT does.   SIGINT could tell them the name of the unit using the missile and where it's command and control system was located and who was involved in it.
    « Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 03:12:25 am by rickshaw »
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    Offline KJ_Lesnick

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    Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
    « Reply #9 on: December 08, 2015, 06:26:31 pm »
    rickshaw

    Quote
    They could tell what radar was illuminating them, they could often figure out which SAM system it was attached to and how it was guided.
    So they knew the SA-2 was command-guided?
    Quote
    That is what ELINT does.
    Understood
    « Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 01:30:46 pm by KJ_Lesnick »
    That being said, I'd like to remind everybody in a manner reminiscent of the SNL bit on Julian Assange, that no matter how I die: It was murder (even if there was a suicide note or a video of me peacefully dying in my sleep); should I be framed for a criminal offense or disappear, you know to blame.

    Offline rickshaw

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    Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
    « Reply #10 on: December 08, 2015, 07:09:40 pm »
    rickshaw
    Quote
    They could tell what radar was illuminating them, they could often figure out which SAM system it was attached to and how it was guided.
    So they knew the SA-2 was command-guided?

    Yes.

    It still relied on radar for warning and location of the target and missile.  It used command guidance to bring the two together on the radar plot.   It had a secondary visual guidance system, which gave the missile crew the ability to use the missile in a heavy ECM environment.
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    Offline KJ_Lesnick

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    Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
    « Reply #11 on: December 08, 2015, 07:58:01 pm »
    rickshaw

    Quote
    Yes.
    I would assume they found this out somewhere between 1957 and 1960?
    Quote
    It still relied on radar for warning and location of the target and missile.  It used command guidance to bring the two together on the radar plot.
    I assume the Fan Song did this, and the early warning radar provided it's data to the Fan Song?

    Kind of fascinating that the MIM-3 and MIM-14's seemed to need a radar to track the missile, a radar or two to track the target, a computer to integrate it all together when the Russians had a mobile system using only two radars and were about as good as the MIM-14.
    Quote
    It had a secondary visual guidance system, which gave the missile crew the ability to use the missile in a heavy ECM environment.
    Assuming it's not secret: How did that work?  Did you simply look through the optical scope and steer the missile onto target?
    That being said, I'd like to remind everybody in a manner reminiscent of the SNL bit on Julian Assange, that no matter how I die: It was murder (even if there was a suicide note or a video of me peacefully dying in my sleep); should I be framed for a criminal offense or disappear, you know to blame.

    Offline rickshaw

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    Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
    « Reply #12 on: December 08, 2015, 08:48:02 pm »
    rickshaw

    Quote
    Yes.
    I would assume they found this out somewhere between 1957 and 1960?

    I think they'd have known it by 1965.

    Quote
    Quote
    It still relied on radar for warning and location of the target and missile.  It used command guidance to bring the two together on the radar plot.
    I assume the Fan Song did this, and the early warning radar provided it's data to the Fan Song?

    Initially, yes.  Later radars replaced FAN SONG for many operators.

    Quote
    Kind of fascinating that the MIM-3 and MIM-14's seemed to need a radar to track the missile, a radar or two to track the target, a computer to integrate it all together when the Russians had a mobile system using only two radars and were about as good as the MIM-14.

    Search Radar, Locating Radar, Height Finding Radar, Tracking Radar.   The Soviet system was more primitive, with just a Search Radar and a Locating/Tracking Radar.   The more radars, the more accurate and harder to jam the system is.   It also makes it less vulnerable to hard kill mechanisms.

    Quote
    Quote
    It had a secondary visual guidance system, which gave the missile crew the ability to use the missile in a heavy ECM environment.
    Assuming it's not secret: How did that work?  Did you simply look through the optical scope and steer the missile onto target?

    Basically, yes.  It required for the director to be able to visually see the target, which is why it was called a visual guidance mode.   The British Rapier system uses one in it's standard version.
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    Offline KJ_Lesnick

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    Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
    « Reply #13 on: December 10, 2015, 03:17:16 am »
    rickshaw

    Quote
    I think they'd have known it by 1965.
    I said 1960 because we stopped overflights over the USSR at that point.  Regardless we would have known the whole enchilada by 1965.
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    Initially, yes.  Later radars replaced FAN SONG for many operators.
    Quote
    Search Radar, Locating Radar, Height Finding Radar, Tracking Radar.   The Soviet system was more primitive, with just a Search Radar and a Locating/Tracking Radar.
    And I assume they computed height by using the angle of the beam and the targets position?
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    The more radars, the more accurate and harder to jam the system is.
    Redundancy?
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    It also makes it less vulnerable to hard kill mechanisms.
    Hard kill does that mean like just frying the system?
    Quote
    Basically, yes.  It required for the director to be able to visually see the target, which is why it was called a visual guidance mode.
    Okay
    That being said, I'd like to remind everybody in a manner reminiscent of the SNL bit on Julian Assange, that no matter how I die: It was murder (even if there was a suicide note or a video of me peacefully dying in my sleep); should I be framed for a criminal offense or disappear, you know to blame.

    Offline KJ_Lesnick

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    Re: SAC & Enemy Missile Projection Estimates
    « Reply #14 on: October 31, 2016, 02:04:14 pm »
    rickshaw,

    Quote
    Comparing apples with oranges Kendra/Robyn?
    Not entirely, after all the confidence of the aircrew was basically based on a combination of
    • Core personality traits
    • The knowledge available to the aircrew which was provided by the service under which they operated, and intelligence collection data of the nation they served
    As far as I know, the overall planning by USAF Strategic Air Command and RAF Bomber Command seemed to be tightly coordinated (not sure when this started, admittedly), with RAF even having some personnel working at Omaha, Nebraska.  I would assume they would have shared similar intelligence data required to accomplish their bombing missions, correct?

    Provided the above is true, why did they arrive at different conclusions?
    • Was it the performance differences of the aircraft?
    • Was it due to the RAF possessing a greater cunning in using the resources at their disposal?
    • Was it due to the RAF allowing more creativity and innovation in aircraft tactics (provided this is the case, SAC seemed to allow almost no innovation except at the top-level)
    • Was it due to the RAF having a more pessimistic attitude (i.e. they assumed that it'd be a suicide mission and they gave the crews the best tactics they thought they could do, but figured they'd mostly all end up dead)?
    • Was it due to some other variable?

    While I'm on this, I was thinking about something else: Provided, it's not classified
    • While the USAF stopped overflights over the Soviet Union in 1960 by manned aircraft: Did the RAF?
    • Were SA-2's located in areas of the Communist Bloc which we were not restricted from overflight?
    That being said, I'd like to remind everybody in a manner reminiscent of the SNL bit on Julian Assange, that no matter how I die: It was murder (even if there was a suicide note or a video of me peacefully dying in my sleep); should I be framed for a criminal offense or disappear, you know to blame.