How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 17 Dec 2019, 22:01
by armedupdate
How capable are SHORADs. Some say they are a good way to prevent close air support. Others say they are wunderweapon to deny air attack by shooting down enemy bombs and cruise missiles. The War in Syria has proven the Pantsir a bit faulty.

So could SHORAD effectively deny air attack against a ground force from a superior air force?

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2019, 13:19
by hornetfinn
SHORAD is not going to deny air attack capability for superior air force. It will make things more complicated and/or risky though. They force the aircraft to higher altitudes and keep longer distances to avoid being shot down. So enemy weapons have lower accuracy and effect or they need to use more expensive long range guided weapons. Of course nowadays such weapons have relatively low cost and are available in large numbers. Another point is that by forcing the enemy to higher altitudes, they become easier targets for long range SAMs and also fighter aircraft.

SHORAD systems have capabilties to shoot down bombs and cruise missiles, but they can pretty easily be overwhelmed by the superior air force. Basically aircraft can mass very quickly to one place and release a lot of munitions almost simultaneously. GBAD systems are fixed in place during operation and rely on overlapping to provide mutual coverage. Of course modern SHORAD systems can have fairly large number of missiles, so they don't run out as easily. Still a flight of 4 fighter aircraft can launch something like 24-32 SDBs, Spears or similar weapons. SHORAD might shoot down some of them, but likely not even the majority in most cases. And what happens when enemy masses say 20 fighters to launch 120-144 weapons at once?

It's always a game of cat and mouse. SHORAD systems are no wunderwaffe but they definitely have their own role in the battlefield. Especially if you can't rely on having much superior air force, then having decet SHORAD (and GBAD in general) defence can be very important. But alone they are not going to win any war. Combined with good fighter aircraft, longer range AD systems and early warning capabilties, they are much more capable.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 18 Dec 2019, 20:39
by sferrin
Depends on the system. I wouldn't want to get near a SeaRAM.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2019, 13:14
by hornetfinn
sferrin wrote:Depends on the system. I wouldn't want to get near a SeaRAM.


Modern systems are extremely deadly and difficult to kill due to them having very short reaction times, use fast and very maneuverable fire-and-forget missiles, are distributed and securely networked systems with LPI AESA radars and thermal cameras and other passive sensors. Their main weakness is their short range which means they can be avoided if other parts of the IADS is degraded enough. Without fighter aircraft and long range SAM systems they can be avoided. But with those systems in place, the attacking aircraft will have a lot more difficult problem to solve. And this is why 5th gen aircraft are now so sought after.

These modern SHORAD and medium range systems (nowadays there is necessarily not very clear distinction) include:
- NASAMS-2
- Spyder
- IRIS-T SL/SLS/SLM
- VL-MICA
- EMADS (using CAMM missile)

You may notice that all these are Western systems. There are naturally Russian and Chinese systems, but I don't think they are as dangerous and effective. They have older sensor technology and mostly rely on command guidance which limits the number of simultaneous engagements and has limited azimuth coverage (no 360 degree capability). Command guidance is more prone to EW and other countermeasures. Of course both countries are trying to field more advanced systems with similar features.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 19 Dec 2019, 14:23
by sferrin
The latest TOR, while command-guided (to keep missile cost down) can control 4 at a time.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2019, 12:40
by hornetfinn
sferrin wrote:The latest TOR, while command-guided (to keep missile cost down) can control 4 at a time.


True, but only within the FoV of the fire control radar (+- 60 degrees or so). Of course several vehicles can provide mutual coverage and all can engage 4 targets at a time. But still modern Western systems like NASAMS-2, Spyder or IRIS-T SLS/SLM can engage as many targets simultaneously as they have missiles on the launchers all around their engagement range. Of course fire-and-forget missiles can much better engage targets that are not continusouly tracked by the launching unit. Like when low flying target goes behind hills or trees etc. Command-guided missiles need constant LOS between target and launching unit sensors. This can be a problem in hilly terrain or at longer ranges against very low flying targets (cruise missiles or helicopters especially).

Still, TOR is likely pretty dangerous system and I would not take it lightly. Just that most modern systems are even more dangerous within their engagement range.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2019, 20:49
by botsing
Thank you for your detailed responses hornetfinn!

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 21 Dec 2019, 00:13
by sferrin
hornetfinn wrote:
sferrin wrote:The latest TOR, while command-guided (to keep missile cost down) can control 4 at a time.


True, but only within the FoV of the fire control radar (+- 60 degrees or so). Of course several vehicles can provide mutual coverage and all can engage 4 targets at a time. But still modern Western systems like NASAMS-2, Spyder or IRIS-T SLS/SLM can engage as many targets simultaneously as they have missiles on the launchers all around their engagement range. Of course fire-and-forget missiles can much better engage targets that are not continusouly tracked by the launching unit. Like when low flying target goes behind hills or trees etc. Command-guided missiles need constant LOS between target and launching unit sensors. This can be a problem in hilly terrain or at longer ranges against very low flying targets (cruise missiles or helicopters especially).

Still, TOR is likely pretty dangerous system and I would not take it lightly. Just that most modern systems are even more dangerous within their engagement range.


Trading IRIS-T or NASAMS-2 for JDAM analogs is not a winning proposition dollar-wise. That's why they did TOR they way they did. Keep the brains on the vehicle instead of throwing them away on each launch and keep the cost of the missile down.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 28 Feb 2020, 22:10
by hythelday
Not gonna post in "Turkey" thread cause that's pure poison, but...

Turkey just released video confirmation of destroying a SA-22:
https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/stat ... 7831190528

Can't download twitter vid now, but basically it shows a Pantsir TEL with an obviously spinning radar getting hit, most likely by a drone, most likely by a 500 lb LGB.

This could mean either that 1) that particular vehicle ran out of both missiles and gun ammo 2) Pantsir is not wunderwaffe 3) SAA are clueless.

Personally, for me it's a 0% probability, a 50% possibility and a 100% certainty about the above variants.

BTW, if you haven't seen footage of Turkey's airstrikes on Syrian loyalists in the past 48-ish hours you are missing out. It's like DS tank plinking all over again.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 29 Feb 2020, 11:14
by milosh
hythelday wrote:Not gonna post in "Turkey" thread cause that's pure poison, but...

Turkey just released video confirmation of destroying a SA-22:
https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/stat ... 7831190528

Can't download twitter vid now, but basically it shows a Pantsir TEL with an obviously spinning radar getting hit, most likely by a drone, most likely by a 500 lb LGB.

This could mean either that 1) that particular vehicle ran out of both missiles and gun ammo 2) Pantsir is not wunderwaffe 3) SAA are clueless.

Personally, for me it's a 0% probability, a 50% possibility and a 100% certainty about the above variants.

BTW, if you haven't seen footage of Turkey's airstrikes on Syrian loyalists in the past 48-ish hours you are missing out. It's like DS tank plinking all over again.


It doesn't change a lot but video isn't from Syria but from Libya because that TEL is UAE Pantsir (hint: empty space between truck cabin and SAM part)

If Pantsir is wunderwaffe then what would be this:
https://youtu.be/QY_S01bcMPE?t=57

Pantsir create hype because it is exported all over world it is like in 1980s, MiG-29 got all the hype when most folks didn't even know for Su-27. Russian army prefered system from video over Pantsir in fact you can find old critic of Pantsir written by Russians.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 01 Mar 2020, 14:11
by knowan
It's because Russia severely exaggerated the capabilities of the Pantsir in their propaganda, much as they do with everything military.
As a result, Russian fanboys are all over anything that shows the Pantsir isn't the wunderwaffe claimed in propaganda, with their excuses of 'it was out of ammo/turned off!' or 'fake!'.

This wasn't the first confirmed active Pantsir to be destroyed either; the first missile system destroyed in the video released by Israel a year ago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPOb9CO3aWI) was definitely a Pantsir, due to the displayed missile performance matching that of the Pantsir's missiles.

And there is most likely many more destroyed Pantsir that weren't caught on video.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 04 Mar 2020, 15:21
by hornetfinn
sferrin wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:True, but only within the FoV of the fire control radar (+- 60 degrees or so). Of course several vehicles can provide mutual coverage and all can engage 4 targets at a time. But still modern Western systems like NASAMS-2, Spyder or IRIS-T SLS/SLM can engage as many targets simultaneously as they have missiles on the launchers all around their engagement range. Of course fire-and-forget missiles can much better engage targets that are not continusouly tracked by the launching unit. Like when low flying target goes behind hills or trees etc. Command-guided missiles need constant LOS between target and launching unit sensors. This can be a problem in hilly terrain or at longer ranges against very low flying targets (cruise missiles or helicopters especially).

Still, TOR is likely pretty dangerous system and I would not take it lightly. Just that most modern systems are even more dangerous within their engagement range.


Trading IRIS-T or NASAMS-2 for JDAM analogs is not a winning proposition dollar-wise. That's why they did TOR they way they did. Keep the brains on the vehicle instead of throwing them away on each launch and keep the cost of the missile down.


Tor system was designed almost 2 decades before JDAM and had limited capabilties against enemy weapons as it was not fully automated and had pretty long reaction times (although it was pretty good for the time). It was designed during the time when technology allowed only either command guidance or heat seeking for such a small missiles. Heat seekers of that time had the problem of having significantly poorer aerodynamics for the missile which reduced speed and range significantly. Of course heat seeking missiles are also more restricted by weather, especially without very sensitive imaging infrared seekers and data links like used in IRIS-T. So Soviets used command guidance like pretty much everyone did at the time (like Roland, Crotale and Rapier). Later variants have kept the operating principle as it would've been far too costly to change everything.

NASAMS-2 generally has more costly missiles, although AIM-9X is not much more expensive than for example VT1 missile used in Crotale-NG. But it's pretty low cost system overall. Their launchers are cheap and they only have radar, command post and electro-optical tracker. Having equal amount of performance from Tor system would be at least as expensive, especially with the command post vehicles to control the Tor vehicles and connect them to other ADA systems. NASAMS-2 would still have superior multi-target engagement capability and better ability to engage low flying targets (like cruise missiles) because the missile climbs to higher altitude and can see targets that the ground radar might not see due to obstacles between it and the target. CLOS systems also have the problem of needing to continually guide the missile during the whole flight which can take half a minute to max range. This is problematic for the survival of the system as the missile vehicle needs to continually radiate for a long time to successfully engage targets.

It's clear that modern clean-sheet designs seem to be using fire-and-forget missiles and reduce the complexity and cost of the launcher. Of course fire-and-forget missiles are more expensive, but also offer better capabilities and system survivability against most targets.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 05 Mar 2020, 02:55
by knowan

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 06 Mar 2020, 22:38
by boogieman
I suspect SHORAD systems are only as effective as the larger IADS they are a part of. For example during the Ukrainian Crisis back in 2014/15, longer range Russian SAM systems (Buk et al) were able to force Ukrainian jets to low altitude where they were vulnerable to hostile SHORAD assets. On the other hand, if friendly SEAD/DEAD/CAP are able to keep the higher flight levels open then SHORAD defences become more of a threat to munitions than aircraft.

Perhaps the one exception to this is for rotary wing aircraft. In this case contending with SHORAD systems is an entirely different story, where SA and terrain masking would be key to survival and mission success. It reminds me a little of WW1 style trench warfare, where sticking your head above the parapet for too long was asking to have it blown off. This is probably why we are seeing the move to MUM-T and weapons like Spike-NLOS. Better to use an expendable drone to scout out targets and then engage with weapons that can be fired not just from behind terrain features, but also from well outside the engagement range of SHORAD systems.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2020, 03:35
by marauder2048
boogieman wrote: weapons like Spike-NLOS. Better to use an expendable drone to scout out targets and then engage with weapons that can be fired not just from behind terrain features.


How does that work with a weapon that requires a man-in-the-loop RF datalink?
Unless the FCR is the datalink transceiver pretty much the entire helicopter has to be exposed.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2020, 03:43
by boogieman
marauder2048 wrote:
boogieman wrote: weapons like Spike-NLOS. Better to use an expendable drone to scout out targets and then engage with weapons that can be fired not just from behind terrain features.


How does that work with a weapon that requires a man-in-the-loop RF datalink?
Unless the FCR is the datalink transceiver pretty much the entire helicopter has to be exposed.


Spike also has an imaging IR/EO seekerhead so it is fire-and-forget once the seeker locks on to the target vehicle. It has been tested on Apache already AFAIK:

https://www.overtdefense.com/2019/10/04 ... nterested/

I imagine the ideal implementation would be to scout out the enemy's general location via MUM-T, sit the Apache behind terrain, loft the Spike-NLOS over said terrain and direct the seeker to lock the desired target once it comes into view. From there the missile can take over and guide itself to impact as needed.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2020, 06:17
by marauder2048
boogieman wrote:
Spike also has an imaging IR/EO seekerhead so it is fire-and-forget once the seeker locks on to the target vehicle. It has been tested on Apache already AFAIK:

https://www.overtdefense.com/2019/10/04 ... nterested/

I imagine the ideal implementation would be to scout out the enemy's general location via MUM-T, sit the Apache behind terrain, loft the Spike-NLOS over said terrain and direct the seeker to lock the desired target once it comes into view. From there the missile can take over and guide itself to impact.


If it's a coordinate attack where the seeker just goes autonomous in that basket..sure. Though I'm wondering
about a threat environment that requires a missile with this range but where the typical unmanned MUM-T
asset is survivable.

But generally, selecting the desired target is going to require an unobstructed view for the datalink at long range;
a terrain mask that actually affords protection is not likely to furnish one.

So I tend to think the more likely employment is where the M-RFI has an unobstructed view of the threat emitter.
That's a nice combination of good-enough geo-location (with midcourse updates) and long range.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2020, 07:03
by boogieman
marauder2048 wrote:
boogieman wrote:
Spike also has an imaging IR/EO seekerhead so it is fire-and-forget once the seeker locks on to the target vehicle. It has been tested on Apache already AFAIK:

https://www.overtdefense.com/2019/10/04 ... nterested/

I imagine the ideal implementation would be to scout out the enemy's general location via MUM-T, sit the Apache behind terrain, loft the Spike-NLOS over said terrain and direct the seeker to lock the desired target once it comes into view. From there the missile can take over and guide itself to impact.


If it's a coordinate attack where the seeker just goes autonomous in that basket..sure. Though I'm wondering
about a threat environment that requires a missile with this range but where the typical unmanned MUM-T
asset is survivable.

But generally, selecting the desired target is going to require an unobstructed view for the datalink at long range;
a terrain mask that actually affords protection is not likely to furnish one.

So I tend to think the more likely employment is where the M-RFI has an unobstructed view of the threat emitter.
That's a nice combination of good-enough geo-location (with midcourse updates) and long range.


The datalink (presumably) just needs a clear line of sight between the launch platform and the missile to function. So long as the seeker gets "told" what to home in on before that line of sight is interrupted (e.g. by a hill) there shouldn't be a problem with firing it from behind a terrain feature that is blocking the line of sight between launch platform and target.

With its standoff range and lofted flight path, I believe this is one of Spike-NLOS's intended selling points. I remember Rafael marketing Spike some years ago as having a "speculative engagement" capability or something to that effect. Basically; suspect a bad guy is over that hill, shoot a Spike over the top of it, use man-in-loop as it crests the hill to see what's on the other side, select a target, then IR/EO seeker to take over til impact.

As for UAS survivability, this is certainly something that has occurred to me. The current partner for AH64E is Gray Eagle which is far from the most survivable aircraft out there. That said it's probably better to risk losing a Gray Eagle than an Apache (or flight thereof)...

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 25 Mar 2020, 02:47
by boogieman
An example of a non-line of sight (NLOS) engagement using Spike:


(1min:6sec)


(3min mark)

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 25 Mar 2020, 06:54
by marauder2048
Do they show a helicopter firing a max-range shot from behind a terrain mask that affords cover (e.g. 1000 ft)?
In US testing, the max range shots were typically fired in hover and above obstructions.

That does make a point of the unmanned asset; provoking the SHORADs into emitting.
There was a recent RFI for the MQ-1C for some very elaborate RWR/ESM, SAR/GMTI kit that would
permit the coordinate attacks shown above to work at max range and from behind cover.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 25 Mar 2020, 07:52
by boogieman
Not that I'm aware of. That said I'm pretty sure it ought to be possible - the needed hardware is already there. I'm not sure you'd even need to set coordinates - just fly the missile over the hill, pick the target and let the missile do the rest. An excellent antidote to dangerous Russian SHORAD systems...

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 25 Mar 2020, 09:57
by hornetfinn
boogieman wrote:I suspect SHORAD systems are only as effective as the larger IADS they are a part of. For example during the Ukrainian Crisis back in 2014/15, longer range Russian SAM systems (Buk et al) were able to force Ukrainian jets to low altitude where they were vulnerable to hostile SHORAD assets. On the other hand, if friendly SEAD/DEAD/CAP are able to keep the higher flight levels open then SHORAD defences become more of a threat to munitions than aircraft.

Perhaps the one exception to this is for rotary wing aircraft. In this case contending with SHORAD systems is an entirely different story, where SA and terrain masking would be key to survival and mission success. It reminds me a little of WW1 style trench warfare, where sticking your head above the parapet for too long was asking to have it blown off. This is probably why we are seeing the move to MUM-T and weapons like Spike-NLOS. Better to use an expendable drone to scout out targets and then engage with weapons that can be fired not just from behind terrain features, but also from well outside the engagement range of SHORAD systems.


Totally true. It seems that latest SHORAD systems are trying to counter this by increasing range and altitude coverage and employing fire-and-forget missiles and dispersed operations. It's difficult to say how effective modern systems are as they have yet to see real combat against capable enemy. Also the distinction between SHORAD and medium range GBAD is really no longer valid. NASAMS-2 and Spyder for example have about similar range and altitude performance to MIM-23B I-Hawk with their longest ranged missiles.

I bet that these modern systems would be very difficult opponents against helos and 4th gen jets even with support from powerful SEAD/DEAD assets. F-22 and F-35 would likely not have that much problems with them but they are definitely a lot more dangerous than SA-8 or even Pantsir systems due to way they operate.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 25 Mar 2020, 20:07
by marauder2048
boogieman wrote:That said I'm pretty sure it ought to be possible - the needed hardware is already there. I'm not sure you'd even need to set coordinates


A more precisely located target permits more efficient trajectory shaping and a greater engagement range.

High-level:

I'm not totally convinced that fire-and-forget was a deliberate design decision
by SHORAD/medium range GBAD designer.

The West bought a huge number of fire-and-forget missiles for fighters. Without those large inventories you
might have seen a focus on elevated sensors/illuminators and interrupted-continuous wave seekers to
keep costs down.

For extremely cost-conscious scenarios, say C-UAS, you've seen CW seekers with
multi-purpose AESAs as illuminators e.g Coyote Block II.

Active seekers do add weight which for small missiles is going to be a time-of-flight hit.
And the track quality the radar has to support at handover, for most seekers, is a burden
on the FCR.

So the tradeoff between total engagement time and number of concurrent engagements is not so clear.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 25 Mar 2020, 22:11
by boogieman
I think it is important to note the distinction between eastern (esp Russian) and western SHORAD systems, as there are doctrinal differences that heavily influence the technology involved. Russian GBAD coverage is generally A LOT denser than what is found in a western army, with SAM/SPAAG systems embedded at practically every level of their ground forces.

The price of this is that the interceptors their SHORAD systems use are typically much cheaper and simpler (compare 9M338 or 57E6 to AMRAAM/AMRAAM-ER, for example), having been designed to intercept massed bombardments of western PGMs at a moment's notice. Consequently, every Russian SHORAD system I am aware of requires a line-of-sight to its target to be able to fire at it. Not so for a system like NASAMS2 – it could readily receive targeting data from an off-board sensor (eg. AWACS) and then use that to send one of its actively guided interceptors to its terminal homing basket. Unfortunately the GBAD network of most (if not all) western armies is simply not dense enough to take full advantage of this, but the potential is certainly there.

Nevertheless, the need for a line of sight between launcher and target makes Russian systems more vulnerable to a weapon like Spike. I do think that network-enabled NLOS weapons like this are the way forward if we are to keep rotary wing assets relevant in the face of evolving SHORAD threats.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 00:28
by marauder2048
Characterizing NASAMS as SHORAD really strains the definition of SHORAD to destruction.

AWACS cannot typically provide a fire-control quality track that's useful for handoff to a
7-inch seeker so the fact that is has not been taken advantage of is unrelated to the
sparseness of GBAD networks.

If anything the lack of density should encourage off-board targeting in NASAMS since
it can accommodate pretty large missiles and has a powerful radar in Sentinel to uplink at extended ranges.

The density of Russian-style air defenses means that something big and heavy like Spike will displace
a good chunk of the useful payload for rotary wing. So unless Rotary wing becomes predominantly a SEAD/DEAD
asset it's not even a good mid-term solution for enabling general rotary wing utility.

That's going to have to come from ground-based fires...it's why you've seen efforts to equip ER-GMLRS, PrSM
and ATACMS with seekers. And why you've seen NG pitching ground-launched versions of AARGM-ER.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 01:58
by boogieman
marauder2048 wrote:Characterizing NASAMS as SHORAD really strains the definition of SHORAD to destruction.

AWACS cannot typically provide a fire-control quality track that's useful for handoff to a
7-inch seeker so the fact that is has not been taken advantage of is unrelated to the
sparseness of GBAD networks.

If anything the lack of density should encourage off-board targeting in NASAMS since
it can accommodate pretty large missiles and has a powerful radar in Sentinel to uplink at extended ranges.

The density of Russian-style air defenses means that something big and heavy like Spike will displace
a good chunk of the useful payload for rotary wing. So unless Rotary wing becomes predominantly a SEAD/DEAD
asset it's not even a good mid-term solution for enabling general rotary wing utility.

That's going to have to come from ground-based fires...it's why you've seen efforts to equip ER-GMLRS, PrSM
and ATACMS with seekers. And why you've seen NG pitching ground-launched versions of AARGM-ER.


Hmm a few points:

- NASAMS potentially covers everything from VSHORAD (AIM9X) to SHORAD (AIM120) to medium range GBAD (AMRAAM-ER), so yes, it does blur the lines somewhat. We are set to adopt NASAMS2 in Australia, and it is being viewed chiefly as a SHORAD system in that it is there to support Army maneuver. That may change if AMRAAM-ER gets integrated.

- Not so sure about AWACS being unable to provide fire control quality track to an ARH weapon as that is precisely what is being pursued through efforts like NIFC-CA (ref E2D paired with SM6). Older E3 derivatives might struggle but more modern ESA designs like E2D and E7 ought to have a decent shot at it.

- Fair point on payload. I am assuming a 1 for 1 swap moving from Hellfire/JAGM to Spike NLOS but this may not be a safe assumption - perhaps Spike ER2 rather than NLOS would solve this problem. Nevertheless, the ubiquity of modern point defence systems in Russian armoured formations will make it difficult to completely sanitise an area of GBAD assets. Pantsir, Strela, Sosna and Derivatsiya PVO are all going to be tricky to account for, so minimising line-of-sight exposure to them would be extremely useful. IIRC this was part of the rationale behind the Longbow/AGM114L pairing. MANPADS can at least be outranged by JAGM/Hellfire so long as SA is good.

- Agree that SEAD/DEAD should come from ground based fires (preferably massed), but I do think the NLOS ATGM makes sense as a way of improving attack helo survivability (ditto for dismounted infantry and IFVs).

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 02:07
by weasel1962
From an air defense perspective, its a question of layers. The innermost layer being the final last line of defense is normally what SHORAD is associated with. NASAMs can go MR but it can also go SR which means it is also integrated into the inner layer.

It doesn't mean other SHORADs have no role in the middle layer since one can execute defense in depth. What that means is that SHORADs can be forward placed. There is a question of utility since its 3D vectors (so range & altitude considerations). Forward placing will affect range but not altitude (which is system limited). NASAMs has a fairly decent altitude. However, in most cases, SHORADs are point defence systems (which is how NASAM is used as well).

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 08:11
by hornetfinn
boogieman wrote:I think it is important to note the distinction between eastern (esp Russian) and western SHORAD systems, as there are doctrinal differences that heavily influence the technology involved. Russian GBAD coverage is generally A LOT denser than what is found in a western army, with SAM/SPAAG systems embedded at practically every level of their ground forces.


I think this is because Russian systems date back to 1970s and 1980s. That's when systems like Tor and Tunguska were developed and taken into service. Now they have more advanced versions of those like Tor-2E and Pantsir but they're still based on the same operating principles and technologies. Western AD systems of the time used very similar principles and technologies. Then we had systems like Gepard SPAAG, Roland, Crotale and Rapier missile systems. Now new Western have chosen to use different operating principles and technologies as those have became available and cheap enough. I don't think Russia can afford developing totally new systems and procure them in quantities they need at the moment. They haven't even bought that many R-77 missiles to their Air Force for example and don't have anything like AIM-9X or IRIS-T which have LOAL capability.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 08:43
by weasel1962
There are shifts. The western advances in targeting pods and the effectiveness of 40k means low altitude point defence systems becoming obsolete. These still have a role against attack helos but once these helos start employing NLOS ATGMs, then all low altitude air defenses are really impotent (excepting against below battalion level UAVs). That means increasing range for visual/alternate targeting systems.

The west are a lot slower to adopt because the potential aggressors haven't seen the same level of investments/tech improvements in targeting pods yet but it will eventually come or some countries stop investment altogether (focussing on CRAM instead).

For longer ranged sams, these are trying to find a role in the anti-stealth counter-anti-radition missile world. The russkis and chinese seem to be adjusting by fielding more and more powerful longer-ranged systems.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 09:36
by boogieman
I don't know, I think it's always desirable to have the inner layer of a layered IADS. SHORAD systems may be increasingly tasked with CRAM and taking out munitions instead of aircraft but this is still an important job.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 13:23
by hornetfinn
It seems like many Western countries are going with these layers:

1. Weapons from APCs, IFVs and even MBTs. Especially the 30-40 mm autocannons are effective against tactical UAVs, helos and even attack aircraft. Naturally these have pretty short range and are necessarily not well integrated to AD network. But good thing is that there are a lot of them and they are effective with modern sights and FCS. SPAAGs are naturally more effective but they are very expensive and don't have much better range.

2. MANPADS with man-portable launchers and/or vehicle mounted launchers. These have somewhat better range and altitude coverage than autocannons, are easy to employ and are also cheap.

3. Short- to medium range system. Examples are NASAMS-2, IRIS-T SLS/SLM, Spyder-SR/MR. Some can be classed as SHORAD and some are hybrid SHORAD and MRAD systems.

4. Long range systems like Patriot or SAMP/T. A lot of emphasis has been put to ballistic missile defence for these, but of course they are very capable of shooting down aircraft and helos as well.

Of course there are also dedicated ABM systems like THAAD and C-RAM systems for defending certain high-value targets.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 21:55
by boogieman
A very good synopsis, although it is important (and more than a little concerning) to note that US ground forces had essentially dispensed with any form of SHORAD capability to protect land based maneuver until very recently. It is only now that Stinger is returning along with M-SHORAD, which is itself more of an interim solution. Such is the effect of ~30 years without a credible enemy airforce to worry about I guess.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 22:29
by sprstdlyscottsmn
boogieman wrote:A very good synopsis, although it is important (and more than a little concerning) to note that US ground forces had essentially dispensed with any form of SHORAD capability to protect land based maneuver until very recently. It is only now that Stinger is returning along with M-SHORAD, which is itself more of an interim solution. Such is the effect of ~30 years without a credible enemy airforce to worry about I guess.

I don't know about that, back in the 90s I got to fiddle with a HMMWV that had a turret on top with 4 stingers and a M2 when it visited my High School. The controller (removed from the vehicle) was an IR imaging system that let me see the cold of my nose on my face.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2020, 23:23
by boogieman
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:I don't know about that, back in the 90s I got to fiddle with a HMMWV that had a turret on top with 4 stingers and a M2 when it visited my High School. The controller (removed from the vehicle) was an IR imaging system that let me see the cold of my nose on my face.


The Avenger? Gone from regular formations until recently :shock:

https://youtu.be/14LMmBsDw-g?t=1124

As I have said in other posts, the US has all the technology it needs to field a world beating GBAD (not just BMD) network, but it seems as though this area was allowed to languish somewhat during the 90s and COIN focused 2000's. If it was up to me, an IADS based around mobile, land based SM6 Blk IB, SM2 Blk IIIC (kill off PAC2), AMRAAM-ER/ESSM BlkII (NASAMS?) and M-SHORAD ought to tick all the boxes.

Keep THAAD and PAC3 around for BMD if necessary, but I think a lot could be accomplished by mating a ~4 cell Mk41 VLS to an appropriate truck chassis, pairing it with the LTAMDS and then plugging the lot into IBCS. Unfortunately I don't think the money is there though... :?

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 27 Mar 2020, 03:18
by weasel1962
Stingers help against the proliferation of squad level UAVs which is a relatively recent thing.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 27 Mar 2020, 08:07
by marauder2048
boogieman wrote: We are set to adopt NASAMS2 in Australia, and it is being viewed chiefly as a SHORAD system in that it is there to support Army maneuver. That may change if AMRAAM-ER gets integrated.


Somehow an Australian effort to replace "aging" MANPADS ended up with a multi-vehicle system
and a missile that has to be truck-mounted and requires at least four men to deadlift.

The standard loadout for NASAMS is AIM-120. It's what everyone buys. Including Australia.

AFAIK, no one has bought the AIM-9X because the only one worth buying (because of the datalink)
is Block II which isn't much cheaper than AIM-120. And it takes up the same amount of room in the canister

Ground launched, AIM-120C7 has a range minimum of like 2 km.

A major point of SHORAD is to cover range/altitude minima of other GBAD layers.

Now I suppose if you are going to have no other GBAD layer, like Australia, then whatever you have is vacuously SHORAD.


boogieman wrote:- Not so sure about AWACS being unable to provide fire control quality track to an ARH weapon as that is precisely what is being pursued through efforts like NIFC-CA (ref E2D paired with SM6). Older E3 derivatives might struggle but more modern ESA designs like E2D and E7 ought to have a decent shot at it.


SM-6 has a 13.5 inch aperture. That's the reason that pairing works.

boogieman wrote:- Fair point on payload. I am assuming a 1 for 1 swap moving from Hellfire/JAGM to Spike NLOS but this may not be a safe assumption -


It's a 2-for-1 swap. It's not unreasonable to assume that Active Protection Systems will make their
way onto SHORAD systems; at the ranges we've been discussing I wouldn't expect NLOS to be moving that
fast terminally. Not bashing the weapon just pointing out it's no panacea.

The preference in SEAD is speed; if the son-of-Sidearm proves difficult to develop/get on something
runway independent then artillery/MLRS/SRBM approaches should (in general) be preferred since many of the smart
munitions/warheads they can or will carry have less utility against MBTs but will be useful against GBAD vehicles.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 27 Mar 2020, 08:42
by hornetfinn
I think only Israel of all Western countries has truly good GBAD systems. Of course that is also helped with the small land area. But they have all layers covered pretty well but they also don't seem to really have SHORAD systems. They do have MANPADS and then mostly medium to long range systems (Iron Dome, David's Sling and Patriot) as well as ABM system in Arrow. Interestingly it seems like they don't use Spyder themselves which could be categorized as SHORAD system in Spyder-SR form.

Finland also has pretty good short range AD systems in Stinger, RBS-70, Marksman SPAAG, Crotale NG and NASAMS. Currently we are also going to buy longer range and higher altitude capability. That might be just AMRAAM-ER for our NASAMS systems or it could be something like SAMP/T or Patriot. Of course the numbers are rather small to cover the fairy large land area.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 27 Mar 2020, 08:49
by boogieman
marauder2048 wrote:Somehow an Australian effort to replace "aging" MANPADS ended up with a multi-vehicle system
and a missile that has to be truck-mounted and requires at least four men to deadlift...

The standard loadout for NASAMS is AIM-120. It's what everyone buys. Including Australia.

AFAIK, no one has bought the AIM-9X because the only one worth buying (because of the datalink)
is Block II which isn't much cheaper than AIM-120. And it takes up the same amount of room in the canister

Ground launched, AIM-120C7 has a range minimum of like 2 km.

A major point of SHORAD is to cover range/altitude minima of other GBAD layers.

Now I suppose if you are going to have no other GBAD layer, like Australia, then whatever you have is vacuously SHORAD.

I am loosely classifying NASAMS as SHORAD based on the max range of a ground launched AIM120 which - as you have acknowledged - is the mainstay of its missile arsenal. It is true that our GBAD capability has long been quite farcical, but that is steadily changing with AIR6500 also in the pipeline, and Army looking hard at VSHORAD/C-RAM possibilities (eg. Skyranger on Boxer 8x8).
marauder2048 wrote:SM-6 has a 13.5 inch aperture. That's the reason that pairing works.

I was under the impression that SM6 used an adapted AIM120C seeker, albeit possibly scaled up for the larger missile...
marauder2048 wrote:It's a 2-for-1 swap. It's not unreasonable to assume that Active Protection Systems will make their
way onto SHORAD systems; at the ranges we've been discussing I wouldn't expect NLOS to be moving that
fast terminally. Not bashing the weapon just pointing out it's no panacea.

Not claiming it to be one either, just a potentially handy bit of kit. I imagine the US Army will be getting answers about just how handy as they test it out on Apache. Bear in mind that with a peak velocity of ~Mach 1, Hellfire and JAGM aren't setting any speed records either.
marauder2048 wrote:The preference in SEAD is speed; if the son-of-Sidearm proves difficult to develop/get on something runway independent then artillery/MLRS/SRBM approaches should (in general) be preferred since many of the smart munitions/warheads they can or will carry have less utility against MBTs but will be useful against GBAD vehicles.

Enter PRSM, GLSDB etc. No argument with the above.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 27 Mar 2020, 09:21
by weasel1962
Iron Dome = Israel's SHORAD. Most effective.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 27 Mar 2020, 09:31
by hornetfinn
weasel1962 wrote:Iron Dome = Israel's SHORAD. Most effective.


Oh yes you are correct. I didn't check and just went from (bad) memory. It's definitely SHORAD system and probably the most combat proven modern system. It seems to be marketed as C-RAM system only but I see nothing that would make it unsuitable against aircraft and helicopters.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2020, 08:43
by mmm
I think it's important to make the point that SHORAD means different different things to different people. In the context of US military it probably doesn't mean defending against traditional fixed wing tactical/rotary wing aircraft. Getting strafted by SU-25 or being on the receiving end of hellebore assault is just not seen as probable scenarios. The focus appear to be more reliable expeditionary C-RAM/cruise missile defense on more or less fixed sites, and mobile, cost effective anti small UAS at even the lowest organization level.

Systems like Tor Aka SA-15 exemplify the kind US isn't interested in. One that is very much focused on traditional aircrafts supposedly with some capabilities against PGMs(with demonstrated performance against airliner :doh: ). Built from ground up to be able to operate independently in degraded mode, in an all in one package mounted on all terrain chassis.

I'm not intimately familiar on the subject but as layed out by hornetfinn, Finland as a country that may need to tackle opponents way beyond its own weight class also has air defense needs markedly different from US, filled by systems with very different technical characteristics.

Iron dome meets Israeli need of an as watertight as possible C-RAM wall against asymmetrical threat. But it probably won't be a worthwhile investment for South Korea for example, despite technically also facing indirect fire threats. Of course given their situation you can argue no current active defense system is. For hypothetical US case it might also be too expensive for C-RAM need, my hunch feeling is that a lower cost semi active, much lighter interceptor with less defended area and single shot Pk is what they're looking for. While Irondome is also not offering the breadth on the high end for reliable cruise missile defense. I see it as a case of a country that's really driven to deliver a very tailored solution to a problem few others have.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2020, 08:51
by weasel1962
US Army is currently focused on the maneuver-SHORAD or M-Shorad program. Iron dome is funded under the IFPC program where 12 units are funded in FY 19 followed by a planned further 12 (FY22) and 36 each year (FY24 & FY25) so that's not hypothetical. The IFPC name may be changed.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2020, 09:12
by mmm
weasel1962 wrote:US Army is currently focused on the maneuver-SHORAD or M-Shorad program. Iron dome is funded under the IFPC program where 12 units are funded in FY 19 followed by a planned further 12 (FY22) and 36 each year (FY24 & FY25) so that's not hypothetical. The IFPC name may be changed.


Full disclosure I was actually not aware of army Irondome contract prior to this but a (very)quick google also got me this:
https://missilethreat.csis.org/us-army- ... -adoption/

So, I dunno? But then a google later it also appear Marine is "interested", but I haven't dug deep enough to find out for sure if anything is on contract.

Again my hunch feeling if Irondome interceptor is not straight plug and play to IBCS Army's not buying. I don't see them interested in buying sensor and battle management bundled then adapt to strategically mobile and tactically relocatable configuration. And Marine has incentives to follow Army where they can on big ticket stuff.

Speaking of M-SHORAD it's really dirt cheap with particular C-UAS focus and kinda versatile in ground combat, in contrast to proper full range SPAAA.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2020, 09:20
by weasel1962

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2020, 09:45
by mmm
Okay now I figured it out a bit better now, they're buying for 1 year and scrapped what they can, and they're buying the initial lot as is. Probably the exact thing they want to avoid in the IBCS any sensor any shooter ecosystem. How the 2 of a kind batteries will live out their service(?) life I wonder...

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2020, 12:41
by madrat
How about adapting APKWS to a vehicle-mounted C-RAM? Poor man's RBS-70, and adaption of a platform already in the logistics chain. Basically you'd be augmenting Stinger with a laser-guided option.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2020, 14:54
by mmm
Well I don't know about SALH suitability for C-RAM, it's kinda unprecedented AFAIK, not going to count out 2.75" rocket airframe, but US Army doesn't appear to be asking for IFPC to keep up with the tip of mechanized formations, as I understand it's still for the semi fixed sites like forward logistic hubs that you can't entirely get rid of. But I'm guessing they want the minimum protection configuration to have as little footprint as possible so there's the option to disperse even more but still have some defense to create uncertainty for attackers. From that I extrapolated that they may also find more affordable interceptors to be more appealing, for what they need to defend.

APKWS with little to no modification can probably work for C-UAS, while also contribute to ground combat. It's certainly possible to find a place on M-SHORAD IMHO.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 02 Apr 2020, 21:25
by boogieman
mmm wrote:Well I don't know about SALH suitability for C-RAM, it's kinda unprecedented AFAIK, not going to count out 2.75" rocket airframe, but US Army doesn't appear to be asking for IFPC to keep up with the tip of mechanized formations.

I find this surprising, since the whole M-SHORAD thing seems to have been directed at Russia, particularly in the Baltics. If things were ever to kick off there the BCTs in theatre would be heavily outnumbered and certainly subject to Russian airpower (at least in the early stages).

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 03 Apr 2020, 00:58
by weasel1962
IFPC and M-Shorad are separate programs.

Re: How capable are SHORADs?

Unread postPosted: 03 Apr 2020, 01:52
by boogieman
My mistake - cheers for the correction :cheers: