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Socom Announces Plans To Buy 75 ‘Armed Overwatch’ Planes


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#21 Chris Werb

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 0820 AM

All of this changes once MANPAD's enter the discussion.  SA7/14/16/18 isn't uncommon anymore.  S/F....Ken M

 

The idea is to engage from outside MANPADS envelope - c. 11,000ft straight up. APKWS handily outranges that. Fitting DIRCM and/or other countermeasures should not be too problematic. The Leonardo Miysis for example is claimed to fit small aircraft and UAVs.


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#22 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 0226 AM

They were fitting IR supression systems to prop aircraft as long ago as the Vietnam war. It might actually be easier to IR suppress a turboprop than it is a jet engine. Imagine trying to IR supress an A10.


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#23 Burncycle360

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 0708 AM

Can you suppress either enough to matter with modern sensors?  An A-10 might at least be able to limp home (or to a safer area to eject)


Edited by Burncycle360, 17 February 2020 - 0936 AM.

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#24 Dawes

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 0950 AM

SOCOM also has to figure out what type of munitions this "armed overwatch" mission is going to require. Machine gun ammo and Hellfires are pretty easy to haul around to unimproved airstrips. If GBU-12's are seen as desirable, then the logistics chain increases significantly.


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#25 bojan

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 1116 AM

Can you suppress either enough to matter with modern sensors?...

 

No.

Assumption that piston/turboprops would be less vulnerable to MANPADS was conceived when MANPADS started appearing. It was shown in Vietnam, Angola and few other places that it was not exactly correct assumption. Today even less so, since newer (newer as '90s tech) sensors don't even chase exhaust like SA-7/Redeye did, they chase aircraft skin temperature compared to a background, and in addition have additional contrast channel (either TV or UV) in order to reject flares. Best defense vs point defense such as MANPADS is still flying high and fast enough to minimize exposure and to push missile at the disadvantageous position energy vise. Ofc, both are starkly contrasted with CAS requirements, so low and fast (A-10) or high and slow (drones) are compromises.


Edited by bojan, 17 February 2020 - 1120 AM.

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#26 TTK Ciar

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 1153 AM

Best defense vs point defense such as MANPADS is still flying high and fast enough to minimize exposure and to push missile at the disadvantageous position energy vise. Ofc, both are starkly contrasted with CAS requirements, so low and fast (A-10) or high and slow (drones) are compromises.

That makes it sound like a job for the AC-130. It could fly high, for a long time, and carry not only a lot of PGMs but also large powerful radar systems to identify ground targets and track them.
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#27 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 1328 PM

SA-7's made things difficult for OV-10 and other small fixed wing aircraft towards the end of VN.  I doubt improved MANPADS's have made things more favorable for the small planes.  S/F....Ken M


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#28 bojan

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 1536 PM

...That makes it sound like a job for the AC-130. It could fly high, for a long time, and carry not only a lot of PGMs but also large powerful radar systems to identify ground targets and track them.

 

Thing is, AC-130 is in the MANPADS engagement range, and IIRC one was lost in Desert Storm due the SA-7 or SA-14.


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#29 Yama

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 1720 PM

They were fitting IR supression systems to prop aircraft as long ago as the Vietnam war. It might actually be easier to IR suppress a turboprop than it is a jet engine. Imagine trying to IR supress an A10.

It makes no difference. As E5M said, already in Vietnam War, piston engined prop planes were dead meat vs SA-7 and it's horribly primitive seeker.

 

Advantage of a prop attack plane is that it is relatively inexpensive to maintain, deploy and employ and flying in co-operation with troops in ground, has high situational awareness. But you can't make it very survivable. Flying low & slow and using unguided weapons brings out the old adage of "When enemy is in range, so are you". You don't even need MANPADS, just heavy machine guns and light AA guns are threatening for this poorly armoured plane.  If you start to adding things like advanced sensors, active countermeasure systems and smart weapons, it's no longer cheap but remains a single-role platform. And say what if it turns out your intel was wee bit out of date (see: Yemen) and enemy actually has some capable AD system like Tunguska or Crotale. With F-35, you're fairly safe. With A-10, you at least have a fighting chance. With a prop plane, you're deadest dodo of Deadonia.

I would see some value for that concept for Third world nations fighting bush wars against insurgents whom nobody is interested in arming with up-to-date weapons but for a major power, it seems like a niche of a niche role.


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#30 TTK Ciar

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 1827 PM

 

...That makes it sound like a job for the AC-130. It could fly high, for a long time, and carry not only a lot of PGMs but also large powerful radar systems to identify ground targets and track them.

 

Thing is, AC-130 is in the MANPADS engagement range, and IIRC one was lost in Desert Storm due the SA-7 or SA-14.

 

Only when it's taking off and landing, yes?  SA-7 and SA-14 reach a maximum altitude of 2300 meters, and AC-130 has a service ceiling of 12000 meters.


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#31 Dawes

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 1835 PM

At 12,000 meters, is that too high for accurate weapons employment?


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#32 Burncycle360

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 1915 PM

 

 

...That makes it sound like a job for the AC-130. It could fly high, for a long time, and carry not only a lot of PGMs but also large powerful radar systems to identify ground targets and track them.

 

Thing is, AC-130 is in the MANPADS engagement range, and IIRC one was lost in Desert Storm due the SA-7 or SA-14.

 

Only when it's taking off and landing, yes?  SA-7 and SA-14 reach a maximum altitude of 2300 meters, and AC-130 has a service ceiling of 12000 meters.

 


That's service ceiling, not the altitude at which they provide fire support, which will vary depending on the conditions and threat. 

Since Vietnam, AA threats have pushed gunships higher and higher, requiring more powerful ordnance to remain effective at the slant ranges involved, which is partially why things like 7.62 miniguns and 20mm gatling guns have disappeared, giving way to 25mm, 40mm and 105mm.  The latest variant uses 30mm and 105mm.  In 2007 a study was done regarding the potential use of 120mm mortar, guided rounds would increase the engagement envelope and allow the aircraft to operate higher.


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#33 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 1919 PM

At MANPAD safe altitude, the only thing useful is the 105mm and Griffin/Viper Strike and similar weapons.  Frankly, in a MANPADS/SHORAD world, something like a B52 hauling asstons of SDB or similar is the ticket. 

 

You know a C-17 with some sort of cargo container installed missile box would be about right, if you need air delivered weapons.  IMO/IME, ground based weapons have infinite loiter and you can sortie airplanes to support with CAS if you not forced into basing on the other side of the effing planet. 

 

The oil blot method of COIN doesn't really work with ground forces dependent on air delivered fires, as I have been saying for a generation now.  If it's not organic, you can not rely on it.  S/F....Ken M   


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#34 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 0243 AM

 

 

 

...That makes it sound like a job for the AC-130. It could fly high, for a long time, and carry not only a lot of PGMs but also large powerful radar systems to identify ground targets and track them.

 

Thing is, AC-130 is in the MANPADS engagement range, and IIRC one was lost in Desert Storm due the SA-7 or SA-14.

 

Only when it's taking off and landing, yes?  SA-7 and SA-14 reach a maximum altitude of 2300 meters, and AC-130 has a service ceiling of 12000 meters.

 

That's service ceiling, not the altitude at which they provide fire support, which will vary depending on the conditions and threat. 

Since Vietnam, AA threats have pushed gunships higher and higher, requiring more powerful ordnance to remain effective at the slant ranges involved, which is partially why things like 7.62 miniguns and 20mm gatling guns have disappeared, giving way to 25mm, 40mm and 105mm.  The latest variant uses 30mm and 105mm.  In 2007 a study was done regarding the potential use of 120mm mortar, guided rounds would increase the engagement envelope and allow the aircraft to operate higher.

 

Im sure I read somewhere they were even using repurposed copperhead rounds as a secondary weapon for Gunships, for just this reason. Dont know if it ever made into service, but it was certainly trialed.


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#35 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 0256 AM

 

They were fitting IR supression systems to prop aircraft as long ago as the Vietnam war. It might actually be easier to IR suppress a turboprop than it is a jet engine. Imagine trying to IR supress an A10.

It makes no difference. As E5M said, already in Vietnam War, piston engined prop planes were dead meat vs SA-7 and it's horribly primitive seeker.

 

Advantage of a prop attack plane is that it is relatively inexpensive to maintain, deploy and employ and flying in co-operation with troops in ground, has high situational awareness. But you can't make it very survivable. Flying low & slow and using unguided weapons brings out the old adage of "When enemy is in range, so are you". You don't even need MANPADS, just heavy machine guns and light AA guns are threatening for this poorly armoured plane.  If you start to adding things like advanced sensors, active countermeasure systems and smart weapons, it's no longer cheap but remains a single-role platform. And say what if it turns out your intel was wee bit out of date (see: Yemen) and enemy actually has some capable AD system like Tunguska or Crotale. With F-35, you're fairly safe. With A-10, you at least have a fighting chance. With a prop plane, you're deadest dodo of Deadonia.

I would see some value for that concept for Third world nations fighting bush wars against insurgents whom nobody is interested in arming with up-to-date weapons but for a major power, it seems like a niche of a niche role.

 

Not all of them. There was one example they modified with an exhaust the length of the fuselage with an IR supressor on the end. This was done for sound supression purposes, but according to the stealth warplanes book, it would also have made it near impossible to lock on a manpad, assuming they knew at night where to point it, it being so damn quiet.

 

This was the Lockheed YO3A.

img_0018-yo-3a-900x600.jpg

 

https://acesflyinghi...nly-protection/


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 18 February 2020 - 0258 AM.

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#36 seahawk

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Posted 19 February 2020 - 1348 PM

SA-7's made things difficult for OV-10 and other small fixed wing aircraft towards the end of VN.  I doubt improved MANPADS's have made things more favorable for the small planes.  S/F....Ken M

 

But only because they had to come low to spot targets. With modern targeting pods, they do not have to.


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#37 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 19 February 2020 - 1355 PM

So why carry 300+ lbs of dead weight 50cals?  S/F...Ken M


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#38 lastdingo

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Posted 19 February 2020 - 1437 PM

They were fitting IR supression systems to prop aircraft as long ago as the Vietnam war. It might actually be easier to IR suppress a turboprop than it is a jet engine. Imagine trying to IR supress an A10.

LOL, IR suppressors for exhausts were mounted on bombers in WW2 already.

Those German IR detectors in night fighters did actually work, initially.

 

Modern IR missile guidance goes for the warmth of the fuselage rather than for engine heat, though. You'd need Peltier element IR camouflage for that - and even then you'd still not be able to match the background, just to rapidly change patterns..


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#39 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 0242 AM

 

They were fitting IR supression systems to prop aircraft as long ago as the Vietnam war. It might actually be easier to IR suppress a turboprop than it is a jet engine. Imagine trying to IR supress an A10.

LOL, IR suppressors for exhausts were mounted on bombers in WW2 already.

Those German IR detectors in night fighters did actually work, initially.

 

Modern IR missile guidance goes for the warmth of the fuselage rather than for engine heat, though. You'd need Peltier element IR camouflage for that - and even then you'd still not be able to match the background, just to rapidly change patterns..

 

I believe you will find those were flame dampers, not IR suppressors. If it was IR suppression that was the concern, then they probably wouldnt have been putting IR emitting lenses on the front of the Bombardiers Blister as a part of the IFF system to guard against Village Inn. Besides, I dont believe they had any reason to guard against a system whose range was only 200m.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 20 February 2020 - 0242 AM.

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#40 DB

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 1214 PM

Modern IR seekers, as has been stated, don't work the same way as older ones, being more the IR equivalent of optical seekers as opposed to earlier generation heat detectors.

In other words, they see the IR emissions of the target at "normal" temperatures, rather than needing to see something that is at 1000s of degrees.
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