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All Things Air Defence/AA (merged)

tomahawk6

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I suppose it depends on what the AD is to defend, INF/Armor or static locations like air fields or supply dumps. In the case we would see MANPADS at the lowest level then Patriot and above that then THAAD. Its probably time to field the Iron Dome to protect static targets from drones and cruise missiles.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Loch Sloy! said:
Strongly disagree. While completely abdicating Air Defence to the Infantry isn't a solution to the overall capability gap, infantry very much need an integral SHORAD capability. With proper training and control measures MANPADS (or perhaps LAV mounted systems) are an appropriate weapon system for infantry and would pose minimal risk to civil aviation. It would greatly enhance the ability to suppress enemy attack helicopters and ground attack aircraft along the FEBA in a peer conflict. Relying only on integrated higher level air defence systems is a recipe for system failure. Integral/ intimate SHORAD capability with the infantry (not reliant on fully functioning higher level C2 networks) is an important layer to the AD cake.

I see. Tell me, if you don't mind, what your specific experience with Air Defence systems and airspace control are?
 

tomahawk6

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In the US we have an AD branch from MANPADS to THAAD. The US Army used to combine FA and ADA in one artillery branch. Then in the late 60' s the branch was split into 2 separate branches.
 

Old Sweat

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tomahawk6 said:
In the US we have an AD branch from MANPADS to THAAD. The US Army used to combine FA and ADA in one artillery branch. Then in the late 60' s the branch was split into 2 separate branches.

Originally there were two branches, one of which contained coastal and anti-aircraft. At some time circa the sixties, this branched merged with field, and then as T6 noted, they split again.

 

Loch Sloy!

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I see. Tell me, if you don't mind, what your specific experience with Air Defence systems and airspace control are?

Although we don't know each other, at a guess I'd say it's about equivalent to your experience in the infantry... happy to be corrected otherwise.

I don't see why infanteers couldn't be adequately trained to safely employ SHORAD systems for point defence. This seems to be the approach the Americans are taking as an interim solution.

I certainly get that there is more to this than giving Cpl Bloggins a short brief on how to operate a stinger missile and turning him out on the battlefield, appropriate control measures would be especially important. What I don't get is unless these lower level systems are with the infantry how do we promptly protect them (especially light/ airborne/airmobile infantry) from enemy CAS (or UAVs)? Relying on complex systems seems like a recipe for inherent delayed responses due to the extensive command and control networks that they must rely on.

Who (and how) do you believe should employ MANPAD systems?
 

Cloud Cover

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In the Gulf War 1.0 the Blowpipes on HMCS were manned by army gunners, not bosuns, even though the Navy has anti aircraft missiles and guns. So, there is clearly an art and skill to it that is more than a few weeks training.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Loch Sloy! said:
Although we don't know each other, at a guess I'd say it's about equivalent to your experience in the infantry... happy to be corrected otherwise.

I don't see why infanteers couldn't be adequately trained to safely employ SHORAD systems for point defence. This seems to be the approach the Americans are taking as an interim solution.

I certainly get that there is more to this than giving Cpl Bloggins a short brief on how to operate a stinger missile and turning him out on the battlefield, appropriate control measures would be especially important. What I don't get is how to promptly protect infantry (especially light/ airborne/airmobile infantry) from enemy CAS (or UAVs) without relying on complex systems that may have inherent delayed responses due to the extensive command and control networks that they must rely on.

Who (and how) do you believe should employ MANPAD systems?

You would probably be surprised about both my Infantry and AD experience. The reason that I asked you the question about your experience was not to make you feel small, but to frame my response so as to not insult your intelligence.

There is alot more to AD than just handing out MANPADs, as you acknowledged, above. In the NATO/ABCA construct, allAD weapons (ground and aerial based) operate within an Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) that is governed by a theatre Airspace Control Plan (ACP), promulgated (generally) by the senior Air Force HQ. Within the ACP, the physical structure of the airspace is divided up (who can operate where and when). This is gospel and applies not just to aircraft but also artillery projectiles, rockets and missiles. This document is digested at Corps, Div, Bde and BG level by each applicable Airspace Control Centre (ASCC) which is staffed by the specialist AD personnel at each level- at the BG level, the AD Troop CP becomes the BG ASCC, at Bde it is the Battery ASCC, etc on upward. At each level, they work closely with the  FSCC (provided by the Guns at each approriate level) and advise the supported commander together on airspace usage/deconfliction, which (almost more importantly than protecting from air attack) prevents "blue on blue incidents". In the event of aerial attack, ideally there is a theatre level sensor network which can provide rapid cueing down to the Det level (AD weapons without sensors or cueing are next to useless) to ensure rapid and accurate engagements.

The cap badge of the guy holding a MANPADs (or gun or laser) is irrelevant (although, in Canada, they are Gunners), but the weapon itself is the merest tip of the iceberg. The C2 structure behind it cannot be ad hoc, or you literally do not get to play- the theatre commander will not risk air assets around uncontrolled AD weapons. It takes years of training and experience to be good at this stuff. Unfortunately for Canada, the Army threw away most of that experience in the mid-1990s because they did not value the capability, nor fully understand it. It will take a solid decade (or more) to get it back. Hopefully, nothing bad happens, while we rebuild.
 

SeaKingTacco

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CloudCover said:
In the Gulf War 1.0 the Blowpipes on HMCS were manned by army gunners, not bosuns, even though the Navy has anti aircraft missiles and guns. So, there is clearly an art and skill to it that is more than a few weeks training.

They were actually Javelin Missiles. The missile Troops were provided by 119 AD Bty in Chatham NB. The Troop Commanders and Troop WO stood watches in the ship's ops rooms, while the Dets had fifring locations around each ship. PROTECTEUR, for example had 4 firing points (having the fewest installed AD weapons) while ATH and TER had fewer (having more inherent AD capabilities). Their role was to control the fire of the missiles, in the event of aerial attack, as part of the ship's overall layered defence capability.
 

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SeaKingTacco said:
They were actually Javelin Missiles. The missile Troops were provided by 119 AD Bty in Chatham NB. The Troop Commanders and Troop WO stood watches in the ship's ops rooms, while the Dets had fifring locations around each ship. PROTECTEUR, for example had 4 firing points (having the fewest installed AD weapons) while ATH and TER had fewer (having more inherent AD capabilities). Their role was to control the fire of the missiles, in the event of aerial attack, as part of the ship's overall layered defence capability.

Since I think SKT is being modest... please correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you the Troop Commander of the PROTECTEUR Troop?

I also seem to remember that experience helped inform your choice to switch to ANav.
 

Loch Sloy!

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Tracking. Thanks for the explanation.

I think the issue is I'm thinking about and advocating a much lower lever of capability; both in terms of reach (MANPADS or other very short range systems) and how devolved the capability is (combat teams and BGs vs. Bdes).

AD weapons without sensors or cuing are next to useless

What about for self-defence against an aircraft that is actually attacking you?

I understand that these things work best in a system and ideally there is a theater level of airspace control (is this why we bought Iron Dome?) but that might not always be realistic. Especially in places like the Baltics where in a conflict anything emitting radio waves is likely to be the recipient of an MLRS strike which turns the surrounding grid square upside down. Having some type of limited AD capability which is not reliant on "the network" seems like a good idea.

This is the article I read that prompted me to think about these types of systems for the infantry;

https://www.army.mil/article/223209/devil_brigade_soldiers_showcase_air_defense_capabilities

 

SeaKingTacco

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Loch Sloy! said:
Tracking. Thanks for the explanation.

I think the issue is I'm thinking about and advocating a much lower lever of capability; both in terms of reach (MANPADS or other very short range systems) and how devolved the capability is (combat teams and BGs vs. Bdes).

What about for self-defence against an aircraft that is actually attacking you?

I understand that these things work best in a system and ideally there is a theater level of airspace control (is this why we bought Iron Dome?) but that might not always be realistic. Especially in places like the Baltics where in a conflict anything emitting radio waves is likely to be the recipient of an MLRS strike which turns the surrounding grid square upside down. Having some type of limited AD capability which is not reliant on "the network" seems like a good idea.

This is the article I read that prompted me to think about these types of systems for the infantry;

https://www.army.mil/article/223209/devil_brigade_soldiers_showcase_air_defense_capabilities

I don't think that you are tracking me.

You are not permitted to use airspace, unless the Theatre Commander says you can.

That means no AD weapons, unless you are part of the ACP.

I am telling you, from personal experience, AD weapons without sensors and cueing are next to useless.

The fact that we are operating in EW challenging environments today is nothing new- us Cold Warriors cut our teeth on the threat of having your entire grid square flipped upside down by a BM21 strike, if you got careless. We just spent the last two decades being sloppy, because it does not take much effort to beat up on cavemen.

We need to relearn EMSEC, instead of complaining about the rules of the games.
 

daftandbarmy

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SeaKingTacco said:
We just spent the last two decades being sloppy, because it does not take much effort to beat up on cavemen.

The British learned all about that the hard way during the South African War when 'Johnny Boer' handed the great British Army its hat. Decades of campaigning against various, near neolithic, tribes prepared them poorly for a face off against the original Commandos...
 

Infanteer

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SeaKingTacco said:
We just spent the last two decades being sloppy, because it does not take much effort to beat up on cavemen.

Quote of the day.
 

FJAG

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We tend to cycle through this stuff. AD was relegated to the Militia after WW2 and then revived into the Reg Army when we expanded it for NATO in the early fifties. By the late sixties we were shutting down the AD (and Honest John nuclear missiles) and by the time I transferred from the Reserves to the Reg Artillery in 1969 we were all going on exercises where the "air situation" was cynically described as "We have air superiority" thus negating the need to think anti aircraft.

In the seventies we were faced with having to defend our European airfield bases (so that we could get some NATO funding) and we dragged old 40mm Bofors guns (saved from the Bonaventure) out of storage and supplanted them with British Blowpipe MANPADS. Hence the rebirth of the air defence trade within the artillery. By 1986 we went more modern with the acquisition of the ADATS which entered service in Germany. When Germany closed down and the Russians became our "friends" for a decade or two, the systems came home to Canada but slowly faded out of use and were finally binned in 2011 when upgrade costs were considered too low a priority.

The problem that we as a military have is that we can easily justify costs for one more GO/FO and all his staff to carry out administration at headquarters but we can't justify the costs of the equipment and training/maintenance costs that are required for weapons systems that would only be of use in a high intensity war. That was the way of air defence and self propelled artillery and infantry fighting vehicles and almost the tanks. Bit by bit we are organizing ourselves to be incapable of ever being able to be a serious contender in high intensity conflict. We describe our brigades as medium weight ones but quite frankly with the capability gaps we have that is probably a stretch.

:2c:
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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Here we go again with that little Urban Legend.

The boffins used for air defence in Europe in the 70's did not come from Bonnie.

First of all, Bonnie had precious few of them (6 only). Her AA was mostly comprised of 3inch50 guns, not Bofors 40 mm. Second, she was still in service when the decision was made to give Europe AA and it was a surprise when her decommissioning was announced - so there was no plan to use such guns.

The Bofors for CF Europe came from the Navy stock, which was mostly made up of the old WWII corvettes and frigates stock, completed by the 19 guns from HMCS Magnificent.

If you want to "repeat" the legend, at least refer to Maggie.  ;)
 

NavyShooter

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When the 40mm boffins were re-activated again for the MCDV's, I was walking through FMFCS and observed several of the receivers for them (stripped down) ready to go for metal cleaning and re-finishing.  They were, at the time, painted OD Green.

The dates on all of the receivers were between 1942-1944.

Interesting tale that they came from Maggie.  Sources at the time told me they were from a WW2 Air Defence regiment that got re-roled onto an aircraft carrier (Bonnie - but I guess the Maggie) then went to the AD guys again until they got their 35mm Oerlikons, then they went back into storage until they got pulled out for the MCDV's.

NS
 

Colin Parkinson

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
Here we go again with that little Urban Legend.

The boffins used for air defence in Europe in the 70's did not come from Bonnie.

First of all, Bonnie had precious few of them (6 only). Her AA was mostly comprised of 3inch50 guns, not Bofors 40 mm. Second, she was still in service when the decision was made to give Europe AA and it was a surprise when her decommissioning was announced - so there was no plan to use such guns.

The Bofors for CF Europe came from the Navy stock, which was mostly made up of the old WWII corvettes and frigates stock, completed by the 19 guns from HMCS Magnificent.



If you want to "repeat" the legend, at least refer to Maggie.  ;)

The Bofors at the 15th FD RCA museum, came from Pat Bay, DFO had it brand new in the box, it was meant for one of their post war Cutters. We acquired it and I helped unbox it. Wish I had taken pictures, will have to find the date of manufacture.

The 3"/50 started replacing the Bofors late WWII as it accommodated the proximity fuze and had a greater range. I believed that the 3"/50 and the US 5" guns accounted for the majority of Japanese aircraft shot down in the Pacific.
 

Old Sweat

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When I was the chief instructor at Artillery Department of the Combat Arms School in Gagetown in 1974-1977, we had a Boffin in Air Defence Wing. When I first arrived, I spent some time familiarizing myself with it, including reading the equipment manual and the gun history book. Our Boffin was manufactured in 1943 and had been mounted on a ship (can't recall the name, but it wasn't Magnificent or Bonaventure) before going into storage. I later fired one of the 40s in Shilo, which was a lot of fun, and interesting.
 
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