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Posted: 11/22/2003 11:35:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/22/2003 11:42:21 AM EDT by Austrian]
This does not bode well.

From CNN:

Also on Saturday morning, a DHL courier plane landed safely at Baghdad International Airport after a heat-seeking, surface-to-air missile hit one of its engines, according to military sources at the airport. No one was injured.

The aircraft had just taken off when it was hit by the SAM-7, sources said. One of the engines was set on fire, which was extinguished after the plane landed, the sources said.

A military source said the missile had a one-pound warhead -- not large enough to bring down a large aircraft, but enough to cause damage.

Missiles have been fired several times at planes approaching the airport, CNN's Jane Arraf said but Saturday's incident was the first time a fixed-wing aircraft had been hit.

www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/11/22/sprj.irq.main/index.html


Sam-7 Strella-2 Launcher

     Strella-2(SAM 7a) / Strella-2M(SAM 7b)
Max range 3,200 metres 4,200 metres
Min range 800 metres 800 metres
Max altitude 2,000 metres 2,000 metres
Min altitude 50 metres 30-50 metres
Max speed of target 792 km/h 936 km/h
Max speed of missile 1386 km/h 2088 km/h


So far as I am aware this is the first time (conspiracy theories aside) a western civilian aircraft has been actively targeted and struck by a shoulder fired missile. There have been some successful attacks before in Africa. This "not large enough to bring down a large aircraft" crap is just that. Crap.

September 1978, Air Rhodesia lost a plane carrying 52 passengers and four crew due to a SAM-7 missile fired by guerrillas. A second Air Rhodesia plane was shot down, with the loss of all on board, in a similar attack about five months later.

This is, however, a major development. There have been attacks before in Iraq, but none resulting in a hit. I suspect the guilty parties will be emboldened by their success now.

What alarms me more is the complete LACK of coverage the incident seems to be getting.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 11:46:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/22/2003 11:46:41 AM EDT by cmjohnson]
I want to know if DHL is going to paint some sort of battle flag on the side of the cockpit on that plane.

I sure would! It (and its crew) have earned it!

CJ
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 11:47:40 AM EDT
"What alarms me more is the complete LACK of coverage the incident seems to be getting."

What do you mean? No one died and no 12 year olds were raped by MJ, so obviously the media doesn't give a shit.

:D
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 11:48:22 AM EDT
I think the article means that with a warhead that small, the plane and what is on board can be landed and saved.
Without knowing anything about the two Air Rhodesia flights, I would guess that the pilot in command decided to push it a little farther than he should have after the missile hit the planes, instead of landing RFN.
Lack of coverage? Its on CNN.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 11:51:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DoubleFeed:
I think the article means that with a warhead that small, the plane and what is on board can be landed and saved.
Without knowing anything about the two Air Rhodesia flights, I would guess that the pilot in command decided to push it a little farther than he should have after the missile hit the planes, instead of landing RFN.
Lack of coverage? Its on CNN.



A SAM 7 will have no problem bringing down a large commercial plane if properly deployed. 1 pound of high explosive is quite enough. The luck we have been having is because the operators have been clueless.

Strella's are not as easy as they seem. The battery is chemical based and, once armed, only lasts about 40 seconds. You have that much time to get a lock and fire or you have to start over again. You actually need to know quite a bit about aircraft procedures to get a good hit. Additionally, you shouldn't be shooting at aircraft taking off. Landing aircraft are more vulnerable (and harder to hit with IR based missiles because the engines are not cranked all the way up).
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 12:13:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Austrian:

Originally Posted By DoubleFeed:
I think the article means that with a warhead that small, the plane and what is on board can be landed and saved.
Without knowing anything about the two Air Rhodesia flights, I would guess that the pilot in command decided to push it a little farther than he should have after the missile hit the planes, instead of landing RFN.
Lack of coverage? Its on CNN.



A SAM 7 will have no problem bringing down a large commercial plane if properly deployed. 1 pound of high explosive is quite enough. The luck we have been having is because the operators have been clueless.

Strella's are not as easy as they seem. The battery is chemical based and, once armed, only lasts about 40 seconds. You have that much time to get a lock and fire or you have to start over again. You actually need to know quite a bit about aircraft procedures to get a good hit. Additionally, you shouldn't be shooting at aircraft taking off. Landing aircraft are more vulnerable (and harder to hit with IR based missiles because the engines are not cranked all the way up).



[ebonics] you a smart muthafucka, thass right![/ebonics]
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 12:58:29 PM EDT
These guys speculate the terrorists have a network of lookouts with cellphones or radios like the Somalis did in the movie Blackhawk Down (and guess who taught the Somalis that technique?) so the SAM-7 missileers are in position and ready to fire.

The Jihadi Air Defense

If the touchstone of the anti-American Left is Vietnam, the formative experiences of Al Qaeda were rooted in Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent, Somalia. It was here that they gained confidence in their ability to defeat a superpower foe. Neither began auspiciously for the jihadi. Kabul was taken in a textbook aerial assault by the Soviet Army. For years afterward, the Islamists were unable to make any headway against Soviet forces because the helicopters provided Russian commanders with an instant source of vertical envelopment.

After suffering thousands of casualties against a seemingly invincible Soviet foe, the jihadi began to develop a series of tactics designed to make the Soviet rotary-wing advantage an actual liability. The key was to achieving this was the US Stinger missile which inflicted heavy losses on Soviet transport and attack helicopters. It forced Soviet Frontal Aviation to fly at over 2,000 foot altitudes, which essentially blinded the ground columns and denied them aerial support. Then the jihadi took a page out of the North Vietnamese army playbook. They deliberately initiated contact with the intention of ambushing the relief force. In one violent engagement, the jihadi tricked the Soviets into landing 800 air assault troops into a kill zone, blocked out the airbridge with missiles and killed the Russians to a man. By forcing the Soviets to fight on terms of essential tactical equality, the jihadis eventually prevailed.

In Somalia, the Al Qaeda experimented to see whether the concepts they had developed in Afghanistan would work against the Americans. When the UN ordered Americans to hunt down General Aideed, Osama Bin Laden had a perfect opportunity to play against Rangers and Special Forces. He realized that if he could develop effective tactics against those elite forces, they would perform with even greater effect against regular Army units. The result was the infamous "Blackhawk Down" incident. From Mogadishu, the jihadi learned that US vertical assault tactics were vulnerable to mere RPGs if these were used to strike helos in the last, low level stages of their descent. Moreover, he discovered that Americans would cancel offensive operations immediately and concentrate on recovering the survivors of the first attack. They codified the notion of trapping the first fly and swatting whatever came to its rescue.

Although the cause of the crash of two UH-60 Blackhawks over Mosul has not yet been officially determined, it may have been caused or provoked by an RPG attack on helicopters responding to an attack on a US ground element. Even if the cause of the crash is subsequently determined to be accidental, the effect is certainly one that Al Qaeda training manual would have aimed for. The American adaptation has been partly technological and partly tactical. Army aviation -- which has been the primary target of the shootdowns -- is doctrinally committed to high-speed, low-level flying. That is their key pilot skill and bragging right. US rotary wing craft also have far better decoys, like flares, than the Soviets. But these advantages can be negated by a foe which pickets certain lines of approach, using an outpost of spotters with cell phones to give the missile shooters a few minutes of warning about the heading of inbound helicopters. And the tactical and technological adaptations vanish utterly when an air assault helicopter flares for its final approach and the enemy is firing unguided RPGs, which cannot be decoyed away.

The cycle of adaptation never ceases, and the US is working to deploy rotary wing UAVs and other robotic platforms to change the fundamental need to risk lives to obtain information. These UAVs will eventually be armed, too. But one tactic that will soon be viable with the availability of more Iraqi policemen and intelligence agents to coalition forces is the counter ambush against anti-air forces. The jihadi air defense men, pickets and lookouts are themselves vulnerable to being spotted by Iraqis on the ground. Keeping lookout on a hilltop copse, or trundling through a street in a car full of RPGs, these jihadis are vulnerable to destruction or capture in detail at the instance of a sharp-eyed coalition agent, disguised as an ordinary civilian. The coalition can pick off their spotters by the dozen. That fact alone would collapse the jihadi air defense and lead to a further penetration of the enemy's cells. During the Battle of Britain, Winston Churchill often wondered why the Nazis never attacked the Chain Home radar sets which provided advance warning to the RAF of Luftwaffe raids. One historian writing about an unrepeated German attack on British radar said:

No German agent during the war learnt much about the British radar system. Had they done, German Intelligence would have discovered that the power and receiving rooms were extremely vulnerable to attack, and that the raid on Ventnor had been a devastating success. It is certain that had German intelligence discovered the full effect of their attack on Ventnor, more radar stations would have been increasingly bombed, with devastating consequences.

The Germans could have altered the course of the Battle of Britain with existing technology and tactics if they had analyzed the enemy's weakness correctly. They didn't and lost the war. The fight against the jihadi enemy will require creative thinking as much as it will need new and better equipment.


belmontclub.blogspot.com/2003_11_01_belmontclub_archive.html#106902959485470686
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 1:08:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By raven:
Army aviation -- which has been the primary target of the shootdowns -- is doctrinally committed to high-speed, low-level flying. That is their key pilot skill and bragging right. US rotary wing craft also have far better decoys, like flares, than the Soviets. But these advantages can be negated by a foe which pickets certain lines of approach, using an outpost of spotters with cell phones to give the missile shooters a few minutes of warning about the heading of inbound helicopters.


Good post, raven.

Wouldn't the aforementioned tactic be easily defeated by jamming the mobile frequencies?
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 1:10:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/22/2003 1:10:59 PM EDT by sniper1az]
I TOLD ALL OF YOU THAT WE SHOULD HAVE NUKED THE ENTIRE MIDDLE EAST INTO NOTHINGNESS !!!!

MAYBE NOW YOU'LL LISTEN TO REASON !!!!

Link Posted: 11/22/2003 1:10:22 PM EDT
abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/US/pilots_security_031121.html

A High Price for Speaking Up
Pilots in Iraq Face Court-Martial for Voicing Concerns About Aircraft


By Martha Raddatz

Nov. 21— Two U.S. Army pilots charged with ferrying American military brass around Iraq decided to speak out about the vulnerability of their aircraft. Their reward: criminal charges.


Chief Warrant Officers William Lovett and Robert Jones have 53 years of service between them in the active duty and Army Reserves. Jones has flown in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and Bosnia.

But their current mission in central Iraq may be their last. Long before U.S. helicopters were being shot down, the reserve pilots told National Defense Magazine their planes were not properly equipped to fly in a war zone. That interview, which appeared in the September 2003 issue of the magazine, has now led to the charges of dereliction of duty against the pilots for disclosing "vulnerabilities" of the "mission, procedures, and aircraft."

"These are planes that fly around generals, they fly around VIPs," said attorney Eugene Fidell, who is representing Lovett. "He and the other people involved should not be facing a court-martial; they should be getting decorations for this."

The reserve pilots fly the VIPs around in C-12 and UC -35 aircraft — the military equivalent of a Beechcraft King Air and a Cessna Citation.

But there aren't many differences between the military and the civilian aircraft. Both are defenseless.


An Unarmed Foot Soldier

They are the only Army aircraft operating in Iraq without any equipment to warn or defend against surface-to-air missiles.

"I really want the equipment for them," said Lesley Barber, whose husband flies with Lovett and Jones in Iraq. "They have a right to have it. It's like sending a foot soldier in without an armored vest or a gun. It's nuts."

In June, Lovett wrote to Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"We are not equipped to operate in a combat area," Lovett wrote. "This seems to be an unnecessary risk of not only losing expensive aircraft but more importantly, losing valuable lives."

The Army admits that the aircraft has no survivability equipment, but says defensive measures — making steep descents, or spiral takeoffs — provide adequate protection.

In a written statement to Congress, Brig. Gen. Guy Swann III, the Army's chief of legislative liaison, said: "The threat mitigation procedures instituted by the Army are appropriate for the unit's location."

But Swann went on to write: "However, the 12th Aviation Brigade commander has forwarded an operational needs study addressing the additional equipment requirements, such as the installation of an anti-missile defense system, to permit safer and greater use of this unit's aircraft in the Iraqi theater."

Swann added that the application of Aviation Survivability Equipment to the C-12 and UC -35 aircraft would "take some time."

Lovett and Jones say pilots need defense systems now — and for saying that, they could be court-martialed. Their fellow pilots continue to fly.


Link Posted: 11/22/2003 1:11:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/22/2003 1:15:04 PM EDT by BlackDog714]

Originally Posted By Austrian:
Additionally, you shouldn't be shooting at aircraft taking off.



Why???? It seems that you would have the highest IR signature at T/O that was w/in the SAM-7's range...

A jet taking off is loaded with fuel and is very heavy. The climb just after T/O is the most dangerous part of the flight. It seems IF I were a terrorist, launching SAM-7's at planes taking off and landing would be an IDEAL target.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 1:32:48 PM EDT
These morons have been shooting SA-7s at our aircraft using Baghdad International ever since we first got there. BFD - they finally managed to hit one. No casualties and it landed safely.

Hell, I could sit all day and throw rocks in the sky. Eventually, I might hit a bird, but it doesn't make me a dangerous marksman.

The only notable success of the SA-7s in Iraq has been against our helicopters.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 1:40:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/22/2003 2:08:56 PM EDT by Austrian]

Originally Posted By BlackDog714:

Originally Posted By Austrian:
Additionally, you shouldn't be shooting at aircraft taking off.



Why???? It seems that you would have the highest IR signature at T/O that was w/in the SAM-7's range...

A jet taking off is loaded with fuel and is very heavy. The climb just after T/O is the most dangerous part of the flight. It seems IF I were a terrorist, launching SAM-7's at planes taking off and landing would be an IDEAL target.



Taking off is not ideal. Landing is better.

The turn from base to final approach in a traditional pattern is actually the most dangerous segment of any flight. In the event there is a long final/straight-in approach which is more likely for commercial flights it is just after the extension of full flaps or the most extreme flaps setting for landing that the danger is highest. Failures on takeoff are actually somewhat easier to deal with than on approach though the margin is slim and somewhat aircraft dependent.

Recovering from a power loss of one engine on approach is a problem much more dire than when climb out is already established. On approach you are probably below 1000-1500 feet AGL, in a dirty configuration. Slow, low and lumbering with mushy controls. Not the time to lose an engine and have to worry about asymmetric thrust. Plus, you are on a path to the runway threshold. Any loss in power and your trajectory is going to drop you short of the runway. Ouch.

On climb out you'd have more than 2000 feet of altitude below you before you are a decent missile target (since it takes that long to get downrange enough to have someone behind you, which is required by the SAM 7's, not standing on airport property). By the time you're up there you have height and speed, the two critical safety factors. (See the result of the DHL flight that was hit for an example). Standard procedure for a engine out when you are low on take-off (below say, 1500 AGL) is to continue forward and land wherever possible, NOT to turn back to the airport. The DHL flight made it back without a problem and that tells me it was high enough to make the turn back and land on an active runway. Probably 2000 AGL+.


Lot of height here.


Almost all large commercial airlines can still make vertical headway with a single engine or 2 of 3, as did the DHL flight, no doubt.

- The (MEI/CFII, 2700 hours) Austrian.

[edited to add photo, correct typos]
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 2:28:09 PM EDT
Using a SA-7 to bring down an airliner?
Not gonna happen!
Everyone knows a 50 caliber, bolt action,
sniper rifle is designed for that.
I saw something like that in the opening
scene of "Air America"
Didn't really even take much effort at all.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 3:03:45 PM EDT
It's not so much what you hit, it's where you hit it.

Lockerbie, Scotland. Pan Am 747, popped by a few ounces of plastic explosive. It was in the right place, that's all. Later testing on a retired 747 shows that 4 ounces of C4 in the aft bathroom was quite sufficient to pop the entire tail section clean off, with the aid of an atmospheric pressure differential. (The test plane was pressurized to simulate flight at 20,000 feet)

Granted, a typical heat seeking missile is going to go for the engines, but collateral damage from an engine flying apart can be more of a problem than losing one of two, three, or four engines.

Remember the Concorde that was brought down by a faulty TIRE. Engine shrapnel in the fuel tanks could be just as bad.

CJ
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 3:04:33 PM EDT
Airbus A-300.Can take a hit from an SA-7 no problem.Make good coffee and/or leave on time with no mech.difficulties,another story.Wish we at DHL/CVG could have used that excuse when every plane left 2-3 hrs late one nite in NOV 95(which meant that all that overnite pkgs went free)
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 3:07:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MattyMattel:
Airbus A-300.Can take a hit from an SA-7 no problem.



I think a poor hit on a A-300 would result in nothing. A good hit would doom the aircraft.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 3:30:28 PM EDT
If the bad guys every start using Bushmaster XM15 E2S rifles, all flights in Iraq are in big trouble. I don't understand why they waste their time with SAMs.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 3:36:38 PM EDT
Air Rhodesian a/c were Vickers Vicounts,not large by any means(and single spar too).Large civilian a/c have redudancies military a/c for the most part do not(i.e N747PA),and remember,these forces are outside A/C not internal,like a bomb.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 3:47:13 PM EDT
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