S400 in Syria - How to distinguish planes?

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jeff929

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Unread post27 Nov 2015, 17:05

Russia is sending the S400 to syria. With all the different countries sending aircraft into syrian airspace, how would the S400 distinguish between each one?
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snypa777

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Unread post27 Nov 2015, 18:36

jeff929 wrote:Russia is sending the S400 to syria. With all the different countries sending aircraft into syrian airspace, how would the S400 distinguish between each one?


I dont think there has been any kind of clear deconfliction in Syrian airspace and IFF will be a muddle.
That S-400 crew had better be the best Russia has and they will be under a very tight leash, the potential for disaster has just been escalated and this system has a huge footprint it even covers parts of Cyrpus and Israel.
Not good and echoes what some US military officials have said ie, that the Syrian conflict and Russia`s involvement will give the Russians an opportunity to put up an air defence bubble in the middle east mush the same as they have done over the Crimea and the Black Sea.
If the Russians have any sense they will leave the S-400 system switched off but if they must radiate then there is a huge concentration of NATO ELINT systems in that area which will happily suck up any S-400 acquisition and guidance radar transmissions as well as comms.
Lets see what makes this system tick and put it in our back pockets.

The Russians should be able to classify what they see on their radar picture but it depends to a large degree on what type of arrangement they have brokered with the US military in terms of coalition Ops and deconfliction, this work has already been done apparently but I think the Russians may be itching to shoot down a Turkish F-16 i hope I am wrong.
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Unread post06 Dec 2015, 16:30

snypa777 wrote:
jeff929 wrote:Russia is sending the S400 to syria. With all the different countries sending aircraft into syrian airspace, how would the S400 distinguish between each one?


I dont think there has been any kind of clear deconfliction in Syrian airspace and IFF will be a muddle.
That S-400 crew had better be the best Russia has and they will be under a very tight leash, the potential for disaster has just been escalated and this system has a huge footprint it even covers parts of Cyrpus and Israel.
Not good and echoes what some US military officials have said ie, that the Syrian conflict and Russia`s involvement will give the Russians an opportunity to put up an air defence bubble in the middle east mush the same as they have done over the Crimea and the Black Sea.
If the Russians have any sense they will leave the S-400 system switched off but if they must radiate then there is a huge concentration of NATO ELINT systems in that area which will happily suck up any S-400 acquisition and guidance radar transmissions as well as comms.
Lets see what makes this system tick and put it in our back pockets.

The Russians should be able to classify what they see on their radar picture but it depends to a large degree on what type of arrangement they have brokered with the US military in terms of coalition Ops and deconfliction, this work has already been done apparently but I think the Russians may be itching to shoot down a Turkish F-16 i hope I am wrong.


No ,you are not wrong mate, Putin is after blood and will do anything to get even.. I am in contact with few Russians who told me that executing the parachuting pilot hurt his ego more than downing the SU-24.
He must do something about that because the Russian people expect this from him , deploying the S-400 was an overreaction no doubt. I hope cooler heads will prevail but I'm pessimistic.
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borg

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Unread post06 Dec 2015, 16:52

Is there nobody in this thread that understand how this actuall work??

Turks can Blame them self for the deployment of S-400 system.
US can Blame the Turks, and obviously Russia.
Russia Surely Blame Turkish for this, and in is in their own right to do whatever they see fit.

US now understand that the Russians are there to stay. The Russians in fact in the prep of established another airbase, which will operate attack helios, and it will be co-op with Syria.

For those whom are saying Russia will go bankrupcy over this theater will be very disepointed..
The whole operational cost the Russians a mere fraction of the cost of US and their bases around the world.

The Russians Defence cost expendure is only 1/4 of what it would be in US case if they Would run such operation.
On top of this, as everyone know by now, the Russian AF contingent in Syria is at the very best modest in size compaired to other large bases.

The S-400 serves the Russians as both a political tool and defence capabilities.
Does it mean they will start pressing buttons and shoot down stuff.. ofcourse not.
But Both Turks and US know VVS can close down all operation over Syria now if they so choose.
It a extra card up the Russians sleeve. And everyone is well aware of this.
Call it deterrent if you will.
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sferrin

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Unread post06 Dec 2015, 19:03

RUSSIA STRONK!!!!!! :roll:
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tincansailor

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Unread post06 Dec 2015, 21:59

borg wrote:Is there nobody in this thread that understand how this actuall work??

Turks can Blame them self for the deployment of S-400 system.
US can Blame the Turks, and obviously Russia.
Russia Surely Blame Turkish for this, and in is in their own right to do whatever they see fit.

US now understand that the Russians are there to stay. The Russians in fact in the prep of established another airbase, which will operate attack helios, and it will be co-op with Syria.

For those whom are saying Russia will go bankrupcy over this theater will be very disepointed..
The whole operational cost the Russians a mere fraction of the cost of US and their bases around the world.

The Russians Defence cost expendure is only 1/4 of what it would be in US case if they Would run such operation.
On top of this, as everyone know by now, the Russian AF contingent in Syria is at the very best modest in size compaired to other large bases.

The S-400 serves the Russians as both a political tool and defence capabilities.
Does it mean they will start pressing buttons and shoot down stuff.. ofcourse not.
But Both Turks and US know VVS can close down all operation over Syria now if they so choose.
It a extra card up the Russians sleeve. And everyone is well aware of this.
Call it deterrent if you will.


Turkey is hardly blameless in this whole Syrian mess, but they could hardly be expected to keep letting Russian aircraft fly over their territory. Turkey is playing a double game with ISIS, and the Kurds. Russia is not playing a constructive role in Syria ether. As long has Assad and his party is in power the war will go on. If Russia attacks anyone with their S-400 system NATO will have to take it out. Then where will both Russia and Assad be?

As for your statements about cost I'm not sure where you get the 1/4 cost to run a base figure. Russian ops cost less, but they have never run an overseas campaign before. The logistics costs will be very high. Russia's GDP is only the size of Italy's, that's about 1/7th the size of the U.S. economy. The price of oil is now below $40.00 a barrel. Puttin is running out of money. Not buying food from Turkey isn't going to be adding any food to the Russian dinner table. It isn't getting any easier to keep the lights on in the Crimea ether. How long will the Russian People be willing to live on pride?
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Unread post07 Dec 2015, 01:19

Ofcourse the Russian expences is way cheaper vs US in the defence sector.

But lets stick to Syria air-ops shall we.
VVS is not using any tanker support in any way at the
Air ops(well they might use some to get units down and up from Russia/Syria, but not in the actual combat missions),
that we see US allways do bigtime = huge cost saved right there!

The mission flight time of Russian jets are way shorter, often just 20min of flight one way = additional cost saved!

The VVS assets often use unguided weapons = huge cost saved!

The sallaries of Russian service staff is lower = cost saved!

There is the relative few numbers of units:
one Sq of Su-25SM
One Sq of Su-24M2
6 Su-34
4 Su-30SM
one Sq of attack helios, give or take.

We also need to take a look on how US runs their bases, with all the private contractors making huge amounts of buck for food catering to everything else.. see Iraq wars for clues.

Russia do have Civilians employers doing the food catering in Syria, but the difference in cost here must be just eye watering.


And the Russian defence in general. In 2015, the Russian defence sector got some 55 Billions $ budget, i don't know if it even surpasses UK defence budget, but just take one look at the difference in their rank of defence, AF, navy, etc
Last edited by borg on 07 Dec 2015, 01:28, edited 1 time in total.
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tincansailor

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Unread post08 Dec 2015, 04:35

borg wrote:Ofcourse the Russian expences is way cheaper vs US in the defence sector.

But lets stick to Syria air-ops shall we.
VVS is not using any tanker support in any way at the
Air ops(well they might use some to get units down and up from Russia/Syria, but not in the actual combat missions),
that we see US allways do bigtime = huge cost saved right there!

The mission flight time of Russian jets are way shorter, often just 20min of flight one way = additional cost saved!

The VVS assets often use unguided weapons = huge cost saved!

The sallaries of Russian service staff is lower = cost saved!

There is the relative few numbers of units:
one Sq of Su-25SM
One Sq of Su-24M2
6 Su-34
4 Su-30SM
one Sq of attack helios, give or take.

We also need to take a look on how US runs their bases, with all the private contractors making huge amounts of buck for food catering to everything else.. see Iraq wars for clues.

Russia do have Civilians employers doing the food catering in Syria, but the difference in cost here must be just eye watering.


And the Russian defence in general. In 2015, the Russian defence sector got some 55 Billions $ budget, i don't know if it even surpasses UK defence budget, but just take one look at the difference in their rank of defence, AF, navy, etc


If they use airborne tankers or not they still have to fly all fuel, and supplies into Syria. True personnel cost is low because they have a draft military. Russia doesn't have a professional military service, so they pay for that with lower efficiency. Since their only killing civilians they can also save money with dumb bomb. They still have to pay an economic cost to deploy forces. Afghanistan bankrupted the USSR, and Russia is much weaker then the USSR was. Less then half the population, and much smaller GDP. It remains to be seen how well Russia can afford the cost of this new war.
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laos

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Unread post08 Dec 2015, 08:31

jeff929 wrote:Russia is sending the S400 to syria. With all the different countries sending aircraft into syrian airspace, how would the S400 distinguish between each one?


Surveillance radar of S-400 system, can interrogate the aircraft detected. If aircraft transponder works in civilian mode and squawk a code assigned by Syrian Air Traffic Control it can by identify as civilian aircraft. If interrogated in Russian military IFF mode the Russian and probably Syrian will reply the answer and can by identify as Russian and Syrian respectively. If there is no reply, than the aircraft is foreign. Using NCTR technology the type of aircraft can by identify (first for example 2 engine fighter, latter type for example Eurofighter).
I am not aware of the nature of NATO – Russian identification arrangement over Syria, but I wouldn’t be surprise it the was one. For example NATO planes can fly on civilian squawk to let Russian radars know there are someone there and to provide radar separation from Russian fighters.
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Unread post08 Dec 2015, 22:28

laos wrote:
jeff929 wrote:Russia is sending the S400 to syria. With all the different countries sending aircraft into syrian airspace, how would the S400 distinguish between each one?


Surveillance radar of S-400 system, can interrogate the aircraft detected. If aircraft transponder works in civilian mode and squawk a code assigned by Syrian Air Traffic Control it can by identify as civilian aircraft. If interrogated in Russian military IFF mode the Russian and probably Syrian will reply the answer and can by identify as Russian and Syrian respectively. If there is no reply, than the aircraft is foreign. Using NCTR technology the type of aircraft can by identify (first for example 2 engine fighter, latter type for example Eurofighter).
I am not aware of the nature of NATO – Russian identification arrangement over Syria, but I wouldn’t be surprise it the was one. For example NATO planes can fly on civilian squawk to let Russian radars know there are someone there and to provide radar separation from Russian fighters.


In theory it should work just the way your saying. In practice things can get dicey. In 1988 the USS Vincennes was engaged in combat with Iranian speed boats attacking with RPG's. An Iranian airbus took off from a nearby airport and headed straight for the ship. IFF signals were confused with an Iranian F-14 and visibility conditions prevented visual ID. The airbus was shot down. The investigation showed human error was to blame.

Last year a Russian SA-11 shot down a Malaysian 777 at 33,000 ft. Now the Russian deign they did it, but the intercepted conversation between the SAM crew and their higher command seemed to indicate simple carelessness. Their initial reaction seemed be it was no big deal. The airliner had no right to be there so they got what they deserved. Back in 1983 a Soviet SU-15 shot down a Korean 747 after it passed over Kamchatka. They couldn't get an IFF squawk but somehow they knew the airliner was on a mission for the CIA. Must have been that Soviet psychic program bearing fruit.

As for Syria I'd be surprised if the Coalition is reporting their flight plans to Syrian air traffic controllers. The impression I have is that AWACS tracks Russian and Syrian aircraft and keeps our planes at least 20 mi away. I doubt if even Obama would order our aircraft to share our IFF codes with Russia. Russia is not a member of our coalition. Back in 1991 it was a big concession to agree to share our IFF codes with Israel, in the event they decided to counter attack Iraq for firing SCUD Missiles at them.

The fact that Russia claims it's SU-24's didn't hear the Turkish warnings on the Guard Frequency is a big danger sign. Ether Russian combat aircraft don't have the right equipment, or they don't use it. Some on the board have suggested language problems may have contributed to the incident. I wonder if the Russian air force has the training or experience to operate in conflicted airspace, or with civilian air traffic?

Under the Warsaw Convention which governs civilian aviation English is the standard language. I don't think many Russian military pilots speak English. If not then using the Guard Frequency might not be very helpful to them, or to any civilian aircraft they encounter. Russia doesn't engage in many international exercises anymore, so their not used to flying with other air forces, or contending with much civilian traffic. Their policy has always been to intercept and shoot down any aircraft that enter their airspace.

With Russian, Syrian, and coalition aircraft all roaring over the country, and now S-400s providing a SAM umbrella Syria is now the most dangerous airspace on Earth. Two separate coalitions are engaged in military operations in the same country attacking different factions, fighting a multi sided war which is dragging in regional powers. This is far more complex then even Spain in the 1930s. In Syria the danger of a major power conflict is much higher because the major powers have all directly intervened in support of their factions, they just haven't attacked each other yet. Give it time, that may come. God help us all.
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Unread post09 Dec 2015, 10:46

ID is simple in theory, but difficult in real life. There are many reasons for this:

IFF systems are useful but not highly reliable methods for IDing aircraft. This is because they work by IFF system sending a IFF query towards detected contact and waiting for that contact to respond and tell who it is. The contact might not respond because:

1. It's a hostile aircraft and doesn't want to tell who it is (Doh!)
2. It's a civilian aircraft which doesn't have any IFF system
3. It's a missile or other such thing which also doesn't have any IFF system
4. It's a friendly military aircraft which has nonoperational IFF system (failure, damage or incorrect settings for example)
5. Jamming of IFF frequencies might deny correct operation

The system might also give false information if here are many aircraft in the same direction. If there are several enemy and friendly (and maybe even neutral) aircraft in the same direction, IFF system can have difficult time telling which IFF return comes from which radar contact and which are not responding. Even two radar contacts can be confused in right situation. Especially so if more than one IFF system is querying the same contact. Of course modern IFF systems can have quite high resolution and accuracy, but the system is not fool proof at all.

Of course NCTR and passive IFF technologies (ID from radar returns) can be used to identify targets, but they also have limits especially in situation where air traffic is dense (as it can be in the area). I think S-400 and Russian forces in Syria in general will have a lot of trouble correctly IDing all the contacts they see. Like tincansailor said, the air space is potentially very dangerous. Wrong targets have been shot down in similar or even much less difficult situations, like Tornado and F/A-18C shot down by Patriot system in 2003, Tu-154 shot down by SA-5 in 2001 or A-300 shot down by Aegis cruiser in 1988.
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Unread post09 Dec 2015, 11:12

tincansailor wrote: I doubt if even Obama would order our aircraft to share our IFF codes with Russia.


I have NEVER advised to share our (Mode 5) IFF codes with Russia ! It’s is not possible (hardware change). I have advised to set our transponders in Mode 3/A to squawk for example codes from a range 4000-4050 and inform them what we squawk.
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Unread post09 Dec 2015, 11:19

hornetfinn wrote:Of course NCTR and passive IFF technologies (ID from radar returns) can be used to identify targets, but they also have limits especially in situation where air traffic is dense (as it can be in the area).


With a few Russian and Syrian planes at the same time in the air, handful of ours and one, two civilian planes over whole Syria I wouldn't call it a dense traffic.
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Unread post09 Dec 2015, 13:01

laos wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Of course NCTR and passive IFF technologies (ID from radar returns) can be used to identify targets, but they also have limits especially in situation where air traffic is dense (as it can be in the area).


With a few Russian and Syrian planes at the same time in the air, handful of ours and one, two civilian planes over whole Syria I wouldn't call it a dense traffic.


Given the long range of radars, they can see plenty of civilian and military aircraft at any given moment. There might not be a lot of traffic in Syrian air space but there is a lot of it in many countries surrounding Syria. All of those contacts can complicate the IFF problem, especially when contacts are in same direction even if they fly far apart in distance.
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Unread post09 Dec 2015, 20:20

If a Syrian a government S400 fired at allied aircraft, that action could result in the S400 site being targeted for an air strike.

Navy EA-18G Growlers have flown over Syria before and identified radar SAM sites, but not engaged them. The Growlers can also provide targeting to other assets.
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