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Russia's Stand-Off Capability: The 800 Pound Gorilla in Syria
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Size does matter and so does range and speed whenever anyone talks about weapons. It seems that there is a great deal of confusion which perpetuates itself in regards to a relatively small Russian military contingent in Syria. The most popular indicator of this confusion is a never ending discussion of a possible American attack on the Russian forces in Syria, primarily on the air base Khmeimim. Can such an attack, once one considers the size of forces US can deploy against Russians, succeed in “defeating” them?

This is both a legitimate but also a highly unprofessional question. In fact, there are many people of prominence in the US who apart from considering such a terrifying scenario are actually pushing for it. Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters doesn’t mince words when it comes to attacking Russians; in fact, he is a very straight to the point guy when giving prescriptions on how to fight those Russians: This could spin out of control very, very fast. If it does, we have to win rapidly and decisively — and keep it within Syria.

There is no doubt that Peters and the bunch of US military and political people he represents did partake in the strategic wisdom of the past, from Clausewitz to Moltke to Guderian, but it is here where a seemingly legitimate question on the probability of American success in bombing those nasty Russkies into the stone age at Khmeimim and elsewhere in Syria stops being, well, serious. Of course, US can unleash whatever it has at its conventional disposal at Khmeimim and it will eventually overwhelm whatever the Russians have there, from several SU-35s to S-300s and S-400s and, possibly, make Peters’ wet dream of keeping the whole ordeal confined to Syria very real. This would work, say against anyone’s military contingent except Russia.

At issue here is not the fact that Russia is a nuclear superpower—everyone knows that. Even the most rabid American Russophobes know this and can grasp, however slightly, the concept of their poor dears turning into radioactive ash pretty fast if they do the unthinkable, such as attacking Russia proper with nuclear weapons. Syria, however, is a bit different—the escalation to a nuclear threshold could, indeed, be controlled by those who hold a decisive advantage conventionally. At issue here is the fact of conventional war—a precise type of a conflict US military prided itself on for the last 30+ years, boasting of being able to handle any kind of adversary.

In the foundation of this, rather overly assertive approach, the self-assurance was the real and not so real advantage of the US in stand-off weapons. Aggression against Yugoslavia showed the US military could overwhelm the air-defense of a nation such as Serbia fairly fast and from distances far beyond the reach of its obsolete air defenses. There were Tomahawk cruise missiles, which were launched at Serbia in thousands and which rendered her air defense almost useless after the first couple of weeks of incessant bombing.

But here is the problem for the US: Russia can take this hypothetical conventional conflict well beyond Syria any time it wants and I am not talking about other strategic theaters, such as Ukraine, where Russia can “compensate” for a hypothetical “defeat” in Syria. The reason for this is purely technological—Russia can go tit-for-tat conventionally in Syria and anywhere in the Middle East. In fact, the Russian military has in its possession the most advanced arsenal of High Precision stand-off weapons which have been demonstrated in action for the whole world to see.

This is what makes the whole talk about “defeating” the Russian contingent in Syria very amateurish. War is much more than some shoot-out between belligerents, the war starts in the operational rooms and political offices well before any shot is fired. If the Russian contingent in Syria had been deployed there say in 2005, there would have been no problem in imagining Ralph Peters’ scenario. But it is not 2005 and an 800 pound gorilla, which many continue to ignore, in the room is Russia’s stand-off capability—it is simply much better than the American one and it opens an operational door, in case of a hypothetical conventional attack on Kheimim, for a massive retaliation against any US asset in the region.

Yesterday, in the wake of the death of Lieutenant General Asapov in Syria, allegedly with some “help” from the so called Coalition in the vicinity of the liberated Deir-ez-Zor, Russia’s strategic aviation launched long-range stealthy X-101 cruise missiles at ISIS targets in Syria. There is nothing new now in Russia’s using 5,500+ kilometer range cruise missile, nor is there news any more for the Russian Navy being able to launch 2,500+ kilometer range 3M14 of Kalibr family from anywhere in the Eastern Mediterranean or the Caspian Sea. These are ranges which are simply beyond the reach of any stand-off weapon in US arsenal with Tomahawk TLAM-A Block II having the maximum range of around 2,500 kilometers while TLAM Block IV, currently being most produced variety, having the range of 1,600 kilometers.

Raytheon says that these missiles are capable of loitering and that Tomahawk would be able to hit moving targets. It is all fine and dandy but the key is range and precision and here the US is not in the leading position to put it mildly. Range gives an unprecedented operational flexibility and yesterday’s launch from Russian Tu-95 Bears strategic bombers had a very serious message—not in terms of X-101′s range, even longer range cruise missiles are getting ready for procurement, with ranges in 10,000 kilometers vicinity. The message was in the fact that missiles were launched from Iranian and Iraqi aerospace. They didn’t have to do so, this could have been easily done from the area of the Caspian Sea. But Bears launched while being escorted in Iranian aerospace by Su-30s and Su-35s of Russian Air Space Forces and that, apart from obvious hint at Russian full capability to reach any US ground asset in the area, provided some ominous signs.

Iran knows for sure that should the unthinkable but not improbable happen, such as an American attack on the Russian forces in Syria, Iran will not be left standing on the side—she gets immediately “involved” whether she wants it or not. So, the logic goes, why not make the best of it when all bets, other than nuclear, will be off. Iran may as well have Russian forces on her side and in her airspace, which, obviously helps significantly. But that also opens another serious operational possibility in case of a real conventional conflict in the area between Russia and the US—a scenario Neocons, due to their military illiteracy and overall detachment from the strategic reality, are dreaming about. Putting inevitable emotions aside and looking at the factual side of things, Russia’s Military Doctrine since 2010, reaffirmed in 2014 Edition, views the use of stand-off High Precision as a key in strategic force containment, as Article 26 of a doctrine clearly states. Russia doesn’t want war with the US, but if push comes to shove Russia is totally capable of not only reaching US ground assets, such as CENTCOM’s Qatar forward installation but, what is even more significant, also the naval ones in the Persian Gulf.

Apart from 66 long-range strategic bombers, the Tu-160s and Tu-95s, Russia has at her disposal more than 100 TU-22M3 bombers many of which are capable of both inflight refueling and of carrying a rather intimidating weapon—the X-32 (Kh-32) cruise missile whose range is 1000 kilometers and the speed is in excess of Mach 4.2. This missile, apart from being able to attack anything on the ground, is capable in fact was designed primarily for the purpose, of hitting anything moving on the surface of the sea. The missile, let alone a salvo of those, is incredibly difficult if possible at all to intercept and as yesterday’s demonstration showed, Iran, most likely would have no problem with allowing these very TU-22M3s to operate from her airspace in case of the worst case scenario. Launched anywhere from Darab area the salvo will not only cover all of a Persian Gulf but will reliably close off Gulf of Oman for any naval force. No ship, no Carrier Battle Group will be able to enter this area in case of a conventional conflict with Russia in Syria—the strategic ramifications of this are enormous. Even the salvo of 3M14s from Caspian Sea on October 7, 2015 made such an impression that USS Theodore Roosevelt and her CBG almost immediately left the Gulf.

Moreover, this simple, single operational fact shows precisely why for two years a relatively small Russian military contingent has been able to operate so effectively in Syria and, in fact, dictate conditions on the ground and in the area of its operations. The answer is simple—many adrenaline junkies are lowered in a cage into the water to face sharks, with only metal rods separating them and sharks’ deadly jaws. Yet, up there, in the boat one can always put a man with a gun which can be used in case of emergency to a deadly effect should the cage give. The Russian military contingent in Syria is not just some military base—it is the force tightly integrated with Russian Armed Forces that have enough reach and capability to make anyone face some extremely unpleasant choices, including the fact that it is Russia, not the US, who controls escalation to a threshold and that can explain a non-stop anti-Russian hysteria in US media since the outcome of the war in Syria became clear. Let us only hope that all described above remains merely speculation and has no basis in real life—if those scenarios do not become reality, it is all for the better.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Iran, Russia, Syria 
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  1. Randal says:

    From your lips to the ears of the US military regime, we must hope.

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  2. Ron Unz says:

    In support of the strategic thesis advanced in this important article, I seem to recall that the original Russian military intervention in Syria was accompanied by a volley of ultra-long-range cruise missiles, whose capabilities greatly surprised American military analysts.

    At the time, such a high-tech attack on ISIS positions seemed rather cost-ineffective to me, but presumably a major purpose was to dissuade America (and Israel) from considering any future attack on what was a rather small and isolated Russian expeditionary force.

    Also, since Russia, Iran, and Iraq have become de facto allies in the Syria War, I’d think that the use of Iranian and Iraqi airspace as the launch point for the latest bombardment is also meant to raise much greater doubts in Trump’s military advisors about the huge risks in any future attack against Iran or attempt to forcefully renegotiate the existing nuclear treaty.

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  3. Advanced Russian cruise missiles–or at least should not be news to military planners.

    They were well known in Cold War times and discussed in Western defense publications such as Jane’s.

    The entire purpose of the failed F-111B and its replacement, the F-14, was to keep Soviet maritime bombers and their deadly cruise missiles as far away from the fleet as possible. A lesson obviously forgotten since the end of the Cold War.

    The existence of advanced military technology in Russia (or, really, anywhere outside of America) does appear to surprise American civilian leaders however, few of whom have any military expertise these days.

    The real question: how many working cruise missiles does Russia have in inventory? If Soviet stocks still exist the answer could be quite a lot.

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  4. @Thorfinnsson

    Advanced Russian cruise missiles–or at least should not be news to military planners.

    Second generation Anti-Shipping Missiles, starting from Malakhyt and ending with P-700 Granit are not news since 1980s. We are talking about latest generation of high precision land and surface attack weapons which make all previous Soviet weapons obsolete and look like amateurs. 3M14 and X-101 are a new word in TLAMs which, apart from Inertial, GLONASS and TERCOM guidance use other quirky things and, again–nothing was produced ever with combat range of 5,500+ kilometers. None. You are talking about mostly anti-shipping missiles. Among them today only P-1000 Voulkans are retained on old Missile Cruisers of Slava-class and P-700 Granits (NATO: SS-N-19 Shipwreck) carried by some Project 949A (Oscar-II class) SSGNs and Cruiser Peter The Great–most of those will be removed (some are being as I type it) and will have new generation of: P-800 Onyx, 3M54 Kalibr family and 3M22 Zircon hyper-sonic missiles installed. X-32 also is already fully operational for strategic aviation. Those are game changers. Once Mach=8 capable 3M22 Zircon comes on-line, it is pretty much over for the naval warfare as we know it. Real American military professionals know it, others only sense it.

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  5. @Ron Unz

    I believe it occurred even earlier, when a Russian warship intercepted an exploratory volley of cruise missiles fired from either a US or Israeli vessel and aimed at targets inside Syria.

    A few days later, a Syria-based Russian AA unit downed a Turkish fighter probing Syrian air defenses.

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  6. What nations need to develop is the satellite missile system. Load a satellite with huge bombs, missiles, and even nukes. Send them into space and fly them over enemy nations. And if a nation attacks you, bomb it from the satellite. Like in Bubblegum Crisis.

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  7. From last year but still relevant.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-audit-army/u-s-army-fudged-its-accounts-by-trillions-of-dollars-auditor-finds-idUSKCN10U1IG

    As bad as that is, isn’t Russia even more corrupt?

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  8. yeah says:
    @Priss Factor

    “What nations need to develop is the satellite missile system. Load a satellite with huge bombs, missiles, and even nukes. Send them into space and fly them over enemy nations. And if a nation attacks you, bomb it from the satellite. Like in Bubblegum Crisis. ”

    Wish, hope, and pray that such “progress” never comes about. By the time I came to your allusion to bubblegum crisis, my heart was already pounding at this horror of horrors, at this mad scramble to effect mass human extinction. Some things should never ever be joked about, even in this age when no holies are left. Peace.

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  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Trump will slaughter the Russians in Syria.

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  10. @Priss Factor

    I think that you are in the US and so you should be familiar with the phrase, follow the money. That the US outspends the rest of the planet combined on its military yet it nevertheless always seems to be lacking whenever and wherever it flexes its “muscle”, and that the Russians seem to spend quite a bit less by orders of magnitude and yet still produce cutting edge weaponry, as it certainly appears to, should answer your question for you.

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  11. peterAUS says:

    Read the article.

    Interesting.

    Say it’s all true. So what?

    MAD was assured during Cold War.So what? Soviet/Warsaw Pact was superior in conventional capability then NATO. So what? The end result was dissolution of not only Warsaw Pact but Soviet Union itself.

    And that’s precisely what’s going on here. Not an all out war with Russia. I mean, it can happen but neither party would want it. If it happens it will be one of those “oh SHIT!” moments. Anyway.

    The purpose of war in Syria, from US (OK…Zionist Empire/whatever) point is ongoing chaos in that region. Chaos……in…………that…………region.

    Russia can not make that chaos go away. Or if it can, well….fine. I just don’t see it.

    All this missiles/high tech/who has a bigger dick thing is …….just…….irrelevant.

    The Professor is doing a fine job of spinning positive image on that General (and some other people) death here and that’s fine. Not a bad job.

    But the game which killed the General will go on. And on……..and on…..and it won’t be solved by advanced missiles and what not.

    Russia is in Syria to prop its strategic ally and keep the presence there. The presence there is the objective.

    Russia can keep the presence—–US (yes..sorry..Zionist Empire) will maintain chaos. Both winners.

    Military personnel on both sides will keep being killed and mutilated. Part of the job. High tech assassinations and just bad luck.

    And Islamists from all over the world will keep fulfilling their destiny.

    The Syrians, though………..mice and elephants.

    Long term goal for US…I meant Zionist Empire, is weakening the regime in Moscow and executing a regime change. Long term goal for Russia is enduring and waiting/hoping for US..umph…Zionist Empire implosion.

    All fine. Unless one is a Syrian.

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  12. Nobody voted for Trump to advocate a dreamer amnesty, and nobody voted for Trump to continue the neocon’s foreign policy. So right now Trump has two big black marks against him. I hope Trump can be convinced to back off from his military brinkmanship but with the generals in his administration I am not optimistic. Russia is on the right side of the Syrian conflict.

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  13. Wally says:
    @Priss Factor

    Got proof?

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  14. Wally says: • Website
    @peterAUS

    Nowadays the US and the little Israeli boys don’t do well when they suffer even relatively few deaths, casualties.

    The US / Israeli “embedded” media might not publish many pictures of military coffins anymore, but the loss of an entire base or aircraft carrier to Russian attack could not be overlooked.

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  15. unit472 says:
    @peterAUS

    Indeed, high tech ( and expensive) weaponry is almost useless against groups like the Taliban or ISIS. Unless you are willing to wage a Mosul type campaign and slaughter civilians on an industrial scale rooting out bands of armed brigands requires infantry. A $ 10 million drone firing a $100,000 missile may take out a terrorist ‘leader’ but these guys are not indispensable. OTOH some guy driving a car or wearing a suicide vest can take out a whole bunch of highly trained military professionals.

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  16. peterAUS says:

    the loss of an entire base or aircraft carrier to Russian attack could not be overlooked.

    Yeah……

    That….idea……..seems somehow popular around.

    So, what do you think, what could be the next steps in that play?
    Just out of curiosity.

    Anyone else is welcome to chime in.

    Say
    “Loss of an entire base or aircraft carrier to Russian attack”.

    What happens next?

    Oh, BTW, maybe irrelevant, but I do remember Cold War “war games”.

    Go ahead, please…..

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  17. unit472 says:

    Sinking a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier has not yet been done. They are pretty resilient ships and unless you can catch them with their decks full of fueled and armed aircraft as happened to the Japanese at Midway or hole them with torpedoes they tend to stay afloat even after being hit with conventional explosives.

    The Forrestal survived multiple detonations and explosions on its flight deck back in 1967 though over 100 sailors died. Smaller US WW2 era carriers survived direct hits from Kamikazi attacks so it is one thing to knock them out of action but another to sink them.

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  18. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Check out this article and video of a Russian cruise missile launch, hitting ISIS targets a thousand miles away. Very impressive. This was from the Deir al-Zor operation from a few weeks ago. In the comments section there is dispute as to weather the USN has this same vertical launch system capability (launch rate).

    VIDEO: Russian Frigate Fires 3 Cruise Missiles on ISIS Targets in Syria

    https://news.usni.org/2017/09/05/video-russian-frigate-fires-3-cruise-missiles-isis-targets-syria

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  19. Eagle Eye says:
    @Ron Unz

    Thank you, Mr. Unz, for bringing these items – which are of fundamental strategic importance – to a wider public.

    Just found that the Russians actually released a video of the October 2015 cruise missile launches from the Caspian Sea.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2015/oct/07/russia-launches-missiles-on-isis-from-caspian-sea-video

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  20. Vidi says:
    @peterAUS

    The purpose of war in Syria, from US (OK…Zionist Empire/whatever) point is ongoing chaos in that region. Chaos……in…………that…………region. Russia can not make that chaos go away.

    Chaos has a bad habit of expanding and can be extremely bloody and difficult to control; see the Thirty Years War. Does Israel really want to risk this in the country next door?

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  21. Iran knows for sure that should the unthinkable but not improbable happen, such as an American attack on the Russian forces in Syria, Iran will not be left standing on the side—she gets immediately “involved” whether she wants it or not. So, the logic goes, why not make the best of it when all bets, other than nuclear, will be off. Iran may as well have Russian forces on her side and in her airspace, which, obviously helps significantly.

    “Whether she wants it or not”?

    “why not make the best of it”.

    Possibly, tovarich, you may ask the “her” in question if she shares your rather “provincial” romantic notions.

    Even the crazy mullahs of Iran are not so despicable as to let some Russian outfit in Kremlin determine the fate of the Iranian nation. Unless, of course, they are your moles.

    The “signal” regarding the Iranian “aerospace” that matters here is the uproar in Iran regarding the decision to let Russian planes use an Iranian airbase. What makes you think IRGC will let Russia dictate the direction of the defense of Iran? Russian base in Syria goes boom, well, that is YOUR problem. Iran is there to protect IRANIAN interests. It is not in Iran’s interest to have Russia use Iran as a forward base. Dream on, and quit hitting that vodka bottle.

    Iranians remember the parition of Iran between Russia and Britain the “great game”, Russian push for spinning away Azarbaijan and Kurdistan away from Iran after WWII and having to be forced out by the USA, and song and dance of “nuclear weapons” that resulted in Iran being subject to an IAEA regiment not directed against any other nation on Earth. (And Russia was there with the West when that went down, remember comrade?)

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  22. Frankie P says:
    @peterAUS

    You miss the more immediate goal of the Anglozionist Empire, namely the prevention of the Shia Crescent becoming a stable and calm area, protected and strengthened by well-trained, battle-hardened, united forces, including of course the SAA, Iran, the Iraqi militias, and Hezzbollah. For although as you mentioned the Zionist narcissistic great evil and its Yinon Plan to destabilize the entire Middle East / North Africa has long been a goal, we see once again that reality presents them having bitten off more than they could chew, and actions like the Iraq War, a neocon feast of overconfidence and bluster, ended up strengthening the true resistance, the true danger to their regional hegemonic plans. They doubled down, as psychopathic narcissists are prone to do, in Syria, and the resulting action by a stronger and more aggressive Russia has shone the light on the folly of their ways. The resistance has now become The Resistance, and with America’s continuing belligerence pushing Russia and China ever closer, we will soon be calling it THE RESISTANCE.

    Frankie P

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  23. Frankie P says:
    @peterAUS

    Nuclear Armageddon would be the short answer.

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  24. @Ron Unz

    At the time I thought it was just a sales pitch for Russian arms exports, but this explanation also makes sense.

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  25. Randal says:

    So, what do you think, what could be the next steps in that play?

    OK let’s look at it a bit closer. But to do so we must recognise that we are moving to the realms of wider politics rather than its subset, war. At the level we are talking about, the decisions are always political rather than military, even when they are taken by military men in an overtly military regime.

    The context is what is discussed by Martyanov above – the US regime, presumably listening to some of the less wise amongst its senior military men and the less honestly motivated amongst its influential political and media figures, decides to try to defeat and destroy the Russian forces in Syria whilst counting on what they believe is the US’s general escalation superiority to constrain Russian responses and keep the open conflict contained to the region. After the initial probably devastating US attack on Russian forces in Syria, involving the overloading and suppression by various means including direct SEAD attacks of the limited air defences in theatre, the Russians respond with large standoff attacks that effectively destroy US bases and/or carriers used in the attack or in the vicinity. They would not have enough to keep all US and allied ships and bases from which attacks could be launched in Syria out of action, but they could presumably render several substantial bases unusable for significant periods and sink a number of ships including carriers, which would have to operate from more distant locations, rendering operations more costly and less effective.

    What does the US do next? Militarily it has to retaliate, but it can choose how far to escalate in doing so. The problem is that substantive retaliation presumably requires attacks on Russian bases inside Russia, which involves very high risks of uncontrolled escalation to a strategic nuclear exchange. Do they do that? If they launch limited attacks inside Russia (eg an attack on a base used to launch the strategic bombers, say), Russia has the strategic capability to carry out direct tit for tat responses.

    Given the likely involvement of the forces and bases of regional allies (though who really knows how enthusiastic Turkey would really be, these days), it seems likely the attack on Russian forces in Syria could still be prosecuted to completion with their effective destruction, and meaningful Russia reinforcements interdicted successfully, but that would now seem rather a sideshow. And meanwhile Iraqi and Iranian involvement would be likely, and not to the advantage of the US’s interests on the ground. Russian ships in the region and perhaps elsewhere could (certainly would in the case of ships in theatre) be engaged in full scale air/sea battles likely resulting in their fairly prompt destruction, but not without significant ongoing losses to US naval forces.

    While all this is going on, what is the political response that will drive the long term outcome? Imo that depends on the political context – is this Pearl Harbor or the Beirut bombings for the US regime? In Pearl Harbor the Japanese executed a “Bush Doctrine” preventive attack on US military forces intended to forestall what they probably correctly saw as an existential threat from a rival. The result was that although they did considerable military damage all they ultimately achieved was to provide the political context in which the US regime could do what it had not previously been capable of doing, namely to wage a total war to defeat and occupy its Pacific rival. In Beirut the US was interfering in a Lebanese conflict under the transparently false pretext of “peacekeeping”, and their enemies struck back at them by carrying out a large suicide bombing attack on their military base in theatre. The result was not the creation of a political motivation for invasion and occupation, but rather the discrediting of the intervention policy and the withdrawal of US military forces from Lebanon.

    In the context under discussion, would the loss of US bases and/or carriers, with massive loss of life and arguably even greater loss of prestige (and, it should be remembered, substantial loss of actual military intervention capability in theatre, even if that could be rebuilt and replaced over time), result in an American political determination to engage in a long, massive military confrontation to defeat Russia strategically (a WW2 Japan-style open war of invasion and occupation is ruled out by the modern nuclear peace), and would the US have the necessary global support in waging such a campaign to give it any chance of succeeding?

    Or would it result in a backlash, both domestic and international, against the US regime itself for attacking Russian forces in Syria and essentially provoking the Russian response?

    Much depends on propaganda – does the US regime and its various collaborating elites still have sufficient control of the global and domestic media environment to impose the necessary narrative of a dastardly Russian act of aggression (yes, incredibly enough that is how they try to would portray it – the Americans have demonstrated over the years a shocking degree of hypocrisy when it comes to viewing themselves as the victims in cases of retaliation against them for the actions of their own government and military)? But much also would depend upon the particular circumstances in which the initial American attacks took place and how they were justified (supposed chemical attacks, WMD, responses to provocations, etc).

    In the end, all the dithering in Washington over the past six years about how far to go in Syria has been in large part about who gets the blame if things go wrong.

    So would the result be some kind of strategic defeat for Russia (as for Japan in WW2), or political turmoil in the US resulting in a loss of stomach for further interference (as in Lebanon)? If the former, then you have to explain how such a defeat is realistically going to occur given the reality of the strategic nuclear deterrent Russia has against any massive military attack, and its very significant defensive conventional capabilities, as well as the reality that even if the US’s European and Pacific satellites might be willing to go along in such a venture (questionable in some cases, depending on the context), China and most of Asia, and much of Africa and South America, certainly would not, and these areas weigh much more heavily in the global economic balance than they did a few decades ago.

    The real lesson of all this, of course, is that the US regime would have to be profoundly stupid or desperate to risk attacking Russian forces in Syria. Sadly that’s not as reassuring as it ought to be.

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  26. TheJester says:
    @godfree Roberts

    Your sources, please.

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  27. There are reasons why that rabid attack chihuahua Peters retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, not the least of which is an inability to grasp the meaning of tactical and strategic indicators and the differences between them. He undoubtedly makes great money giving Fox red-meat quotes for the Rah-Rah crowd who drive the advertising, but I doubt anyone who is anyone, except for a few of the dumbest neocons, takes anything he says seriously.

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  28. @peterAUS

    “Say
    “Loss of an entire base or aircraft carrier to Russian attack”.

    What happens next?

    Oh, BTW, maybe irrelevant, but I do remember Cold War “war games”.

    Polo Hat seems like the most likely analogue for the response.

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  29. bb. says:
    @peterAUS

    Russia can not make that chaos go away. Or if it can, well….fine. I just don’t see it.

    TBH i don’t realistically see it either, but if you think about it, it’s kind of a win win situation for them anyways. My thinking goes like this (correct me pls if I am off)

    If Russia can stabilize the region on the helm of a coalition of Iran-Iraq-semiTurkey(bc. you never know what the turk will do) it would achieve a massive win in the trade war against the petrodollar. (Meanwhile China is making moves in Africa to secure the pipelines)

    If Russia fails to stabilize the region, it would mean rising oil prices, which again, is free money for them in the medium term.

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  30. @TheJester

    I believe I read it in 2011-2012, but did not note it.

    I’ve asked The Saker if he can turn it up and, if he can, I’ll let you know.

    On reflection, it does fit with what followed: nobody attempted to overfly Syrian cities, which is usually the first US tactic.

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  31. Rather than a direct attack on Russian forces, it is more probable that the US will resort to sneaky backstabbings, with deniability potential. Direct attacks on the Syrian army could escalate, on the other hand.

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  32. @The Alarmist

    but I doubt anyone who is anyone, except for a few of the dumbest neocons, takes anything he says seriously.

    Here is the problem, Peters is not alone, in fact, a lot of his hysteria is echoed by such people as former SACEUR Phil Breedlove, today it is Dunford etc. Another matter, because those are still uniformed (or were recently) it is really bad idea to behave as psychopaths as Peters but all of them read from the same script, just the method of delivery differs, slightly at that. As per neocons–these are exact people who set foreign policies in D.C. Their military incompetence is appalling (which is expected from people with their backgrounds) and as such they are extremely dangerous. So I would dispute this thesis of yours. Militarily all neocons are dumb. For people who think that the history of Peloponnesian War (in their big honcho Kagan’s version) has any relevance to the age of GPS/GLONASS and Combat Informational Control Systems with Stand-off weapons–these people should be looked at very seriously by psychiatrist.

    for the Rah-Rah crowd

    So, we agree–it is 99% of American military, political and, so called, intellectual elite, right?

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  33. Randal says:
    @Ron Unz

    At the time, such a high-tech attack on ISIS positions seemed rather cost-ineffective to me, but presumably a major purpose was to dissuade America (and Israel) from considering any future attack on what was a rather small and isolated Russian expeditionary force.

    Clearly it made no sense in a tactical military sense to use cruise missiles when straightforward air attack was available, and the use of the Kalibrs in October 2015 was certainly motivated as a demonstration of capability. To what degree it was a warning to potential enemies (the US regime, Israel and the Gulf states, obviously, but also remember at the time still Turkey, though that brief hostility seems to have been managed out of existence, helped by the US turning to the Kurds as their proxies in Syria, since then), as opposed to a marketing pitch (the Russians have been selling export versions of these missiles for many years) is open to question – probably both.

    The issue is not so much the possession of cruise missiles – the Soviets had nuclear armed Tomahawk equivalents back in the 1980s, and it’s always been assumed that those (the air and sea launched ones, anyway) were repurposed as conventionally armed missiles. It’s having them, along with deployable launchers, in numbers and proving that they work reliably that was the issue. There’s an understandable post-Soviet tendency in the US sphere to discount Russian capabilities in terms of high tech weapons. And in order to use cruise missiles in the way Martyanov describes here – basically as a base-denial weapon against a peer rival – you need plenty of them. To hit a US base and render it unusable with conventionally armed weapons, you have to hit it accurately and you have to hit it multiple times, evading or overloading the defences and counter-measures. To take out a carrier, you have to locate the target first, and then beat the counter-measures to hit it at least once and preferably several times, though one hit could be a mission kill. And in the case of the land base, you have to be able to do it again a few days later, and keep hitting it.

    So the Russians, with their repeated uses of cruise missiles and the introduction of more modern and potentially significantly more capable missiles that Martyanov refers to, have been building a credible case that the US can no longer count on escalation superiority in Syria to protect them.

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  34. @unit472

    Sinking a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier has not yet been done.

    And hopefully will not be done in the future–let’s keep our fingers crossed.

    The Forrestal survived multiple detonations and explosions on its flight deck back in 1967 though over 100 sailors died

    Tragic scenario which still rendered USS Forrestal nonoperational. But then again: E=(mv^2)/2 . If to discount explosives, kinetic energy alone of Mach=3 (not to mention Mach=7+) of a single missile will surpass anything what Forestall or, for that matter, USS Enterprise endured in 1969. But here we get into the main issue of “leaker” and this is the problem which any US naval air defense system is not capable of solving. You may read more on the issue on US Naval Institute written by me.

    https://blog.usni.org/posts/2017/08/28/aircraft-carriers-drama

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  35. This sort of “Russia is invincable” bluster is old hat. It suggests that Putin’s American supporters are getting nervous.

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  36. Now I see how shooting from Iranian airspace increases salvo.missiles with shorter range can be used which could not have been used from Russian airspace. Now the logic behind longer range missiles is also clear to avoid being dependent on allies too. Those are not reliable
    One can only say in retrospective that were it not for what happened in 90s soviet/ Russian stand off capabilities would be absolutely crushing strong long time ago. Now, combined with EW capabilities, air defences and fast moving hard hitting land forces all this United by computerized control it must be something.

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  37. @Andrei Martyanov

    There are reasons why Breedlove was pushed out. I’ve been out of the “war” for a couple decades, so my confidence that there are saner heads where it counts might be misplaced.

    I wouldn’t say 99%, but the number is non-trivial, and that is alarming. Peters is aimed at the folks who buy the medicines and other crap hawked on Fox. It helps sell his fiction to people who used to read Tom Clancy but now have to take a step down. If he were taken seriously, he’d be doing more appearances on the Sunday shows.

    Stoltenberg’s militancy is distressing, but I again hope his masters have him on a short leash, meaning he will bark but he won’t bite.

    The neocons are a problem. I think they’ve largely been kept in check by calmer heads in the military, which has to do the fighting and occasional dying in the fights the neocons want to pick, which in my opinion is why the neocons have gone about achieving their aims using the Company and its assets.

    DoD has undoubtedly seen and assessed the standoff capability of the Russians, which is why their involvement has been somewhat muted, but yeah, there are some rabid types down the chain who are itching to try their toys on the only real adversaries we have in the world, and given the independence we often give field commanders, they can get us in trouble.

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  38. @Andrei Martyanov

    Pardon the pun, but converting anti-ship missiles into land attack missiles doesn’t sound like rocket science.

    Even if the Soviet Union didn’t have advanced land-attack cruise missiles in the 80s, it should still have been obvious to anyone that their anti-ship missiles could be developed into land attack missiles.

    We’re really just talking about a different guidance package, and depending on the sensors involved that can be as simple as a software change. GLONASS began to enter service in 1982, and the first test of a satellite guided bomb was conducted in 1993. Any idiot should’ve been able to put two and two together here, and at least some Western writers have been warning about increasingly sophisticated Russian weapons for more than a decade.

    Whether or not anti-ship missiles make surface warships obsolete I do not know. My hunch is certainly yes (and the future obsolescence of surface warships was predicted already before the war), but this is one of those things we won’t truly know until we see it done.

    For that matter I’m not sure that hypersonic missiles are game changers for naval warfare…presumably one could simply saturate any naval task force with cheaper subsonic missiles and overwhelm defenses. If none of the of the ships in the task force have low frequency radars, stealth aircraft could drop laser guided bombs right down the blind stack directly on top of warships. A 2,000 pound high explosive bomb would sink more or less any warship afloat today. The Australian theorist Carlo Kopp proposed this for the F-22 as part of his pet cause to get his country to acquire F-22s.

    It has long struck me as idiotic that modern surface warships are largely unarmored, and I also find it curious how few CIWS Western warships have compared to Russian ones.

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  39. The Zionist neocons who control the U.S. are used to invading and destroying small countries with no regard for international law and killing millions of civilians including men , women and children, this is what the Zionist neocons do or rather this is what they make the American military do.

    America is run by a Zionist crime cabal that operates much as Hitler and the Nazis did with no regard for life or limb, ie a rogue nation that creates terror groups such as ISIS and AL CIADA that it uses to wreck countries and pretends to fight this self created terror.

    The Zionist warmongers are going to destroy America and in case of war with Russia both nations will be destroyed and fools like col. ralph peters are typical of the toy officer contingent that is harbored in the military, and who are puppets of Israel.

    The real GORILLA is the Zionists and Israel who have driven American foreign policy for decades and who are going to destroy America as just as a parasite destroys its host so shall Zionist Israel destroy America.

    GOD BLESS RUSSIA AND SYRIA

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  40. Kiza says:
    @Thorfinnsson

    The existence of advanced military technology in Russia (or, really, anywhere outside of America) does appear to surprise American civilian leaders however, few of whom have any military expertise these days.

    Two separate illusions are to blame for not understanding the foreign, or particularly Russian military capability:
    1) the US population in general has been brainwashed that US is the technologically the most advanced country in the World; this may be true in many areas but it is far from being true in all areas, and
    2) the US population and its leaders believe that military superiority, especially the one based on technology, is proportional to the budget, which is totally non-sensical; it may be true within US, although the mergers of the MIC companies have reduced the competition to only a few, but it definitely does not apply even to the comparison with the efficiency of spending military funds even by Western allies of US, let alone to Russia and China.

    My top of the envelope estimate is that Russia spends its military budget about five times more efficiently than US, and about three times more efficiently than the EU/NATO allies of US. China is very similar, possibly even slightly more efficient than Russia. BTW, this efficiency is only partly due to lower labor costs, but this is a discussion which I had with Andrei before.

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  41. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Vidi

    France did pretty well out of the Thirty Years’ War.

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  42. @Thorfinnsson

    Pardon the pun, but converting anti-ship missiles into land attack missiles doesn’t sound like rocket science.

    Converting P-700 with its inertial guidance and active seeker designed specifically to work against radio-contrast targets (yes P-700s recently were launched at coastal targets but that is not their main mode) and installing guidance packages for TLAM functions are two very different things. In the end P-700 range is around 700 kilometers, 3M14 is, officially, 2,500+. Moreover, 3M14 is naval missile, X-101 is air-launched, same as X-32.

    For that matter I’m not sure that hypersonic missiles are game changers for naval warfare…presumably one could simply saturate any naval task force with cheaper subsonic missiles and overwhelm defenses.

    It is much easier to achieve leaker with fewer missiles (hence increased survivability of launch platforms) and in much shorter time in case of hyper-sonic not to mention sea-skimmer. Some probabilities are already made public. Yes, saturation MO also is a viable option (in fact that is how models for First Operation in 1970s and 1980s were calculated) but ALL options must be considered. Generally, saturation threshold for a single Aegis DDG or Cruiser is known in case of SUBsonic salvo.

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  43. @Thorfinnsson

    “Whether or not anti-ship missiles make surface warships obsolete I do not know. My hunch is certainly yes ..:.”

    Shhh! We’re still making money with that product line.

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  44. @The Alarmist

    I can only hope that you are right. I do know that there are many good level professionals on mid to mid-high levels in DoD.

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  45. Talha says:
    @unit472

    Hey unit472,

    one thing to knock them out of action but another to sink them

    A carrier with an inoperable flight deck is pretty much a floating slab of metal (other than being a communication point for command and control) – am I right? I’ve not read of any aircraft carriers loaded with offensive weapons like surface-to-air missiles, cannons, etc.

    If so, it’s totally unnecessary to put all the effort into sinking the damn thing other than as a morale-crippling move.

    Peace.

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  46. Talha says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Hey Andrei,

    Going off of my comment about simply making an aircraft carrier inoperable as opposed to sinking it; what do you know of Russia’s forays (if they’re even into this) into developing an EMP device. I would imagine you could take out a capital ship plus a few others in a fleet if you could detonate something that had a radius of say quarter mile or so:

    Peace.

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  47. @Andrei Martyanov

    And hopefully will not be done in the future–let’s keep our fingers crossed.

    An admirable sentiment, or outcome of rational, moral principle.
    Maybe the wisest statement in this whole OP + comment thread.

    If grown-ups are in charge in Russia, China and then U.S., then it is the case for all three that:

    1. Their foreign and military policies are intended to advance, sometimes forcefully, their national interests
    2. Their military, forceful, national interest is defined as being sufficiently powerful to deter one another from the use of force … specifically with the intention of preventing an outcome from ever happening where one or the other is in open conflict
    3. Because, open conflict with one or another is an outcome that’s wholly incompatible with #1

    Sooooooo many words people toss about finding n-more ways to peal the onion of US/Russia/China power, but really just two things that matter:

    1. The US is always paying too much for its military, regardless of what it gets for what it paid
    2. The most worrisome thing on the world stage is a US leader or person in the US decision-making chain of command, losing his cool, and acting rashly, out of irrational fear that US dominance is threatened or the infantile possession of a belief that US dominance means dominance over near-peer partnersaries

    In any case – if the US blanketed Russian military positions in Syria:

    A. Definite outcome – somewhere on the planet Russia would face-savingly even the score by sinking (or otherwise destroying) a carrier … yes they are difficult to sink but a Syria debacle would create a will for a partnersary with ways
    B. Unclear outcome – whether it would stop there

    Because of B, this must never happen. Let’s hope to God our leaders understand that.

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  48. Wally says:
    @Anonymous

    And OJ is innocent.

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  49. Wally says:
    @Anon

    But the Frenchmen actually fought.

    On the other hand, the wimpy Israelis are good at killing women & children who throw stones, but then run home to mommy when they take a few hits.

    Witness Hezbollah / Lebanon, 2006 … a rout.

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  50. Wally says:
    @Michael Kenny

    Pay attention.

    The Russians are still in Syria and Syria has taken back most of it’s territory because of it.

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  51. @Andrei Martyanov

    @Andrei Martyanov

    Converting P-700 with its inertial guidance and active seeker designed specifically to work against radio-contrast targets (yes P-700s recently were launched at coastal targets but that is not their main mode) and installing guidance packages for TLAM functions are two very different things. In the end P-700 range is around 700 kilometers, 3M14 is, officially, 2,500+. Moreover, 3M14 is naval missile, X-101 is air-launched, same as X-32.

    Again, this just doesn’t sound terribly challenging. Writing software for the new guidance package and then testing the missile is obviously laborious, but it’s an order of magnitude simpler than the engineering of the original anti-ship missile.

    Adapting a naval missile for air launch consists of adding a mechanical device to connect to a hard point. Big whoop.

    Any analyst could’ve figured out these weapons were coming. Unfortunately Western civilian leaders are wholly ignorant of…well everything (and this is not to praise the fruit salad plastered dweebs in the officer corps).

    It is much easier to achieve leaker with fewer missiles (hence increased survivability of launch platforms) and in much shorter time in case of hyper-sonic not to mention sea-skimmer. Some probabilities are already made public. Yes, saturation MO also is a viable option (in fact that is how models for First Operation in 1970s and 1980s were calculated) but ALL options must be considered. Generally, saturation threshold for a single Aegis DDG or Cruiser is known in case of SUBsonic salvo.

    Sure, it’s obviously a useful weapon and adds more options for the attacker. A sea-skimming hypersonic anti-ship missile seems particularly useful for a surprise attack for instance. The odds of current CIWS intercepting a hypersonic sea skimmer seem to be close to zero. Best hope is that the missile simply misses. No hope of surviving a hit since current surface warships are fragile and the large number of women on Western warships means damage control will be futile.

    @Talha

    Hey Andrei,

    Going off of my comment about simply making an aircraft carrier inoperable as opposed to sinking it; what do you know of Russia’s forays (if they’re even into this) into developing an EMP device. I would imagine you could take out a capital ship plus a few others in a fleet if you could detonate something that had a radius of say quarter mile or so:

    Boeing has developed such a weapon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-electronics_High_Power_Microwave_Advanced_Missile_Project

    Raytheon is developing a higher powered version.

    I’m skeptical of non-nuclear EMP device producing enough energy to disable major warships other than exposed radio transmitters as the on-board ICs are likely both shielded and rad-hardened.

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  52. Ram says:

    Russia in effect has far more valuable very vulnerable targets in the area than the US does.

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  53. @Wally

    Don’t you know that as soon as he is released, OJ shall be resuming his quest to locate and apprehend the real killers?

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  54. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Wally

    If we funded the FSA to the extent that we did the Mujahadeen, the Russians would be on their heels. If we had actual boots on the ground, it would be game, set, and match.

    In short, Assad got back territory thanks to Russia, it’s true, but that’s only because Russia has not been seriously opposed.

    Not that we should intervene. Just saying that it’s an incomplete picture being drawn.

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  55. peterAUS says:
    @Vidi

    Beats, options wise, having a stable Arab democracy next door, wouldn’t you think?

    Democracy supported, most likely, by Russia and China.

    For both security of the state of Israel and The Empire strategy in ME, chaos is definitely much more preferable option.

    Definitely.

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  56. peterAUS says:
    @Frankie P

    Sorry mate, you lost me at

    well-trained, battle-hardened, united forces, including of course the SAA

    If that’s your assessment of that….something………. called “SAA” let’s agree to disagree and move on.

    But, surprisingly enough, you got

    Nuclear Armageddon would be the short answer

    right.

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  57. utu says:

    It all comes down to the nuclear deterrence which mask the actual level of imbalance in conventional weapons between Russia and the US. Neither Russia nor the US may demonstrate conventional weapons advantage in an actual exchange to prevent the opponent from being forced to resorting to the use of nuclear weapons. Thus the Saving Face Exit Option (SFEO) will be always left by the stronger one for the weaker one. This means that we will not find out about the actual conventional strike and counter strike capabilities. It will be left to speculations, phantasies, disinformation and propaganda.

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  58. peterAUS says:
    @Randal

    Thoughtful and civilized response…as expected.

    Rare quality, though, in this “fanboy” blathering.

    I’ll try on the similar level (civilized, quality of thought is always debatable).

    First, overall, you are correct, BUT, I feel you’ve made a basic error in “The Mission” part of METT-T.
    All the rest, although correct, isn’t relevant I am afraid.
    I’ll explain below.

    OK let’s look at it a bit closer. But to do so we must recognise that we are moving to the realms of wider politics rather than its subset, war. At the level we are talking about, the decisions are always political rather than military, even when they are taken by military men in an overtly military regime.

    Agree.

    The context is what is discussed by Martyanov above – the US regime, presumably listening to some of the less wise amongst its senior military men and the less honestly motivated amongst its influential political and media figures, decides to try to defeat and destroy the Russian forces in Syria whilst counting on what they believe is the US’s general escalation superiority to constrain Russian responses and keep the open conflict contained to the region.

    THIS is the element I feel you got wrong.
    So, either that IS their intention/objective and you are correct.
    Or, that is NOT their intention/objective……

    My position is that is NOT their mission/objective.

    As I’ve stated before in other threads, I believe the objective is to bog Russia in quagmire in the region.
    The same strategy that dissolved Soviet Union . In this case the goal is to execute regime change in Moscow.

    All the rest is an interesting reading, but, I believe it is not relevant for the situation in Syria (or ME in general).

    Now, if we really want to go along that scenario (just as a chat) here is my 2 cents.

    After the initial probably devastating US attack on Russian forces in Syria, involving the overloading and suppression by various means including direct SEAD attacks of the limited air defences in theatre, the Russians respond with large standoff attacks that effectively destroy US bases and/or carriers used in the attack or in the vicinity. They would not have enough to keep all US and allied ships and bases from which attacks could be launched in Syria out of action, but they could presumably render several substantial bases unusable for significant periods and sink a number of ships including carriers, which would have to operate from more distant locations, rendering operations more costly and less effective.

    Agree.

    What does the US do next? Militarily it has to retaliate, but it can choose how far to escalate in doing so. The problem is that substantive retaliation presumably requires attacks on Russian bases inside Russia, which involves very high risks of uncontrolled escalation to a strategic nuclear exchange. Do they do that? If they launch limited attacks inside Russia (eg an attack on a base used to launch the strategic bombers, say), Russia has the strategic capability to carry out direct tit for tat responses.

    Agree.
    And from here on………….it can be fast drive into death of civilization as we see it.

    Given the likely involvement of the forces and bases of regional allies (though who really knows how enthusiastic Turkey would really be, these days), it seems likely the attack on Russian forces in Syria could still be prosecuted to completion with their effective destruction, and meaningful Russia reinforcements interdicted successfully, but that would now seem rather a sideshow. And meanwhile Iraqi and Iranian involvement would be likely, and not to the advantage of the US’s interests on the ground. Russian ships in the region and perhaps elsewhere could (certainly would in the case of ships in theatre) be engaged in full scale air/sea battles likely resulting in their fairly prompt destruction, but not without significant ongoing losses to US naval forces.

    Agree.

    While all this is going on, what is the political response that will drive the long term outcome? Imo that depends on the political context – is this Pearl Harbor or the Beirut bombings for the US regime? In Pearl Harbor the Japanese executed a “Bush Doctrine” preventive attack on US military forces intended to forestall what they probably correctly saw as an existential threat from a rival. The result was that although they did considerable military damage all they ultimately achieved was to provide the political context in which the US regime could do what it had not previously been capable of doing, namely to wage a total war to defeat and occupy its Pacific rival. In Beirut the US was interfering in a Lebanese conflict under the transparently false pretext of “peacekeeping”, and their enemies struck back at them by carrying out a large suicide bombing attack on their military base in theatre. The result was not the creation of a political motivation for invasion and occupation, but rather the discrediting of the intervention policy and the withdrawal of US military forces from Lebanon.

    Agree.

    In the context under discussion, would the loss of US bases and/or carriers, with massive loss of life and arguably even greater loss of prestige (and, it should be remembered, substantial loss of actual military intervention capability in theatre, even if that could be rebuilt and replaced over time), result in an American political determination to engage in a long, massive military confrontation to defeat Russia strategically (a WW2 Japan-style open war of invasion and occupation is ruled out by the modern nuclear peace), and would the US have the necessary global support in waging such a campaign to give it any chance of succeeding?

    Or would it result in a backlash, both domestic and international, against the US regime itself for attacking Russian forces in Syria and essentially provoking the Russian response?

    Much depends on propaganda – does the US regime and its various collaborating elites still have sufficient control of the global and domestic media environment to impose the necessary narrative of a dastardly Russian act of aggression (yes, incredibly enough that is how they try to would portray it – the Americans have demonstrated over the years a shocking degree of hypocrisy when it comes to viewing themselves as the victims in cases of retaliation against them for the actions of their own government and military)? But much also would depend upon the particular circumstances in which the initial American attacks took place and how they were justified (supposed chemical attacks, WMD, responses to provocations, etc).

    In the end, all the dithering in Washington over the past six years about how far to go in Syria has been in large part about who gets the blame if things go wrong.

    Agree.

    So would the result be some kind of strategic defeat for Russia (as for Japan in WW2), or political turmoil in the US resulting in a loss of stomach for further interference (as in Lebanon)? If the former, then you have to explain how such a defeat is realistically going to occur given the reality of the strategic nuclear deterrent Russia has against any massive military attack, and its very significant defensive conventional capabilities, as well as the reality that even if the US’s European and Pacific satellites might be willing to go along in such a venture (questionable in some cases, depending on the context), China and most of Asia, and much of Africa and South America, certainly would not, and these areas weigh much more heavily in the global economic balance than they did a few decades ago.

    The real lesson of all this, of course, is that the US regime would have to be profoundly stupid or desperate to risk attacking Russian forces in Syria. Sadly that’s not as reassuring as it ought to be.

    Agree.

    Well…isn’t

    the US regime would have to be profoundly stupid or desperate to risk attacking Russian forces in Syria

    what’s my basic premise here?

    I, personally, see the possibility of above, unfortunately, because of unbalanced decision making in Washington. THAT is the real problem here.
    Moscow decision making process (and execution) is much more stable and predictable then Washington.
    That launch on Syria by Trump was……….just……terrible in that regard.

    So, how about my scenario here:
    As the current situation continues it will be more death and mutilation of Russian personell there.
    Russians will absorb that and will NOT try to retaliate.
    But, sooner or later, by pure fog of war, a bomb/missile/shell will get Western SOF team on the ground. Not necessarily Russian….it can be simply a “speculative fire on that hill” by SAA.
    THEN we’ll see what happens and God help us.

    With the current politics in Washington and Trump team decision making process what can we expect?
    A retaliatory attack on….what?
    How much of Russian men and material could be caught in it?

    From then on, yes, your scenario can spiral out in instant.

    So….time to get religious and start praying?

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  59. Avery says:
    @Anon

    {… but that’s only because Russia has not been seriously opposed.}

    Who would seriously oppose Russia?
    How?

    I think it was either [TheSaker] or [Karlin] who noted that both NATO and/or Israel can bring to bear assets at least 10X what Russia has in Syria.
    But obviously something gives NATO/US and/or Israel 2nd thoughts.
    I have no idea what it is, but the reason there is no interference with Russia is not because NATO/US/Israel are charitably disposed towards Russia.
    Clearly they are concerned (or worried) about something.

    The pending defeat of the Reptiles in Syria is a BIG deal.
    It throws of giant monkey wrench in the PINAC plan to redraw the Middle East for Eretz Yisrael.
    Short of directly attacking Russia – with unpredictable consequences – they tried pretty much everything:.
    - Chemical attack and mass murder of Syrian civilians by Turks and ISIS (…blamed on Assad).
    - Shootdown of RuAF Su-24 by Turkey/NATO.
    - Several attacks on SAA by US either by ‘mistake’ or directly.
    - Blatant violation of Syrian airspace by NATO pirates.
    ……

    Despite all that, SAA+Russia+Iran+Hezbollah are relentlessly grinding down the cannibalistic invaders. Israel-firsters and anti-American slime who have invested the State dept, Pentagon, and CIA are apoplectic.

    But clearly they don’t know what to do.
    Otherwise, they would have done it already.

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  60. peterAUS says:
    @utu

    It all comes down to the nuclear deterrence which mask the actual level of imbalance in conventional weapons between Russia and the US. Neither Russia nor the US may demonstrate conventional weapons advantage in an actual exchange to prevent the opponent from being forced to resorting to the use of nuclear weapons.

    Agree.

    Thus the Saving Face Exit Option (SFEO) will be always left by the stronger one for the weaker one. This means that we will not find out about the actual conventional strike and counter strike capabilities. It will be left to speculations, phantasies, disinformation and propaganda.

    Hopefully.

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  61. @Thorfinnsson

    Again, this just doesn’t sound terribly challenging. Writing software for the new guidance package and then testing the missile is obviously laborious, but it’s an order of magnitude simpler than the engineering of the original anti-ship missile.

    If you look at P-700 Granit–it is rather a very laborious process to update it to what you are talking about when the talk is about multiple platforms. Each Oscar II carries 24 of those. I will not disclose you any secret if tell you that launch systems of P-700s on all Project 1144 (Kirov-class) cruisers required a flooding (exactly as it happens on Oscar-class subs) before launch. It is a wet start, with flooding of the cells, even on the surface ships which testifies to the fact that things are not as simple as they seem. Moreover, Granits are genuine supersonic missiles with even cruising speeds in well in excess of Mach=1.5, with terminal up to Mach=2.5, all that, mind you–on very low flight profiles, this immediately imposes a rather different limitations both on an air-frame and combat load, than it would be the case with something like subsonic Harpoon or was the case with initial Tomahawks which WERE conceived initially namely as a anti-shipping missiles. G-loads and temperatures anti-shipping missiles, such as crazy violent maneuvering on terminal older SS-N-22 Sunburn (Moskit) or newer P-800 or 3M54, experience–no TLAM will survive it, it will simply disintegrate. No matter how well the code is written.

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  62. @Frankie P

    They doubled down, as psychopathic narcissists are prone to do, in Syria, and the resulting action by a stronger and more aggressive Russia has shone the light on the folly of their ways. The resistance has now become The Resistance…

    Indeed. Relatively unknown (at the time) Hezbollah, who in 2006 put a royal shellacking on Israel, has not only survived, but emerged many magnitudes stronger and more confident than anyone could have ever imagined.

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  63. yeah says:
    @Anon

    There were boots a plenty on the ground in Vietnam – and how did that one end? In case you missed Vietnam, Iraq has had plenty of boots on the ground as well; this one hasn’t still officially ended but has not been going well, not well at all. And Afghanistan. And Korea in the fifties.

    As to Russia not having been seriously opposed in Syria: well, short of all-out war with Russia what else could have been done? If we try to understand the real game being played, we would be very concerned. From a Machiavellian perspective, the US strategy has been succeeding brilliantly. Boots on the ground did not succeed in Vietnam, but the Machiavellian plan certainly did. Allow me to elaborate a little below.

    Let us stop this knee-jerk, rah-rah rooting for the home team and try to think coolly. The first thing that comes to mind is that there isn’t really any home team. This whole ball-game is not about wining once and for all, it is about keeping these crises going – all the time, everywhere. Russia is also learning how to play this game: after all, it, too, has to put on a game for its citizens lest they start getting all sorts of wrong ideas. So the powers that be collude, and keep these fires smouldering so that they can continue to collect protection fees from their respective citizens and client states.

    Who suffers? People who end up being boots on the ground. People who pay taxes. People who want a strong, but noble and inspiring, America. People who want to live and let others live.

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  64. @Randal

    Just to augment your train of thought (I do not agree with everything in it, but it is a decent effort): get to the Google Maps, click on the middle of the Caspian Sea, then right click “Measure Distance”, put cursor, say on Kandahar in Afghanistan, left click and a lot will become very clear. As per Eastern Med, well, it is a very funny thing because this will require literally counting for, say, number of hulls of the Submarines at piers in such places as main bases of Northern Fleet, if you know what I mean;-)

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  65. @Michael Kenny

    Dream on. The fact that Russia has won the war in Syria, and will likely remain there indefinitely, tells me the US considers them invincible.

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  66. peterAUS says:
    @yeah

    This whole ball-game is not about wining once and for all, it is about keeping these crises going – all the time, everywhere. Russia is also learning how to play this game: after all, it, too, has to put on a game for its citizens lest they start getting all sorts of wrong ideas.

    Agree.

    So the powers that be collude, and keep these fires smouldering so that they can continue to collect protection fees from their respective citizens and client states.

    Collude on one level; compete on another.
    A fine game the current leadership in Washington could have a problem playing.

    Who suffers? People who end up being boots on the ground. People who pay taxes. People who want a strong, but noble and inspiring, America. People who want to live and let others live.

    Yup.
    Worked that way since Babylon.

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  67. @Thorfinnsson

    Who’s fooling who? What does it tell you about Russian military technology when the US can’t put a weather satellite in orbit without first purchasing a Russian-built rocket engine?

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  68. @Andrei Martyanov

    What does the Tomahawk have to do with this?

    It’s well known that Western countries have lagged Russia in cruise missile development for decades now. I’m not even entirely sure why–more confidence in our sea and air power?

    The USA developed some of the first (perhaps the first?) supersonic cruise missiles all the way back in the 1960s, but there was no development since then. Today hypersonic weapons are seriously being pursued, however.

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  69. @The Alarmist

    During congressional hearings in the 1970s, Admiral Hyman Rickover considered aircraft carriers as being obsolete targets. It’s more than obvious to any reader of this forum why they continue being produced.

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  70. @Anon

    I don’t think so, and apparently neither does the US military. The 1980s are long gone.

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  71. @peterAUS

    Just wondering; Have either of you military geniuses ever consider enrolling in the US War College?

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  72. EugeneGur says:
    @survey-of-disinfo

    the uproar in Iran regarding the decision to let Russian planes use an Iranian airbase

    There is always somebody in any country who’d create an uproar whether it is in the interests of the country or not.

    In case you haven’t noticed the author isn’t talking about Russia dictating the defense of Iran but about Iran objectively being in the same boat as far as Western aggression is concerned. The animosity towards Iran in the USA is just as great as towards Russia – the difference is Russia is capable of defending itself, vodka bottle in hand, which is not at all certain about Iran.

    It is not in Iran’s interest to have Russia use Iran as a forward base. Dream on, and quit hitting that vodka bottle.

    By using the Iranian airspace, Russia isn’t using Iran as a forward base but, on the contrary, signaling that Iran isn’t alone – this is to your advantage, buddy, in case you haven’t figured that out yet.

    If you guys want to dwell on the past insults, real or perceived, go right ahead, but remember – this is a loosing proposition unless, of course, you possess a time machine.

    If you think Iran’d be better off allied with the US – who is stopping you?

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  73. ig says:

    I see a different context although the lookaside view into Persian gulf is also very real.
    I see a scenario, where X102 and not 101 would be launched. 101 and 102 have the same mechanics, but 2 is a nuclear version.

    imo it is a nice greeting to Tel Aviv for their threats against Putinˇs life.

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  74. Sunbeam says:

    If you’ve got this kind of range on cruise missiles, and the kind of accuracy to hit what you are aiming at, there are other land based targets that are attractive as well.

    For purely military applications, things like fuel and ammo depots appear vulnerable. Hangars as well. Really can’t see anyone spending the money to harden these things against this sort of thing.

    As to whether a particular target is worth an expensive cruise missile, it depends I guess. Pretty easy to imagine a situation where losing 200 million in missiles to take out 10 million dollars worth of fuel, but paralyzing air operations for a few days is worth it. Without risking a single pilot or a plane that costs 200 million (B-2?).

    The second thing is targetting civilian targets. Refineries, ports, bridges, transit tunnels, rail tracks. Aside from directly curtailing civilian transportation, it also makes it more difficult to move around troops and hardware. Not ot mention shutting down a nation’s sole source of funds (say exporting petroleum) or just stopping trade untile a port can be repaired…

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  75. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @yeah

    We weren’t fighting the Russians in Vietnam. We were fighting the Vietnamese and therein lies the difference.

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  76. Our military record is not so great.
    Russia, on the other hand, has held its lands for a millennia.

    The only war we (the USA) have truly won since the War of 1812 was the Pacific Theater of WWII.

    Everything else was done by others (WWII European Theater was mostly Russian work), or a miserable stand-off (Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan) or a totally unnecessary fiasco (War Between The States, WWI, Iraq ) such that “winning” was no benefit to the “victor”.

    You might say the Mexican War gave us some good territory but the Mexicans are winning their Reconquista invasions while we sleep and dilly dally.

    The bloodthirsty neocons are dangerous fools. At least the Japanese Imperial Forces wore uniforms and flew their flag when attacking, even if a sneak attack. Neocons are silent killers of their host.

    Neocons are like clogged arteries – you know they will be a problem but failing to comprehend the danger, that heart attack can occur most unexpectedly, killing the host.

    You know you need to clean the crud out of those clogged arteries but you just don’t do what is needed to clean out and become safe.

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  77. peterAUS says:

    Regarding

    The 800 Pound Gorilla in Syria

    there is another, more pertinent one: Assad regime in general and SAA in particular.

    The problem for Russian main objective in Syria (maintaining presence there) is not the US/whatever high tech operational/strategic capability.
    The problem is SAA.

    They are, simply, incapable of anything serious.
    They, in essence, keep dragging this exercise on and on.

    Give any other…ahm…”army” (speaking of SAA) this level of support it would’ve eaten the opposition in 6 months tops.
    But not the Syrians…………

    I am positive that the regime in Moscow thought (as any reasonable people would) that the mission would’ve been completed in 6 months.
    Yes, they’ve read for sure “Arabs in war” (classic…), but, still, with THAT Russian support even Arabs can deliver against some militias.
    Well….no……….

    And that will keep to be the problem no high-tech Russian hardware could solve.
    Anybody’s hardware for that matter.

    As West/whatever is stuck with ….those people…in Afghanistan and Iraq, well, Russians are stuck in Syria.

    A cynic would think that focusing less on high-tech hardware and more on basic soldiering would benefit Russians more there.
    Trying to instill that in Syrians……..well….is apparently proving much harder then developing high-tech weaponry.

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  78. Even if Russia were militarily the weakest nation on earth, a US attack on the Russians would still be a colossal mistake.

    No American national interests or civilizational interests are advanced by attacking Russia.

    On the contrary, American lives and wealth would be wasted, and America’s reputation tarnished, in a war which would benefit America’s real enemies, Sunni jihadists such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS, while diminishing American export opportunities, providing a pretext for the ongoing migrant invasion of Europe, and ethnically cleansing Middle Eastern Christians.

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  79. @Carroll Price

    Just wondering; Have either of you military geniuses ever consider enrolling in the US War College?

    You just made my day;)) Excellent comment, Carroll!

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  80. @Thorfinnsson

    The USA developed some of the first (perhaps the first?) supersonic cruise missiles all the way back in the 1960s

    Regulus II, 1950s. The program was shut down and why it was so is well described in Elmo Zumwalt’s excellent memoirs “On Watch”.

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  81. peterAUS says:
    @Carroll Price

    A bit confused.
    Positive you’ll help.

    You mean enroll as a student or you mean seek an employment as a lecturer and such?

    If student, well…………why would one want to do that?

    If lecturer, again, why would one want to do that?

    Just one reason would suffice.

    I’ll try to help:
    Pay is good?
    Career prospects?
    The highest level of (military related) expertise/wisdom gained?
    Just looks good in resume?
    Food is good there?
    Available…..entertainment…..affordable (depends of vice/sexual preference)?

    So…why…if you’d be so kind?

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  82. One Tribe says:
    @Ron Unz

    First of all, thank you Andrei Martyanov for the very informative analysis/article.
    Also, thank you Ron Unz for this supporting addendum.

    I am very much interested in further information concerning the U.S. military establishments seeming (increasingly alluded to) weak assessment/intelligence of Russian military capability, especially armaments.

    Iraq is going to be a topic of (likely dramatically) increasing heat and attention (in the uncensored press which reports on the issues that are the most important to everyone alive, like this web site).
    The ‘referendum’ in the Kurdish dominated area of Iraq will make the 24 month long reverse polarization of Turkey (from NATO/US partner to Russian partner) look like an indecisive epic.

    If anyone thought the ‘war’ in Iraq was going poorly for the Americans before, ‘they ain’t seen nothing yet’! Also, the passing the point of no return for Turkey; they’ve had enough lies and disingenuous promises from the Euroangangstas; their future association to the U.S. and (western) Europe will be exclusively from the Eurasian-centric multi-polar world perspective, under which they will prosper as well or better than they ever have before.

    Iraq is a country, in which, even the most pro-American Iraqis (outside of the Kurdish dominated region), will, at this very moment (2017.09.28.17h03 NA EDT) be 100% deciding that they have been screwed! And not very nicely, at that.

    With all of this Russiaphobia (let us not forget that this emanating as a deflection from the revelations a corrupt candidate who was cheating to win a party’s nomination for the U.S. presidential candidate), it is highly politically incorrect to reference how far ahead V. Putin’s geopolitical movement is compared to the west, especially the civil war crippled U.S.A..

    One can see so much thoughtfulness and ‘communication’ in the completely unnecessary flight path, through Iraq of the bombers delivering their payloads.
    In fact, it could be the most telling aspect of the entire operation!

    Iraq is lost to the western empire.
    Unfortunately, the response to on-ground western-empire supported aggression in the Kurdish-dominated region of Iraq, and likely in other Kurdish dominated middle eastern regions (outside of Iran), will like be decisive and therefore brutal (but, alas, understandable).

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  83. Very informative article. It looks like 3D even 4D planning now. Not for amateurs for sure. Each factor is interconnected with others. What worries me is that USA side those who make decisions get those subtle and not so subtle messages. Hope everybody understands ramifications of making bad and hasty decisions.

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  84. Sun Tzu says:

    The Russian salvo of 26 cruise missiles from Caspian Sea sent a subliminal message to the Teddy Roosevelt CBG. Whether scheduled or not the Teddy Roosevelt CBG departed the theater shortly after. Remember that Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th POTUS.

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  85. @peterAUS

    You mean enroll as a student or you mean seek an employment as a lecturer and such?

    In your case, probably all three – simultaneously .

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  86. @Ram

    Russia in effect has far more valuable very vulnerable targets in the area than the US does.

    That’s why Russia ringed their military assets with S-400 batteries, the most advanced anti-aircraft, anti-missile system ever deployed. The fact they have not been called upon to show it’s capabilities, is proof that the US fully understands it’s capabilities.

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  87. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    EugeneGur says:
    September 28, 2017 at 7:21 pm GMT • 200 Words
    @survey-of-disinfo

    In case you haven’t noticed the author isn’t talking about Russia dictating the defense of Iran but about Iran objectively being in the same boat as far as Western aggression is concerned. The animosity towards Iran in the USA is just as great as towards Russia – the difference is Russia is capable of defending itself, vodka bottle in hand, which is not at all certain about Iran.

    The author who is too shy (or tongue tied, comrade?) to rely except to agree with you, is saying that but Iran is not in the same boat as Russia.

    As for Iran not being able to defend itself, that is no thanks to the Russians and their mañana, mañana about S300. Note how quickly the S400 deal with Turks was signed. Iran certainly noted that! :)

    As for Russia being able to decent herself, well bully for her. Just do it from Russian territory and go easy on the vodka, tovarich :)

    As for “animosity towards Iran in the USA”, it is fueled by the same Jews who run Russia, so it’s a wash.

    By using the Iranian airspace, Russia isn’t using Iran as a forward base but, on the contrary, signaling that Iran isn’t alone – this is to your advantage, buddy, in case you haven’t figured that out yet.

    Tell that to the Syrians getting bombed by Israelis :)

    Our advantage, “buddy”, is our independence, our valor, our smarts, and our tendency to asymmetric thinking.

    There is NO advantage to Iran allowing Russian military to strike American assets in the area. The entire military doctrine of Iran is deterrence based.

    At a basic personal level, an American and an Iranian can relate and understand each other. But the Russians are cold fish and were it come down to choosing one hegemony over another, the American brand is just more attractive. Sorry, comrades.

    The substantial majority of Iranian people are pro-American. A less substantial subset are fully aware of the historic aggression of Russians against the Iranian nation. 1953 is peanuts compared to years of Russian meddling in Iranian affairs.

    History matters.

    There is not a single record of a Russian, for example, coming to aid of Iranians, but to this day an American who fought with Iranians in the revolution of early 20th c. is honored in Iran.

    Culture matters.

    Russia wants Syria because with her secret ally, the Zionist entity, the control of Syria gives Russia a veto power over energy and goods transfer from Asia to Europe. (Listen up, China.)

    A strong and independent Iran is completely unpalatable to Russia. Why do you think Russia is in Syria? Because an Iranian gas pipeline to Europe would undermine Russian energy hegemony over Europe.

    Why does nutty yahoo fly to Moscow with meetings with Putin? Because they need to communicate securely.

    Is Hezbollah smart enough to note and nullify Russian attempt to penetrate their organization via Syria? Nassurllah looks and sounds plenty smart to me! :)

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  88. Vidi says:
    @peterAUS

    For both security of the state of Israel and The Empire strategy in ME, chaos is definitely much more preferable option.

    Not if the chaos draws in all the powers in the region by proxy, including Turkey and Iran, and Israel is engulfed in the flames.

    Not even Uncle Sam will be able to save the little country. The US could threaten the major nations in the area, but they will shrug and say they have no control of the chaotic situation. Israel will wish it had never listened to the neocons who started the flames in the neighborhood.

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  89. Vidi says:
    @Anon

    France did pretty well out of the Thirty Years’ War.

    Israel is not France.
    Israel is not even at the Hezbollah level.

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  90. yeah says:
    @Anon

    Wow! So you think fighting the Russians would be easier than fighting the Vietnamese? If you do, there is little scope left for any rational talk.

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  91. Talha says:
    @Anonymous

    History matters…Culture matters.

    Very true, which is why Iran will have an easier time working with a post-Communist Russia in which traditional religion is respected versus the post-modernist craziness that the elite from the US seem to want to promote everywhere.

    Worrying over what some Tsar did to the Qajar dynasty centuries ago is interesting but people need to have serious perspective about what really counts in the time that we live in. Sure, these are marriages of convenience from both sides – which is fine as long as both net a positive benefit.

    A strong and independent Iran is completely unpalatable to Russia.

    Possibly – but that’s going to require some serious soul-searching within the various Muslim countries of the region to come to the table in a more cooperative posture. They have the resources and strength to go it alone without outside interference if they can be united. Barring that, they will always be a feather in someone else’s hat.

    Peace.

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  92. @SimpleHandle

    It is likely that President Trump is unaware of the NeoCon hijinks in Syria.

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  93. @Vidi

    And France today is not France of the thirty years war.

    For one thing, they are in the thrall of a parasite people.

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  94. It is unfortunate that we have not been treated to a demonstration of the capabilities (or lack thereof) of the S400 system(s) in Syria.

    It would be so illuminating.

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  95. @Carroll Price

    This is not true. It could be that Russia does not want to demonstrate the deficiencies of the S400 systems.

    It is such a pity we have not been given a demonstration of their capabilities when the shit hits the fan.

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  96. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Sorry Talha, but your “post-Communist” Russia with “traditional religions” is sci-fi to me.

    Remember: “The Believer is discerning”. (Hadith)

    The Russian approach to ethnic fabric of their expansionist quilt is entirely practical. First principle is “cultural disconnect” whereby Crylic alphabet replaces ethnic alphabet. This is to counter cultural continuity. The second principle is “Mommy/Daddy state overseer” of “traditional religions”. Chechnya is a pri

    Worrying over what some Tsar did to the Qajar dynasty centuries ago is interesting

    Come now, Talha, Uncle Joe was not a Tsar. Russia going along with the West with the charade of “nuclear threat” from Iran was not a Tsarist project. We will omit for the moment the role of USSR in the agitations that resulted in ’79 revolution, but there also that little matter.

    Possibly – but that’s going to require some serious soul-searching within the various Muslim countries of the region to come to the table in a more cooperative posture. They have the resources and strength to go it alone without outside interference if they can be united. Barring that, they will always be a feather in someone else’s hat.

    The 57 Muslim nations would be an amazing block and definitively counter the devious war mongers. That is the answer. Not Russia. Not China. Not US. Not EU. The 57 Muslim Nations are an incredible power block.

    Were these nations ruled by rational people, they would forge an alliance between Turkey and Iran, unifying the Sunni-Shia Muslim world. China would applaud this as it would guarantee passage to EU outside of Russian control. Russia would not like this. EU would not like this. US would not like this. Zionist would not like this.

    > “Peace”

    Salaam always sounded better to me and fills me with spiritual delight (just like OM), Talha. Also, as you must know, Salaam means more than just “peace”. It means HARMONY, EQUANIMITY, and HEALTH.

    (You know, I have entertained the idea if whether the close phonetics of “Peace” and “Piss” — try French, if you prefer Latin languages with Paix and Pisse– have something to do with the approach of the related people to the idea of “peace” … )

    Don’t be shy brother. After all, ALLAH revealed the Quran in Arabic tonque for a reason. Say Salaam as God intended you to say it.

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  97. @Peripatetic commenter

    Hopefully, we’ll never find out. In the meantime, successful bluffs are as good, if not better than the real thing.

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  98. Sun Tzu says:
    @Anonymous

    Russia defends the JCPOA but Israel and USA wants to renege on it. Russia agreed to General Soleiman’s request to provide support for Syria. Russia and Iran are under economic sanctions from you know who and barter oil and gas in non dollar trade. Russia nixed Netanyahoo’s request to keep Iran and PMUs or Hezbollah out of Quneitra. But according to you Russia is big bad wolf and Iran is sheep.

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  99. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    You’re deranged.

    Russians at least punch you in the mouth. Americans backstab.

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  100. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @yeah

    The Russians don’t have real skin in the game in Syria, like they didn’t in Afghanistan, which is why the Muhajadeen could beat them. Compare that to Barbarossa or Napoleon’s war — home turf makes a big difference.

    We could plow over the NVA anywhere but Vietnam — short of nuking the place we were never going to beat them at home.

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  101. peterAUS says:

    There is, perhaps, another possibility we might consider (Jack Ryan…..).

    Regarding Russian stand-off capability.

    If we assume that MAD prevents “employment” of such capability against US…ops…sorry…Zionist Empire…..maybe that capability isn’t just wasted.

    I mean…if Russsians made it, and they aren’t going to sell it, and they aren’t going to use it aganist “ZE”, and those resources could be used to be a bit more independent from Western consumer goods imports………well….

    How about using that capability against “little guys” inside Russian sphere of interest?

    Like “little guys” in former Warsaw pact for example?
    From Baltic to Bulgaria.

    I mean, “ZE” used similar capability against Yugoslavia ’99, for example.

    Why Russians wouldn’t use it against ….somebody……in Eastern Europe?

    Ah…yes….because they are good guys.
    Sure.

    Just a thought, mind you.

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  102. @Anon

    The skin is quite real. Russia is learning lessons and prefer to fight enemies as far as possible before they attack or destabilize Russia proper. This whole article and stand off weapons is about Russia trying to fight enemies from a far and preventing threats from materializing destroying them before too late.

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  103. KenH says:

    All the talk of technical specs and capabilities of the various weapons systems are above my pay grade, but my worst fears have been realized and it seems the U.S. and Israel are trying to provoke Russia into a reaction that will justify wider war for the purpose of “securing the realm”. Things in Syria were not to Israel’s liking and Syria will not be bifurcated nor does it appear that a puppet leader subservient to America and Israel will supplant Assad.

    This is probably why Israel attacked a Hezbollah position recently so they could stir things up a bit and try to regain some momentum towards their ultimate objective. Israel knows it can start another military conflagration then quietly exit the scene with little cost to itself while their American vassal will take over and do the rest. And if America doesn’t take the bait then Izzy’s innumerable agents in the media and Congress will scream anti-semitism and moan about how the president has turned his back on our greatest ally in the region until the desired outcome is achieved.

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  104. @Thorfinnsson

    It’s well known that Western countries have lagged Russia in cruise missile development for decades now. I’m not even entirely sure why–more confidence in our sea and air power?

    It could be the rare example of the US military practicing the policy of “quantity is a quality all of its own”. At least until recently they’ve had a lot of Tomahawks in inventory and while we hear all this squawking about how we need a 300 ship navy, fact is we can put to sea far more than pretty much everyone (how many are deployable due to other readiness criteria is another matter – but in terms of shear number – there’s plenty of jaw to house the teeth).

    3500 Tomahawks is probably adequate to sink the Russian and Chinese navies, in a fairly short period of time, supersonic or no. The respective admiralties probably know that.

    That said: if it is a case of a good strategic decision around quantity/quality … I would wager my money it is the right decision, for the wrong reason(s).

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  105. Talha says:
    @Priss Factor

    Wow – if it comes to that, I believe the crisis would have well expanded beyond just bubble gum – I would imagine lollipops and cotton candy would also be in peril!!!

    Peace.

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  106. Bayan says:
    @survey-of-disinfo

    Agree. In the long run the best thing for Iran is to stop its military involvement in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; and limit its relations to culture and economy. Iranian military coming into battle with American forces in these countries is no good for Iran. Furthermore, eventually Iraqis and Syrians will rebel against Iranian domination of their countries despite their religious affinities to Iran. That is the nature of the nation state. Iranians should be smart enough to understand this. It is a question of when to begin the withdrawal.

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  107. hunor says:
    @DESERT FOX

    ” the Zionist warmongers are going to destroy America and in case of war with Russia both
    nations will be destroyed….”

    You nailed it that is the plan! Stack up the best and brightest of the Caucasian males against
    each other, Nato vs. Russia , with modern weapons they will most effectively wipe out each other.
    They are the only ones who can hinder the plan of NWO. , so they have to be discarded. the remaining goyims will be forcefully crossbred , and microchiped , hence NWO. Nirvana for some
    lunatics , humanity for none.

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  108. Wally says:
    @Anon

    Anon said:

    “If we funded the FSA to the extent that we did the Mujahadeen, the Russians would be on their heels. If we had actual boots on the ground, it would be game, set, and match.”

    Laughable.

    I suggest you actually read the article under discussion.

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  109. Wally says:
    @Avery

    But obviously something gives NATO/US and/or Israel 2nd thoughts.
    I have no idea what it is, but the reason there is no interference with Russia is not because NATO/US/Israel are charitably disposed towards Russia.
    Clearly they are concerned (or worried) about something.

    It’s called ‘casualties’ / losses.

    A base or aircraft carrier cannot be swept under the Zionist media’s rug.

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  110. Wally says:
    @SimplePseudonymicHandle

    “fact is we can put to sea far more than pretty much everyone”

    And sluggish floating targets they are.

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  111. Sharrukin says:
    @Talha

    I assume you mean a non-nuclear EMP missile and I have thought that this might be a rather useful concept. I would think that the naval ships are somewhat protected from such attacks, but even a partial effect or temporary interference with the complicated radars and electronics in a carrier battle group during an antishipping missile attack could turn a minor attack into a knockout blow.

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  112. Kiza says:
    @Peripatetic commenter

    Ok, what you say is true – there has been no proof of S400 capabilities. This may be:
    A) because Russia did not want to reveal its capabilities in the heavily monitored Syrian military theater, to avoid giving US and Israel a chance to develop counter measures
    B) because they could not find a volunteer, such as you, till now who is willing to verify how poor the performance of S400 is by flying a military plane into its defensive zone.

    Perhaps, the Russians also wanted to know how effective S400 would be in detecting F22 Raptors flying from Incirlik. Smaller Radar Cross Section typically means only detection at a reduced distance, not invisibility as the US MIC marketing says. This could have been an even more important task, relevant to the whole of mother Russia, than defending the Russian contingent in Syria.

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  113. Dingo says: • Website

    Here we go again. Russian cruise missiles how good they are. How much help did they give to iraq when it was needed. So to syria when incursion by israel air force hit military targets where is the highly vaunted anti aircraft missiles russia has supposedly given syria . A couple of these fantastic cruise missiles sent back over the border to israel would wake the americans and israelis up. How come no response from russia _all talk no action.= russia fell part in the nineties.

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  114. unit472 says:
    @Talha

    It depends on your war scenario. A US carrier hit by Iran might make its way home and be repaired. That was how the US Navy operated in WW2 before armored flight decks. Interestingly the British carriers operating off Okinawa absorbed kamikazi attacks and stayed on station while the wooden flight decks on American carriers were not so robust.

    Today in a major war I tend to believe you go to war with what you have on day one and who can hit hardest in the first few days will prevail. There will be no time to move factories beyond the Urals or create an ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ out of range of enemy attack. In that scenario a carrier becomes, like everything else, an expendable platform.

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  115. @Talha

    I’ve not read of any aircraft carriers loaded with offensive weapons

    Maybe not American carriers, but there’s at least one carrier with such weapons: The cruiser role is facilitated by Admiral Kuznetsov’s complement of 12 long-range surface-to-surface anti-ship P-700 Granit (NATO reporting name: Shipwreck) cruise missiles.

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  116. @Dingo

    One of the parties involved gotta be sane to avoid really bad things happening. It is Russia
    You have to have similar historical experience and cultural background to understand and appreciate wisdom and restrain. Otherwise we all would have been like chimps throwing crap at each other at smallest cause, except we can throw a lot more dangerous things than doing.

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  117. Talha says:
    @Sharrukin

    Hey Sharrukin,

    These were my thoughts exactly. One wonders what the effect would be on aircraft carriers running on (multiple) nuclear reactors. I definitely wouldn’t want to be around to find out.

    Peace.

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  118. Talha says:
    @reiner Tor

    Thanks reiner Tor – very interesting. It seems a small payload of 12 anti-ship missiles is meant as a means of keeping a defensive posture.

    Peace.

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  119. Talha says:
    @Anonymous

    Salaam Bro,

    Didn’t know you were Muslim.

    Remember: “The Believer is discerning”. (Hadith) The Russian approach to ethnic fabric of their expansionist quilt is entirely practical.

    Agree with both. However, one must give credit where it is due – this may be realpolitik, but Russia and her Orthodox authorities have been fairly good about acknowledging Islam as a natural part of the Russia milieu (this goes all the way back to Catherine the Great). For sure they will promote an Islam that is not a threat to their political structure, but that is to be expected. Generally though, mosques are going up everywhere and traditional Islam is on the rise among the populace and Russia is even giving a kind of leeway in how the various Muslims administer their own localities. Just recently, there was an agreement to open up a new Islamic university in Grozny that will be in conjunction with the Syrian ulema.

    Uncle Joe was not a Tsar.

    He was not – and the Communist regime’s crimes against both the Orthodox community and Muslims were tremendous. However, the Communists are gone – and, frankly, were a hiccup in Russia’s long history. They have tried to start things anew – I think we owe it to the people of Russia to give it a go from our side:

    Look, I don’t like it that Russia is backing Assad, but honestly, it has always seen itself as the guarantor of the rights of Orthodox Christians in that area and when you think about what Daesh (which happened to be the strongest group against the regime) was doing to the historical minority communities in that area, you realize why they came into the conflict as they did. And frankly, part of me is kind of happy that there is now a Chechen tripwire force in Syria that will prevent Israel from taking advantage of the situation.

    It’s a big mess – I don’t know that there is one correct way to look at it – pray for the innocent.

    That is the answer. Not Russia. Not China. Not US. Not EU. The 57 Muslim Nations are an incredible power block.

    Agreed – and you probably only really need 6 to start a core – the rest of the smaller guys will follow; Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi and Indonesia. I might have added Iraq, but that place is a complete mess right now. Saudi is the tough one to get on board with anything and is stirring up a lot of trouble around the world (even next door in Yemen).

    Fi amanillah, wa salaam

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  120. EugeneGur says:
    @Anonymous

    the American brand is just more attractive. Sorry, comrades.

    When go for it. You leaders, however, appear to be smarter and understand better what usually happens to the ones choosing such “attractive brand”.

    A strong and independent Iran is completely unpalatable to Russia. Why do you think Russia is in Syria? Because an Iranian gas pipeline to Europe would undermine Russian energy hegemony over Europe.

    Of course. And that is precisely why Russia was instrumental in pushing that Iranian agreement through, the agreement that would lift the Iranian sanctions and allow Iran to sell its oil again. BTW your “attractive brand” people are trying their damnedest to renege on that deal.

    Why does nutty yahoo fly to Moscow with meetings with Putin? Because they need to communicate securely.

    If you mean Netanyahu, then of course he did want to meet in secret, because he tried to convince Putin to boot Iran out of Syria. Israel is getting positively hysterical about the Iranian presence in Syria. Iran, in case you haven’t noticed, has not just the US but also Israel as its enemy. Putin, however, sent Netanyahu on his way. Russia maintains reasonably friendly relations with Israel but not about to let Israel dictate its actions.

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  121. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Wally

    That’s not an argument.

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  122. utu says:
    @Dingo

    You are asking good questions. Already comrade Sergey Krieger answered you that you won’t be able to understand the wisdom of Russia’s actions or should we say inactions because you are not Russian. So stop bothering with western logic and rhetoric because their validity ceases to apply once it enters Russia’s physical and mental space.

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  123. 1RW says:
    @SimplePseudonymicHandle

    All antiship tomahawks were withdrawn from service in the ’90s.

    Brown people don’t do boats, and with the Soviets gone and the Chicoms not yet a concern I guess the US navy decided that their job was attacking land targets, not sparring with Kirov class battle cruisers.

    Besides that, even antiship tomahawks wouldn’t take out subs or aircraft – things Russians like to launch antiship missiles from.

    Finally, land attack Tomahawks might have trouble dealing with hardened targets, like one of those Chinese islands could be hardened to the point of impermeability to 1000 lb warheads and have enough missiles on it to keep planes and ships away.

    So I don’t think that the USN brass are as cocky as you

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  124. When Bismarck was asked how he would defend German interests in Africa from French encroachment, he replied: “A sortie from Metz”.

    Nato has handily placed its toe in places where the Russians can slam a door on it whenever they need to.

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  125. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @1RW

    Not just the islands. Even Chinese ships have anti-missile defenses – this was several years ago.

    https://www.defensetech.org/2011/05/20/the-ten-barreled-ciws-of-chinas-aircraft-carrier/

    Its now standard on the PLAN 052D and coordinated with their versions of AEGIS. The world doesn’t stop developing weapons just because the US has gone dumb, you know.

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  126. @Kiza

    because they could not find a volunteer, such as you, till now who is willing to verify how poor the performance of S400 is by flying a military plane into its defensive zone.

    I am too old for that shit.

    Your second point about testing how well the S400s detect F22s and other stealth aircraft is interesting.

    I also suspect that the Russians do not have the issues with diversity that the US has. That is, when you have lower IQ diverse peoples in your forces and high-tech equipment you can expect their effectiveness to be lower than if you didn’t have those lower IQ diverse people. I suspect you have to apply a penalty to diverse forces and it might be as much as 50%.

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  127. unseated says:
    @unit472

    Required reading:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002

    “Red, commanded by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, adopted an asymmetric strategy, in particular, using old methods to evade Blue’s sophisticated electronic surveillance network. Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders to front-line troops and World-War-II-style light signals to launch airplanes without radio communications.

    “Red received an ultimatum from Blue, essentially a surrender document, demanding a response within 24 hours. Thus warned of Blue’s approach, Red used a fleet of small boats to determine the position of Blue’s fleet by the second day of the exercise. In a preemptive strike, Red launched a massive salvo of cruise missiles that overwhelmed the Blue forces’ electronic sensors and destroyed sixteen warships. This included one aircraft carrier, ten cruisers and five of six amphibious ships. An equivalent success in a real conflict would have resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 service personnel. Soon after the cruise missile offensive, another significant portion of Blue’s navy was “sunk” by an armada of small Red boats, which carried out both conventional and suicide attacks that capitalized on Blue’s inability to detect them as well as expected.
    At this point, the exercise was suspended, Blue’s ships were “re-floated”, and the rules of engagement were changed …”

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  128. @Dingo

    I believe that an old saying with regards to Russian forces is that they are slow to saddle up but they ride very fast. This is advice to take to heart based on historical events alone.

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  129. eirzl says:
    @Ron Unz

    Agree. Don’t know for sure, but having operated in that military-legislative influence sphere for a time, I’d almost guarantee that this $700B defense increase was driven by the “surprise” effectiveness of Russian weapons systems. I’d bet that it’s almost exclusively an RDTE increase on top of the ongoing O&M war fighting (re: imperial) budget structure of the last 15 years. It’s been zero sum between those two categories, but I suspect now that’s no longer the case.

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  130. peterAUS says:

    Reading all that feels just……….great.
    To certain “fanboys” around.
    That’s O.K.

    Those in business of not feeling great, as some of us addressed in certain other threads, could take all that with a grain of salt (like one tonne size of grain).

    One could think like:
    Well, that was 2002, Iraqi walkover was in 2003 and nothing of the sort happened.
    Navies of all the big players keep building big surface ships (including Chinese). Including aircraft carriers. BIG carriers.

    Bottom line: that exercise addressed “Iran thing”.

    Should it come to “Iran thing”, all mentioned in the exercise won’t mean anything.

    As addressed already several times on this site, the only problem in that “thing” could be clearing sea lines from mines in Hormuz.
    All the rest………easy……….

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  131. @Anon

    That’s a quote from Monty Python’s Flying Circus and anyway, it was a comment.

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  132. Iain W says:
    @Thorfinnsson

    Tomahawk is a dog slow museum piece. There is strong evidence that the Russians ‘splashed’ the first batch of Tomahawks fired at the Syrian airbase and that is why they had to fire a second batch. I think Russia ‘EW’ capabilities are not fully known and understood.

    I don’t think I would want to be on any US naval assets and have to try and shoot down multiple missiles. As one strategist commented – there are targets and there are subs. The article did not mention that these missiles can be launched in a number of ways – from land, sea, under the sea and from the air and outside the defensive capabilities of the intended targets.

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  133. @utu

    How ironic. Meanwhile looks like that it has been working just fine for Rusian side which deployed miniscule resources in the region. The thing is that outcome pretty much confirms who is right and who is wrong. There is also no need to make rush moves at the moment. Things are going in right direction. It is not dick swinging contest if you have not noticed.

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  134. They’re both 800 lb gorillas, the only difference is the Russian gorilla is fluent in six languages and reads Tolstoy and Pushkin while the American gorilla has type 2 diabetes, a sixth grade education and spends its day jerking off to internet porn.

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  135. Omar says:

    The 800 lb Gorilla is not Russia, but Israel. How many times, Netanyahu been to Russia in the last 2 years and came back empty handed? Even he came back empty handed from USA too!

    God bless Trump, as he was not born yesterday. We American are lucky under his leadership, as Time will prove me right.

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  136. Omar says:

    Here is my prediction. Trump will abandon The Nuclear Deal. Iran will be able to then pursue Peaceful Nuclear Program without any sanctions. However, there will be lots of noises and threats of sanction but nothing will come out of them.

    It gonna be pay back time for USS Liberty (1967) and 9/11.

    How long the Prime Minister was in Coma before his death?

    Wonder Why!

    God bless USA and Trump. God bless True Children of Israel.

    Blessed be HaShem!

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  137. Ondrej says:
    @Buba Zanetti

    only difference is the Russian gorilla is fluent in six languages and reads Tolstoy and Pushkin

    Six languages is probably overstatement, also I would say has read Tolstoy and Pushkin + ton of classics.

    But on other hand, if you look at “top elite” level, you will mostly find out that knowledge of two or more systems of writing + 1 fluent language + other one or two on level of understanding is quite common.

    Be it Putin, Lavrov, Shoigu, Zacharova, Ivanov, Antonov, Matvyenko and you can search and check for others.

    And yes this gorilla speaking in her internal language 35+ languages, which lot of people from west does not realize.

    As for collective communication with outside world trough its well trained diplomatic corps is uses probably languages most of us did not even heard of;-)

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  138. Sean says:

    https://defenceindepth.co/2017/02/17/the-russian-militarys-view-on-the-utility-of-force-the-adoption-of-a-strategy-of-non-violent-asymmetric-warfare/

    [MORE]

    Russian military thinking seems to have reached the point now where the idea of using force intentionally in conflicts with peer-state adversaries has been almost completely ruled out. This seems a radical move. But there has been a clear recognition within this military that better strategic outcomes for Russia will result from the use of non-violent ‘asymmetric warfare’ activities rather than those which will or can involve the use of force – such as conventional war or hybrid warfare.

    Asymmetric warfare, of course, and in a nutshell, is a method of warfare employed by the weak against the strong where the former seeks to level the battlefield with the latter. The weaker party, using its own relative advantages, attempts to turn the strengths of its opponent into vulnerabilities, which can then be exploited. The means used are ones which, in essence, cannot be used in return – reciprocated – by the target (‘asymmetrical’ means that which cannot be mirror-imaged). Fundamentally, asymmetric warfare is all about activity that, rather than bludgeoning a target into strategic, operational and tactical defeats, actually manipulates it into them. And it is all done, ideally, with no use of force. As Sun Tzu, the ‘father’ of asymmetric thinking, told us, the acme of skill in the conduct of warfare is to defeat the adversary without the use of any force. See, for instance my book titled Asymmetric Warfare: Threat and Response in the 21st Century.
    [...]

    Other articles present similar arguments for the use of asymmetric warfare by the Russian military. The overall message for this military, and as the influential military newspaper Red Star (Krasnaya Zvezda) summed up last year, is that when it comes to the conduct of warfare in the current era, ‘The main emphasis must be placed on asymmetrical means and methods’.

    The principal aim of Russian asymmetric warfare is to create degrees of destabilisation (destabilizatsiya) within targeted states and within collectives of targeted states (e.g. NATO, EU). A target that is destabilised (in whatever sense) is one that, in Russian military thinking, is more susceptible to Russian leverage, i.e. it can be manipulated more easily.[...]

    Conventional military assets are still needed, of course. But these days they may be seen to be acting in a supporting role for the asymmetric warfare campaign against NATO interests. Their outwardly sabre-rattling movements, deployments and activities are seen as means of creating ‘indirect leverage’ that can, in turn, manipulate western actors into making counter moves that actually suit Moscow’s purposes.

    The Russian military is now also employing asymmetric warfare methods that these western actors find very difficult to retaliate against on a like-for-like basis – reciprocity is largely denied. Russian democracy has become very much a ‘managed’ one and this closes down many avenues of retaliation. Russia is also not open to cyber attack in the same way that western states are and defences in the country are more pronounced.

    The Russian military can and is using non-violent asymmetric means to considerable strategic advantage against NATO. They are, wherever one looks, destabilising and manipulating to good effect. Given this continuing situation and the strategic results that are patently being produced in NATO countries, why would the Russian military need to consider the conventional use of force? What utility does it have?

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  139. peterAUS says:
    @Sean

    Russians and asymmetric warfare?
    “Soft power” in particular.

    Yeah……

    Could they produce something like this ?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Innocents_(2016_film)

    Doubt it.

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  140. @peterAUS

    As per your link, this is how the movie ends:

    “The final scene is three months later, with a photographer at the convent taking pictures of the nuns and happy orphans.”

    See, happy orphans. Good PR.

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  141. @peterAUS

    In Soviet times there were many excellent films produced. Now, not so much. I tried to watch few only to turn off tv very quickly. I would say Soviet version of Hamlet was outstanding. Did you watch it?

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  142. @Priss Factor

    No. You’re thinking about the former Soviet Union. Russia is not the same thing. Also no, the USA military exists for no other purpose than profit making. It is the most corrupt on earth by its definition. The pentagon pays thousands of dollars for a bolt which exists with the same part number in a GM catalogue for less than ten dollars. That was years old but typical of the utter joke the US military is. Did we forget the 6 trillion dollars the Pentagon lost the day before 9/11 in 2001? Or the more recent announcement of a similar amount LOST? Nobody else even has a budget the size of the missing money in the US one.

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  143. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Priss Factor

    Russia is very corrupt in some ways – but it has cleaned up on the military side. Remember that the US is only less corrupt because we define lobbying to be legal.

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  144. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Carroll Price

    For smashing up developing countries from a safe distance?

    Works well as long as the developing country in question doesn’t have backup.

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  145. @Vidi

    Providing chaos to Germany from 1618 to 1648 and beyond proved to be a winning strategy for the French, so …

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  146. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Why does nutty yahoo fly to Moscow with meetings with Putin? Because they need to communicate securely.

    You don’t think they know how to use SSL?

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  147. 1RW says:
    @peterAUS

    They just produced Время Первых or “Spacewalker”

    It’s excellent propaganda and a great movie about the early Soviet Program. Actually a better space themed movie since I don’t know when, maybe since Appolo 13. Which ironically is the American version.

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  148. @1RW

    I assume you realize that the entire Apollo program was a studio production. Sure they shot a few people a couple hundred miles up and parachuted them back into the Atlantic Ocean, but other that, along with studio productions of the moon landings, that pretty much covers it.

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  149. I have a DVD of how the moon landing was faked and every single person whom I’ve loaned it to starts off by thinking I’m nuts but then returns it saying that they agree that the landing was faked. The kicker for me is the facial expressions and body language of shame and disgust from the astronauts themselves on an occasion where they should have been elated and proud.

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  150. Erebus says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    I have a DVD of how the moon landing was faked

    And the title of that DVD is? Is it publicly available?
    If that achievement becomes an object of doubt, American “Exceptionalism” goes into the toilet, and with it what’s left of “Brand America”. 9/11, and who knows what else, will break free of its shackles (Holocaust?) and tear the nation, if not the West, to pieces.
    Parenthetically, it was when I learned that all of the design/engineering/fabrication/video/photographic documentation, both NASA’s own and that of all the contractors, disappeared, that I went “Hmm… that’s a bridge too far”. Under lock and key, in climate controlled vaults, available only to accredited researchers? I can buy that, but lost? NFW.

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  151. Indulging in conspiracy theories can occasionally be great fun. Here’s my pet conspiracy theory: many commenters (perhaps the majority) who are spreading the most idiotic conspiracy theories (like the “moon landing hoax” conspiracy theory) on dissenting websites (like The Unz Review) are paid agents of the CIA or some other similar organization.

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    , @iffen
    , @ussr andy
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  152. Erebus says:
    @reiner Tor

    Here’s my pet conspiracy theory…

    And here’s mine:
    The theory that only “paid agents of the CIA or some similar organization” would accuse anybody who expresses doubts about the more fantastic of the official narratives propagated for socio-political purposes of being a “paid agent of the CIA or some similar organization”. Your turn, duffus.

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  153. iffen says:
    @Sergey Krieger

    It is not dick swinging contest if you have not noticed.

    It’s pecker measuring contest, Serg, not swinging. Although, come to think of it a longer pecker would have a lot more swing in it.

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  154. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    on dissenting websites (like The Unz Review)

    Why would what we think be worth the trouble?

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  155. Thirdeye says:
    @Randal

    There’s an understandable post-Soviet tendency in the US sphere to discount Russian capabilities in terms of high tech weapons.

    There could be books written about the complete failure of the US to foresee Russia’s achievement of parity+ with the West in advanced weaponry. The Donald Cook incident in 2014 gave a shock about Russian EW capabilities on the order of the shock the U2 incident gave about Soviet air defense capabilities. Something quietly queered the TLAM attack on the Syrian airbase earlier this year. The image that the US kept of Russia was left over from the 1980s, that the Soviet Army was a mighty but unwieldy big iron force with plenty of firepower but wanting in capabilities related to advanced technology. During the first Chechen War in 1996, the Russian Army was referred to in US media as a “glorified Third World army.” That’s an exact quote. The performance of Soviet-designed aerial weaponry, largely during the mideast wars of 1973 to 1982, gave a distinct impression of a disadvantage related to avionics. But that may have been misleading, as the performance of export aircraft could have been inferior to that of the home fleet. Either the US estimate of Soviet technology in the 1980s was way off or post-Soviet Russia developed advanced technology at a remarkable pace, even more so since it occurred during such chaotic times.

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  156. Thirdeye says:
    @iffen

    “It ain’t the meat it’s the motion, it’s the movement that gives it the sock.”

    Sing it.

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  157. ussr andy says:
    @reiner Tor

    RT comment section, too. Pure cancer, what with flat earth, chemtrails, etc. No way to prove, of course.

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  158. @iffen

    I guess you’re aware that these guys don’t actually convert many people here to the belief that the Earth is flat or that the Moon landings were a hoax. However, their presence is quite off-putting to most normies who happen to visit this site. They’ll conclude that this is a crackpot conspiracy site for tinfoil hat idiots.

    I’m not sure the CIA is really that smart to spread the most stupid conspiracy theories in The Unz Review comment sections, and I can’t deny that there are certainly a number of tinfoil hat people flocking to dissenting websites on their own. But when the conversation has devolved into the dumbest conspiracy theories anyway, I like amusing myself with floating my pet conspiracy theory. I’m not sure about it either way.

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  159. @ussr andy

    There is one way this could all happen naturally: I think it’s possible that the most idiotic conspiracy theorists are flocking to alternative websites that are dissenting from The Narrative. The Unz Review (probably also RT and other sites) is an obvious candidate for such spontaneous activity. But yes, there’s a possibility that some conscious effort is made to make these websites look bad.

    One interesting thing I noticed is that some 8-10 years ago I spent a lot of time debating 911 truthers. I found a number of websites dedicated to debunking conspiracy theories. The strange thing is, just a couple of years ago, I tried to search for some information on 911, and basically it appeared from Google and YouTube searches as if the debunking (anti-truther) websites have greatly decreased in visibility. I needed to do targeted searches on them (and even so, the results always contained a large number of the truther websites or videos) to find them. I once debated a “moderate” 911 truther guy. He basically believed most of the official narrative (i.e. that Osama did it), except he thought either that Osama was a CIA agent or patsy or that at least he was allowed to proceed by TPTB. He thought that the idiotic conspiracy theories (the “controlled demolition” crowd or the more extreme “the planes were holograms”) were actually spread by the CIA (or some other similar organization) in order to crowd out the more intelligent questions about the event. Basically, most people think that either the official narrative is true to a dot or it’s a controlled demolition. Now I happen to more or less believe the official narrative on 911, but it was an interesting thought, and could be applied to other things.

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  160. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    It is interesting to think about. There are many unknowns. How many people just visit and read the articles without paying attention to the comments? (Of course we have quite a few above the fold articles that match or exceed the bizarreness of the comments). I check several sites and have never even read the comments at most of them. I only read a few of the contributors at Unz and regularly comment at fewer still. I am impressed by many of the knowledgeable comments that can be found here. One has to wade through quite a bit of muck to get to the worthwhile stuff. (I am sure some feel the same about some of my comments, especially when I am down in the muck wrestling with the pigs.)

    Back to the particulars of your comment. Would the CIA be interested in sowing distrust of alternative media and limiting its distribution and influence? I can see where they would have an interest. As in, if everyone had complete trust in someone, say like Uncle Walter, then it would be simple enough to see that Uncle Walter got the material that you wanted him to have. If we have anarchy in the media and the populace’s trust is all over the place then peddling the influence that you want would be complicated. You couldn’t just drop a Tonkin Gulf incident into the hopper and get the predictable results that you used to be able to get with minimal effort.

    Just in case they have their eye on you and your interlocutors, I’m putting my hat back on. :)

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  161. Thirdeye says:
    @peterAUS

    There’s some speculation, based on the timing and the targeting, that the recent Russian cruise missile attacks in Idlib may have targeted US SOF in retaliation for Deir Ezzor and northern Hama. The US couldn’t respond because to do so would be an admission that SOF are working with HTS and HTS-supporting groups.

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10/syria-russia-issues-third-warning-against-us-cooperation-with-terrorists.html?cid=6a00d8341c640e53ef01bb09ca6f1a970d#comment-form

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  162. Bobjil says:
    @reiner Tor

    Read “Solving 911″ by Christopher Bollyn. It gives very good details and names about the who and why of 911. Buildings falling in their footprints, thin skinned passenger planes going through thick steel framed towers (3 of them), passport of “hijacker” in the dust – obviously we are not getting the full picture in our MSM.

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  163. FB says:

    While the question of what would happen if the US decided to attempt to neutralize the Russian aviation and air defense contingent in Syria is a very serious one…this article by Mr. Martyanov unfortunately proceeds from a faulty premise…

    It is true that Russian standoff missiles such as the ship and sub-launched Kalibr, and the air-launched Kh-101 [aka X-101] are advanced and formidable weapons…but this author’s analysis makes a fundamental error in assuming that Russian aviation and air defenses in Syria would be ‘eventually overwhelmed’ by a US and possibly ‘coalition’ allied attack…and that the deterrent against any such action would be a possible Russian retaliation on US ships and airfields in the region using said standoff weapons…

    This is a deeply flawed assumption that does not make any serious attempt at understanding modern SEAD [suppression of enemy air defenses]…nor of reviewing the voluminous and expert analysis of the most recent US SEAD operation in the 1999 air war against Serbia…

    The results of Operation Allied Force came as a deep shock to air combat experts…[incidentally, Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, who is linked to here as someone advocating for a US strike on Russian air assets in Syria, is neither an airman nor has any expertise in SEAD whatsoever, so his ramblings in the non-technical media can be dismissed as amateurish...]

    Perhaps the definitive expert review of the OAF SEAD results were published by Dr. Benjamin S. Lambeth in 2002, in the Aerospace Power Journal, published quarterly as ‘the professional flagship publication of the United States Air Force.’

    The Summer 2002 journal can be accessed here in pdf format…Dr. Lambeth’s paper starts on page 9…

    http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/ASPJ/journals/Volume-16_Issue-1-4/sum02.pdf

    Despite putting over 1,000 aircraft into the attack on Serbia…

    ‘…NATO never fully succeeded in neutralizing the Serb IADS, and NATO aircraft operating over Serbia and Kosovo were always within the engagement envelopes of enemy SA-3 and SA-6 missiles— envelopes that extended as high as 50,000 feet. Because of that persistent threat, mission planners had to place such high-value surveillance-and-reconnaissance platforms as the U-2 and JSTARS in less-than-ideal orbits to keep them outside the lethal reach of enemy SAMs. Even during the operation’s final week, NATO spokesmen conceded that they could confirm the destruction of only three of Serbia’s approximately 25 known mobile SA-6 batteries.

    [Lambeth...page 16...]

    Let’s look at the overall scorecard in the battle of NATO SEADS versus Serb air defenses…again from Lambeth, page 16…

    ‘…US and NATO aircraft fired at least 743 HARMs against radars supporting these enemy SAMs. Yet, enough of the Serb IADS remained intact—mainly the persistent AAA and MANPADS threat—to require NATO fighters to operate above a 15,000-foot floor throughout most of the air effort…’

    HARM missiles are carried by strike aircraft like F16s, F18s, the European Tornado and others and are designed to target enemy air defense radars…ie High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles…

    It is important to note here that HARMs are basically the only type of weapon that can be used against air defenses like SAMs [surface to air missiles]…cruise missiles like the Tomahawk [and Russian analogues for that matter] are useless against such targets…and Mr. Martyanov’s mention of such is puzzling in the SEAD context…

    The reason being that modern SAMs are mobile and designed to ‘shoot and scoot’ with setup times of just several minutes…they are also a small target, unlike a building or a bridge…the only way to take them out is to target their radars, without which a SAM is useless…

    So we see from Lambeth that of the 743 HARMs fired, only three resulted in kills against the ancient [1960s era Soviet] SA6 mobile SAM…

    The HARM used by the US against Serbia was the AGM88, the latest version of which was upgraded in 2010 with some claimed improvements…However, it is important to note that the maximum range of this air-launched missile is only 150 km…and in most cases less, since range depends on the aircraft speed and altitude at missile launch…ie a missile launched by an aircraft flying at mach 2 [twice the speed of sound] and from a height of 50,000 ft, is going to reach farther than one released at lower speed and height…

    Lambeth notes that in return, the Serbs fired 800 SAM shots…124 of which were manpads [Man Portable Air Defense System...ie shoulder-held 'Stinger' type]…

    So the rate of fire and counter fire was about the same…US killed three SA6 mobile SAMs and as many as eight stationary SA3s [aka S125, early 1960s Soviet SAM]…

    But the Serbs took down an F117 stealth aircraft, damaged another badly enough that it never flew again [proving that the F117 takedown was not a one-off fluke], and also shot down an F16, flown by current USAF chief of staff Gen. David L. Goldfein [more on that later]…in addition, several A10 ‘Warthog’ ground attack jets were damaged, and another F16 was written off due to damage…

    In short, the US attempt to defeat Serbian air defenses did not succeed…Lambeth points out what it was like for Nato pilots…[page 11]

    ‘…Indeed, the SAM threat to NATO’s aircrews proved far more pronounced and harrowing than media coverage typically depicted, and aggressive jinking and countermaneuvering against airborne SAMs frequently became necessary whenever the Serbs sought to engage NATO aircraft…’

    And…

    ‘…General Jumper added that a simple look at cockpit-display videotapes would show that “those duels were not trivial…”’

    Lambeth also notes that of those 800 Serb SAM shots, most were unguided…ie ballistic shots without engagement radar guidance, as the Serb tactic was to keep their SAM radars off in order to deny targeting by NATO HARMs…

    The fact that the Serb air defense continued as a credible threat to the final day constricted the NATO air operations, Lambeth points out…

    ‘…unlike the more permissive operating environment in Desert Storm, limitations to airspace availability typically made for high predictability on the part of attacking NATO aircraft…’

    In other words, optimal flight paths were effectively denied by the Serb defenses…high value [and high risk] targets could not be engaged…

    Nato did fire 218 Tomahawk missiles at various targets…including a lot of civilian infrastructure, such as factories, power plants, and even hospitals and schools…and of course the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade…

    Besides that the ground attack jets and heavy bombers did a lot of damage to civilian targets as well…but the overall damage to the Serb military was minimal…

    Dr. Martin Andrew [RAAF, retired], a respected technical expert based in Australia summed it up thus…

    ‘The Federal Yugoslav Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) survived Operation Allied Force (OAF)…Serbia certainly left Kosovo, and suffered a tremendous amount of damage to its infrastructure in Serbia, yet in the face of an air campaign that at the end numbered over 1,000 aircraft, Serbian combat power remained substantially intact…

    And…

    ‘…The number of sorties generated by the NATO forces, particularly the United States Air Force, left them short of spare parts and munitions, required increased maintenance, and a force reduced in effective size due to the decreased fatigue life of many aircraft. This virtual attrition, with little relative destruction of the opposing forces, has shown that the Serbian military strategy was successful, even if the Milosovic regime did not achieve its political objectives…’

    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-04.html

    Besides the Nato battle against Serb air defense…there is another aspect that is useful to review, which is air-to-air engagements, which I will cover in a subsequent comment…

    To sum up for now, Operation Allied Force mustered 1,031 aircraft plus 30 attack ships and submarines (including aircraft carriers USS Theodore Roosevelt, HMS Invincible, and France’s Foch) from 13 NATO countries…led by US…including UK, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Canada, Spain, Norway, Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium…

    Yet the SEAD mission was never accomplished…

    It is useful to remember that Russian air defenses in Syria are a completely different ballgame altogether…S400s, S300s, S350 [now reportedly deployed], plus Pantsir as well as the Syrian S200s [and possibly S300s] all networked into an integrated air defense system…are very much more capable opponents than what the Serbs could muster…[I will go into some relevant technical aspects later]

    Besides the Russian and Syrian SAMs, we must consider the Russian A50U Airborne Early warning aircraft [EAW] that are stationed in Syria…as well as at least a squadron strength of latest generation Sukhoi ‘Flanker’ Su35, Su30 and Su34…

    I will bring those and other considerations into the discussion in a subsequent comment…but it is enough to recall the failed SEAD operation of OAF to preclude any assumption that Russian air and SAM assets in Syria could be overwhelmed…

    In fact, it is arguable that such a result is not possible at all…

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  164. Erebus says:

    I will bring those and other considerations into the discussion in a subsequent comment…

    Any time soon?

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  165. @FB

    Very informative, thank you. Comments such as this only add to the already great value of The Unz Review and make it so special. Like Erebus I look forward to the promised follow ups. Cheers.

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  166. FB says:
    @Erebus

    Glad to hear someone found this useful…

    Yes there is plenty more to come…starting tomorrow…

    Thanks also to NoseyTheDuke for the reply…

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  167. @FB

    Lambeth also notes that of those 800 Serb SAM shots, most were unguided…ie ballistic shots without engagement radar guidance, as the Serb tactic was to keep their SAM radars off in order to deny targeting by NATO HARMs…

    You could have reduced your long post just to that. Per “overwhelming” in Syria–those are opinions of Russian professionals, e.g. Colonel Murahovski, among many. That is why additional S-400 have been deployed a week or so ago in Syria. I appreciate your honest and decent effort but facts are facts–thresholds of saturation of Syrian (that is Khmeimim-based) Russian AD can be calculated and it is not very difficult to do. Even with state-of-the-art EC(C)M endemic in most modern Russian AD systems, what IS in Syria currently, while capable of dealing a very serious damage to attacker, when faced with a massive salvo of Tomahawks and the activity of couple of air-wings from carrier would eventually give. This is not a theorem but axiom. Having said all that, there is no denial of a massive deterrent potential of what is already in Syria. This potential translates in a high probability, even while being suppressed and eventually disabled, of a very high and embarrassing (that matters) losses for any attacker. What matters is that it is within US capability to saturate Russian AD in Syria, even with significant losses for itself. In other words, it can be done in case of real escalation. But again, services and forces do not operate “separately”, they are all parts of a complete, across the board military capability of the Armed Forces and as such a tightly integrated.

    While there is no denial of partial failure of suppressing Yugoslav AD in 1999, truth is–it still proved to be enough to not allow it to operate effectively. Hence your (correct) quote above. Back to Syria: yes, it was this threat of this AD which prevented US attack and as such it has done its job but considering fluidity of the situation on the ground (and in the air) it was the Russian ability to “project” in the strategic depth which kept the whole thing under control–it was not one or another, it was a complex of things simultaneously.

    The Russian military contingent in Syria is not just some military base—it is the force tightly integrated with Russian Armed Forces that have enough reach and capability to make anyone face some extremely unpleasant choices, including the fact that it is Russia, not the US, who controls escalation to a threshold and that can explain a non-stop anti-Russian hysteria in US media since the outcome of the war in Syria became clear.

    In short, in real war one doesn’t fight with one weapon, however good (and S-400 is outstanding, probably the best AD system in the world) this weapon, or, more general, capability, might be, one uses all of them in a tightly integrated complex which is known to military professionals as Operation.

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  168. FB says:

    thank you for your feedback…

    There is more to the story than just S400…

    What I am trying to do is to present technical information that is factual and in a way that is understandable to the layman…

    Yes, I am arguing head-on against your thesis that the Russian air defenses could be ‘overwhelmed’…

    I have not yet provided the entire explanation to support my thesis…

    However, I must again draw your attention to the issue of using a massive tomahawk salvo against Russian air defenses…as you have now again stated…

    As I have already alluded, cruise missiles are ineffective against SAMs [surface to air missiles]…and have never been used in a SEAD operation [suppression of enemy air defense]…

    Modern air defense SAMs like S300 and 400 are mobile…a cruise missile can only hit a stationary target that is programmed into its guidance system before launch…once launched the missile can’t go anywhere except a per-programmed geographic location…

    Even if the cruise missile operator knows the location of enemy SAMs at the time of launch…those SAMs will no longer be there by the time the cruise missile arrives…

    A tomahawk [and Kaliber, KH-101 etc] fly at subsonic speeds…ie about 500 mph…fired from standoff range…ie outside the engagement range of coastal defense missiles like the Bastion which is in Syria and has been used against land targets…the flight time to cover 300 miles [500 km, just outside the range of Bastion missile] would be about 40 minutes…

    By that time, the SAMs would be long gone…they can fold up and ‘scoot’ in 5 minutes…and the tomahawk launches would have been detected instantaneously by Russian radars and other sensors…the tomahawks would hit only dirt…this is why this is not done…

    So it is meaningless to talk about tomahawks in the context of taking out Russian SAMs in Syria…I do not understand why you do this…and would appreciate any answer you can offer

    An attack by US aircraft on a SEAD mission is the only possibility…and I will discuss that shortly…

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  169. @FB

    Even if the cruise missile operator knows the location of enemy SAMs at the time of launch…those SAMs will no longer be there by the time the cruise missile arrives…

    It is rather strange to discuss something based on a completely false premise drawn from a different theater and different time. To start with:
    Star Variant attack. You know what Star is? Preposition:

    a) 3 Ohio-class SSGN theoretical 154 x 3 = 462 BGM-109 in theoretical salvo. One SSGN in Persian Gulf, another two Central-East Med.
    b) 4-5 Virginia-class SSNs, 5 x 12 = 60 BGM-109, one-two Virginia to Persian Gulf, others Central-East Med.
    Sum per subs: 522 BGM-109 in theoretical first salvo.

    c) Arleigh Burke-class DDG 4 in two CBGs–Central-East Med–theoretical salvo (in practice will be smaller somewhat due to occupancy of MK-41) of 96 BGM 109 per hip, say we go for 80 per hull, so 80 x 4 =320 BGM 109.

    d) 4 Ticonderoga-class Cruisers, up to 122 BGM-109, go for same 80, 80 x 4 =320.

    This is the first wave, so to speak, without accounting CBGs’ airwings with all their capability, so altogether we have in first theoretical salvo: 1162 BGM-109s only from different directions (hence Star).

    I would love to hear your opinion on FERs on missiles alone, granted that you know the saturation threshold. After that we may start to discuss other issues.

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  170. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Mr. Martyanov…

    Let me try to simplify things…

    1. Tomahawk cruise missile cannot hit a moving target…

    2. A mobile SAM becomes a moving target as soon as it starts to move…

    3. A Tomahawk cruise missile fired from standoff range will require a flight time of at least 30 minutes to arrive on target, covering approx. 250 miles…[in reality the flight time will be longer due to missile maneuvering as it follows a nap-of-the-earth flight path...ie winding its way through terrain...and the standoff distance will be likely be considerably longer too...]

    Let’s say that the US goes ahead and launches ’1162′ Tomahawks from ships and subs as you propose…[out of the 3,500 total that the US possesses..ie one third...]

    Let’s also assume that the Russian military does not notice or does not care that all of those ships have moved into an attack perimeter…

    Let’s also assume that the Russians have just one single SAM…and let’s further assume that they don’t bother to start moving this single SAM until they detect the first volley in that massive salvo…

    All of these assumptions are clearly ridiculous, but let’s play along…

    The Russian SAM now has five minutes to fold up and get going…

    It starts moving at a speed of just 15 km/hr…which is three times the normal walking speed of a human…

    In the remaining 25 minutes before the missiles start hitting, that single SAM can cover only 6.25 km…although in any given direction…

    Now let’s figure out how likely it is that one of those

    So the precise target location is unknown…

    Let’s assume the US knew the location of the SAM at the time of Tomahawk launch…

    That single Russian SAM can now be anywhere in a 6.25 km radius…it should be easy to kill right…?

    Well let’s see…a 6.25 km circle has an area of 122.7 square km…

    What are the chances that one of those 1,162 Tomahawks will make a direct hit?

    let’s say the SAM target is 100 square meters [10 m x 10 m]…

    So…122.7 square km = 122.7 million square meters…vs 1,162 Tomahawks…

    Ie…there is a one in a thousand chance that a Tomahawk will actually hit the SAM…

    But of course it doesn’t have to score a direct hit to disable it…it only needs to get close enough for its blast to damage or destroy it…

    How close?

    The standard metric in blast damage is measured in ‘over pressure’…ie that amount of pressure above atmospheric pressure which is enough to cause damage or destruction…an over pressure of 2 psi [13.8 kilopascals...]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpressure

    The radius at which overpressure reaches that threshold for a 450 kg [1,000 lb TNT charge as per Tomahawk] is about 60 meters [200 ft]…there is a calculator at this site…

    https://www.un.org/disarmament/un-saferguard/kingery-bulmash/

    But let’s say it is 100 m just to be safe…

    So what are the chances of one of those 1,162 Tomahawks getting to within 100 meters of that single Russian SAM that has moved a mere 6.25 kilometers [although in an unknown direction...]…?

    Well we already know the maximum area that it could be in 122.7 km^2…or 122.7 million square meters…

    Since our overpressure radius is 100 meters, that’s an area of 10,000 square meters…

    It would therefore take 12,271 Tomahawks to ensure that a single one comes within 100 meters of our single SAM…

    I hope you can understand that this is the reason that cruise missiles are useless against any moving target…even a ship…

    So let me just end this discussion now of a ‘massive cruise missile salvo’ as something in the realm of possibility…and get on with my attempt to paint a realistic picture of what a SEAD operation against Russia might look like…

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  171. @FB

    Let me try to simplify things…

    No, I do not want you to “simplify” things since what you describe here is an absolutely ridiculous scenario which also doesn’t explain such simple fact of Pantsyr ZRAKs being deployed in what is known as “raketoopasnye napravlenia” (missile threatening) directions. Obviously, somehow nobody wants to move those systems and provide for them mobile and specifically designed for low flying missiles Pantsirs. You obviously do not understand that S-400 and S-300 (not counting AD systems of Russian naval ships ADs) are there to provide coverage to facilities of air-base Khmeimim and especially so to ground and air assets based on it. But I also repeat my question–do you know saturation thresholds for S-300 or 400? Obviously the fact of real time targeting with updates which US has, especially on a effectively desert deployed assets (see the difference with Serbia here?) is not known to you but it is in place. So battle “profile”, in short, you propose here is what in Russia is called Murzilka, after children’s illustrated magazine.

    I hope you can understand that this is the reason that cruise missiles are useless against any moving target…even a ship…

    Latest versions of Tomahawks will be (already?) able to strike moving targets. I repeat my question on threshold and then, we may have fun.

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  172. @Andrei Martyanov

    Any thoughts on this at all? If true I would imagine there would be all sorts of implications.

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-is-hiding-the-fact-that-its-state-of-the-art-f-35-warplane-was-hit-by-syrian-s-200-missile-reports/5613807

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  173. Gigi says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    “US Navy’s Tomahawk Will Strike Moving Maritime Targets by 2022″

    https://sputniknews.com/military/201709131057369744-us-tomahawk-strike-moving-targets/

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  174. @NoseytheDuke

    Any thoughts on this at all? If true I would imagine there would be all sorts of implications.

    I simply don’t know. As per implications if true? Until the Israeli Air Force aircraft is shot down, I see nothing really important happening.

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  175. @Gigi

    Thank you for info.

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  176. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Yes, I know my scenario was ridiculous…I said so myself…

    And the reason it is ridiculous is that cruise missiles do not work against moving targets…

    That fact has not changed in 1999…

    ‘…Obviously the fact of real time targeting with updates which US has, especially on a effectively desert deployed assets (see the difference with Serbia here?) is not known to you but it is in place…’

    Yes, in fact the precise technical capabilities of each and every aspect of the Tomahawk is very well known to me…but apparently it is you who does not understand these technical characteristics adequately…

    The real-time targeting update you speak of was added in the Block 4 upgrade of the Tomahawk…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomahawk_(missile)#Upgrades

    This latest version, which is in use now [although not all deployed Tomahawks are Block 4...] added the so-called ‘strike controller’…which means that the target can be changed while the missile is in flight…

    This is done by satellite link…which sends a message to the missile guidance computer to change its pre-programmed target to another one of 15 maximum pre-programmed targets that were already programmed in as ‘alternates…]

    In practice…this is analogous to an airliner that is flying on a course that the captain programmed into the flight management computer [ie navigation system] before taking off…

    Once in flight, the crew may need to deviate from the original flight plan and land at an ‘alternate’ airfield…so that new flight plan is punched in…

    This is exactly what the Tomahawk flight controller does…the crew commanding the missile flight on board the ship can order a change in flight plan to one of 15 alternate targets…

    But to which new target…?

    Even in the ridiculous example where I showed the SAM moving only 6.25 km/hr in any given direction…the target area becomes huge…122.7 square km [at least...probably much bigger]…how would the crew that programmed the 15 alternate targets possibly guess where that SAM could have gone…?

    It can’t…it would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack…which was the point of my ridiculous example…

    ‘…Latest versions of Tomahawks will be (already?) able to strike moving targets…’

    Not so fast…this is a feature that is in development now…not currently available…when it comes online and is actually demonstrated in use, I’m sure we will all hear about it…

    In order for a missile to hit any kind of moving target it must have some kind of guidance ‘seeker’…in AA missiles this is often an IR sensor that seeks the heat of the aircraft engine exhaust…

    The other type is a radar seeker, which sends out radio signals and homes in on the returns that bounce back off the target…that is the only way a cruise missile [or any kind of missile for that matter] could hunt down a moving target [at least a target that does not emit a lot heat]…

    The Tomahawk does not have a radar…it cannot hunt down anything…

    Adding a small radar seeker is how Raytheon plan to upgrade the coming version…although it will be a simple ‘passive’ radar seeker…ie it will not send out radio signals of its own, but will simply ‘listen’ for radio signals emitted from the target…

    [It should be noted that the Tomahawk...and all such cruise missiles... do have a 'radar altimeter' which is a small downward pointing radar that is also used on commercial aircraft, in order to determine the aircraft's height above the ground...on the cruise missile this is crucial because the vehicle flies low above the ground...30 to 50 m...and needs to avoid hitting terrain...]

    I do not know where you got the idea that anyone in their right mind would contemplate attacking an integrated air defense system [IADS] with cruise missiles…that is pure fantasy…

    I’m sorry I have to say it so bluntly…

    PS I will have more on the Tomahawk shortly…I am having difficulty posting my comments on this site…

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  177. Even in the ridiculous example where I showed the SAM moving only 6.25 km/hr in any given direction…the target area becomes huge…122.7 square km [at least...probably much bigger]…how would the crew that programmed the 15 alternate targets possibly guess where that SAM could have gone…?

    Read attentively from my previous post, I quote myself:

    Obviously, somehow nobody wants to move those systems and provide for them mobile and specifically designed for low flying missiles Pantsirs. You obviously do not understand that S-400 and S-300 (not counting AD systems of Russian naval ships ADs) are there to provide coverage to facilities of air-base Khmeimim and especially so to ground and air assets based on it.

    You obviously also have no clue that any CO who gives a command upon detection of enemy’s salvo on “moving” the complex which is there specifically for protection of assets will be in Court Martial immediately, not least because of the fact that while “saving” his S-400 “ass” on the move he broke the radar filed and de facto removed the system from combat. I mentioned only one reason, there are dozens of those that your “avoiding” the salvo is a sheer incompetent lunacy.

    I do not know where you got the idea that anyone in their right mind would contemplate attacking an integrated air defense system [IADS] with cruise missiles…that is pure fantasy…

    Well, I do. I omit here my background but for starters educate yourself on that:

    2016
    Oct. 12, 2016: The U.S. military strikes three radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory on Yemen’s Red Sea coast using Tomahawks launched from USS Nitze (DDG 94). The strikes target radar sites involved in the earlier missile launches threatening USS Mason (DDG 87) and other vessels operating in international waters in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb.

    http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/swmag/Pages/Where-are-the-Shooters.aspx#.Wedbc9xryUk

    Obviously you forgot somehow that the reason, and I am beginning to repeat myself, is the base at Khmeimim which houses all infrastructure for both Russian Air-Space Forces aircraft, personnel, communications facilities, ammunition and fuel storage, etc.–precisely the types of targets for attacking which BGM-109 was designed. S-300 and S-400 are there to defend those targets, not to withdraw themselves in the middle of launch in progress thus rendering themselves nonoperational during the moving. Anyone who comes up even with the possibility of such a sheer lunacy has to be completely detached from any realities of modern combat.

    This is in addition to you constantly trying to preach things to me in which I have a graduate degree and a substantial practical experience. Time after time you fail to answer simple question, obfuscating it with a shitload of pop-war info and the question is simple: Do you know saturation threshold for S-400? Obviously you don’t, as well as you do not understand a simple modeling of a leaker issue which is applicable in this case. Here is a basic not-augmented salvo model (for warm up) which is completely applicable here, I gave you the order of magnitude of US Navy’s (and possibly Air Force) assets which can be brought to bear in conventional escalation scenario. We will omit here a distribution and concentrated force (and power) relations (this may come later) but you basically have no clue on the subject matter:

    The model is not “perfect” it is just the start but should you have been at least acquainted with basic (I omit here augmented) Osipov-Lanchester model and its quadratic solution, again–just for warmup, you obviously have no idea what are mathematical expectations for single missile of each type and for a different types of salvos–you would have thought really carefully before posting here a load of crap for fanboys.

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  178. FB says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    I will field this question if I may…

    This story of the damaged F-35 ran yesterday originally in the Israeli media…

    http://www.kan.org.il/item/?itemId=23623

    you can use google translate to get the English version…

    The story is that the F35 was damaged in a bird strike as it was coming in to land…in a training incident that is claimed to have happened two weeks ago…but only reported hours after the skirmish with Syrian air defenses…

    ‘…the plane is grounded since the incident and it is unclear when it will resume activity – if at all…’

    There are a number of interesting technical considerations here…

    First and foremost is the matter that the plane appears to be seriously damaged…since the report states that it is not clear if it will ever fly again…

    ‘…An Israeli stealth aircraft of the F-35 (Adir), considered to be the most advanced in the world, was hit two weeks ago during a bird-training exercise…’

    Say what…?

    What the hell is a bird-training exercise…?

    If such an ‘exercise’ took place it would be the world’s first…since it is difficult to imagine how one could get birds to cooperate by flying into an airplane…

    Then an IAF spokesman called these reports incorrect…

    ‘… In preparation for a routine landing of the F-35, two injuries were found in the fuselage following a collision with the birds…’

    So we know one very important piece of information…the bird strike happened during the landing phase of the flight…this is important because the landing speed is the slowest flying speed of any aircraft…

    The F35 landing speed is not published…but we can compare what is known about the F16, which is similar in weight and wing area…

    The F16 landing speed is about 140 knots [160 mph]…this is about the speed at which a small private piston-prop engine cruises…

    At this rather slow speed it would take a very large bird to cause significant damage to the airframe of a fighter jet which is much stronger than a slow-speed piston aircraft…

    There have been literally hundreds of bird strikes involving such low-speed propeller light aircraft…in most cases the bird flies into the propeller and is instantly diced…causing no real damage…the worst scenario is where a bird strikes the windscreen and can shatter it, although even light-aircraft windscreen need to meet certification standards for bird strike resistance…

    here is a thread with many first-hand accounts of private pilots who have experienced bird strikes…

    http://www.pprune.org/private-flying/599521-anyone-else-had-bird-strike-light-aircraft.html

    Reading these accounts is instructive…

    Here’s one that is particularly interesting because it hit the airplane wing…

    ‘…Hit a seagull on short final (doing about 65 knots) in a PA28 a few years ago. Right wing, right between the two outer ribs. Made a huge dent, with the edges of the aluminum plating torn from the rivets and whatnot. The repair took three weeks…’

    A seagull is a fair-sized bird…although the speed of 65 knots is quite low…much lower than a fighters landing speed which is about double…but again, we note that a fighter structure is many times stronger than that of a light plane…

    Here’s an FAA report with pictures of a Navy T44A that struck a very large bird on its wing…a turkey vulture…

    http://lessonslearned.faa.gov/ll_main.cfm?TabID=1&LLID=11&LLTypeID=7

    The T44 is a military version of a popular civil turboprop, the Beechcraft King Air…which cruises at about 300 knots [350 mph]…

    The damage to the wing is considerable, but did not preclude a safe landing…

    My own take on this is that a bird strike on a fighter airframe during landing would not result in serious damage…[a bird ingestion into the engine would be more serious...but this is not what is reported to have happened...]

    Another crucial clue…the IAF has not released any pictures of the airplane…why not…?

    Let us look at the pictures and see for ourselves if the damage is consistent with a bird strike or whether it indicates something else as the cause…

    This fact alone is enough to call the IAF story into doubt…as well as the curious timing…why announce it hours after the scuffle with Syrian SAMs…why wasn’t it announced two weeks ago when it happened…?

    There is no plausible answer to either of these questions…

    Of course various know-nothing commentators are quickly dismissing the possibility that the F35 sustained damage from a missile shot as ‘conspiracy theory’…

    Mostly these know-nothings claim…without any basis in fact…that the Syrian SA5 [aka S200] could never hit an F35…or even an F16 or F15…

    Bottom line is that this question cannot be resolved at this point…but there is certainly much to suspect here…

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  179. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    ‘…The strikes target radar sites…’

    Exactly…those are fixed ‘sites’…ie stationary targets…not mobile radars like the truck-mounted ones on modern SAMs…

    As for your ‘math’…why don’t you do what we call in mathematics a ‘worked example’…ie work out an example here so we can all understand your point…which as presented is quite difficult to understand…

    Whatever qualifications you may possess, I certainly respect that, and I mean no disrespect for you…which is more than I can say about your ‘spirited’ denunciations of my comments…

    but the point of any discussion is to argue the merits of the case…not the ‘qualifications’ of the debaters…

    I could say myself I have XYZ qualifications and experience…but I should not want anyone to take what I say as fact because of that…

    Isaac Newton invented classical physics and contributed greatly to the invention of calculus…the math that makes modern science and engineering possible…

    It does not mean that he could present his arguments to his peers and colleagues just by saying…well I am Isaac Newton…so that is that…

    Nobody does this in peer-reviewed technical literature…and no one ever has…it is ridiculous…you still have to prove your point demonstrably using mathematical and physical principles all can agree on…so there is no point in saying ‘I’m an expert’…prove it with your argument…

    the fact of the matter is that Tomahawks are not designed to target mobile objects…that is an established fact…now you don’t even try to defend your previous claim to the contrary…but attempt to bring in other aspects such as what a CO [commanding officer] would and would not do…

    This only confuses the issue…

    I will have more to say…that I believe people will find credible and instructive…please calm down and try to participate in a collegial exchange…

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  180. As for your ‘math’…why don’t you do what we call in mathematics a ‘worked example’…ie work out an example here so we can all understand your point…which as presented is quite difficult to understand…

    It is not “my” math. “My” math doesn’t exist in nature, Theory of Operational Research, and of Operational Planning, however does exist universally and is based on fundamental mathematical laws (from differential equations to Probability Theory) combined with actual practical operational and tactical experiences. Per “worked” examples, I can suggest only one thing for you, to google, as one example of many, post-graduate thesis of Omur Ozdemir: EVALUATION AND COMPARISON OF FREEDOM CLASS LCS AND OTHER FRIGATES/CORVETTES AGAINST SMALL BOAT, FPB AND SUBMARINE THREATS IN CONFINED WATERS , from Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterrey, CA. Or, AN ANALYSIS OF DISTRIBUTED COMBAT SYSTEMS, Keith Jude Ho, Captain, Singapore Army BA(Hons), MA, Cambridge University, UK , 1997, Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTERS OF SCIENCE IN SYSTEMS INTEGRATION from the NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL.

    Those are unclassified, general application Salvo Model reviews with some, also unclassified, applications to a specific (mostly fictional) scenarios. Just to help you, you can view Khmeimim base as a singular unit (ship, stationary aircraft carrier with CBG consisting of capabilities of Russian surface fleet around Syria). If you need some basic intro in Osipov-Lanchester model you can enlighten yourself on quadratic solutions of basic differential equations (with the example) in my blog.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2016/05/150th-motor-rifle-division-and-much_17.html

    I am not here to teach anyone, I assume that people who express their opinions at least know something (other than pop-sci fodder) about the subject. I am also not privy to all, highly classified, technical data of S-300 or S-400 but you can, just for very primitive and raw (just to give a slight impression) view US salvo as a collection of several units A (see my previous post on a number of TLAMs US Navy can bring to bear) but let’s say there are 450 in first salvo, with US force A obviously sustaining no dA since we omit here the scenario of a direct naval confrontation and all huge complexities of ASW and search for US Navy’s SSGNs and SSNs (you see–here we have to now go with Operational Sweeps and other lovely things, which are not the focus of our discussion here). So you will need to address, say, B which will be Khmeimim viewed as a single and extremely well defended single entity. So look at dB and play with coefficients, especially with b1 and b3. To take Khmeimim out of action for at least several days–two weeks from the top of my head is 100-120 TLAMs, this is your b1. But the trick of course and the whole point is to know your b3. In reality, in augmented model, which calculates degrading (attrition dB) b3 is merely a multiplier in formation of b3′ (Prime) which is a product of b3 itself, Delta(b) (lower case) which is Defensive Alertness/Readiness, and Tau (lower case) which is Training Effectiveness. You will also need b4 which is Seduction Countermeasure Effectiveness and the whole thing suddenly becomes very complex and hm… classified. But, say, we give our b3 a value of 200 (remember, my question on Saturation Threshold? You know how many missiles of S-300 or S-400 takes to shoot down a single TLAM? Math. expectations, those proverbial Omegas–a huge state secret). Hey, let’s say even 300 but then comes the issue what if there are several 150 TLAM salvos? Picture changes yet again and so on. And this is just for deterministic model, of course real life is stochastic and shit happens unexpectedly and that is why you need external force in a shape of Russian Navy and TU-22M3 with X-32 to ensure that a US forces impressive first salvo would be its last. But then again, you obviously didn’t read my article attentively. I will leave the rest of your verbose post without the answer.

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  181. FB says:

    Correction on my comment on the Israeli F35…

    Regarding the Navy T44…the damage was actually to the airplane’s horizontal stabilizer [aka tailplane]…not the wing…

    http://lessonslearned.faa.gov/ll_main.cfm?TabID=1&LLID=11&LLTypeID=7

    This is important because the tailplane is much smaller than the wing and not as sturdy…but it is in fact a very vital piece of the airplane…the loss of the either the horizontal tail or the vertical tail [fin] would result in instant loss of control and certain catastrophic crash…

    We do not know at what speed the bird strike occurred…the brief report doesn’t say…but the landing approach speed of a King Air 90 is about 100 knots…and a turkey vulture is a very large bird…

    The fact that this tailplane stayed on and the airplane landed…even assuming a minimum collision speed of 100 knots…well this makes it very difficult to imagine how a fighter jet can be seriously damaged by a bird strike during landing…

    The damage to the King Air tailplane is quite repairable and this airplane would certainly not be written off…

    Also the King Air is a civil aircraft that is not nearly as strong as a fighter jet…which must be able to withstand violent maneuvering at very high speeds…

    I would say that I am very suspicious of this story…it may indeed be true…but it is hard to imagine how a modern fighter could sustain serious damage to its airframe at landing speed…

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  182. FB says:

    One more comment about that F35 ‘bird strike’…

    No doubt we will hear comments in various quarters about the lack of pictures being explained away by an excuse like the IAF would not release such pictures relating to an aircraft training incident…

    Well…

    Many folks remember the famous incident of IAF F15 that landed on one wing…after most of its right wing was sheared off in a collision with another F15 during a training exercise…

    [no there were no kamikaze birds involved who were somehow persuaded to collide with an aircraft in a 'bird-training exercise'...]

    https://theaviationist.com/2014/09/15/f-15-lands-with-one-wing/

    There is much more photo and video coverage of this…this was incidentally a legendary piece of airmanship by the IAF pilot…who managed to land the plane [at 260 knots...twice the normal landing speed] by using the engine’s enormous power to keep the ship aloft…

    Even more remarkable…this airplane entered service again after a new wing was installed…

    this incident actually spurred Nasa to try to devise a fly-by-wire method to try to get the airplane computer to do what that pilot did…ie save an airplane with catastrophic structural damage…

    Point being, that the IAF had no problem in releasing photos and videos…apparently the ‘cone of silence’ applies only to this particular incident…

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  183. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Ok…so let’s briefly review this debate…

    I read your article here and identified a basic problem in your premise of conducting a SEAD operation using Tomahawks and other standoff cruise missiles…[aka TLAM...ie Tomahawk Land Attack Missile...]

    I remarked only in passing that this notion is not factually valid, since TLAMs and ALCMs [Air Launched Cruise Missiles]…do not have the ability to strike moving targets…such as mobile Russian SAMs in Syria…

    It is a physical fact that TLAMs and ALCMs do not have the targeting equipment…ie radar guidance…to strike at mobile targets…

    So my initial comment was to try to explain SEAD basics by first starting with the latest US SEAD operation, which was Serbia in 1999…I noted that I would follow up with more information as to what an actual SEAD operation in Syria might look like…

    But I have not been given a chance to continue because you took exception to my factual assertion that TLAMs and ALCMs have no role in any SEAD operation…

    You then skipped onto another topic by challenging me with a ‘mathematical model’ of ‘saturation’ thresholds or some such matter…

    You presented two equations without any contextual information…which I found very confusing…and no doubt left many others scratching their heads…

    When I asked you to do a simple worked example…you have now declined…instead you have now directed us to the Osipov-Lanchester Equations…

    I honestly can say that indeed I am not familiar with the Osipov-Lanchester mathematics, nor the saturation threshold math…and would therefore be very grateful to you if you could explain this in a way that a ‘pop-sci’ dummy like me can understand…

    I will admit that I do have more than a nodding acquaintance with differential and integral calculus…so it should not be very difficult to explain these math models to me…

    I am not trying to be facetious…I take you at your word that your math will support your scenario…and I would like to understand fully how this math relates to the subject under discussion here…ie a hypothetical SEAD operation in Syria…

    And finally, you have now made the assertion…

    ‘…To take Khmeimim out of action for at least several days–two weeks from the top of my head is 100-120 TLAMs…’

    Fine…I will start from there…in my next comment…where I will be discussing what is known about the TLAM strike on Shayrat airfield last April…

    PS: For anyone else reading this…and considering that two commenters have graciously experessed interest in hearing my further discussion…my continuation of a realistic SEAD operation in Syria will be postponed until I finish my rebuttal to the above claim regarding Hmeimim airfield from Mr. Martyanov…It should not take long…

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  184. @FB

    I read your article here and identified a basic problem in your premise of conducting a SEAD operation using Tomahawks and other standoff cruise missiles…[aka TLAM...ie Tomahawk Land Attack Missile...] I remarked only in passing that this notion is not factually valid, since TLAMs and ALCMs [Air Launched Cruise Missiles]…do not have the ability to strike moving targets…such as mobile Russian SAMs in Syria…

    Here is what you remarked actually:

    It is true that Russian standoff missiles such as the ship and sub-launched Kalibr, and the air-launched Kh-101 [aka X-101] are advanced and formidable weapons…but this author’s analysis makes a fundamental error in assuming that Russian aviation and air defenses in Syria would be ‘eventually overwhelmed’ by a US and possibly ‘coalition’ allied attack…and that the deterrent against any such action would be a possible Russian retaliation on US ships and airfields in the region using said standoff weapons…

    Here:

    http://www.unz.com/article/russia-the-800-pound-gorilla/#comment-2043747

    Now, after I gave you the approximate number of TLAMs of US Navy which could be the part of the first salvo–not to mention carrier aviation which would follow (see the size of airwings for 2 theoretical CBGs)–you are trying to preach some abstract BS SEAD based on a campaign which was 18 years ago and saw a completely different set of strategic, operational and tactical circumstances which are absolutely inapplicable to what we have in Syria and you do this without addressing a single operational constant except posting some platitudes. I gave you a basic salvo model–a foundation of what is taught in any serious military academy, which yours truly graduated in 1985 (apart from other officer schools). See the list of constants, again, here:

    http://www.unz.com/article/russia-the-800-pound-gorilla/#comment-2047814

    Until you can justify at least probable values for those, all this discussion makes no professional sense whatsoever. As per how armed forces fight–that is a whole other story, obviously you don’t have good ideas about it. Again, WHY there are so many Pantsirs in Syria? Have an answer?

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  185. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I have asked you several times to explain your math because I really do want to understand your point…

    As you refuse to do so, I am left to assume that you were home sick that day from military academy when they explained how that math works…

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  186. @FB

    Thank you. I can’t help thinking that if the most expensive, and some would say controversial, fighter plane in history can be hit with a much older SAM then it would surely be totally at risk to exposure to the newer and vastly superior variants and a huge denunciation of the Emperors fine raiment, sending ripples throughout the MIC and it’s customer base worldwide.

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  187. @FB

    I thank you both for continuing this debate as both of you appear knowledgable whereas I know next to nothing of these matters. That’s the thing about conflicts and wars, nobody really knows for sure and the testing is terrible. I’ve learned a lot about many different topics here at Unz from many contributors and commenters. Do carry on. Cheers

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  188. FB says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    Thank you for your comment…I’m glad this discussion is of interest and I will do my best to try to bring a better understanding…

    As for the IAF F35…we must remember that we cannot assume that the plane was actually hit by the Syrians…we simply note the weakness of the story presented by the Israelis…

    Let us keep in mind that the F117 shot down in Serbia was the F35 of its day…the shootdown was a bolt from the blue that nobody expected…Dr. Lambeth, in the paper I cited in my first comment used the analogy of 9/11 to describe it…I will give the link again here

    http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/ASPJ/journals/Volume-16_Issue-1-4/sum02.pdf

    Dr. Lambeth’s article starts on page 9…

    And also we note that a second F117 was heavily damaged by Serb SAMs…as Col. Everest Riccione [USAF, retired] writes in 2005…

    ‘…Of the three aircraft shot down during our incursion into Serbia, one was an F–16 flown by a pilot doing other than he was directed to do, and two were the most stealthy F–117 Night Hawks, one of which staggered back to its home base never to fly again, so it is seldom counted…’

    That quote is in this paper by Col Riccione…bottom of page 10, footnote 18…

    http://www.pogoarchives.org/m/dp/dp-fa22-Riccioni-03082005.pdf

    It is correct of course to count that second F-117 as shot down, because any plane that is damaged beyond repair in combat and is written off, has always been counted as such…

    This is an important point…as it proves that the Serb F117 takedown was no fluke…both shots came from a 1961 Soviet SAM the SA3 [aka S-125]…which is even more ancient than Syrian S200 and far less capable…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-125_Neva/Pechora#FR_Yugoslavia

    Both of those F117 kills, as well as Goldfein’s F16 were brought down by the same Serb air defense unit…the 250′th Air Defense Missile Brigade, commanded by Colonel Zoltan Dani…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/250th_Air_Defense_Missile_Brigade

    The S125 is a stationary SAM but Col Dani trained his men to knock it down in 90 minutes so it could be transported by truck and reassembled at another site…he drilled his men well and the result is that his one SAM brigade brought down two F117 jets and an F16…

    This is an important point that is lost on armchair generals…training is the most important part…even the best hardware is useless in the wrong hands…

    And…even ancient hardware used properly and creatively can knock some teeth out of so-called wonder-weapons…

    You will notice that Col Riccione has much to say about stealth and the F22 etc…he passed away in 2015 at age 93, but he was a great test pilot and very influential in the development of modern fighter jets and tactics…a core member of so-called ‘Fighter Mafia’ which brought us the F14, F15,F16,F18 and A10…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighter_Mafia

    I will have more to say about ‘stealth’ if anyone is interested in exploring this subject…

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  189. Erebus says:

    Echoing Nosy, my thanks to both FB and Andrei for continuing the discussion.

    In my thinking of WTF happened in Syria that allowed the Russians to apparently saunter in and take over the M.E. involves more than one 800lb gorilla.
    In the first place, the most striking thing about the RuAF’s operations is their combat efficiency. So few doing so much for so long belies a very carefully constructed force plan. I remember seeing some (ex?)USAF pundit on TV in the very early days talking about what he could do with a force that size: “I could get 20-25 sorties a day out of our guys with that size force. We’ll see what the Russians do”. In the event, the RuAF routinely doubled and sometimes tripled his boast.
    That, and the early demonstration of stand-off power in the form of Kalibrs from the Caspian and TU120s from Russian airspace, occasionally augmented by sorties from Iran, was coupled to what I believe (or imagine) were and remain what gave the other 800lb gorillas room to manouver.

    The next gorilla is the Russians coupled this optimally efficient but minimal force to a closely coordinated training and refit of the SAA (inc SAAF) and especially took their officer corps back to school to give them a crash course on how to combine arms effectively. The boost in morale for an army that had been fighting uphill for 4 bloody years must have been incalculable. However efficient the RuAF were, without equally effective boots on the ground they weren’t going to accomplish much but prolong the bloodshed and destruction. Russian battlefield advice and (my guess) de-facto command then cemented that new knowledge and esprit de corps into battlefield victories. There’s nothing like a few victories to turn battle fatigued soldiers back into an effective fighting force.
    As that developed, the Syrian/Russian intelligence networks began to work together effectively to get timely information to their commanders so they could begin to leverage what they learned and gain victories, creating a virtuous circle. Within a year, the SAA became the most battle hardened, and probably the most effective indigenous ground force in the region.

    The 3rd gorilla, and this one is probably 900lbs, is that while all that was going on the Russians turned on a diplomatic-political full court press that totally caught the West flat-footed. If the USM worried about Kalibrs, the US DoS and its EU/M.E. satraps stood slack-jawed as anti-Assad miltants were pre-emptively turned into neutrals (and occasionally joined the SAA), peace talks were arranged and attended, de-confliction zones were created, humanitarian aid delivered, and partnerships formed and firmed with Turkey, Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq, Egypt and of course Syria. Now Libya beckons, and even the Saudis and their little GCC brothers are tugging their forelocks and looking for reasons to visit Moscow while Netanyahu is shitting pyramids. That adds up to an unprecedented diplomatic accomplishment. Everyone, and not just the Americans, are still standing slack-jawed wondering what happened. All those Foreign Ministers and their 1000s of staff had no plan, nothing to offer and were stood off as effectively when Lavrov’s people went to work as the USM was. Sword dancing and belated THAAD approval is no substitute for energetic goal-oriented diplomacy.

    If the Kalibrs gave the USM pause, and allowed the RuAF the room to run their program to maximum effect, it was in support of an even more effective and carefully coordinated diplomatic program that leveraged battlefield and intelligence developments into political solutions. Combined arms are maximized when they are in turn combined with effective diplomacy. Lavrov’s now a rockstar, while Kerry’s been forgotten and Tillerson can’t seem to find his office. The Russians hit the M.E. theatre with 3 gorillas (at least) and all were supremely fit for the job.

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  190. @FB

    I have asked you several times to explain your math because I really do want to understand your point…

    Here is my point:

    You state:

    It is true that Russian standoff missiles such as the ship and sub-launched Kalibr, and the air-launched Kh-101 [aka X-101] are advanced and formidable weapons…but this author’s analysis makes a fundamental error in assuming that Russian aviation and air defenses in Syria would be ‘eventually overwhelmed’ by a US and possibly ‘coalition’ allied attack…and that the deterrent against any such action would be a possible Russian retaliation on US ships and airfields in the region using said standoff weapons…

    I state: it is a fanboy BS written by somebody who has zero serious military experience and never dealt professionally with any types of weapon systems, let alone used them in training or combat settings.

    I reiterate, you stated that my article was wrong and claimed that you can prove it. So far you proved this: a list of things you have no clue about any military real professional who graduated any US War College is taught:

    In classic Salvo Model, here are coefficients you have to be able to elaborate upon and justify.

    Without that, there is NO substantive professional discussion–this is the point I am trying to convey to you for how many posts now? You claimed that my point was wrong, the burden of proof is on you. I already gave you some basic intro into classic, not classified, combat models and now you are asking me to explain the whole “math” behind it? I gave you (some) sources and presented a couple workable examples (I assigned some coefficients in classic Salvo model–just plug them in formula) to at least give you some minor impression of how professionals assess (before the whole thing goes into computers in OPD in US or GOU in Russia, as an example, which run several–a range–of operational outcomes). You ask me to effectively teach you things which require years of training and people write some serious advanced graduate and post-graduate theses on that. The range of my capabilities in that are my articles which I write, where I already take a burden on myself in making statements which exclude necessity for others who read them to plow through fairly tedious and unclear for many raw calculations and assessemnts. I am not here to give lessons on basic operational research, let alone on Operational Planning which in every seriously armed nation is contained in the Operational Manuals which go under the Top Secret (Special Significance–Osoboi Vazhnosti–in Russia) or Code Word–extremely classified documents category. I repeat, again, my question without answering which this whole thing is absolutely useless: do you know saturation threshold of S-300 or S-400? Can you define it? How does it factor into dyadic salvo relations? If you cannot define it–then what’s the point of discussing anything here? You also still continue to omit the answer to a very direct question: why Russia suddenly delivered the second batch of Pantsirs to Syria? It has everything with TLAMs and S-300, 400 there.

    https://southfront.org/syrian-air-defense-force-and-its-pantsir-s1-systems/

    I see no reason to continue to discuss anything before you answer questions and elaborate on the coefficients I presented. After all, you stated, not me, that my point is based on a false premise and that S-400 (recall when the S-300 actually arrived in Syria, it was AFTER S-400) will easily shoot down anything. I have different opinion, despite knowing (for sure) that Russian AD complexes are best in the world, and that is what stated in my article, which, in your opinion, is based on a false premise.

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  191. FB says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    Thanks for your comment…

    We must remember that we cannot be certain that the F35 story about a bird-strike is not true…I have simply tried to bring some facts about bird strikes to the discussion, which seem to raise suspicion about this story…

    As for the the possibility of the Syrian SAM hitting the F35…we cannot be sure about that either…

    I had mentioned in my very first post on this thread the Serb shootdown of the US F117 stealth jet…that was the F35 of its day…the pinnacle of US military technology…

    Yet the Serbs brought one down with a 1961 era S125 [aka SA3], which is not even as capable as the Syrian S200 [aka SA5], which were the next generation after S125 …

    I also mentioned that a second F117 was damaged enough that it never flew again…here is my source…a 2005 paper written by former USAF test pilot Colonel Everest S. Riccione…

    ‘…Of the three aircraft shot down during our incursion into Serbia, one was an F–16 flown by a pilot doing other than he was directed to do, and two were the most stealthy F–117 Night Hawks, one of which staggered back to its home base never to fly again, so it is seldom counted…’

    That is on the bottom of page 10, footnote 18…you can find the Riccione paper here…

    http://www.pogoarchives.org/m/dp/dp-fa22-Riccioni-03082005.pdf

    Lambeth also mentions the second F117…on page 16…

    ‘…another F-117 sustained light damage from a nearby SA-3 detonation…’

    On this matter, the account of Riccione can be considered more authoritative as he is a retired USAF officer with more access to sensitive information than a civilian like Dr. Lambeth…also his 2005 paper is more recent than Lambeth’s 2002 paper, so more sensitive information would have trickled out by then…

    Lambeth himself acknowledges that he found it difficult to get information from the USAF regarding the F117 shootdown…page 13 second paragraph…

    ‘…the Air Force has remained understandably silent about the confluence of events it believes occasioned the F-117’s downing…’

    This silence is typical when an embarrassing loss occurs…as is disinformation like putting out the story that the second F117 was only ‘lightly damaged…’ [note the similarities between the IAF story on the bird strikes, ie light damage...]

    Fortunately we get the real story from Col. Riccione…Btw any aircraft that is written off due to battle damage counts as a kill, even if it manages to limp back to base and land…if it doesn’t fly again it is counted as killed…

    So we see here a perfect example of the kind of deception games played by the military…this is true of any country’s military of course…none of them will admit an air combat loss, unless the adversary has irrefutable proof…

    Btw…here is the link to the Lambeth paper again…it starts on page 9…

    http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/ASPJ/journals/Volume-16_Issue-1-4/sum02.pdf

    Also a note about Col. Riccione…he was not only a top USAF test pilot, but an influential expert on air combat tactics and aircraft design for many years…he passed away in 2015 at the age of 93…

    He was a core member of the “Fighter Mafia’…which was largely responsible for the design characteristics of the F14…F15…F16…F18…and A10…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighter_Mafia

    The heavily politicized wikipedia now casts the fighter mafia individuals as ‘controversial’ and tries to downplay their historical significance…which is pathetic to those who know better…

    [hint...the reason is that many of the surviving members of the group have been the ones pointing out the serious flaws in the F35...which is said to fly like an F16 carrying external fuel tanks...ie severely degraded and not capable of air to air engagements...a fighter pilot will drop his external tanks instantly if engaged by an adversary...]

    Anyway…the Riccione paper is very relevant to today’s situation and today’s generation of stealth aircraft, especially the ultra-hyped F22…

    I will have more on stealth in further discussions…

    And finally…it is worth noting that all three Serbian kills of US aircraft…the two F117s and Goldfein’s F16 were accomplished by the same Serb air defense unit…the 250′th Air Defense Missile Brigade, commanded by Col. Zoltan Dani…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/250th_Air_Defense_Missile_Brigade

    Col. Dani trained his men to knock down their stationary S125 in 90 minutes…load it on a truck and set it up in another location…thus creating improvised mobility…

    He also trained his men to be highly proficient in following a set of tactics, which paid off greatly…

    This highlights the role of training and proficiency…unlike the focus on hardware among many amateur commentators…the best hardware in the wrong hands is useless…whether it be an airplane or a SAM…

    Likewise even old hardware in the hands of top-notch crews can knock teeth out of overconfident cowboys sporting the latest shiny gizmos…

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  192. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Judging by the tone of your tirade…I would say you must have also been sick on the day that they taught officer etiquette at that military academy of yours…

    Look…I’m not here to get into a silly catfight so I will make it short…

    You have now reposted this salvo equation of yours for the umpteenth time without showing how it works…or how you got your result of ‘overwhelming Hmeimim with 100 Tomahawks…

    You said…well just plug in the coefficients…

    Well why don’t you do that…?

    You’re the ‘expert’…so walk us through the steps it takes to get the result…

    That equation is a simple algebraic equation…so if you know the coefficients it should not take more than a couple of calculation steps to arrive at the answer…

    I looked up the salvo combat model…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvo_combat_model

    As far as I can tell it relates only to Naval battles…

    It lists as examples the Falklands War…the Battle of the Coral Sea…and the Battle of Savo Island…

    All of this has exactly nothing to do with SEAD…if it does then please explain how…

    The closest I could find in terms of relevance is that this model has also been ‘modified’ to use in gaming ‘tactical ballistic missile defense…’

    We note here that ballistic missiles have nothing to do with cruise missiles, which are actually improperly called ‘missiles’ because they are actually aircraft…they fly on wings creating aerodynamic lift and they are powered by aircraft-type turbofan engine,s burning aircraft jet fuel…

    I will just note in passing that in previous comments you have berated my comments about the SEAD operation in the Kosovo War as irrelevant because it is 18 years old…

    Yet that Salvo model of yours lists examples from WW2…and even the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War of the 1850s…

    Since you have been rather blunt with me…I shall do likewise…either put up or shut up with your salvo model math…

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  193. @FB

    As far as I can tell it relates only to Naval battles…

    Well, guess what Fleet against Shore is? In fact, main task of US Navy is “projection of power” inland. In fact, US Congress has a subcommittee: United States House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. All missiles in theoretical salvo will be fired from US Navy’s assets in and under the sea. I told you, to “reduce” the Khmeimim base to a single stationary fleet entity, which in essence it is and could be in terms of its force structure be precisely (AD Complexes, aviation etc.) “reduced” to some theoretical Aircraft Carrier. This is first. Second, Salvo Model is a model which is developed for a MISSILE EXCHANGE and all other parts of basic operational theory, from augmented (expanded) Osipov-Lanchester Equations to development of math. expectations for specific weapon systems are totally applicable to a ground warfare. You need those omegas and probabilities when developing ground operation. Third, since you refuse, for unknown reason, to plug in assumed (dopushennye) coefficients, into what effectively could be reduced to a simplest (vulgar) attrition percentage model, OK. I quote myself from previous post:

    So you will need to address, say, B which will be Khmeimim viewed as a single and extremely well defended single entity. So look at dB and play with coefficients, especially with b1 and b3. To take Khmeimim out of action for at least several days–two weeks from the top of my head is 100-120 TLAMs, this is your b1. But the trick of course and the whole point is to know your b3. In reality, in augmented model, which calculates degrading (attrition dB) b3 is merely a multiplier in formation of b3′ (Prime) which is a product of b3 itself, Delta(b) (lower case) which is Defensive Alertness/Readiness, and Tau (lower case) which is Training Effectiveness. You will also need b4 which is Seduction Countermeasure Effectiveness and the whole thing suddenly becomes very complex and hm… classified. But, say, we give our b3 a value of 200 (remember, my question on Saturation Threshold? You know how many missiles of S-300 or S-400 takes to shoot down a single TLAM? Math. expectations, those proverbial Omegas–a huge state secret). Hey, let’s say even 300 but then comes the issue what if there are several 150 TLAM salvos?

    1. A x Alpha=number of US Navy units attacking Khmeimim with a single initial salvo of TLAMs: 2 Ohio-class SSGNs, 2 Ticonderoga-class Cruisers, 1 Arleigh Burke-class DDG–this is your A. We “spread” for each hull, in reality it will be uneven, 5 hulls x 80 TLAMs each (this is your Alpha) = 400 TLAMs in first salvo;

    2. Your B=1, since Khmeimim is “reduced” to a single (which it is BTW) combat entity.
    3. Your b3 we assume as 300–this is how many missiles (in reality calculation is very complex but not the focus of this discussion), here I go overboard, thus making your product of b3 x B= 300 x 1=300.

    4. Your b1, which is the number of TLAMs required to put Khmeimim out of action is 120.
    5. We plug in numbers in our BASIC Salvo dB= (400 – 300)/120= 100/120= 0.8333 = 83.33%

    Roughly 83 per cent of Khmeimim will be obliterated due to 83% percent of “leackers” . This is a hard kill. Reality, however, will be much more complex and I gave you a very favorable numbers for Russians. Now, I am not going to discuss with you whole complexity of a situation which does account for about couple hundreds different variables which factor in all of that, including specific tactical and operational methods designed to mitigate an obvious disadvantage of Russian Forces in Syria should CENTCOM decides (ordered) to bring to bear and it can bring some damn serious forces. But, as I said, how it is done and calculated is in documents which constitute a most serious state secret for any nation with the first class militaries–both Russia and US qualify. Expounding on the augmented models? Again: do you know S-300 and S-400 saturation threshold? As per 800-pound gorilla I already wrote in my article.

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  194. @FB

    Since you have been rather blunt with me…I shall do likewise…either put up or shut up with your salvo model math…

    Still counting how many times I asked you questions which you simply ignore. Do you want me to repeat them yet again? I can even tell you why you are ignoring them, but both me and you we know why.

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  195. FB says:

    Let us now consider the question of the US attack on the Syrian Shayrat airfield on April 6, 2017…

    This topic deserves some discussion that is more than superficial…

    It was my original intent to discuss in a straight line a hypothetical US attack on Russian air assets in Syria…ie a realistic what-if scenario…and I will continue that discussion in further comments…

    However the Shayrat incident, while only peripherally related to any such hypothetical attack …is still instructive…so consider this a small detour that will nevertheless try to be helpful…

    What I have seen here on this discussion site, as well as others, is that ‘ordinary’ people are not dumb …and they simply seek to understand political and military events more fully…the explanations generally offered in the media are often suspect and people realize this…

    There is also a lot of media dedicated to military technology issues…such as National Interest, Business Insider etc…but this writing is generally not helpful at all, mostly because the writers are unqualified to explain important details to the layman…[ie possessing engineering, pilot training, or other military/technical credentials...]

    This type of media is considered ‘popular’ media by definition…like Popular Science magazine for instance…it is often completely unhelpful and unreliable…it can in no way be considered authoritative on anything…only peer-reviewed technical literature can be considered as such…[I have given examples and links to two such pieces of literature previously...ie Lambeth and Riccione...]

    I will also split up this discussion of Shayrat into two separate comments…the first a general discussion of what is factually known…and the second a more technical look inside the weapons used and how they actually work…ie the Tomahawk…and the weapons that may be used to defend against it…

    So let’s dive right in…here is what we objectively know about the Shayrat strike…

    The US launched a total of 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles from an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean Sea, from two Arleigh-Burke class destroyers…one of the TLAMs malfunctioned at launch and 59 continued flying to the target…

    The US claimed that all 59 TLAMs hit the Shayrat field, while the Russian military directly contradicted that claim and stated that only 23 actually hit the field…

    It is scientifically pointless to try to determine which of these two opposing narratives is true…

    However…what we can do is to look at all the information available…both pre and post-strike and see what we can learn that is actually useful and beyond dispute…

    Let us first consider what I will call exhibit 1…

    This is a 2013 plan to attack six Syrian airbases, written by Christopher Harmer, Commander, US Navy [retired]…and published by the Institute for the study of War [ISW]…here is that 2013 Harmer paper…[note...it is actually an 'executive summary'...ie a powerpoint presentation, mostly in bullet form, so it is a quick and easy read...]

    http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/RequiredSorties-to-DegradeSyrianAirPower.pdf

    Cmdr. Harmer’s bio is here…

    http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Chris%20Harmer%20June%202016.pdf

    We note here that Harmer, a retired officer, does possess some legit credentials, including flying as a navy pilot and having studied at the USN War College…

    But we also note that the ISW is a neocon think tank founded by Kimberly Kagan…[no need to go into that name and the Kagan clan...]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_for_the_Study_of_War

    Before diving into Harmer’s plan for hitting six Syrian ‘primary’ airfields with standoff weapons…let me put up another disclaimer…this ‘plan’ does not necessarily reflect the thinking or approval of the US navy or any other military or government official…we take this document for what it is…a ‘plan’ written by a former USN officer now working for a pro-war think tank…

    Having said that…let us now look at Cmdr. Harmer’s plan…we start with the title…

    Required Sorties and Weapons to Degrade Syrian Air Force Excluding Integrated Air Defense System (IADS)

    Right off the bat we make an important observation [ie the part I highlighted in boldface]…the plan does not include tackling Syrian air defenses…this is because the plan does not include any SEAD component…it only includes standoff weapons like the TLAM, which are useless against SAMs and IADS as I have maintained from the beginning…

    The second observation is that the plan is to ‘degrade’ not ‘destroy’ the Syrian airfields…Harmer explains the difference in his presentation and I will not dwell on this distinction as it is pretty easy to understand the difference as explained by Harmer…

    Let us now move on to a more important point…ie the number of precision guided munitions [aka PGMs] Harmer estimates to be needed for the objective of ‘degrading’ six Syrian ‘primary’ airfields…[note that Shayrat is not considered by Harmer as a primary, but merely a secondary tier of the Syrian air bases...]

    Harmer’s plan requires a total of 72 PGMs to accomplish the job…exactly 12 PGMs per airfield…

    Of these 12 PGMs per field, four would be Tomahawks…another four would be the JASSM [joint air-to-surface standoff missile...basically an air-launched cruise missile very similar to Tomahawk...]

    The remaining four would consist of the JSOW [joint standoff weapon]…

    It is important to note here that the JSOW is not a cruise missile like the other two…it is a glide bomb…ie a bomb with small wings to increase its glide range…it has no engine like the other two…

    Another difference is in the warhead type…the TLAM and JASSM both have 450 kg [1,000 lb TNT warheads]…the JSOW can only carry a bomb half that size [500 lb...227 kg]…

    I will get further into the technical specifics of these weapons in my separate follow-up comment on Shayrat…but here is basic info on the three PGMs proposed in Harmer’s plan…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomahawk_(missile)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-158_JASSM

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-154_Joint_Standoff_Weapon

    A quick review of these weapons…

    The TLAM and the JASSM can be considered basically the same thing…they carry the same 1,000 lb warhead…the main difference being the platform from which they are launched…the former being ship launched, the latter aircraft-launched…

    The TLAM has a longer range, but they are both powered by the same small turbofan engine…[more on that when we get into the TLAM specifics...]

    The JSOW packs half the warhead punch as noted…and also much shorter range…its maximum range is only 130 km [80 miles]…and that is only from a high-altitude release…dropped from low altitude it can only reach 22 km [13 miles]…

    We recall here that in 2013, the Russian military was not present in Syria…and it would have been considered doable for US aircraft to come within 100 km of their target, especially considering the poor state of repair of the Syrian air defenses at that time…many of the sites having been overrun and seized by militants…

    So let’s step back and consider the amount of destructive power that Harmer estimated for each airfield…ie four TLAMs…four ALCMs…and four glide bombs…

    The combined equivalent of those 12 PGMs per target is equal to 10 Tomahawks…since the JSOWs only pack half the punch of the other two…

    Point number one…

    Let us assume that 59 Tomahawks hit Shayrat…that is six times what this navy man estimated would be required to knock these airfields out of action at least for some amount of time measure in weeks, if not months…

    Point number two…

    The Shayrat field was up and running with aircraft taking off and landing within hours of the strike…

    Conclusion…

    Assuming all 59 TLAMs hit the field, six times more than required by the pre-strike estimate of a qualified naval officer…they obviously did not do enough damage to preclude flight operations for more than a few hours…

    Combat Effectiveness of the Shayrat strike must be assessed as extremely low…

    Now let us move to a far more interesting question…one that reveals who is fibbing and who is not…

    One of the reasons that flight operations were able to resume almost immediately is the fact that neither of Shayrat’s two runways were damaged…

    This was noticed by many…but was quickly explained away by officials…starting with Trump and on down the line…that runways weren’t actually targeted…

    This was done because runways are ‘easy to repair’ and the TLAM does not pack enough punch to take out runways…

    Let’s start by stating categorically that we have no way to determine whether the navy actually targeted the Shayrat runways or not…

    However…we can look at what Cmdr. Harmer said about targeting runways in his 2013 plan…

    We note first that Harmer’s executive summary mentions runways 20 times…

    On page 7 we find a large page heading…

    ‘Analysis: Requirements to Degrade Runway and Support Structures’

    On that page Harmer discusses the differences between ‘destroying’ and ‘degrading’…the Syrian fields…

    He first lists a set of bullet points relating to destroying an airfield…let’s leave that aside and move down to the list that talks about ‘degrading’ the airfield…

    We note first of all that the very first bullet point states this…

    ‘Degradation is achieved by damaging the runway enough to preclude flight operations…’

    The second bullet point states this…

    ‘…US long range PGM were not designed to completely destroy runways, but will cause some cratering of runways, enough to preclude flight operations…’

    The final bullet point states this…

    ‘…Once PGM crater a runway, repairing is a lengthy process that requires specialized equipment, materials, engineering support, and significant manpower…’

    On the next page…p 8…we see even more interesting stuff…

    This page starts off with listing the number of weapons we have already described…ie four each of TLAM, JASSM, and JSOW per Syrian airfield…for a total of 12 PGM per airfield…

    Right after that we get to this…

    ‘Targeting runways: Desired Mean Point of Impact [DMPI]‘

    And right under that…

    ’8 DMPI per SAF AB runway at roughly 1,000 ft intervals’

    So not only are runways the first target discussed, but even the matter of how they should be hit…ie at 1,000 ft intervals…is outlined…

    Are we beginning to smell something ‘fishy’ in the ‘official’ explanation that runways were not targeted in the Shayrat strike…?

    Before leaving page 8, we note that targeting of ‘support’ infrastructure is discussed only after the discussion about targeting runways…

    This gives us a clue as to what the primary target would have been in the Shayrat strikes…

    And it comes as no surprise to anyone that knows anything, or has first hand experience in actual air combat operations…that runways are always the first and primary target when striking an airfield…

    As an example let’s look at a credible account of what is involved in hitting enemy runways, in this case during the first Iraq War…written by Group Captain Andrew Vallance – Director of Defense Studies for the Royal Air Force…

    https://www.raf.mod.uk/history/AirPowerintheGulfWar.cfm

    The RAF was tasked with hitting the Iraqi runways with their Tornado jets …

    ‘…The Tornado GR1s – thanks to their uniquely effective JP233 airfield denial munition – made a particularly distinguished contribution to the counter-air element of the campaign…’

    ‘…The Tornados were tasked to attack over a dozen Iraqi main operating bases at low-level supported by F-15 fighters, F-4G ‘Wild Weasels’ and EF-111A ‘Raven’ electronic countermeasures aircraft…’

    ‘…After four nights the air opposition had been effectively neutralised, for the loss of four Tornados. Eight Iraqi main operating bases had been closed while the operations of several others had been markedly reduced…’

    Now why if hitting runways is so unimportant, did the RAF lose four Tornados along with their two-man crews…for a total of eight airmen downed…?

    The official excuse for not hitting runways at Shayrat can be definitely labeled as patently absurd…

    This kind of crap is put out because they think they can fool the public, many of which may not have direct knowledge of these matters…

    As for the idea that TLAMs don’t pack enough punch to completely destroy a runway…well that much is true…it takes a 2,000 lb or even 5,000 lb bomb to do that…

    But the TLAM’s 1,000 lb warhead is more than enough to cause very serious damage…a 1,000 lb bomb will make a crater of 20 to 30 ft…

    And if anyone tries to tell you that this is easy to fix…then why don’t we see our city freeway repaved overnight, instead of taking a year…?

    It is not difficult to imagine the kind of construction machinery, materials and manpower required to fix a runway crater of 30 ft…

    Here are some pictures of a crater left by a 1,000 lb bomb…[from Vietnam...and just for fun...]

    http://www.angelfire.com/tx3/247infantry/crater.html

    I could go on and point out that the Shayrat runway is pavement, not concrete…and is therefore much easier to damage…

    But I think the point has been made…

    So where does that leave us in our initial assessment of the Shayrat strikes…

    Point one…

    The US admits that it did not hit runways, but says it did not try to…

    Everyone who knows anything about these matters finds this excuse totally preposterous…including of course Cmdr. Harmer, who did not write what he did about targeting runways with Tamahawks because he is a dummy who doesn’t know anything…

    there is much more to explore in my next comment…where we will look into how a TLAM works, its engine, airframe, guidance etc…

    PS: I will note in passing that Mr. Martyanov’s Salvo model tells us that it would take 100 TLAMs to destroy 83 percent of Hmeimim airfield…

    I would say that judging by the 59 TLAMs fired at Shayrat…that this may be a bit…er…optimistic…

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  196. @FB

    PS: I will note in passing that Mr. Martyanov’s Salvo model tells us that it would take 100 TLAMs to destroy 83 percent of Hmeimim airfield…

    Now you understand why I am blunt in calling you full of shit?

    1. It is 120 not 100, to start with.
    2. For a fanboy like you–it is not “Mr. Martyanov’s Salvo Model”–it is one of the foundations of Operations and is universal across the globe.
    3. Apart from collecting pieces and bits of internet info and then pasting them as some kind of sound analysis, for which you have no background whatsoever.

    So, I repeat it what time now? What are the saturation thresholds for S-300 and S-400? So can you tell me? Or, yet again, you will continue to ignore it?

    Now, try to contradict Murahovsky:

    — Наша система ПВО С-400, которая развернута в Сирии, на авиабазе Хмеймим, чисто технически не смогла бы сбить американские «Томагавки», — отмечает полковник запаса, член Экспертного совета коллегии Военно-промышленной комиссии РФ Виктор Мураховский. — До сирийской авиабазы Шайрат, по которому нанесли удар американцы, от Хмеймима порядка 100 км. Однако для систем ПВО есть ограничительное понятие радиогоризонта.

    Да, максимальная дальность поражения С-400 составляет 400 км. Но надо понимать: это досягаемость по воздушным целям, которые действуют на средних и больших высотах. Крылатые ракеты, которые действуют на высотах 30−50 метров, не видны с такого расстояния просто потому, что Земля «кривая» — шарообразная. Словом, американские «Томагавки» находились за пределами радиогоризонта С-400.

    Замечу: никакая система ПВО — что российская, что американская, — физически не способна увидеть крылатые ракеты на такой дальности.

    Для увеличения радиогоризонта используют различные меры. В частности, в системах ПВО радиолокатор поднимают на вышках. Такая вышка есть и в Хмеймиме, тем не менее, она не позволяет увеличить дальность обнаружения так сильно — до 100 км

    http://www.km.ru/forum/world/2017/04/07/siriiskii-krizis/800203-nash-kompleks-s-400-ne-mog-sbit-tomagavki-vypushchennye-po-

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  197. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Easy there fella…

    You’re getting a little too free in the language you’re directing at me…

    As for your salvo model…yes it is your model…just as if I were to construct a mathematical model of an aircraft’s aerodynamic characteristics…it would be my model…

    I have looked at your math [which you have explained quite inadequately] and acquainted myself briefly with the ‘Hughes Salvo Model’…

    http://weaponsanalysis.com/docs/SalvoModel.pdf

    As I said before…this model has no applicability in a suppression of enemy air defense [SEAD] discussion…

    The Hughes model and all the updates to it appear to be primarily concerned with Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs)

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  198. FB says:

    My comment got accidentally posted before I was finished…

    ASCMs are fundamentally different from TLAMs and ALCMs in that they are designed to strike a moving target…ie a ship…

    The difference as I have already explained is that TLAMs and ALCMs lack any kind of seeker capable of homing in on moving targets…such as radar guidance…either passive or active…

    In summary I find the application of this salvo model completely inappropriate…not to mention that any math model is just that…I have seen math models used very well, and I have also seen them used very poorly…

    Also I must reject your denigration of my source material…

    I have presented here…

    1. a paper published in the Aerospace Power Journal…the flagship technical publication of the USAF…

    2. A paper published by one of the most noteworthy air combat experts of our time…Col. Riccione…

    3. A paper by an acknowledge SEAD PhD-level expert and RAAF [retired] aviator…

    4. An article by an RAF captain and Director of Defence Studies for the Royal Air Force…

    What are some of the sources you have presented…

    I have seen none…

    My position remains the same…

    I have considered your model and find it completely unrelated to the subject under discussion…

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  199. @FB

    You’re getting a little too free in the language you’re directing at me…

    Nope, I call you for what you are. An amateur hack, who obviously doesn’t understand what missile exchange is and continues a spread of utter BS, including ignoring answering key questions which are exposing you as a fraud.

    I repeat for n-th time the question–any professional will easily answer it–what is saturation threshold for S-400? I omit here S-300–I made it easy for you, just S-400. So, quoting you, “put up or shut up”. I can see why this question runs you into stupor–it will demolish all your BS you spewed here in an instance in relation to Syria. Now, here is from your hyperlink in response to your another ignorant BS, I quote your BS below:

    The Hughes model and all the updates to it appear to be primarily concerned with Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs)

    This, however, what your source puts into the description of SAMs:

    SAM Defense The SAM defense strategy attempts to assign a fire control channel to each ASCM and decoy in the salvo.

    Remind me please, my memory is a bit fuzzy here, what is SAM? (wink, wink).

    Evidently you do not understand (it is expected) why I stressed a Missile Exchange and, obviously, you never opened Captain Hughes’ book (I own one) with the title Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat, which gives a superb transition from Osipov-Lanchester to salvo Model. But since you are obviously way out of your depth, here is a little bit of education for you which gives (you don’t need to know Russian) an Osipov-Lanchester approach to…. armored warfare. It is from the Operational Research textbook from 1980s from Armored Warfare War College (Akademia Bronetankovykh Voisk) in late USSR. Math doesn’t change, coefficients, of course, do.

    Here comes a bomb for you. Tell me then, why ground warfare uses mostly Osipov-Lanchester Model? If you will answer this correctly, the whole BS about “mostly ASCM” will come crushing down on you. So, we start clock (or counter) on how long or how many times it will take you to avoid answering this question, by ignoring it. I repeat it again: Why ground (such as armored) warfare concerns itself mostly with Osipov-Lanchester Model? Is question understood? You can distill at least some answers even from this post of mine, until I will completely expose you as a Clanciesque fraud. As one real professional wrote in his superb book:

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  200. FB says:

    Your obvious hysteria and name calling is beneath the dignity of any professional I know…

    This petulant reaction also proves that you know you have lost the argument…it’s like the kid who gets punched out and then runs away screaming insults…

    As for your mention of shipboard SAMs…yes the Salvo model talked about in that paper I linked to talks specifically about the threshold of a warship’s SAM defenses to withstand enemy attack by anti-ship cruise missiles…

    Now that you have confirmed that this is your analogy to a possible SEAD operation against Russian air assets in Syria…it makes it very easy to debunk…

    The problem with your scenario is that a ship-borne SAM cannot go anywhere…it is on the ship and stays on the ship…it cannot disperse its launchers and radars across hundreds of square kilometers in a matter of minutes…

    This type of fight is all about how much punishment the defending ship and its SAMs can withstand before they fold…obviously this is a very simple scenario and is nothing more than a numbers exercise…

    If you are trying to tell me that this bears any kind of resemblance to the scenario of a SEAD operation against RF forces in Syria…then I have to dismiss this as complete frivolity…

    And while I’m at it…your math is quite nonsensical…

    You present the salvo model as a means to solve for the most important variable…ie how many cruise missiles would it take to overwhelm a stationary defense…?

    In your previous statement where you outlined the steps of your calculations…you said this…

    ‘…4. Your b1, which is the number of TLAMs required to put Khmeimim out of action is 120…’

    But wait a minute…?

    Where does this number of 120 TLAMs come from…you have presented this as one of the ‘assumptions’…ie a known variable in the equation…or one of the known coefficients…whatever…

    I thought the whole point of the salvo model was to figure out how many missiles it takes to overwhelm the defender…?

    But it appears that in your salvo ‘model’ we already know that it takes 120 missiles…the only thing we don’t know is how much damage will be done…in percentage terms…ie in your ‘worked example’ 83 percent…

    So this is your ‘model…?’

    Also I will just finish by saying that this is more a mathematical simulation than an actual ‘model’ in the proper sense of the terms…

    When real professional talk about numerical methods we talk about things like finite element analysis in structural engineering, or computational fluid dynamics in the area of aerodynamics and thermal science…this is quite involved mathematics that is mostly transparent to the user…

    What you have presented here is a very simple algebraic construct…which appears to have started with the study of ballistics…ie gunnery…but has been ‘updated’ to reflect more modern weapons…

    Any person engaged in real science knows that simulation tools have their place…in the case of this tool I would say it is a very minor place…

    The fact that you have been harping on this as the ‘final word’ on this issue tells me that you do not bring a balanced approach to the question…

    Bottom line: I am not impressed with this tool, nor they way you apply it…

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  201. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    ‘…I repeat for n-th time the question–any professional will easily answer it–what is saturation threshold for S-400?…’

    Any professional what…?…wrestler…figure skater…pianist…?

    A saturation threshold in the context of an S400 defending against incoming missiles implies two possible scenarios…

    1. The attacker knows the location of the S400 and is directing all his fire on that location [including TLAMs...the attacker's missiles need not have any kind of radar-homing seeker because the attacker knows the position of the S400 and the S400 has decided to stay exactly where it is...deciding that the weapons designers who provided for a truck chassis and wheels obviously didn't know what they were doing...for reasons known only to God...A. Martyanov...and possibly Osipov, Hughes and Lanchester...

    2. The attacker does not know the location of the S400 components and needs to find them first before attacking with weapons designed to target a SAM...specifically HARM missiles which seeks out radio emissions from SAM radars...and homes in on them...

    If number 1, then yes your salvo model could be used to game some grade-school level scenario of two opposing forces firing at one until one guy runs out of bullets...I'm sure there are good video games along these lines...

    If number 2, then what...?

    The AGM88 HARM missile is carried by F16, F18, F35, Tornado and other aircraft...it has a maximum range of 150 km...that's a high altitude shot...typically the aircraft will be flying low and using terrain masking to hide from powerful SAM radars...making its missile range only several tens of km...

    The range of S400 anti aircraft missiles is 400 km...I would like to the see the F16 driver who is going to volunteer for this mission of flying around over Russian airspace in Syria, trying to figure out where the S400 is hiding...

    But let's say the US manages to find the location of the S400 and direct some shots at it...the Pantsir goes with every S400 like a shadow...designed to take out Harms like taking candy from a baby...

    After the initial Harms are defeated then what...I guess in your scenario the S400 crew, knowing now that their location is known to the enemy decides to do what...?

    Why of course they decide to stay right where they are...after all they have been taught all about Lanchester and Hughes...

    Or perhaps someone has the bright idea to pack up in five minutes and get the hell out of there...

    Now let's look at what the US does...it has now discovered the location of the S400...Of course they also guess correctly that the S400 crews...being disciples of Hughes and Lanchester are going to stay put...

    They thereby launch a volley of 450 Tomahawks [500 million bucks] from eight warships that somehow sneaked up over the last two weeks…because they know for sure that the S400 has stayed exactly where it was last seen…

    the tomahawks arrive about one hour and 20 minutes later and the S400 and Pantsir are eventually overwhelmed…

    Hooray…Lanchester, Osipov, Hughes and Martyanov have won the battle…

    Or perhaps I forgot I was in disneyland and talking to one of the seven dwarfs…

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  202. Erebus says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I note that the coefficients in your insert (red boxes) appear to be qualitative terms, sorta like the “Q” of a resonance. Are there mathematical formulas from which these terms are themselves derived (as a resonance’s “Q” is), or are they purely qualitative, IOW arbitrary estimates based on more or less formal assessments of intelligence reports?

    If the latter, as the values assigned to the coefficients could have a pretty dramatic impact on the end values generated by the equations, one can see how bad intelligence/assessment can easily result in one side “bringing a knife to a gunfight”. In particular, as the USM seems to find itself caught flat-footed every time the Russians make a move, it indicates that the USM badly needs to update its coefficients.

    I also note that the definition of b3′ uses terms not defined elsewhere on the page. What is b3′?

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  203. @Erebus

    Are there mathematical formulas from which these terms are themselves derived (as a resonance’s “Q” is), or are they purely qualitative, IOW arbitrary estimates based on more or less formal assessments of intelligence reports?

    Excellent question. Most of them–empirical data, hence mathematical expectations. For example, Scouting Effectiveness (lower case Sigma) depends on a huge variety of factors from weather, to ECM environment, to even Intelligence Factors (used in simplified Stochastic Models), so vast arrays of data are needed to assign a value. And no, they are NOT arbitrary. Another example, all combat training (lower case Tau) in armed forces is quantifiable, from simplest life fire exercises with small arms on the range (deviations on targets are measured easily for squad, platoon, etc.) to a very complex use of high-end weapon systems all of which is measured in the final both simulated (and scored) combat exercises to an actual combat, when possible. That is why it is possible to quantify the training of personnel from simplest Bad-Good, to a plethora of combat data which allows to identify strong and weak points in combat performance. So, there is mathematical apparatus to calculate these math expectations.

    If the latter, as the values assigned to the coefficients could have a pretty dramatic impact on the end values generated by the equations, one can see how bad intelligence/assessment can easily result in one side “bringing a knife to a gunfight”. In particular, as the USM seems to find itself caught flat-footed every time the Russians make a move, it indicates that the USM badly needs to update its coefficients.

    My book theoretically should be in print sometime early 2018–I do address there this question, we are talking about really dramatic, in fact stunning, several generations long gross underestimation and misrepresentation of pretty much most of data and capabilities which were coming from the Soviet Union, and now Russia–from social and cultural issues to pure military assessments which were for the lack of better word–bi-polar. There is, however, no denial of US Navy being the most powerful Navy in the world, even degraded for its internal problems. For how much longer will it stay this way? Well, it is a very interesting question to ponder.

    What is b3′?

    It is number of hits denied to A by defender counterfire, degraded for defender alertness and training deficiencies. Those “additional” coefficients are present in the so called Embellished Salvo Equations and give somewhat more precise picture of the attrition . In general, I prefer to deal with Embellished (sometimes called Augmented) Salvo Equations. As I posted above somewhere, before getting embroiled with exchange with some people here, I posted above a link to two superb post-graduate theses of Ozdemir and Ho which give a very good introspective (and scaling) to all those values. Very clear and very easy to understand. I hope I answered your questions.

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  204. @FB

    Hooray…Lanchester, Osipov, Hughes and Martyanov have won the battle…

    Yep. So, since you continue to ignore all my pointed questions I will, finally, answer for you (from Russian sources, not from Wiki–but if you’d your due diligence…) S-400′s Saturation Threshold is… drum roll… its ability to stay in combat which its ability to engage and destroy targets and it is ability to engage: track, lock, develop firing solution for 36 of them while shooting (obstrel) 72 SAMs of different types . Does it give you now some impression of scale of things? Do you understand now why Pantsirs and S-300 were brought in? You may also check, while at it, how much time does it take to reload S-400, but I am sure US military professional know this already. Now comes this very interesting question–How Many SAMs are required for a reliable (and you, of course, know that “reliability” is a probability) to shoot down a single TLAM? Tick tock, tick tock. Google, Google, dive, dive. Good luck with finding any relevant answers for that. But since you continue to ask amateur questions, such as this:

    I thought the whole point of the salvo model was to figure out how many missiles it takes to overwhelm the defender…?

    No, the whole point of Salvo Model, if you didn’t notice, the same as of Osipov-Lanchester Model is the SAME–to find FER (Fractional Exchange Rates) or, in layman’s lingo, attrition of opposing forces. How could you miss that, I really am puzzled. Remember, I gave you good (highly professional) references to the post-graduate theses of the graduates of US Naval Post-Graduate School? But to calculate your force (that is in Russian Naryad Sil) you will need to start with this (one of very many other relevant things):

    As per this:

    Your obvious hysteria and name calling is beneath the dignity of any professional I know…

    OK, let’s say I am hysterical. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that I already pointed out about your demagoguery, not to mention my huge suspicion that you don’t know any serious military professionals with appropriate, as you say “credentials”, since they would be pretty much telling you, with some minor deviations, same things I do.

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  205. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Martyanov…

    Whatever education you may have on technical matters, it obviously has not yet reached the invention of the wheel…

    You will notice that all modern air defenses have wheels…ie they can quickly move somewhere else…there is a reason for this and the mobility part of air defenses has been the game-changer that SEAD theoreticians are still grappling with…

    The fact that mobility does not come into your ‘model’ or your thinking betrays a complete lack of even rudimentary grasp on the subject matter…

    The moment I saw your article premise where TLAMs and ALCMs are overwhelming RF air defenses I realized this was written by someone who has no business writing about air combat…but I was not going to say that due to simple human respect…which you have now thrown to the wind anyway…

    And yes SEAD is all about air combat…aircraft firing anti-radar missiles is the only way to fight SAMs…that is kindergarten level…

    You will notice in the literature I pointed to on Serbia that even the stationary S-125 SAMs were targeted by aircraft with HARMs…[this was also the case with Iraq in 1990...]

    The Serb SAMs were hard to find even though they were not mobile…but their locations were not known by Nato…

    ‘Adm Leighton Smith, USN, retired, commander of NATO forces in Bosnia from 1994 to 1996, said that the resulting efforts to neutralize the Serb IADS were “like digging out potatoes one at a time.”’

    That’s from Lambeth…page 9…

    http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/ASPJ/journals/Volume-16_Issue-1-4/sum02.pdf

    That’s the whole point of a SAM…it is like a leopard…it lies in ambush, its presence undetected by its prey…waiting for one to wander into its kill zone…

    Now you are trying to tell me that a state of the art mobile SAM system is going to sit there like a set piece on a chess board…bolted to the ground…and fire back and forth like two artillery cannons…

    That is completely ridiculous on its face…and even the layman with no real knowledge on this can see the soundness of this statement…

    Let me just state here categorically that this salvo model that you are pushing as some kind of ‘insight’ into a hypothetical US attack has absolutely no place in this discussion…

    It is like someone trying to push Einstein’s theory of relativity into a discussion of aerodynamics of aircraft or thermodynamics of combustion engines…

    It is ludicrous…like pounding a square peg into a round hole…

    I am quite amazed that somebody would have the gall to come here to argue such nonsense…

    And then continue to do so with ever more hysteria when someone with actual knowledge of the subject matters exposes this sham…

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  206. Let me just state here categorically that this salvo model that you are pushing as some kind of ‘insight’ into a hypothetical US attack has absolutely no place in this discussion…

    LOL. Ok, do you want me to switch to Osipov-Lanchester Model? BTW, it proved itself highly accurate in Iwo Jima, among some other places. We, certainly, can review a Network Model or how Linear Programming is used. No problem, since this discussion gets this way. But then again, questions:

    1. What is usually a criterion of a success in operation?
    2. What is that, below?;-)

    3. Do you need me to go over Network Model?
    4. What posting here some references to the general review of fighting doctrines of US Air Force from a magazine where there is not a single model discussed achieves? I understand that you are waxing poetic here:

    That’s the whole point of a SAM…it is like a leopard…it lies in ambush, its presence undetected by its prey…waiting for one to wander into its kill zone…

    But it doesn’t explain the reason for you to continue to post a total BS when the location of the S-400 and S-300 around Khmeimim:

    a) is well known, especially with the modern ISR complex and especially in semi-desert environment. Hell, they even have photos on the internet of those S-400 and S-300 there, in their permanent enclosures (pads).

    b) S-400 and S-300 are going NOWHERE from their fixed positions and that is why they have Pantsirs guarding them, like here:

    My question, however, of course not answered by you, you, being, obviously too busy trying to post here irrelevant POS, is this:

    You continue with this crap of yours about irrelevant and inapplicable “lessons” of Serbia and Iraq, despite the fact that, in accordance to your own “source”, namely of USN aviator Mr. Harmer whose “credentials” obviously impressed you (obviously I for now withhold mine), look what he even writes (your source, not mine):

    Target requirement: We assess that 6 primary SAF airbases (AB) are in current operational use, and that a total of 12 PGM targeted at each AB will significantly degrade the ability of SAF to operate from those Abs.

    Initial strike requirements per SAF AB to degrade the physical infrastructure:

    4 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM)

    4 Joint Air to Surface

    Standoff Missile (JASSM)


    4 Joint

    Stand Off Weapons

    (JSOW

    You see, TLAMs are present in any scenario, so are other stand-off weapons. Hey, I merely use your sources. Here is what he posts too–from the same source you gave us all:

    We assess that a maximum of 100 SAF fixed wing aircraft are operable. We have identified a total of 109 aircraft bunkers or pads at the six primary SAF ABs.

    Initial strike will render primary airbases unusable. As a result:

    Operable SAF aircraft will be unable to reposition to secondary airbases

    Reconnaissance assets can easily identify exact locations of operable aircraft

    Secondary strike requirements

    109 TLAM, 1 X per operable aircraft or aircraft bunker or pad

    SAF aircraft in the open can be targeted with TLAM bomblet

    SAF aircraft in bunkers can be targeted with TLAM unitary warheads

    Secondary strike total weapons requirements

    109 TLAM, 1 X per aircraft, bunker, or pad

    Targeting aircraft, bunkers, or pads: Desired Mean Point of Impact (DMPI)

    109 total DMPI, 1 X TLAM per DMPI

    Sortie requirements

    3 X Navy Surface Combatants to launch 109 total TLAM

    Because you have no clue what are you talking about, you, of course, never heard about saturation strikes. That is why you do not understand the issue of:

    1. Difference of Object and Zonal Air Defenses;
    2. You still believe that S-300 and S-400 installations will NOT be attacked by TLAMs (I omit here the issue in my first posts to you, remember–I was talking about 2 US Navy CBGs? Do you know why?), nor are you willing to answer ANY substantive weapons’ related question. Such as, why Pantsirs are there, next to S-400?
    3. Now the main one: S-300 and S-400, Pantsirs etc. are there to defend the base which is stationary, fixed object and which goes nowhere.

    So, you decide how you want to continue to humiliate yourself. But I posted above several basic questions and now that you know what is (plus-minus) saturation threshold for S-400 can you provide any numbers to play with? Let’s go with Lanchester Model. So what will be your attrition coefficients? ;-)

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  207. @FB

    That is completely ridiculous on its face…and even the layman with no real knowledge on this can see the soundness of this statement…

    LOL. Wasn’t it you who stated this:

    When real professional talk about numerical methods we talk about things like finite element analysis in structural engineering, or computational fluid dynamics in the area of aerodynamics and thermal science…this is quite involved mathematics that is mostly transparent to the user…

    What you have presented here is a very simple algebraic construct…which appears to have started

    with the study of ballistics…ie gunnery…

    but has been ‘updated’ to reflect more modern weapons…

    Actually, you almost got this one right in terms of gunnery, except, and I am answering yet another my own question to you, having abandoned any hope of reading an answer from you. Here is the answer: it is difficult to use Salvo Model for ground warfare since… drum roll… you can not shoot down artillery shell or a bullet from M-16 or AKM. In case of Khmeimim–you can shoot down TLAMs. That is Khmeimim has an active defensive mechanisms (there are also static ones) which make a case for Salvo Model. But since we are still at TLAMs–you decide yourself if I need to do it myself, that is finding your BS about not attacking some IADS, but here is what US Navy officially states:

    1996
    Sept. 3, 1996: Operation Desert Strike begins in retaliation for the Aug. 31 dispatch by Saddam Hussein of 40,000 Iraqi Republican Guardsmen and regulars against Irbil, a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan town 48 miles east of Mosul. Desert Strike attacks Iraqi fixed surface-to-air missile sites and air defense command and control facilities in southern Iraq. The guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) fire 14 Tomahawks. The next day, the destroyer USS Hewitt (DD 966), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Laboon (DDG 58) and USS Russell (DDG 59), and fast attack submarine USS Jefferson City (SSN 759) fire 17 more.

    http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/swmag/Pages/Where-are-the-Shooters.aspx#.Weorm9xryUl

    Here is how FAS elaborates:

    On 03 September 1996, a coordinated cruise missile attack was launched against the Iraqi air defense infrastructure, including surface-to-air missile sites and command and control nodes in southern Iraq. Laboon (DDG 58) and Shiloh (CG 67), on station in the Gulf as part of NAVCENT’s Task Force 50, fired 14 of the 27 cruise missiles while Air Force B-52s, escorted by F-14s from Carl Vinson (CVN 70), from Barksdale AFB [Air Force Base] LA staged out of Guam on a 34-hour mission and fired 13 conventional air-launched cruise missiles (CALCMs) in the early morning hours of September 4th.

    https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/desert_strike.htm

    Any comments on that? ;-)

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  208. @FB

    After the initial Harms are defeated then what…I guess in your scenario the S400 crew, knowing now that their location is known to the enemy decides to do what…?

    Why of course they decide to stay right where they are…after all they have been taught all about Lanchester and Hughes…

    Or perhaps someone has the bright idea to pack up in five minutes and get the hell out of there…

    Yep, they decide to stay and fight and defend what is entrusted to them and to which they gave an Oath. I understand that you never served a day in uniform, but that is what military does–it fights for objectives. But again, this sheer lunacy which you proposing here is such that one is left with one’s mouth opened in awe of this idiocy. Meanwhile, while we at the issue of military duty, read on that:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Samuel_B._Roberts_%28DE-413%29

    or that:

    http://www.defensionem.com/height-776-chechnya-6th-company/

    People die in war, you know?

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  209. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    For those who may be confused by Mr. Martyanov’s continued reference to the ‘Salvo Model’ let me try to clarify things a little bit…

    I don’t say this as an expert on the subject, since I claim no expertise in land or naval warfare…I am simply taking a stab at explaining what I have learned on the subject by a quick perusal of the basics…

    [...In fact I claim no expertise whatsoever...since it is beneath my dignity to do so anonymously on a chat room...my aim is to let the reader judge for himself whether my comments have any utility for them...it makes no sense to say...'trust me, I'm an expert'...that will not bring clarity to any question under any circumstance...]

    First off…the original idea for this ‘salvo model’ was formulated by Frederick Lanchester in 1916…and has come to be known as Lanchester’s laws…

    [Incidentally I am familiar with Lanchester in the context of aerodynamics, where he also made contributions...notably to the 'circulation theory of lift'...]

    [Also it is accepted that the same equations proposed by Lanchester...'were discovered simultaneously and independently by the Russian scientist Osipov'... see my RAND link below]

    ‘…In 1916, during World War I, Frederick Lanchester devised a series of differential equations to demonstrate the power relationships between opposing forces. Among these are what is known as Lanchester’s Linear Law (for ancient combat) and Lanchester’s Square Law (for modern combat with long-range weapons such as firearms)…’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanchester%27s_laws

    I am posting this because Mr. Martyanov neglected to explain the basics that would put this subject into some kind of context…

    The Lanchester idea was then brought into the modern age with the ‘Salvo Combat Model’ which Mr. Martyanov has been talking about voluminously…

    But here is the most important part, as it relates to this discussion…

    ‘…These equations assume that each side is using aimed fire; that is, a force knows the location of its target and can aim its missiles at it…’

    This tells us everything we need to know…

    The salvo model has no applicability whatsoever to SEAD operations…because in any SEAD operation, the attacking force does not know the location of the enemy’s air defenses…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvo_combat_model#Types_of_warfare

    Furthermore…

    ‘…If however a force knows only the approximate location of its target (e.g., somewhere within a fog bank), then it may spread its fire across a wide area, with the hope that at least some of its missiles will find the target…’

    There it is…the only hope is to throw up a massive salvo and try to hit the hidden targets by sheer chance…

    This is exactly what I presented in my prior comment where I worked through a very simplified scenario of TLAMs being fired at a SAM whose location is not known…

    As the above clearly tells us…that is equivalent to shooting birdshot into empty sky in the hope that a duck will fly through one of the shots by sheer fluke…

    Here is what RAND says about the Lanchester model and how it compares to more complex simulations…

    ‘…Most computer simulations deal separately with different classes of weapon-on-weapon interactions and treat maneuver as fundamental, not an annoying complication…’

    https://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR638/app.html#fn11

    There is the crux of the matter…the fatal flaw in Lanchester et al is the idea of ‘manuever’… ie mobility…it is treated as an ‘annoying complication…’

    ‘…Unfortunately, such computer simulations [ie not Lanchester-based but those incorporating maneuver] are then more complicated to understand and discuss. Hence, Lanchester equations continue to have a place in explaining simple points…’

    And finally…

    ‘…For readers interested in understanding the relationship between Lanchester equations and “physics-level calculations,” a recent study may be illuminating… It illustrates how a Lanchester square law can–in simple cases–be a reasonable approximation of events when the opponents approach each other frontally.

    ‘…The authors began with item-level simulations with individual shooters (e.g., tanks) and kill-per-shot probabilities dependent on range. They assumed flat, featureless, terrain. Even in this case, moving to and understanding the Lanchester representation was nontrivial and, in practice, was informed by theory and experimentation with the higher-resolution simulations…’

    Notice the part I have highlighted…

    This is something anyone in science knows…ie that mathematical simulations have earned a place at the table…but ‘theory’ and ‘experimentation’ are still the two major legs of the triad of science…in practice good simulations can add value…but only if they are used in conjunction with the other two scientific methods…

    And to explain here for the layman that when we say in science ‘theory’ it doesn’t mean something that implies guesswork or conjecture…in fact quite the opposite…

    ‘…A scientific theory is an explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can be repeatedly tested, in accordance with the scientific method, by using a predefined protocol of observations and experiments… Established scientific theories have withstood rigorous scrutiny and are a comprehensive form of scientific knowledge…’

    For example Newton’s Laws of Motion are a theoretical construct that allows us to accurately predict everything from the strength of beams in a bridge…to the motion of aircraft and spacecraft…

    No self-respecting scientist would rely only on simulation to argue a technical point…that is preposterous on its face…yet that is exactly what Mr. Martyanov continues to do here…he has completely left out scientific theory and experiment…

    It is not my intention to discredit Mr. Martyanov nor humiliate him…that is never my intention…

    However…objective truth is important…people engaged in this discussion here want to know the best facts available about this question of how a hypothetical US attack on Russian air assets in Syria might unfold…

    It is an important question and therefore deserves careful and serious consideration…

    Unfortunately Mr. Martyanov has failed to act in a serious way…he has thrown up a lot of confusing ‘chaff’ that appears to be aimed only at making people even more confused…

    He has failed to provide basic info on this salvo stuff…and how it relates to the subject at hand…[which it doesn't...]

    Further…he has failed to add a vital disclaimer that is required in any kind of mathematical simulation exercise…ie no matter how sophisticated the sim models may be…it must be validated by experiment and scientific theory [as explained above]…

    I regret that my assessment of Mr. Martyanov has had to end on such a harsh note…perhaps he can bring himself to consider the fundamental problems with his position and try to engage in a helpful way going forward…as any honest scientist would do…

    Bottom line is this…there has never been any case of attempting to shoot at air defenses, whose location is not known, with cruise missiles…not in Serbia, nor Iraq, nor anywhere…[with the exception of ship-based air defenses...where the location is obviously known...]

    And…as far as I know…the ‘salvo’ models have never been applied to the question of SEAD operations…at least in any peer-reviewed literature…

    Therefore my premise from the beginning stands…this is a fantastic scenario without any link to reality…

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  210. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Ok…now I see that you are completely dishonest…

    Here’s proof…

    You quote extensively from the Harmer ‘plan’ for bombing Syrian airfields with TLAMs…

    And you conclude thus…

    ‘…You see, TLAMs are present in any scenario, so are other stand-off weapons. Hey, I merely use your sources…’

    Of course what you leave out is this…the actual title of that Harmer ‘plan’…

    ‘Required Sorties and Weapons to Degrade Syrian Air Force Excluding Integrated Air Defense System (IADS)’

    What part of Excluding Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) are you having trouble with…?

    Where in that Harmer plan does it mention targeting Syrian air defenses…?…it only talks about targeting the runways, support structures and any parked airplanes…

    And as for your comment and pictures of parked S400s and Pantsirs…yes they may be parked now…

    But, as far as I know, we cannot be sure of their exact locations and those pictures do not give us any information on that…[if you have exact coordinates of their locations please let us know...]

    But notice also the wheels on those vehicles…what do you think those are for…?

    To stay parked when a crisis starts unfolding and preparations for a US attack are seen to be clearly in progress…?

    Please tell me if that is what you are proposing…so we all know exactly what you are saying…

    Are you now saying that those S400s and other mobile air defense equipment is going to stay in the place where the enemy knows their location and fire back and forth like the shootout at the OK corral…?

    That would help clear up some suspicions I have about your level of ‘expertise’…

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  211. Where in that Harmer plan does it mention targeting Syrian air defenses…?…it only talks about targeting the runways, support structures and any parked airplanes…

    You do have reading comprehension issues, do you? The point, of course, not IADS but the fact that any operation starts with salvo. In case of Syria it could be a massive salvo. I quote myself, remember this?

    Because you have no clue what are you talking about, you, of course, never heard about saturation strikes.

    Rings the bell? Or you have a very selective memory gaps?

    Are you now saying that those S400s and other mobile air defense equipment is going to stay in the place where the enemy knows their location and fire back and forth like the shootout at the OK corral…?

    Now?! You are slick, man. I guess, sitting in mom’s basement does it to you. If you do not remember, here is quote from me 2 days ago:

    Obviously you forgot somehow that the reason, and I am beginning to repeat myself, is the base at Khmeimim which houses all infrastructure for both Russian Air-Space Forces aircraft, personnel, communications facilities, ammunition and fuel storage, etc.–precisely the types of targets for attacking which BGM-109 was designed. S-300 and S-400 are there to defend those targets, not to withdraw themselves in the middle of launch in progress thus rendering themselves nonoperational during the moving. Anyone who comes up even with the possibility of such a sheer lunacy has to be completely detached from any realities of modern combat.

    and the other one:

    You obviously also have no clue that any CO who gives a command upon detection of enemy’s salvo on “moving” the complex which is there specifically for protection of assets will be in Court Martial immediately, not least because of the fact that while “saving” his S-400 “ass” on the move he broke the radar field and de facto removed the system from combat. I mentioned only one reason, there are dozens of those that your “avoiding” the salvo is a sheer incompetent lunacy.

    http://www.unz.com/article/russia-the-800-pound-gorilla/#comment-2047690

    Sir, you are ignorant badly educated attention-seeking troll–the person who can not plug values of variables into what essentially is a simplest binomial can not have any clue, it became very apparent two days ago . Now, this is my last response to you: I know personally a number of former COs of Air Defense battalions and regiments, including those who commanded S-300 units. I served with the son of the Chief (Commander) of PVO system of Transcaucasus Military District, just a hint. Yes, fanboy, they will stay and fight, any such complex (with the exception of Pantsir and Tor-M2-3, which are specifically designed for a fight on the go) are designed for arriving into position and deploying (razvertyvanie) in it and they stay in it until either they prevail or are annihilated. Now, my advice–if you ever encounter (which I doubt) American military professional try to preach to him that S-400, the moment the salvo is detected, starts packing up and leaving–I think that it will be the last time he will speak to you. I was patient enough with you for three days, still affording you a benefit of a doubt of some kid who wanted to learn something. You verbose and militant ignorance is stunning, no matter how you try to obfuscate it with cadences of utter non-military and anti-scientific Bullshit. So, I am done talking to you. I think you are a very young fellow, so get some tutoring and, granted you pass physical, get yourself into any US Service military academy–they may start you on some things about which you learned for the first time here. Otherwise, get back to your basement and pretend you are something, which you obviously are not. Have a good life.

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  212. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Mr. Martyanov posted this quote from a USN website outlining the history of Tomahawk strikes…in this instance the only known use of cruise missiles against air defense targets…

    ‘…Desert Strike attacks Iraqi fixed surface-to-air missile sites and air defense command and control facilities in southern Iraq.

    http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/swmag/Pages/Where-are-the-Shooters.aspx#.Weorm9xryUl

    He is attempting to conflate this cruise missile strike on fixed and known air defense sites to an actual SEAD operation…

    This is of course misleading…because of the context that is left out…[as usual...]

    We can read a full account of Desert Strike in wikipedia…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_cruise_missile_strikes_on_Iraq

    Here is the interesting part Mr. Martyanov decided to leave out…

    ‘…The strikes were initially planned to be by aircraft launched from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), including aircraft from Fighter Squadron 11 (VF-11) and Fighter Squadron 31 (VF-31), both operating F-14D Tomcats; Electronic Attack Squadron 139 (VAQ-139), operating EA-6B Prowlers; Attack Squadron 196 (VA-196), operating A-6E Intruders equipped with the Target Recognition and Attack Multi-Sensor (TRAM) system; Anti-Submarine Squadron 35 (VS-35) flying S-3B Vikings; and Strike Fighter Squadron 113 (VFA-113) and Strike Fighter Squadron 25 (VFA-25), both operating F/A-18 Hornets…’

    In other words a proper SEAD operation…involving EA6B electronic warfare aircraft designed to jam enemy radar systems…and each carrying up to four AGM88 HARMs targeting SAM radars…

    Some of the other attack aircraft would have been carrying HARMs too…as well as other weapons and bombs…

    ‘…However the strike was instead launched by U.S. Navy surface warships and U.S. Air Force bombers, using cruise missiles…’

    I do congratulate Mr. Martyanov for digging out the one known instance in cruise missile history where these weapons were fired against air defense targets…as can be seen from that USN list of tomahawk strike history…

    And here is some more info…

    ‘…The attacks were primarily aimed at retaliation for the targeting of USAF fighters in the Northern and Southern no-fly zones…’

    As far as I am aware, no serious air combat practitioner or theoretician considers this a SEAD operation…

    Notice the highlighted part about the no-fly zones…that means that the US already controlled the airspace…the airspace was therefore not contested…which by definition disqualifies it as a SEAD mission…

    Taken fully in context…this was a situation where the US already controlled the skies and decided there was no need to mount an aviation operation, where even an accident or equipment malfunction or friendly fire might result in loss of personnel and equipment…

    The choice was made to simply hit the known, fixed air defense sites with cruise missiles…

    The sites were known because having control of the skies, the US ISR aircraft [intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance] like the U2 would have been able to construct a detailed picture of the enemy formations…

    None of this was the case in Serbia…the airspace was contested from the first day to the last…and such ISR missions were hampered…

    We note again here the comments by Lambeth…

    ‘…Because of that persistent threat, mission planners had to place such high-value surveillance-and-reconnaissance platforms as the U-2 and JSTARS in less-than-ideal orbits to keep them outside the lethal reach of enemy SAMs…’

    I really do wish Mr. Martyanov would stop his dishonesty…it would be good for everyone…it would be good for the discussion…

    I have already had to respond to his attempt to use my Shayrat comment in a patently dishonest way…in my very first comment on Shayrat and Harmer, I highlighted the fact that the plan did not include targeting Syrian IADs…

    Yet here he is taking things out of context and deliberately misleading…this is not very good for anyone…

    This comment has absolutely no relevance to a hypothetical SEAD operation against Russian air defenses in Syria…

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  213. FB says:

    You are slick, man. I guess, sitting in mom’s basement does it to you.

    And…

    ‘…I know personally a number of former COs of Air Defense battalions and regiments, including those who commanded S-300 units. I served with the son of the Chief (Commander) of PVO system of Transcaucasus Military District, just a hint…’

    Yeah…whatever man…

    I’m actually starting to feel embarrassed for you…I have never encountered a person who presents himself as serious and degrades down to this level of indignity…

    Of course I realize that you are upset at me…having demolished your ‘salvo’ of nonsense…

    But I must continue to answer ever more noise from you…at what point do you just say ‘uncle’…?

    You say that those S400s aren’t meant to move and will not move even if preparations for a large-scale SEAD operation by the US are detected…

    Well…that is interesting…

    I do hope you send a note to Dr. Karlo Kopp…[an acknowledged expert who seems to consider SAM mobility as an overarching]…and set him straight…

    https://www.ausairpower.net/APA-SAM-Support-Vehicles.html

    Anyone who even glances at this paper will note the amount of energy and analytical effort put into this subject…

    ‘…The subject of Air Defense System Vehicles, examples being Transporter Erector Launcher and Radar (TELAR), and TransLoader (TL) vehicles, or radar vehicles, receives far less attention in contemporary Western defense analysis than it merits…’

    ‘…This is particularly unfortunate given the rapid growth in the mobility of Russian…IADS elements over the last decade, and the introduction of a new generation of wheeled and hardened vehicles. We are observing a deep transformation in the manner of IADS deployment with commensurate improvements in IADS survivability…’

    But of course weapons system survivability is not important according to the Martyanov Doctrine where people are supposed to do everything they can do get themselves and their equipment killed in battle…

    ‘…Perhaps the most famous quote by Generaloberst Heinz Wilhelm ‘Schnelle Heinz’ Guderian is: “Der Motor des Panzers ist ebenso seine Waffe wie die Kanone” i.e. “The engine of a tank is as much a weapon as the cannon”…’

    ‘…The corollary of Guderian’s saying is simply that “the mobility of a SAM, SPAAG or SPAAGM system is as important as the lethality of its missile or gun system”…’

    Even in good ol’ wikipedia we find information [with citations to RF sources]…

    ‘…Ready for operation on a signal while driving on the march (by the signal strength before the start fight) 5 (min)…’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-400_missile_system#Base_statistics

    And of course we will dismiss the thoughts of…

    Dr Alexander Lemanskiy, Chief Engineer on the S-400, Igor Ashurbeili, General Director, and Nikolai Nenartovich, Chief Engineer, of Almaz-Antey, published in the Russian language Vozdushno-Kosmicheskaya Oborona journal, No.3 (40), 2008

    We will ignore these gentlemen since they are also sitting in their mom’s basement…

    Lemanskiy et al observed that several key imperatives were followed during the design process:

    An open system architecture with a high level of modularity, intended to permit follow-on capability growth in the design;
    Multirole capabilities and the capacity for integration with legacy IADS technologies;
    Suitability for the air defense of fixed infrastructure targets, as well as manoeuvre forces;
    Suitability for integration with naval surface combatants;
    The ability to exploit legacy missile rounds already in operational use;
    High operational mobility and deployability;
    High lethality and jam resistance;

    http://ausairpower.net/APA-S-400-Triumf.html#mozTocId422270

    So while I sit in my mom’s basement, I somehow manage to burst every soap bubble that my esteemed colleague who served in PVO manages blow into the air…[PVO means air defense in Russian]

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  214. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    ‘Salvo Man’ says…

    ‘But it doesn’t explain the reason for you to continue to post a total BS when the location of the S-400 and S-300 around Khmeimim:

    a) is well known, especially with the modern ISR complex and especially in semi-desert environment. Hell, they even have photos on the internet of those S-400 and S-300 there, in their permanent enclosures (pads).’

    I recall in earlier comments Mr. Martyanov made mention of the differences in terrain in Serbia [mountainous] and Syria…[flat desert]…

    Let’s have a look at a topographic map of Syria shall we…

    http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map/syria-topographic-map.htm

    What do we see…?

    A north-south chain of mountain ridges stretching from northern Israel to southern Turkey…some of the peaks rising to greater than 2,000 meters [6,600 ft]…

    In the vicinity of Latakia city near the Hmeimim base…we see that just 20 km inland the An Nusayriyah Mountain range…rising to about 5,000 ft…

    Surely the Russian air defense folks are not smart enough to realize that this is ideal terrain for mobile SAM routes…

    Not to mention that SAM mobile radars will be able to ‘see’ much farther when sitting on high ground…

    We notice that even the inland desert plateau sits at a mean height of over 1,000 ft…and is interspersed with several named mountain ranges…

    But of course none of this matters…because the Russian air defenses are designed, equipped and trained to park their highly mobile SAMs and radars in one spot…well known to the enemy…and will refuse to move in case the enemy is seen to be moving into attack position over a matter of days, if not weeks…

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  215. FB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Now, my advice–if you ever encounter (which I doubt) American military professional try to preach to him that S-400, the moment the salvo is detected, starts packing up and leaving–I think that it will be the last time he will speak to you.

    Actually what I said and what would in reality happen is that the S400 battalions [we don't actually know how many there are...] would start moving long before that first ‘salvo’…

    [which wouldn't be a cruise missile salvo anyway...it would be a SEAD sortie by a group of aircraft designed to hunt down and kill IADS...]

    What I have not yet got around to discussing…thanks to about 100,000 wasted words on ‘salvo’ nonsense…is how US planners might approach that kind of operation…

    Or if they would even consider it a realistic option in the first place…

    There are any number of steps that each side would take if such a crisis were to begin unfolding…

    There is much interesting stuff to consider there…none of which involves a cruise missile salvo on Hmeimim airfield as the opening shot…

    I will explain why if anyone is still interested…

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  216. FB says:
    @Erebus

    ‘Echoing Nosy, my thanks to both FB and Andrei for continuing the discussion.’

    Thanks for a very good comment, Erebus…

    Sorry I missed it until now due to the rather spirited exchange with Andrei…

    I think you pulled together very well all of the military, political and diplomatic dimensions in the transformation we are now seeing in the Middle East…

    ‘In my thinking of WTF happened in Syria that allowed the Russians to apparently saunter in and take over the M.E. involves more than one 800lb gorilla.’

    ‘In the first place, the most striking thing about the RuAF’s operations is their combat efficiency. So few doing so much for so long belies a very carefully constructed force plan.’

    Well put…

    ‘However efficient the RuAF were, without equally effective boots on the ground they weren’t going to accomplish much but prolong the bloodshed and destruction. Russian battlefield advice and (my guess) de-facto command then cemented that new knowledge and esprit de corps into battlefield victories. There’s nothing like a few victories to turn battle fatigued soldiers back into an effective fighting force.’

    Again…an important point…

    ‘The 3rd gorilla, and this one is probably 900lbs, is that while all that was going on the Russians turned on a diplomatic-political full court press that totally caught the West flat-footed. If the USM worried about Kalibrs, the US DoS and its EU/M.E. satraps stood slack-jawed as anti-Assad miltants were pre-emptively turned into neutrals (and occasionally joined the SAA), peace talks were arranged and attended, de-confliction zones were created, humanitarian aid delivered, and partnerships formed and firmed with Turkey, Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq, Egypt and of course Syria.’

    And of course… ‘Netanyahu shitting pyramids…’

    I agree that the military aspect is just one dimension…and cannot be considered outside of the political and diplomatic…

    What I have tried to do is to bring some discussion to bear on just the military technical aspects…

    We live in dangerous times and while it is unlikely that Russia and US are going to clash militarily in Syria…there are many influential people who are advocating just that…

    It was only months ago that H. Clinton was spouting the neocon plan to impose a US no-fly zone in Syria…

    If such a program were to be embarked upon…a Russo-American clash could conceivably take place…

    We recall also the incredibly irresponsible Shayrat strike which luckily did not draw Russian blood…these things can spiral quite unexpectedly…

    I sense on this thread that people do want to explore the military dimension…and I will offer commentary as long as anyone requests it…

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  217. peterAUS says:

    Let’s start with:

    I sense on this thread that people do want to explore the military dimension…and I will offer commentary as long as anyone requests it…

    And continue with:

    Now you understand why I am blunt in calling you full of shit?

    Nope, I call you for what you are. An amateur hack, who obviously doesn’t understand what missile exchange is and continues a spread of utter BS, including ignoring answering key questions which are exposing you as a fraud.

    Your obvious hysteria and name calling is beneath the dignity of any professional I know

    Easy there fella…
    You’re getting a little too free in the language you’re directing at me…

    You do have reading comprehension issues, do you?

    I’m actually starting to feel embarrassed for you…I have never encountered a person who presents himself as serious and degrades down to this level of indignity…

    That exchange was…..something.

    Now, admit, I simply passed over all that stuff about US/Russia exchange in Syria. Or anywhere else for that matter. Sorry about that…..

    But, I do have remarks of sort. Yugoslavia/Kosovo wise.

    enough of the Serb IADS remained intact—mainly the persistent AAA and MANPADS threat—to require NATO fighters to operate above a 15,000-foot floor throughout most of the air effort…’

    Sounds ….weak a bit.
    Do I read this as AAA and MANPADS were a major threat for ground attack air assets at the time, too? Or just for fighters ?
    I mean, you can always have a couple of roaming trucks with AAA and MANPADS anywhere to create a threat. Looks, to me, that it was (or is) not so much about the actual threat but domestic “perception management” related to possible casualties.

    In short, the US attempt to defeat Serbian air defenses did not succeed

    That’s one way to look at it.
    Another is that it succeeded well enough to deliver the objective of that “military enterprise”.

    Lambeth also notes that of those 800 Serb SAM shots, most were unguided…ie ballistic shots without engagement radar guidance, as the Serb tactic was to keep their SAM radars off in order to deny targeting by NATO HARMs…

    Most unguided !?
    So….how exactly they were supposed to hit a target?
    To a layman (of sort) it looks as quite effective suppression of air defence.
    What am I missing here?

    the Serbian military strategy was successful, even if the Milosovic regime did not achieve its political objectives…’

    That’s interesting point of view.
    Milosevic regime lost, its enemy won, but Serbian military strategy was successful.
    Quite interesting, actually.

    So, say, possible Iran “military enterprise”.
    Could Iranian military strategy be expected to be as successful as Serbian?
    If yes, not bad.
    For neocons I mean.

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  218. Erebus says:
    @FB

    We recall also the incredibly irresponsible Shayrat strike which luckily did not draw Russian blood…these things can spiral quite unexpectedly…

    Actually, I’ve been wondering about Shayrat in light of Andrei’s models.

    Shayrat was certainly stationary, and apparently not closely defended, yet 59 Tomahawks did very little damage. If the USM’s Salvo Model predicted the destruction of the base, it obviously failed completely. I don’t buy the idea that the missiles were intentionally mis-targeted because this strike was “just symbolic” or intended only to “send a message”. Shayrat was probably ideal for symbolic messages as it is not an important base, but a message is best sent by a successful strike, like the Kalibrs from the Caspian, not by missing the target. IOW, unless the message Trump wanted to send to the world was that “Not only are our Salvo Model coefficients out-of-date, our Tomahawks aren’t any good either”, Shayrat would have been rendered inoperable.

    According to the Russian Defence Ministry, only 23 hit their target, and 36 were unaccounted for at the time. Let’s assume the RuMoD isn’t lying materially. The Tomahawk may be slow, but it ain’t inaccurate while subsequent reports from Syria indicated missiles landing 10s of kms from the target. So WTF happened here?

    Well, the critical coefficients in this case would those representing the target’s defences. If the USM’s Salvo Model coefficients are in fact wildly off the mark, it specifically looks like their value for coefficient RhoB (Distraction Countermeasures Effectiveness) failed to include some critical element that, in the event, sent 36/59 (>60%) Tomahawks astray. If I’m reading Andrei’s models right, and if the USN calculated that 50-60 hits would destroy the base, their Salvo Model should have told them to send ~150 Tomahawks to do the job. It apparently didn’t, so the message backfired.

    I realize this is idle speculation, but if something like that happened, a message certainly got sent… to Washington. IE:“Don’t try this again, kids. It’s all fun ‘n games until somebody loses CENTCOM”.

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  219. Erebus says:
    @FB

    Actually what I said and what would in reality happen is that the S400 battalions [we don't actually know how many there are...] would start moving long before that first ‘salvo’…

    Sorry to butt in here, but if I’m reading Andrei right, he’s saying the opposite about the S3/400 installations at Khmeimim. These have a specific 24/7 job to protect the base, and not simply to avoid getting hit or to provide a wide area “no-fly zone”. If there are S3/400s providing wide area AD in Syria (I don’t know offhand), they probably are mandated to change location occasionally whether threatened or not. There may well be such wide area S3/400s offering a first line of defence to Khmeimim. It’s this versatility that makes them especially attractive, and why everyone’s lining up to get them some.

    Anyway, moving base specific S3/400s would mean compromising base defense for at least that period of time that they were on the road. An adversary would know this and if he expected them to move he would simply mix missile types and salvo timing accordingly. Make the S3/400s move, and while they’re moving nail the base.

    So, they are stationary, at least in the short term and any movement would have to be planned to minimize the temporary shortfall in defensive capability.

    Or if they would even consider it a realistic option in the first place…

    The Pantsirs were installed specifically to dissuade them from so considering it.

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  220. FB says:
    @Erebus

    Thanks for jumping into the discussion…

    ‘…if I’m reading Andrei right, he’s saying the opposite about the S3/400 installations at Khmeimim. These have a specific 24/7 job to protect the base, and not simply to avoid getting hit or to provide a wide area “no-fly zone”…’

    ‘…If there are S3/400s providing wide area AD in Syria (I don’t know offhand), they probably are mandated to change location occasionally whether threatened or not…’

    The pertinent observation here is that we do not know how many actual pieces of Russian air defense equipment are in Syria…

    However it is known that a base S400 [aka SA21] unit is one battalion, which consists of eight to 12 launchers [Transporter Erector Launcher...]…this is the large 8 x 8 truck that carries four launch tubes per truck…

    We can safely assume that at least one battalion was originally deployed to Syria…since this is the base operational unit of both personnel and hardware…it would be inconceivable that some kind of piece smaller than that would be deployed since the battalion is designed to operate as a single unit…

    The public domain pictures that Andrei showed of a single S400 TEL dug in on the base may in fact be ‘parked’ there…although we cannot know if even that one TEL actually stays there all the time, or whether it performs the regular patrols that any mobile SAM unit is designed to do…these patrols are part of the normal operation to ensure crew proficiency and to operational readiness…

    So can safely assume seven to 11 more TELs as part of that battalion that are almost certainly doing what this system was designed to do…ie nearly continuous patrols and exercises…

    Of course we do not know if only one battalion was deployed, even in that original deployment back in November 2015…although we can assume here that it was one battalion…

    A second S400 battalion was deployed this year at Maysaf, Hama governorate…after the Shayrat strike…

    Jane’s website has some imagery…we notice thety have identified four TELs here…but as noted already…there would be at least eight, possibly 12…

    https://web.archive.org/web/20171002012653/http://www.janes.com/article/74500/second-russian-s-400-in-syria-confirmed

    Also important to note that a long-range SAM does not need to be on the airfield in order to protect it…it’s missile range is up to 400 km, so it could protect the base just as effectively from a remote location…

    Terrain and mobility both figure prominently in a SAM’s ability to protect a target…this is especially true of the radars…which gain advantage with height…

    Other aspects come into it as well…such as the probable ingress routes and flight paths of attacking aircraft or cruise missiles [which as I stated previously should be considered self-guided aircraft...]

    The air defense components such as TELs and radars would be placed in the most advantageous position…to be more precise, the battalion command would work out a plan that combines both mobility and placement along those most advantageous routes…

    ‘…Anyway, moving base specific S3/400s would mean compromising base defense for at least that period of time that they were on the road. An adversary would know this and if he expected them to move he would simply mix missile types and salvo timing accordingly. Make the S3/400s move, and while they’re moving nail the base…’

    I think my above comments address that…most people in the general public assume that an S400 consists of just one of those big trucks with the launch tubes…in fact there are at least eight…this kind of information is not provided in the media because, as I have pointed out alreay, the people writing this crap are totally incapable of understanding technical matters…

    ‘…Actually, I’ve been wondering about Shayrat in light of Andrei’s models…’

    Well…I think you know by now what I think of Andrei’s models…

    These kinds of models…including many that are much more sophisticated and take mobility into account [unlike the simple salvo model...]…are the domain of the theoretician and academic…not the practitioner…

    There is more than enough real-world experience with TLAMs and ALCMs and other standoff weapons that coming up with a strike plan would not require any consideration of computer models…

    Andrei’s exclusive reliance on such constructs was to me one of the very problematic aspects of his argument…

    Based on your own comments regarding resonance [a complex field of applied physics]…I suspect you have the background to understand the idea that computer simulations are just one part of the scientific method…

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  221. FB says:
    @Erebus

    [just posted an unfinished comment by accident...again...]

    ‘… I don’t buy the idea that the missiles were intentionally mis-targeted because this strike was “just symbolic” or intended only to “send a message”…’

    Of course not…can you imagine a USN commander who has been given the green light to conduct a missile strike also getting the instruction to ‘miss on purpose’…?

    That is preposterous…and not just for the USN but for any military on earth…missing on purpose is not what military men do…they get ahead by being effective killers…this is a killing business after all…

    Of course there will be a certain segment of the population who choose not to think with their own head…they will believe whatever makes them feel good…

    ‘…The Tomahawk may be slow, but it ain’t inaccurate…

    Exactly…I promised to get into detailed look at what makes a Tomahawk tick and still plan to do so…

    But for now it is enough to say that even during the first Gulf war in 1990…the TLAM CEP [circular error probably was on the order of 10 to 20 meters...[33 to 66 ft]…considering also the substantial warhead of 1,000 lb [450 kg]…this will do a lot of damage…

    ‘…subsequent reports from Syria indicated missiles landing 10s of kms from the target. So WTF happened here?…’

    Again…this is an important question that has not been tackled in a serious way by anyone that I am aware of…

    We can not be certain of exactly what happened, since we do not have access to sensitive information from either the Russians, nor the US…nor does anyone who is willing to talk…

    That does not mean that we cannot bring considerable light on this question…we can do more than just speculate…

    But this is something that cannot be summed up in one sentence or paragraph…I have said here that I will do my best to explore this question in a serious way…

    Square one is to begin by explaining exactly how the Tomahawk works…

    As for the Pantsirs…we really have no idea how many are there…what we do know is that this is a self-defense system for the big guns like the S300/400 etc…

    Although it is also a very capable SAM of its own…

    Judging by the Pantsir’s technical specs…it should be very capable of bringing down cruise missiles with a very high single shot kill percentage…

    A competent pilot in a fighter jet can also knock down a cruise missiles with one shot…the cruise missile is basically a subsonic airplane that is incapable of maneuvering [low thrust to weight...high wing loading...] and has no defensive countermeasures…not even a radar warning receiver [RWR] that a fighter jet has…

    Considering the at least squadron strength of modern fighters at Hmeimim…I would say that just those aircraft and the Pantsirs there could knock down a ‘salvo’ of 120 TLAMs which Andrei suggests as the saturation threshold for that base…

    But that’s another story…I will give the [perhaps technically longwinded explanation] behind that scenario as we examine the issue in more detail…

    In the meantime, I appreciate the questions [and in fact head-on challenges from Andrei if he is still interested...]

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  222. FB says:
    @peterAUS

    Thanks for your questions about the Kosovo air campaign…

    ‘…That’s interesting point of view. Milosevic regime lost, its enemy won, but Serbian military strategy was successful…Quite interesting, actually…’

    Actually…the result of the conflict was not nearly that clear-cut…even from a political perspective…which I will address first, before getting to the military result…

    First we refer to wikipedia…[a very politicized source...but nevertheless a good starting point...]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_bombing_of_Yugoslavia

    We note first of all the wiki ‘template’ of covering battles and military conflicts…these always feature a summary box on the top right of the page, where various points are summarized…starting with…

    1. Date

    2. Location

    3. Result

    4. Territorial changes

    This is the standard format for every military conflict on wiki…

    The ‘Result’ part states either a ‘victory’…’decisive victory’…’indecisive’… or some treaty or treaties that were then signed by the belligerents…

    We note that in the Result category…there is no mention of a victory for either side…here we see first a reference to the Kumanovo Agreement…a military-technical agreement between the belligerents which concluded the war…

    However…legal experts have questioned the validity of this agreement due to the fact that it was ‘coreced’ by use of force…

    ‘…it is doubtful whether the Kumanovo Agreement can be considered valid according to Article 52 of the VCLT [Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties], which states that ‘a treaty is void if its conclusion has been procured by the threat or use of force in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations’…

    The legal arguments continue that in fact to remedy the legal issues arising what is needed is for Status of Forces Agreement to be entered into with Belgrade…’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumanovo_Agreement

    We note here that Kosovo is still legally Serbian territory…although some [including wikipedia and the rest of the Western media prefer to label it as 'disputed'...

    We note that Kosovo is not a UN member state...ie it is legally not a country...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosovo#Independence

    The most important political result however was the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1244...which affirms the territorial integrity of Serbia [then still called Yugoslavia...]

    Page 2 of UNSC 1244 states…

    ‘…Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia …’

    And Paragraph 4…

    ‘…Confirms that after the withdrawal an agreed number of Yugoslav and
    Serb military and police personnel will be permitted to return to Kosovo
    to perform the functions in accordance with annex 2…’</blockquote

    And Paragraph 9 (b) states…

    ‘…Demilitarizing the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups…’

    And Annex 2, Paragraph 6…

    ‘…After withdrawal, an agreed number of Yugoslav and Serbian personnel will be permitted to return to perform the following functions…

    [including]…Maintaining a presence at key border crossings…’

    https://undocs.org/S/RES/1244(1999)

    UNSC 1244 also calls for ‘substantial autonomy’ for Kosovo…the term itself implies Serb sovereign authority over Kosovo…just as Catalonia enjoys autonomy within Spain…[at least for now...]

    So what we see in fact is a political victory of sorts for Milosevic…legally, Kosovo remains part of Serbia…which is what Milosevic fought for…

    Serbia legally maintains control of the Kosovo borders…[although not in practice...]

    So Serbia certainly did not ‘lose’ the Kosovo war even in the political sense…UNSC 1244 was clearly less than what the US wanted…ie legal secession of Kosovo…that still has not happened…nor can it happen until and unless the UNSC says so…

    We recall that only the UNSC has the legal authority to recognize an entity that secedes…which then allows that new country then obtains membership in the UN…

    For example both Kosovo and Palestine are on equal footing when it comes to legal status…

    However…we see that the US has grossly violated the 1244 resolution…no Serbian security forces have been allowed to return, never mind control the borders…

    The US is of course in gross violation of international law as usual…as in the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003…and the bombing of Serbia in 1999 to begin with…

    However the Western narrative of whatever happens in the world is the one that most people are exposed to…not to say inundated with…

    And key facts and details are willfully obscured by the information services…

    I will get to the military specifics in my next comment…but I would guess that some of these details on the political dimensions are perhaps new and useful information for you in any case..

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  223. FB says:
    @peterAUS

    [my previous reply got truncated probably due to an editing error of my own...]

    So just to sump the question of the political outcome of the Nato-Serbia war I will just add a couple of relevant quotes from the UNSC Resolution 1244 I linked to previously…

    https://undocs.org/S/RES/1244(1999)

    In the ‘preamble’ on page 2…

    ‘…Reaffirming the commitment of all [UN] Member States to the sovereignty andterritorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia…’

    This is the meat and potatoes of the matter…we recall that a UN Security Council Resolution is the final word on international law…

    This explicit recognition of the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia [now Serbia] is what Milosevic was fighting for…it means simply that Kosovo remains a part of Serbia…

    Pragraph 4 states…

    ‘…Confirms that after the withdrawal an agreed number of Yugoslav and
    Serb military and police personnel will be permitted to return to Kosovo to
    perform the functions in accordance with annex 2…

    And in Annex 2 we find the ‘fine print’…Paragraph 6…

    ‘…Yugoslav and Serbian personnel will be permitted to return to perform the following functions:…Maintaining a presence at key border crossings…

    That means that Serbia gets to be in control of with states neighboring the Kosovo province…

    All of this amounts to Serbia in fact achieving its political goals…

    I will return to the military question and your specific questions on that shortly…

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  224. peterAUS says:
    @FB

    Well….first, appreciate civilized and measured reply, which, itself, is a quality here.

    I would guess that some of these details on the political dimensions are perhaps new and useful information for you in any case..

    You would guess wrong.
    I carefully followed the conflict at the time, with communicating with actual people on the ground.BOTH sides.
    Both military and civilians.
    Since then, for obvious reasons, have kept studying the conflict.
    Also been keeping in touch with people on the ground. Actually, Serb wise, not so much on the ground anymore…..got ethnically cleansed from their land. With their churches burned, property taken…. the usual Balkan stuff.
    As for this:

    All of this amounts to Serbia in fact achieving its political goals…

    I really couldn’t disagree more with your perception of “winners/losers” in that conflict.

    Before you get into “military question” a clarification, if I may.

    Don’t want to get personal on Internet, but some information is desired before going into that type of chat.

    For my part, briefly, I went through some military/civilian education chain, spent some time in military, achieved some rank and, among other duties, was a staff officer and a C.O. of a,say, battalion sized unit.
    Have some combat experience too.
    How about you?

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  225. FB says:
    @peterAUS

    Let me now address your questions about the military aspects of the Nato-Serbia war…

    I had said…

    ‘…In short, the US attempt to defeat Serbian air defenses did not succeed…’

    You replied…

    ‘…That’s one way to look at it…Another is that it succeeded well enough to deliver the objective of that “military enterprise”…’

    And…

    ‘…To a layman (of sort) it looks as quite effective suppression of air defence.
    What am I missing here?…’

    To cite Lambeth…

    ‘…NATO never fully succeeded in neutralizing the Serb IADS, and NATO aircraft operating over Serbia and Kosovo were always within the engagement envelopes of enemy SA-3 and SA-6 missiles— envelopes that extended as high as 50,000 feet…’

    ‘…The persistence of a credible SAM threat throughout the Kosovo air war meant that NATO had to dedicate a larger-than-usual number of strike sorties to the SEAD mission to ensure reasonable freedom to operate in enemy airspace….’

    We note here that the point of a SEAD mission is to allow the bombers and ground attack aircraft to get to work without worry of getting shot down…

    Ie those bombers and attack aircraft are tasked with actually degrading or defeating the enemy military on the ground…destroying important military targets…weapons etc…

    But Nato did not succeed in inflicting any serious damage on the Serb military…as Andrew points out…

    ‘…Serbia retained its ground combat strength, in the face of overwhelming air power…’

    Here again are the links to Lambeth and Andrew…

    http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/ASPJ/journals/Volume-16_Issue-1-4/sum02.pdf

    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-04.html#mozTocId831933

    ‘…Do I read this as AAA and MANPADS were a major threat for ground attack air assets at the time, too? Or just for fighters ?…I mean, you can always have a couple of roaming trucks with AAA and MANPADS anywhere to create a threat. Looks, to me, that it was (or is) not so much about the actual threat but domestic “perception management” related to possible casualties…’

    Here is Lambeth again…

    ‘…Serb air defenders also sought to sucker NATO aircrews down to lower altitudes to bring them within the lethal envelopes of widely proliferated man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and AAA emplacements. A common Serb tactic involved firing on the last aircraft in a departing strike formation, perhaps on the presumption that those aircraft would be unprotected by other fighters; flown by less experienced pilots; and low on fuel, which would limit their freedom to countermaneuver…’

    Triple A and manpads are always a threat at low level…and there is no real way to take those out as you point out…manpads can be dealt with by countermeasures like chaff to deceive the infrared seekers on those missiles…to various degrees of effectiveness…

    Triple A defense is basically pilot maneuvering…ie get the hell out of there…or the airplane’s ability to withstand punishment…Lambeth notes that several A10 ground attack jets were pretty beat up [despite their armor]…some of them likely never flew again, so they would rightly count as kills…

    But the problem was the credible threat posed by the Serb SA6 mobile SAMs…these can reach a lot higher than manpads…and as Lambeth points out…they forced the hand for NATO air tactics to less than ideal…

    Your question about the ballistic SAM shots…

    These were meant as simply putting up a lot of flak…they obviously had little chance of hitting anything…but it would again force the hand in terms of the attacker’s tactics…

    They were unguided by radar because the Serb tactic was to control radio emissions…which would allow for targeting…as Lambeth points out…

    ‘…The understandable reluctance of enemy SAM operators to emit and thus render themselves cooperative targets made them much harder to find and attack, forcing allied aircrews to remain constantly alert to the radar-guided SAM threat through-out the war… This situation also had the effect of denying some high-risk targets for a time, increasing force-package size, and increasing overall requirements for SEAD sorties…’

    Bottom line is that very little Serb military was actually destroyed…nobody counts this war as a ‘victory’ for Nato…the Serbs caved because of the heavy damage to civilian infrastructure…more on that in below…

    The result in a nutshell is that the Serbs put up an effective defense with what little they had…a lot of valuable targets were denied, and Nato basically turned to intentional bombing of civilian infrastructure…

    This included power plants, factories and even hospitals and schools…the large petrochemical plants near Belgrade were particularly devastating due to release of toxic chemical into the Danube and Sava rivers…

    We recall also that the Chinese embassy was bombed…and even the Serbian television station, which Nato openly admitted to bombing, claiming it as legitimate…

    Even a look at the wiki page says this [in the summary box, under 'Result'...

    '...Heavy destruction of Yugoslavia's economy and infrastructure...'

    That sentence has three citations for further reading...[incidentally, it is always a good idea to look up the wiki references...]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_bombing_of_Yugoslavia

    I had occasion to visit Belgrade two years ago and several large office buildings in the heart of the city…in fact right across from the national parliament…were still standing wrecks…

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  226. peterAUS says:

    the point of a SEAD mission is to allow the bombers and ground attack aircraft to get to work without worry of getting shot down…

    That’s one way to look at it.
    The another is to minimize the threat to within acceptable level.
    The acceptable level depends, first and foremost, on the “military enterprise” objective given by policy makers.
    Or, in simple terms: more risk/casualties go with more important objective.

    ‘…The understandable reluctance of enemy SAM operators to emit and thus render themselves cooperative targets made them much harder to find and attack, forcing allied aircrews to remain constantly alert to the radar-guided SAM threat through-out the war… This situation also had the effect of denying some high-risk targets for a time, increasing force-package size, and increasing overall requirements for SEAD sorties…’

    That’s one way to look at it.
    The another is to see that as an effective suppression of those SAMs.

    Bottom line is that very little Serb military was actually destroyed…nobody counts this war as a ‘victory’ for Nato…the Serbs caved because of the heavy damage to civilian infrastructure.

    Perhaps you could take a look at some writing of Clausewitz?

    How about we both accept we have different perceptions of reality here and move off this topic?

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  227. Sounds like a bit of a cop out to me. You’ve jumped in with both feet wearing military issue boots (no doubt size XXL) then tried pulling rank, then diversions (what did Clausewitz have to say about SEAD BTW?) and now it’s time to move on. Dinner time or something like that?

    I’m left wondering if you dusted off the old uniform and donned it just to get in the military mood to type better? Do please let me know. Thanks.

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  228. Erebus says:
    @FB

    The pertinent observation here is that we do not know how many actual pieces of Russian air defense equipment are in Syria…

    Frankly, I’m not sure how pertinent it is. We may not know the number, but we can be pretty sure that the number is a fraction of the number of assets the USM can throw at them. Andrei’s point was that the…

    … US can unleash whatever it has at its conventional disposal at Khmeimim and it will eventually overwhelm whatever the Russians have there…

    That can probably be applied across Syria, and not just Khmeimim. Without any modelling, if there’s (say) 500 S3/400s in Syria, then attacking Russia’s Syrian bases, ports, command & control assets with 2000 Tomahawks and 1000 F16/B1/B2s (or whatever number’s appropriate), pretty much guarantees those installations will be destroyed. In that scenario, Russia’s Syrian contingent would simply run out of bullets before the USM runs out of things for the Russians to shoot at. It may be a moot point, but I don’t see how one would quarrel with it, or why.

    As this is already well known by all, the above indicates that the Russian AD complexes in Syria aren’t there to thwart a massive attack, but to thwart “rogue” and “symbolic” attacks of the Shayrat sort. In colloquial terms, the S3/400s force the US to go big or go home. In chess terms, their presence puts the US in zugzwang. It’s their move, but the US can’t respond without damaging its geo-political position.

    A mass attack may sound nuts, but consider that Russia’s entry into Syria presents an existential choice for the Hegemon. Since the early ’90s, the primary tenet of US foreign policy and of its defence posture has been the prevention of the rise of any rival who could challenge its Global Hegemony. That that tenet is in the process of being lost in Syria has dawned on Washington, and if losing a few 100 planes and a few 1000 missiles was the total price for holding on to it, they’d have paid it long ago.
    However, the price would in fact be an order of magnitude, or more, higher. The 800lb gorilla, the reason the US hasn’t attacked en masse, is simply Russia’s ability to inflict damage from well beyond the USM’s reach on USM assets supporting said attack.
    Cooler heads know that Peters’ desire to “keep it in Syria” would vaporize shortly after launch. By the time the first 1000 Tomahawks were halfway to their targets, Kalibrs from the Caspian and X-101s from somewhere over the Urals would be on their super-sonic way to CENTCOM, Manama, and ??? with no way to stop them. That prospect, and not moving S3/400s around, forced the USM to stand down.

    With that price in mind, the calculus is obvious. Better to be a chastened Hegemon with M.E. assets intact, than a deeply damaged Hegemon with most of its M.E. assets vaporized. Russia can’t lose much, but the US would lose its presence in the M.E., and with that its Exceptional Hegemony would go into life-support.

    Both sides would have gamed this out and it seems they came to the same conclusions. Russia’s stand off weapons assured that there was no way the USM could stop Russia’s military-political-diplomatic agenda in the Middle East without taking the fight to the Russian homeland, and that remains a bridge too far (Ralph Peters et al notwithstanding).

    As for computer models, I’ve done enough FEA work to know that in theory, theory and practice are the same. But in practice, they’re not. :-)

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  229. FB says:

    Without any modelling, if there’s (say) 500 S3/400s in Syria, then attacking Russia’s Syrian bases, ports, command & control assets with 2000 Tomahawks and 1000 F16/B1/B2s (or whatever number’s appropriate), pretty much guarantees those installations will be destroyed.

    Well…now you have switched the subject from your previous questions and my answers thereto…without any comment or critique on what I actually presented…

    But let’s say this scenario were to happen…the US unleashes a huge salvo of cruise missiles against the ‘Syrian bases, ports, command & control assets’…which ‘pretty much guarantees those installations will be destroyed…’

    Not so fast…60 T-hawks did very little damage to one decrepit Syrian base…[I have started on that discussion and there is much more to consider...]

    Let me just direct you to two articles…the first talks a little about how one might defend such targets against T-hawks…including electronic warfare and shooting them down with Pantsirs…

    http://navyrecognition.com/index.php/focus-analysis/naval-technology/5112-tomahawk-cruise-missiles-proved-to-be-difficult-targets-for-russian-electronic-warfare-system.html

    The second is more technical and talks about the Pantsir design and history…

    http://ausairpower.net/APA-96K6-Pantsir-2K22-Tunguska.html

    We note that a Pantsir is a small self-contained vehicle, short range SAM and AAA…all mounted on a single high-mobility chassis and using its own AESA radar [active electronically scanned array]

    We note also that a Syrian Pantsir killed a Turkish F4 jet five years ago with a single shot…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantsir-S1#Operational_history

    Those would be protecting such sites as well a the big SAMs…

    ‘…Originally Soviet strategic missile systems had been placed in fixed, hardened sites. Newer systems such as the S-300PS/PM (SA-10/20) on the other hand was much more mobile which reduced its vulnerabilities to attack, However, once the S-300 unit was found by enemy forces it was still very vulnerable to precision weapon systems. One of the roles for the Pantsir-S is to provide air defence to the S-300 missile systems…’

    Is all my discussion of mobility now starting to make some sense to at least somebody out there…?

    And that is not even to mention how the T-hawks can be severely messed with by EW…[I was going to get to that too...but somehow I keep covering the same ground over and over...]

    My previous comment was in reply to your question about whether the S400 at Hmeimim would stay put or disperse…

    I pointed out that an S400 battalion consists of up to 12 TELs [Transporter Erector Launchers]…so the one TEL that may or may not be parked at Hmeimim would make no real difference anyway, even in the unlikely situation that it chose not to disperse and remain a sitting duck…as some people seem to posit…

    I wish someone would actually read [or at least scan] those two expert and peer-reviewed papers I linked to on Operation Allied Force [OAF]…

    http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/ASPJ/journals/Volume-16_Issue-1-4/sum02.pdf

    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-04.html

    You don’t have to go very far into either one to get some information that is useful to your question about the ‘parked’ S400 at Hmeimim…

    In Lambeth, in the fifth paragraph we find this…

    ‘…Before the initial strikes, there were reports of a large-scale dispersal of SA-3 and SA-6 batteries from nearly all of the known garrisons…’

    And From Andrew…right in the exeuctive summary…

    ‘…Operation Allied Force showed mobility was the key element to survivability, as the fourth part of this paper shows…’

    And…

    ‘…The first key lesson the campaign produced, was that an opposing ground force must be driven out from cover, to induce the concentration of force required to facilitate efficient targeting and destruction by firepower…

    ‘…The second key lesson of the war was the effectiveness of the passive air defence measures, especially mobility and decoys…’

    And this…

    ‘…The Russian military certainly took notice of Operation Allied Force and this is reflected in fundamental doctrinal and technological changes in their approach to operating and designing air defence systems…

    And…

    ‘…the biggest lesson learnt by Russian strategists was the need to be able to ‘shoot and scoot’…’

    This is why I kicked off the discussion with OAF…it was one of those watershed conflicts in air combat that resulted in rethinking of many aspects of such warfare…OAF is still the go-to case study today in any consideration of air combat against a modern integrated air defense system…[IADS]

    In other words there is a straight line from OAF to the current Russian air defense systems and operational doctrine…

    So clearly the overriding lesson of OAF was mobility…that is clearly beyond any dispute…

    The Russian lesson from this was that they worked extremely hard on getting shoot and scoot down to five minutes on their big SAMs…ie S400 etc…the smaller point defense SAM/AAA like Pantsir have actually been given the ability to engage and shoot while on the move…

    The S400 deployment time was reduced from 10 to 15 minutes during development [10 to 15 is what the previous generation S300 could do...] to just five minutes…cutting those last 10 minutes must surely have been a huge effort…

    And likewise the crew training that goes hand in hand with that…

    As I said in my comments previously…the point of SEAD is to be able to clear a path in the sky for the actual strike aircraft to get to work destroying ground targets [ie bombers and ground attack aircraft]…

    Just reading Lambeth and Andrew one can gain some insight into this subject very quickly…Lambeth starts with a review of the very effective SEAD operation in the first Iraq war…

    ‘…the coalition’s initial SEAD attacks focused on neutralizing Iraq’s radar-directed medium- and high-altitude SAMs with AGM-88 high-speed antiradiation missiles (HARM) so as to open up a sanctuary for coalition aircraft above 10,000 feet…’

    You need that safe corridor in order for any ground attack to be successful…

    As for launching a massive salvo of Tomahawks…I think I have dwelt on that enough…it has no place in any serious discussion on this subject…

    Let me ask you a question…what do you think would happen if the US did decide to launch 2,000 Tomahawks…[out of the 3,500 total they have...ie two thirds of their cruise missile capability]

    ‘…As of 2015, the United States Navy has a stockpile of around 3,500 Tomahawk cruise missiles of all variants, with a combined cost of approximately US $2.6 billion…’

    https://thediplomat.com/2015/03/us-subs-getting-firepower-boost/

    And my follow-up question is what do you think those T-hawks would hit…any S400, Pantsir components etc…?

    PS: USAF has 795 total F16s…and where would they fly from…?[only a small fraction are SEAD aircraft...]

    in the war against Serbia Nato aircraft flew from Aviano base in Italy…a flight distance of just under 400 miles [640 km]…

    US would almost certainly not get permission from Turkey to fly from their territory…even Qatar is questionable…

    but even if they did get the OK to attack Russia… the distance from Doha to Latakia is nearly 1,200 miles [1,900 km]…

    That is a distance greater than the combat radius of any US strike or fighter aircraft…even with full external fuel…in-flight refueling for an armada of 1,000 aircraft…? [would like to see that]

    Only other option is Akrotiri RAF base in Cyprus…this only has two runways and could certainly not support any kind of large air operation…any more than the single Russian airfield at Hmeimim…Even that is nearly 600 miles [950 km]…

    That’s 50 percent farther than Aviano-Belgrade…Lambeth pointed out that a lot of SEAD [and strike missions for that matter] were hampered by fuel considerations…two instead of four Harms could be carried for instance…etc…

    That leaves only carriers…I was going to get into that interesting discussion because there are certainly a lot of Russian generals who would love to throw the formidable forces they have developed with the single goal of destroying carriers…

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  230. FB says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    …what did Clausewitz have to say about SEAD BTW?. .

    Thanks for that injection of common sense into this ‘discussion’…

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  231. FB says:
    @Erebus

    ‘…the Russian AD complexes in Syria aren’t there to thwart a massive attack, but to thwart “rogue” and “symbolic” attacks of the Shayrat sort…’

    I have to categorically disagree with this…

    My entire discussion, starting with OAF and Serbia was to show how difficult it is to actually achieve an effective SEAD…even against a very small and technically primitive force…

    Serbia had far less SAMs than what Russia has in Syria today [not to mention several generations behind in technology]…and yet a 1,000 aircraft armada was not able to fully suppress it after 78 days…

    ‘…Russia’s entry into Syria presents an existential choice for the Hegemon…’

    Agree fully with this…the stakes are very high…

    ‘…if losing a few 100 planes and a few 1000 missiles was the total price for holding on to it, they’d have paid it long ago…’

    Have to disagree with this one, although the numbers you present of possible US aircraft and missile losses if it attacked Russia in Syria are actually realistic…

    US can’t afford to lose that much…it’s [self-generated] reputation as the ruler of the skies would be put to rest once and for all…

    Even the two F117 kills in Serbia made a huge dent in that reputation…

    But the reason the price is not worth paying, is because even with all those losses the US could not remove the Russians from Syria and take control of the airspace…

    That is of course my take on it…[call it opinion if you want, but I believe I am actually arguing that case very soundly...]

    That is the whole crux of the matter…the million dollar question…

    Could the US drive Russia out of there even if they wanted to…?

    My answer is no…while others are arguing that yes they could…but the retaliation would be too high a price…

    I will just say…please make up your own minds when I have finished presenting my entire case…

    I started off by pointing out the obvious flaw of Mr. Martyanov’s scenario…that cruise missiles work against SAMs…they don’t…never have, never will…especially mobile SAMs…

    Now I am having to go over the exact same ground again and again, without finishing up the rest of the story if you will…

    I also strongly disagree with the notion that the Russians would attack US targets willy nilly…just for the sake of retaliation…

    In the case of a SEAD operation [which as I posit is highly unlikely, simply because it has no chance of success]…the Russians would hit back only at the attacking elements…

    that would be the aircraft carrying out the sorties…and the carriers launching those sorties…

    It would also include hitting any nearby foreign airfield supporting those operations…

    It would not get into retaliating at ‘targets’ of opportunity that are unrelated to the US attack…

    That is a sure way towards possibly uncontrollable escalation…which neither the Russians nor US want…

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  232. peterAUS says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    what did Clausewitz have to say about SEAD BTW

    Bottom line is that very little Serb military was actually destroyed…nobody counts this war as a ‘victory’ for Nato…the Serbs caved because of the heavy damage to civilian infrastructure.

    War is the continuation of politics by other means.

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  233. peterAUS says:
    @FB

    There is an interesting trend here.

    Declaring defeats as victories.

    Reeks of desperation.

    Facts are “massaged” to fit the agenda. Sounds familiar?
    Seeing that on “alt-right” side is…….interesting.

    An American analyst with an axe to grind simply uses wrong examples.

    The “intervention” in Kosovo/Serbia/Rum Yugoslavia was a success for Clinton administration.
    The very first “humanitarian intervention”. The template.

    West/Albanians won.
    Russia/Serbs lost.

    Not seeing and accepting that is, well….delusional.

    Fear not. I’ve spent quite some time discussing the issue with Serb military personnel. Same attitude.
    And Albanians, for that matter. They also believe they won.

    Now, Serb military people believe they won.
    Serb civilians from Kosovo, even Serbia proper don’t share the sentiment.
    Especially those ethnically cleansed. From Croatia, through Bosnia to the latest event.

    But, at least, in Serbs case one can understand the rage, desperation and humiliation and, for the sake of “mental health” accept their attitude.
    But seeing that from Americans, on “alt-right” side, well….that’s quite something.

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  234. FB says:
    @peterAUS

    I had cited Lambeth…

    [in reply to your previous objection wherein you questioned my contention that the Nato SEAD operation was not effective and did not ultimately succeed...]

    ‘…The understandable reluctance of enemy SAM operators to emit and thus render themselves cooperative targets made them much harder to find and attack, forcing allied aircrews to remain constantly alert to the radar-guided SAM threat through-out the war… This situation also had the effect of denying some high-risk targets for a time, increasing force-package size, and increasing overall requirements for SEAD sorties…’

    You replied…

    ‘…That’s one way to look at it…The another is to see that as an effective suppression of those SAMs…’

    Fair enough…I’m willing to listen to your argument…please go ahead…

    I will note here the part of the Lambeth quote I highlighted…ie denying certain targets [at least for a time]…

    Also will note a couple of more Lambeth observations…

    ‘…Moreover, unlike the more permissive operating environment in Desert Storm, limitations to airspace availability typically made for high predictability on the part of attacking NATO aircraft…’

    With that statement we are getting away from the realm of opinion and into the the domain of fact…

    By definition…‘limitations to airspace availability’ means there is no SEAD accomplished…

    There is much more to quote and cite here and more technicalities to get into…but the fact that Nato was denied full control of airspace during the entire 78 duration of the campaign…means by definition that SEAD was less than successful…

    Of course there are degrees of ‘success’ and each individual’s interpretation is his or her prerogative…

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  235. FB says:
    @peterAUS

    ‘…There is an interesting trend here.

    Declaring defeats as victories.

    Reeks of desperation.

    Facts are “massaged” to fit the agenda. Sounds familiar?…’

    thanks for keeping it ‘civil’…it was nice while it lasted…

    Let me first recap this discussion…the purpose of my being here is to shed some light on a very specific military/technical question…ie US kicking RF out of Syria…

    I started off with OAF [Nato-Serbia war]…because, as I already pointed out…it is instructive for the scope of this specific discussion…

    [In fact it is considered a watershed conflict in the context of the study of air power vs air defense...as I also previously pointed out...and has been instrumental in the subsequent development of technology and tactics...this is beyond dispute in any credible circle involving air combat]

    You jumped in arguing first that the Nato SEAD operation was indeed successful…based on the fact that US political objectives were achieved…

    I responded by putting up some factual info, including the text of UNSC Resolution 1244, arguing that this ‘political victory’ was in fact questionable

    Now I find myself embroiled in having to defend this position, which actually has nothing to do with the narrow scope of the discussion I have embarked on…

    I do not want to get into that discussion…

    My opinion is simple…and so are the facts…

    UNSC 1244 guarantees the ‘territorial integrity’ of Serbia…that is an absolute fact that is beyond any dispute…if you want to argue that then I will not respond further on this because it is a derailment of my core discussion…

    The Serbs and Milosevic decided to fight because they would not agree to voluntarily recognize Kosovo independence…that is also a fact…see the Rambouillet ultimatum…

    After a 78 day air campaign that was actually bigger than Desert Storm in its air component…the US accepted the ‘territorial integrity’of Serbia…and even that Serbia would control its borders, including within Kosovo…

    the fact that the US has trampled on UNSC 1244 does not make the letter of the law any less valid…

    Israel has likewise continued to trample UNSC resolutions for more than 50 years…but for how much longer…?

    Anyway this is all irrelevant…

    My mistake was going for your bait in the first place and allowing the discussion to get sidetracked…

    If you want to stand on your argument that the Nato SEAD operation in Serbia was ‘successful’ because of the way you choose to interpret the political outcome and UNSC 1244, then I will not contest that any longer…

    My goal was simply to bring OAF into the context of the current issue…ie a US attack on Russia in Syria…

    the basic point being that NATO never managed to neutralize the mobile SAM threat throughout the 78 day campaign…and this is a fact accepted by every credible expert…

    This is a useful starting point for the discussion in Syria…

    Thank You..

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  236. peterAUS says:
    @FB

    Well….O.K.
    Let’s roll.

    You probably get who you are communicating with.

    I am getting an impression I am communicating with a “civilian”. Say, “academic type”.
    Intelligent, educated, well read…well researched…interested in topic(s).

    That’s on plus side.
    On the minus side no practical experience.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but that’s my premise here.

    Because this site is, IMHO, about presenting stuff here we go from my angle.

    I had cited Lambeth…

    I don’t cite much people when actual combat is concerned.
    I recollect my training exercises and real combat I was involved in.
    From running around to speaking with attached pilots.
    And the angle, SEAD wise, then and there was: the defense is suppressed enough so the attack on the primary objective can be successful.
    Key worda: primary objective and successful.
    Success is measured by achieving objective versus own casualties. As in any “military” engagement.
    Or, you lose one plane/pilot to destroy a tank. Not good.
    You lose one plane/pilot to destroy a main armament factory of the enemy. Good.

    I’m willing to listen to your argument…please go ahead…

    Reread what I wrote.
    In my book that is successful suppression.
    If it isn’t in yours it’s fine.

    By definition…‘limitations to airspace availability’ means there is no SEAD accomplished…

    No it does not.
    Limitation is not suppression.
    It’s “harder to do it but can be done” As it was being done.

    Nato was denied full control of airspace during the entire 78 duration of the campaign

    So what?
    NATO had enough control to accomplish its mission given by policy makers.
    THAT is what counts.
    That is why/how it was being done then.

    I’ll use infantry example so we can skip technicalities.

    There is an enemy shooter on a hill.
    MG fires on his position to suppress him, so the assault team can take the hill.
    Objective…..”take the hill”.
    Acceptable cost: none. If one man goes down we abort.

    We go. Every now and then the shooter on the hill pops up and fires a round. So….the assault team has “limitations”. Can’t just stroll to his position. Have to bound, crawl, wait for bursts, communicate….the works. But the attack goes.
    The shooter sees that they are closing. He gives up and retreats back.
    The assault team takes the hill.
    Objective accomplished.

    The squad moves in. The overall (platoon/company) attack goes on.

    Who won that little skirmish?
    Attackers didn’t even nick the shooter. They had “limitations” in taking the hill. They didn’t have “full control” of the approach.
    They accomplished the objective within given parameters.

    That is how military works.

    Compare that to this SEAD thing in Kosovo.
    If you want.

    The NATO objective was to take Kosovo from Serbia.
    Done with acceptable loses.

    The Serb objective was to retain Kosovo.
    Not done. With acceptable loses too.
    The regime in Belgrade correctly assumed that loses (especially infrastructure) will keep increasing above acceptable level.

    I think you see loses as ‘tanks and troops”.
    No.
    The loses are also railway stations, hospitals, bridges and bakeries.
    And the role of military is to prevent that.
    WAR.
    Not a battle.
    WAR.
    Clausewitz.

    Simple?

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  237. peterAUS says:
    @FB

    If you want to stand on your argument that the Nato SEAD operation in Serbia was ‘successful’ because of the way you choose to interpret the political outcome and UNSC 1244, then I will not contest that any longer…

    Not quite.
    I measure the political outcome (again….Clausewitz) by seeing ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo.
    Except that enclave in the North. Occupied enclave.
    THAT is what only matters.

    Not some scholarly writings somewhere.
    Anywhere.

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  238. peterAUS says:
    @FB

    the basic point being that NATO never managed to neutralize the mobile SAM threat throughout the 78 day campaign…and this is a fact accepted by every credible expert…

    If that is the basic point I do agree.
    And, to quote you

    Anyway this is all irrelevant…

    For Syria and the basic premise of the article I don’t much care, honestly.
    I am positive, should it get there it will go nuclear rather fast.
    And then SEAD and stuff won’t mean anything anymore.

    I got into the discussion because The Professor (and you, apparently) do know a lot about particular technicalities.
    My interest, though, isn’t in Syria but Iran, at this stage.

    So, simply trying to put those “technicalities” into big “Iranian” picture.
    And Yugoslav “example” feels closer than the Syrian.

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  239. FB says:
    @peterAUS

    ‘…Well….O.K.

    Let’s roll.

    You probably get who you are communicating with…’

    Yes…I do indeed ‘get’ who I am communicating with…it becomes clearer by the minute…

    As for ‘let’s roll’…well…your ‘mileage’ may vary…

    [make sure to check your tire pressure before you 'roll' too far...]

    ‘…I am getting an impression I am communicating with a “civilian”. Say, “academic type”.Intelligent, educated, well read…well researched…interested in topic(s)…’

    I’m very glad to hear your ‘impression’…

    Thanks also for that analogy using ground combat…I will not question the authenticity of your stated credentials [while posting anonymously on a chat room]…

    As a mere ‘civilian’ I am certainly glad I have a chance to finally talk to someone who has been there and done that…

    ‘…I recollect my training exercises and real combat I was involved in.
    From running around to speaking with attached pilots…’

    ‘Unattached’ pilots are worth talking to also…especially if they are the opposite sex…

    But seriously…do tell more on this interaction with pilots…we could have much to discuss here…

    You can start with the context of those conversations…

    Any particular subject…?

    SEAD possibly…?

    Perhaps those pilots were tasked with ground support…?

    In all seriousness, this would be logical since your experience is in commanding a brigade-size ground unit if I recall correctly…

    So I would assume you would have been present at air crew mission briefings and post-mission debriefings…?

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  240. peterAUS says:
    @FB

    ….your experience is in commanding a brigade-size ground unit if I recall correctly…

    Battalion.
    Staff officer in Corps size unit.

    So I would assume you would have been present at air crew mission briefings and post-mission debriefings…?

    Battalion: Recce. FACs. Transport.
    Helps in understanding attacker point of view SEAD wise.
    Corps:Planing/controlling of Corps size operations. Being a small part of it. As some “air” guys too. Worked together.
    Helps in understanding both attacker and defender point of view SEAD wise.

    Also, being there helps understanding a BIG picture.
    The only picture that matters.

    Subject matter experts are notorious about focusing on their toys.
    Mostly incapable of seeing the full picture.

    Often incapable of understanding that they are a minuscule part of a big setup.
    Of understanding what their expertise is really about and what for.

    Sounds familiar?

    I mean, I do get that some of you guys have a lot to say about particular topic.
    Frequencies, alloys, meters and such. Even only from books.
    That’s fine. Could be useful.

    You, at the other hand, would be wise to get that people would like you to get to the correct point/conclusion based on your facts.
    The problem is when conclusion is faulty.
    Then one starts doubting the facts.

    Sounds familiar?

    So, my interest. Iran.
    Neocon “military enterprise” against Iran.
    SEAD as minuscule part of that picture.
    The part where your expertise could be of use.

    Simple?

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  241. peterAUS says:
    @FB

    Just to complete my train of thought for the moment.

    Comparison Yugoslavia/Iran (possible scenario). The reason I got into this thread.

    Neocons start their thing->Iran sends all its airplanes (as Iraq once upon a time) into friendly country. Say, Russia.
    Conclusion: Iran hasn’t a lost single plane/air battle in the war.
    Serbs, at least, did execute a suicide mission with Mig-29s.
    Respect.

    Iran keeps moving its mobile launchers around and most of the time don’t even emit anything, let alone fire at something.
    Conclusion:
    “..forcing allied aircrews to remain constantly alert to the radar-guided SAM threat through-out the war… This situation also had the effect of denying some high-risk targets for a time…”

    “US never managed to neutralize the mobile SAM threat throughout the 120 day campaign…and this is a fact accepted by every credible expert…”

    “Bottom line is that very little Iranian military was actually destroyed…nobody counts this war as a ‘victory’ for US…the Iranians caved because of the heavy damage to civilian infrastructure.”

    US air campaign destroys most of Iranian infrastructure->the regime accepts international mediation.

    Peace.

    Result: Iran put 30 years back.

    Iran won?
    US lost?

    Not bad.
    For neocons.

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  242. FB says:

    Battalion: Recce. FACs. Transport.

    See…I told you we’d have stuff to talk about…

    So where you qualified as an FAC [forward air controller] yourself…or where the FACs merely under your command…?

    Helps in understanding attacker point of view SEAD wise.

    Not sure I follow this part…but I assume that you worked closely with an ALO…?

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  243. peterAUS says:

    FACs merely under your command…?

    Merely.

    Helps in understanding attacker point of view SEAD wise.

    What is required, SEAD wise, to accomplish a mission.

    Mission is the key.
    SEAD is a very small part of the mission.
    And, it is much more time than space wise.

    In simple terms, attacker needs SEAD of certain level/type to accomplish the mission.

    US/Yugoslavia type:
    Say, the mission is to destroy a bridge of strategic importance.
    One plane is acceptable loss.
    The only SEAD of importance is along the route to and from the objective and around the objective.
    One plane lost, bridge destroyed.
    The defender can have total control of all the rest of the tactical space and all the time and even the objective space all other time…doesn’t matter.
    The mission is success. SEAD was achieved.

    Similar for defender.
    Not the same, but similar…..
    Anti-Assad force, for example:
    Say, the enemy (Russians) have total control of air space. Attacker mission is to hit a bridge (plant charges).
    The only important defense against air assets/attack is during the mission.To and from target and during the actual attack/assault on the object in fact. Actually, if done right, only during the attack and very briefly. The rest is about …..feints, surprise,hiding/running. Or more…unorthodox methods (say, hostages etc on the way out).Anyway.

    TIME is the key, not space.

    From tactical, through operational, to strategic level.

    Back to Iran.
    Objective: destroy a capital power plant. The only SEAD of importance is to and from the objective at the TIME of the mission, and around the objective, of course.
    After that, providing the plant is rendered unusable, Iran can have all the control of their tactical airspace all the time.
    Until the next attack.
    And next….and next….until the objective given by policy makers, is achieved.
    Say, pushing Iran back for 30 years.

    Clausewitz. MIC. Neocon paradigm. Whatever.

    So, that’s about a very brief overview and conclusion/point.

    Experts are now most welcome to get embroiled in frequency hopping, encryption…wafer/alloy production……and probability calculus.
    Altitudes, speeds, tactical/operational/strategic space…types of assets…..groupings, camouflage, visibility, optical aids …etc…etc.

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  244. @peterAUS

    I must give you credit for guessing correctly that I truly relish a decent serving of irony. Writing that something “reeks of desperation” after writing the following delivered exactly that… thanks,

    “I really couldn’t disagree more with your perception of “winners/losers” in that conflict.

    Before you get into “military question” a clarification, if I may.

    Don’t want to get personal on Internet, but some information is desired before going into that type of chat.

    For my part, briefly, I went through some military/civilian education chain, spent some time in military, achieved some rank and, among other duties, was a staff officer and a C.O. of a,say, battalion sized unit.
    Have some combat experience too.
    How about you?”

    I can’t speak for FB but I rather suspect that he’d hoped you would make your point by arguing on the merits of your case, I certainly did. Anyway, thanks again for the chuckle.

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  245. @peterAUS

    Are you sure it was Clausewitz that you studied and not Custer?

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  246. peterAUS says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    Desperation: current state of affairs among some alt-right opponents of Empire/ZOG/Neocons/US/Anglo empire/whatever.

    Most likely a result of living under, or facing, a juggernaut with no feasible alternative/force to effectively stop it.

    Or, in simple words: we are fu&*ed and we can’t accept it.

    Based on that desperation a desire to believe in any delusion that helps alleviate the feeling.
    Common practice among defeated or about to be defeated.

    Among those delusions a deep belief in:

    …..the Serbian military strategy was successful….

    …Serbia in fact achieving its political goals…

    …nobody counts this war as a ‘victory’ for Nato…

    Lucky Serbs.
    Poor NATO.

    No wonder that “loses” as this keep the juggernaut going.

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  247. @peterAUS

    I do hope that you weren’t initially issued one of those little entrenching tools when it’s quite clear that you prefer a shovel.

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  248. FB says:

    ‘…I do hope that you weren’t initially issued one of those little entrenching tools when it’s quite clear that you prefer a shovel…’

    Aww come on Nosey…

    You gotta think of the folks reading this who might just drop their taco…

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  249. FB says:
    @peterAUS

    What is required, SEAD wise, to accomplish a mission.

    Mission is the key.

    SEAD is a very small part of the mission.

    Thanks for the..er…clarification…

    I think I have a pretty good idea now…was just a little confused before…

    Say what happened to Andrei…?

    I think I might want to take another look at his ‘Salvo’ model…

    At this point it couldn’t hurt…

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  250. FB says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    ‘…Are you sure it was Clausewitz that you studied and not Custer?..’

    Aww dang…there goes that taco…

    C’mon now Nosey…they both start with C…

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  251. FB says:

    I will now continue my discussion of the US Tomahawk strike on Shayrat…

    By way of review, I had first posted this introductory comment…

    http://www.unz.com/article/russia-the-800-pound-gorilla/#comment-2049255

    In that comment we discussed simply the known basic facts of the incident…

    1…the US launched 60 T-hawks [one failed at launch] at a decrepit Syrian airfield, but did very little apparent damage…

    2…the RF military said only 23 of those T-hawks actually hit targets, while US media said 58 reached their targets…

    Importantly neither the US navy nor any military official has has gone on record to state how many T-hawks actually hit their targets…

    It is impossible to determine which of these narratives is actually true…

    Most notably, neither of the two runways were hit…and we conclusively debunked the official excuse that the USN was not trying to hit those runways…

    Syrian media reported that two T-hawks hit a village located two to three miles from the airfield…However…these accounts cannot be verified so we will treat this as speculation…

    In this comment, we will try to address two basic questions…

    1…what is the accuracy of the T-hawk…?

    2…What can we learn from imagery of the Shayrat field after the strikes…this includes both satellite imagery and on-the-ground photographic and video images…?

    Let us first look at the question of T-hawk accuracy…

    What is the actual accuracy of the T-hawk…?

    Surprisingly…this question is difficult to answer…

    Neither the manufacturer, Raytheon, nor the US military disclose an accuracy figure…

    Hence when we look up the T-hawk on wikipedia we do not get this information either…

    However the consensus among experts is that the circular error probable [CEP] is not more than 10 meters [33 ft]…[even for early variants of the T-hawk used in the 1991 strike on Iraq...]

    [CEP of 10 m means that 50 percent of the missiles will land within a 10 diameter circle...by simple math, this means that if you launch two missiles, there is a 95 percent chance that one will land within that circle...]

    Also it must be mentioned that this 10 m accuracy is without the aid of GPS [global positioning satellite], which current T-hawks now use..

    With GPS guidance the accuracy is likely significantly improved…about 3 meters or even less…[we base this on the fact that GPS accuracy even in your phone is in that range]…

    Here is a discussion on this…where various persons…whether qualified or not…offer some answers…

    https://www.quora.com/How-accurate-is-the-GPS-on-Tomahawk-missiles?share=1

    The best answer there is that without GPS a T-hawk can hit a house…while GPS capable T-hawk can fly through a window…

    Most people with expertise in the area of aerospace guidance and navigation systems would agree with this…

    We will come back to this question of GPS later…but for now let us assume that the accuracy of the T-hawks launched at Shayrat is 33 ft [10 m]…

    Note…the T-hawk accuracy is given as ‘less than’ 5 m [16 ft] in that 2013 plan for attacking Syrian airbases written by USN Cmdr [retired] Chris Harmer…here is the link again…T-hawk info is on page 14…

    http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/RequiredSorties-to-DegradeSyrianAirPower.pdf

    Now let us look at what imagery and video we have of the Shayrat strike…

    First let us turn to the official USN website of damage assessment on Shayrat…

    http://www.navy.mil/view_imagex.asp?id=234823&t=1

    We see here a satellite image that shows four damaged aircraft shelters…and one destroyed aircraft shelter…

    We also see another aircraft shelter at the very bottom center of the picture that is not damaged at all, nor is labeled as such…and also a second undamaged shelter at the top right of the picture…

    We also see two bomb craters in front of one of the shelters [right center of picture] that clearly missed and did not hit anything…

    There is a link on that page for downloading a high-resolution version of this same image…and I would suggest that readers download this image and examine it closely…

    This one image is the only ‘official’ image we have from the US military…

    We do not have precise information on how many aircraft shelters there are at Shayrat…but Fox news stated between 45 and 50…

    http://fox2now.com/2017/04/07/shayrat-what-we-know-about-the-syrian-airfield-hit-by-us-strikes/

    We noted at the beginning that the US military has not said how many targets at Shayrat were hit…

    http://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/PRESS-RELEASES/Press-Release-View/Article/1144711/statement-from-pentagon-spokesman-capt-jeff-davis-on-us-strike-in-syria/

    The claim that 58 out of 59 missiles hit the base where only circulated in the US and other mainstream media…

    We now turn to another source of satellite imagery that had much more to say about the specific targets supposedly hit by the T-hawks…

    This is the Israeli company ImageSat International [ISI...]

    Here is their ‘presentation’ of the Shayrat strike damage assessment…

    http://www.imagesatintl.com/us-strike-syria/

    We note their picture at the top of this page that shows a number of targets supposedly hit, each one circled in yellow…

    But the only thing we can say for certain from this picture is that neither of the two Shayrat runways were hit…

    Further down on the page we see a series of pictures with higher resolution where it is possible to make out what do appear to be circular craters on several aircraft shelters…

    However what is even more interesting is that we do not see any pictures of the other targets highlighted in the first picture [at top of page where it is impossible to make out anything]…

    Note; you can click on each of the pictures on that page for higher res…

    Interestingly…the text of this article from Israeli firm ISI says…

    ‘…An in-depth examination of the damage to the objectives shows that 13 double hardened aircraft shelters (HAS) got 23 hits…’

    We recall that 23 is the exact same number given by the Russian defense ministry as to the number of T-hawks that actually hit targets…

    So just to recap here…

    1…the US media and an Israeli satellite company said 58 of 59 T-hawks hit their targets…

    2…the US military has never said anything about how many targets were successfully hit…

    Close examination of the Israeli sat images shows only 13 aircraft shelters hit…possibly by as many as 23 T-hawks…

    No imagery whatsoever has ever been presented to back up the claim that various other targets like workshops, fuel tanks, ammunition starges and other airfield infrastructure were hit…

    Neither the USN sat imagery, nor any other shows any such thing…so we can safely say this…

    The only targets that can be confirmed indisputably as hit are those 13 aircraft shelters…

    Now let’s try to figure out what this means in terms of the accuracy that those T-hawks displayed in these images we have reviewed…

    In order to do that we first need to figure out how big those aircraft shelters are…

    Here is a short, one-minute video from a Russian news media…

    We stop the video at 23 seconds…

    Here we see one of these double hangars at Shayrat, each with an airplane inside…

    both airplanes are easily identified as Su17 ground attack jets…which have a wingspan of about 40 ft…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-17#Specifications_.28Su-17M4.29

    From this known scale we see that the width of each hangar is more than twice the wingspan of the plane…ie about 80 ft…

    Now that we know the width of the hangar is 80 ft…we estimate that the width of the entire structure is about five times that…about 400 ft…[100 meters]…

    Now we go back to the sat pictures above and note that the width of each such double-hangar is about twice that of the length…

    So we have arrived at a target size of about 400 ft x 200 ft…[120 m x 60 m]…

    Just to be on the safe side…let’s call it 100 m by 50 m [330 ft x 165 ft]

    In terms of area that is 5,000 square meters…

    We recall that the credible minimum accuracy of the T-hawk is 10 meters CEP…

    This means that it should be able to hit a target of 10 m diameter, which is 32 square meters…

    So here is the million dollar question…and it has to do with the sat images both from the USN and ISI showing those two big craters that missed one of the shelters and hit about 300 ft in front of it…here is the USN link again…

    http://www.navy.mil/view_imagex.asp?id=234823&t=1

    We see also from the same sat pics that the runways appear to be about 200 ft wide…again we are scaling to the dimensions we figured out for the aircraft shelters…

    Let us sum up for now…and continue this discussion later…[there is much more to come]

    The T-hawk which is acknowledged to have an accuracy of 10 m is only able to hit a very large aircraft shelter that is many times bigger…

    We see two very obvious misses…and we see that the runways are not hit at all… [the most important part obviously of any airfield, civilian or military]

    We see that even the Israeli sat company ISI shows evidence of only 23 total missile hits…[on 13 shelters...some of them hit twice...]

    In my next comment we will get into more detail about satellite imagery and how the T-hawk actually works…

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  252. @FB

    Very impressive, FB. Well done. I’m pretty sure that even those who dropped out of the discussion earlier cannot help themselves from checking in and checking out these ongoing developments. I look forward to future instalments. Cheers.

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  253. FB says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    Thanks Nosey…

    There’s more to come on this…

    My focus here is to look at the best available facts, not speculation…

    As mentioned, I plan to discuss more ‘nuts and bolts’ stuff so people can really understand what these things can and can’t do…

    We are simply inundated with completely useless nonsense from all the media when it comes to understanding the basics of things like cruise missiles…air defense systems etc…or even sat imagery for that matter…

    We get people coming on TV or writing in magazines and newspapers who haven’t the faintest clue of how these things actually work…

    There is no question that the layman can fully understand these things if it is properly explained…then make up your own mind…

    Looking forward to carrying on…

    PS: I had to get a couple of stitches in my side after reading your last few comments…but I should be good to go…

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  254. Erebus says:
    @FB

    ‘…Russia’s entry into Syria presents an existential choice for the Hegemon…’

    Agree fully with this…the stakes are very high…

    Apparently not so fully, as you go on to say:

    ‘…if losing a few 100 planes and a few 1000 missiles was the total price for holding on to it, they’d have paid it long ago…’

    Have to disagree with this one…
    US can’t afford to lose that much…it’s [self-generated] reputation as the ruler of the skies would be put to rest once and for all…

    I’m not so sure it would take a massive hit to its reputation, but even if it did it’s nothing (absolutely nothing !), compared to the hits its reputation, indeed its Hegemony is still taking because it failed to act. The key word here is “existential”.
    On the contrary, I would suggest that losing substantial materiel and personnel to a successful defence of Hegemony and its M.E., indeed global security structure would show commitment to its goals and allies. It would send the diametrically opposite message to what you seem to believe in your quote.

    FB, the over-riding question here is why the US failed to act when the Russians presented a direct threat to its international standing, and then with methodical confidence laid it low. The audacity of the Russian move still has people shaking their heads. Prima facia, they went into the lion’s den armed with a foam baseball bat. What stayed the USM’s hand? They must have known what it meant, and sure enough the results are now plainly visible. The “resonance” of Salman’s bow to Putin in Moscow is being felt in every foreign office in every capital, even in some of the less insensitive circles in Washington.
    Put another way, if ~50 planes & helicopters and a few dozen(?) wheeled SAMs (all there was in Syria until the coalition attack on the SAA in DeZ mid 2016) are enough to make the Global Hegemon and “greatest military power in history” stand down, then it just declared itself a paper tiger to the whole world. IOW, it just abandoned its stated Defence Posture and with it, its geo-political goal of Global Hegemony.

    If you’re going to argue that putting wheels on Russian SAM launchers was the killing blow, you’re going to attempt a very tendentious case. As one element, however important, in a complex of defensive assets? Sure. As the coup de grâce? Hmm…

    As a quick note to your #251..
    While I’m very interested to learn the technicals of Tomahawks and satellite imagery, I can’t but keep in mind the over-riding question I posed above. Going forward, I hope you do too.

    Some larger questions/points…
    During the 1-2 hours that the Tomahawks flew inbound over the Med, did any S3/400 complexes pack up and start motoring around? Did any SAM of any sort launch in defence? Not that I heard of, but you seem better informed.
    We’re told the Russians got a 1 hour warning, but I’m guessing that the Ross and Porter would have been closely watched and that the Russian side knew of the launch as soon as it happened. As they watched them come in, one would think they’d send up a few Pantsirs, and move a few S3/400s off position as a real life training exercise/test of personnel and systems, no? If they didn’t, either the Russians know that the USN has been stocked with defective Tomahawks, or something else sent the missing Tomahawks on an unguided tour of the Syrian countryside.

    [CEP of 10 m means that 50 percent of the missiles will land within a 10 diameter circle...by simple math, this means that if you launch two missiles, there is a 95 percent chance that one will land within that circle...]

    Wikipedia defines this a little further:

    … if CEP is n meters, 50% of rounds land within n meters of the mean impact, 43% between n and 2n, and 7% between 2n and 3n meters, and the proportion of rounds that land farther than three times the CEP from the mean is approximately 0.32%.

    What immediately hits the eye is that the 0.32% probability of missing its target by >3n meters (90m) that the Tomahawk should have achieved was increased dramatically to >60% in the Shayrat case. The Ross and Porter might as well have used their guns.

    The next thing that comes to mind is that that “something else” was interception by Russian EW. Now that is scary, because if that’s what happened the USM’s missile Salvo Models are patently useless, and they might as well be shooting at the moon until they sort this issue out and harden the Tomahawk’s guidance systems.

    The flip side of that is whether this was in fact a (partial) failure of Russian EW intercept systems. Did they intend to send 100% astray by >3n meters, but in the event succeeded with only >60%? Are they now pouring over the data looking to improve next time?

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to your next instalment.

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  255. Erebus says:
    @FB

    I plan to discuss more ‘nuts and bolts’ stuff so people can really understand what these things can and can’t do…

    Great. Looking forward to it.

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  256. FB says:
    @Erebus

    Just a quick comment E…

    Your comment is getting into the whole political/diplomatic/military dimension here…

    This has a big place of course…but |I want to tackle things one at a time…and the place to start is the technical/military dimension because this is where I see the most need for clear information and that ‘aha’ moment when folks realize how this stuff works on a technical level…

    And just to respond to our exchange about why the US losing several hundred planes and many hundreds of cruise missiles would not be worth it in my view…

    I did mention the loss of US reputation as you quoted me above…

    But I also said this…

    ‘But the reason the price is not worth paying, is because even with all those losses the US could not remove the Russians from Syria and take control of the airspace…’

    I intend to back that up the discussion on which I am embarked…you may not agree at the end, nor may anyone else…but I guarantee that those who pay attention will come away armed with a lot more useful knowledge…

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  257. Erebus says:
    @FB

    An even quicker reply….I was aware of your “… could not remove…”, but didn’t respond as I felt my comment already growing overlong.
    In summary, I don’t think you’re right, but more to the point I don’t think it’s relevant. Remember, the SAA was on the verge of collapse by mid-2015, and the Iranian-Iraqi-Hezbollah militias were taking heavy losses both at the fighter/materiel, but especially at the officer level. It took the Russians a year to turn them back into fighting force.
    My position, pending dissuasion, is that had the US moved early, Russia’s ability to “save Syria” would have been thwarted and al Baghdadi would very likely now be sitting in the presidential palace in Damascus.

    Be that as it may, let’s leave that aside for now, while you compose the next instalment.

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  258. @NoseytheDuke

    Very impressive, FB. Well done. I’m pretty sure that even those who dropped out of the discussion earlier cannot help themselves from checking in and checking out these ongoing developments.

    You are making very broad generalizations, to start with. Here is some things which may explain the whole absurdity of those “developments”.

    http://fishing-app.gpsnauticalcharts.com/i-boating-fishing-web-app/fishing-marine-charts-navigation.html#6.66/34.970/35.395

    Even the brief look at Google maps allows to see the whole lunacy of this whole discussion. Just to give some impression. Draw imaginary line following contour of the Syria’s coast but in the 50 nautical miles from it–this is roughly the area where Russia’s ASW assets (ships, subs, patrol aviation on call) can make a salvo exclusion zone. Beyond this zone it is very difficult to guarantee any exclusion in peaceful time. So, beyond this zone salvo is possible. Why it is possible is another matter I swear never again use actual numbers let alone operational coefficients, such as in our case Operational Sweep and Detection Probabilities map, not to mention MDR and other things people study in military academies–it is a waste of time for civilians. However, just to give understanding of Salvo flight time (podletnoye vremya) we have here, granted that Khmeimim is located in about 1 mile from the shore, in salvo from the edge (kromka) of exclusion zone a time of:

    TLAM speed: 550 mph, or 890 kmh, converted from nautical miles, say distance of 60 nm = 60 x 1.85 = 111 kilometers. So, now you can easily calculate the Flight Time: 111/890 = approx. 0.128 of an hour, which is about 8 minutes. Just for additional info: the search area in this case will be, granted almost straight geometry of Syria’s coast and with the exception of the area with isobath of 50 meters which is very close to the shore, we have a general search area of roughly (3.14 x 100^2)/2= 15 700 sq. kilometers. Discarding all those “insignificant” things such as hydrology properties of the Eastern Med (hence acoustic ones), meteorological etc. One has, in this case, the area of the State of Connecticut to be monitored 24/7. In reality the area will be much-much larger, why–I am not discussing anything of real substance here anymore. For anyone (not the case here) who have a slightest clue on how navies fight this whole discussion is one clinical (with the exception of Erebus who asks excellent questions and is logical) case of militant ignorance. That is why I “dropped out”–it is impossible to discuss anything with ignoramuses, who do not even want top look at the map. But if anyone wants to calculate Operational Sweep, granted they know parameters of their weapon systems and other things which matter, say for brigade of the ASW ships, sure–here is the basic formula for Flaming Datum analysis:

    But I am sure that this is all irrelevant. LOL. Now you see, that is why I “dropped” from this “discussion”.

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  259. Talha says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Hey Andrei,

    Completely off topic – or maybe not. I was just recently remembering the Challenger tragedy for some reason. I remember ti well because they beamed that entire broadcast into practically all classrooms in the US (because a school teacher was going to be an astronaut). I was ten years old and it was one of those things that gets embedded into your mind – especially the thought that adults can’t just make everything OK and that there are things beyond their control.

    Anyway, Cold War was in full swing and there was obviously a space program rivalry between the US and USSR – I was wondering what the average Russian thought about it at the time.

    Peace.

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  260. @Talha

    Anyway, Cold War was in full swing and there was obviously a space program rivalry between the US and USSR – I was wondering what the average Russian thought about it at the time.

    Actually, Challenger’s tragedy was viewed in USSR by a very large majority as a tragedy. You, actually, raised here a very important topic–even during the Cold War space remained a paradoxical bond between USA and USSR and this bond was significant since it was exclusive to superpowers and there were some non-written rules. So, in general, it was along the lines “well, too bad, folks, we also know what it is to lose space-explorers”.

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  261. Talha says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    That makes sense – there really were no other nations in competition thus the two had that as a shared experience.

    Thanks for the insights!

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  262. @Talha

    That makes sense

    There also was no de-humanization of average Americans on Soviet side due to both Marxist “proletariat”, aka “working people of America” cultural caveats and due to traditional Russian outlook on the world, even in 1980s there was a lot of warm memories of Second Front and Lend-Lease. So was true to a degree in US, where Russians were portrayed as “not communists” who just wanted to “come out”. At that time Sting still could win Grammy for his Russians, Billy Joel would fill Olympiyskii on his concerts and wrote such a masterpiece as Leningrad. Today it is impossible. As I stated not for once–the scale of de-humanization of Russians in the US today is simply unprecedented historically. Cold War pales in comparison.

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  263. FB says:

    Let’s talk about satellite imagery…

    We all know that modern satellites have an amazing ability to read a license plate of a car driving around New York City…[and in real time of course...]

    After all, how many times have we all seen this in Hollywood movies and TV shows…?

    When we go to wikipedia and look up satellite imagery…we find lots of useful-sounding info that tells us the ‘resolution’ of various imaging satellites…

    For instance…

    ‘…The GeoEye-1 satellite has the high resolution imaging system and is able to collect images with a ground resolution of 0.41 meters [16 inches]…’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_imagery#Imaging_satellites

    Why that’s amazing

    That means we can clearly see an object of just 16 inches from space…so I could easily see my dog, or my mailbox or even that Fedex package in front of my front door…

    Isn’t technology wonderful…?

    This just proves that those Hollywood movies and TV shows are presenting us with a realistic understanding of today’s technology…

    Well…let us see what this ‘resolution’ thing actually means…

    If we scroll up a bit in that same wiki article we find this…

    ‘…spatial resolution is defined as the pixel size of an image representing the size of the surface area (i.e. m2) being measured on the ground…’

    [the m2 part means meters squared...and should properly be written as m^2...]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_imagery#Resolution_and_data

    Gee… what does this mean…

    Well guess what Bunky…it means that the 16-inch resolution on that state of the art satellite means that an object on the ground measuring 16 x 16 in…will appear on your computer screen as one pixel…

    Now we all know what a pixel is right…it is one of many thousands of ‘dots’ on our screen…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel

    If you are reading this on a standard HD monitor with resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels then that means you are looking at exactly 2,073,600 dots [pixels] on your screen…[1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600]

    In plain English that is two million pixels on that 20 inch screen in front of your face…

    See if you can make out a single one of those two million pixels with your naked eye…

    And now that you have identified exactly one of those two million pixels on your screen…remember that this equals an actual size of 16 x 16 inches…

    That amazing sat image you’re looking at contains 16 x 16 inches [ie 256 square inches...1.8 square ft] on each and every single one of those two million pixels on your screen…

    That means that on that standard HD screen in front of you…you are seeing a total area of 3,686,400 square feet…that’s exactly 0.132 square miles

    [1.8 ft^2 x 2,073,600 pixels = 3,686,400 square feet...]

    [one square mile = 27,878,402 square ft...so 3,686,400 ft^2 / 27,878,402 = 0.132 square miles...]

    Yes that’s all there on your 20 inch monitor…

    To get an idea of how big 0.132 square miles is…go outside your house and walk down the street for a little more than one third of a mile…ie 640 yards

    Then turn right 90 degrees and walk another 640 yards…then again turn right and walk another 640 yards…and finally turn right and walk the last 640 yards until you come back to your starting point…

    [one mile = 1,760 yards...so 640 yards = 1,760 / 640 = 0.36 miles...0.36 x 0.36 miles = 0.132 square miles...]

    You will have covered 2,560 yards…a decent exercise walk of about one and a half miles total…that’s a half-hour walk for the average person at the ‘preferred walking speed’ of 3 mph…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preferred_walking_speed

    So that is what you are looking at on your 20 inch screen…640 yards by 640 yards…the amount of land area it would take you to walk in half an hour…

    So yeah…it’s a cinch obviously to read license plates from sat images…

    And that’s using the GeoEye satellite which has a resolution of 16 inches…we will soon discuss the ISI satellite that has not nearly as good resolution…

    Btw…thanks wiki writer geniuses for properly explaining that …

    [or perhaps they just like to be useful idiots for the powers that be who obviously prefer to keep people at the intellectual level of ants...]

    Here is a simple to read article that explains how sat resolution works…

    http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-sciences/geomatics/satellite-imagery-air-photos/satellite-imagery-products/educational-resources/9407

    The explanation of resolution we just talked about is in the third paragraph from the top…

    ‘…If a sensor has a spatial resolution of 20 meters and an image from that sensor is displayed at full resolution, each pixel represents an area of 20m x 20m on the ground…

    So that’s sat image resolution for you…in a nutshell it means the resolution is a square of a given size…ie 16 x 16 inch…that is represented as one single pixel on your computer screen…

    I could go on to explain more fully how those satellites actually move around the earth snapping those ‘high res’ pics…

    Those satellites orbit the earth about 500 km [300 miles] above the ground…

    The important point to remember here is that satellites are flying over the earth’s surface at very high speed…they are not standing still over one spot…[only geosynchronous satellites can do that...and they are located at 26,000 miles above earth...from where they could not see anything...]

    The typical orbital velocity at low earth orbit [LEO] is 7.8 km per second…that is exactly 17,448 miles per hour…

    [One km/s = 2,237 mph...7.8 km/s * 2237 = 17,448 mph...]

    That is about 30 times faster than a passenger jet flying at 550 mph…or a T-hawk flying at the same speed for that matter…

    So those sats collecting images are flying past very quickly…they can only get glimpses of the ground that is zooming past underneath…

    They circle the entire globe about once every 85 minutes…

    [earth circumference is 24,900 miles...divided by 17,448 mph = 1.4 hours...ie 85 minutes...]

    So how do they see all the different places on earth…?…they need to fly over as much of the earth’s land territory as possible in order to take pictures of all those different places…

    The way they do this is to fly in an orbit going north south around the poles…while the earth is spinning east-west below them…that way they get a glimpse of every spot on earth, every once in a while…

    Ie they can capture images of any point on earth…but only at specific time intervals…for instance they might only get a glimpse of Syria once every 10 or 20 earth orbits…ie once a day or maybe once every two days…etc…

    you can read more about LEO here…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_Earth_orbit#Use_of_LEO

    So keep this in mind next time you see a Hollywood movie or TV show where the good guys…ie CIA or FBI ‘superheroes’ are running after some bad guy and they call in sat surveillance because the bad guy is about to get away in the urban maze of NYC…

    Of course there is magically a satellite that just happens to be right over NYC at this exact moment in time…as it is flying at 18,000 mph around the earth…as opposed to being over say Timbuktu at this particular moment…

    And of course since the ‘resolution’ is good enough to read a license plate…the ‘sat’ pictures quickly find the bad guy and his exact location so the good guys can nab him…

    The general public would like to thank Hollywood…Harvey Weinstein…the CIA which produces most Hollywood movies and all the rest of these very helpful people for giving us a very good idea of HOW THINGS ACTUALLY WORK…

    So…now that we have a little bit of basic technical idea about how sat pictures work…let’s go back to our Israeli friends ISI…[ImageSat International]

    We first go back to that picture on their website where they show us the Shayrat field after the TLAM attack…

    We see that the ISI folks have helpfully circled in yellow all the targets that were hit…

    Of course these targets can only be actually ‘seen’ by the ‘experts’ at ISI…because to any ordinary human being the most we can actually make out are the two big runways…each of which is about 10,000 ft long [approx 1.5 miles]…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shayrat_Airbase

    And if we try really hard we might actually make out those big aircraft shelters, which are about 400 ft wide x 200 ft long…[as we scaled in our previous comment...]

    We also see at the bottom of that pic a whole bunch of little yellow circles of ‘other targets’ supposedly hit…

    Of course no human eye can possibly see what is inside those little yellow circles…but we will just trust these guys…[here is the ISI 'team'...]

    http://www.imagesatintl.com/team/

    [Notice the obvious 'genius' look on those faces...]

    So now we go back to our wiki article on sat imagery and we find the ISI there…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_imagery#ImageSat_International

    We find that this company has two sats…EROS A…and EROS B

    EROS A has a resolution of 1.9 m…[74 inches...ie 6 ft 2...]

    EROS B has resolution of 70 cm…[27.5 inches...ie 2.3 x 2.3 ft...]

    So even that high res sat will give us 5.3 square feet per pixel on our screen…

    That is much lower than the Geo-Eye satellite we used in our previous example…which has a resolution of 16 x 16 inches per pixel..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_imagery#GeoEye

    Which means the standard 20 inch HD screen on which we are looking at this ISI picture is now showing 11 million square feet of actual land area…

    This means that the actual land area we are looking at on our monitor is nearly eight million times bigger than the size of our 20 inch monitor…

    ie that 11 million ft^2 equals 0.4 square miles that we are looking at on our 20 inch screen [which has an area of approx 200 square inches.....see note 1 at bottom for the math...]

    0.4 square miles of land area equals a square of 0.62 x 0.62 miles…[sqrt of 0.4 = 0.62...]

    Now you are going to need to walk a square of 1,100 yards per side…covering a total distance of 4,400 yards [1100 x 4]…or total walking distance of 2.5 miles just to get a real feeling of what it is that you are seeing on the 20 inch screen in front of you…

    That 2.5 mile walk will take you nearly an hour…

    Keeping all this mind we conclude quite definitively that the ISI ‘team’ is full of shit…

    And secondly that they are trying to fool only the most uninformed people on this planet with their obvious bullshit

    Of course that works most of the time…since Hollywood…Harvey Weinstein…and the CIA do not think it is necessary for people to know simple facts about the physical world in which we live

    In fact their goal is just the opposite…to baffle us with ‘science’ about satellite imagery resolutions that are never actually explained…

    At least that’s my opinion…

    Let me know yours…

    PS…we note in the previous link to our wiki on ISI sat imagery…that

    ‘…The satellites are deployed in a circular sun-synchronous near polar orbit at an altitude of 510 km…’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_imagery#ImageSat_International

    These are the parameters I explained above in how image sats work…ie a circumpolar orbit so that the sat can take pictures as the earth spins beneath it…

    Btw…it is interesting to follow that link to ISI on that wiki page…we land here…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EROS_(satellite)

    We find out that this Israeli company has launched its two satellites…

    ‘…EROS A was launched on the Russian Start-1 launcher on December 5, 2000, from the Svobodny Launch Complex in eastern Siberia, to a Low Earth orbit (LEO) altitude of 480 km…’

    And…

    ‘…EROS B was finally launched on April 25, 2006 aboard a Russian Start-1 rocket from the Svobodny Launch Complex in eastern Siberia…’

    Well…that’s funny…

    I would have thought that those Israeli geniuses would have been able to LAUNCH THEIR OWN SATELLITES…

    I guess not…their superpowers only extend to being able to make out an object of about 2 square feet that occupies about a millionth of an inch on a computer screen…

    But of course we recall that launching space vehicles is old hat technology…no need for the US or Israel to bother with that ancient stuff…

    When it comes to building aircraft, air defense systems and other such things…why the Russkies are of course centuries behind ‘Western technology’…

    Note 1…here is the math behind how much bigger that land area covered in the sat image is than our 20 inch diagonal monitor…

    1…Our standard HD res is 1920 x 1080 for an aspect ratio of 1.777…ie 16 to 9…[16 / 9 = 1.777]

    2…let’s assume for math simplicity that our monitor is square…ie aspect ratio of 1 to 1…[this makes little difference, as I will explain in note 2 at bottom...]

    3…Our diagonal of 20 inch means that our screen is really two right triangles of the isosceles type each with a hypotenuse of 20 inches [ie our 20 inch diagonal screen dimension...]

    4…we find the length of the other two sides of this triangle [both of which are the same length in an isosceles triangle] by simple trig…ie we know that the corner angle is 90 degrees…and since the total of all three angles in the triangle must be 180 deg…it means that each of the other two are 45 degrees…

    5…The sine of 45 degrees is 0.7…[just enter 45 into your calculator and then hit 'sin'...]…you get 0.7…that’s the ratio of the length of the shorter side to the hypotenuse-diagonal…[each shorter side is the same length in a square...]

    6…so the length of each side is therefore the length of our hypotenuse of 20 inches times 0.7…which equals 14.14 inches…

    7. so our square monitor with a 20 inch diagonal length is 14.14 x 14.14 inch = 200 square inches…equals 1.4 square ft…

    8…we recall that the ISI EROS B satellite with resolution of 70 cm will show us a land area of 11 million square feet on standard HD monitor…

    9…that 11 million square feet we are looking at on our monitor of 1.4 square ft area is therefore 7.87 million times bigger than our 20 inch [diagonal] monitor…[11 million / 1.4 = 7.87 million...]

    Note 2…

    1. Our aspect ratio is 16:9 or 1.777:1…

    2…I will take a trig shortcut here and say that with a 20 inch diagonal our horizontal screen length is 19.1 inches…and our vertical screen height is 10.8 inches…

    3…our screen area is therefore 19.1 x 10.8 = 206 square inches…[we found 200 square inches with our simplified assumption of a square monitor...not much difference as I said...just makes the math easier to explain...

    4...206 in^2 = 1.43 ft^2...[206 / 144 =1.43]

    5…the area of the ISI picture we are looking at with the 70 cm resolution is approx 11 million ft^2…

    6…therefore the actual land area we see on our 20 inch [16:9] screen is 11 million / 1.43 = 7,634,780 times bigger than our screen…

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  264. FB says:

    Forgot one thing on that sat imagery discussion…

    Here is a link to pictures taken by aerial photography at various resolutions…starting from 3 inch resolution…which no civilian satellite can do…and up to 2 ft resolution which is just a little better than the best ISI resolution…

    http://www.aerialarchives.com/hiressamples.htm

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  265. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    the scale of de-humanization of Russians

    Perhaps I’m out of touch but as an American I simply don’t understand this.

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  266. @Anon
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  267. Erebus says:
    @FB

    What you say about resolutions of satellite imagery is not debatable as far as the numbers go, but these images are obviously made at great expense and do actually reveal a great deal about what’s going on below. Probably, “no (ordinary) human eye” can tell what’s in some of those yellow circles, but the “(trained) human eye” is not looking for recognizably obvious photos of objects but for pixel patterns indicating the presence of whatever he’s looking for.
    The trained imagery analyst may know what his object looks like in real life, or he has seen that pattern before numerous enough times to know what that unrecognizable something is.

    A couple of anecdotes may illustrate what I’m on about…

    - If I go to Google Earth and zoom in on my house, I get a pretty fuzzy picture of a roof, green masses where I know my trees are, and a few white/green/blue/whatever blobs scattered around the property. As I happen to know that the red blob is my lawnmower parked in its usual place, and the double blue blob must be my garden tractor and its trailer parked nearby, I can now recognize the pixel pattern they created to identify (EG) my neighbour’s yellow blob as his lawnmower with pretty high level of confidence.
    Likewise, having seen the ground level photos of the aircraft shelters at Shayrat, their rather fuzzy, oddly shaped, sat images nevertheless immediately present themselves, mutatis mutandis, as those shelters.

    - The 2nd anecdote comes from the Cuban missile crisis. As you probably know, the images of that time came from very high altitude reconnaissance aircraft like the U-2. According to a book I read decades ago on the crisis, analysts focussed on Cuba had been looking at photographs of Soviet missile installations for months and thinking nothing of them because they had no idea what they were looking at. They weren’t looking for “ICBM installation ‘pixel patterns’” because everyone knew there weren’t any ICBMs in Cuba, so they didn’t see any. It was when an analyst who had been working in the group analysing U-2 photos of the USSR got transferred to the Caribbean group that the photos were recognized for what they were. Even so, said analyst got ignored for several weeks/months and finally had to enlist the aid of his previous superiors to be heard.

    So, what’s in those yellow circles may not be recognizable to you or me, but someone trained and experienced at looking for whatever that pixel pattern represents may be able to state its presence with a pretty high level of confidence. That’s not to defend ISI. They may well be dead wrong, but they’re not dead wrong because “no human eye” can tell what’s in those circles.

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  268. @Andrei Martyanov

    Fair enough. I’m not sure what you mean by me making any generalisations though. I suspected that those who dropped out earlier were continuing to check in, as indeed you have. I have not questioned your knowledge or experience, in fact I’ve stated on other threads that you seem to really know your stuff. I’m not a technical person at all and have stated as such, but I was enjoying the back and forth by people who clearly know far, far, more about these matters than I ever will.

    In discussions where disagreements arise, it is my opinion that usually the one who becomes rude or insulting usually does so due to a lack of will to make their point as you seem to have done so. I am not in any position to judge and anyway, in matters of warfare the proof is invariably “in the pudding” and the loser pays in blood, materials, territory and prestige. I shall continue to read any future articles that you write with the same interest as I did the former.

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  269. @Anon

    During the Cold War almost every villain had a Russian accent, the women were portrayed as ugly fat babushkas or as masculine “camp guards” types and Western media disparaged any and all achievements of the Soviets. They were always shown to be people who existed in a lesser manner of sophistication and modernity than we did in the West. Sting recorded a song called, I hope the Russians love their children too. After a while that changed and the villains instead became Arabs and now it is the Russians again. It is simply vile and dangerous propaganda from Western “free society” media.

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  270. FB says:
    @Erebus

    I appreciate the fact that image analysis involves some very particular skills and techniques…

    However…you may had read one of my previous comments where I said that I am interested in looking at only the best available facts, not speculation…

    Your below falls into the realm of speculation…

    ‘…So, what’s in those yellow circles may not be recognizable to you or me, but someone trained and experienced at looking for whatever that pixel pattern represents may be able to state its presence with a pretty high level of confidence. That’s not to defend ISI. They may well be dead wrong, but they’re not dead wrong because “no human eye” can tell what’s in those circles…’

    Especially the ‘high level of confidence part…’

    So we can now get into an endless speculative debate on the science of image analysis…

    OR…

    We can simply state the best available facts

    This ISI outfit posted exactly five pictures on their website…the first one is that low-resolution shot that takes in the entire field…which I already posted…

    Here are the other four…which are of a higher resolution and do not take in as big an area…

    Now here is question one…

    Do you see anything other than those big aircraft shelters in those four high resolution pictures…?

    [the last one has several big buildings that are identified as 'workshops'...but look to be even bigger than the shelters...

    So where are the rest of those 20 to 30 circles from the original wide angle shot at the top of the page...[the one I posted previously]..?

    Here is that wide shot again…

    Now you tell me why we DO NOT HAVE HIGH RES PICTURES OF THOSE LITTLE YELLOW CIRCLES…?

    This does not pass the smell test for ‘best available facts’…sorry…

    If they had anything to show they would show it…so what is stopping them…?

    And then we have the kicker

    ‘…The results show that the target hits were accurate and that the Tomahawks have been used effectively against quality targets….

    Although 58 missiles hit the base, it seems that the overall damage to the base is limited because the warhead of the Tomahawk is not considered large and weighs about 450 kg…’

    Why of course a 1,000 lb high explosive warhead is not considered large…

    Large compared to what…a 100 kiloton nuke…?

    Large compared to bigger conventional warheads in the US standoff weapon arsenal…?

    Sorry…but 1,000 lb is THE BIGGEST warhead the US has in its standoff weapons arsenal…

    And it has over 3,000 of them…so if they do not pack enough punch…then somebody better do some more math…

    Why does ISI ‘analysis’ this look like utter BULLSHIT…?

    Solely for the consumption of UTTER DUMBSHITS

    The ONLY thing bigger than 1,000 lb is only available in gravity bombs…

    Ie the Mark 84 which 2,000 lb…

    ‘…The Mark 84 is capable of forming a crater 50 feet (15.2 m) wide and 36 ft (11.0 m) deep…’

    So I guess a bomb merely half that size would only make a crater of what 16 inches…?

    PS…enjoyed your lawnmower stories…do you have any about weed-whackers…?

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  271. FB says:

    Here’s the link to the Mark 84

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_84_bomb#Development

    Oh and btw ISI [and fans]…the 2000 lb Mark 84

    ‘…is a streamlined steel casing filled with 945 lb (428.6 kg) of Tritonal high explosive…’

    Guess what…that 945 lb of explosive is actually smaller than the T-Lam warhead of 1,000 pounds high explosive…

    So I guess the US should really consider scrapping all of those as well…because…’they don’t really do much damage…’

    And I guess the US should scrap entirely its inventory of Mk 82s which are 500 lb overall and only 192 lb of explosive…

    Why that’s only one fifth of the T-hawk…what damage could those little things possibly do…?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_82_bomb

    We see the B2 bomber dropping a bunch of those…but to what purpose…?

    I guess those sharp-eyed ‘analysts’ at ISIS would figure what…about a million of those to take out Shayrat…?

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  272. FB says:
    @NoseytheDuke

    ‘…In discussions where disagreements arise, it is my opinion that usually the one who becomes rude or insulting usually does so due to a lack of will to make their point as you seem to have done so….’

    I just thought that was worth repeating…

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  273. @FB

    Thanks and I almost spat burrito at my screen at weed-wackers.

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  274. Erebus says:
    @FB

    Of course ISI’s publication is suspect for the reasons you suggest, but that is all quite irrelevant to the point I was making, which you indeed acknowledged in your opening sentence:

    I appreciate the fact that image analysis involves some very particular skills and techniques…

    In other words, resolution ain’t the whole of it. So we agree.
    You go on to cast aspersions on ISI’s intentions, suggesting they are intentionally hiding the truth and calling them “BULLSHIT!”. However justified that may be, you apparently failed to notice my closing statement:

    That’s not to defend ISI. They may well be dead wrong, but they’re not dead wrong because “no human eye” can tell what’s in those circles.

    With this post and subsequent ones you also seem to have lost sight of your original claim to be

    … interested in looking at only the best available facts, not speculation…

    Sorry FB, but you’ve gone far beyond the facts with statements like:

    Solely for the consumption of UTTER DUMBSHITS

    Anyway, I see nothing contentious in my post, and have no idea what’s caused you to go off your stated MO and get tangled up in your knickers.
    Now (@271) you’re off and ranting about Mk84 bombs vs T-Hawks. Ok, but what they have to do with image analysis escapes me. Perhaps it’s the next step in your “just the facts” exposition?

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  275. FB says:
    @Erebus

    ‘…Now (@271) you’re off and ranting about Mk84 bombs vs T-Hawks. Ok, but what they have to do with image analysis escapes me…’

    Thanks for the ‘ranting’ part…

    As for the ‘image analysis’ I had said earlier…

    ‘…we can now get into an endless speculative debate on the science of image analysis…’…OR…stick to best available facts

    That seems easy enough to understand…as does your transparent attempt to derail that…

    As for ISI I am using strong language because nothing gets me more upset than obvious attempts to bamboozle the general public with ‘science’ by people who claim to be experts

    Their role when addressing a general audience should be to explain, not confuse…and especially not to confuse in obvious service of a highly slanted narrative…

    Ie…my point was to examine their credibility, in view of ‘best available facts’…

    I went on to show quite obvious obfuscation…notably their failure to present high-res picture of every circle they had made in their first photo…where they claimed to have identified 44 hits…

    That fact alone is enough to discredit their ‘analysis’

    In case this is not clear to everyone let us go over those photos…

    1. In the low res ‘overview’ photo…if you count all yellow circles they show 13 big ones…and 29 small ones…for a total of 42 circles representing 42 ‘targets’ hit…[not 44 as they claim]

    2. They go on to show four more pictures, these being closer-in, higher resolution shots where we can clearly make out the large aircraft shelters and other large buildings…and we can see in these shots that some have received hits…

    3. They do not show any close-in, high-resolution shots of the 29 small yellow circles contained in that low-res, wide angle shot…

    Now you tell me…are we supposed to argue pointlessly about what may or may not be inside those non-existent images…?

    It seems very much that is what you are trying to do [see your above quote for proof]…

    You in fact do want to get into a discussion of image analysis…even though ISI has not even shown any high-res images of those 29 little yellow circles for us to see…

    You will notice I am not disputing the four high-resolution images they have presented…because we can clearly see evidence of hits

    But now you want to derail the discussion into ‘image analysis’ of what ISI chose not to present…ie the 29 little yellow circles supposedly hit

    So we will now proceed to look at those pictures again…

    The caption beneath this ‘overview shot says this…

    ‘…ISI very high resolution satellite imagery was able to reveal the results of the Tomahawk cruise missiles attack on the Al-Shayrat Air Base. According to ISI experts, the total of 44 targets hit. Several targets may have hit twice. Photo and analysis of the attack were carried out within 10 hours of the attack…’

    But here is inconsistency number one…they say 44 targets were hit, but if we count all the circles both big and small…we get a total of 42…13 big circles and 29 small circles…

    Here is the first high-res image…

    The caption beneath this picture says…

    ‘…An in-depth examination of the damage to the objectives shows that 13 double hardened aircraft shelters (HAS) got 23 hits. 5 workshops got hit. The workshops are not necessarily related to WMD, but to aircraft and their ability to do maintenance and fly…’

    Well…that is interesting…in this picture we see only four double aircraft shelters…plus two large buildings that were not hit at all…[bottom left of the picture]

    The four shelters are circled and we do see some craters on at least three of them…the fourth one on the extreme left does not have any evidence of hits on its roof…

    But…since we are now getting into looking at sat images…[the point of my previous comment was merely to explain the technology...]

    So let us see what we see here…the clearest evidence of a crater is in the two shelters at right…

    But here we see something interesting…just to the top of the yellow circle on the far right we see two black round spots that clearly didn’t hit anything…

    They do resemble the craters we see on the shelters…were those misses?

    I don’t know…we are not getting into speculation here…neither you nor I have training in image analysis…[other than your experiments involving google earth and your neighbor's lawnmower...]

    In fact if we examine the top right corner of this picture we see a whole bunch of rough terrain that does not look anything like the smooth grassy terrain immediately to the left and throughout most of the picture…

    In fact this particular area in the top right corner looks really torn up…that is quite obvious…

    Now I could sit here and speculate that this looks like a bunch of T-hawk craters that would neatly account for the 36 missed shots that the Russians claim…

    But of course I have no interest in speculation…for all I know this area could have been some kind of excavation or landscaping activity…

    Also we notice the shelter on the far left side of the shot…this one is circled but we see no craters on the roof…just two craters at the bottom of the shelter…

    Do we count these as hits…?

    I don’t know because I can’t tell if those two holes at the edge of the structure where it blends into the ground are actually blast craters…

    What I do see is that this shelter’s roof is clearly undamaged…

    Yet this counts as a hit…according to ISI…

    Bottom line…from this picture we see three shelters clearly showing signs of craters on their roof…[the three ones on the right of the picture...

    The shelter on the left shows no signs of penetration of its roof like the other two...there is one roundish indentation on its roof...but no penetration...[again we can speculate here that the T-hawk hit the roof but maybe failed to detonate...]

    And we also see on that same shelter what look like two misses…ie two penetration holes [black round circles] that managed to hit only dirt beside the actual shelter…

    Moving on…

    And here is my favorite

    This is actually two photos side by side…a before and after shot…the after shot being the one on the right…

    This is my favorite because we see those two shots that hit about 300 ft in front of the single aircraft shelter at the right of the picture…

    I had already noticed and pointed out those two clearly missed shots in previous comments…including in the single image that the USN posted on its website…

    The ISI folks helpfully circled those two misses in yellow…

    That paved area in front of the hangar is called an ‘apron’…think of it as a driveway that leads from the hangar to the taxiways on the field…

    [an apron is where you can park an airplane...as opposed to a taxiway where parking is never allowed...and operating on which is done only by explicit instructions from air traffic control...]

    So why on earth should an apron be a legitimate target…and counted as a hit…?

    That’s like saying I tried to hit your house but managed only to hit the edge of your driveway…

    In fact we can clearly see that those two T-hawks [worth about $3 million] didn’t actually even score a direct hit on the apron…each one hit only at the edges

    And clearly the apron is still usable for its function of allowing the airplane to get to the taxiway…

    This is the definitive proof that ISI is not being objective…

    We recall that the definition of BULLSHIT is trying to deceive…ie not being objective, but selectively presenting information…and obviously attempting to play on the ignorance of the general audience…

    We do see clearly that the single shelter at left was completely destroyed…hooray…60 T-hawks worth $100 million managed to actually destroy a single hangar worth what…a few thousand bucks…

    [and incidentally...since we know from ISI that the 1000 lb warhead is 'not large' and will therefore cause little damage...we see that they were indeed large enough to actually destroy one hangar...]

    You know…does anyone see inconsistency after inconsistency with the ISI narrative…?

    Here we also see for the first time…little red circles…marking the craters on the roof of the two hangars at the right…

    But what’s that in the extreme top left corner of the picture…?

    No it’s not circled red…but it looks exactly like those craters on the hangar roofs…

    I don’t suppose that could be a missed shot…?…we will not speculate

    [btw...you can click on the images here to see the full resolution...]

    Moving on…

    Here we see again a before/after shot of what are supposed to be bunkers

    Clearly we see the after shot at right showing heavy damage to the structures…

    But again, we see a number of what strongly look like missed shots…

    Here we use our before shot as a useful reference…

    Notice the paved area behind the bunkers…then notice what appears to be dirt berms behind that…two rows in fact…

    Now look at the after picture on the right…again we look at the area behind the bunkers…

    Nothing is circled in this photo presentation…[I love their consistent presentation method]…

    But what do we make out…admittedly faintly…right behind that paved area behind the bunkers we just discussed…?

    Why it looks so much like all those T-hawk craters that have been circled in previous pictures…

    And what exactly do we have at the right corner of this structure…?

    We have at least two identifiable craters that missed the building and hit right at the berm..

    Now if we are going to look for those pixel patterns that you pointed out…I would love to hear what an actual image analyst would say about these pictures…

    But wait there’s more…

    To the right of that structure we see what look like a couple of more misses

    Right at the edge of the right hand side of the paved area around the bunkers…we see two more ‘suspicious’ craters…these would appear to be quite well off the mark…again hitting nothing but dirt…

    I think I am beginning to understand why they did not circle anything here…

    And then the last of the four high res pictures…

    This one’s called ‘workshops’…

    Again it’s a before/after shot…with the after on the right obviously…

    We see first five big yellow arrows pointing to hit targets in the after shot…

    Obviously some of those structures have been damaged badly…the big one at the bottom [arrow 3 from left] looks almost destroyed…

    The one at the top right [arrow 4] does look fully destroyed…

    But the other three are smaller, as we see in the before shot…and they actually look fairly intact…[specifically we are looking at , from left to right, arrows 1, 2 and 5...]

    All three are obviously still standing, although damaged…

    But here is again an interesting observation…

    Notice that they have now gone back to not circling the hits in red…why not…?

    Well…let’s look at the building on the far left…[arrow 1]

    It’s obviously still standing and does not appear to have sustained a direct hit…

    But we see what look like two crater holes…one each to the left and right of the building…

    These are nice round little black circles that are clearly not visible on the before shot…

    We also see another same size round black dot to the immediate right of the second yellow arrow from the left…this one is to the right of the top of the arrow shaft, not its pointy end…

    What the heck did this one hit…?…It’s clearly in the middle of nowhere…

    The last arrow closest to the right edge of the picture points to a building that is still standing and looks largely intact…

    But right below that building we see a bunch of vehicles parked there in the before shot…and they have obviously been destroyed in the after shot…

    So the TLAMs hit a bunch of trucks but the building remains standing…what’s going on there…?

    So let’s look at the best available facts from these pictures…

    We are considering only the high res pictures since we can actually see [at least partly] what is going on…

    1. In those four high res shots we see a total of six big yellow circles…

    2. We also see five big yellow arrows…

    3. we also see three little red circles…

    4. We also see three little arrows with red tips and blue shafts…

    Summing each and every one of those markers we get a grand total of 15 marked objects…

    We have seen one shelter completely destroyed…

    We have seen three bunkers completely destroyed…[photo 4]

    In photo 5…we see one large ‘workshop’ fully destroyed [arrow 3]…and one smaller building fully destroyed…[arrow 4]…

    Now we compare what ISI has highlighted to what they claim…

    1. they claim 58 tomahawks hit their targets…including two that targeted, but did not quite hit a hangar apron

    2. They have presented photographic evidence that proves exactly nothing to support their general premise…

    We conclude therefore that this ISI analysis does not show anything we can file under the category of ‘facts’ that supports 58 TLAM hits…

    We note their obvious attempts at deception…most notably the two apron shots…

    We recall the saying…fool me once…

    Just this bit of tomfoolery with the aprons is enough to thoroughly discredit their entire narrative…

    We recall that the very idea of professionalism means objectivity…

    Ie professionals do not lie or try to deceive…if caught doing so…they are immediately considered BULLSHITTERS

    And my problem with your comment is that you were quite obviously trying to derail the discussion …to pull me into a pointless argument about image analysis…

    I had said this is beyond the narrow scope I have defined and I have stuck to it…

    Thank you for your input…

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  276. @Andrei Martyanov

    So that’s the “scale”?

    One comment by James Clapper?

    I think you might have really thin skin. That comment “pales in comparison” to dozens of comments about Americans made by Russians on UNZ Review every day.

    Lighten up. He meant it figuratively. He’s not a geneticist. He is talking about Russians in the spy game…which, oh, wow, he’s in too. Imagine that.

    For God’s sake. “De-humanization.” You can’t be serious.

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  277. FB says:
    @FB

    Correction on my math on monitor size in comment at…

    http://www.unz.com/article/russia-the-800-pound-gorilla/#comment-2054895

    where I talked about satellite image resolution

    I had said…

    ‘…our screen area is therefore 19.1 x 10.8 = 206 square inches…[we found 200 square inches with our simplified assumption of a square monitor...'

    In my haste I made an incorrect trigonometry computation...

    The screen dimensions of a 20 inch diagonal HD monitor of 1920 x 1080 resolution [16:9 aspect ratio] would be 9.8 in x 17.43 in…

    That actually gives a screen area of 170 square inches [1.2 square ft]…which is less than the 200 square inch area of the square screen with a 20 inch diagonal…

    That means the actual land area of that sat image of approx 11 million square feet is over 9 million times bigger than our screen…

    I rechecked my math because I remembered that a square always encloses the maximum area of any rectangle of a given diagonal dimension…

    So naturally the rectangle of a monitor would have to have a smaller area than a square of the same diagonal…

    I rechecked and found my error…so we confirm now that a screen of 9.8 x 17.43 inches actually has a diagonal of 20 inches by using the Pythagorean theorem…

    sqrt(9.8^2 + 17.43^2) = 20…so the diagonal is 20 inches

    And for our square monitor with equal sides of 14.14 inch…

    sqrt(2 x 14.14^2) = 20…again the diagonal is 20 inches…

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  278. Erebus says:
    @FB

    Ok, so after all that, the takeaway is that the Russian MoD’s immediate and public assessment that 23 missiles reached the base (not necessarily hitting a target) and 36 went astray is probably pretty close what really happened.
    That became apparent when the base went operational the next day and the Americans made preposterous claims about not targetting the runways.

    That 36/59 Tomahawks went astray is interesting.
    That the US (with ISI support) denied it isn’t. It’s just SOP.

    Great. What’s next?

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