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Iraqi air defenses and lottery tickets(8 posts)

Iraqi air defenses and lottery ticketsCaptain Morgan
Oct 30, 2002 7:47 AM
We attacked more Iraqi air defense systems again today after being fired on. I have no idea how many anti-aircraft missiles they have used on us during Desert Storm and in the no-fly zones. They have yet to shoot any manned plane down (although they may have hit a drone once). I was thinking why? I came to the conclusion that its kind of like them buying lottery tickets. The odds are practically nil, but the rewards (for them, the publicity) would be big. Two of the worst jobs on earth would have to be an Iraqi air defense commander and a Cincinnati Bengal marketing director.
Oct 30, 2002 8:39 AM
They rarely shoot. Normally they just light up and lock on. The next step is to set the missle free, assuming there is a missle to set free.

Isn't it curious that we have been blowing these things up for 10 years now, and we still haven't got them all? I have to wonder, have we got any of them? And that's after the actual Gulf War, where one of the very first things done in the opening minutes of the war was to take out the air defenses. Something doesn't add up.
It's a little more complex than that (long)sn69
Oct 30, 2002 11:13 AM
The first strike on the first night of the war was a microwave relay complex that was a vital link in the Iraqi IADS--Integrated Air Defense System. Think of it as the primary server for a LAN. Take out the server and you shut down the LAN. Once that was accomplished the second wave strike aircraft went in and took out all of the remaining IADS nodes that provided some measure of independant command and control for various parts of the air defense network. From then on, each gun emplacement or missile site was operating solely on its own without networked tracking, targetting and guidance information from any other sites.

Air defense is an interesting study in physics and statistics. Without an IADS-like system to integrate the information, each AAW emplacement is doing little more than looking towards the sky through a narrow event window trying to detect, classify, localize, track and eventually attack a target. Big sky + little, fast aircraft = low probability of hit.

Furthermore, destroying each and every AAA or SAM site in Iraq isn't as easy as the average layman would think. Remember, during the course of this low grade war that we've continued to fight since the end of the Gulf War, we've only hit targets in the northern and southern no-fly zones, and only after they've engaged our forces. We dont' go into central Iraq to pursue mobile targets, nor do we engage unless strict ROE criteria have been met. ("Engagement," by the way, is a carefully defined term that includes lock-on by target tracking radars--a precursor to firing hot lead or missiles.) Almost all of these sites are mobile, and the Iraqis move them constantly.

Yes, we've gotten a lot of them, but there are still a lot out there. In spite of the images we remember from the Gulf War, the Iraqi arsenal still exists in large numbers, and they still field a viable capability. One of the more subtle and dubious results of the Gulf War was that the American public has come to regard war as a relatively clean, surgical event where smart munitions accomplish everything with ease and minimal loss of life. That couldn't be farther from the truth. War is an aweful, bloody mess and Clausewitz' rules still apply. He who makes the least mistakes wins. In the Gulf War we exploited the enemy's weakness and employed well-thought-out tactics almost without fault. We got to be Nelson crossing the T in a perfect scenario that we exploited quite well. Occurances like that, however, don't tend to repeat themselves, nor is warfare usually that neat or clean. Air power can only accomplish so much and ultimately "the ground ain't yours 'til the grunts plant the flag."

Back to your point, however. The current situation in northern and southern Iraq adds-up evenly. They still have mobile systems that they move in and out of the zones with impunity until they target coalition aircraft. Then they get schwacked. Until they lite-off the targetting systems, however, our rules of engagement prevent us from making preemptive hits.

OBTW, "they" shoot more than you might think.
Hey, the Bengals have gauranteed a win this SundayPaulCL
Oct 30, 2002 8:46 AM
Afterall, they are playing an expansion team. Houston's stadium will be sold out, the team will be motivated, and the Bengals still suck. What a stupid thing to do: An 0-7 team, playing on the road, gauranteeing a win!

I'm sure their marketing director is about to quit. I'd rather be the Iraqi air defense minister.
It's true but they were smart enough to not guaranteecarnageasada
Oct 30, 2002 10:26 AM
who was going to win.
Hey's your shot at financial redemptionPaulCL
Oct 30, 2002 11:54 AM
Cincinnati at Houston. Cincy has gauranteed a win. Take Houston minus 3 points. Money in the bank.
Just the man I was looking for.Sintesi
Oct 31, 2002 8:48 AM
The only other team that has constantly screwed me at every turn is the Texans. When I bet for them they can't cover the ridiculously huge spread. When I bet against them they beat the Cowboys and the Jags. Despicable team. I have not had one correct guess this season so I will take your advice this week. Paul, the Bungholes, I mean Bengals, better not fail me or you will face serious repurcussions.
Looks like Paul is safe (nm)VertAddict
Nov 5, 2002 7:57 PM