How do you defeat airborne early warning?

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michaelemouse

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Unread post31 May 2018, 12:07

hornetfinn wrote:
Those two things alone make it very different beast. Just like a fighter aircraft and SAM system differ from each other with each having pros and cons.

I'd say it's quite likely that a modern AEW would detect the launch of the missile and even the missile itself. The AEW could change course and altitude while activating ECM systems and such missile would have serious trouble in finding and hitting it. Enemy fighters would need to track the AEW with their radars to guide the missile to it and that would also likely be detected. Then those enemy fighters would need to deal with fighters protecting the AEW. There are serious problems associated with killing enemy AEW platforms and it would not be easy task. I'd say best bet would be using VLO stealth aircraft with regular AAMs. These could get close to AEW before firing a volley of MRAAMs.


Good point about the SAM/fighter, that does make it quite different.

In a way, AEW reminds me of aircraft carriers in the Navy in being the modern-day equivalent of a capital ship/queen piece. So, if you had two comparably equipped AEW Groups facing each other, how might that go? What factors would govern which AEW Group prevails in that battle?


hornetfinn wrote:Yes, plugging the gaps is needed if low level needs to be protected. Best systems for that are systems like NASAMS, Spyder or IRIS-T SLM/SLS. These are distributed and mobile systems which can cover rather wide area from ground to medium altitudes. That's the most efficient way to protect wide areas against low level attack. Long range area defenses can't do that as radar horizon will limit them just as much as smaller systems and high cost means there will be low numbers.


Aside from AAA, you wouldn't even need to have missile launchers in every gap you want to cover, just the sensor/target designator. Although networked warfare could be difficult in rough terrain, you'd need a satellite or non-line-of-sight datalink.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post01 Jun 2018, 09:27

michaelemouse wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:
Those two things alone make it very different beast. Just like a fighter aircraft and SAM system differ from each other with each having pros and cons.

I'd say it's quite likely that a modern AEW would detect the launch of the missile and even the missile itself. The AEW could change course and altitude while activating ECM systems and such missile would have serious trouble in finding and hitting it. Enemy fighters would need to track the AEW with their radars to guide the missile to it and that would also likely be detected. Then those enemy fighters would need to deal with fighters protecting the AEW. There are serious problems associated with killing enemy AEW platforms and it would not be easy task. I'd say best bet would be using VLO stealth aircraft with regular AAMs. These could get close to AEW before firing a volley of MRAAMs.


Good point about the SAM/fighter, that does make it quite different.

In a way, AEW reminds me of aircraft carriers in the Navy in being the modern-day equivalent of a capital ship/queen piece. So, if you had two comparably equipped AEW Groups facing each other, how might that go? What factors would govern which AEW Group prevails in that battle?


Of course then the biggest factors would be training, tactics and any possible advantage either side has (like geography, weather, reserves etc). Sure it would be somewhat like naval battles although much faster paced.

michaelemouse wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Yes, plugging the gaps is needed if low level needs to be protected. Best systems for that are systems like NASAMS, Spyder or IRIS-T SLM/SLS. These are distributed and mobile systems which can cover rather wide area from ground to medium altitudes. That's the most efficient way to protect wide areas against low level attack. Long range area defenses can't do that as radar horizon will limit them just as much as smaller systems and high cost means there will be low numbers.


Aside from AAA, you wouldn't even need to have missile launchers in every gap you want to cover, just the sensor/target designator. Although networked warfare could be difficult in rough terrain, you'd need a satellite or non-line-of-sight datalink.


All that is true. There is really no need even for AAA to be dispersed everywhere. Even fairly thin defences can work wonders as the enemy can never be certain where all the AD systems really are and flying low over defended area would still be highly dangerous. There would be good chance that an aircraft would fly within kill zone of several AD system during a such mission.

Networked warfare in rough terrain would be more problematic, but not impossible. There are many ways to communicate between systems. In friendly areas copper and fiber optic cables are very usable. Radio relay stations are often used in rough terrain. One thing is that rough terrain can be challenge also for the low level flight of the aircraft and tends to channel their flight paths which makes them easier to predict. AD systems can also be positioned to high ground points for increased coverage.

Rough terrain would also be problematic for AEW system to detect and track low level aircraft. This happened many times in Kosovo and Iraq where even E-3 Sentries had sometimes trouble with combination of rough terrain and low level flight.
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Unread post01 Jun 2018, 09:47

hornetfinn wrote:Rough terrain would also be problematic for AEW system to detect and track low level aircraft. This happened many times in Kosovo and Iraq where even E-3 Sentries had sometimes trouble with combination of rough terrain and low level flight.

One of the revelations during early Northern Flag LFEs featuring the F-22 was it's ability to operate in airspace denied to AWACS and peek behind mountains and down valleys to spot low flying aircraft using terrain masking.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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