Thursday, November 17, 2005

Shoot at the cables…

Recently Romania took delivery of ex-Dutch Improved Hawk air defense system, shipped in late October from Netherlands to Romania on board of merchant ship. The eight batteries of Hawk with total 48 launchers and 16 High Power Illuminator fire control radars, previously belonged to No 801, 802, 803 and 804 Squadrons of Royal Netherlands Air Force in the de Pel airbase, where they formed so-called “triad units” with two Improved Hawk and a single Patriot battery in every squadron. Romania will field the system probably for airbases and other vital objects defense, thought the details of the organization of the future Romanian Hawk units are still unknown.

This remind me a story from Poland, from 1986. I was a pilot at 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing in Miroslawiec, which used badly obsolete Lim-6M aircraft – a Polish attack version of Soviet MiG-17. The aircraft was based on ex-radar equipped Lim-5P (MiG-17PF) and had bulbous nose, housing some ballast in place of removed radar. It was armed with three NR-23 guns of 23 mm caliber and two rocket pods for 16 S-5 rockets of 57 mm caliber. Theoretically it could also carry two 250 kg bombs in place of drop tanks, but could not fly anywhere with such load so we normally carried the tanks on every mission. The aircraft did not have any EW suite except for simple RWR protecting only rear hemisphere against attacking fighters. But we were also tasked to attack air defense means positioned not farther than 150 km from the front line of own forces, since the aircraft could not fly any farther on low altitude. The biggest challenge was the Improved Hawk system, since Patriot just started to enter service two years earlier and was not widely deployed, and we did not know yet much about Patriot. Nike Hercules we did not care, since we used to make jokes that fully loaded Lim-6M cannot reach the altitude of 1500 m, which is the lowest altitude on which Nike Hercules can engage an air target. But Improved Hawk was a challenge.

Somebody organized us (pilots from Miroslawiec) a common exercise with Kub air defense regiment (SA-6), somewhat similar to Improved Hawk, at least it was the semi-active short to medium range air defense system. And we looked for an advise from air defense guys, how to evade such an air defense system. The GBAD [ground-based air defense --ED] guys were not much cooperative and stated proudly that they sweep away from the sky any aircraft, if its pilot would be stupid enough to get close to their missile engagement zone. “Any aircraft” was to include wide range of supersonic and subsonic fighters, transport or helicopters, and even such a piece of scrap like Lim-6M, thought they would worry of expending their beautiful missile for it. Finally we had a common party so some initial ice was broken, but they still told us that there is no chance to evade modern air defense system without adequate EW system and anti-radar missiles, which would make the thing slightly better.

We had with us a young second-lieutenant, a political officer, inexperienced and stupid more than average among the political officers. And he started to explore the matter of countering Improved Hawk system, starting from the point that Kub is highly effective since it was developed in Soviet Union, but the Improved Hawk developed by those bloodsucking capitalists MUST have certain shortcomings. So the GBAD guys told him to buy a drink to every of them, and then they would tell him the proper way of Hawk suppressing, in a secret. His wallet became sleeker, the air defense men got drunk, but the officer was happy to learn the secret. Pilots were curious what was that. And he repeated what the GBAD guys told him: “all the elements of the Improved Hawk are separated by 50-150 m, but they are all connected by cables. Those cables are highly vulnerable. Shot at them and you get it…”

Some years later, when we got Su-22M4 and SPS-141 system along with Kh-25MP anti-radar missiles (which was actually never fired in Poland), we showed the Kub guys how the thing can be done. Then they were asking us, how to deal with all of this stuff. And our answer was equally smart. We told them: “our aircraft are extremely vulnerable for ingesting any foreign objects to the air intake. Release a lots of meteo [weather --ED] balloons, when we fly across your battery…”.


At 11:31 AM, Blogger Eric Blair said...

I find it very curious, how this equipment gets recycled like this.

So the Romanians will have to learn to use a weapon system used by the Dutch, but originally designed and built in the US.

So, are they translating the technical manuals from Dutch to Romanian, or from English to Romanian?

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Michal A. Fiszer said...

I believe that the instructions are in English and Romanian learn English as they are new NATO members. But upon some time the instructions will be probably translated to Romanian, but rather from English than from Romanian.
Romania already operates ex-German Gepard air defense systems so at least they translated instructions from German to Romanian.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Eric Blair said...

I did not know that the Romanians were employing German equipment. Have they just given up on all the ex-Soviet equipment? Or are they expanding their capability? Or was it not that good to begin with? I think it must be an integration nightmare.

(I recently noticed that Hungary was off loading T-72's on the new Iraqi government).

At 6:05 AM, Blogger Michal A. Fiszer said...

Romania already operates Gepards, now Improved Hawks and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, not mentioning the MiG-21s upgraded to Lancer standard with Israeli avionics. Romania was always not very tidely integrated with Warsaw Pact, continuing fielding of own systems, like helicopters (Pumas on Aerospatiale license - during WP times!) or main battle tanks being deeply modernized T-55s with the help of Israel. There is however a long way to full NATO integratioon, in front of Romania...

At 10:21 AM, Blogger Michael Puttre said...

Nere's a NATO press release from today that discusses Hungary's T-72s for the Iraqi Army:

Seventy-seven T-72 tanks and four tank-recovery vehicles donated to the Iraqi armed forces by Hungary arrived in Iraq on Nov. 11. The tanks are now stationed at Taji, north of Baghdad, the headquarters of the Iraqi 9th Division (Mechanized).

As part of its assistance to Iraq, NATO - through its Training and Equipment Coordination Group - is coordinating training and equipment provided by NATO countries to Iraq on a bilateral basis.

To date, NATO has delivered some 26,000 light weapons, 200 rocket-propelled guns, 10,000 helmets and more than 9.3-million rounds of ammunition to Iraq.

The donation of the newly refurbished tanks will enable the 9th Division to play an important role in providing security to Iraqi citizens. At present, the division is equipped with older T-55 tanks. The tanks were transferred from Hungary by a combination of land and sea transport, and they are expected to be operational by mid-December.

Infrastructure are those institutions and networks that are conducive to the maintenence of everyday life in a sector. These are things such as telecommunications, basic transportation, health care, and a host of non- or quasi-governmental functions. Infrastructure are used in time of war to help maintain military units in the field.

Logistics are the facilities and movers that are conducive to the turnover of goods, services, and people that keep the economy thriving in a sector. These are things such as civil starlines, ports, warehouse and distribution centers, and traffic management systems. Logistics are used in time of war to help move personnel and material into and out of the theater of operations.


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