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Posted: 12/15/2005 11:14:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2005 11:18:35 AM EDT by KlubMarcus]
www.strategypage.com/dls/articles/2005124224417.asp

The Serbian battery commander, whose missiles downed an American F-16, and, most impressively, an F-117, in 1999, has retired, as a colonel, and revealed many of the techniques he used to achieve all this. Colonel Dani Zoltan, in 1999, commanded the 3rd battery of the 250th Missile Brigade. He had search and control radars, as well as a TV tracking unit. The battery had four quad launchers for the 21 foot long, 880 pound SA-3 missiles. The SA-3 entered service in 1961 and, while it had undergone some upgrades, was considered a minor threat to NATO aircraft. Zoltan was an example of how an imaginative and energetic leader can make a big difference. While Zoltan’s peers and superiors were pretty demoralized with the electronic countermeasures NATO (especially American) aircraft used to support their bombing missions, he believed he could still turn his ancient missiles into lethal weapons. The list of measures he took, and the results he got, should be warning to any who believe that superior technology alone will provide a decisive edge in combat. People still make a big difference. In addition to shooting down two aircraft, Zoltan’s battery caused dozens of others to abort their bombing missions to escape his unexpectedly accurate missiles. This is how he did it.

- Zoltan had about 200 troops under his command. He got to know them well, trained hard and made sure everyone could do what was expected of them. This level of quality leadership was essential, for Zoltan's achievements were a group effort.

- Zoltan used a lot of effective techniques that American air defense experts expected, but did not expect to encounter because of poor leadership by the enemy. For example, Zoltan knew that his major foe was HARM (anti-radar) missiles and electronic detection systems used by the Americans, as well as smart bombs from aircraft who had spotted him. To get around this, he used landlines for all his communications (no cell phones or radio). This was more of a hassle, often requiring him to use messengers on foot or in cars. But it meant the American intel people overhead were never sure where he was.

- His radars and missile launchers were moved frequently, meaning that some of his people were always busy looking for new sites to set up in, or setting up or taking down the equipment. His battery traveled over 100,000 kilometers during the 78 day NATO bombing campaign, just to avoid getting hit. They did, and his troops knew all that effort was worth the effort.

- The Serbs had spies outside the Italian airbase most of the bombers operated from. When the bombers took off, the information on what aircraft they, and how many, quickly made it to Zoltan and the other battery commanders.

- Zoltan studied all the information he could get on American stealth technology, and the F-117. There was a lot of unclassified data, and speculation, out there. He developed some ideas on how to beat stealth, based on the fact that the technology didn’t make the F-117 invisible to radar, just very to get, and keep, a good idea of exactly where the aircraft was. Zoltan figured out how to tweak his radars to get a better lock on stealth type targets. This has not been discussed openly.

- The Serbs also set up a system of human observers, who would report on sightings of bombers entering Serbia, and track their progress. The spies and observers enabled Zoltan to keep his radars on for a minimal amount of time. This made it difficult for the American SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) to use their HARM missiles (that homed in on radar transmissions.) Zoltan never lost a radar to a HARM missile.

- Zoltan used the human spotters and brief use of radar, with short range shots at American bombers. The SA-3 was guided from the ground, so you had to use surprise to get an accurate shot in before the target used jamming and evasive maneuvers to make the missile miss. The F-117 he shot down was only 13 kilometers away.

Zoltan got some help from his enemies. The NATO commanders often sent their bombers in along the same routes, and didn’t make a big effort to find out if hotshots like Zoltan were down there, and do something about it. Never underestimate your enemy.

We should hire Col. Zoltan as a consultant. Wachoo guys think? I bet he can raise hell over at the NTC during mock warfare.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:19:59 AM EDT
IBTAmerica is invincible, that punk just got lucky crowd.

Let's face it - dude was smart, and he got us.
Now let's learn from it, so it never happens again.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:23:53 AM EDT
Interesting on the spies...I was at RAF Fairford during the Kosovo campaign, guarding B-1s and B-52s. We had people at the fence every freakin' day. "Plane-spotting", as it's known, is quite popular as a hobby in Great Britain. There was nothing the MOD Police could do about it-just citizens, standing outside the fence and taking photo after photo of our a/c loading up bombs, taxiing too and fro, taking off and landing. I talked to a few of them while I was watching the fenceline. One guy had a notebook with the itineraries of most of the planes on the ramp by tail number-from where and when they left the states, where they refueled or stopped on their way to England, when they landed, how many missions they'd taken off on and when they left and returned. I always wondered how many of them were Serb agents.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:32:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By METT-T: One guy had a notebook with the itineraries of most of the planes on the ramp by tail number-from where and when they left the states, where they refueled or stopped on their way to England, when they landed, how many missions they'd taken off on and when they left and returned. I always wondered how many of them were Serb agents.
You should've taken that guy in for questioning!
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:39:12 AM EDT
They get points for being crafty, and putting together information from multiple sources. Sure, they got lucky too, but luck's part of the game.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:40:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2005 11:46:43 AM EDT by METT-T]

Originally Posted By KlubMarcus:

Originally Posted By METT-T: One guy had a notebook with the itineraries of most of the planes on the ramp by tail number-from where and when they left the states, where they refueled or stopped on their way to England, when they landed, how many missions they'd taken off on and when they left and returned. I always wondered how many of them were Serb agents.
You should've taken that guy in for questioning!



Couldn't. I mean, we could report them all we wanted, but we sure as hell didn't have any jurisdiction over them. Besides, it's a well-recognized hobby over there:

www.planespotting.com/

Hell, as far as I understand it, there's no damn law preventing British citizens from coming on to a British installation anytime and anyway they please. The goddamn hippies would jump the fence, try and run up to the bombers to climb on them or throw blood on them, British Ministry of Defense Police would come, arrest them for "causing a disturbance", transport them, arrest would be thrown out, hippies released and back trying to come over the fence in twelve hours. I saw that happen multiple times. One of the MOD Police showed me pictures of a section of fenceline just like ours, 8 feet or whatever it was with double-Y outriggers, three strands of barbed wire on each. The fence was only about ten feet long-it was in some protester's backyard. They used it for practice.

'nother link:

http://www.airsceneuk.org.uk/hangar/1999/fairford/lancers.htm
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 12:25:34 PM EDT
Greece is a 'Plane spotter's haven because of the wide variety of aircraft you can find there. It's also small enough that there's a chance you can 'score' by tagging every serial number in service.

Unfortunately, plane-spotting is a very unheard of passtime over there. There was a bit of a flap a year or two ago when the Greeks arrested a bunch of English types for spying, and they didn't believe that it could possibly be a hobby.

After all, who in their right minds would hang out at air bases jotting down tail numbers, just for fun?

NTM
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 12:55:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Manic_Moran: After all, who in their right minds would hang out at air bases jotting down tail numbers, just for fun?
Arfcommers on vacation?
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 2:59:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By METT-T: Hell, as far as I understand it, there's no damn law preventing British citizens from coming on to a British installation anytime and anyway they please. The goddamn hippies would jump the fence, try and run up to the bombers to climb on them or throw blood on them, British Ministry of Defense Police would come, arrest them for "causing a disturbance", transport them, arrest would be thrown out, hippies released and back trying to come over the fence in twelve hours. I saw that happen multiple times. One of the MOD Police showed me pictures of a section of fenceline just like ours, 8 feet or whatever it was with double-Y outriggers, three strands of barbed wire on each. The fence was only about ten feet long-it was in some protester's backyard. They used it for practice.
Professional protesters, eh?
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 3:13:28 AM EDT
People who praise this guy ignore the fact that he probably fired 100's of missiles that went completely off course and hit nothing.

This is the equivalent of saying someone is a great marksman for hitting a flying clay with a S&W snubbie, and ignoring the fact that they did it once after 150 shots.

This isn't sour grapes on my part, if I was on the other side, I would be raising the same point.

Link Posted: 12/19/2005 6:33:36 AM EDT
He did better than others who have fired hundereds of missiles and -not- hit a Stealth.. Didn't Napoleon say "I don't want my generals to be good, I want them to be lucky"?

NTM
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 7:12:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:
He did better than others who have fired hundereds of missiles and -not- hit a Stealth.. Didn't Napoleon say "I don't want my generals to be good, I want them to be lucky"?

NTM



This is of course assuming that this whole story wasnt BS from the begining?

Is it possible to prove this mans credentials?

What was published back in 1999 makes far more sense.

That the Stealth, flying low because of the chronic bad low cloud which it had to fly beneath to use its IIR and illuminating laser, was downed by flying over a mobile AAA battery that was not mapped. Which engaged the Stealth visually over open sights after seeing it shillouetted against the same cloud now lit up by fires, explosions and tracer fire from the target area, and the gunners had little to do except rase their muzzles and fire nearly straight up as the F117 flew right over them.

F117s are not supposed to overfly AAA batteries, they try to plan their attacks to avoid them for just this reason, but obviously mobile AAA cant be mapped with 100 percent efficency. The F117 was also additionally vulnerable on this night because the weather made it fly rather low, so its IIR and its IR wavelength illuminating laser, and the seeker of its Paveway III bombs could not see through it at a safer altitude. Any other aircraft would have aborted the mission though, they were counting on the Stealth being hard enough to detect to get through. Other Stealth missions were aborted for this reason very reason- either the pilots or controllers thought there was too much risk of gunfire flying that low. This one was carried through in marginal conditions apparently on a judgment call probably influneced by the fealing of invulnerability given by the knowledge that no Stealth had been shot down before.

This is why JDAMs- which were used for the first time in 1999- have become so popular. You can stay above the cloud and they will still hit the target. At the time though only the 2000 pound version of the JDAM was available and the F117s bomb bay can only carry 1000 pound bombs.

The B-2s and B-1s were the only ones routinely dropping JDAMs at the time and they made themselves quite noticeable by being the only Allied attack aircraft to NEVER abort and hit their target every time.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 7:36:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/19/2005 7:36:50 AM EDT by TheOtherDave]
As I understand it, there was special Russian radar in an underground bunker at this SAM site/airport. You guys may remember that the Russians sent Spetsnaz in to this airport uninvited right at the beginning of hostilities-they just showed up, no support etc. They came to this very airport as squatters until the radar gear was removed from the bunker. We were able to drop a JDAM at the bunker entrance after the F117 was shot down but it only slowed them down.

Dave

ETA: Once the radar was gone, so were the Russians.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 8:20:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

That the Stealth, flying low because of the chronic bad low cloud which it had to fly beneath to use its IIR and illuminating laser, was downed by flying over a mobile AAA battery that was not mapped. Which engaged the Stealth visually over open sights after seeing it shillouetted against the same cloud now lit up by fires, explosions and tracer fire from the target area, and the gunners had little to do except rase their muzzles and fire nearly straight up as the F117 flew right over them.



I've only ever heard the SAM explanation, AAA I've not heard before.

What is the USAF's official position on the cause of downing?

NTM
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 8:26:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/19/2005 8:32:19 AM EDT by ArmdLbrl]

Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

That the Stealth, flying low because of the chronic bad low cloud which it had to fly beneath to use its IIR and illuminating laser, was downed by flying over a mobile AAA battery that was not mapped. Which engaged the Stealth visually over open sights after seeing it shillouetted against the same cloud now lit up by fires, explosions and tracer fire from the target area, and the gunners had little to do except rase their muzzles and fire nearly straight up as the F117 flew right over them.



I've only ever heard the SAM explanation, AAA I've not heard before.

What is the USAF's official position on the cause of downing?

NTM



At the time I heard it I thought THAT was the "official" explination- I doubt that they ever issued a press statment in detail due to the sensitive nature.

I would add that AAA explination seemed more reasonable to me because of the way it dovetailed with the story of the pilots rescue by a Nighthawk. Which flew in and out undetected and recovered the pilot within a hour of his shoot down and had him safely back in Aviano before his wrecked aircraft was discovered by the Serbians.

The AAA battery did not know they had hit the F117. As a result pilot was never molested while on the ground, the HH-60 entered and exited without being seen, heard or fired on. The Serbian Army was led to the aircrafts crash sight by civilians the next morning after daylight.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 8:38:41 AM EDT
+1 for a lucky shot.

-10,000 for the Air Force planners for using the same route three times in a row.

dumbfucks
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 8:46:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fook:
+1 for a lucky shot.

-10,000 for the Air Force planners for using the same route three times in a row.

dumbfucks



What I thought.

But then the realities of the local terrain and weather and the limitations of the F117s weapons systems at the time have to be concidered.

There were only so many routes that they could fly and not fly into a hill, but be low enough under the cloud in order to see the target.

Its less likely that this would happen again, because if there was such bad weather again that we had to bomb through we would drop a JDAM now instead of having to use a Paveway and coping with the limitations of its semi-active laser guidence.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 8:56:32 AM EDT
This is how he really did it. He knows the future and can make you "Big" and then young again. I saw it in a movie. Why doesn't the .mil know about this technology!

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