Serb SAM site commander talks about shooting down the F-117

Military aircraft accidents/mishaps.
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boff180

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Unread post27 Oct 2005, 07:04

Seems to shed light on the 2 myths about the shoot down.. showing them both to be untrue... these being...
1) Missile just fired into its path at random.
2) Shot down by a MIG-21 who caught its silhouette against the moon.

Now before anyone starts going "BS, thats impossible" I believe what he is pertaining to is some form of Electronic emission tracker... i.e. the seeker tracked the em emissions coming from the electronics and the possibility these hadn't been shielded.

Anyway, the story....
DUSAN STOJANOVIC

Associated Press


SKORENOVAC, Serbia-Montenegro - Col. Zoltan Dani was behind one of the most
spectacular losses ever suffered by the U.S. Air Force: the 1999 shooting
down of an F-117A stealth fighter.
Now, for the first time since that night six years ago, the former Serbian
commander of an anti-aircraft missile battery has consented to speak
publicly to Western media about the circumstances surrounding the
unprecedented downing of a U.S. stealth plane.
The hit on the radar-evading plane on March 27, 1999, during the 78-day NATO
campaign over Serbia, triggered doubts not only about the F-117s, but also
about the entire concept of stealth technology on which the U.S. Air Force
has based its newest generation of warplanes.
Military analysts debated how the planes would fare in a war against a
militarily sophisticated opponent if an obsolescent air defense such as
Serbia's could manage to track and destroy them.
In an interview this week with The Associated Press, Dani said the F-117 was
detected and shot down during a moonless night - just three days into the
war - by a Soviet-made SA-3 Goa surface-to-air missile.
"We used a little innovation to update our 1960s-vintage SAMs to detect the
Nighthawk," Dani said. He declined to discuss specifics, saying the exact
nature of the modification to the warhead's guidance system remains a
military secret.
It involved "electromagnetic waves," was all that Dani - who now owns a
small bakery in this sleepy village just north of Belgrade - would divulge.
The F-117 was developed in great secrecy in the 1970s. It entered service in
1983 but was not revealed officially until 1988. It saw its first combat in
the 1989 invasion of Panama and was a star of the 1991 Gulf War.
"Long before the 1999 war, I took keen interest in the stealth fighter and
on how it could be detected," said Dani, who has been hailed in Serbia as a
war hero. "And I concluded that there are no invisible aircraft, but only
less visible."
The F-117 was one of only two allied aircraft shot down in the war. The
other was an F-16 fighter, which the U.S. Air Force said was also hit by an
SA-3. Both pilots bailed out and were rescued by NATO helicopters.
Dani said his anti-aircraft missile regiment, tasked with the anti-aircraft
defense of the Serbian capital, Belgrade, downed the F-16.
Several other NATO warplanes were damaged by missile hits but managed to
struggle back to bases in neighboring Bosnia, Macedonia or Croatia. At least
one is said to have ditched into the Adriatic Sea as it attempted to regain
its base in Italy.
Despite NATO's near-total air supremacy, the alliance never succeeded in
knocking out Dani's batteries.
The Serb SAMs remained a potent threat throughout the conflict, forcing
attacking warplanes to altitudes above 15,000 feet, where they were safe
from surface-to-air missiles but far less effective in a ground attack role.
NATO won the war in June 1999, after President Slobodan Milosevic decided to
withdraw his largely intact army from Kosovo, following the destruction of
numerous government buildings, bridges and other infrastructure targets
throughout Serbia.
"The Americans entered the war a bit overconfident," Dani said. "They
thought they could crush us without real resistance."
"At times, they acted like amateurs," Dani said, listing some ways the Serbs
managed to breach NATO communications security, including eavesdropping on
pilots' conversations with AWACS surveillance planes.
"I personally listened to their pilots' conversations, learning about their
routes and bombing plans," Dani said.
Dani said that his unit has had annual reunions on every March 27 since 1999
when a cake in the shape of the F-117 is served.


This also backs up images that began to appear in the UK shortly after the conflict of a SAM site with 2 "kill" marks on the side of it... all in the shape of F-16s.

Andy
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TenguNoHi

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Unread post27 Oct 2005, 07:24

Yeah but consider your source again. This guy admits he has been revered as a hero. With all that fame and status would you just come out and say it was an accident and your really not that great? He wont give out any details, which is fine because he has a commitment to his military too. But I take it with a grain of salt. I wonder how much this guy got paid for this interview. There is a reason he avoided them for six years...

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johnqhitman

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Unread post27 Oct 2005, 13:46

Basically, I heard the Serbs set up towers to pump out a lot of electro-magnetic radiation and set up SAM sites with a computer that would analyze the total sum of EM Radiation looking for any disturbances. They could get an exact position fix within some hundred meters.

And in some-cases it maybe possible to get an accurate enough fix to fire on a ballistic trajectory and wham!
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elp

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Unread post27 Oct 2005, 14:23

The later part of the story has more importance, poor opsec/comsec and poor mission planning, including F117 missions in that era were highly scripted. Add to that an SA3 doesn't have much range so the F117 ( considering it operates up high ) had to be fairly ________ close. Lets go fly over the SAM school. :lol:
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Unread post27 Oct 2005, 17:07

"it involves electromagnetic waves"

Hmmm, maybe they developed some sort of electromagnetic (or RAdio) wave Detection And Ranging system and installed it on their SAM? What could we say that missile was guided by? Maybe we could call it a RADAR guided SAM? :roll:

I agree with ELP, from this story it sounds like the real failure was complacency and overconfidence.
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Unread post27 Oct 2005, 17:15

"electromagnetic waves" , All that means is radar. Big deal. Fly right over the same spot every night and eventually somebody is gonna get lucky. I do not know any details (warning: speculation ahead) but I suspect the radar hit came from the weapons bay doors being open, creating a huge corner reflector from the bottom view.
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NVGdude

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Unread post27 Oct 2005, 17:52

Guysmiley wrote:"it involves electromagnetic waves"

Hmmm, maybe they developed some sort of electromagnetic (or RAdio) wave Detection And Ranging system and installed it on their SAM? What could we say that missile was guided by? Maybe we could call it a RADAR guided SAM? :roll:

I agree with ELP, from this story it sounds like the real failure was complacency and overconfidence.


E-M waves, so RADAR, or IR, or UV or visible light or microwave or just about anything but SONAR. *bah*

I'm with Elp as well, don;t keep flying the same ingress/egress routs over and over.

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TC

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Unread post28 Oct 2005, 05:22

NVGdude wrote:Don't keep flying the same ingress/egress routs over and over.


One would have thought we'd have learned our lesson over Thud Ridge...

Here's what I'm wondering, if this jackass is indeed credible. If the Serbs created some sort of "Stealth tracking device" for their SAMs, then why did they only shoot down one?

I quote Arsenio: "Things that make you go, Hmmm..."

To Err is Human. To Forgive is Not ACC Policy.
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Unread post28 Oct 2005, 18:59

With ya on that TC. Thats a pretty poor kill ratio with this "wonder tech`".
Even with the USAF helping them with poor planning.....
"I may not agree with what you say....but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
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ACSheva

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Unread post29 Oct 2005, 00:40

Would not be surprised. Although it is hard to believe. But remember the Serbs are way smarter than the Iraqis.

But, in the future its possible.

I was watching Fox today, and it seems that one of our Stealth engineers has sold some big secrets to a foreign country regarding the radar signature of the B2. Secrets which could bring down a stealth jet. That sucks.


Shev
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Unread post29 Oct 2005, 05:03

Fly right over the same spot every night and eventually somebody is gonna get lucky.


This bit of folklore is getting really old. It has been widely quoted that the 117s flew the same route every day which is completely false. They may have ultimately flown over the same areas (because that's where the targets were) but that's it. The routes to get there were not the same, even if the target was the same.

On the other hand, the non-stealth strike routes were almost always the same...so why didn't they shwack more of them?
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Unread post29 Oct 2005, 06:34

The Serbs were very smart in their use of their SA-3 and SA-6 radars, ie, they didn`t leave them on long enough to swallow HARMS. They also dispersed them and put some units in areas that were hard to search by normal means, in mountainous areas, between valleys.Difficult for say, E-8 aircraft. Although U-2 and Rivet joint had more success it seems. None the less, the Serbs got away with most of their SAM launchers intact. SEAD was a bitch over KOSOVO I hear...

The Serbs game was one of survival. They knew that turning their radars on would be suicide. They wanted to retain their forces to fight another day. They knew full well what happened to the Iraqi air defences in ODS!

The biggest problem looks like the ROEs for NATO aircraft, having to go thru` COAC to hit many targets. We were lucky that they didnt have double digit SAMs which have up tp 80nm slant range. That may have put our surveilance assets at risk or at least made them orbit out at less than useful ranges.

The Serbs claimed they had "people", "spotters" at NATO air bases who told them when F-117s would take off. They also had long range radars which would then relay data through secure landlinks to their air defence throughout the country. They also claimed to get "fleeting" glimpses of F-117s depending on the angle the planes were to the radars.... They "claimed" to listen to NATO comms and could time salvo missile attacks to the rough area where NATO strikers would transit. They fired over 800 SAMs but got only two kills. I believe quite a few of the missiles actually guided and quite a lot of Chaff was deployed and a lot of jinking was done over the course of the campaign ( by none stealthy strike aircraft). The threat of SAMS was never removed from the battlezone. The risk of destruction was what kept them quiet.

In my book that is not a sucess ratio they can be proud of!
"I may not agree with what you say....but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
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Unread post25 Jan 2011, 02:46

In reference to the shoot down of the F-117 by the Serbs you simply modify the detector circuit in the SA-3 radar set. If you convert any 1950's vintage pulse modulated Am radar set to a slope detector by retuning the last stage of the IF and the am detector stage you get a slope detector. A slope detector only detects doppler shift converting your old am radar into a pulse doppler radar set. Slope detection is a cheep and easy retrofit to older radar sets that will allow them to track stealth aircraft very well at short range. A slope detector has the advantage over FM detectors because it will show both velosity and amplitude at the same time. The faster the plane moves the higher the doppler shift. With a slope detector you get a +20db gain in signal to noise based on doppler shift. This cancels half of the -45 db loss produced by stealth materials on the f-117 at X band wavelength. A simple mode to the f-16's APG-66 radar set will allow it to detect and track an f-22 at 40 plus miles. The same mode to the sidewinder missel will allow it to lock onto and shoot down an f-22 at 20+ miles.
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Unread post25 Jan 2011, 04:33

Um, the sidewinder is an IR missile, ie not radar based.
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Unread post25 Jan 2011, 17:14

onmark wrote:In reference to the shoot down of the F-117 by the Serbs you simply modify the detector circuit in the SA-3 radar set. If you convert any 1950's vintage pulse modulated Am radar set to a slope detector by retuning the last stage of the IF and the am detector stage you get a slope detector. A slope detector only detects doppler shift converting your old am radar into a pulse doppler radar set. Slope detection is a cheep and easy retrofit to older radar sets that will allow them to track stealth aircraft very well at short range. A slope detector has the advantage over FM detectors because it will show both velosity and amplitude at the same time. The faster the plane moves the higher the doppler shift. With a slope detector you get a +20db gain in signal to noise based on doppler shift. This cancels half of the -45 db loss produced by stealth materials on the f-117 at X band wavelength. A simple mode to the f-16's APG-66 radar set will allow it to detect and track an f-22 at 40 plus miles. The same mode to the sparrow missile will allow it to lock onto and shoot down an f-22 at 20+ miles.
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