How capable are SHORADs?

Discuss air warfare, doctrine, air forces, historic campaigns, etc.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

armedupdate

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 483
  • Joined: 05 Aug 2015, 21:11

Unread post17 Dec 2019, 22:01

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?
Offline

hornetfinn

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2993
  • Joined: 13 Mar 2013, 08:31
  • Location: Finland

Unread post18 Dec 2019, 13:19

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.
Offline
User avatar

sferrin

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 5530
  • Joined: 22 Jul 2005, 03:23

Unread post18 Dec 2019, 20:39

Depends on the system. I wouldn't want to get near a SeaRAM.
"There I was. . ."
Offline

hornetfinn

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2993
  • Joined: 13 Mar 2013, 08:31
  • Location: Finland

Unread post19 Dec 2019, 13:14

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.
Offline
User avatar

sferrin

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 5530
  • Joined: 22 Jul 2005, 03:23

Unread post19 Dec 2019, 14:23

The latest TOR, while command-guided (to keep missile cost down) can control 4 at a time.
"There I was. . ."
Offline

hornetfinn

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2993
  • Joined: 13 Mar 2013, 08:31
  • Location: Finland

Unread post20 Dec 2019, 12:40

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.
Offline
User avatar

botsing

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 878
  • Joined: 05 Dec 2015, 18:09
  • Location: The Netherlands

Unread post20 Dec 2019, 20:49

Thank you for your detailed responses hornetfinn!
"Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know"
Offline
User avatar

sferrin

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 5530
  • Joined: 22 Jul 2005, 03:23

Unread post21 Dec 2019, 00:13

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.
"There I was. . ."
Offline

hythelday

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 586
  • Joined: 25 Jul 2016, 12:43
  • Location: Estonia

Unread post28 Feb 2020, 22:10

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.
Offline

milosh

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 961
  • Joined: 27 Feb 2008, 23:40
  • Location: Serbia, Belgrade

Unread post29 Feb 2020, 11:14

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.
Offline

knowan

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 312
  • Joined: 24 Jul 2018, 10:39

Unread post01 Mar 2020, 14:11

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.
Offline

hornetfinn

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2993
  • Joined: 13 Mar 2013, 08:31
  • Location: Finland

Unread post04 Mar 2020, 15:21

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.
Offline

knowan

Senior member

Senior member

  • Posts: 312
  • Joined: 24 Jul 2018, 10:39
Offline

boogieman

Active Member

Active Member

  • Posts: 155
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2019, 03:26

Unread post06 Mar 2020, 22:38

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.
Last edited by boogieman on 07 Mar 2020, 03:46, edited 1 time in total.
Offline

marauder2048

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 870
  • Joined: 14 Mar 2012, 06:46

Unread post07 Mar 2020, 03:35

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.
Next

Return to Air Power

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests